The bagpipe squawks for thee: first thoughts on ‘Black Watch’


If you thought the theatricalized story of a jaunty and imperiled Scottish regiment in Iraq in 2004 would come off as a sort of “Trainspotting meets Black Hawk Down,” you wouldn’t be too far off the mark — in a very positive way. I’ll leave the nuts and bolts reviewing of full-force National Theatre of Scotland via American Conservatory Theater’s spectacular “Black Watch,” (through June 16) presented at the huge Mission Armory, to my colleague Robert Avila in next Wednesday’s Guardian. But my first thoughts upon emerging from Sunday night’s opening performance, after I cleaned the constant stream of expletives from my ears (and a bit of something from my eye) is that yae fookin’ coonts moost sae this pish, i.e. the production and performances are well worth the gasp-inducing $100 ticket price.

As is, I guess, a reminder of the — hey, ongoing! — sorry state of our “misadventures” in that part of the world. Ten years later, we have to drop a Benjamin for a complex, moving, and engrossing take on what just happened, or any take whatsoever, pretty much. That it also includes a lot of nifty multimedia effects (a surprisingly malleable pool table basically co-stars), affecting and thrillingly performed choreography, a bit of fascinating history, and some old Scottish ballads — oh yes, there will be bagpipes — is icing on the erroneous Occupation. 

Less plot-driven than situation-oriented (within the framing device of a “researcher” interviewing former squadron-mates at a pub, the story of the 300-year-old Black Watch Scottish fighting force’s dissolution in Iraq is told through clever reenactments), Gregory Burke’s play, first performed in 2007, keeps its ideological cards tucked slightly up its sleeve. But it pulls no punches when it comes to the hella screwy “facts” on the ground. It also toys with the Mametian trope that language is a real sharp double-edged sword, especially the language of power in crisis, when all the misogyny, homophobia, sexphobia, and racism comes howling through the seams of ballsy mens’ speech. One wondered how the more delicate members of A.C.T.’s regular subscription audience was taking all the “fucks,” “cunts,” and every other realistically used expletive, all fenced in by a true yet penetrable thicket of brogue.

One also wondered how many of them knew they were sitting in a giant BDSM porn studio — a famous fact left out of the program’s introduction to the “Armory Community Center,” a.k.a. HQ, the timeline of which conveniently ends in the late 1970s, and has the gall to state that “plans to convert the building into a full-time film studio did not come to fruition.” Ahem. Aaanyways. For those of us in the know, it made the porn jokes a lot more funny.

The location also resonates with military history, of course. It was built in the early 1900s to help quell any union strikes or labor demonstrations downtown  … with hundreds of troops armed to the teeth. The wee irony of a play about an occupation staged here isn’t lost. But the genius of the location comes through in other ways. On first hearing ACT was hosting the play here, I immediately thought it would involve dozens of extras and a full orchestra. The play, however takes place in a modest (if very large compared to other locations) draped off part of the armory, and the often-eerie backing music is recorded. It is up to the cast, numbering a mere 10, to bring a full war and its aftershocks to a life big enough to fill the physical and mental space, which they do with aplomb.

They’re aided by a panoply of well-executed mulitmedia efects, culminating in a series of tragic explosions that ripple outward into the Armory’s enormous space. Those explosions can’t help but remind of the recent Boston marathon explosions, permanently televised into our senses. So much blood, so many severed limbs, the media and government weren’t afraid to show us in that bombing earlier this year. And yet 10 years ago, I remember seeing hardly any blood at all, let alone any troops’ bodies, in the long, long, then too-short coverage of the “Iraq War.” How far we’ve come, and haven’t come at all since then, “Black Watch” reminds us. beloved in Pope land! Local porn site among top downloaded in Vatican City [UPDATED]


A local anti-BDSM porn activist emailed me tidings of Flash magazine’s Guatanamo-themed Coachella party this morning as proof that “’ s influence is spreading, albeit interrupted by the sex-negative Philistines of Coachella.” Leaving aside the well-worth-it debate over the role art and nightlife have in political parody and the fact that torture in fact, existed well before Kink founder Peter Acworth (it wasn’t called the “Kinkquisition,” darling), I would say this is about 8,000 times more convincing proof that is winning hearts and minds, should you need proof of such a thing.

According to Torrentfreak (and helpfully elaborated on by Fleshbot) the local BDSM site is responsible for two of the 13 most-pirated downloads in Vatican City. No, not top porn downloads, the most-pirated files, period.

Yes, for while Love Actually came in at #6, a scene featuring Lea Lexis and Krissy Lynn on “lezdom bondage” Kink site Whipped Ass followed close behind at #8, and #13 was occupied by Tiffany Starr and Sheena Shaw on the TS Pussyhunters site. 

We’re putting out the feelers to Kink to see how news of their influence in — and being robbed of revenue by — the world’s most flamboyantly attired country is being recieved by the company, stand by for post updates. 

UPDATE: Acworth has released a statement that implies the Vatican will espace legal action from the website:

While we don’t support theft of content, in this case we’re happy whoever he (or she) is is enjoying our movies. Our mission is to demystify BDSM and celebrate alternate sexuality. This is different from the Catholic Church’s mission which has (traditionally) been to shame anyone who deviates from a sexuality that isn’t procreative. We figure whoever is downloading these movies is feeling a fare amount of shame as it is, so we’ll let this one slide.

Read Acworth’s full statement here, featuring more Kink-Church comparisons like, “what is subspace if not a way to exorcise demons?” 

Frankie says feminist pornography


SEX It is hard to imagine an industry as rich, yet as under-examined as that of pornography. We spend billions of dollars on porn in this country, and billions of hours trying to hide that fact, erasing search histories and wedging DVDs under the bed when our parents are coming over.

So perhaps it makes sense that The Feminist Porn Book, the first of its kind to include writings from porn-studying academics and porn performers, is designed so as to resemble nothing so much as a traffic sign. “What are you reading?” I doofily joked to myself on BART while positioning the Day-Glo paperback with its “FRANKIE SAYS RELAX” massive font in a way I hoped would avoid undue scorn-face from my fellow passengers.

It’s their loss, really. The book is a big deal, a first-time conglomeration of viewpoints from across the pro-sex feminist landscape. Its introduction alone was the most comprehensive history of feminist pornography I’ve ever seen (how appropriate that we’re in the middle of Women’s History Month 2013.) The next time anyone has a question about whether porn can really be anti-sexist, I will direct them to The Feminist Porn Book‘s neon glow.

Within its pages, professionals from a variety of nooks and crannies tackle some issues that even we, as feminists who believe porn can reflect and augment healthy sexuality, have trouble resolving. Penn State’s Ariana Cruz tackles the image of black women in porn (and the no-less-interesting reality of being a black female academic who studies black women in porn.) Am I the only one who gets giddy about heavily-footnoted academic essays on the race issues stirred up by Asian porn star Keni Styles’ participation in locker room orgy scenes?

Performers’ voices are well represented here, mainly in first-person testimonials that explain their career paths, complicated stories that don’t dodge critique of the adult industry. Transman pioneer Buck Angel talks vagina, seasoned pro Nina Hartley about being a role model. The Bay Area’s April Flores explains how she busts up the BBW stereotype. model Dylan Ryan and director Lorelei Lee explore society’s conception of their professional lives.

In a brief phone chat, one of the book’s editors and longtime feminist pornographer herself Tristan Taormino explained to me that the book came about after a panel discussion in which she participated that featured both academics and porn stars. That fusion, the participants felt, gave birth to a conversation that had to be continued. A few panelists from that chat can now be found within the anthology’s pages, and Taormino is now organizing a day-long conference to take place on April 6 amid the hangovers from the eight-year-old Feminist Porn Awards in Toronto.

