Amber Schadewald

Go with the flow


QUEER “I don’t like titles. I’m an open-minded person. I’m not going to shoot anybody down based on gender or color,” Kreayshawn told me over the phone. “I’ve dated girls. I’ve dated guys. And I’ve felt the same way for both.”

It’s only been about a month since the 21-year-old East Oakland native’s “Gucci Gucci” video blew-up, gaining both props and criticism for her label-bashing, be-yourself approach — designer-addicted “basic bitches” are her favorite target, and everyone from college-campus Adderall addicts to crass Barbie wannabes gets a dig. She’s generated a lot of hype and the immediate backlash has been harsh, but Kreayshawn’s rambunctious persona has kept things fresh. She’s an adorable little stoner with mad style, a naughty mouth, and a cartoonish sexual vibe. Her “White Girl Mob” is a swagged-out version of the Spice Girls and her collection of work (including a hilariously over-the-top, girl-on-girl makeout session in the video for “Online Fantasy”) immediately gave the press a reason to cry “lez.”

That’s usually the story when a woman steps up in the rap game, though — in a genre marked by macho preening and degrading insults, most women in hip-hop usually play the boys’ game and highlight their masculine side or market a hypersexed sluttiness, both of which can easily play into stereotypes of lesbianism. (Recently, rap — and pop — women have found one escape hatch: straight-up out-of-body weirdness, à la early Nicki Minaj.)

For actual gay or bi ladies who want a piece of big-time rap’s pie, the odds so far have been stacked against them — out lesbian rappers like super-talented Yo Majesty only seem to get so far, although there is, at least, a still-flickering homo-hop circuit that promotes queer talent. Major label artists are pressured to stay in the closet, despite all the rumors and paparazzi shots of “companions.” This last approach can be psychologically disastrous, as I found out one night in Minneapolis when a devastated and drunk Lady Sovereign, who had repeatedly rejected the lesbian label at her management’s request, crashed on my futon after her ex-girlfriend refused to let her stay over. Sov finally came out last summer. You could tell that her bottled-up feelings had taken their toll, however.

But hey, it’s 2011 and it’s nice to think the rap game has matured along with the rest of pop culture. Ellen is wifed up. Lohan dated Ronson. Lambert should’ve won American Idol. Everybody seems “Born This Way.” As celebrity homos become more visible, the “openly gay” tag seems old-fashioned. But that doesn’t mean we still aren’t curious — and if you don’t tell, people will keep asking.

Yet while Kreayshawn hasn’t denied being a lady-lover, questions regarding her sexuality have garnered a wash of fuzzy responses, only fueling curiosity and more sound-bites. My personal favorite was her quote in Complex Magazine, in which she stated she isn’t a “raging lesbian” but an “occasional lesbian.” Should I be insulted? This needed some clarification.

“I say occasional because I go with the flow,” Kreayshawn told me over the phone, while relaxing on what she considers a “chill day:” hours of interviews and business related to her recent $1 million deal with Columbia Records.

She could easily claim the “B” in LGBT, but says she’s not comfortable with that label either. If anything, she’d go for an “A.”

“Sometimes I tell my friends I’m asexual because I don’t feel like I seek out guys or girls.” Kreayshawn lets interested parties approach her and would just rather let things happen organically. “A girl and I could start talking and I could think, ‘Hey, she’s cool, we should be friends’ or I could think ‘This girl is hot, we should hang out on another kind of hype.’ And it’s the same with guys.”

She’s like the indie-rap version of Lady Gaga — another young woman in the public eye who isn’t afraid to declare her undeclared sexual status. This isn’t a phase and she’s not on the fence. Nor is she checking just one box. She could be the poster child for that nebulous term, “post-gay,” if we’re at a point in our culture where we can move beyond the importance of mainstream representation. (Many would say we’re not.)

“I wish everybody was open-minded so we wouldn’t have to have any labels — no bi, straight, gay. We wouldn’t have to have these titles that separate people.”

Her spirited musician mother helped shape Kreayshawn’s flexible ideas on sexuality. Mom even worked in the warehouse of Good Vibrations, San Francisco’s sex-positive one-stop shop.

“I’d go visit my mom and bring my homework. That place is really diverse, you know what I’m sayin’? I saw some crazy dildos and shit, but I was taught that it’s normal. That’s why I’m open and accepting of everything.”

She admits her lyrics are consistently more lez-oriented, but not necessarily raging. “It’s not like I say I’m gonna eat this girl’s koochie — it’s on a different hype.” This way, she says, guys can sing along too.

It’s appropriate that Kreayshawn keep one eye toward her male audience and supporters — she rolls with a lot of buzz-worthy industry dudes, most notably the guys of Odd Future. As nice as their beats may be, members like Tyler, the Creator have been known to deliver some nasty, homophobic lines. Does she just bite her tongue?

“I know those guys personally, but I’m also not someone who goes off and listens to their music every day. I don’t like homophobe stuff, not in music and not in my friends,” she says, maybe hinting that the Odd Future guys just like to ruffle rainbow feathers for effect. Kreayshawn herself is no stranger to playing dirty, although she often takes on a mocking male persona when doing so — calling other girls hos and Twittering lines like “I need a bitch on my lap.”

“Growing up in the hood and shit, I would hear all kinds of that shit walking down the street,” she explains. Now she wants to turn sexist speech on its head and play with it. “When guys say that stuff in music, like, uh girl, your pussy is so wet — what? Ew — nasty!” She wants girls to be able to sing along and participate instead of feeling attacked or uncomfortable.

“But I wouldn’t say you should read into every single lyric,” she says. With all the attention she’s receiving, she may yet turn her girl-love outward with some solid lyrics. She’s already hard at work on a mixtape and her first full-length, which she hopes will be released by the end of the year. Predicting where Kreayshawn will be by next summer isn’t so easy.

“I’ll probably be touring like something crazy. Maybe directing a music video. Or maybe I’ll be knitting socks. You never know with me. It could get completely out of control.”

And as for advice at this year’s Pride: “Everyone be safe. Have fun. And just make sure you have fun and be safe while doing it.”

I told her she sounded like a mom. “I know,” she giggles in her squeakiest voice. “I just care about my people.”

She’s got the look


QUEER Apparently being a lesbian is the hottest new trend — so much so that middle-aged white dudes are posing as gay ladies, writing famous blogs and filling entire websites with lesbian content. (Yes, I’m talking to you, “Amina” and “Paula.”) Really?

Fortunately, there are plenty of actual queer women who can blog for themselves, thank you very much. Catherine “Cat” Perez, is one of those real-life queer women — verified by an in-person chat at the Wild Side West bar — posting real-life depictions of other actual lesbians on her blog Lesbians in San Francisco, a tribute to girls who like girls in America’s gay capital.

The layout is simple: each featured lez gets one photo and three fun facts of her choosing (“She won a s’mores eating contest as a Girl Scout.” “She doesn’t know how to whistle.” “She is related to Chuck Norris.”) Perez started LISF last summer with the intention of giving queer women of the Bay some flattering but honest representation.

“I just think in terms of the queer community, women can get bypassed and overlooked,” she told me, flicking her cigarette. “I want to educate people about what queer women look like, what they’re interested in, what they do. It may not always be what people assume.”

Perez began by photographing her friends, then opened it to anyone in the Bay Area, aiming for an accurate depiction of the city’s diversity. She swears there is no screening process. Although the aim is inclusion, the final product looks pretty tailored. Beauty may reside in the eye of the beholder — but it’s undeniable that these super-fashionable, adorably hipster girls are hot.

“Yes, there is definitely a ‘scene’ element to it. But that’s not the point,” Perez shakes her head and throws up her hands. “I’m only one person and I work a nine-to-five. People need to actively pursue a shoot with me.”

And it’s that simple — send Perez an e-mail, brainstorm your idea for the shoot, and show up. It’s an offer she often won’t refuse. So why are only a specific type of lezzies contacting LISF? Vanity? A need for self-promotion? Has LISF become a showcase of our local celesbians? Maybe it’s time for the rest of the community to get our faces up there, too.

“I wouldn’t consider myself a celesbian — I don’t know how I feel about that term,” Perez said with a laugh. “If I had to choose a label, I would identify as a queer woman,” embracing the broader, more inclusive mode of thinking. The title of the blog has discouraged some women from participating, but Perez says she has no plans to change it anytime soon.

“Growing up, I always wondered what queer communities looked like outside of my home in New Jersey,” she says. With its general-interest name, her blog comes up pretty high on Google searches. “I just want to shed some light on the people who live here. That’s it.”

Through the end of the month at the Lexington Club (, Perez is exhibiting a collection of blog-inspired photos called “Stereo,” which simultaneously celebrates and debunks lesbian stereotypes. Perez selected 15 queer women and photographed them each twice: once in a stereotypical role (softball player, gym teacher, high femme) and once as themselves. As one might imagine, there’s a lot of overlap.

“Some girls were dressing up as other’s stereotypes,” she says. “Stereotypes don’t have to be negative. These photos embrace that, because, yeah, sometimes we are the stereotype.”

Booty, booty, booty– Big Freedia to slam Hard French


There has never been a better time to shake watcha momma gave ya— and if mother didn’t pack a heavy trunk, you’ll have to improvise with some extra nasty drops and shakes. No excuses—New Orleans’ bounce star Big Freedia is headlining the Pride edition of Hard French and cheeks across the peninsula will feel the aftershocks.

