Archive for June, 2011

Best Lesbian Erotica 2012, selected & introduced by Sinclair Sexsmith

June 28, 2011  |  miscellany, reviews  |  16 Comments

I’m so excited to announce that I am the guest editor for Best Lesbian Erotica 2012 published by Cleis Press and edited by Kathleen Warnock—and here is the amazingly hot cover!

It is due out in December 2011 and it has a fantastic line-up of well-written, gender-smart, dirty, smutty, hot stories (which are very queer, not just lesbian).

I’m sure you’ll hear endlessly about this volume as we get closer to publication, but in the meantime the best thing you can do to support it is to pre-order it on Amazon as Amazon takes pre-order numbers very seriously, and depending on how many are pre-ordered they keep a certain number in stock, which helps for the success of the book tremendously.

I’ll be doing as much promotion as I can, hopefully with a virutal book tour and some copies available for review. If you have any other ideas how I can get the word out about this book and market and promote it, I’m open to brainstorming! What do you think? What would make you run out & buy it?

Friday Reads: Better

June 24, 2011  |  reviews  |  2 Comments

Because there isn’t much else to do, I am working.

Reading books, going through to do lists. I’m webmastering for both Butch Voices national conference and Cialis online orderingcgi?CA=929655-0003&PA=1694067&html=http://femme-cash.com/affiliates/feminist-porn-network/1514″>Perversions of Lesbian Lust, and I’m working on some freelance projects. I’m keeping my inbox as emptied out as possible (sometimes I use it as a place to hold information. I know, the GTD and time management people would not like that. But sometimes it really helps me find that info quick).

I have a lot of reviews to do. There are a lot of products on my desk waiting patiently for me to get ‘em out and play with them. A lot of DVDs, quite a few books, some toys, especially from the new “Gender Expression” category at Babeland. I’m excited about these products, but it doesn’t make much sense to toss in a random review post now. I don’t even like that that piercing & body mod post is in the last page of updates. It doesn’t make sense here, not part of the narrative of the last week.

Has it really only been a week? Only barely.

I picked up and finished Live Through This: On Creativity and Self-Destruction edited by Sabrina Chapadjiev this week. It’s not quite the same as coping with grief and loss, but it was interesting to think about how creativity can be a tool. In a conversation with my tantra teacher recently, she said some of her most creative growth periods have come out of profound grief.

I picked up Live Through This—or rather, the fine folks at Seven Stories Press sent me Live Through This when they sent me Rose—but I was drawn to it because of the amazing writers included. Seriously, look at that lineup: bell hooks, Patricia Smith, Cristy C. Road, Carol Queen, Annie Sprinkle, Elizabeth Stephens, Carolyn Gage, Eileen Myles, Diane DiMassa, Bonfire Madigan Shive, Inga Muscio, Kate Bornstein, Nicole Blackman, Silas Howard, Daphne Gottleib—and more. I loved Inga Muscio’s piece, but I’ve loved her style and voice and words for ages now and that’s no surprise. I had no idea that Kate Bornstein draws, and I loved the insight into her life that she opened up in her very personal essay. Eileen Myles’s essay freaked me out because it was about teeth, shudder, but it sure was effective. I love Nicole Blackman’s poetry and her piece was incredibly moving.

I’ve also been reading It Gets Better: Coming Out, Overcoming Bullying, and Creating a Life Worth Living edited by Dan Savage & Terry Miller. I’m supposed to review it for Lambda Literary, but I don’t even know what to say about it; so many people have said so many things. It is such a stunningly successful campaign, and I love what it has done and what it has inspired. I’ve been watching It Gets Better videos this week, reminding myself that it does get better, even when sometimes it doesn’t seem like it will.

I didn’t realize what a stellar line-up the It Gets Better book had in it, either. Ivan Coyote! Kate Bornstein. President Obama. It’s amazing, the list goes on and on. And sometimes the ones that are the most moving aren’t from anybody in particular, just someone who happens to be articulate about their gay experience and what it was like for them to make it better, or how it got better.

I’ve also been mulling over Kate Bornstein’s Hello, Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suidcide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws, and over Kate’s addition to It Gets Better, which is the essay that closes the book. It’s still one of my favorites.