“There are feminists in mainstream porn. I’m not the only one, I swear!” Taormino says this in a jocular manner, but given those billions of dollars, her implication that porn is starting to allow more room for feminist imagery and voices is a rather big deal. For now, I resolve to worry less about what other people on BART think of my reading list.


Three years of Oh! Powerhouse, 1347 Folsom, SF. Wed/13, 10pm-2am, $3. Darling DJ Robin Simmons will give you something to listen to beyond the slaps and moans at the third anniversary of this gentlemanly meet-up for dirty dappers.

BDSM panel for anarchists California Institute of Integral Studies, Room 304, 1453 Mission, SF. Sat/16, 6:30-8:30pm, free. Internet flame wars ensued when Native scholar Roxanne Dunbar Ortiz canceled her talk at the Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair upon realizing it would be held in the event rental space of’s Armory this year. Today’s discussion looks to re-unite members of the radical community who disagreed over the issue. Pre-open floor, a history of pornography and feminism will be presented, as well as ways to support sex workers, women, and people who think differently than you do.

More on what consent means for BDSM porn: A performer speaks out


Having sex for money can change the dimensions of the kinds of acts you’re willing to explore. That’s a fact in a porno landscape that rewards greater physical punishment with greater paychecks (as it should.) But if BDSM porn performers aren’t doing it all purely for their own sexual gratification, how do we define consent? Where does pushing boundaries become abuse? The question seems really important, especially for those who would defend the existence of BDSM porn to dissenters of all stripes

My article in this week’s paper that explored the question of the definition of consent for for-profit BDSM porn (although really, the arguments are the same for all kinds of sex work) was too short. Hey, save trees and all that. But performer Maxine Holloway pushed beyond the limited ink I could give to her comments to expand on her thoughts in an essay posted to her blog last night.

It reads, in part (paragraph breaks my own): 

As models we want to perform well, we want to push our boundaries, we want to look sexy and desirable on film, we want to get paid, and we want to be hired again and again.

As a director you have deadlines, budgets, employees and profits that you are responsible for. Each party has their own pressures.

But it is important to recognize who has more power in the situation. You can be responsible with power and you can also abuse it. In a working environment the boss has more power.

This does not mean that models have no power, it just means that they have less. The boss has the funding, the ability to rehire you, give a good or bad reference, further your career and money making ability. And they often have a slew of other models that would love to take your place.

It is a models responsibility to learn about our boundaries and capabilities, to communicate our needs and use a safe word.

And is the production company/director’s responsibility to communicate expectations clearly and to create an environment where the models truly feel comfortable changing something, slowing down or saying no. 

And it goes. Definitely worth a read.

I would be remiss if I failed to point out this amazing poem by Bay Area sexworker and sometime performer Coral Aorta, excerpted by Holloway at the end of her post (and double-excerpted here):

the priceless one

who is always

worth their price

Giving consent to capitalism


SEX “BDSM so quickly and easily gets painted with a broad brush,” said porn performer and author (her piece this week on Jezebel, “How I Became a Feminist Porn Star” is not to be missed) Dylan Ryan.

I’d called her in the wake of last week’s SF Weekly cover story (“Gag Order,” 2/20/13), which included some healthy critiques of, the local porn company often held up as the standard when it comes to shooting kinky sex.

The piece also included testimony that was run without being fact-checked from certain ex-Kink employees — and that aside, the article was clearly timed to capitalize on controversy surrounding owner Peter Acworth’s recent drug and gun arrest. (ATTN: Weekly, you need not call into question the “strict code of ethical behavior and transparency” a pornographer is known for when it is discovered that said pornographer does cocaine, nor when he fires guns in the bowels of a building made for that purpose.)

The Weekly’s investigation continues. Hopefully it will help move conversation forward on how to make better porn.

As Ryan — who has shot for for nearly 10 years — pointed out, the trouble with porn wars is that they can be skewed into a referendum on whether such-and-such porn (and often, by extension, the sexual desire it portrays) should exist.

So real quick, let’s use this moment to convene members of our occasionally dysfunctional, but forever-forward thinking sex work community. The question: can sexual consent exist when you’re doing it for the money? Who is in charge of making sure everyone’s needs are respected?

“When capitalism is involved, it makes the situation…interesting,” wrote performer Maxine Holloway [after protesting and ceasing to shoot for when it removed base pay for web cam models, Holloway settled out of court with the company. Her voice appears in the Weekly article.] “As models we want to perform well, we want to push our boundaries, we want to get paid, and we want to be hired again and again.”

But, she continued, “money can be a perfectly legitimate reason to consent. Most people would not agree to show up at their nine-to-five job if they were not being paid an agreed amount of money.”

Ryan re-enforced the importance of the shoot’s producers stating clear run times, expectations, and other matters with performers before filming. After that point: “it’s a fine line, but so much of the onus is on the person to be their own agent.”

Locally, performer Kitty Stryker has examined these issues in her “Safe/Ward” consent workshops. And Holloway wrote she hopes to create an “industry standards” rating system that could guide performers to responsible producers. “Porn performers are not inherently victims and producers are not inherently exploitive,” she cautioned.

“These things can be positive, sexually healthy,” Ryan continued. “Every performance I do is about showing women how much fun I’m having.” Would that all debate on ethical porn started off with how its participants want to demystify, and excise shame from, sexuality — instead of drug charges.


“Bling My Vibe” Fri/1-March 31, free. Good Vibrations, 1620 Polk, SF.

Who says no to creating a work of art with a $3 vibrating dildo? Not this writer — check out my handiwork, and that of other Bay Area artists and sexy local celebs at this sex toy art show on view ’til the end of the month.

The Great Church of Holy Fuck Fri/1-Sun/3, 8pm, $15. Counterpulse, 1310 Mission, SF. The name, the fact that this production is helmed by Annie Danger, queer trans utopia-seeker, the promise of nudity — surely these will add to a truly religious interactive theater experience.

International Sex Workers Rights Day picnic Sun/3, 11am-2pm, free. Dolores Park, 19th St. and Guerrero, SF. The Sex Workers Outreach Project and St. James’ Infirmary are hosting this gathering of past and present sex workers and their allies in celebration of this day of commemoration, which started in 2001 at sex worker festival in Calcutta, India.


On the Cheap Listings


Submit items for the listings at For further information on how to submit items for listings, see Picks.


“Art, Money Politics: Making it as an Artist” Pro Arts, 150 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, Oakl. 6pm, free. Supporting yourself as an artist can be hard. Head over to this panel discussion and get some advice from digital artist Camille Utterback, multimedia artist and designer Favianna Rodriguez, and muralist Eduardo Pineda. They’ll share tips on how to make a living in a creative field, bring your hope, dreams, and of course, questions.

“Waypost: Unconventional Travel Stories” Stanza Coffee Bar, 3126 16th St., SF. 7-8:30pm, free. A blacked-out Vegas weekend can be a good time but if you’re looking to go somewhere that stimulates a… different side of your spirit on your next vacation you might find the inspiration you’ve been looking for at this series of storytellers reflecting on the meaningful swirls of journeys they’ve taken. If you can’t make it to the event in person, no sweat — you can still participate via Google Hangout.


One Billion Rising performance ritual Presbyterian Church, 2619 Broadway, Oakl. 7-8:30pm, $10-100 donation suggested. Free for youth under 17. Dedicate your Valentine’s Day to a good cause this year at this fundraiser for International Development Exchange (IDEX), an organization working to empower impoverished women across the globe. The evening will be a mix of spirituality, politics, and performances (flash mob, anyone?) from local groups such as Youth Speaks and Mission Dance Brigade.

Dogpatch Wine Works date night Dogpatch Wine Works, 2455 Third St., SF. 6-8pm, $40. Few things spell out romance quite like wine and chocolate. Stroll around Dogpatch Wine Works’ tasting room sipping on some vino and snacking on locally-crafted Recchiuti chocolate. After your palette is satisfied you can tour the 15,000-square foot working winery.

