Browsing posts tagged with porn
Nov
1

Industry Spotlight: Carlos Batts

Carlos Batts (photo by Coagula Art Journal)Is 20-odd years enough to make a lasting impact with art? In the case of Carlos Batts, the answer is absolutely yes.

Since he was 16, he had the name of his company all mapped out: C. Batts FLY. At Franklin High School in Reisterstown, Maryland, he ran with the goth kids, devoured horror movies, sported death metal band T-shirts, and cultivated an early love for photography.

Working a part-time job on the weekends, it took Batts weeks to save enough money to buy his first camera, a Pentax K1000, which he lugged to punk shows to take pictures from the pit. Soon he was shooting album covers.

Batts had always been inspired by the gothic aesthetic, so it was no surprise that his photography went in that direction. By his 20s, he was setting up lights in his house, shooting dark fetish photos of friends of friends. He landed freelancing photography gigs with fetish magazines Taboo and Leg World.

But like any good artist, Batts was rejected by every art gallery in Baltimore. So in 1999, he left for Los Angeles, where “there are more opportunities, and people are more willing to believe your bullshit.”

Little did Batts know, a chance encounter at a gallery opening in Echo Park in 2000 would change the course of his life. That is where he met then-barista April Flores, the woman who would become his wife and muse. But at first, he was just amazed by her flawless skin. He wanted — no, needed — to photograph her.

He had always been turned off by the women who saw posing for him as nothing more than a job — not art. When he shot Flores, there was an immediate spark. No matter how he lit her, or what he dressed her in, every picture was perfect.

Batts’ first book, Wild Skin, came about after he wooed a German publisher with a portfolio of kinky, garishly-lit photos of racially-diverse women of all body types. In fact, when his publisher flew in from Munich to edit the book, he just happened to choose a photo of April Flores for the cover.

The years that followed found him publishing two more books, Crazy Sexy Hollywood, and American Gothic. Along the way, he directed music videos and indie films, shot album covers and porn box covers, exhibited his work internationally, and even landed the cover for a UK edition of Chuck Palahniuk’s Snuff. He drew, painted, designed sets, made collages, and sculpted.

He clung to his art fiercely; he once stated that he would rather shoot school yearbook photos or weddings than create something that he hated. And so, when his muse gained interest in expressing herself with moving images, he followed suit. But he always stuck with his own aesthetic, culled from years of experimentation with light:

My intent was never to do hard-core. I’m not even in the league. I wasn’t technically inclined to light a room like that. I didn’t even know how begin to light a big, shiny, bright white girl. I would set up four hot bulbs and let it go. Get some mood in there. Make her become more of a character, and not just like a thing.

Really slick porno is lit like you’d light a lawn mower. It’s like shooting a Sears catalog. There’s no depths as far as personality. You’re not engaged. She’s just a brightly lit vagina. I could never do that.

In all, he directed just over 10 erotic films, including Behind the Red Door and Dangerous Curves, as well as the porn documentary trifecta of Alter EgoVoluptuous Life, and Glamazons. Batts’ films are all about style, using sound, mood, atmosphere, lighting, wardrobe, and diverse talent to tell the story. Dangerous Curves won “Most Deliciously Diverse Cast” at the 2010 Feminist Porn Awards, and April Flores World won “Sexiest Star Feature” in 2013.

In 2009, when April Flores’ vulva was molded for a sex toy, Batts came up with the ingenious idea to have famous artists paint plaster molds of her vulva for an art exhibit called the April Flores Toy Show. It was yet another example of how, for many, it became hard to imagine Batts without Flores, or Flores without Batts. His unique point of view and love for his wife shown through every time he collaborated with her.

Calling art “the strongest form of activism,” Batts believed whole-heartedly in the transformative and important nature of what he did. Yet, he was soft-spoken and never pretentious. Tristan Taormino recounted a conversation she had with him about his place in the feminist porn movement.

. . . he wanted to be respectful and was especially wary of taking up space as a guy in this growing revolution . . . We had this amazing discussion where he talked about what he believed, what he valued, and how he could claim the label ‘feminist.’ He didn’t want to say it until he was clear about what it meant to him and what he could bring to the party. He was beginning to shape and articulate how the art he was creating could be specifically feminist, and it was pretty cool to be in on that process.

