Archive for August, 2009

Blowfish Giveaway: Two DVDs

August 27, 2009  |  journal entries  |  76 Comments

Blowfish is simply “good products for great sex,” and they are the producers of some of the best queer porn and experimental sexuality DVDs currently available. They want to start doing more giveaways through Sugarbutch … so here’s your chance to win something awesome!

I’ve reviewed both Crash Pad Series Volume 4 and The Barcelona Sex Project here on Sugarbutch, and they are both very much worth watching. I go back to the Crash Pad Series especially quite often.

I’ll select TWO different folks at random on Tuesday September 1st to win one or the other of these DVDs. To enter, leave a comment on this post, and tell me some awesome sexy thing you did this summer, or plan to do this summer, or wish you would’ve done this summer. Easy enough, right?

Thanks, Blowfish!

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August 24, 2009  |  poetry  |  Enter your password to view comments.

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How Does it Feel to be Gay?

August 21, 2009  |  miscellany  |  3 Comments

I ran across this on Queers United a while back, and it’s stuck with me. (There’s an approximate transcript in the comments on that QU post, if you need that.)

Olivia Cruise Contest through Good Vibes

August 18, 2009  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Good Vibrations is teaming up with Olivia Cruises to offer a free Trip for Two on their Halloween Cruise.

Olivia and Good Vibrations are giving away a cruise for two on Olivia’s “All Lesbian” Caribbean Sailing aboard Holland America line’s ms Ryndam departing from Tampa, Florida on October 15, 2009. Good Vibrations’ Staff Sexologist and Chief Cultural Officer Dr. Carol Queen, PhD will be on board, hosting a sexy lecture series on hot topics about sex and relationships. Workshop topics will include: Flirting 101; Spice Up Your Vacation; Get What You Want In and Out of Bed; Spicing it up with Toys: A guide to bringing toys into partner play; You’re into What? When someone you love is kinky; and How to Have Better Orgasms. With over 1500 lesbians, a Halloween costume contest, and ports like Belize, Cozumel, Key West and Guatemala, what are you waiting for?

Drawing will take place on August 30th. Enter away!

The L Word Season Six: well, at least it’s over

August 18, 2009  |  reviews  |  10 Comments

Damn you, L Word. After five seasons of drama, awful writing, inconsistent characters, offensive gender stereotypes, horrible treatment of trans issues and butch issues and positive sexuality and relationship accountability, I still want to like you. I still watched, because I wanted to be able to participate in the lesbian culture that says “oh my god she is such a Bette, I don’t even know how you can date her.” I still hoped that maybe, perhaps, somehow, it would redeem itself, because, well, I am that starved for lesbian imagery and lesbian characters and lesbian representation. I am so starved that I sat through Shane’s singularly sexualized androgyny and Max’s transition and Jenny’s insanity and every character’s complete lack of growth and the painful dialogue and writing that made me shout at my computer screen. I put up with it because somewhere, I am a little ashamed to admit, I like deconstructing the awfulness that is the drama and bad writing and intolerable plots and horrible representations of … not me.

The L Word: Season 6 DVD – Reserve Your Advance Copy Today from Wolfe for just $44.95, Available October 20, 2009

It’s the final season of the show that won our hearts and got us talking; the show that The New York Times called: “a Sapphic Playboy fantasia” for its unwavering dedication to portraying sexy lesbian characters in a steady stream of increasingly hot and wild story lines. Season 6 is wilder than ever as it revolves around the $64,000 question: “Who Killed Jenny?” Nope, that’s not a spoiler – the first episode begins with that question and we spend the whole season in flashback leading up to the big event. And in the words of that great infectious theme song, Season 6 covers everything from: “Talking, Laughing, Loving, Breathing, Fighting, Fu**ing [sic], Crying, Drinking, Writing, Winning, Losing, Cheating, Kissing, Thinking, Dreaming.” And SO much more.

I wonder if the writers worried that there was no other way to redeem Jenny other than to have her killed. I wonder if they wrote her to be so terribly annoying and inconsistent and bratty and self-absorbed and completely intolerable ON PURPOSE so we would love it when she gets murdered. I admit, when I first heard she was getting murdered, aside from letting out a huge BWA HA! NO WAIT, SERIOUSLY? laugh at the ridiculousness of attempting to add a level of unbelievable suspense to the show, I also said, well it’s about fucking time.

Despite this, the only possible thing that could have kept me watching season six, I didn’t see past the premiere. Mostly because I just couldn’t be bothered to seek out some place that had Showtime. I’m still vaguely curious to know what happened, who killed Jenny (though I hear it’s never revealed) and how the show wraps up, but I do have other important things that might take presidence. Like, you know, cleaning my kitchen and watering my plants and reorganizing all my ties by color. I’m still tempted though … and I just might get the season’s DVDs when they’re available in October, and see if I can’t at least have a good time deconstructing everything that’s wrong with it. I do get a little thrill out of the perfect deconstructive insult.