“Returning Cupid’s Fire” Cartoon Art Museum, 655 Mission, SF. 7-9pm, $10. Valentine-less and planning on having a night in with Ben and Jerry? Change of plans. San Francisco comedians Ivan Hernandez, Colleen Watson, and Mike Capozzola feel your pain and will be performing anti-Valentine’s Day themed stand-up routines tonight. Refreshments will be served.

Tout Sweet Pâtisserie tasting Tout Sweet Pâtisserie in Macy’s Union Square, 170 O’Farrell, third floor, SF. (415) 385-1679, 7-8:30pm, $55 per person. Reservations recommended. Yigit Pura, chef and owner of this sweet shop, is celebrating V-Day with a three-course dessert menu featuring a rotating selection of seasonal offerings, each paired with local artisanal wine and beer. If you already have some sweet Valentine’s Day plans don’t fret, Pura has more tastings scheduled for March 14 and April 11.

Hella Vegan Eats V-Day pop-up dinner Dear Mom, 2700 16th St., SF. 5pm-midnight, free. The Oakland–based traveling food vendor will be in the city to once again take over Mission bar Dear Mom. We are hoping their doughnut burger with secret sauce will be on tonight’s menu <3 <3

Valentine’s Day at the Armory The Armory, 1800 Mission, SF. 7:30 and 9:30, $55. Start the evening off on the upper floor of the porn palace, then head to a workshop led by porn starlet Rain DeGrey that focuses on teaching couples how to make fantasies reality. Afterward, enjoy specialty cocktails and aphrodisiac-themed appetizers at the luxe Armory Club across the street.


SFIndieFest Roller Disco Party Women’s Building, 3543 18th St., SF. 8pm-midnight, $10. Grab your striped socks and short-shorts because the ’70s are back tonight at this fundraiser for film festival organization SF IndieFest. If your skating skills are rusty, don’t sweat. Prizes will be awarded for best costumes, not for slickest moves.

46th California International Antiquarian Book Fair Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 Eighth St., SF. Through February 17. 3-8pm, $25 for a weekend pass, $15 for a Saturday and Sunday pass. The world’s largest rare book fair returns to San Francisco this weekend. You will find one-of-a-kind pieces such as sketches by John Lennon, the first edition of the Federalist Papers, and a Mark Twain autographed manuscript. Before you try to snatch up a John Lennon original, be warned — treasures as fine as these can cost you a pretty penny (up to $362,000 to be exact).


“Opera on Tap” Café Royale, 800 Post, SF. 8pm, free. Nonprofit organization Opera on Tap wants to prove that opera can be awesome — and not just for those who can afford the cushiony box seats. In Café Royale’s intimate and relaxed space, this group will bust out some popular and some more esoteric pieces for an all-new kind of operatic experience.

Family Lunar New Year Celebration San Francisco Botanical Garden, SF. 9-11:30am, free. In celebration of the Year of the Snake and the abundance of magnolias blooming in the gardens, lion and folk dancers will be performing today. While watching the SF Sunset Recreation Center Dance Troupe bust some moves you can pot a plant or make lanterns using magnolia petals.


Urban bicycling workshop San Francisco Jewish Community Center, 3200 California, SF. 10am-2pm, free. RSVP required. The San Francisco Bike Collation wants you to bike and bike safe — which is why it offers a range of course on everything from urban cycling to how to bike safely with your family. Today’s topic: traffic 101. Beginners welcome, and participants don’t need to bring a bike (though one may be helpful after the class when it comes to putting your newfound knowledge into action.)


Literary salon with Rosie Schaap and Robin Ekiss Tosca Café, 242 Columbus, SF. 7-8pm, $5-10 donation suggested. In Rosie Schaap’s memoir Drinking with Men she shares her unending quest for the perfect local haunt, which took her everywhere from LA to Dublin to Manhattan. Robin Ekiss writes the “Drink” column for the NY Times, and is the founder of the Ladies Liquor Union, the first fully female intemperance league for ladies who love books and booze. If you too consider yourself a cocktail connoisseur with a literary edge, head over Tosca Café to hear what the two have to say at this Litquake event.


Sandra Fluke’s in town! As are the pro-life crazies! Your week in sexy events


40 years ago, a historic ruling gave us control over our own reproductive health. This week, a female state representative in New Mexico proposed banning abortions after rape to preserve police evidence. Shiver. Feel like a protest?

You’re in luck because this weekend, various groups all claiming to represent the best in women’s interests will be marking Roe vs. Wade’s historic judgement. But wait, will you attend the pro-choice carnival, the pro-choice flash mob, the anti-choice rally and march, or the pro-choice, anti-porn counter-demonstration? They are all happening this Saturday morning and early afternoon in Justin Herman Plaza. (Rebecca Bowe broke this story on our site over at the Politics blog, BTW.) We suggest being there, at least to watch the drama unfold. Happily, at least for the moment, choice is alive and well when it comes to weekend activism! 

Here’s the breakdown: 

Women, Life, and Liberty rally and celebration

Cuteness personified. This family-friendly gathering organized by 25 Bay Area women’s and reproductive rights groups will feature balloon artists, face-painting — and an address by Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown University grad student who stared woman-hating Republican assholes in their beady eyes and emerged victorious, with the President on her side and a nation of newly-galvanized feminists sharpening their talons on her behalf. Rose Aguilar of KALW Radio will emcee. Come out, show up for your rights.  

Sat/26, 10am-noon, free. Justin Herman Plaza, SF.

Her Rising Flash Mob

Of course there’s a flash mob — Magalie Bonneau-Marcil, director of Oakland’s Dancing Without Borders told Bowe that she expects 400-500 dancers for the event, part of a worldwide call for women to speak out against violence against them on this particular day. Practices are already over, but the mass of bodies in motion should be a gorgeous sight, one that will steel you for the next item on our list… 

Sat/26, 11:30am, free. Justin Herman Plaza, SF.

Walk For Life rally and march/Stop Patriarchy counter protest

Shiver. For the ninth year, San Francisco pro-lifers are organizing so that busloads of social conservatives from all over the West Coast and Mid-West will be converging on San Francisco. This from the Walk For Life website: “We are thrilled and honored to be able to announce that Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the Apostolic Nuncio to the United States will be attending the Walk for Life West Coast on January 26 and reading a message from Pope Benedict XVI!”

Bay area group Stop Patriarchy is organizing a counter-protest, but big-ass asterisk on that one because that group, which does fight against attacks on abortion rights, includes the existence of pornography in its definition of the war on women and we are obvs not down with that characterization. Porn and reproductive agency for all! 

Sat/26, rally 12:30-1:30pm, walk 1:30pm, free. Justin Herman Plaza, SF. 

And yes! There are other, sexier sex events happening this week too! 

Kinky Speed Dating 

Sponsored by the all-knowledgable BDSM education group Society of Janus, this session still has space for female bottoms who are looking to pair up with a male top (it’s part of an SOJ series that focuses on different genders and orientations during different sessions.) You’ll have the opportunity to meet 15 potential playmates, and receive the FetLife handle of those who are interested in you at the end of the speed rounds of sexy chit-chat. Conversation starters will be provided for those not well-versed in pervy small talk. 

Sat/26, 3-5pm, $10-15. Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF.

“Pleasure Yoga For Women” workshop/Naked Yoga at Eros

It’s all about the breathe — during yoga, obviously, but perhaps proper respiration is the key to healthy sensuality as well? The concept is explored at this one-off seminar for women, meant to promote sexual confidence and the ability to recognize what turns you on and fulfills you for real. Men folk, we don’t mean to leave you all tense and unflexible on this one: males of all sexual orientations are invited every Tuesday to Castro sex club Eros for naked yoga class — the class isn’t supposed to be a place to cruise, but rather a place for the menfolk to connect on another level of sexual health. 

