So, it’s been a while, but let’s get back into it.
Friday Night at the FPAs was the actual Feminist Porn Awards Ceremony. We had tickets to the pre-party, but wound up missing pretty much all of it due to a combination of (a) slow dinner service, and (b) wardrobe emergency. So we got approximately one hors d’oeuvre each and didn’t get to network at all.
But that’s okay, because we still had Saturday to do that and, hey, we did get to hang out in the “VIP Lounge” (the upstairs part of the venue, which had little bistro tables and stuff. It was really nice, and I’m glad we went that route because I get really antsy in crowds and the upstairs was a lot less thronged than the downstairs. Worth the extra money, as far as I’m concerned.
Of course, we also got fancy swag bags with, seriously… Okay, vibrators must be the most over-priced thing on the planet, because I’ve seen how much those funfactory and lelo vibes cost and there were multiple new toys in each of those bags.
Not that I’m complaining about having an entire nightstand full (even more full than before?) of silicon goodies to play with at my disposal, but. Wah! O.O
By now, it’s no big shock who won what – the list has been up for weeks, after all. However, it as a lovely experience to drink wine and applaud the winners (and hear the acceptance speeches… Madison Young, whose movie won for Best Kink, took the opportunity to thank all the women pornographers who had come before her, and I got a little sniffly at that one, I don’t mind telling you).
Something that I think is neat about an event like this (or the local No Pants Dance Party, or any neo-burlesque show you care to attend) is that it’s the kind of event where you go expecting to find everyone attractive. There were many, MANY comments through-out the night about the astonishing amount of sexiness going on in the venue and, while it was definitely true, and while people are going to put more effort into their appearance when going to a Gala than when going to the grocery store… I don’t think it was any more or less true than, say, a random Tuesday at the Big Gay Bridgehead (if we want to compare apples to apples), or a stroll through a given park. I think, however, that an event like this invites the attendees to notice the beauty of the people around them.
Which I think is my take-away from the awards ceremony. There is beauty all over the place, if you get your head set to notice it.
And that was the awards ceremony.
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So, it’s been a while, but let’s get back into it.
So I have the wonderful experience of hitting up the Feminist Porn Awards this year. The next few posts are going to focus on what-all went down and my thoughts there-upon, starting with the Thursday Night nominees screening: Public. Provocative. Porn.
There were quite a few nominees, of course, and the screening only showed seven (in whole or in part), many of which were shorts. As someone who – perhaps surprisingly – hasn’t had much experience with visual porn (literary porn is quite a different story), this was particularly interesting because I seriously didn’t know what to expect. I’ve been to local dyke dances where the hip, cool thing is to have Crash Pad episodes playing in the background, so I’d seen some of their work. I’d also seen the rough cuts of the stuff my (now-ex) girlfriend made while she was working in Toronto. But that was pretty much it.
I wasn’t expecting the bredth of story-telling that would show up – everything from silly, intentionally ridiculous premises (Biodildo); to artsy, very-literary – in that the sex was rather more in the voice-over than in the imagery – stuff (Taken), as well as numerous bits and pieces in between.
Some of my favourites were:
Taken: I like this one because of its cinimatography, but even more-so because of its story which, at its root and at its climax, is about the agency and active desire of the submissive. The “external” plot (if you will?) revolves around a recurring abduction scene but the actual story is about how the abductee is figuring out how to entice her abductor to come for her – what she has to do to get her abductor to show up, and how the waiting and wondering and uncertainty are part of the scene, even if it doesn’t *look* like the scene starts until the car pulls up and the person with the rope steps out.
I was really disappointed that Taken didn’t win an award. I think it should have (Best Kink, maybe? Even if that would have denied me the chance to hear Madison Young’s acceptance speech which, seriously, I just about cried… but I’m getting ahead of myself).
Krutch: I liked the way the scenes cut back and forth between the Main Character on her commute home (via public transit) and her getting herself off once she was in her bedroom (for the viewing pleasure of her gf, by the looks of things). It was well done, because it made the commute itself into a metaphor for the masterbation that was going on in the other scenes. The MC slipped and fell (the actress explained, during the post-screening panel discussion that “falling is part of my life” as someone with mobility issues) and this was translated into a metaphor for the vibrator Just Not Doing It during the home-scene. Fitting her crutch with a vibrating cock ring (I think) and starting up again, the cut-to scene involved trying to make a transfer and having to run faster, and faster, for a bus, which was a metaphor for the push towards orgasm.