He thanked me later for helping him talk it through, but what he didn’t realize is that our talk was just as enlightening for me. It made me more aware of my own place in the movement as a white woman who identifies as a feminist. That was Carlos: he pushed me to look at my privilege simply by his openness and willingness to talk about his struggles and beliefs. He gave me gifts like that a lot. He wasn’t always the loudest voice in the room, but when he opened his mouth, it was clear how fierce and brave he was about challenging the status quo.

Batts and Flores were guests on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud radio show last year, speaking about how they met, why they loved making art, and the April Flores Toy Show.

Batts’ last major artistic contribution to the world was a monumental one: a photography book — his fourth — entitled Fat Girl. Released in July of this year, the book chronicles twelve years with April Flores. Reclaiming the phrase “fat girl,” it offers an exceptional look into the fearless, intimate, playful, and romantic relationship the two shared.

Carlos Batts passed away on October 22nd at the age of 40. Donations can be sent to the Carlos Batts Memorial Fund.

Oct
31

Win tickets to HUMP! 2013

HUMP!, the Pacific Northwest’s lovable amateur porn film festival, is right on the horizon! Showings are Thursday, November 14th through Sunday, November 17th at Cinema 21, and many showtimes have already sold out!

We want to help you experience the hot, laugh-out-loud fun of HUMP!, so as in years past, we have some tickets to give away. Four pairs, to be precise! (So each winner can bring a friend.) We have a pair of tickets to each of the following showtimes:

  • Saturday, November 16th at 3:30 pm (18+)
  • Saturday, November 16th at 6 pm (21+)
  • Sunday, November 17th at 3:30 pm (18+)
  • Sunday, November 17th at 6 pm (21+)

Enter now!

Use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter the giveaway. The first two entry options are mandatory, and the rest are optional.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway ends on Wednesday, November 13th at 11:59 p.m. PST.
Winners will be chosen randomly and tickets will be emailed to them.

  Giveaways      , ,  
Oct
20

Get ready for Fisting Day 2013!

Fisting Day logoHard to believe, but we’re coming up on the third annual International Fisting Day! Ahhh, it seems like just yesterday we were hailing the creation of this glorious occasion. Fisting Day is growing up!

Created to celebrate, educate, and normalize fisting, Fisting Day has become a joyful celebration of a beloved sex act, and a great way to spark conversation about obscenity. (In the porn industry, fisting is still considered “obscene” and therefore depicting it can be a prosecutable offense).

Last year, we interviewed one of Fisting Day’s illustrious creators, Jiz Lee, and asked them all about fisting. Jiz discussed myths, tips for beginners, their personal tools of the trade, their fondest fisting memory (it took place on a roof top in San Francisco!), and what they think about the anti-fisting stance of the mainstream porn industry. Still very relevant!

This year, Fisting Day promises to be jam-packed with fisting goodness. There’s the Tumblr, which you can submit your fisting appreciation art to right here. Then, on Twitter, follow the hashtag #FistingDay. Fisting Day also now has its own website, complete with a page explaining the origins of the day and a page dedicated to fisting-inclusive porn scenes.

But most of all, there will be LIVE online events to watch! Things kick off at 6:30 p.m. PST with the “opening ceremony” (ha!) hosted by Courtney Trouble, then continue from 7-9 with a live fisting demo, Q&A, and party. The grand finale, from 9-11, will be an explicit fisting threesome starring Courtney Trouble, Emma Claire, and Joey Minx.

Need some tools of your own to celebrate Fisting Day? We carry a great how-to guide on vaginal fisting called A Hand in the Bush. You may want to work your way up to a large toy first, like RandyGloves are perfect for fisting, as they can make your hand feel slicker, and they don’t absorb lube the way skin can. Of course, you’ll still need lots and lots of lube!

We also stock a couple DVDs that bravely include fisting scenes: Live Sex Show and Hella Brown: Real Sex in the City. For, you know, inspiration. Happy Fisting Day!