Workshop: Sun/27, 2-6pm, $65. Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission, SF. Naked Yoga For Men: every Tuesday, 6pm, suggested donation. Eros, 2051 Castro, SF.

Dirty Talk and Roleplay with Chloe Camilla

I just went to see the drag production of Sex and the City currently playing at Rebel. In it, the voluptous Lady Bear presents a Miranda that is momentarily bewildered by a lover who demands she talk dirty in bed. After chatting it over with the girls she gives it a go. Lo and behold! Miranda finds that sensual verbosity is a huge turn-on, and that she’s really good at it. You just have to take the plunge, which is exactly what the pervy-adorable Chloe Camilla will be aiding and abetting at her workshop next week. Look, discuss with Carrie over lunch and give it a go. 

Jan. 31, 7:30pm, $35. SF Armory, 1800 Mission, SF.

Election got you all hot and bothered? For you, the week in SF sex


Yesterday morning I dug up my Obama mix, the CD that I made at this time four years ago when I was a wide-eyed political organizer and played for my team of adroit, grandmotherly union member-canvassers. Gah, my dislike for is well-known but this song gets me every time. Which is why I found myself on Election Day 2012 wearing a Obama T-shirt I donated $5 for, all abuzz with Obamastalgia. It’s like a drug, this resurgance of a younger, less jaded president — even if it’s only for the time it takes for all that confetti maelstrom to settle to the stage. 

If similar feelings of Oval Office lust have got you all hot and bothered (or just immensely bothered, in the case of some of the California races BOO LA’S PROP B BOO PROP 35), here’s a week full of sex events to help you blow off some steam, SF style.

Aural Sex: Seduction by Voice

Besides being skilled in the art of Japanese rope bondage, local sex educator Midori is skilled in the art of vocal seduction. Whether you are a sex writer gearing up for a spoken word event  (perhaps yesterday’s Bawdy Storytelling inspired you?) or merely looking to begin seducing your prey before they even see any skin, her class today promises to teach you the tricks of sultry 

Thu/8 7-9:30pm, $20

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF

Bawdy Storytelling: Who You Calling a Dirty Whore?

Boldly dubbed the night of “sure things” by Bawdy founder Dixie de la Tour’s press announcement, tonight’s pervy storytelling event explores the “appallingly erotic and emotionally appealing” lives of performers Carol Queen, Ginger Murray, Bunny Von Tail, and Dixon Mason. 

Wed/7 8pm, $12-15

Verdi Club

2424 Mariposa, SF

Brunettes are the masters

“It’s done for charity, now do it for love” is not the least problematic website title we’ve heard — particularly as, in the case of, what you’re “doing for love” is deciding whether you are “attractive” or “generous.” Such semantic acrobatics for good old fashioned sex work we’ve ne’er seen. Nonetheless, when the site sent us the results of its recent survey among members (over 5,000 SF hetero men surveyed!), this is what we read: 

Based on the results of this study, San Francisco’s perception of “The Perfect Woman” is brunette (+$140.54) with blue eyes (+$43.79), a social drinker (+$19.60) who doesn’t smoke (+$16.28), who is a college graduate with a Master’s Degree (+$35.31). Overall, San Francisco males are willing to spend an average of $255.52 to go on a first date with their definition of “The Perfect Woman.” 

We do love smart… 

Sex workers’ writing workshop

Gina de Vries, local sex worker scribe, SF State master in writing, and previous SFBG sex columnist offers this class for sex workers every second Saturday of the month at the Center for Sex and Culture. If this year’s election, with its doleful condom mandate in LA and likely-to-pass Prop. 35, which will further marginalize sex workers, is any gauge, then this is one sector of society that needs its voice heard at higher volumes. Pick up the pen (stylus, whatever), start writing. 

Sat/10 2-4pm, $10-20 sliding scale

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF

Playing Well With Others whistle stop tour

After reading Mollena and Lee Harrington’s user-friendly guide to joining the BDSM/kink community — and interviewing Mollena about it for this fall’s Sex Issue — I was convinced they’d written the practical counterpart to 50 Shades of Grey’s inspirational, if somewhat incomplete, smut story. Today, the duo post up to talk about some bonehead beginner’s moves that get made — and how to deal with “douchebag deviants.” You know.

Sun/11 5-7pm, $15

Center for Sex and Culture

1349 Mission, SF

Make an Impact: Pleasing Your Bottom with Impact Play

Last we heard from actor and sex educator Chloe Camilla, she was doing a tear-jerking performance piece at the ASQEW Festival at YBCA on her parents’ reactions to discovering her life as a sex worker, her discovery of true love, and ensuing decision (based on her family’s feelings) to quit sex work altogether. That’s why we were so pleased to hear that the cheerful queer femme will be returning to sex ed — at least, partially

“[My parents would] much prefer I abandon the identity completely, of course,” Camilla told us via email when we contacted her to get the update on her work “but as my website and educational work is politically important to me (and the main way I get to be more complex than an object others control the images of), I’ve kept it up on a very part time basis. I mostly do other things at this point, but sometimes I’ll teach or perform when the opportunity presents.”

We’ll take it! Celebrate her conviction by signing up for this class in impact play for tops, in the depths of’s porn palace. 

Sun/11 2pm, $35

Kink Armory

1800 Mission, SF


SFBG TV: Arse Elektronika brings new meaning to “grab my joystick”


It was Saturday before Folsom Street Fair 2012, and I found myself standing in’s recently-opened Armory Club, sipping on a well-crafted cocktail and waiting for people to arrive in the bar’s private backroom area. 

As I gazed about the bondage scene portraits on the walls, I think of San Francisco’s history as an extremely open, sexually-progressive city. Only more recently have we seen the proliferation of a tech industry fueled by the Silicon Valley, the city’s high-functioning contado. 

Given our epic confluence of sex and tech, it’s no wonder Monochrom’s Johannes Grenzfurthner created Arse Elektronika, a conference focusing on sex and technology that’s now in its fifth year of existence. This year’s theme of “Fucking Polygons, Fucking Pixels” underlay a focus on procedural representations of sex and gaming, with various speakers, seminars and performances taking part in the event. 

“People actually do this?” asked a bar patron, who was hearing about Arse Elektronika for the first time. “You’re not from here, are you?” I said, chuckling a bit.


Tiny hats and Trannyshack: this year’s Masquerotica has something for everyone


What of the the sex expo? Hundreds of new pairs of fishnet stockings await this weekend’s Masquerotica at the Concourse Exhibition on Sat/13. They languish in their packages, yearning for the convention center-sized strut between rooms of performers, contortionists, fetish wear booths, Trannyshack vamps, and Hard French DJs. For months now, we at the Guardian have been receiving tidings of the second annual Masquerotica’s impending onslaught, which, event PR folk assured us, was to be a true representative of SF sex culture. 

To fully prepare ouselves for the scantily-clad melees, we turned to event co-organizer Scott Levkoff for answers. Levkoff is the founded of Mission Control, that pansexual playground here in the city that hosts such swinger’s balls as Kinky Salon with his partner, Polly Pandemonium. He gave us an idea of what to expect, and unexpectedly extolled the virtues of tiny top hats and sexy nurse costumes.

SFBG: After Exotic Erotic went down in financial flames, why do you think it’s important to have these large scale sex events?

SL: Its one thing to explore freedom behind closed doors, to express and explore in small circles or at invite only events- but if you have ever participated with any of the larger events such as Folsom Fair and Pride, there is a feeling that you are amongst a majority and no longer a minority. 

The first time I went to events such as Folsom Fair, and even the now-defunct Exotic Erotic Ball, I marvelled at the sense of freedom and elation that I experienced. There is a weird sense of belonging that I feel at these large scale events, a sense of rightness regarding your choice to live and love the way you wish that is amplified by the sheer numbers present. In a practical sense, large scale events can model the behaviors necessary for the adoption and acceptance of progressive attitudes if done right.