So I’m trying to remember to take care of myself, to do whatever I need to stay alive, to keep going. This weekend, I think that’s going to involve cherry picking and watching a movie or two and hanging out with good friends, going outside to feel connected to the earth, reading some more books, eating strawberry shortcake made with our very fresh, very ripe CSA strawberries. And continuing to breathe, one more breath at a time.

The Last Sideshow, July 12th

June 23, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

I’ve learned a lot over the last year and and a quarter of coproducing and cohosting Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival. I was seeking a place to regularly perform in New York City and combined with Cheryl’s reading series expertise, not to mention her own sparkling spoken word talents, Sideshow was born and bloomed.

It’s been an incredible experience. I loved each one.

The last few have been hard. When Cheryl was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in November, we weren’t sure what would change. For a while, nothing did. Then she went into the hospital in April, and she spent three months there, missing the last three shows. They were hard—not just because it was a lot of work and effort, but also because she wasn’t there.

I can’t imagine doing Sideshow without her.

So July will be the last Sideshow. I’ve put the call out to all of those who were scheduled to read through the summer and fall, and if they can they are invited to read at the July event.

I don’t know if there will be more in the future. I do know I have edited an erotica anthology which comes out in the spring, so there will be events for that. I’ve learned a lot about event production, and I do want to continue doing readings, putting people together, bringing audiences to hear queers tell great stories. But I’m not sure I will be running another monthly reading series.

I loved doing Sideshow at the Phoenix. I love the seedy bar, I love that there are only bar stools and no actual folding chairs, I love that there are guys picking each other up in the background, I love the clink of glasses behind the bar, I love the seedyness. It’s different than reading in a bookstore or a queer arts performance space, and I like the differences. I will really miss having a place to read my work every month. I will really miss Cheryl, especially every time the second Tuesday rolls around.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Tuesday, July 12th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Free sex toy giveaway, 8pm. Reading, 8:30pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook

For Cheryl

June 23, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

There are a few things coming up for Cheryl.

The Last Sideshow, Tuesday, July 12th, at the usual time and place (8pm, The Phoenix, East Village, NYC). Lineup TBA.

A Memorial for Cheryl B (Is For Beautiful): A Celebration of Her Life, Because This Death Stuff Sucks. Saturday, July 23rd, 3pm at Dixon Place, NYC

I still don’t know what to say.

Here are a couple videos of Cheryl reading her work. I have some clips of her from an event of mine a few years back that I want to convert and put on YouTube too, haven’t done that yet. Maybe this weekend.

Hope you can make it to Sideshow or the memorial.

Cheryl B.

June 19, 2011  |  journal entries  |  13 Comments

photo by Syd London

Cheryl B. died yesterday, Saturday morning. I’m not sure what I can say yet. A couple other people are able to be more articulate than me: Sassafras Lowrey at Lambda Literary.org, Kathleen Warnock at Too Many Hats. Edit: Here’s a few more, Anne Elliott on Ass Backwords, Rachel Kramer Bussel on Lusty Lady.

We made a little video for Cheryl at April’s Sideshow.

Sideshow Loves Cheryl from Sinclair Sexsmith on Vimeo.

I’d like to post some videos of her poetry soon. I miss her.

Piercing, Waxing, & Other Body Modifications as Sex Toys

June 18, 2011  |  journal entries  |  5 Comments

EDIT: I scheduled this piece to publish today last week, when I was going through my drafts folder and discovered I’d never published it here (it originally appeared on Good Vibes Magazine). It seems a bit trite, after this weekend. More information about Cheryl is coming in the next few days, as we start planning what’s next.

Kristen and I drove to Philadelphia in February to see the piercing master Elayne Angel, to get Kristen’s nipples pierced and to have her pierce one of my cocks.

In all of the talk of piercing in the last few months since we both decided these piercings might be something we wanted to pursue, I started thinking about my tongue piercing again and that I would like to have it again. I had it pierced first in 2001 (ten years ago … is that right?! I think so) and then took it out in early 2006, only to have a piercer re-open the hole (which was only a tiny bit closed, so much easier the second time) in late 2007, and then took it out again in early 2009, which was before Kristen and I got together. So she never got the chance to kiss me with it. She said she’d kissed other people who have had one, but nothing more than that. And I had developed a few tricks with it, believe you me.