This one got a lot of acolades over the weekend. Not surprisingly. But I worry that the main reason why it got so much applause was because it featured a crip-identified star (and, I hear, had a largely crip/disabled-identified crew)… rather than because it was a hot, well-put-together movie. Although it was definitely a hot, well-put-together movie, I don’t mind telling you.
Maybe it’s just the title, but I feel like the MC’s dis/ability was THE major plot element. I can’t tell if the same film, but featuring an able-bodied chick using a cock ring on her favourite softball bat, would have received the same recognition (or would have even been the same film, for that matter).
I’m looking forward to the point where the MC’s disability (or trans-ness, if I want to point fingers at the film that, later, won for Best Romantic) is an acknowledged facet of their existence and, hey, their sex life, but isn’t the crux of the plot.
Because I Want You To Watch: An exhibitionist femme jacks off in an empty second(?) floor studio (dance studio, maybe?) knowing that someone is watching her doing it. I really, really enjoyed this one, in significant part because I could seriously identify with the character. We even have the same socks. O.O I love her femme fabulocity, and I love her exhibitionism and willingness to do public (solo) sex. Win. (And it did. It won the Golden Beaver award, in the end).
Jizz Lee’s “Biodildo” was adorable and sweet and just silly enough to be a massively fun romp. “Bound Rubber Dolls” was… interesting from an aesthetic point of view (nothing says “fetish” like latex and shibari, particularly when the “sex” part isn’t going to be picked up on by people who don’t get off on straight-up latex and/or shibari), but wasn’t exactly My Thing. “Forbidden Lovers #1″ was… disappointing. Mostly because of the use of the “We’ve just been moving so fast, I have to tell you something… about me” trope without putting any kind of a twist on it. I’m hella glad there’s someone (Nica Noelle) making porn for straight trans women (and their boyfriends) but, personally, I would have liked to see that particular trope flipped on its head.
I confess, I can’t remember what the seventh piece was. Maybe that says it all right there. :-\
Anywhoo. That was the screening. Ghost and I stuck around for the panel discussion that followed. Unfortunately, being stuffed up all to hell and having lost 3/4 of my hearing (temporarily – thank goodness) as a result, I wasn’t able to follow very much of it.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that was Thursday night.
More to follow!
 In this one’s defence, they only showed one vignette of three or four during the screening, so maybe the others were a little more racey/illicit/public/something… None the less, calling the movie “forbidden lovers” is… a bit off. A straight couple on good terms with their parents/future-in-laws and having vanilla sex (okay, in said parents/fils spare bedroom) is pretty-much anything but forbidden. I’m just sayin’.
 How ’bout a deaf Domme telling her sub (gender irregardless, possibly or possible not also deaf) how to undress and where to touch hirself in order to give her the best possible show? As a suggestion. Just throwing it out there.
 Or *not* deaf, but some other ability/mobility issue – a domme who uses a wheel chair could work just as well in this situation.
 I have to say, I’m pleased as all get out about the fact that there’s more than just me walking around, feeling sexy as hell, in thigh-highs made of ribbed cotton. Seriously.
So I mentioned, earlier, that my story was accepted to the Kinky Toronto anthology.
The anthology's official title is Leather Heights, Toronto, Canada and it's available in e-format (through e-pub) and hard-copy paperback (through Cuir and Queer).
The tribulations of adventurous tourists in the Church-Wellesley Village… dangerous strolls in the Don Valley… girl meets butch on the Yonge-University-Spadina subway line… risky blowjobs in the Harbour… heavy breathing on the Gardiner… rough abductions near Liberty Village… unexpected encounters in the Distillery District… dark desires in Leslieville… wet whippings in Queen West… Secret or not-so-secret play parties everywhere.
It’s just over a week away, and I’m gleefully oogling the conference schedule in order to decide which pannels I want to attend.
Right now, it’s looking like:
Session One: If I Had A Hammer: Reclaiming Feminist Porn As A Tool of Political Activism Against Oppression
(LUNCH – I don’t think I get to go to the keynote speakers’ luncheon, alas, but I’ll make due. Perhaps my young lady and I can get together with a few of our also-attending buddies and get lunch ensemble).
