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Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Center for Sex & Culture's Spring Smut Sale: Own a Part of Our Sexual History

Posted By on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 at 11:30 AM

Who knew? A periodical called Sexoogy from the 1930s.
  • Who knew? A periodical called Sexoogy from the 1930s.

Are you afraid that people are judging your paltry, boring home library? You know those barren shelves need more of everything: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, magazines, and periodicals. But where can you find replenishments, volumes that might be rare and maybe even a little racy? Saturday marks the first Library Spring Smut Sale at the Center for Sex & Culture.

If you think the offerings consists of cast-offs, the likes of which you spot haphazardly displayed on someone's front steps or outside a BART station entrance, you're mistaken. The center's library boasts an impressive collection of mostly donated materials, and it seeks to maintain items shunned by traditional booksellers, libraries, and museums. Saturday you have the chance to look through items it chooses to sell.

lr_csc_smut_sale_mags_01.jpg

Anissa Malady, who also answers to the name Library Vixen, has developed a system for determining the fate of any item she manages. Careful to put emotions aside, she "tries not to be subjective," instead relying on verifiable data such as rarity.

"I first consult Worldcat," she explains, referencing the website that itemizes the collections of some 72,000 libraries in 170 countries and territories. Playboy magazines, including the first issue, prove to be staples of the periodical sections found in most institutions. Less common is Leg Show, an adult fetish magazine offering glossy pages of articles involving dominant women, with pinup style photographs of flesh draped in nylons and teetering in high heels. The decision is made: Playboy is up for grabs during the Smut Sale, but Leg Show stays in the collection.

That's not to say the Playboys will be gone from CSC forever. The funds from the Smut Sale will benefit the center as a whole, but furthering a digitization project will be the much-needed result of the sale. The center is actively digitizing its collection, excited about providing patrons all over the world with free and open access.

lr_csc_smut_sale_books_01.jpg

When an either/or choice isn't involved, Malady often finds duplicates in the collection.

"We are still in the development phases of creating a plan of how to best handle these materials," she says.

Options include offering them to other institutions, or selling them. For now, most duplicates are being sold during the Smut Sale.

Elvira with no clothes on? Sure, you might find it on the web, but it's more fun to search for the original.
  • Elvira with no clothes on? Sure, you might find it on the web, but it's more fun to search for the original.

The Center for Sex & Culture aims to provide a community center for education, advocacy, and research. In addition to the library and archives, it offers classes, lectures, workshops, art exhibits, and special events. The latter include Godless Perverts: Atheism and Alternate Sexuality (a panel discussion that happens tonight -- Thursday, April 26) as well as the Art of Kissing and the Sex Workers' Writing Workhop.

The Spring Smut Sale starts at 10 a.m. Saturday (April 28) at the Center for Sex & Culture, 1349 Mission (at 10th St), S.F. Admission is free.

For more events in San Francisco this week and beyond, check out our calendar section. Follow us on Twitter at @ExhibitionistSF and like us on Facebook.

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Alexis Coe

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