Of all the piercings I’ve had—and I’ve had 11 different ones, three below the neck, some of which I have had pierced more than once—my tongue is the one I like the most. But I have, as I tend to say, “a teeth thing,” which has in the past been a pretty serious dental phobia and now it just a former phobia (I think) and a general fear of breaking teeth or damaging teeth. So that doesn’t go very well with a metal bar through my tongue.

I took it out last time on a whim and then regretted it, wishing that I’d instead bought a spacer bar to keep it open instead of removing it entirely, or a bar with flat ends instead of the silver balls so it stays closer to my tongue and doesn’t click on my teeth when I talk or eat.

With all this talk of piercings, I started wishing I still had the bar in my tongue, and I decided about a week ago to see if I could get it through—and I could! It was quite easy, and while it was tender for a day or two it wasn’t more than adjusting, no actual damage. I found that I had actually bought a bar with flat ends (why didn’t I use that before? Not sure) and now that it feels back to normal, not swelling or sore, I slipped that in with the ball on top and the flat disc on the bottom just this morning.

It feels good. I like it.

I’ve noticed, in the week since I’ve had it in my mouth, that I am much more inclined to kiss Kristen with tongue, to touch it to her tongue, to get it into her mouth in some way than I was before. I wouldn’t say I dislike tongue kissing (at all!) but I do think generally people use their tongues too much when they kiss and that the lips are the good, best parts. But Kristen really likes tongue kisses generally … so this is a little bit different.

I’m also noticing that since Kristen got both nipples pierced that I want to touch them more. I can’t, really, yet, as they heal, for at least a week or so, but I find myself wanting to ask her to take her shirt off so I can see them, and wanting to touch or kiss or play with them already. She loves attention toward her tits, and probably generally I could do more of that, so this is a happy side effect of the piercing for her.

This morning, over breakfast, as we were discussing what we had to get done (on Kristen’s first real day off since her job started in early February), she mentioned she was going to get her pussy waxed. Which I love. Not because it’s something I expect her to do or require her to do or think is more feminine or part of any sort of beauty standard—I believe everyone has the right to sculpt or play with or explore their own body hair in whichever ways they want to, and that they can change that at any time—but because I love touching, kissing, playing with her pussy after she gets it done.

A friend of ours had hers waxed for the first time recently, and when I asked how it went she said, “My girlfriend could not keep her face out of my pussy for four days.”

Yeah. It’s like that. I see it all bare and I want to suck her lips into my mouth. Same with her nipples—I see them all pink and pert and I want to pinch them, lick them.

To Kristen this morning I said, “Between the waxing and the piercing, I’m going to have a hard time keeping my hands off you.”

Which, I expect, is at least part of the point! And which feels like a really good place to be in, given some of our recent complications.

It’s not that I expect any of these things—pierced tongue, pierced nipples, waxed pussy—to be something that anyone does, and if Kristen had showed no interest in nipple piercing or pussy waxing I never would push her to do either. But she was enthusiastic, interested in exploring what it would be like to modify her body in those ways, and personally, I think those are some significant ways to play with this amazing sexy tool of a body that we all have.

I don’t believe it should be a double standard, either—I too am responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of my own body hair, and in doing things that make her want to touch me or pleasure me. I’ve started to think of my gym routine as directly related to our sex life, because while it not only helps me build strength and stamina physically, it makes me feel stronger and more alive, with more confidence, something that can only help in the bedroom.

And I’m interested in enhancing my own body for sexual pleasure. I’m not sure if I’ll get another piercing. If I do, it’d be a clit piercing of some sort, probably a triangle, though I’m not sure about that. I’m especially not sure what it would be like to strap on and have a clit piercing, though I would hope it would make things better, which would be part of the point.