SFBG: How do you think Masquerotica would be as an entry point for someone who is looking to explore their kinkyness?

SL: Masquerotica has been intentionally curated as a sort of smorgasbord of SF’s sexiest and most creative communities — think of the party like a sampler buffet of many sensual delights and treats. Guests newer and perhaps a bit timid in exploring these worlds will also find the party a great introduction. They’ll be welcomed by our trained event hosts courtesy of Mission Control, dubbed Masqueteers. They will greet guests at the front gate, present our basic house rules, such as: Be nice! Consent is sexy! No aggressive cruising — even if they are really cute! Please ask before touching! Etc.

SFBG: Can you tell me about some of the fashion that will be at the expo? 

SL: One will see a lot of Dark Garden corsets, Burning Man fashions, the ever perennial ‘tiny top hat’, animal costumes, and clothing from SF establishments such as Costume on Haight, Distractions, Piedmont Boutique, Fantasy Makers, Mr. S Leather, New York Apparel, Idol Vintage, Multi-Kulti and one of my faves-Decades of Fashion. We’re encouraging guests to put on what makes them feel sexy and playful, whether it’s Venetian carnival couture, leather, shiny latex, lingerie, corsets, uniforms, gothic Lolita, steampunk, high Victorian, Phantom of The Opera tuxedos, lace masks, see-through fabrics, bubble wrap — get creative! As always, I predict Legs Avenue costumes will make a strong showing as well. You can never have enough sexy cats, sexy nurses, and sexy witches at a party.

SFBG: I’ve gotten a lot of emails from the organization promoting Masquerotica as a sex-positive event, as compared to other massive sex expos that the city hosts. What about Masquerotica is different from XO Expo, etc.?

SL: There really is a science to creating sexy creative events where everyone feels safe and free to express themselves. Empowering guests to ‘step up their game,’ and following through with them when they don’t, is hugely important. Just saying that you support freedom and self-expression can unleash a Mardi Gras, free-for-all mentality. Foster creative community engagement, participation, and hearty dialogue with your brand. Also important: choosing good music, erotic art, and playful visuals that brings a good vibe. Embrace true diversity whenever possible and communicate your vision to your public constantly. And make sure your space smells good! Nothing says sexy like the scent of cow dung and wet asphalt! [editor’s note: sarcasm and the Internet have few happy meetings]


Sat/20 8:30pm-3am, $55–$125

Concourse Exhibition Center

635 Eighth St., SF


Our Weekly Picks: October 17-23



Bob Dylan

What does one need to know in order to decide whether or not to go to one of the upcoming Bay Area Bob Dylan concerts? What more can you say about a legendary singer-songwriter who has left an indelible mark on the fabric of American culture for 50 years — the man who earlier this year was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to this country via his more than 600 songs, including “The Times They Are A-Changin'” and “Blowin’ in the Wind?” All you need to know is that Dylan is in town, there are still tickets available, and you will never forgive yourself if you miss the opportunity to see this one of a kind icon. (Sean McCourt)

With Mark Knopfler

Wed/17-Thu/18, 7:30pm, $59.50–$125

Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

99 Grove, SF



Makers Nightlife

Do you need to have a reason to engineer cool robots and get generally crafty? If your answer is, “No, just do it!” you might like Maker Faire, a showcase of DIY creativity and cool technology. And there doesn’t seem to be a better place to see it than inside the living domes of the California Academy of Sciences. Many projects will be on display for you to ogle and nerd-out on, including pieces by Applied Kinetic Arts and a jukebox-style dancing robot. If the creativity gets you itching to work with your hands, the event will be ready with a craft table for making freak flags. Or you can just sit back and enjoy a live performance by the very cerebral, digital painter, J-Watt. Either way, it should be a fun night of quirkiness, creativity, and intellectual stimulation. (Molly Champlin)

6pm, $12

California Academy of Sciences

55 Music Concourse

(415) 379-8000


Jason Lytle of Grandaddy

It’s been a great year to be a Grandaddy fan. Not only did 2012 yield a handful of unexpected reunion shows for the Modesto space pop band (including an excellent Outside Lands night show at the Independent), but now frontperson Jason Lytle has just released Dept. of Disappearance, his second album of solo material. Just as on 2009’s Yours Truly, the Commuter, Lytle’s new batch of tracks maintains his knack for penning achingly beautiful songs full of swoon-worthy keyboard lines, touching lyrics, and warmly lush DIY production. (Landon Moblad)

With Sea Of Bees

8pm $20

Swedish American Hall

2174 Market, SF

(415) 861-5016


Stolen Babies and the Fuxedos

While there’s a good chance that you’ll be terrified, bemused, appalled, or amazed by the aggressively madcap triple-header of Darling Freakhead, the Fuxedos, and Stolen Babies, you most certainly will not be bored. What with the polymetric layers of Darling Freakhead’s nihilistic introspection, the twisted, sideshow extroversion of the Fuxedos’ leader, Danny Shorago, and the steampunkish dark carnival menace of Stolen Babies, plus plenty of puppet carnage, costume changes, and apocalyptic accordion interludes, this is one evening guaranteed to haunt your consciousness, as well as your eardrums, for a long time afterwards. (Nicole Gluckstern)

9pm, $12

Bottom of the Hill

1233 17th St., SF

(415) 621-4455


Tiger Army

Berkeley-spawned rocker band Tiger Army released its self-titled debut record 13 years ago this month — so it’s a fitting time to return to the Bay Area for two special shows, part of “Octoberflame,” a fifth annual run of gigs that take place around each Halloween. Here’s hoping the band kicks off with its classic intro of “Nightfall” and “Nocturnal,” a psychobilly-tinged combo from the early days that would set the standard for the group’s darkly melodic sound — it would be a most appropriate soundtrack for the season. (McCourt)

With the Goddamn Gallows, Death March (Fri.); Suedehead, God Module (Sat.).

Fri/19-Sat/20, 8:30pm, $23


333 11th St., SF

(415) 255-0333


Trolley Dances

The idea started in San Diego, where streetcars actually are called trolleys. This hasn’t stopped the yearly version of San Francisco Trolley Dances to become a major hit among (some) tourists and (lots of) locals. Now in its ninth year, this mini-festival of public art has yet to run out of steam. More and more artists — and not only dancers — seem to be excited about the format. The offerings this time around include stilt walkers and circus artists, dance theater companies, carnival performers, and dancers from street to modern to African. You can do the whole tour on foot or on a bike if you are so inclined. For a map, consult the website. (Rita Felciano)

Sat/20-Sun/21, 11am- 2:45pm (every 45 min), free with Muni ticket

Starts at Mission and Fifth Street, SF

(415) 226-1139


The Hula Show 2012

You might think about hula and imagine rapidly shaking grass skirts finishing off a day spent lounging on refreshingly warm, blue beaches. If you feel that Hawaiian vacation nostalgia hitting you, let Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu transport you back. Evoking the slow pace of Hawaiian life, their dances allow you to luxuriate in each movement like a cool breeze rustling through palm trees. But it’s not all poi and roasted pig — the San Francisco-based troupe brings things up to the city pace by mixing traditional Hula with more contemporary music and styles to create a dynamic stage performance. Be prepared to open your eyes to Polynesian dance as an art form in a way you’ll never see at a tourist-attraction luau. (Champlin)

Through Oct. 28

Sat/20, 8pm; Sun/21, 3pm, $35-$45

Palace of Fine Arts Theater

3301 Lyon

(415) 392-4400


Wax Idols

Wax Idols’ badass frontperson Heather Fedewa (who goes by the moniker “Hether Fortune”) has dubbed her refreshingly unique garage pop-punk-death rock genre “morbid classics” and cites Christian Death as a prominent artistic influence. This raucous Oakland-based quartet brings it on heavy, but its fun, sardonic tunes are quite accessible to the less-than-devout death rockers among us. Fortune’s songs focus on morbidity, love, and defiance, and the band’s sound oscillates between the sunny, upbeat punk of “Gold Sneakers” and the dark and raw introspection of “The Last Drop.” Wax Idols recently finished recording their second LP, so stay tuned! (Mia Sullivan)

