Come see me tonight: The stars of the ASKEW Festival talk sex

Pub date September 11, 2012
SectionSex Blog

We probably have Madison Young to thank that the festival is happening at all – the creator of wandering alt-sex gallery Femina Potens curated ASKEW, this weekend (Thu/13-Sat/15)’s YBCA smorgasbord of sexual politics, personalities, and pleasure points as expressed through film and performance.

So who better, we thought, to tell you why you need to lace up your thigh high latex and view ASKEW? And thinking even bigger, who better than the women-artists Young has assembled for three nights of screenings, their themes centering on sensuality, identity, and social justice? Read on for the voices of a sex worker documentarian, a MILF, and an activist examining BDSM and race.

Hiwa B: License To Pimp

“Sex work is in the fabric of America. San Francisco itself has a rich history of sexual revolution, so it makes sense that it leads the way in cutting-edge thinking about sexual politics. While the focus of my documentary is on strip clubs in San Francisco, the issues are national, even global. What labor rights do strippers have? Who determines whether they are enforced or needed? How are strippers responding to illegal labor conditions? These are some of the questions that I tackle in my film. I think that San Franciscans will find this film of interest because they most probably know sex workers who are confronting these issues.”

Screening at “Intersections: LOVE:SEX:PORN:ART: Our Intimate Identity” Thu/13, 7pm, $10

Madison Young: Down the Rabbit Hole: A Year in the Life of a Sexy Mama

“This is a very personal intimate autobiographical work that blends text readings, experimental performance, and video art. It’s an internal dialogue of a mother rediscovering her identity as both a lover and a mother. An exploration of pain, growth, body image, feminism, identity, public ridicule, and orgasms all structured loosely with in the frame work of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. I don’t think that there has ever been such an intimate display of vulnerability on the subject of sexuality and motherhood as you will find in this performance. It’s a piece I’m really proud of, and it’s also my birthday.”

Screening at “The Birth of Something New: Explorations of Queer Home, Family & Community” Fri/14, 7pm, $10

Mollena Williams: Impact

Photo by Aeric Meredith-Goujoun

“As a presenter in the BDSM, kink, leather and alt-sex communities, I often find myself trying to explain why the hell we do what we do. And as a performer, I find the dramatic and visual elements of kink to make rather compelling theater. As a black woman and a masochist, I find it challenging to have my sexuality judged based on cultural assumptions, judgmental attitudes, fetishization of race, fear and ignorance.  It came to me that it might be interesting to see what it looks like when people witness something as straightforward as a spanking.  

“I’m fortunate enough to have friends I can email and say “hey, come by the house and we’re gonna video you beating my ass.” The only “No, sorry, I can’t!” responses were due to scheduling conflicts. The people doing the spanking in the short are all friends, but when you see them presenting, variously, as friendly, aggressive, and neutral aggressors in the context of BDSM, the role of voyeur really manifests in the way it does in our works: as an active participant. 

“Being in the room with viewers as they watch Impact allows me to heighten that anxiety and tension by physically bringing my presence to the experience of watching the film, therefore closing the gap between voyeurism and experience. There will be some invitation to interaction, and I am fascinated to see whether or not people in the audience feel empowered to interact with me in the performance, or hang back.”

Screening at “In/Visible: Women fighting for visibility & survival in a world that doesn’t always celebrate difference” Sat/15, 7pm, $10