I often think of piercing as a way to enhance both sensation and attention toward a particular body part. Similarly to getting a tattoo—You may not notice someone’s forearms, but if they have a ring around it or a visual symbol of some sort, it draws much more attention to it. Plus piercings certainly give exhibitionists an excuse to take their shirts off (or lower their pants), since people are generally interested in how these things look and eager to say yes to an offer of, “Would you like to see?”

She’s definitely more willing to let out her exhibitionist these days. And given that she quite enjoyed the needle going through her nipples, I think she’s coming along quite nicely as a masochist, too. I referred to her as such at the dinner table last night, after the experience, and she protested. “Okay, a masochist-in-training, then,” I responded. That might be more accurate.

Rachel Kramer Bussel has a great recent piece about her experiences with waxing. I like looking at things like waxing that our culture files under “obligatory beauty regimens” as things that we actively choose, knowing full well what we are choosing (like the amount of time it takes to maintain hair removal is quite a lot), and that we choose because we like the way it looks or feels or the way it enhances our sex life. That is a perfectly valid reason to choose something.

Quick Things for Your Weekend

June 17, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

A couple notes from around the blog world that you may be interested in. Have a lovely weekend, all. More updates here are in progress.

BUTCH Voices Conference Requests Blog Links

BUTCH Voices folks are gearing up for the second bi-annual national conference in August, and they are looking to put a list of queer bloggers in their program, “open to all our Masculine of Center and Queer allies much like the conference“.

To have your blog listed, DM or @-reply their Twitter account, @BUTCHVoices with your linkand contact information and they will be in touch with you.

Madison Young Launches “Perversions of Lesbian Lust”

Madison Young has launched her newest addition to her Feminist Porn Network, Perversions of Lesbian Lust. I’m helping her with the structure of the site and having a lot of fun with it so far.

Here’s a shot from one of the first galleries, featuring Bettina Doll:

I suspect you’ll hear more from me about Perversions in the future.

Review of Boi Meets Girl on Amazon

I wrote a review of Boi Meets Girl: Brett & Melanie on Amazon for Tony Comstock & Comstock films. I caught a screening of that film at the LGBT Center a few months ago and it was fantastic, as was the Q&A with Tony after. I highly recommend it if you’re a queer porn collector. It’s real and fun and hot, and the interviews with Brett & Melanie are so familiar. It almost felt exposing, but I think that meant that it was incredible effective.

Taormino’s new anthology Take Me There: Transgender & Genderqueer Erotica

Tristan Taormino’s latest anthology has been announced, and this time it features transgender and genderqueer smut stories.

In mainstream media, the erotic identities, sex lives, and fantasies of transgender and genderqueer people are often oversimplified, sensationalized, or invisible. Take Me There is an erotica collection unlike any other that celebrates the pleasure, heat, and diversity of transgender and genderqueer sexualities. The power of seeing and being seen is a central theme in the anthology; it’s not simply about passing or not passing (an idea often explored with transgender characters), but about being acknowledged and desired in a sexual context.

The book takes you from San Francisco to Israel, from heartache to lust, from stranger sex to a 10 year anniversary, from ballet shoes to butt plug bondage tables, from fumbling teenagers to leatherclad bears, from MTF and FTM—and in between and beyond.

There is an incredible line-up of writers who have contributed to this anthology, including Kate Bornstein, S. Bear Bergman, Ivan Coyote, Patrick Califia, Julia Serano, Rachel Kramer Bussel, Toni Amato, and many more. I’m really thrilled to have one of my stories included in here. More details on the book are available on Tristan Taormino’s tumblr.

If you’d like to support this book, the best thing you can do is to pre-order it on Amazon. Amazon bases its in stock copies on the amount of pre-orders, so it would significantly help to make it widely available if you can spare the $11 on the pre-order copy.

Lesbian Sex Mafia kicks off Leather Pride Week with Laura Antoniou Tonight

At the LGBT Center, 8pm. She’s teaching Tell Me What You Want, What You Really Really Want:

“Often, when we try to tell our partners what we like or want, those words are filtered through things like expectations, projection, fear, shame and verbal shortcuts. Play a little card game with Laura and push your flirting talents up a notch! Expand your creativity and verbal skills beyond “I like flogging” or “anything you want” through an interactive game and exercise. Learn how creative communication and courageous risk-taking can make your relationship and play more intimate, satisfying and fun. Say what you mean, and mean what you say – and make it seductive.”

