Every month or so here in SF there is an informal get-together called Dorkbot where a small group of extremely smart computer geeks, machine makers and high tech artists gather to watch informal presentations by peers. It’s where we all learn about new stuff and what each other are up to, and the loose tagline is "people doing strange things with electricity." I was a presenter once, and my topic with demonstrations was "Bizarre but True Tales of Sex and Electricity (with demonstration)." I did a lengthy Power Point presentation chronicling the birth of electricity and its immediate use to cure "hysteria" all the way to the modern vibrator, electricity and S/M and fantasy and fact about modern sex machines. Then a demo, with volunteers from the audience. It was a blast! James Brown — will the real sex machine please stand up?
But I went to the last one and ended up walking out. Here is the text from an email I sent a friend about the evening:
But you know, I didn’t stay to see the (name withheld) thing — I walked out when he was saying how hot chicks get when they "ride" his machines, and "how wet" the Dutch journalist got. Ugh! Oh — I mean, what a man, that (name withheld). Plus it was after he couldn’t tell me how his machines are controlled. I mean, I already knew (name withheld’s) deal, that he doesn’t make his stuff but uses it as a booty magnet. But that bullshit — especially in such an enlightened room and atmosphere — just made me realize that I was spending time listening to it when I really needed to dye my hair, you know?
Besides, I had to have perfect hair for this party I went to last night. I’ve always wanted to "pack." That’s a queer term for when a woman (a dyke or a male FTM) wears a strap-on under her jeans. They usually use softies made of silicone to give the effect of having a man’s bulge. But not me! I thought it would be fun to twist even that genderfuck, and so I went as a femmed up punk girl, and had a semi-hard big boy snaking down my leg. Shiny red lipstick, tight black jeans, dog collar — firm dick! Way fun. I danced until four in the morning while the Extra Action Marching Band played in its entire Dionysian splendor. A full horn section, sexy, dirty flag girls (and boys) hanging from scaffolding… It was like being in a decadent scene in a Fellini film, all very sexual and La Dolce Vita
So now I am hungover. But I had to end this email on a high sex-gender-queer positive note, being the Pollyanna of porn and all…
His reply was: now this is an email from my ol pal violet, not that cloistered pornwatching, ink-stained wretch I haven’t been hearing from for way way too long!
So, it’s weird when someone you know acts lame and says sexist stuff like the "artist" I mentioned above. It just reminded me of the creepy guys I saw at the Adult Video News Awards convention I attended in January. Not the pornographers — though many were very smart and funny, some were extremely freaky (in a soulless way) — I mean the "fans." It was intense to see literally hoards of guys pressing their cameras literally into women’s asscracks when the women would bend over to pick up a pen. I took a lot of pictures of these guys, I was fascinated by them in the same way you slow down to look at a car crash. They didn’t even notice me.
Okay, one mullet-head saw me.
I did have a lot of fun at AVN, though. I saw some amazing mullets.I saw people who were living caricatures of themselves in ways that Hollywood could never imitate. I wore my mechanic’s clothes and talked to everyone. There were three gay men there, and they were very nice. I found a cool Tiki bar with no gambling in it. Harrah’s charged me for my room three times and I’ll never stay there again. I met a cool freaky extreme art pornographer named Joe Gallant, who is a big SRL fan.
My coworkers at Good Vibes from the video department were very rude to me. Bridgette Kerkove put her arm around me and her boobs are very hard. I hung out with the Real Doll people and their dolls a lot, and they (the humans) were funny and cool. They said that they make the dolls (out of silicone) in big human-sized boxes with lids — like coffins (my words — they concurred).
I stuck my fingers in many weird fake orifices and took pictures of other people doing the same thing — and laughing. I met some big-timers, Juli Ashton kissed my sock monkey (insert your "touch my monkey" jokes here), and I met a lot of incredible and extremely smart women. By the same token, I met a lot of women who looked shell-shocked, had undergone freakish surgical alterations, and looked like they didn’t want to be there. Boot camp for the female ego? Perhaps. I did a lot of research for the book I was finishing and had a glimpse of humanity that was the most interesting I’ve ever seen. I think porn isn’t as simple as heroes or victims — it’s both, and more. Next year my publisher will want me to "make an appearance" because by then my book about porn will have been out for a while, but I think I’d rather just walk around and take interesting pictures.