Unless you caught Freedia in Oakland last year or have witnessed another super booty-fied bounce musician live, you’re probably not ready for this jelly. Really. A quick Google search for Big Freedia and you’ll find yourself sufficiently slapped in the face by glorious asses, bouncing hard and fast to the vicious mash-up of heavy beats. Freedia says he was born with the moves.

“In New Orleans you grow up learning how to pop your ass. We teach ‘em from babies,” he says, taking a break in the studio where he’s putting the final touches on a debut full-length album. “For over two decades, it’s been in the culture here. You wake up with it and go to sleep with it. You breathe it in the air, each and every day.”

The Southern city by the sea is ass over heels for bounce and Freedia says he can catch apple bottoms gettin’ down to his genre ‘round the clock. “At a stop light, someone will jump out of their car and start shaking their ass. Happens all the time.” 



Big Freedia’s love and pride for bounce is beyond evident when you see his nightly performance schedules and over the past year he’s introduced the rest of the country to not only the genre, but the presence of a gay hip-hop performer. His summer Go Homo Tour hopes to crush some stereotypes and fight homophobia. He’s also just released a five-song EP on Scion A/V Presents and has his fingers crossed for a documentary and reality TV show. I suggested an aerobics video and he hinted that there may be some sort of yoga-bounce combo in the works.

And if that’s not enough– he still operates an interior decorating business; flowers, funerals, weddings. Hard to imagine his wild personality laying out table cloths and vases without a couple booty drops. 

His stop at Hard French will be an epic end to Pride weekend, but that doesn’t mean dancers shouldn’t stretch before the game. The usual soul crowd has got some moves, of course, but Freedia is on a whole new hype. Still, there is no need to be intimidated, as he says, “honey, don’t you worry” and gladly offers three suggestions to loosen up loins in preparation for the dance floor.

1. Check out Big Freedia on You Tube

2. Wear some loose clothing so you can be free to move around.

3. Use your muscles— especially in the back and legs. Work that spine!



Sun/26, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m., $20

Public Works

161 Erie Street, SF

Hard at work: YNOT Summit addresses the business behind web porn


A man dressed in suit and tie walks into a conference room. A woman stands up to shake to his hand, followed by another man who unbuttons his jacket and outstretches his hand. You anxiously await the stereotypical bow-chika-wow-wow music to signal a wild menage a trios but instead, actual business is conducted. As easy as it is to imagine the inter-workings of the online adult entertainment industry as a porn itself, the reality involves a lot more clothing and a lot of legit, business-type activities. This week’s 15th annual YNOT Summit 2011 is the proof that will eventually become your pudding.

The YNOT Summit began in 1997 as the Cybernet Expo and has since become the longest-running adult industry gathering for professionals to hang-out, swap ideas, teach, and learn about running successful erotic web companies. The event is the physical representation of YNOT, an adult webmaster resource site that provides industry news and directories, basically a Better Business Bureau for online sex. About 400 adult industry professionals from around the country have registered for this year’s three consecutive days of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. classes. It’s a full-on school day covering all the general subjects, business models, legalities and international market basics, with a couple recess-like networking opportunities, including a game of Two Truths and a Lie and an interactive photo-shoot. 

This year’s hottest session will no doubt be the “Pros and Cons of .XXX Domain Names”; an industry-wide debate over the new voluntary option for sex sites to take on the .xxx domain, which officially premiered this spring. Jay Kopita, the Summit’s director of operations, expects things could get a little hostile, as most industry folks disagree with the system and think it’s simply a disguised measure for governing bodies to collect some cash and increase censorship. Supporters of .xxx claim it’s all about protecting the children– no surprise there. A member of the ICM Registry, the Florida based company who runs all .xxx operations, will be on the discussion panel to answer questions and to tackle the loads of criticism. 


Not just any conference– check those banners!

The rest of the conference should be pretty predictable and Kopita says the event aims to keep things as professional as possible during the day.

“It’s not about going out and partying all the time. I mean, that happens anyway when you bring together a bunch of adult industry professionals, but the daily actives of the Summit are for people who are looking for a return on their investments,” he says. “These are people who want to learn how to make money from the adult business.”

The group is encouraged to get it all out after hours: each night the Summit throws an exclusive party for attendees. Saturday night’s play time is “Kink at the Castle”–  a sure to-be exciting evening running around the Armory with Work hard, play hard. 



Thurs/23- Sat/25, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily

Web registration closes Wed/22– ask for SFBG discount at the door

Holiday Inn Golden Gateway Hotel

1500 Van Ness, SF

The naughty list: Sex on screen at the SF International LGBT Film Fest


Relationships, emotions and identities? Yada yada yada. The San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival may explore all the complicated bits of queerness but lest we forget that this festival is dedicated to a community centered around sexual preference. Who wants to see some hot, artsy gay sex on the big screen? If your hand is waving high in anticipation (among other body parts) you won’t be disappointed when you see what this year’s festival has hot on the reel.

Romantic and handholding gay characters will be a dime a dozen throughout the 10 days of films, which is awesome and wonderful in itself, but eventually all those homo chick-flicks might start to make your mouth water for something a bit more juicy. Gay porn is always a couple blocks or clicks away, but the independent, inspiring, adventurous, and beautiful varieties are much harder to get your lubed hands on. The unique visions of filmmakers from around the globe will be represented during the festival’s 35th year anniversary and if you time it right, you could probably find yourself pleased in public for a consecutive week and a half. Some are provocative, some sexually explicit, and others just have a lot of enjoyable visuals. Here are some steamy recommendations to provoke that scandalous theater hard-on and maybe even a Pride-ful romp with a fellow film-fester. 



It’s Texas in 1982 when frat-boy Kevin and openly gay student Cesar become schoolmates. Kevin needs a little “help” and Cesar comes through with a helping hand. These study-buddies always end their homework and a well-deserved round of handjobs– lots of them. 


Community Action Center


No dialogue. Just sex. Metallic bodies, gender-queer, paint splashing, fruit bashing, blood-red wooden dildos, witches, and dungeons will flash before your eyes in a series of shocking shorts. The performers were encouraged to go “hog wild” in this cinematic orgy and the results look dirty. 


I Want Your Love


Recreational sex always sounds like a good idea when booze does the convincing. Besties Jesse and Brenden decide to give it an arousing go, but predictably end up with sticky emotions. 


LA Zombie

la zombie

One word: wound fucking with prosthetic alien cocks. This sexy horror flick will get your adrenaline pumping all night.


May I Please Have Another


This series of six kinky shorts runs the gamete with a guitar-slaying transexual dominatrix, a queer leather family who sends off their bratty brother with a proper beating, the scenes behind International Mr. Leather, arousing poems, and surprising sexual encounters. 




This extended one-night stand gets complicated as Russell and Glen get high, have loads of awesome sex, and chat for hours. Passionate and honest, it may be a love story but it’s also got enough skin to keep you perky. 




From the director of Run Lola Run, Germany’s Tom Tykwer explores bisexuality and human motivation through three test subjects: Simon, Hanna, and Adam. The erotic chaos is a complete mind-fuck that will send you to bed with dripping dreams. 



Thurs/15 – Sun/26

Times, locations and ticket prices vary

Check the schedule and get tickets in advance at


Ears of the Beholder outdoor show at El Rio


An afternoon show under fruit trees and bright sunshine is always nice, but a line-up of super chill local music is extra conducive to ideal weekend mentality. As long as the weather keeps up its good behavior, Saturday’s Ears of the Beholder four-band showcase will be a total hit and a great introduction to some homegrown electro-pop.

Ears of the Beholder is a pretty rad indie-music blog, started by an San Francisco guy named Peter in 2008. The site promotes a lot of great shows around the city, handpicked with the best intentions. Start with beer, dab your beak with sunscreen and don’t forget the layers; the show may start early at the lovely El Rio, but it won’t wrap until after sunset. The ticket price also includes food, which means you won’t have to run-off mid-set for dinner and instead, you’re encouraged to plop down for a full evening. Take a listen to the line-up:

Phantom Kicks

This SF band keeps things feather-light with pretty, super mellow guitars. They’re minimalist post-rock that’s super easy on the ears and their new synth addition is sure to add in a sweet surge of electro-pop. 


Blackbird Blackbird

The mystical chimes, mermaid voices, and super glassy synth melodies of San Francisoc’s Blackbird Blackbird wash over your senses in slow-motion. They’re a perfect soundtrack for underwater swimming.


Old Arc

These Santa Cruz guys keep things psychedelic, but add in a heavier, more danceable punch. Their random bag of tricks switches up quick and the super diverse samples insures things stay uber fresh from track to track.



The honest, fragile vocals from this Oakland native are compelling enough, but then he adds in pianos and totally weird racing beats. There’s something twisted about the combinations he throws and the unpredictability of it all keeps you along for the bright ride. 



Sat./18, 3 p.m., $8

El Rio

3158 Mission Street, SF

A dreamy combo: Puro Instinct and John Maus


When the wind picks up in San Francisco, it’s easy to wish that your limbs could transform into glorious wings.You could float, soar, and glide over the city without worry and turn a pesky gust into an ariel springboard. Until the magic bird spell becomes available, us ground-bound humans are left to simulate the free-floating sensation. Dreamy pop seems to be the closest alternative and Saturday’s combination of Puro Instinct and John Maus are sure to sweep you right off those tired feet.