With Wymond Miles, Evil Eyes

8pm, $10

Brick and Mortar

1710 Mission, SF

(415) 800-8782



Those suffering post-Folsom exhibitionist blues need no longer wear overmuch clothing, for one night at least. Masquerotica takes over one of the largest venues in town — which, hooray, isn’t the hard to get to Cow Palace. The Concourse Exhibition Center is way closer to the center of town, way less mileage to truck your thigh highs and stripper-envy through. The bash promises a stadium-sized assortment of erotic artists, DJs, acrobats, and fetish designers vending their leather and lace wares. Rest assured that T&A won’t be the only stars present: talent, contortionist Sylvia Currin, the ladies of Trannyshack, and lascivious visual artists will all be featured at the second year in a row of this no-streetwear-allowed blowout. (Caitlin Donohue)

8:30pm-3am, $55–$125

Concourse Exhibition Center

635 Eighth St., SF


Kaki King

A talented guitarist who has done the indie-rock thing and just married her partner in New York last week (seriously California, get on it), don’t let Kaki King fool you; she’s not another Tegan and Sara. More about the music than the iconery, Kaki King is exploring life through her love of guitar and the result is genuinely heartfelt and evocative work. She began learning the instrument at the age of four but soon became more serious about drums. Luckily for us, she returned to guitar for her classical training in college. Percussive techniques remain a signature of her style though and are just one way she explores all that the instrument can do, including unique tunings and steel lap guitar. Her new album, Glow, is entirely instrumental and a little more experimental than previous work. She describes this step in a new direction as one of those things that you can’t believe you’ve made, like something bigger than you must have been helping out. (Champlin)

With Lady Lamb the Beekeeper

7pm, $20; 9pm, $15

Yoshi’s SF

1330 Fillmore, SF

(415) 655-5600



Few artists split the difference between alt and mainstream as convincingly as Radiohead/Beck/R.E.M. mega-producer Nigel Godrich. Yet, while he’s built a giant reputation as a behind-the-scenes figure, the guy’s true musical sensibility has always remained somewhat of a mystery. Until now, with the development of Ultraísta: a hypnotic, Afrobeaty, Krautified synth-pop band he can proudly call his own. Think of them as a 21st century equivalent to Garbage: another supergroup of sorts, featuring assertive female vocals, synth contributions from an elusive knob-twiddler for the stars (in their case, Nirvana producer Butch Vig), and deep, layered production that’s constantly busy but never muddy or overstuffed. On Ultraísta’s self-titled debut, Godrich’s angular, heavily syncopated King of Limbs aesthetic remains in full force; we’re just glad to hear him writing the hooks this time around. (Taylor Kaplan)

With Astronauts, etc.

8pm, $18


628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421


Dan Deacon

If there were anything that could top the hyperkinetic charm of a Dan Deacon album, it would likely be a Dan Deacon show. The Baltimore-based experimental electronic musician treats live performances as joyous, life-affirming events full of enthusiastic crowd participation, all spearheaded by Deacon himself. America, his newest LP, continues to evolve the more nuanced and fleshed out sound he first dabbled with on Bromst in 2009. As a result, this tour’s live shows will include a full backing ensemble to help recreate America‘s frenetic blend of electronic composition and live orchestration. (Moblad)

With Height with Friends, Chester Endersby Gwazda, Alan Resnick

8pm, $16

Great American Music Hall

859 O’Farrell, SF

(415) 885-0750



SUPER EGO “We wanted to put together something that truly reflects San Francisco on its most popular holiday,” DJ Syd Gris of Opulent temple tells me over the phone. “A titillating, intoxicating kaleidoscope of San Francisco flavor with soulful, sexy music. And zombie strippers.”

He’s talking about the massive Masquerotica (Sat/20, 8:30pm-3am $55–$125, creative costume expected. San Francisco Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th St., SF. ), a perfect kick-off to the insane Halloween season, which pretty much does include frisky input from most of the more risquee club scenes SF’s got going —, Anon Salon, Mission Control, Vau de Vire, Hubba Hubba Revue, Bondage-A-Go-Go, Asian Diva Girls, Club Exotica … and then for kicks, Trannyshack. Hey, different strokes! Please have sex with Trannyshack if you want.

There also promises to be some intriguing tunes, from electro-house headliners Stanton Warriors and 15-piece funk band Action Jackson right on through to the early R&B Hard French DJs and hard-driving Mr. Gris himself. (We’ll also probably be hearing from a lot from gay rapper Cazwell’s alabaster abs as well. Squee squee!)

“The demise of the Exotic Erotic Ball here a few years ago provided an opportunity to put the focus back on local talent while still keeping the sexy vibe. We’d like to think that we’re sanding off some of the rougher edges of what the Erotic Exotic and the Castro became, so that people feel more comfortable being themselves. Or getting out of themselves. Whatever the case may be.”

Although there’s no hardcore sex allowed at Masquerotica (no fear, there’ll be plenty of makeout areas), why do San Franciscans weave so much hanky-panky into our pagan revels? Or did I just answer my own question?

“Halloween is partly about being able to express yourself in ways that don’t involve judgement, and so a lot of subcultural communities found acceptance during the holiday,” Gris said. “We want to honor that. We’re a big tent, and we want to fill it with all the people and things that turn us on in the Bay Area.”



I have a scary-powerful crush on this wizard of wide-ranging techno, whose epic sets with live bells and whistles are painterly in their soundscape effects and irresistible in their atmospheres. You can dance to them, too. With DJs Conor, Jonah Sharp, and Mike B.

Thu/18, 9pm-3am, $12–$15. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



Oh hey, did I mention that the amazing Move D was in town from Berlin? Why not take advantage of that, and his fruitful collaboration with local hero Jonah Sharp, and present them both in their ambitious ambient live-entity form, Reagenz. Tech heads like me are already wetting their drawers for this installment of the Realtime live techno party, also featuring Moniker, Polk & Hyde, and Its Own Infinite Flower.

Fri/19, 9pm, $12–$15. 222 Hyde, SF.



One of the city’s most beloved underground parties emerges to celebrate its anniversary, with SF legend DJ Neon Leon at the helm. Expect tons of warm house tunes and love up the wazoo (plus some nifty projections, too!) With DJs Steve Fabus, Robin Simmons, Jason Kendig, Robert Jeffrey, and Viv Baron.

Fri/19, 10pm-4am, $10. Public Works, 161 Erie, SF.



What do you get when you mashup all your favorite teenage slasher flicks with The Facts of Life? Grindr! Kidding. You get this horrifically hilarious musical brought to us by one of SF’s most twisted drag queens, Raya Light. As glamour-ghoul Michele Myers, she’s gonna tear you apart to a disco beat. And you’ll be singing right along.

Fri/19-Wed/31, 8pm and 10pm, $20. CounterPulse, 1310 Mission, SF.



You know you live for that campfest movie — wherein Goldie Hawn eats Meryl Streep while Bruce Willis drives away with Freeway the Dog? Something like that, but also the Fountain of Youth and Isabella Rossellini in something really strappy. Anyway, Peaches Christ is giving the 1992 flick, which introduced many of us toddlers to the wonders of CGI, the inimitable uproarious Castro Theatre treatment. Heklina of Trannyshack joins her for a wild live pre-show, with Lady Bear, L. Ron Hubby, and the city’s drag-erati.

Sat/20, 8pm, $20–$25. Castro Theatre, 429 Castro, SF.

Dick and a smile


SEX “I was basically wearing a wet sock full of sweat,” porn crossover star of the year James Deen tells me. “There was hair everywhere, I was pulling hair out of the girl’s mouth.”