If you are as curious as I am, or if perhaps you are a fan (I know there must be some of you out there), you should reserve your advance copy today from Wolfe Video, queer-owned community source for LGBT movies since 1985.

Review: Hard Love & How to Fuck in High Heels (DVD)

August 17, 2009  |  reviews  |  3 Comments

This was absolutely the first butch/femme porn I ever saw, and it blew my mind. I had a VHS version until a few years ago – not sure what happened to it exactly, actually, haven’t seen it since my cross-country move four years ago.

But: it was made in 2000. And I was OBSESSED with it in 2001. So when Babeland offered it up, I jumped, but wondered nervously: would it hold up? Would it be outdated?

Hard Love & How to Fuck in High Heels consists of two different films: Hard Love, which stars Jackie as directed by Shar, and How to Fuck in High Heels, starring Shar and directed by Jackie.

What’s that? “Who are Shar & Jackie?” Oh, right. I talk about them both on a first-name basis as if I know them, but really I don’t. (I did meet Shar once though. She asked me if I was packing. I was. It was hot, and I blushed hard. Did I ever write that story up on Sugarbutch?) They are a queer butch/femme couple, Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano, who I’ve known of since their porn company, S.I.R. Productions, put out both this film and others (such as Sugar High Glitter City – full review of that one coming soon too). I was obsessed with On Our Backs, too, and I vaguely remember them being featured in there at least once or twice. They were a high-profile visibly queer butch/femme couple when I was a babydyke, and I saw them as mentors and roll models, even if I didn’t actually know them.

They’ve now been together 16 years. There was a great article in the The SF Chronicle recently about them and their three kids, which mentioned Sharlene’s Babycakes.


(Photo reprinted without permission from The SF Chronicle)

Okay, back to the review:

Hard Love is not just a porn – it attempts a plot, a pair of former lovers who are still intertwined, and the two others they are now currently fucking. There were a few arguments between the characters – which, though I expected them, I found myself asking my computer, “really? I mean I know this is realistic and all, but can’t I have my porn lesbian-drama-free? Must I deal with lesbionic relationship bullshit? I just want to get off …” yet I found myself invested, identifying with the characters (Jackie especially).

I admire the attempt by S.I.R. productions (which apparently stands for Sex, Indulgence, and Rock ‘n’ Roll) to put together a story, but also find it generally unnecessary, and sometimes distracting.

How to Fuck in High Heels is the shorter, second part of this video, consisting of one of Shar’s performance poetry pieces of the same name. It is smutty, and showcases some great femme wear and cocks and heels, but it isn’t porn the way Hard Love is. I do love it, because it’s Shar, because I’ve seen it a hundred times, because it reminds me of queer performance poetry open mics. But it too is dated, and f I didn’t have the history, the relationship, with S.I.R., I would probably be more critical. Still, in the interest of, ah, the evolution of dyke porn, this is a significant piece. And if you dig hot blonde femmes and strong sexy butches, you’ll love it.

I was thrilled by it when I popped in the DVD and saw the familiar opening scene. You know how some movies are just forever embedded in your consciousness? Yeah, this one is. I studied the sex scenes with Jackie, though I wasn’t certain wy she fascinated me so much. Did I want to do her or be her?

I love the scene when the femme is getting fucked in the kitchen. I love the scene where Jackie’s ex meets up with her boi and does a striptease. I love watching Jackie jerk off while her lover eggs her on with dirty talk. I love Jackie’s enthusiastic jump into the tub to be with her, later.

I loved it, but I hesitated to show it to Kristen. The clothes and hairstyles and shoes were dated. The camera work wasn’t great, either – not compared to the recent high quality dyke porn. I worried she’d be critical of it, and I worried I had too much invested in it, given that it’s imprint is burned on my brain like the burnt in ghostly imprint of text on an old monitor.

Eventually, Kristen and I did sit down to watch it, and her reaction was much as I suspected. We didn’t make it through the first scene, but I insisted we forward it to the dirty talk/jerk off session. “Don’t you want to watch Jackie come?” I enticed, knowing how much she appreciates a butch orgasm. She watched with interest, lips parted. I watched her. Then she insisted we turn it off and go fuck.

I’d say it’s still got it’s charm.

Stay tuned for reviews of Sugar High Glitter City, S.I.R. Production’s 2nd butch/femme porn, and a porn giveaway of both of those DVDs!

You should buy Hard Love and How to Fuck in High Heels at Babeland.

My Evolving Masculinity: Part One, Introduction

August 6, 2009  |  essays  |  13 Comments

Gender evolves and changes and shifts over time; what’s true for me today might not be true tomorrow, and the questions and puzzlements that plagued me a year ago may seem irrelevant and minor next year.

