Last month, I spent a highly entertaining night listening to sex positive feminist, Tristan Taormino talk about her very interesting life and journey to making porn films. It was a captivating and fascinating two hours. Tristan is a great public speaker and if you ever get the chance to hear her talk I highly recommend it.
She spoke about her ethical approach to her actors: good pay, reasonable hours, providing safe environments, and giving actors the freedom to do what they wished rather than dictating to them. It was strange to hear this referred to as ethical treatment of actors in explicit films as I thought it was the ONLY way to treat actors, but then again I have chosen to forge my own path and not be dictated by the mainstream industry, and I guess that what makes the difference.
I decided to get up and ask a question about safe sex and the use of condoms in her films, as it is one of the things I feel very strongly about and think as erotic filmmakers it is very important to promote, especially as there is a rise in sexually transmitted diseases (which I find shocking, as choosing to have sex with someone is also about making a respectful choice to use condoms). Her take was quite different and I do wonder how much of it is dictated by the studio she worked for or if it is as she said, a choice she let the actors make. She was actually quite surpised how many of them would rather have sex without condoms!
The evening also gave me a chance to catch up again with Louise Lush, who I haven't seen in the flesh since "The Band" screened at the Berlin Porn Film Festival in 2009. Wow how time flies! Finally, I got to meet two actors/makers I have been wanting to meet, Angela White and Liandra Dahl. We where all standing around being total video/film nerds getting excited talking about RED and Lexus cameras, steady cams and jib arms! Pretty funny!
I actually stood next to Angela White for quite sometime until I realised it was her! In the photos she has sent me she looks like an amazing amazon, yet in person she is still amazing but petite. She had just returned from a month in the US filming scenes for her website and was looking forward to going home to several terabytes of video footage and begin editing!
Afterwards, I was hoping to talk with Liandra further about her films, but unfortunately she had to leave early, but we did catch up later that week. She came by my office and we talked non stop for 2 hours. I could have spent the rest of the afternoon talking with her, but unfortunately prior commitments prevented us from doing so. However, I'm sure we will have many more discussions in the future.
It was great to be surround by such a wonderful group of sex positive women and so nice to talk openly about sex without anyone looking shocked, disgusted or horrified, but that it is just a natural part of life. This is what I love about Pleasure Salon gatherings!
Hats off to amazing sex therapist, Cyndi Darnell from Pleasure Salon for organising yet again another sex positive evening. Pleasure Salon holds monthly nights in Melbourne and I highly recommend you go and have a look, they are always informative and interesting.
In other news:
I'm giving a talk at Melbourne University this Friday 4th May at 12:30pm about Feminist and Queer Porn, for their "Rad sex and Consent week", which is free! I'm looking forward to it but I'm also slightly nervous that Shelia Jefferys and her anti sex minions will be on hand! However, the organisers look like they are providing a very safe space for people to discuss and explore sex and its many variations through workshops and talks. If you want more information, check it out here.
Must go and finish practicing my talk. Hope to see you there.