Perhaps another interviewer would not have led with questions about Deen’s recent involvement in an offbeat panda gang bang production. Hey, this isn’t TMZ. And who doesn’t already know the standard gossip about the 26-year old, who has shot porn nearly every day of his life since turning 18?

(Just in case:) This year, Deen became the youngest performer ever to take home the industry’s vaunted AVN Award for Best Male Performer. He recently landed a starring role alongside Lindsay Lohan in a new, non-porn feature film penned by Brett Easton Ellis and directed by Paul Schrader, writer of Taxi Driver, American Gigolo, and Raging Bull.

Anyone remotely familiar with the Deen canon knows about the Deenagers, the actor’s legions of underage fans who fill Tumblr with odes to his dick and smile. These superfans were immortalized in epic fashion by an ABC Nightline segment which host Terry Moran introduced with this warning of corruption and apocalypse: “For any parent concerned about what their teen does online, the huge popularity of the young man you are about to meet may be deeply disturbing.”

But like I said, these facts have been written into public record, and dammit, I want to talk about panda porn. Because although Deen’s crossover from Simpsons porn parodies (he played Moe the Bartender, and fucked Cookie Kwan) to The Lohan and Perez Hilton coverage is certainly interesting, the fact that he has also been shooting brutal BDSM porn for years says something else entirely. And he doesn’t think anything of it! Perhaps this flip, blogging, boy-door-faced individual is the first real sign that BDSM porn is coming out of the closet (dungeon, steel-barred cage), and into mainstream consciousness.


In PANDAMONIUM!!! PANDA LULLABY!!! PANDA PORNO!!!!! adult star Ashli Orion is subjected to the penises of six, raping panda bears. One of these panda bears was Deen, in a furry suit with a custom-made dick hole.

“But I thought pandas were supposed to be nice!” Orion pants, surrounded by hazy pink lighting, artfully-placed bamboo shoots, and silent pandas who mostly remove their furry paws by the end of the scene because their fluffy baseball mitts turned out to be prohibitive to the nitty-gritty of sex acts.

The mini-movie could be considered the first furry shoot — a wry twist on director Princess Donna’s usual product released through Kink subsite Bound Gang Bangs.

Not all of Kink’s regulars, and especially not the Bound Gang Bang enthusiasts found PANDAMONIUM!!! to their liking. User comments expressed their concern that Orion wasn’t even bound. Given the limited mobility of the men in the panda suits, she had to be mobile for copulation to even be possible. “I spent a lot of time holding fur out of the shot so we could see the penetration on camera,” said Princess Donna in an email interview.

“Some people think it’s the best thing that ever happened, some people think it’s the worst porn ever made,” she continued. “That’s what happens when you take risks.”

But Deen says he did the panda gang bang — just like every other project he takes — less because of the viewers, or for the chance to express himself creatively, as much as the kicks. “Princess Donna said she had this idea, I said that’s amazing. While it was going on, I just wanted it to end. There was hair everywhere. But the second it was done and we were all hanging out after I was like, I wanna do it again.”

Deen thinks nothing of a work schedule that takes him from vanilla scenes for Digital Playground to deliberately humiliating public sex in Spain for Kink to Dallas XXX parodies.

“It’s completely standard,” he says in our phone interview. “For pretty much every freelance talent, you go where the call takes you.” Sure, there are a few sex acts that Deen will not perform. These include sex with a person who is not into it, sex with clowns, and sex with men. He apologies to me for this last stipulation. “I’m a lame old straight boy.”

And the fact that Deenagers now refer to him affectionately as Baby Panda? (At ‘5″8, Deen made a shorter bear than his suited Kink peers on the shoot.) No dissonance there, says Deen, who hawked T-shirts emblazoned with the nickname on his website. There was no coordinated attempt to wind up alongside Justin Beiber and Robert Pattinson on dorm room walls, he says. “I’m not Joe Camel. I’m just going out and doing my job.”

Deen has minimal support staff besides his publicist. During our interview, I express my disbelief that a person that has sex for a living wouldn’t be worried about getting exploited without someone to review contracts, approve press requests. Deen shrugs it off. “There’s no reason to battle over everything, just be nice. You catch more bees with ants — honey, vinegar, whatever it is.”

Maybe everything really is just that simple. So seems the tale of Deen’s porn provenance. As a teenager, he heard Jenna Jameson tell a radio host that being in skin flicks simply took a complete lack of modesty, superhuman stamina, and an ability to ejaculate on command. He began proving he had those skills by having public sex at parties. Soon, he was on his way to 300 shoots a year, a figure that seems shocking to those unfamiliar with the standards of those unfamiliar with the grinding nature of the porn industry.

And now, Hollywood is knocking, seemingly uncourted by Deen himself. Ellis bagged him for The Canyons role by tweeting that he was interested in Deen for his low-budget, Kickstarter-funded film. (That momentous tweet mentioned the actor would have “to act and be full-frontal naked banging girls and guys realistically.” Will Deen’s comfort zones shift for fame?)

The two had dinner to talk about the writer’s vision for the tale of disaffected 20-somethings moping around drop-dead beautiful LA locations. Ellis, Deen relates to me, has a somewhat cynical view of modern-day celebrity. “People like Charlie Sheen, his acting didn’t make him famous,” Deen explains. “It was because he was Charlie Sheen.” As actor with next-to-no inhibitions and a famously goofy tell-all blog, Deen was perfect material for Ellis’ experiment in equating stardom with sheer exposure.

And sure enough, Deen is now getting a taste of what’s it’s like to live life à la Sheen — or put more aptly, à la Lohan. All it took was for the two to duck out of a restaurant for a smoke break and paparazzi blew up the Interwebs with rumors they were sleeping together.

This kind of thing seems besides the point for someone like Deen, who it would appear rarely sleeps with someone without posting a picture of their distended orifice on his blog. If the LiLo rumors had been true, he wrote on his site, “I think I would tell everybody.” And search engine optimize it with a shot of her boobs, one wants to add.

“I’m not surprised, because he’s that type of guy,” says a post-panda Orion when I contact her about Deen’s recent rise in profile. “He’s very charismatic and he has a look that’s definitely commercial, so I’m not surprised that he would get into Hollywood, you know what I’m saying.”

And for all of Nightline‘s tut-tutting, porn stars have been making waves in clothes-on culture for decades. Traci Lords appeared on Roseanne and Married With Children. Ron Jeremy, Nina Hartley, and Jenna Jameson have all made Hollywood features. And nowadays, even the hardcore stuff is surfacing more and more — like in Rihanna videos and 50 Shades of Grey, a 2011 novel that has become so ubiquitous that sex activists I’ve interviewed refuse to even say its name, so quick was it to sloppily spotlight their subculture for the viewing pleasure of soccer moms, et. al.

Switching between kink erotica and vanilla porn doesn’t seem to be that unusual anymore for adult talent. “When I first started there was a more clear delineation between ‘porn’ models and ‘BDSM’ models,” says Princess Donna. (“Donna is Without her, the company wouldn’t be as successful, and that’s a fact,” says Deen.) “Most BDSM porn didn’t have penis-in-vagina sex in it,” she continues. “Now that it does, you there is a huge crossover.”

Of course, there are other reasons why porn actors shift between kinds of erotica. It’s because they want to get paid.

“I’m a crazy nympho,” says Orion in a phone interview. “I’m down for everything and I always have been. But there’s a lot of girls who are like no, I would never have sex with [that] guy, or never in my ass, no kink. And now, that’s what they’re doing because they have no money!” In the era of low-budget gonzo porn and the consumer’s unwillingness to pay for any kind of media “You can’t rely on girl-girl scenes to pop up everyday if everyone is competing for that,” says Orion.

So maybe Deen is right, and he’s just a guy who is riding high on porn practicalities coupled with an increased tolerance of sluttiness and bondage in pop culture today.