While the two acts offer different degrees of whimsical imagery, LA’s Puro Instinct and Minnesota-grown John Maus both incorporate fanatic amounts of melodic synth and levitation inspiration. The evening will feel like clouds, especially if your pre-show includes some mediation and a few medicinal puffs. You’ll dance a little and nod a lot, and even if you don’t quite make it to bird status, you’ll enjoy the limbo between. 


Sisters Piper and Skylar used to be known as Pearl Harbor, but as of 2011, they’ve gone PC with the name Puro Instinct. The duo has since expanded into a six-piece, but their music remains ironically eerie–like antique baby dolls with scratched-up glass eyes. Distrust and hesitation lingers behind the layers of sweet lace and it’s just enough spunk to keep the melodies mysteriously minor. The addition of more ambient drums, surf-city guitars, and continued advice from their friend Ariel Pink, leaves their sound rounder and glossier than ever. 


John Maus is working towards his PhD in political science and as boring as that sounds, his music-making hobby is full of curious fun. His deep voice burrows beneath layers of reverb, only just loud enough to break the surface of ’80s guitars and boisterous keyboard concoctions. His love for punk, appreciation of Baroque, and susceptibility to gush over movie soundtracks has somehow accumulated into one big, awesome mess. Tracks from his new album, We Must Become The Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves, (due June 28 onRibbon Music), are simultaneously tender and mean, feisty and introspective. 

Puro Instinct is best for the sensitive seagulls. Adventurous hawks will be delighted by Maus. Pick your flight. 



Sat/18, 8 p.m., $7-10

Brick and Mortar Music Hall

1710 Mission St, SF


‘Dirty Diaries’ divulges the arousing truths about feminist-made porn


“Be horny on your own terms,” says the collection of Swedish, female filmmakers behind Dirty Diaries, a series of shorts that fight the porn industry with totally hot, moan-worthy stimulation outside the usual boundaries. Tired of being told what’s hot and what’s not, these ladies strapped on their cameras and set out to create hardcore, feminist porn on their own terms, from raunchy BDSM and steamy phone sex, to flashing, fisting, and awesome fucking.

Mainstream smut loves to glorify silicon and fake orgasms. Their camera shots are predictable and proven to be cum-inspiring and cash-collecting.The industry is sexist, wallowing in our patriarchal society that brainwashes the consumer into thinking that only certain bodies and certain acts are jizz worthy. Dirty Diaries is not even close.

The project began after the film’s producer Mia Engberg, a well-respected Swedish filmmaker, put together a piece concentrating on the female orgasm, zooming in on the faces and bodies of real women. After its screening, Engberg was disgusted by the criticism she received from men in the audience; the women weren’t ‘pretty’ enough and the film didn’t appeal to male desires. Enough said.

Engberg recognized the need for more female-depictions of sexuality and decided to fill the void with some real-life erotic filling. She gathered up a bunch of novice filmmaker friends, encouraging them to run wild with their ideas and create the shorts they had always wanted to see. The result was Dirty Diaries’ 12 totally diverse films, released in Sweden in 2009. Some are hilarious, some are badass, but all keep it hot in their own style. The artistic approach is unlike anything else on the market and the variety of film styles, from gritty camera phones to an impressive animation, makes each piece a surprising tingle. 


“On Your Back Woman!” searches for the female machismo through sadomasochistic wrestling

Joel Shepard, film/video curator at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts is proud to host the film’s U.S. premiere, with two showtimes— Thurs/9 and Sat/11, both at 7:30 p.m.– and hopes it will continue to shatter the ideas of how feminist porn looks, sounds, and feels. 

“When you think of feminist erotica, it’s easy to stereotype and imagine something soft. I was amazed by how confrontational some of these scenes can be,” he says, noting particularly, the camera angle of a fisting scene in “Brown Cock.” Super close-up and no fuss, the viewer doesn’t see a single face, only parts; pure and proud, wet and happy. Other pieces like “Flasher Girl on Tour” and “Dildoman” are much lighter in visuals, but their messages are weighted in social commentary about male sexuality and sexist double standards. Yet, still totally arousing. Totally.

Even the government-funded Swedish Film Institute agreed, or basically– they granted the film a chunk of change, even amidst the Moderate Party‘s disapproval, who argued that mainstream porn wouldn’t be given funding, so why does this kind of kink deserve a check? The Film Institute didn’t back down and stated that they stood behind their choice because Dirty Diaries aimed to try a new approach to depicting female sexuality. Isn’t Sweden sexy? 


“Flasher Girl on Tour” shows public masturbation in a whole new light

Tease yourself with the film’s trailer at and round up a crew of friends with diverse sexual preferences to see the film live– it’s a delightful kick in the pants for everyone. 



Thu/9 & Sat/11, 7:30 p.m., $8 regular; $6 students, seniors, teachers & YBCA members

Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Screening Room

701 Mission St., SF

(415) 978-2787


Squeeze in and put out at Elegantly Waisted


Luscious, overflowing breasts, a shrunken waist and accented hips may not align with today’s emaciated super-model physique but the hourglass figure still remains as an undeniably arousing shape. The Victorians were notoriously prude but their super-sexed up version of the modern corset ironically brought attention to all the right assets and it still appeals to modern lust today. This weekend ladies and gents will pay tribute to the iconic garment at Luscious: Elegantly Wasted, the SF Citadel‘s “celebration of curves” and play party for corset kinks.

Lacey, leather, feminine or masculine; the variety in today’s corset world is ready to please all kinds of fantasies and theatrical characters. Whether you like to wear the gear or just admire, the Citadel’s dungeon will be filled with bodies neatly tucked and squeezed into juicy packages, ready to inspire some costume-friendly BDSM play. If you’re new to corsets, the owner of local supplier Dark Garden, Autumn Adamme, will be on call to answer questions, give expert lace-up lessons and offer shopping tips. It’s corset 101 and the students are sure to pay attention. 


Adamme showing off her spectacular goods. Find more photos at

Adamme started Dark Garden in 1989, offering drool-worthy custom corsets that promise to be more comfortable than the competitors. Comfort? Is it possible for organs to be comfortable when they’re jammed into that sausage casing turned gorgeous top? Jeggings, skinny jeans, and American Apparel are hard enough to wear if you’ve got a body with any actual substance (ie. bones and muscles). Wedging into such an exaggerated old-time silhouette sounds awfully uncomfortable, right? Dark Garden’s shop girl, Natalie Rantanen has been wearing corsets since age 13 and begs anyone with such an impression to step into the fitting room. 

“I can sit, eat, dance, everything. Well, I wouldn’t suggest running a marathon or doing yoga,” she says. “Corsets aren’t as torturous or limiting as one may think. We’re obsessed with proper fitting at Dark Garden. If it’s painful, it doesn’t fit you right.”


A piece from Dark Garden’s Spring 2011 Collection. Photo by Daniel Silveira

Contrary to most corsets that are sewn to fit a mannequin, this San Francisco shop creates patterns designed for human bodies, basing measurements on their own costumer base. So what about all those movies where ladies are short of breath and choking in their fancy gowns? Will the Citadel need to set up a bunch of fainting couches? Rantanen says absolutely not and reiterates the importance of a proper fitting. When curious shoppers tiptoe into the shop, Rantanen is responsible for making sure they can achieve the look they want without feeling like they’ve lost a lung. She’ll also teach you how to lace up on your own, just in case you don’t have servants to do your bidding. 

“I’m not going to lie– there is a learning curve, but by the fourth or fifth time, you’ll be a pro,” she assures. It only takes Rantanen five or ten minutes to suit up in the morning, but for newbies, it’s important that you take your time to avoid body shock; your spleen isn’t used to sharing a room with your liver. Getting out is even easier and in case there’s a rush to untie, the setback may only be a two-minute tease. Beauty is patience and vis versa. 


Photo by Malcolm Weir

Elegantly Waisted attendees probably won’t be interested in de-corseting and instead, they’ll take their time flogging, stroking, and spanking the accentuated goods. Even if a corset finds it’s way into the bedroom post-event, most models leave clear access to the major erogenous zones. Good to keep in mind for a spicy mid-week romp. 


Sat./4, 8 p.m., $25: Citadel membership required — $10 yearly membership available at the door

SF Citadel

1277 Mission, SF


Masturbation inspiration at The Magazine


Your wrist is tired, the lube is running low and you’ve exhausted all your favorite porn; it’s been a wonderfully fulfilling four weeks but the last weekend of Masturbation Month has come (pun intended) and it’s time to refresh your stash of erotic stimuli. Whether you’re lusting for vintage pin-ups or need pure smut to finish off, The Magazine‘s overflowing shelves are sure to satisfy.

Taking over an entire house at 920 Larkin Street, The Magazine’s ridiculously abundant collection of printed publications neatly encapsulates all spaces from the basement to a stunning third floor. This gigantic library of periodicals includes items both dirty and ‘clean’, some dating back as far as the 1860s and others fresh off the press. Trent Dunphy and Bob Mainardi opened up the literary collector’s wet dream in 1973 with the primary intention to be a porn trading post; bring in old porn and swap it for something fresh. The shop has inhabited their current Tenderloin location for 17 years and the owners also recently celebrated their 40th anniversary as a couple. 

A curious gander at The Magazine always ends well– it’s legitimate to say that this place can fancy a wide variety of tastes. From leg fetishes and bondage photo collections, to old school Playboys and ’50s gay romance novels, this place is serious about stocking variety. In the beginning Mainardi and Dunphy would troll garage sales and fleas for naughty gems, but at this point they’ve got such a large back stash that they can solely rely on people that bring in items to trade or sell. 