Where: LGBT Center, 208 West 13th St. (7th/8th Ave)
When: Friday, June 17, 2011; 8:00-10:00PM (Leather Pride weekend)
Cost: $5/LSM members, $10/Non members

Laura Antoniou is the author of the well known Marketplace series of erotic novels. As a presenter, panelist, and keynote speaker, Laura has appeared at dozens of conferences over more than twenty years, both entertaining and delivering an occasional verbal indictment. She has also appeared at colleges and universities, including NYU, Rutgers, Columbia and the University of Washington. Laura lives in Queens, NY with her wife Karen, and happily serves as boy to Kim Attica. Friends have called her all sorts of names. Current favorites being “Renaissance Perv” by Midori, “Good Boy!” by Kim and of course, “best thing that ever happened to me” by Karen.

Unsolicited Advice to a New Butch (aka The Butch Poem)

June 14, 2011  |  on butches, poetry  |  48 Comments

There is more to you than this identity. It makes everything make more sense, and without it you might be lost, but with it you are only ever on one path. You contain more multitudes than that.

Dance. Cook. Read. Make peace with your body. Look at the stars.

Don’t make everything about you. Willingly admit you are wrong, even if sometimes you know you are right. Eagerly say “I’m sorry.” Easily say “I love you,” but learn to recognize your own worth. Keep the borders of your kingdom well-watched and flexible. Keep your muscles flexible. Climb mountains. Pick wild flowers, even though they wilt. Because they wilt. Don’t let people make you wilt. That’s doesn’t have to have anything do with you. Listen to their stories. Remember that we yell because we do not feel heard.

Make a list of ways you feel heard.

Learn how to partner dance so you can make your partner look beautiful, spinning and open-mouth laughing on the dance floor. Cook. Read. Make peace with your body.

Elevate the discussions over brunch with your buddies and use them to try out your date outfits. Downgrade your tee shirts to workouts and loungewear and upgrade your presentation. Make a list of places you can wear your very best suit that are not weddings or funerals. If you don’t have a suit, invest in a suit. There’s a reason it’s a classic. It’s okay to get it at a thrift store. It’s okay to stop shopping at thrift stores now that you know how to use money. Practice rocking a tie on special occasions. Make a list of special occasions. Thursdays can count as special occasions.

Remember that your lover craves your skin and friction and kisses not despite but because of your masculinity.

Dance. Practice cooking at least one impressive date meal and, if you like watching them put something you made in their mouth, teach yourself more. Read. Make peace with your body.   

Get a traffic cop vest, because you are stuck directing and deflecting in the middle of the intersection between male and female, and though the fifty-car pileups have mostly ceased, though they have cleaned the rubble from the ditches, though the seasons have faded the bloodstains on the concrete, you are still there, in the middle, while a pickup truck brushes past close enough to touch the hairs on your calf and a Mazda full of machismo is threatening you from the window.

Know you can survive this. Your body crosses borders most of them never question.

Dance. Cook. Read books like Stone Butch Blues and Dagger and Butch is a Noun and learn where you came from. Learn who else is out there in the world with you. Suspend your own stories and practice seeing another’s perspective. Make peace with your body.

Learn to recognize femmes, even if you don’t date them. They recognize you. When a girl on the subway gives you The Eyes, she’s a femme. When the only straight girl in the dyke bar says she likes your tie, she’s a femme. When your waitress jumps in on your conversation with your buddies to ask “so what’s a good drag king troupe?”, she’s a femme.

But two femmes in bed are not just waiting for a butch to come along (necessarily), so don’t laugh when someone tells misogynistic jokes in bad taste. Be a gentleman. Practice the art of consensual chivalry, always be on time, and remember: it’s better to have a cock and not need it than to need a cock and not have it. Always be prepared. 

When the girl you thought you’d spend your life with leaves you, know you can survive this. Pour the whiskey down the drain, keep your stovetop spotless, and delete her number from your phone. Move your best friend up to her speed dial spot and call just to say hi. Cultivate your friendships before your breakups so you are not alone.