Where will it all lead? I ask him about his career goals to round out our chat. “I want to keep myself in a constant state of smiles,” he says. “I like to smile. I am currently smiling.”

Doing what, pray tell? He has the day off from The Canyons‘ hectic shooting schedule that’s had him sleeping in odd, daytime spurts. What does James Deen do when he gets a moment to spare? Oh, you know. “I’m shooting some porno,” he says.


Inside a panda gang bang, from a woman who has been there


Last month, director Princess Donna (perhaps you remember her Guardian advice column?) took a risk and made a gangbang movie featuring bad, bad pandas. Per usual, change was hard. Some members rebelled — “I haven’t even watched this because there is nothing about pandas fucking a girl that would make me get remotely aroused,” said one user in the video’s comments section.

“The reaction was exactly what I expected it to be,” Donna told us in a email interview. “Some people think it’s the best thing that ever happened, some people think it’s the worst porn ever made. That’s what happens when you take risks.” People, can’t a woman take risks every once in awhile? She didn’t get to be the director of three subsites for nothing. “My ideas make money for the company, that is my role,” Donna said when we asked her about the part she plays at the Armory. “But my focus was never on what people would think, my focus was on feeling free to express myself creatively and allowing myself the freedom to create things regardless of what the response would be.” 

The video is kind of gorgeous, especially (and perhaps this is our ignorance showing but) for a gang bang porn. You get a full storyline — panda hallucinations! Freakouts at the bank! — before porn starlet Ashli Orion is subjected to five panda penises. Well, human penises (including that of porn crossover star James Deen, whose participation is the subject of our cover story next week) sticking through custom-designed cock holes in panda suits, but you get the idea. 


 What would it be like to be in a panda gang bang? To the best of Donna’s knowledge this was the first, so really only one woman knew the answer to our question: the baby-faced Ashli Orion, star of PANDAMONIUM!!! PANDA LULLABY!!! PANDA PORNO!!!!! So duh, we called her up. 

SFBG: So tell me about how you found out about the panda porn.

AO: I didn’t find out I was doing the panda porn until I got to Kink that morning. I got off the plane and I saw Princess Donna and she was like “guess what, we’re going to do a panda porn!” and I was like are you serious? Oh my gosh. Because it was Gang Bang, so I was like pandas? This is gonna be great. I was so excited, I was so stoked. 

SFBG: Have you shot for that site before?

AO: I have actually, I shot a scene with Lily Labeau – James was also in that one, we were actually just bound up. It was Bound Gang Bangs, there was no panda suits. 

SFBG: Damn. What was it like shooting the panda porn?

AO: You know what, it was really fun. We got to do an intro, kind of like a movie monologue, like montage at the beginning. I saw the pandas, they’re so cute, and I totally forgot I was there for bondage, and then they start smacking me around. I was like oh fuck, I forgot I’m getting beat up now. I’m like, I thought pandas were nice! 

SFBG: Right, I watched the movie and your lines in it were the best. 

AO: I haven’t watched – only the trailers. 

SFBG: You haven’t watched the thing?

AO: I watched the beginning, but I hate watching myself. You know, I don’t know I hate seeing myself naked. 

SFBG: Yeah, I hear you. That’s unique, though.

AO: It was pretty cool and crazy because all the guys, they’re, you know, they’re all fit, but they have these big [panda] bellies so their cocks couldn’t come out all the way. And there was hair everywhere, in my mouth, on their cocks, in my pussy, in my ass. It was nuts, it was just like – I don’t even know how it turned out. It was like, whoa pandas!

SFBG: Pandas everywhere. Did Princess Donna tell you why she wanted to shoot with pandas?

AO: She just told me she wanted to do something crazy, like out of the box. Is there a real reason I don’t know?

SFBG: No no, I was just asking. 

AO: Yeah, she just wanted to do something different because she was sick of doing the same old thing. She used me because I’m down for anything usually. 

SFBG: Yeah totally. When you were shooting it did you think at all of what the audience reception was going to be like?

AO: I was actually really excited. I don’t know, I thought it was funny. I figured if I was younger and not in porn I would show it to my friends, like viral porno. Look at these pandas fucking this girl!

SFBG: Have you kept track of the member comments on the website?

AO: Yeah, I did actually. I saw how horrible they were because they were like “we want to see a Bound Gang Bang, not pandas. This is a different site, I’m canceling my membership, I’m not into furries.” And then other people were like “ooo I have a new fetish. I love furries.” Everyone has their opinions, mine is just like, we created something creative and cool and I was down for it.

SFBG: Are you open to these types of projects in the future?

AO: Oh, totally! 

SFBG: Kitties!

AO: Oh my gosh, I would love kitties. I’m a crazy cat lady. 

Best of the Bay 2012 Readers Poll: City Living



City Living



Folsom Street Fair



Phoenix Hotel

601 Eddy, SF. (415) 776-1380,



Golden Gate Bridge



Discovery Street Tours




3601 Lyon, SF.  (415) 397-5673,






FunCheap SF



SF Gate



Refinery 29





John Avalos



Willie Brown



Rocket Dog Rescue



The Writing Salon

Various locations,



Dana King of CBS



Check Please! Bay Area






Sarah and Vinnie of 97.3 Alice



Black and Blue Tattoo

381 Guerrero, SF. (415) 626-0770,



Phillip Milic

(510) 834-2769,






Dog Tales Walking & Sitting Service

(415) 948-3840,



Bow Wow Meow

2150 Polk Street, SF. (415) 440-2845,



Mission Pet Hospital

720 Valencia, SF. (415) 552-1969,



Jennifer Creelman of Creelman Famer DDS

2191 Market, SF. (415) 255-0400,



Carl Bricca of Mercy Doctors Medical Group

1 Shrader, No. 640, SF. (415) 752-0100,



Ace Plumbing and Rooter

945 Taraval, No. 201, SF. (415) 824-6333,



Ike’s Electric

3546 19th St., SF. (415) 861-6417,



Delancey Street Moving and Trucking

600 Embarcadero, SF. (415) 512-5110,



Dirty Donnie’s Green Cleaning Services

(415) 505-7261,



Jaden Rose Holistic Bodywork

(415) 939-7795,



Nicolle Zapien

870 Market, SF. (415) 835-2195,


Cameron Yarbrough of Couples Counseling San Francisco

383 Rhode Island, No. 201, SF. (415) 935-4249,



Pat’s Garage

1090 26th St., SF. (415) 647-4500,



Scuderia West

69 Duboce, SF. (415) 621-7223,



Valencia Cyclery

1077 Valencia, SF. (415) 550-6601,



Frank’s Shoe Repair

1619 Polk, SF. (415) 775-1694


Anthony’s Shoe Repair

340 Kearny, SF. (415) 781-1338



Al’s Attire

1314 Grant, SF. (415) 693-9900,




1122 Folsom, SF. (415) 431-9274,



Carmichael Salon and Color Bar

166 Geary, SF. (415) 409-2353,



Rebekah Nummer of Carmichael Salon and Color Bar

166 Geary, SF. (415) 409-2353,



Project Zen

325 Bay, SF. (415) 500-4777,



Kabuki Springs and Spa

1750 Geary, SF. (415) 922-6000,



Club One Fitness Centers

Various Bay Area locations,



Ace Morgan Fitness

(510) 459-8202,



Monkey Yoga Shala

3215 Lakeshore, Oakl. (510) 595-1330,



Tim Thompson of Monkey Yoga Shala

3215 Lakeshore, Oakl. (510) 595-1330,



Bay Area Derby Girls



AT&T Park

24 Willie Mays Plaza, SF. (415) 972-1800



Baker Beach



Golden Gate Park



Golden Gate Park



Angel Island

(415) 435-5390,



Steve and Kate’s Camp

28 Liberty Ship, Sausalito. (415) 887-957,



Fort Funston



Golden Gate Park



Ocean Beach



Ocean Beach