Aug
25

HUMP! submission deadline September 30th

Hard to believe, but fall is fast approaching, and with the turning of the leaves comes one of our favorite events of the year — HUMP!, the Northwest’s most lovable and hilarious amateur porn film festival.

HUMP!’s aim is to help you be a porn star for a weekend, not for life. All genders, sexual orientations, and most fetishes are welcome, as are all styles of film, such as hardcore, softcore, live action, and even animated. The only real requirement is that films be under five minutes in length. Films are screened in November at theaters in Portland and Seattle, then destroyed in front of the audience at the final screening.

There are prizes galore for the audience-voted best films at HUMP! — $1,000 first prizes for the best of each category, $250 for runners-up, and a whopping $5,000 for Best in Show. There are no entry fees. If your film is selected for inclusion in the festival, you will receive four complimentary tickets to a HUMP! screening in the city closest to you.

The submission deadline this year is September 30th, so we suggest acting fast if you want to make a film. All submission requirements and info can be found here. Have an idea, but need cast, crew, or filmmakers? Check the HUMP! classifieds.

P.S. The extra credit props this year are bowling pins, butt plugs, and Hillary Clinton. We can help you out with one of those!

  Community, Events      , ,  
May
1

Industry Spotlight: Courtney Trouble

Courtney Trouble

Gifted with a Polaroid instant camera at age 8, Courtney Trouble was destined to be an artist. As a teenager in Washington, they spent their days in their high school’s dark room — and their nights running in grunge and riot grrrl circles.

Trouble attended The Evergreen State College in Olympia, where they continued pursuing print and digital photography. They snagged publishing, entertainment journalism, and photography gigs for a while, then started working as a phone sex operator. Phone sex was lucrative and allowed them to be their own boss, but it was exhausting catering to clients’ fantasies all the time. Trouble was itching to explore their own rebellious queer desires.

So in 2002, at just 19 years old, Trouble founded NoFauxxx.com, a little website offering up “subversive smut.” In the beginning, Trouble shot erotic photos of friends, lovers, classmates, and themself with a bulky Nikon CoolPix — 600 pixels max — and no light set, studio props, or a video camera. Just, as Trouble puts it, “that good old Olympia DIY magic.”

NoFauxxx was a fun, creative hobby at first, something to balance out Trouble’s fantasy-based phone sex work with the documentation of real queer sexuality — but over the years, it grew into a community and a movement. The queer porn movement.

In 2007, Trouble began filming their first full-length DVD. With no formal training in film or video editing and very little money, it took them two years to finish. But the result, Roulette, solidified their trajectory toward queer porn notoriety.

Courtney Trouble is now known as a sassy and unapologetic champion of authentic, queer, body-positive, binary-breaking feminist porn. They strive for inclusivity, casting performers who run the gamut of gender, sexual orientation, size, and race. They like to shoot performers in their own homes, using their personalities as inspiration for scenes. Queer porn, Trouble admits, is a genre defined by its lack of structure:

Queer porn is a little bit undefinable, because the “point” of queer porn is to show the vast diversity of queer desire, and performers “queering” sex more as a verb than an adjective. Queer porn is a collaborative, open-communication-centric, intimate art that is as much the performer’s concept as well as the director or producer. Queer porn removes the various niches, stereotypes, and misconceptions that the dominant adult industry places on people based on how they look or how they fuck, and allows the performers and producers to make authentic, meaningful, sex-positive imagery that reflects our true sexual natures.

After that first film, Trouble helped build Reel Queer Productions, a video line for which they directed and edited 11 more movies, both plot-based and gonzo, including Roulette TorontoSeven Minutes in Heaven 3: Fuck Yeah!, and Billy Castro Does the Mission.

Trouble is a performer as well. They love being in front of the camera, using their body and sexuality (as a genderqueer fat feminist femme switch) to make a political statement. As a performer, Trouble has starred in their own films, as well as The Wild Search, and in scenes on Shine Louise Houston’s website CrashPadSeries.com and Madison Young’s website Madison Bound. Performing, Trouble firmly believes, makes them a better director.