The rise in web-based porn has stolen a lot of the shop’s business but thankfully their DVD section has constantly been a hit. Even though the printed word may be struggling in our society, Mainardi doesn’t seem worried about the shop’s future. 

“As long as we’re around, there will be people who want to buy old fashioned, printed smut,” he says, sitting alongside towers of boxes, each filled with printed gems. As suspected, Mainardi gets a lot of super-fun, special requests. Just a couple he rambled off: hairy girls, girls with guns, fat girls, various ethnicities, and body modification. Only rarely can their vast collection not accommodate. 

“When we first opened, there was a man looking for photographs of women who changed their hair color. He wanted to see a woman go from blonde to brunette, or something. I couldn’t help him. I didn’t know where to start. And that really set the tone from there on out. The requests just keep coming,” he smiles. 


Mainardi sees lots of trends come, go and come again. In the beginning he says it was pretty “vanilla”, followed by an Asian fad, an explosion of fetish and gear seekers. Right now transgender materials are the hot item and there’s a slow growing marketing for British skinheads. The rise of burlesque has brought back an interest in “cheesecake” magazines, artsy ’50s porn, splashed with partially-nude ladies lounging provocatively. 

“They’re so dated,” he says holding up, “Copper Cuties”, a super PG tease that would look like a text book alongside a current Cosmo cover. “There’s a charm there that straight, hardcore porn of today just doesn’t have.”



While younger generations may not be collectors, Mainardi has been quite pleased to see an influx in younger customers. A lot of art students come by to scope out the 35 cent specials, browse the bargain bin and look for inspiration. Technology has wiped out an entire generation’s exposure to porn in paper form and watching the enthusiasm of young people “discovering” for the first time has been satisfying for Mainardi and Dunphy. 

“We both just really love what we do. We’ve always collected hopelessly,” he says in between the full tour, from the basement stacked with back issues to the top floors full of photographs and a large paperback collection. Rooms are dominated by gigantic bookcases. The stairs cluttered with additional boxes. Walls filled with posters, paintings, drawings and advertisements. There is no space left uncovered. “We’re image junkies.”


The sun rising


 The sun is high and your freezie is melting at a rapid, uncontrollable pace. Somehow a trail of sticky red syrup traces a path from hand to elbow, where it casually drips onto your exposed thigh. You’re seven and you don’t flinch because in five minutes you’ll be treading lake water. It’s summer and it’s damn hot. Life is simple and sweeter than high fructose corn syrup.

Fast-forward to adult status and days stacked with adult plans. Growing up totally blows (well, at least in terms of responsibilities, because puberty was a bitch and having your own place, a paycheck, a lover, and as many pets as you want is nice). Nostalgia for blissful, super-fun days of yore means we grown-ups will jump at anything and everything with hints of kiddie innocence.

Think giant trampoline gyms, mac ‘n’ cheese bars, and dodgeball leagues, plus all kinds of spiked youth-inspired activities: drunken spelling bees, boozy slip ‘n’ slides, and bars with board games. This stuff is all about guzzling a cocktail and laughing until you nearly pee, just like you did in the third grade, minus the vodka. It’s about having fun, being weird, and enjoying the simple things.

We have now entered the perfect time of year for getting caught up in a totally relaxed, school’s-out mentality. Use those sick days. Grill hotdogs and stain your upper lip with fruit punch. Don’t be intimidated by your age or your nasty bills. May means summer, and although we’re in San Francisco and must be very patient for the corresponding weather, this is the ideal season for simple, juicy living.

This mindset may take a little coaxing and the best non-pharmaceutical solution lies in the perfect soundtrack. Ironically, a trio of friends from the dreary north has crafted the perfect beach-inspired treat: Seattle’s Seapony is sure to get you in the summer mood with its 12-song debut, Go With Me (Hardly Art).

Seapony’s modest surf pop induces the most delightful high, thanks to a combination of super lo-fi recording and innocent melodies. Fuzzy guitars and light drums wrap around Jen Weidl’s breathy vocals, all blowing like a warm summer breeze through tall palms. The entire album runs in under 35 minutes, but could easily sit on repeat for hours, keeping fresh and light with its unpretentious appeal.

Songs on Go With Me are vaguely distinct and play better as one long dose. Songwriter Danny Rowland has intentionally kept things as simple as possible, setting up each track with the same basic framework: minimal major chords, a quiet drum machine, and super chill bass.

Weidl’s lyrics are in the same, slow-moving boat. There are no swells or outbursts; the minimal phrases do not beg for a psychologist’s interpretation. Her lackluster tone speaks of love and sadness in generics and the poppy track “Dreaming” repeats the same six lines over and over.

The band also doesn’t like to talk during performances, preferring to play song after song with limited interruptions, foraging yet another attempt at simplicity. According to a quote on Seapony’s website, this makes the group’s live show “cooler,” which could very well be true. Band witty banter is never very impressive.

In a world where everyone is trying to speed past the competition with innovative ideas, Seapony is riding the lazy river — the only water park attraction that never has a line. Is Seapony jaded? Or just looking to get a better tan? Adults are expected to tote around all sorts of bells and whistles, their eyes fixated on being first place, but Seapony doesn’t want to race. Instead, the group is producing music that wins by default. It sounds nice; it compliments sunshine; and it’s made for days free of responsibility.

This summer, put on that swimsuit, run around the yard, and laugh obnoxiously loud like you did as an awkward adolescent. Or keep it San Francisco-style by trading out the yard for Dolores Park and adding a brown paper sack. Just don’t forget the Seapony. 


With the Beets, Catwalk, Eternal Summer

Sun/29, 8 p.m., $12

Hemlock Tavern

1131 Polk, SF


Clean secrets revealed: the Lusty Ladies


Sex workers do all kinds of naughty (and very nice) things during work hours, but how these super-sexed individuals spend their down time seems like an alluring mystery. It’s fun to assume the sassy stripper wears high heels while vacuuming and doesn’t own sweatpants, but these are real people — and though they deal in dirty, it’s time for the Lusty Ladies to reveal their ‘clean’ secrets. 

The Lusty Lady is a unionized peep show establishment featuring a play pen packed with foxy bodies and a show that all sorts of loins love to watch from behind glass. The Lusties make it hard to think about anything other than sex, but for today, let’s leave the dancing, self-stroking, and teasing for the stage.

But these are well-rounded, independent women, replete with a full dancecard of squeaky-clean hobbies and pastimes. You want sexy? Try fresh brewed tea, or a cathartic yoga session. Rawr!


Bottoms’ up in the kitchen


Sandy Bottoms

Sandy Bottoms has been working at the Lusty for a year and a half and loves being surrounded by the cast of intelligent babes who prove that the sex industry can indeed provide legitimate work. She started off as the “surfer-California beach girl” but eventually found herself playing a younger role, complete with braces. 

SFBG: What’s your clean secret?

Sandy Bottoms: When I’m not dancing naked on stage I can usually be found in my apron baking. I’m so obsessed with cupcakes I’ve even wrangled a sweetie into making me a cupcake dress. 


SFBG: When do you most like to do it? 

SB: I like to make treats for my fellow Lusties, family, and friends whenever I can, really. Decadent boob-shaped cakes have made their way to birthday events, baby blue meringue cookies to transition parties, and indulgent vegan gluten-free cupcakes to Lusty PRIDE bake sales. 


SFBG: Where do like it? 

SB: My kitchen. 


SFBG: Why does it make you feel good? 

SB: I suppose in part baking fulfills a 1950s housewife fantasy that doesn’t integrate with or show through other parts of my character. I like to be productive when I’m relaxing and I never let the green grass grow under my high heels. 


Cinnamon’s late night creations



It’s been nearly five years since Cinnamon debuted at the Lusty and she just completed her year-long term as Lead Madam in February. She likes stripping because it’s fun, different, and unionized — and her “pretty awesome juicy booty” demands attention. 

SFBG: What is your clean secret? 

C: I love to paint. I love to paint, sculpt, costume design (as seen above), sew, and get down and dirty with a good art project. Not that exciting, but it’s what I love. I even went to an art high school in Oakland.


SFBG: When do you most like to do it? 

C: In the morning, afternoon, evening. Sometimes even late at night, I wake up at 2 a.m. and want to paint or draw. 


SFBG: Why does it make you feel good?

C: Painting helps me sort my thoughts and I don’t feel so overwhelmed. I feel relaxed when I paint. I love getting really into a project and getting messy and covered in paint and other materials. I also don’t just stop with paint when I’m really into a project. I usually use anything I can get my hands on, from sand to coffee filters. 


SFBG: When do you feel most proud about it?

C: When I finally finish a project! Which is hardly ever. I also feel pretty happy when I start a really good new project with something I’ve never tried before. But more than anything I love it when someone comes over to visit and says “That picture is awesome, where’d you get it?”


Bijou shows off her flexibility


Bijou. Photo by

A love of dancing and an appreciation of the Lusty community has kept Bijou on the stage for three years. She doesn’t pre-plan a routine per se, but she’s known to have cat moves, or at least a very feline-like presence. 

SFBG: What is your clean secret? 

B: I absolutely love and do A LOT of yoga.


SFBG: Why does it make you feel good? 

B: I can literally enter another space while I’m practicing, and my body always feels immediately energized after a class or home practice.


SFBG: Where did you learn such a thing? 

B: Studios all over the country and I informally trained every single day during a year in Bangkok, Thailand.