I don’t have a major attachment to my own personal, inner expectations of consistency such that I believe that who I am today will continue being who I am forever and ever ad infinitium, but at the same time, I recognize that I don’t struggle with my own gender identity, performance, or exploration like I used to. I have come to a very comfortable place, where I am content to swim around and chill – to continue exploring and deepening my own understandings of both my personal gender, gender theory, the social constructions of gender, and how gender evolves, of course, but I’ve come to a bit of a plateau.

Sugarbutch used to be the primary space where I asked gender – and sex, and relationship – questions about myself, about my community, about my friends, and about culture, where I worked through my questions and concerns, where I tried to make sense of what it meant to embody female masculinity, where I asked questions and toyed over ideas and tried things on (and took them off again). I’ve been writing in this space for more than three years, and it has served me quite well.

But I’m not struggling with these questions like I was. I still analyze, I still observe, I still look at, well, EVERYTHING, through the finely-tuned lens of gender theory; I still learn new things or have my mind blown or adopt and integrate new concepts, but even the new things are not as huge as they once were. They are minor shifts in a very large picture that is mostly in focus, now just waiting for the details. I’m not trying to say I’m done – it didn’t just take a three-year exploration and now it is complete. I’ve identified as butch for nearly ten years, though it’s only in the last five or so that I have been adopting and exploring a much more intentional identity around that term. And it has, in many ways, culminated here, in this medium.

That I’m not struggling with this in the same way has meant that the writings on Sugarbutch have changed. Surely you’ve noticed this, if you’ve been reading for a while. I miss the daily journal ramblings about my personal feelings and thoughts and observations on my life and relationships, but circumstance (and a still-increasing readership) makes this much harder these days. I miss sharing with you my struggles and complications, and believe you me there are still struggles and complications, but they are not so much about gender.

So I’ve tried some new things, in the past year or so. Like the On Butches and In Praise of Femmes pieces, and the short-lived magazine-style layout (that nobody except me seems to miss), and the more how-to style posts about masculinity and butch/femme.

This has brought a whole new set of issues, because it is hard – perhaps impossible – to speak for, or about, or of a community accurately. After the fallout from Top Hot Butches, for a minute I resolved I would no longer speak for the community. I would no longer attempt to represent the community, or share our secrets, or expose our weaknesses, or attempt to heal our rifts and heartbreaks. (Who is “The Community” anyway? Perhaps those of you who have followed the sub-plots of Sugarbutch know of the deep thread of queer interconnectivity and the ways that this community is so goddamn small that I keep running into people I don’t want to interact with everywhere I go.)

But as I’m coming into some new projects, and thinking about and moving into what’s next, I am realizing: we desperately need leaders in this community. We desperately need people representing us. We desperately need more representation and recognition and acknowledgment of our beautiful, true selves. We desperately need mentors, telling us stories of how they found themselves and making it easier for us to create our own paths.

I do want to be a part of that, so I do want to keep writing about gender, about theory, about butch/femme, about what it’s like to revalue gender in a heteronormative culture which reproduces compulsory gender roles which nearly destroy us and in a mainstream lesbian subculture which values compulsory femininity and androgyny. I know there’s a need here, and I breathe and eat and sleep and commute this stuff, I can’t not see it, I can’t not think about it.

I’m struggling a bit with the movement from intermediate to advanced: I am beginning to get some teaching materials together, gender workshops and such, a series of gender articles perhaps, things I’ve been thinking about for a while now but which I cannot seem to complete. I know this subject matter inside and out, but now I think I need to learn how to teach it, how to break down the concepts into tiny, easy, bite-sized pieces and present them on appetizing platters. I’m also struggling with the question of continuing to engage the more advanced gender explorers, those comrades and friends I’ve met along the way who continue to inspire and inform my work and my own explorations. I want to encourage those conversations to happen, too. I want to engage on deeper levels AND beginner levels.

So, my masculinity is evolving. I have some particular ideas about where it’s going, and what it means to move from adolescent masculinity into adulthood, which I think is part of what I’ve been going through (and upon which most of the rest of this series on My Evolving Masculinity will focus). I’m a little plagued by questions: How do I continue to become a leader? How do I make a safe space for people to explore this stuff? How do I encourage deeper, more intentional thought, without policing or restricting? How can we, as a community, as friends, as lovers, as allies, continue to reclaim and recreate and remake gender in ways that are liberating rather than limiting? How can I assist the big big energy of this movement that I have felt growing, and that I have helped to create, in moving to the next level?

I want to invite you to participate as I’m thinking about new directions and new focuses of this site, new uses for this space, and new approaches to my own masculinity. Do you have particular ideas for things you’d like to see here? Any particular features? Any concepts you wish I would write more about? Any directions you would love to see? I’m open to ideas and suggestions as I slightly refine the direction, and attempt to continue to further my work in this medium.

