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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Sex Worker Talent Show Turns Out Even Wilder Than You'd Think

Posted By on Tue, May 31, 2011 at 2:00 PM

Lady Monster "strips at the speed of seduction," says curator Erica Fabulous. - HANNA QUEVEDO
  • Hanna Quevedo
  • Lady Monster "strips at the speed of seduction," says curator Erica Fabulous.

On Friday, a multicolored explosion of non-normative gender expressions hit the SomArts Gallery for Get the Money Up Front, a sex worker talent show that featured performances from hustlers, strippers, female impersonators, burlesque dancers, former and current sex workers, and their queer friends. (Erica Fabulous curated it.) Yeah, it was awesome and part of the Sex Worker Art and Film Festival.

Performers included Jupiter Knows, a larger-than life black female impersonator, who busted out a lip-syncing radical faerie drag performance. Aging trans hustler Seely Quest did a poetic reading of his personal and professional sexual exploits, which included -- the performer's words -- "face fucking someone for a stage performance."

Jupiter Knows: It's all about intensity. - HANNA QUEVEDO
Exotic dancer and author Ckiara Rose let it all hang out for her one-woman striptease turned emotional exorcism, which she performed to Pink Floyd's "Comfortably Numb." Dee Hana Two Spirits, the only trans elder in the show, played an electrical guitar solo over lyrics that talked about her past drug dependency and self-doubt. And plus-sized brown babe Cinnamon, a dancer at the Lusty Lady, brought a cadre of Lusties resembling Barbie onstage to show the race and size bias that happens in strip clubs. This wasn't a striptease, but a striptease for social justice.

Fabulous, who also heads San Francisco's semiannual queer cabaret, said she organized the show so that sex workers could express themselves surrounded by their peers while non-sex workers could get something out of it too.

"This is a chance to show that sex workers are living, talking people with agency," Fabulous says. "That we're not just empowered. We're everything. From all walks of life."

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Titania Kumeh

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