You are becoming more like yourself than you’ve ever been. Trust in your own deepest experience. Trust in your own evolutions.

Dance. Cook. Read. Make peace with the supposed conflict between your breasts, your inner folds, your monthly bleeding, and your cufflinks, your swagger, your monthly boy-cut #4 and the razor-shave on your neck. You possess this innate ability to contemplate apparent opposites and hold them both; to dance with two seemingly contradictory things simultaneously—a talent most people can never perfect. But you can. And you are not alone. These mentors, this legacy, this lineage, this heritage, this style—this is where you fit, this is where you are not dismissed, this is where you finally get kissed exactly how you’ve always wished.

This is the process of blooming into whatever multitudes you are at the core of your being.

Look at the stars. Remind yourself how small we all are, how big your life is, how many paths you are exploring. You can do more than survive this—you can thrive in this.

Tonight! Butch/Femme Pride at Sideshow

June 14, 2011  |  miscellany  |  No Comments

Don’t forget! Join us at Sideshow TONIGHT, June 14th, for our second PRIDE month celebration of butch and femme. Readers include Rachel Kahn, Alicia Greene, & Maggie Cee from Boston’s Femme Show, Susan Herr from DapperQ.com, and Grace Moon from Velvet Park Media.

Sideshow: The Queer Literary Carnival
Hosted by Cheryl B. & Sinclair Sexsmith
Tuesday, June 14th
at The Phoenix
447 East 13th Street at Avenue A
Doors, 7:30pm. Reading, 8pm
Free! (We’ll pass the hat for the readers)
RSVP on Facebook

Must See Porn: Roulette Toronto & Crash Pad #6

June 13, 2011  |  reviews  |  8 Comments

I’ve had these two DVDs sitting around for months now and finally had a chance to watch ‘em.

The first is Crash Pad Series #6, the continuation of the DVD releases of the Crash Pad’s online queer porn empire, crashpadseries.com. This one features Carson, Casey Grey, Cyd Loverboy, Dylan Ryan, James Darling, Jiz Lee, Princess Donna, Ray, Tina Horn, Syd Blakovich.

I particularly love Tina Horn’s scene in this one, she’s hot and funny and having a great time while not taking herself too seriously. And there is a reason she is famous for her ass—it is gorgeous, oh my Gaga.

Good Releasing has taken over (limited?) release of the Pink & White films, which I’m happy to see. Crash Pad, and Pink & White in general, are hugely cutting edge in the world of porn, but it can’t hurt to get a signal boost from the Good Releasing folks.

I’m really behind on the Crash Pad series! Clearly I should make more time to keep up with the amazing short films (but there are so many). Crash Pad #6 was nominated for the 2011 Feminist Porn Awards—as was Roulette Toronto, the next flick I’m going to mention.

Roulette Toronto features April Flores, Jiz Lee, Dia Zerva, Dylan Ryan, Courtney Trouble, Tina Horn, Drew DeVeaux, Judy Minx, Scout, Lascivia Liberty, River Turner, and Wordman—and many of these stars are my absolute favorite.

The scene with Trouble and Judy Minx is sultry and edgy and hot, with saturated color and sexy sensation play. The trio of Drew DeVeaux, Jiz Lee, and River Turner is in a dance studio where they all get to show off their moves, before moving on to every possible combination. April Flores and Dylan Ryan get it on femme-style, complete with high heels and April’s amazing bright red hair.

And the music! Queer and dirty radical goodness. It is an impressive collection of scenes from director Courtney Trouble (as if we’d expect anything less of her).

And if that description isn’t enough, here’s the trailer. Do I have to warn you that it’s NSFW?

We haven’t had a #pornparty in a while … do y’all miss it? If I did another one, would you come? What if it was free to tune in and watch that film at that particular time? Would you join us? Are you interested in that continuing?

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Crash Pad Series #6 and Roulette Toronto queer porn DVDs were sent to me from Good Vibrations for review. Check out more sex toys, vibrators, and other lovely items at your local feminist queer sex-positive sex toy shop, or online at goodvibes.com.