Watch for Part Two of My Evolving Masculinity: Yin & Yang, exploring some recent concepts from my tantra retreat on the balancing of transformative and stable energies, coming soon.

New film out soon: Steam

August 6, 2009  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

I haven’t seen this yet, but the DVD is coming out from Wolfe Films on September 29th, 2009, and I’m looking forward to it. I still have a thing for Ally Sheedy (how can you not?), and I don’t know who this Kate Spiegel is, but whoa she’s cute.

Have you seen it? Was it any good?

Here’s the synopsis:

Steam tells the stories of three very different women, whose lives are linked only by the steam room at the local gym. The women seem “stuck” in life. They are unable to overcome what is keeping them from growing and thriving in their lives, until each embarks on a relationship that will lead them to themselves.

Celebrated veteran actor Ruby Dee (American Gangster) plays Doris, a lonely widower who is in deep mourning for her husband. She has spurned her old church community, where once she sang and played piano. Unexpectedly, Doris finds a new love when she meets the outgoing August. But her new happiness is immediately threatened by August’s family, who suspect her of being a gold digger.

Ally Sheedy (The Breakfast Club, High Art) plays Laurie, a “soccer mom” whose ex-husband has not only hooked up with a much younger women, but who is also shamelessly trying to turn their son against her. The bitter divorce and custody battle has very much dampened Laurie’s spirits, but her life is revived when she gets involved with a much younger man. Chelsea Handler (The Chelsea Handler Show) plays Jacky, Laurie’s best girlfriend, who comically encourages Laurie every step of the way in this risky relationship.

And Kate Siegel (The O.C.) plays Elizabeth, a college co-ed who is living on campus, but is still very much dominated by her strict parents, who live nearby and demand that she attend church with them every Sunday. In her Gender Studies class, Elizabeth meets and falls for the fiery activist Niala (Reshma Shetty of USA’sRoyal Pains). When the two women become lovers, Elizabeth must face her parent’s wrath head on.

Sugasm #170: Sugarbutch Star in the top 3!

August 5, 2009  |  miscellany  |  1 Comment

Sugasm highlights the top pieces on sexblogs by the bloggers who blog them.

This Week’s Picks:

More SugasmJoin the Sugasm

You Are Never Ready

August 5, 2009  |  poetry  |  5 Comments

Thanks to Alisha for introducing me to this piece of poetry by Nicole Blackman; it is precisely what I needed. It’s hard to find online, so I’m reproducing it here, in case you also need to hear what she has to say. See more of Nicole Blackman’s work at NicoleBlackman.com. This piece is reproduced from her book Blood Sugar, which seems to be out of stock from Akashic Books – hopefully not out of print, though, because I really must get my hands on a copy.

You Are Never Ready
Nicole Blackman

In four minutes you will be gone and I must tell you why.

When a star crashes, the angels are electrified.
Your life changes in ways you can’t imagine.

When your dreams are perfect, they run like machines and leave you dizzy.

When you first discover you’re dying, everyone seems to be saying goodbye.

When your dreams are perfect, they run like machines.

You must change your life. You are never ready.
You must change your life. You are never ready.

There are people you have to leave behind, they just dirty up your mouth
they don’t value your treasure.

You fall down, you kiss up, you love them, it’s not enough.
They’re nothing special and you’re just a treasure.
If you had no magic here you’d be just like everyone else.
Imagine the tragedy.

You must change your life. You are never ready.
You must change your life. You are never ready.

Love is like crying is like writing is like dying.
You’ve got to do it alone.

I know it’s tragic to be tender.
I know it’s dangerous to be kind.
I know it’s vicious to care.

Listen to me, I know what’s going to happen.

You don’t need a window, you need a fire escape,
you’ll need a skylight to get where you have to go.
I can’t tell you where.

And you dreamt that you were hollow
and you dreamt that you were whole.
Reconstruct what you remember
and it comes out in pieces.

You must change your life. You are never ready.
You must change your life. You are never ready.

Those below you can’t hold you up
everyone is gone gone gone
everyone is gone gone gone
learn to swin alone learn to fly.

You must change your life. You are never ready.
You must change your life. You are never ready.

Cast them off like long rope and learn to swim the dark water alone.
Look up to the stars stars stars and know that this is your sky now.

lift your arms and go
step forward in Nureyev leap
blink fast and whirr over streets
hover over trees
speed past taxis
don’t even bother to wave
at the children who watch you
awestruck
brushing past skyscrapers
and looking up up
slip off the long skirt
that slows you down
and don’t look back to watch it
billow to earth
tell the cool jets and Superman
that you’re passing them
feel your hair stream back
with wind blinding you
forcing your dry mouth open
no one can touch you now
get out of this fucking world
as fast as you can.