Session Two: To Be Real: Authenticity in Queer and Feminist Porn
Session Three: Being Out Now: How Performers Navigate Sexual Morality and Media Representation
Session Four: The Politics of Kinky Porn and Feminism (because Duh. Although Teaching Porn in Accademe sounds good, too).
There’s a reception at the end of the day and, from there, we will get dolled up and go to the Switch Party.
Princess Kali (of KinkAcademy and PassionateU) is running a year-long online course called the Kink Leaders Program. It’s a minimal time committment (call it 4-6 hours per month?) that culminates in the organizing and running of a Fabulous Kink Event/Project/Service in one’s own community.
I’m looking at this because (a) it would be a handy skill-set to build on, (b) it would be useful in areas other than kink, (c) it would be a handy networking opportunity within the wider (North American? Global Anglophone?) kink community, and hey (d) it would give me a new project to work on (with help!) which would be awesome.
So I’ve sent off an email to Princess Kali asking a few questions (mostly around scheduling, to be honest), and am prepping to add this handy-dandy program to my personal 2013-2014 course of study on Leather, Power, Magic, and Religion.
Depending on what is or is not allowed in the conditions of the course, I may wind up blogging my homework assignments as I go along. We shall see.
Either way, I’m excited!
[EDIT: I have now enrolled in the course. Here's to a year of learning! ]
So there are a few conventions/conferences that I would really like to attend in the next year or so.
In the past, I’ve only attended (1) Convergence 8 (a fabulous and soul-restoring goth get-together that was – YAY – held in Montreal in 2002), (2) the first Canadian National Pagan Conference (Gaia Gathering) in Edmonton (where I had a lot of financial help, since I was presenting in a couple of areas and got a scholarship to help cover my food and accomodations), and (3) a couple of Leather Dyke events (Spring Fling and Unholy Harvest), both of which have spent most of their history in Ottawa (so I didn’t have to worry about the cost of food/transportation/accomodation while attending), but which are now held in Montreal and Toronto, respectively. I’ve also been to the Rainbow Health Ontario conference (hinto: call for proposals is now), but I work for them, and so it doesn’t really count from a financial perspective.
This year, for the first time, I’m going to be attending the FPAs in Toronto, including the Feminist Porn Conference – which has a huge number of panels and presentations that I really, really, REALLY hope don’t conflict with each other. That said, seeing as I’m attending while wearing a number of different, albeit often overlapping, hats… there will probably be a few places where I need to make some hard decisions.
Regardless of that, though, my excitement about this conference/convention, combined with what-all the twittersphere had to say about CatalystCon East, has got me thinking hard about attending both #ccon and one of the winter-scheduled Dark Oddyssey (either Surrender or Winterfire) conventions in the next year, year-and-a-half. I love the way both of those Cons blend different areas of interest for me – mixing kink and religious practice with sexwork and polyamoury; mixing accademics and activism with pornography and relationships – so I want to attend them, partially to see if they live up to my expectations (I hope so, but I also expect so), but mostly just to revel in the stew of it all.
When I said this to Ghost, she said “Well… Why don’t you?” and I answered, immediately, “I can’t afford to”. Just like that.
And then she reminded me that I could.
And she’s right. By the grace of one of my ancestors, I can. But the mere thought of doing so scares the heck out of me (to put it very mildly) because, typically, the way I hang onto money is to forget that I have it. To hide it in a sock under the matress and then attempt to forget that the sock is even there. I’m a bit like a squirrel hiding nuts in the hopes that I forget their exact location and so can only access them if I’m willing to do the work of hunting through every nook and cranny where they might have been stashed. (I do this with ice cream, too, although it’s not nearly so effective). I’m scared to death that if I start thinking of 4-didget-price-tag events as “accessible” (to me, at least), I’ll start thinking of them as normal-accessible rather than as a “sometimes food”.
I mean, yes, I get all that stuff about how, if you want to build a reputations as, say, an internationally renouned bondage model, you have to start out by either (a) having a friend in charge of hiring the models for X photo spread in Y well-known fetish publication; or (b) getting your ass on the train and booking paid shoots all across the country in order to get your face/body/reputation out there. I get it that if you want to change your financial/social/physical “set point”, you have to start acting like you’re already at it. I get that if I want to push my life in a particular dirrection, I have to first convince myself (or fake-it-til-I-make-it) that said direction is feasable and attainable. (I know. Half of this talk sounds like it should be on Urban Meliad, rather than here).
