Arts & Culture
I'd been planning a sexy personal essay to accompany this post but I'm writing from the my mother's hospital room where things might well be personal but they are not sexy. Still, I wanted to share a few sneak peeks at something that is both personally important to me, and I hope sexy to you.
You probably know all about the 2010 Sex Blogger Calendar. The purpose is to raise money for Sex Work Awareness, a very important organization that assists and trains sex worker advocates in media work and other advocacy skills. The theme for my photo shoot was "At your own risk". We shot the photos on Frying Pan, an historic lightship that is currently part of Pier 66, a floating bar and grill on the Hudson River. Frying Pan is a beautiful piece of maritime history and the kind of place where people are trusted to enjoy themselves without being told "don't touch that" and "don't go there." The whole ship is open for exploration, and a tour of the ship reveals its evocative contradictions. It is neither land nor sea. It is not wholly safe but it can be enjoyed safely by people who exercise good judgment, it is beautiful and it is falling apart. The ship defies easy categorization and offers many surprises. It is in many ways an excellent metaphor for my own sense of sexuality.
Click the "Read More" link to see the four short video clips from the photo shoot. (Yes, sometimes I enjoy being a tease.)
Those of you in Halifax are are in the middle of Queer and Rebel Days and I'd love to hear about them.
From the web site:
Queer and Rebel Days 2009 is a week of performances, discussions, food, and workshops in Halifax, NS, running from July 10 - 16, 2009. All events are free, trans and queer positive, and childcare is available upon request. Most events are based at the Roberts St. Social Centre, 5684 Roberts St., Halifax; see the Event Details page for more info.
Our goals are:
I was trying to understand why I have been so upset about newspapers printing stuff that's in the book. The thing is I wrote the book to try and show people that there was so much more to escorting than what people think, which is that men only pay for sex. Since the press want to just discuss and print all the graphic sex making me out to be a convent girl and sex crazed loon that became a hooker, it's a little frustrating to say the least. Because the things they printed are taken out of context it doesn't really achieve what I wanted it to achieve. I'm trying my best to think that any publicity is good publicity but I'm having second thoughts (no good now I know!) now as to whether I have done the right thing by putting my face and name to it.Check out the "I went from convent girl to to hooker" story in the News of the World and file under typical. It's a new blog, so you can catch up very quickly. Do be sure to read her posts News of the World... and More Press.
For the second year in a row I'll be posing in the Sex Blogger Calendar, a fundraiser for Sex Work Awareness. Sex Work Awareness (SWA) is an organization dedicated to building capacity and media skills for sex workers. In addition, they are involved in important research projects like the Exploratory Research on Internet and Sexaulity (EROTICS) project.
Last year SWA used funds from the calendar sales to put on a media training for NYC-area sex workers. That training resulted in Calico's having the skills necessary to record many of the Sex 2.0 presentations and distribute them online. The training materials themselves are available on the SWA web site. You can see that by supporting SWA you are helping to make information and educational materials available to a worldwide audience.
This year's calendar involves twelve different photographers and more than a dozen models collaborating on images that illustrate sexual freedom. (Yes, if you're doing the math that means there will be some group shots!) I expect it will be provocative! I'll be working with Vito Fun. I won't tell you yet where we'll be shooting but we're working on a very cool location that is memorable for its old machinery and stunning waterfront views.
The photographers are donating their time and their skills. The models are donating the use of their images. All we need is you. You can help us by purchasing a day on the calendar and placing your own message there. Promote yourself or your project. Say happy birthday to someone. Send a message about what sexual freedom means to you.
Use the buttons below to buy days on the calendar or to buy days and preorder a calendar.
Sales are hosted at Audacia Ray's Waking Vixen store. Audacia Ray is one of the founders of Sex Work Awareness, and is also author of Naked on the Internet, director and producer of The Bi Apple, adjunct professor at Rutgers University, and social media guru for International Women's Health Coalition.
Carol Queen reading from my favorite story of hers, Leather Daddy and the Femme.Click here for more photos from the evening!
conference in Washington DC and to Audacia Ray and Sex Work Awareness for the excellent Speak Out! media training where Calico learned to be a whiz with a Flip cam.
Here is the session that Renegade Evolution and I co-facilitated: "Building Bridges & Alliances between researchers, sex workers & clients":
Link to this blog: http://tinyurl.com/pphl9f
Video courtesy of Calico. You can find more at her Blip.tv page.
Two years ago on Mothers Day I wrote about a set of wishes I had. Today I'm reposting that list because I just spent the weekend with my mother. Where? At Sex 2.0, a grassroots conference amazing for the way it explores the intersection of feminism, sexuality, and the internet.