Taking everything they learned from the trial-and-error development of NoFauxxx, Trouble collaborated with queer pornstar Tina Horn in November 2010 to launch QueerPorn.TV, a community-based porn site featuring exclusive content and interviews with performers. Trouble also runs QueerPornTube, the first ever free, user-generated queer tube site, which hosts the work of both amateurs and professionals.

In 2011 Trouble established their own porn production company, TROUBLEfilms, through which they have released several films: Fuckstyles of the Queer and FamousLive Sex Show, Trans Grrls, Fucking Mystic, and Lesbian Curves (which just won a Feminist Porn Award for “Hottest Dyke Film”)TROUBLEfilms also distributes Tobi Hill-Meyer’s Doing It Ourselves: The Trans Women Porn Project and The Genderfellator.

By taking complete control of content distribution, Trouble is able to release scenes featuring fisting, knife play, squirting, and other sex acts that distributors usually don’t allow due to obscenity laws. These often nonsensical laws are what inspired Trouble, along with genderqueer porn icon Jiz Lee, to create International Fisting Day to educate and dispel myths about fisting.

Ten years after its initial launch, NoFauxxx changed its name to Indie Porn Revolution, and subsequently received an AVN nomination for “Best Alternative Website.” It is now the longest-running queer porn website on the internet, with a unique genre- and gender-less navigation structure that encourages the viewer to explore its breadth of erotic imagery without choosing a familiar category marker first.

When asked what keeps them passionate about queer porn, Trouble said:

The effect that my work has had on other queer folks . . . I get letters all the time that queer porn has changed, and sometimes even saved, a life. It saved mine 10 years ago, and the fact that it’s still relevant and even more so now, is why my passion thrives. Sometimes people use my art as a survival tool. Not very many pornographers get to say that their porn is that essential.

Courtney Trouble loves animals (especially her chihuahua, Cookie Party), the njoy Eleven and Hitachi Magic Wand, and cheeseburgers. They are working on a film called Come Find Me, which follows a woman on a bike-powered scavenger hunt to her real-life lover. It will be Trouble’s first full-length movie starring a heterosexual couple.

Check out this fun interview with Trouble from this year’s Feminist Porn Awards:

Courtney Trouble can be found on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, YouTube, and on her blog.

Apr
2

A closer look at Erika Lust’s films

Five Hot Stories for Her, Life Love Lust, Cabaret Desire, XConfessions

We love the work of erotic filmmaker Erika Lust. Her movies are sensual, beautifully shot, and expertly directed. But a lot of customers aren’t quite sure which Erika Lust film they should purchase. The truth is, they’re all great, but there are definitely a few differences between them — primarily when it comes to length, scene pairings, and vignette plotlines.

So here’s a more in-depth look at four of Lust’s movies featuring partnered scenes: Five Hot Stories for HerLife Love LustCabaret Desire, and X Confessions. We’ve taken screenshots of each scene as well, so there is nudity. (If you’re looking for solo masturbation scenes, check out Lust’s wonderful Barcelona Sex Project.)

Jump to:

Five Hot Stories for Her

Five Hot Stories for Her was Erika Lust’s debut film. It’s 1 hour, 52 minutes long and can be played dubbed in English, Spanish, German, and French. The actual language used in the film flucuates between English and Spanish. As you’d expect from the title, the film consists of five unrelated vignettes, each with a different storyline.

"Something About Nadia"In the first scene, “Something About Nadia,” multiple female voiceovers talk about how they were drawn to a tattooed, dark-haired, mysterious woman named Nadia. One particular woman masturbates on a chair while fantasizing about Nadia — then manages to snag a date with her. The women have dinner in an apartment, make out on top of the kitchen island, then move to a luxurious bedroom to have sex.

"JodeteCarlos.com"Scene two is called “JodeteCarlos.com,” which translates to “Fuck you, Carlos.” It’s a revenge-driven vignette that begins with Carlos cheating on his wife. But most of the scene consists of his wife’s response, which is to have a party while Carlos is out of town and go to bed with two new men. There’s a bit of a twist at the end that makes the revenge even more sweet.

"Married with Children"The third scene, “Married with Children,” features a couple whose home life seems a bit void of passion. But they don’t want to lose the spark, so they plan a BDSM-laden rendezvous in a hotel room. The husband wears a mask and dominates his wife with paddles, a collar, a leash, and a ball gag. It’s not a rough scene, but it is more kinky than the others on the disc.