None the less, I have a really rough time convincing myself that it’s okay for me to spend large (for a given value of “large” that tends to fluctuate depending on my income) amounts of money on, well, anything at all, let alone something that will benefit me long-term but maybe seems frivolous (or even just “frivolous”) in the moment.
Things to think about and unpack, no question.
 Four didgets meaning for registration PLUS food, accomodation, and travel expenses. But still. O.O
 For a given value of “acting”. Don’t do anything stupid, kids.
So. Every time I try to write “P is for Polyamoury” I run into… difficulties. So I’m saying Screw It, and writing “P is for Porn” instead because: I am all excited.
Specifically, I’m all excited about going to the 2013 Feminist Porn Awards, and the accompanying conference (Oh, gods, the conference! I think I just came in my dress…) in a couple of weeks.
See, as you all know, I was once an anti-porn feminist and have since changed my tune rather significantly. At this point, I think Annie Sprinkle hit the nail on the head when she said that the solution to bad porn isn’t No Porn, it’s making better porn.
When I write smut – like, say, the smut that’s forthcoming in the Leather Heights anthology – I try to write “feminist smut” in the sense that I try to include characters who don’t get a lot of print (or who get a lot of print where they’re smushed into one-dimensional stereotypes, as the case may be), try to write from a woman’s PoV, try to include safer sex practices, try not to objectify anyone and make everything super-obviously consensual, try to – even, maybe especially when writing more traditionally hetero pairings (think Harlequin) – to write the personal-interaction aspects of these stories in ways that don’t play into the emotionally abusive patterns that mainstream romances tend to espouse as “appropriate hero behaviour”… and such-like.
That isn’t necessarily how every pornographer is going to define feminist porn. I know there are people whose feminist porn does play with consensual-non-con, humiliation play, and other stuff that makes me, personally, nervous and squicky. (But isn’t that the beauty of plurality? Your kink can freak me right out, but that doesn’t mean I get to be all prohibitionist about your kink. I’m sure all you folks who like non-con scenes are sighing with relief right about now. )
Anyway. I’m ridiculously excited. To the point that I feel a bit silly, particularly since the part I’m SUPER EXTRA EXCITED about is the brainy accademic conference (I suspect I will be coming home with a book in tow) and all that hob-nobbing with delicious babes like Drew Deveau and Courtney Trouble at galas and play-parties is… y’know, a handy bonus. But it’s not what’s making my breath race.
(Hi. I’m sapiosexual. Apparently).
In any case, the lovely wife and I will be descending upon TO, business cards (and, in my case for sure, note-taking materials) in hand, for a whirlwind weekend that is not to be missed. The fact that we’re topping it off with Leather Launch (a kinky edutainment extravaganza benefiting leather women organizers in Toronto and Ottawa – Huzzah! If I had a link, I’d post it. Stay tuned) is just the icing on the hawt, brainy cake.
And that’s what’s coming up in my life..
 Talk Nerdy To Me.
Today marks three years of the service-arrangement that I share with Ghost.
Along the way, she has become my friend, my lover, my sweetheart, my partner, my property, and (most recently) my wife.
Tonight, my altars are (finally) burning, we have an out-of-town friend staying an unexpected extra day, I’ve smoked the house with myrrh (purification and blessings), and I have a duck roasting in the oven. The three of us are drinking red wine (yet another bottle from the wedding, as it happens).
A year ago, I posted about what I had learned about myself as a dominant, among other things. This year has been one of learning how to… not “share” power, but learning how to hold power and share my submissive – both with her vanilla partner and with someone over-whom she holds power.
The whole year hasn’t been taken up with this, I realize, but it’s been something that, one way or another, has been on my mind.
A while ago, I wrote a post called “H is for Honour“. Learning how to share, without dropping my submissive’s reins and without “losing” my Place in her life (or letting resentment develope due to feeling like that’s what’s happening) is a way of living with honour, I think. Certainly, it’s one more way in-which I strive to live with grace as a dominant.
Happy Anniversary to us.