March 25, 2005
Same-sex in the city
Some people sell sex, either in the direct form of prostitution, or second-hand in the form of erotica or pornography. The difference between the two, of course, is that pornography has photos, whereas erotica just has words or drawings.
Either way, sex is a big business, and it’s going to be even bigger business in Ohio in the coming weeks.
First of all, one of the most famous porn flicks in history is the subject of the new documentary Inside Deep Throat, directed by queer filmmakers Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey. Those are the same evil geniuses who brought the world two Party Monster movies--one a documentary and the other an attempt to revitalize Macauley Culkin’s career--plus a loving look at Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, a film about the possibility that Hitler was gay, and about a dozen more in this vein.
Featuring archival footage of Deep Throat star Linda Lovelace, who died after a 2002 car crash, along with new interviews with her co-star Harry Reems and a slew of cultural icons, Inside Deep Throat examines the 1972 film, banned in 23 states. (But not in Ohio. It played that year at the Roxy Burlesque Theater in Cleveland, located at East Ninth St. and Chester Ave. where the National City Center now stands.)
While trying to cast the film as an almost revolutionary act, Barbato and Bailey interview some of the most erudite queer names of the last 20 years, including Camille Paglia, John Waters and Gore Vidal.
(Oh, God. John Waters is now an established cultural critic, commentator and pundit. One wonders what his reaction to his newfound authority is. To paraphrase Quentin Crisp, if you live in the suburbs of society’s contempt for long enough, you eventually find yourself in the middle of a thriving metropolis.)
Making the rounds of the artsy theaters, Inside Deep Throat will be more accessible to the vast majority of Ohioans than the possibly far more interesting Breaking the Silence Erotic Film and Art Festival, being held April 1 and 2 at Asterisk Gallery, 2393 Professor Ave. in Cleveland.
In addition to Annie Sprinkle and her erstwhile collaborator Carol Leigh, better known as the Scarlet Harlot, another of the artists involved presents a really exciting opportunity for the LGBT community.
Tobaron Waxman creates erotic photos and films that are transgressive on a multitude of levels.
(Okay, so photos can be erotica as well as pornography. In fact, it’s best when they’re both.)
Waxman’s videos use as part of their continuity things that are usually left on the editing room floor, such as “after care.”
“This is the term in sadomasochistic practices for the physical and psychoemotional maintenace which takes place after an S/M scene, in which a dominant tenderly soothes the submissive,” he writes.
In addition, a few of the films that will be shown during the festival are LGBT-related as well, like Screaming Queens, a filmic look at the 1966 Compton Cafeteria riots in San Francisco, an uprising predating the Stonewall riots in New York by three years.
Chew the Fat and You’re a Winner, two films by Australia’s Sprinkle Magic, feature queer themes. Sprinkle Magic is an outrageous woman, working in every medium she can, from fashion design to video production.
How outrageous, one might ask? Well, Cyndi Lauper wore one of her outfits. She’s so unusual!
For a truly unique perspective, Tales of the Night Fairies is a documentary spinning the tale of sex workers in India who formed a union welcoming men, women and transgendered prostitutes, all working for the decriminalization of their trade and better HIV education and services.
Even the sponsors of the event are heavy hitters in the LGBT community. Cleis Press, rapidly becoming one of the most respected queer publishers, signed on, as did the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Both the Cleveland Institute of Art Cinematheque and Cleveland Public Theater, both of which go to great lengths to ensure that queer film and theater is kept active in Northeast Ohio, are also sponsoring the festival.
There will also be a silent auction party at Asterisk on March 26, leading up to the festival itself.
For more information, log onto www.tediumshift.com/breakingthesilence. For directions or other questions, call Asterisk Gallery at 330-3048528.