SFBG: When did you feel most proud of it? 

B: When I just let go and cry during my practice. It sounds funny but that usually means I’ve really, truly connected with my body.


Harlow Valentine brews it hot and wet


Harlow Valentine

As a co-owner of the Lusty, Harlow Valentine loves exploring hot scenarios with lots of strangers and sharing the attention with intelligent and sexy women. She especially likes to show her “booty” to curious peepers. 

SFBG: What is your clean secret?

HV: I love to drink tea.


SFBG: Where do like it? 

HV: In the kitchen, at a cafe, in bed.


SFBG: Why does it make you feel good?

HV: It’s soothing, it’s warm, it’s delicious and sometimes has a fantastic color!


SFBG: When did you feel most proud of it?

HV: When I hear pleasing sighs escape from the lips of someone who’s just sipped my freshly brewed tea…though perhaps that’s because, in general, I enjoy hearing people sigh from pleasure!

Hooked in


There is no water cooler. There are no memos. In most cases, sex workers aren’t walking into an office on Monday mornings — or even late Saturday nights — to punch in and gab with coworkers about the last shift. Sex work is a umbrella term pertaining to a multitude of professions, including but not limited to prostitution, porn, burlesque, modeling, and stripping. Most sex workers are independent contractors, freelancers, and individuals running their own businesses.

So in a way, the seventh San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (May 20-29) serves as the city’s whore company party, run with the intention of unifying a community in an ironically isolating line of work. Because whatever your profession, talking to a coworker about the daily grind is always extra-satisfying.

All but a select number of events during the festival are open to the public — we’re not talking about an exclusive trade show here. Organizers have packed nine days with musicals, cabarets, workshops, and parties, so whether you’re in the business, out of the business, curious, or supportive, this sex fest will do the trick.

The decision to base the festival around this kind of openness was intentional. Once the workday is done, where does a sex worker go to compare notes, swap secrets, laugh, or cry? The stigma around sex work can make talking to friends and family who don’t pole dance or film masturbation for pay awkward.

Chloe Camilla, a member of the festival’s planning committee, is still relatively new to the sex industry. She’s been doing a mix of porn and modeling for the past few years and remembers how intimidated she felt in the beginning.

“It’s strange — you’re shooting your first anal scene and you just want to ask somebody, ‘Uh, what do I do? Who do I talk to? Where’s the handbook?'” She and her friends have been talking about putting together a training manual with chapters on things like how to file your taxes, develop a marketing campaign, and learn screen tricks. “There should be a ‘Welcome to porn, here’s what to expect when you show up on set’ book.”

Camilla will be teaching “The Art of Webcamming”, a workshop she put together in response to peer requests. Webcams are a great introduction to the sex industry: cheap, easy, and gatekeeper-free — the Internet is an equal opportunity employer.

“Everyone can find their own market and niche. There’s room for all bodies and genders out there,” Camilla says, hoping her class will get people online and making money fast.

Festival founder Carol Leigh, a.k.a. longtime pro-sex activist, sex worker, and performance artist Scarlot Harlot, started the festival in 1999 to help foster supportive peer relationships while simultaneously urging hookers to use their collective voice to speak out on their own behalf and fight marginalization.

“I’m basically Grandma Scarlot Harlot now,” she smiles, her crimson lips matching the shiny paint on her fingernails. After years of marching up and down capitol steps, Leigh realized the creative potential of the people rallying around her.

It’s what she calls the “whore’s eye view:”

“As a group that’s oppressed with a stigma, there’s a kind of wisdom that grows from that stigmatization. Because we’re not accepted, we might not necessarily buy into mainstream values. Therefore, we do and see things differently,” Leigh says. Through art or film, sex workers can find their voice — even if they can’t be open about their profession because of child custody laws or a conservative day gig.

Now 60, with more than 30 years of advocating for sex workers’ rights behind her, Leigh says the festival’s relevance has expanded to respond to the community’s current needs. The back-to-back workshops at SomArts Cultural Center on May 27 most accurately reflects this year’s current list of hot topics: self-care and eco-sex, building bonds between male sex workers, and love advice for partners and pals of sex workers.

Although parts of the city’s sex worker community are tight-knit, festival organizer Erica Fabulous admits that closeness can depend on where you work and whom you work with. Getting politically active sex workers to attend is a snap, but festival organizers hope to reach past clubs and into the streets, pulling in workers from every corner of the industry.

“Sex work is raced and classed just like anything else — that’s why I’m so proud of the diversity of viewpoints that will be represented during the festival,” says Laure McElroy, the festival’s film curator.

Nearly 40 sex-worker-themed flicks will play at this year’s festival during a one-day marathon. Stories from Canada, Holland, Germany, Cambodia, and the U.S. will lay bare the work and lives of strippers, whores, masseuses, peep show gals, erotic performance artists, survival street workers, and escorts.

The diverse viewpoints echo another of the festival’s underlying missions: “These films are a glimpse of what’s happening out there — the people who are out there,” McElroy says. “I want people to walk away from this festival knowing that there isn’t just one way to think or talk about sex work.” 


From the bike lane to the bed, ride like a messenger


Bulging thighs pump, shiny parts glimmer and sweaty bodies pedal between the loins of the city. Is Bike To Work Day getting you all hot and bothered, too? Steer the excitement of the bike lane straight into the bedroom and take style notes from the ultimate ride professionals: bike messengers. 

Not all bike messengers are the same, but one thing remains true for any and all that claim the profession: these people are sex on two wheels. Average bikers are hot, too, but messengers are the porn stars of bike culture. Badass, fast, and cocky seem like fair stereotypes, perfect characteristics for tending to spring urges. Hop on the saddle and get ready to romp and ride with messenger mentality. 

Be brave: Biking in San Francisco can be terrifying. Muni tracks, lazy drivers, and mean taxis are real threats, but bike messengers puff up their chests and let adrenaline take the reins. Get adventurous in the sack and shake your fears of the unknown. If you’ve got a pre-planned route, veer off and take a backroad. Try role playing the part of a sleazy bike mechanic and service your lover’s bod. Remember: the customer is always right!



San Francisco Bicycle Messenger Series at

Be assertive: Messengers make decisions on the fly. If you second guess your instincts, you may end up with road rash or an awkward stall in play. Read the signs and listen for your partner’s directions.

Be healthy: Biking is real good for the body. All those miles keep your heart in great shape and keep blood flowing to all the right spots. They make drink a lot of beer, but messengers work it all off on their route. Talk about stamina. Get some exercise to make sure your organs are up to speed and can perform at their full potential. 

Be hard: That ass! Those thighs! Bike bods rock; their extra-toned areas are prime for spanking, grabbing, cupping, riding, and thrusting. Get your own in gear.




Be eco-sexy: Dependency on fossil fuels isn’t hot. Do as the messengers do and pedal instead of drive. Take a romantic ride or race to a secluded spot with your fuck buddy for a naked picnic. 

Be dirty: Sweat and grime is a consequence of the job. Don’t be afraid to get rough and smelly under the sheets. Who cares. Lick it up. 

Be safe: Some messengers probably think they’re too cool for helmets, but no penis is too cool for a condom. Unless you really know the road, it’s always better to be cautious and avoid running your tires through a muddy pothole or STD.




And finally…

Be prepared: Messenger bags are big for a reason: you can fit all kinds of fun party favors in there. Booze, toys, lube, Advil, kneepads, clean underwear, and anything you could ever need can fit into one of those back sacks. Stock up your stash at home, in the car, the office, your purse, and wherever else you might want some spontaneous spunk. 


Go Deep and get slicked at El Rio

Woman scantily clad and covered in lube is hot enough, but then the bell rings. They slip, they slide, they ride; lady parts will flail again in a tub full of slippery goop this Thursday at El Rio’s Go Deep! Lube Wrestling

Girl on girl wrestling at my favorite dive bar? Yes, this seems like a trick, but Go Deep! is a real event, produced by the lovely Dottie Lux of Red Hot Burlesque. The new monthly night started in April and Dottie says the sexy matches couldn’t have been more successful. “I stood with my mouth agape for three solid hours — it was super fun, amazing, and totally hilarious.” 

The current line-up of  “celebrity wrestlers” are local, fearless femmes handpicked by Dottie. From stylists to sassy clowns, the request for daring athletes was sent to over 40 businesses and organizations in the Bay, targeted at any lass who has a connection to “something larger.”  Contestants are encouraged to bring a posse, a supportive group of pals to cheer and wail and gush over their slimy acquaintance in the ring. So far the wrestling isn’t set up like a tournament, meaning everybody is a winner– literally, every girl gets a prize from Dottie’s box, including donated sex toys, garter belts, steamy books — and bacon?

“Bacon is always a prize,” Dottie says, pointedly not following up the comment any sign of mirth. This is serious: pin a hottie and bring home the salty meat. 


Ideally, participation in the ring will open up to the lady community at large as the event builds its fan base. If you’re interested in stripping down and pinning an unfamiliar femme, Dottie is currently accepting applications. Just remember, this ain’t no easy romp in the kiddie pool. 

“These women are out of breath. They’re working hard in there,” she says, noting the difficulties a challenger must face. “Gravity, stabilization, balance? All gone. All the usual resources you would normally have during wrestling are gone. It’s just too slippery.”


So far the rules simply summarized: women only, no shoes, no choking, be nice, don’t be drunk. Oh, and private parts must be legally covered — boo! Thankfully this rule has a tendency to slip. Bikinis and lube don’t sit well, at least as far as modesty’s concerned. 

