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Monday, April 18, 2011

San Francisco Sex Workers Film & Arts Festival Coming to the City in May

Posted on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 6:00 PM

Erica Fabulous: part of the sex-worker underground
  • Erica Fabulous: part of the sex-worker underground
For 10 days in May, San Francisco will be overtaken by whores. There are other ways to interpret it, but that's certainly a valid one, according to Carol Leigh, aka Scarlot Harlot, codirector of the San Francisco Sex Workers Film and Arts Festival.

Leigh, who has worked for years in various efforts to decriminalize prostitution, says she and other sex workers have reclaimed the word "whore" in much the same way the LGBT community has done with "queer."

"We still giggle every time we say it," she says. "We have so reclaimed it."

And it shows in the lineup of the festival, which runs May 20-29. There will be a Whores' Bath, workshops by Whore College, and An Introduction to Whore Speak - and that's not counting the Roaming Hooker Fest and the Hook Collective.

So, what's the purpose of it all?

Mariko Passion presents the one-woman show Modern Day Asian Sex Slavery: The Musical.
  • Mariko Passion presents the one-woman show Modern Day Asian Sex Slavery: The Musical.
According to Leigh and coproducer Erica Fabulous, the festival was started in 1999 as a forum for sex workers -- including prostitutes, porn performers, exotic dancers, and others -- who make films and videos about sex work and the sex industry around the world. It has since expanded to include other visual arts, performances, workshops, educational efforts, and political organizing.

"It's very much a political event in addition to being an arts festival," Leigh says, "based on the issue of sex workers' rights."

Among new events for 2011 is the Roaming Hookerfest (also called "Up Against the Wall: Sex Workers in Public Spaces"), a group of sex workers in a van who project movies at various locations and give out safer-sex materials and other gifts to those who respond to last-minute announcements of where they'll be. This project raised money via Kickstarter, and Leigh encourages others to make donations.

"We like it when people donate even a dollar," she says, "because it shows the world how many people care about us."

The Hook Collective will present an exhibit called "Intersection: Stories Through Art by Sex Workers of Color." According to festival press materials, the exhibit curated by Tobias Ex challenges the accepted notion of a sex worker as a white, middle-class person.

"It's important to us to represent the broadest coalition of sex workers," Leigh says.

Film and video screenings include Transfrancisco by Glenn Davis; a fetish musical, Devious Inc.; Mutantes: Punk Porn Feminism, whose stars include Annie Sprinkle, Lydia Lunch, Scarlot Harlot, and Michelle Tea; and Titty Fuck Me starring drag queen Trauma Flinstone.

Kirk Read - TOBY JANTZEN
  • Toby Jantzen
  • Kirk Read
The festival will also feature male sex workers. Derrick Hanson and Tom Orr will present Love for $ale: A Sweet Talking, Street Walking Bawdy Burlesque Cabaret to open the festival. Kirk Read, one of our favorite local writers and performers, will lead a workshop on friendship for male sex workers.
"What the Fuck Is Ecosex and Why Is It So Hot for Whores?" Annie Sprinkle tells you. - JULIAN CASH
  • Julian Cash
  • "What the Fuck Is Ecosex and Why Is It So Hot for Whores?" Annie Sprinkle tells you.
Annie Sprinkle will lead "What the Fuck Is Ecosex and Why Is It So Hot for Whores?" The presentation explores several things we didn't really know about before, including "green porn," "eco-phone sex," nature fetishes, and eco-whores.

Sponsors include the St. James Infirmary (the nation's only health and social services clinic for sex workers), Good Vibrations, the Center for Sex & Culture, and the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence.

View the schedule here.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section.

Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF
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