"The Good Girl"Scene four is called “The Good Girl,” and was Erika Lust’s first foray into filmmaking. It’s a great spin on the pizza boy porn trope. It begins with the main character, Alex, listening to her friend ramble on about her recent sexual exploits. Deciding to break out of her usual shell, Alex seduces the pizza delivery guy. They have joyful, adventurous sex in many different positions.

"Breakup Sex"The final scene is a short one entitled “Breakup Sex.” It’s a pretty simple scene in which two gay men, clearly on the verge of breaking up, fight with each other so intensely that it leads to making out, which leads to sex on the couch in what appears to be their shared apartment. This scene is in black and white.


Life Love Lust

Lust’s film Life Love Lust is significantly shorter than Five Hot Stories for Her, with a runtime of 34 minutes. It does, however, include several extras, such as two short fetish films called “Handcuffs” and “Love Me Like You Hate Me.” There are also trailers, a making of for “Handcuffs,” and a short video profile of Erika Lust.

Unlike Five Hot Stories for Her, Life Love Lust doesn’t have much dialogue at all, and when it does, it’s in Spanish without dubbing or subtitles. Like Five Hot Stories for HerLife Love Lust features distinct and unrelated vignettes. Three, in this case.

"Life"The first scene, “Life,” features a couple working in a restaurant together… and what they do after hours as a private birthday celebration between the two of them. Let’s just say it involves hot and heavy sex on a couch. The artistic camera shots through the drink glasses on the bar are especially great in this scene.

"Love"Scene two, “Love,” is aptly named — it centers on a love affair between a younger man and older woman. There’s an array of cute and romantic footage of them enjoying themselves together — having drinks, kissing in a tub, having a pillow fight — which segues into them having sex on white sheets in a sunny room. The lighting in this scene is absolutely fantastic!

"Lust"In the last scene, “Lust,” a woman visits a female erotic masseuse and relaxes into a massage in a darkened room filled with candles. This scene is very very sensual — most of it is spent with the masseuse rubbing her naked body across her client’s oiled skin — and there isn’t much of what most would consider “sex.” But it’s clear that both women are really enjoying themselves.


Cabaret Desire

Cabaret Desire is a bit different from the other films in that it has an overarching plotline. Don’t let that fool you, though — each scene is still told as a story, so they all include different performers and scenarios. At 1 hour and 14 minutes, Cabaret Desire also comes with the short films “Handcuffs” and “Room 33,” as well as a making of segment, and finally, a feature about The Poetry Brothel (a project that inspired and participated in the film).

Cabaret Desire is in English, but includes subtitles in English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Dutch, and Swedish.

This film focuses on a bohemian erotic reading gathering, where attendees can pay for privately-told stories. As such, each scene begins with someone paying for a story, and the storyteller beginning to speak. The voiceover continues into the scene until the sex kicks in.

"The Two Alexes"The first scene, aptly-named “The Two Alexes,” focuses on a blonde woman who meets two people at a bar — both named Alex — and launches a love affair with each of them. She loves that they share the same name but not the same gender. Her sex scenes with each Alex are juxtaposed almost interchangeably (the apartment backdrop doesn’t change), creating an intriguing visual trick.

"My Mother"“My Mother” is the second scene in Cabaret Desire, a story told by a man whose mother was an art thief. The storyteller explains that his mother sometimes spoke of her “best work” but never elaborated. His mother is shown in a black, full-body suit sneaking into a house to have her way with the male inhabitant. She removes his restraints in time, but never reveals her identity. The meaning of her “best work” is explained at the end.

"In Wonderland"The third scene, “In Wonderland,” is about a woman celebrating her 30th birthday. Her friends have lined up an elaborate birthday gift for her — sex with a handsome guy in a heavenly, whimsical setting. Again, Erika Lust’s penchant for setting the scene pays off — there are even grapes and champagne on a table nearby!