“We had to learn how to better secure clothing. The girls kept losing their tops.” Keeping her eyes open for this type of situation is Dottie’s main job during the event. When a human body is glazed, the senses get a little blurry. At one point during the last Go Deep!, “we paused the show and the crowd started chanting, ‘double-knot, double-knot.'” The tops were retied fairly successfully. You wrestle and you learn. 

“Some girls tried electrical tape on their nipples. Sports bras are great. I think they should try out t-shirts, maybe little t-shirts.” From slings to spacesuits, I’m pretty sure the crowd will support any and all wrestler wardrobe choices — as long as the moves remains wet and wild. Last month’s audience was perfectly rowdy and Dottie hopes that people will continue to come with lots of enthusiasm. It’s not every day a scene from the L-Word or stereotypical frat boy’s dream comes to life. Thankfully, the female-objectifying crowd you might suspect to show up at event promising nearly naked wrestling won’t be invited. 

“As for the douche factor, it’s absolutely something I’m going to keep my eye on. My number one as a producer of this event is to make sure women are safe,” Dottie reassures. “I don’t want to kick people out, but I wouldn’t put it past me.”


Dottie plans to continue marketing the event to people and places that understand this is a woman-positive event, and she wants to keep it at El Rio, regardless of how popular the event becomes. If it would move to a larger venue, she’d loose some of the control and endanger it’s sanctity. “It’s an event for us, by us.”

I can only hope it goes down something like this:

Go Deep!

Thurs/5 9 p.m., $10-15 sliding scale

El Rio 

3158 Mission, SF

(415) 282-3325


Gush with knowledge about lady ejaculation

Like Nessie and multiple orgasms, female ejaculation has always had a mystic reputation. Can women really shoot it like the boys? Does it matter? Yes, yes, and oh yes. Start taking notes on when and how with Good Vibrations‘ newest instructional release, GUSH: The Official Guide to the G-spot and Female Ejaculation. The film premieres today– Thurs/5 at The Roxie Theater— meaning lady parts all over the city will begin their training to spray like fountains and squirt their sexual juices high above the sheets.

Dr. Carol Queen, staff sexologist at Good Vibes, a local purveyor of buzz-worthy toys, is the voice of God on Gush, answering a range of questions about finding the G-spot and making it rain. In-between the facts, curiosity is satisfied by action-packed demos. Pussies spurt from all kinds of real penetration, offering a diverse pallet of options for all viewers to try at home. 

Here are five key things I learned from Gush

1. Patience is key. Don’t expect sparks to cum flying out of the trap unless you put in some good ol’ fashioned foreplay. She’s got to be revved up or she’s not going to blow. And practice is always very important. The territory down below needs to be navigated and explored with precision and lots of directional guides. 

2. Female ejaculation is the product of two parts working together. The G-spot needs just as much love as the clit. The partner in action may have to work some overtime, but the payoff is hot and wet. 

3. This is not a stream of white sperm. The hues of female ejaculate vary due to body, but the examples on Gush looked a bit on the yellow side of the color wheel. Dr. Queen swears it is not urine. And maybe that wouldn’t bother you anyway. 

4. Sometimes women mini-ejaculate without knowing. Maybe you just thought you were extra wet last night, but maybe that was a gurgling stream of cum. Don’t be afraid to push next time. 

5. Shouting “squirt! squirt!” probably won’t help your woman get there. Or at least I didn’t see anyone in the film use this tactic. 

Watch the movie and try out some moves on a partner. If you’re single, learn to multitask. Even if you don’t succeed in making a squirt, remember you got laid trying. 


The premiere of Gush: The Official Guide to the G-Spot and Female Ejaculation

Thurs/5, 7:00 p.m., $10

The Roxie Theater

3117 16th Street, SF

Gush after party 

Thurs/5 8:30 p.m., free

Good Vibrations

603 Valencia, SF

Zola Jesus rises from the dust of the rural Midwest

Rural Wisconsin is full of freaks. I can attest to this because I grew up one state west and interacted with similarly entertaining crazies on a pretty regular basis. This brand of strange usually keeps to small town shenanigans, but Nika Roza Danilova translated her weirdness into artistic independence and rose to become Zola Jesus.

As a young child and teen, Danilova became comfortable with the isolation of her surroundings and learned early on that one must seek their own stimulation. She became obsessed with learning to sing opera, but only in the confines of her own home. She listened to instructional tapes, practiced songwriting on her parents’ piano and decided to separate herself from the world before it decided to do so first. As a self-proclaimed freak, Danilova was free to revel in her uniqueness without guilt or remorse. In high school she took on the moniker Zola Jesus, which she called a conscious effort to alienate her peers. 

As a student of French and Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Zola Jesus officially released her first full-length record, The Spoils [Sacred Bones, 2009], earning instant comparisons to rock legends like Siouxsie and placement in the goth rock genre. Her songs are gorgeously epic, ballads of dark rock that haven’t lost their soft parts. Backed by a roaring synth choir, Danilova sings with fierce confidence in an unpretentious, humanized manner. I could write terrible letters to past lovers with Zola Jesus as my muse, or I could happily entwine myself in optimistic dreams with the same soundtrack.

As of late 2010, Zola Jesus had put out four records and played 97 shows. She’s playing her music around the world and getting just as much attention for her songs as her wardrobe. She’s being portrayed as a gothic hottie, getting mentions in Vogue and fashion magazines for her bewitching look. Yet she’s still totally reveling in her bizarre foundations. My favorite Zola Jesus quote to date, as said during an interview with The Quietus

Everyone’s a goth now. It blows my mind. I don’t like to comment on this whole trend because I’ve come to resent myself being associated with it. If goth is trendy then I’m buying fucking polo shirts. They’ll still be black, though.

If only all the Midwest townies could became wonderful creeps like Zola.


w/Naked on the Vague

Fri/6, 9:00 p.m., $14

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF


Secrets of our lives


MUSIC Cast in the shadows of flashlights, candles, and streetlamps, Ann Yu sings herself to sleep, hiding under soft sheets and contemplating lyrics instead of counting sheep. Her secrets escape at midnight in the form of gorgeously moody melodies, that when paired with slow-motion synth and beats by DJ and producer Jon Waters, become the encapsulating repertoire of Silver Swans.

The hearty bass and electric hums created by the San Francisco duo could inspire a subtle swagger, but its kind of electropop is intended for more contemplative purposes. Silver Swans is dark and brooding, yet innocent and nostalgic. Eager ears should take note of Yu’s creative process and “just sit in bed,” wrapped head to toe in some sort of cozy material.

“I don’t think there’s a single track on our album that wasn’t written while I was wearing my polar fleece flannel pajamas,” she smiles, her freckled cheekbones blushing a delicate pink.

Yu’s comfort is audible and infectious; her voice rings with a vulnerable honesty that draws you close to her fragile lyrics, revealing whispers of unwanted ghosts and wavering happiness. The eerie intimacy is a natural product of Yu’s musical environment: no stuffy studio and no inhibitions. The sounds are derived from the familiar, unpretentious spaces of her own home.

“It’s like when you sing in your room or in the shower. I’m just trying to capture those moments.”

Netting a true emotion takes patience, but today’s music industry moves fast, and electronic music is expected to rocket through the entire creative process. It’s a race to write, record, and release, and if a band isn’t keeping up, they could easily be left behind in a cloud of blog dust. It freaks Yu out.

“There are no limits. You have to kick stuff out so fast. There are no rules. It’s crazy.”

Ironically, Yu and Waters started out at a snail’s pace; it’s taken years for Silver Swans to officially commence. The two first proposed the idea of working on a project together in 2007. At the time, Yu was dedicated to her indie rock band, LoveLikeFire, until last year when the tour landed her back home. The duo finally took on a name, inspired by Waters’ family crest and secured once Yu found a corresponding necklace.

“I know it’s hokey. A silver swan necklace,” she laughs. “It was a sign.”

In January 2010, the Swans hatched their first LP, Realize the Ghost, on Tricycle Records. Near the end of the year, the duo self-released the EP Secrets. Yu and Waters’ collaborations are almost entirely traded through space. Yu e-mails Waters a mood, song, or inspiration; Waters sends her back a few measures of a potential track. Yu writes up the melody and lyrics; Waters ties it all together.

Yu says this process sometimes happens so fast that it’s hard to comprehend her own participation. Yu wrote her part to “Secrets” in about 30 minutes. The song immediately haunts with Yu’s first lines, “Are you happy? I know you shiver like a stone. I know you can’t be when you have nowhere else to go.” She swears someone else came into the room and wrote it.

“I’ll look back at the lyrics and think, ‘Oh, wow, I couldn’t have said it better myself.'”

That initial recording of “Secrets” remains the only one. Yu hasn’t been able to precisely replicate the emotions she had behind her vocals that first night; spontaneity can’t be matched. This is why she reminds herself that it’s always best to let the inspiration come organically, regardless of outside pressures to produce in volumes.

“I’m not a trained musician,” she says, sipping on her sparkling cider at Heart Bar. “I don’t think, ‘Oh, I’ll write a song in the key of D today.’ Or ‘I’ll use minor chords on this one.’ I have to let it happen magically and then it’s extra-special.”