I took my mom partly because it was Mothers Day weekend, partly because I was presenting and she rarely gets to see me present, and partly because I love her and wanted to share this experience with her. We went to sessions about the research on marginalized sexualities (CARAS), on the politics of sex work in the Obama age (Stacey Swimme, from St. James Infirmary, and Audacia Ray), and on restructuring debates around sexual freedom (Ricci Levy and David Phillips of Woodhull Freedom Foundation). I co-facilitated a session with Renegade Evolution on the building of ally relationships between sex workers and researchers.When I wrote my post two years ago I shared it with my mother and she thought many of the items were important but too idealistic. I think today she feels like they are even more important, and that they are perhaps attainable. So much has changed in two years. The Obamas are in the White House, marriage equality is spreading, and my mother and I are attending sexuality conferences! Click here to read my list of Mothers Day wishes from two years ago.
Sex 2.0 2009 is one week away, and I'm very excited about it. Here is the list of sessions and as soon as I see an actual schedule I'll post that. I hope you'll join us if you can, if not in person at the event, then online by following any of the twitterers or livebloggers who will be sending out real time updates during the day. There's still time to register. Click here for the registration page.
Last year, in Atlanta, under the guidance of Amber Rhea, a brand new grassroots conference was born. Its goal was to bring together smart people interested in sex, technology and social media in a space where we could talk to each other as equals, no hierarchy, and with the agenda being driven by the community. It was a very successful event.
This year, in Washington DC, under the guidance of Match, the conference will again bring together a group of people from a wide range of backgrounds to discuss sexuality, society and technology. It is going to be a great mix of sessions. I'm co-leading a session with Ren of Renegade Evolution about how to build trust and alliances between sex worker communities, researchers, client communities, and others. I'm especially looking forward to sessions on community building (MayMay), dismantling the internet "red light district" (Melissa Gira Grant and Joanne McNeil), advocacy for sexual freedom (Ricci Levy and David Phillips), community-academic alliances for research (CARAS), polyamory (Anita Wagner) and on sex work (Audacia Ray, Kimberlee Cline, Furry Girl, Sabrina Morgan, and Ellie Lumpesse. Really the whole lineup is pretty impressive and I wish I could see everything!Click here to read more on Sex 2.0, feminism, and intersecting communities.
Heather Corinna (on her Amazon blog) explains:
In other words, it [her book] is no longer listed in the sales ranks with other books of its subject or genre, no matter how good my sales are, or if my sales are above others who are currently listed. As well, my book, as is the case with many others, is not currently listed anymore in the subject heading appropriate to it. That deranking can massively impact us as authors, and also can impact consumers, particularly those who are trying to seek out material on a subject broadly without knowing what books are available by title or author. And with books that serve any sort of marginalized population or subject matter, finding them offline is often tough. Deranking books like mine further marginalizes the already marginalized.(See also this article for more information on Amazon sales ranking, thanks to Dacia for sending me the link). Here's a list of some of the books from Meta Writer and another list from Jezebel affected by this. Up there at the top, I see Brokeback Mountain, Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit and The Well of Loneliness have had the treatment. Jesus. This is scary - what is happening here is actually incredibly disturbing. To be honest, I'm still absolutely stunned. So what can we do? Craig Seymour, who has been on this from the start, has a round up. Smart Bitches proposes Google Bombing - "As always, fuckwittery should not go unrewarded":
All you have to do is link to the page using these words: Amazon Rank. The more you do it, the higher up in rank the page will go, and the more successful it will be. One would hope.
The goal: that “Amazon Rank” points to the definition that underscores Amazon.com’s shortminded censorship and inconsistent policing of what ought to be accessible to the book buying public.
Also, there is an online petition you can sign, a call to boycott Amazon, fill out their customer complaint form, ring them or you could email them - here's an example of what someone wrote to them. Finally, keep an eye on what's being said on Twitter by searching for #amazonfail.
This is very reminiscent of Google's indexing, which makes it all the more disturbing. It's like the internet's being "cleaned up" by the damn Christian Right.
Edited to add: Don't you just love how Mein Kampf keeps its rank? Hell, Adolf fucking Hitler's books fine, that Winterson woman though? She dangerous.
Also, via a commenter at Jezebel's:
Wanna hear something that will really make your day? Now because of this who sales rank thing when you search for Homosexuality in the Amazon search engine guess what is the first book that pops up? A Parent's Guide to Preventing Homosexuality!
It's true, for both US and UK Amazon (click to enlarge).
CineKink Announces Kinky Line-Up for Sixth Annual Festival
February 24-March 1, 2009
NEW YORK, NY - CineKink NYC returns for its sixth annual appearance on Tuesday, February 24th, bringing with it a specially-curated program of films and videos that celebrate and explore a wide diversity of sexuality. In addition to screenings, plans for the festival also include a short film competition, presentations, audience choice awards, a fund-raising gala kick-off and a concluding afterglow party.