With the Hundred in the Hands, DJ Aaron, DJ Omar

Thurs/5, 9 p.m.; $10

Rickshaw Stop

155 Fell, SF

(415) 861-2011


Thirty years of radical sex, as seen by Michael Rosen


It’s been more than three decades since Michael Rosen began photographing radical sex, giving insight into sexual explorations that ridicule the notion of “mainstream” sexuality. People of all shapes, genders, and lifestyles have come out of their bedrooms to play in front of Rosen’s lens, but today it’s the man behind the camera who is giving it away, free of charge. 

Flesh grinds and bodies mount. Rope-entwined nipples seem ready to burst. A whip cracks on a slave’s bare cheeks. They may be still images, but the scenes Rosen captures aren’t static — they’re merely paused for outside reflection. Eyes dart across the images, consuming every engorged cock and clit while the brain attempts to control the influx of its own desires, inhibitions, and assumptions. Rosen’s work is refreshingly bold; a clear look at real, honest sex.

Rosen has published five books of beautifully lustful photographs throughout his career, but in 2007 he posted the entire collection on his website for free. In the three and a half years since, there have been 25,000 downloads. Rosen, a recently retired software developer, is weeks away from celebrating his 69th birthday and has no plans to start charging for his work. I tell him he’s crazy. 

“Didn’t I already mention that this is what I’m meant to do? Did I mention that I’m changing the world?” Rosen reminds me that we’ve already touched on this subject today, but I’m still in awe at his generosity. 


Current work and his “timid” nude landscapes from the 70s

I’ve been hanging out in his studio in the basement of his San Francisco home for nearly two hours, flipping through photographs old and new, and listening to the wild stories behind some of his most favorite shoots. There’s a before and after photo of two transmen, first playing together as women and then years later, reconnecting for another romp with male bodies. There’s a striking photo of a man sucking himself off. Rosen points out the easily overlooked lesions on his body — he was dying from AIDS. Then there’s the story about the badass dominatrix best summarized with a series of nouns: slave, duct tape, funnel, piss, cum. 


“Are you sure you can put this image on your site?” 

He stares at me with serious intent and tells me he considers himself a “concerned photographer”, dedicated to making important, original work. This is not pornography, but sexual art that offers insight into the curiosities of passion. Between the sheets, on the kitchen counter, or bound in a dungeon, there’s no such thing as right and wrong, only consensual. He presents me with a carefully planned quote, set to some dramatic classical piano pounding from the radio. 

“Whatever your plumbing and whatever the plumbing of your partner, it’s all good so long as you’re having safe, sane, and consensual fun together.”


A model named Becky photographed in 1975

In the early years Rosen’s subjects were exhibitionists who wanted professional prints. Word of mouth brought all kinds of couples, lovers, and individuals to Rosen’s studio and what they did on camera was their choice. He has never arranged stranger encounters — whether the lovers had already slept together or fantasized about the possibility, the desire has always been real.

Today he pays most of his nudes but the same guidelines apply: “They’re all just doing what they do.” He offers little direction besides offering technical suggestions, asking them “whip at a steady pace” so he can time the shot or reminding people to “come to rest at the base of his dick so you don’t hide it.” 

Rosen’s latest project is a series of contact sheets; his version of a Cubist-style sexual portrait. He’s shot over 50 women from head to toe, zooming in on hands, labias, tattoos, and nipples. The multiple simultaneous views of each lady expresses her individual personality, both clothed and naked. A collection of these photographs will be featured at the Seattle Erotic Art Festival next month and tentatively, this fall they’ll be showing at the SF Center for Sex and Culture. Although the layout veers away from his previous work, that real, tangible intimacy remains. 

“This is real and these are real people,” he looks around the room, scanning over the years of faces and bodies. “For some of these people, it was the first time they had sex and for others it was their last. That’s real life.”


Sexual art and cats dominate Rosen’s home

I ask him what it’s like to be so closely involved with all this steamy sex. The moaning, the orgasms– does he ever get distracted? Excited?  He quotes photographer Jim Duvall. “I’m not a very good photographer with a hard on,” he cracks a small smirk and twiddles his thumbs. “It’s hard sometimes. But it’s ok.” 


Get off on green


Your outdoor environment is looking a little cleaner after Friday’s Earth Day efforts, so now it’s time for some dirty bedroom rewards. Don’t worry– it’s possible to carry your eco-ethics into the other room. Let your passion for saving the environment slide between the sheets for love making in all shades of green.

Being a good little environmentalist all year deserves a (nice) spank, but sometimes the products we use and things we do to feel good make the Earth feel bad. Phthalate-infected vibrators, cuffs from overseas, lube made in nasty factories, and mounds of landfill-bound packaging are definite turn-offs.Tree-humpers should take note from the hoards of San Francisco foodies eating out every night: treat your bed like you would a table and go for conscious, local, and sustainable. From foreplay to fornication, here are a couple of stimulating Bay Area resources for keeping things hot between you and Mother Nature. 



Setting the mood:

Skip the machine-made colognes and perfumes and keep it simple — you can pick some herbal aphrodisiacs made from your own backyard garden. If you forgot to plant said garden, check out White Buffalo Naturals collection of stimulating smells. All products are made locally in small batches by Nicole Spencer, a traditional herbalist who is all about the Big O (a.k.a. organic) and growing or wild-harvesting the plants she uses for the White Buffalo line herself. 



Sexy underthings:

Stripping down to your factory-made granny panties or tighty-whities could be a huge boner-dissapointer if you’re about to get down with an earth lover. Pull on a pair of PACT undies, a Berkeley company that sources super-soft, organic Turkish cotton and in the process, allows you to participate what they call, a social movement — your purchase supports farmers, responsible labor practices, and a chain of non-profits dedicated to change. Wow– instant orgasm.



Condoms aren’t very sweet on the environment but nothing says green like curbing the population of our crowded city. Unfortunately rubbers can’t be composted or recycled, so you’ll just have to make up for it in other areas. Rubber offsets? Buy in bulk and save on wasteful packaging. 



Supportive supplies:

Leather can really help tie ’em down and strap ‘er on, but it’s important to know your hide source isn’t hiding any secrets. Project TransAction is an Oakland-based independent leatherworking company who promises to keep things ethical and earth-friendly. Their super-attractive harnesses, cuffs, and collars will keep anyone in line with a smirk, especially when they hear these babies were made with water-based inks, biodegradable cleaners and non-toxic dyes.





Screw PG&E and conserve utilities. Turn down the heat and let your bodies control the temperature. Turn off the lights and replace with flickering soy candles. Go outside and let the moon cast some flattering shadows. Do it in the garden (backyard not community) and then save water by showering off the dirt together.



Stimulating Extras:

As guilty or proud as it made you feel, that rabbit vibe you picked up at the adult superstore didn’t suffer a short life due to overuse. Cheaply made sex toys are a dime a dozen, but their small sticker price makes for a big pile at the landfill. Quality is important, ladies and gents, and a good toy should hum for more than a year. Jimmyjane‘s vibrators are totally down for extended use, inviting you to play and please with a three-year warranty. The San Francisco company’s design-centric products buzz pretty and smart: responsibly manufactured, energy efficient, replaceable parts, and rechargeable batteries. 



Leathered looks: Fashion takes at International Ms. Leather


The four-day celebration of leatherwomen has come to a shiny, exhausted, possibly bruised, and blushing close. The 2011 International Ms Leather title was awarded to New York’s Sara Vibes Saturday night and she proudly accepted her glorious hide-sash with a naughty grin. Vibe and fellow contestants looked stunning in an array of leather accessories throughout the pageant, but intermission exposed an entire audience of notable leather-bound fashion from hat to boot.

Super-tight leather pants, bare-asses ‘n’ chaps, vests, and corsets are obvious go-tos for any leather event, but this crowd ventured into capes, hats, full dresses, flowing skirts, multiple belts, and bracelets. Leather dominated the fabric scene, replacing the usual cotton-poly blends and turning a t-shirt shape into an erotic instigator. I didn’t see any leather stockings — practicality is still valid, especially when the after party is taking place in a designated ‘play room.’ 

This slideshow is only a minor glimpse, mostly some notable lady leathers. Check out Leatherati’s photos of the event and shots of the actual contest. 


Playing in a Domina’s toy box: Mistress Minax shares her favorites


Cat whiskers and raindrops are horribly dull items to top a list of favorite things — Maria was obviously not the right person to ask. Professional and lifestyle domina, Mistress Minax, has the real list and a collection of preferred leather, rubber and steel toys that will make more than just the hills feel alive.

Eve “Mistress” Minax knows what’s good; 12 years of experience as a dom, BDSM educator, consultant, performer and trainer has fine-tuned her ability to pick out sexy props for work and after-hours fun. Her play spaces, the Minax Mini-Mansion and Dungeonette, are neatly lined with items simultaneously inviting and intimidating; shelves of curious gadgets packed with possibilities.

“I like layering,” she says in regards to her diverse set-up. “I’m not just going to use electricity on you for three hours or beat you for three hours. I mean, I can, but I’d rather work through a series of play.”

Minax considers electricity, bondage and sensory deprivation to be her specialties, but a session is all about the individual’s desire.

“I want you to reach sensory overload. Not to the point where you scream, ‘get me out’, but I want to keep the body so alive that there becomes a vibrant awareness of every little thing. You come to a zen state of mind.”

When Minax first started working she had a minimal set-up: leather corset, sexy pair of boots, crop, whip, some rope, nipple clamps. and a play space.

“And now I’m pretty well equipped,” she smirks about the obvious understatement. “It’s a combination of curiosity, necessity, and desire.”

But who are the shining stars in her current toy box? Minax paces around her dungeon and then her bedroom, enthusiastically pointing out canes and slings, boot collections and cages; pleasure obviously comes in many forms. Choosing is hard, but if she had to make a list, or only take a handful of items onto a deserted, kinky island, these are her picks.



“The machine that has made me a very happy woman.” The electric current can tingle or torture depending on desired intensity. She’s got three versions, including one with remote, so it can discretely buzz in public.


Sleep sack 

 It completely immobilizes, freeing the person and allowing them intense and interesting play. “With bondage comes surrender.”


Suspended cage 

 Great paired with bondage belt, mitts, hood and ankle restraints. The crank that lifts the cage from the ground makes a perfect sinister-sound, very complimentary for those wishing to role-play “a scary lady hoisting me up in a cage” scenario. 


Martin’s Cuffs

 “Fetishisically quite beautiful.”


Multipurpose cage

 Doubles as a bondage table. StirRups to come.


The medical room

 Dr. Eve really likes catheters and urethra dilation.  



 Minax previously injured her wrist from all the whipping action but she’s healed and ready for some Corporal. 



Her favorite hood has a zipper down the front, providing optional eye and mouth holes. Very versatile. Ideal for novices and flexible experimentation.


Pumping set

 Can be used on any and all body types for A to B transformation. Enlarge a clit, breasts, balls, ect. “It’s quite primal. Like Bonobos, flashing their huge genitalia at one another. It’s very exciting.”


Betty Dodson’s vaginal barbellHitachi Magic Wand and Njoy 11 

Great for all types of holes. A classic. And two full pounds of fun.


Still interested in kettles and brown-paper packages tied up with strings? Or are these bound to be a few of your new favorite things?


Out of the shadows


MUSIC The Cults out of the bag.

The initial mystery surrounding the Brooklyn band of two has been solved, as rumors turned into a year of lengthy articles, photographs, and live performances, all soothing the flea-ridden hype. The official promise of a debut full-length this summer is sure to stimulate some additional excitement, but once again the information age has won and indie snoops are left with a furry clump of truth.

“There’s no real story behind us. We’re just real people,” explains Brian Oblivion, the male half of Cults. While it may seem like some rock stars are hiding wizard or robot identities, believe it or not, all musicians are indeed “just real people.” Oblivion attempts to elaborate on this idea, but he and girlfriend Madeline Follin, the female half of the band, are riding in a tour van through some sketchy airwaves. His voice keeps transforming into robotic and scratchy sounds, which makes his theory slightly suspicious.

But no — the Cults are neither lizard-people nor alien-forms. They’re not angry cult leaders or brainwashed followers for that matter. The Internet has explained it all and the facts are clearly posted: Oblivion and Follin are both 22, from San Diego, and going to film school in New York City.

Follin grew up swaddled in punk music, and Oblivion always had a thing for surf-rock, but when the two of them began their courtship, a musical agreement had to commence. Soul, ’50s pop, and ’60s girl-groups like Lesley Gore and the Shangri-Las became a pleasant middle ground. When the lovers began to play music together, their inspiration was a direct pipeline to these performers; musicians who could make lemons into limoncello and drape a lacy haze over any foggy day.

“There’s something so tough about ’50s pop music,” says Oblivion. He respects the genre’s mold-breaking ideas, from its social connotations and ability to blur race barriers to its physical elements, like new echo effects and guitar tones. “There’s lots of spirit in that music that gets written off as retro when new acts try to perform it. But there’s a sentiment in it that we like. It’s moving. There’s something special there.”

Music by Cults makes daisies grow and serious cares seem like spoonfuls of acid-laced sugar. Everything is sublime beneath Follin’s gorgeous bell-like vocals, even when she sings about naughty behaviors, crying, and shit relationships. And they’re not the only young band that has begun harnessing the Motown stallion. Best Coast is the most direct example, but groups like Warpaint and Dom have also turned rock back a few pages, spawning a fresh generation of ears ready to challenge the music industry’s current corporate-pop bill.

“Madeline has a theory about [the ’50s and ’60s pop revival],” Oblivion says. “We’re just old enough now to appreciate it. Our parents grew up listening to it because it was our grandparents’ style. But we’re the ones going back and rediscovering. Our parents are still into their ’80s Rolling Stones records. Our generation is excited because we’re digging in Dumpsters and finding these old records — and we’re finding this music without having it shoved in our faces.”

Like treasure chests buried beneath a sea of Rihannas, American Idols, and decades of rock, the serenades of brass instruments, cheery bass lines, hollow voices, and forlorn lyrics are bubbling up to the surface. It’s discovery and reacquainted love. Aging 40 years or more, these albums may be dusty and scratched, their performers long absent from daily gossip rags, yet there’s still some element of mystery that has regrown from the ashes of the era. That mystery makes for good hype, but as Cults have learned, you’ve got to come out of the shadows to make solid impressions.

“It’s fun to play live and interact with audiences. Live [music] is so important — it’s the only way to make money, and right now shows are doing awesome,” Oblivion says with his crackly, phone-impaired voice, noting his admiration for indie bands that are selling out large venues. He’s calling it a revolution.

“People want to have an experience, something to hold onto. They’re tired of the MP3s that move around through the air, because it’s just not the same as being at a show and feeling the music come out of the speakers. It’s immaterial. You walk away with a feeling.”

That feeling is the revolution.


With Magic Kids, White Arrows

Thurs./14, 8 p.m.; $13

The Independent

628 Divisadero, SF

(415) 771-1421


iPod voyeur: YACHT looks into the future of the past


The future has potential to be totally fun. Eco-friendly flying cars, new friends from outer space and moon parties sound like a great way to spend the year 3000, but these are only amateur, optimistic predictions. The Portland-bred dance duo YACHT has been surveying the possibilities for years, taking notes and spacey tips from musical scientists of days past. And today, a retro-futuristic playlist has been born. 

Don’t panic– the near future still looks hot. YACHT is currently touring its upcoming album, Shangri-La, their follow-up to 2009’s See Mystery Lights, coming out on DFA in June. And they’re playing a yet to be sold-out show at Bimbos (Wed/13) this week. 

Beyond that, there’s good news and there’s bad news. Looks like band members Jona Bechtolt and Claire L. Evans aren’t thinking things will turn out so hot, hence their own new song, Dystopia, a totally amazing African-inspired electronic track about upcoming apocalyptic events. The good news: they’re not scared of fire nor jackals. I’m thinking they have a collection of magic lasers and protective suits prepared. 

The Guardian has requested proof of their research in playlist form; their current top 10 most-played tracks. Take note, drink water and wear comfortable shoes.


Zager & Evans, “In the Year 2525”

This song is the musical equivalent of one of our favorite books, Olaf Stapledon’s “Last and First Men,” a science-fiction future history that tells the tale of the next two billion years of time, touching on eighteen distinct versions of the human race, from regular flesh-and-blood people to birdlike creatures living on Neptune. Zager & Evans only go about ten thousand years into the future, put they hit some classic sci-fi themes on the way, like genetic engineering, mechanical automation, and test-tube babies.  


Chromium, “Fly On UFO”

This is a sentiment we at YACHT can all get down with. You see a UFO in the sky, beaming with promise, lights in primary colors like an 80s movie, and you yell up to the sky: “Come back later!”


Incredible String Band — Way Back in the 1960s

A psychedelic future-past ballad, about an old-timer looking back fondly on the 1960s — a time before World War three, before England “went missing and we moved to Paraguay,” and we still used the wheel. 


Cerrone. “Supernature”

In a world of depleted resources, the ambitions of science have no limits. Wouldn’t we do anything to feed the starving masses? Including poison the world with chemicals that would create mutants “down below”? If Mary Shelley  was a French disco producer, “Frankenstein” would have sounded like Supernature.


Hawkwind. “Silver Machine”

Simplicity is king. This song has the best lyrics in the world: “I just took a ride/ in a silver machine/ and I’m still feeling mean/I got a silver machine.” This is like ZZ Top for space hogs, an all-night truckin’ jam for the long haul to Alpha Centauri.  


Ganymed, “Future World”

Sick, almost disgustingly slick space disco from a band whose whole deal was wearing full-deck silver space costumes. 


Dee D. Jackson, “Automatic Lover”

Amid a soft pink haze, Miss Jackson looks at the erotic robot in her bed, polished chrome gleaming under white satin sheets, come-hither, raises her perfectly glossed lip in a snarl, and utters: “Your body’s cold.”


Marvin Gaye, “A Funky Space Reincarnation”

Is the future going to be a cold impersonal landscape dictated by the efficient will of our machine overlords? Or, light years ahead, are you and me going be getting down on a space bed, smoking some new shit from Venus? The prophet Marvin Gaye proposes the latter. 


Toni Basil, “Space Girl Blues”

Toni Basil is known for “Hey Mickey (You’re So Fine),” a song so ubiquitous in the brain of kids who grew up in the 80s that it doesn’t even seem like it should have an author. She also did this bonkers cover of Devo’s “Space Girl Blues,” perfectly embodying the new-wave space girl, cold as ice, destroying your mechanism. 


Charlie, “Spacer Woman”

Neo, neo, neo, neo, neo, neo, neo-feminism. In 2096, what wave will we be on?


w/Bobby Birdman and DJ Pickpocket
Wed/13, 7:00pm
Bimbo’s 365 Club
1025 Columbus Ave, SF