"Wet Sheets"“Wet Sheets,” the final scene in Cabaret Desire, follows a man and a woman separately as they travel to meet up for drinks after a year apart. Intercut with the present day storyline are shots of their whirlwind three-day love affair that took place one year ago, which both remember fondly. It’s a really nostalgic, sweet, and sexy memory.

X Confessions

Released in 2014, X Confessions is Erika Lust’s most recent movie. With a running time of 1 hour and 50 minutes, X Confessions contains 10 different scenes, each one based on an anonymous sex confession submitted to Erika’s website. None of the scenes are interconnected, and there’s no overarching storyline. Scenes vary in length, between 3 minutes at the shortest to 15 at the longest. Like Life Love Lust, the scenes in X Confessions are in Spanish, but there is very little dialogue. Extra features are pretty sparse — just a trailer and a bit of information about Erika.

The first scene is called “Let’s Make a Porno,” and follows a real-life couple as Erika helps them make their fantasy into a reality. It shows the couple arriving on set, talking to Erika a bit, then filming the scene. Throughout the scene, the point of view switches from showing the crew as they film to showing the finished product, complete with music. After the couple have sex, they pose for some still photos.

The second scene, “Hold Me So Tight It Hurts,” features some beautiful rope bondage. This is a solo masturbation scene, with a woman alone save for the hands that tie her up at the beginning. The framing of her body is lovely and the music is especially fitting in this scene — it builds and builds anticipation all the way to her climax.

“I Ama Verry Badx Secvretary” is next. In it, a man seduces a woman who is typing at a desk. She tries to keep typing, but quickly cannot resist. Erika Lust’s eye for unique angles really shines here, with a particularly artistic shot through the computer desk as the woman goes down on the man. Then they have sex, with her dress hiked up over her hips the entire time.

Scene number four is called “My First Time Eating Oysters… and Pussy.” It features two women in a black room, kissing and having sex. The scene is interspersed with close-up shots of women eating oysters and pouring champagne. The music is soft and sensual with a hint of anticipation as the women bring each other to orgasm — and one of them squirts.

The fifth scene is entitled “Sit Down, Shut-Up, and Watch.” It begins with a woman blindfolding a man and whispering in his ear, then leading him into a room where he is then made to watch her have sex with another man. At the end, she sits atop a luxurious couch and masturbates in front of both men.

“I Pegged My Boyfriend” is exactly what it sounds like: a pegging scene! A man goes down on a woman while blindfolded, then she penetrates him. The woman wears beautiful BS Atelier products from Spain — both a harness and a dildo. The man, meanwhile, continues wearing his nice business suit — from the waist up, at least.

Scene seven is called “Sadistic Trainer.” At the gym, a relentless trainer is barking at a group of people. The trainees are not happy with this treatment and quickly plot their revenge, tying up the trainer with jump ropes and forcing him to watch as they have an orgy in front of him. This scene features many performers who have been in Erika Lust’s movies before.

And now for a fun interlude! “A Blowjob is Always a Great Last-Minute Gift Idea!” is a quick, 3-minute long blip of a man reading a book in a park… while fellating a candy penis. Why not?

“Obsessed” is the second to last scene in X Confessions. Based on a confession in which a man admits that he is still not over his old love, it features a couple having sex while a projector splashes moving images on the wall. The music is dramatic and nostalgic, with dark and mysterious lighting.

The final scene is called “I Fucking Love IKEA.” A man is outside building something out of an IKEA catalog while a woman lounges on a chair nearby. Quickly, their thoughts drift to sex, and their reading materials morph accordingly, becoming amusingly pornographic. They have sex on top of a table, some boxes, and pillows. The natural lighting is beautiful in this scene — complete with lens flare.

——–

There are some things that all of Erika Lust’s films have in common: they’re all gorgeously shot and edited, with excellent music; they are fairly explicit but not raunchy, and her set design and scenarios are both realistic and aesthetically appealing. Lust’s artistic eye is apparent throughout her films, although the production values are a bit higher in the films following her debut, Five Hot Stories For Her.

Since the films are all comparable in terms of asethetic, we suggest choosing the film with scenarios and performers that appeal to you. Or, if you can’t decide, pick up more than one!

Jan
8

DIY Porn with Madison Young

Madison Young

Thursday, February 21st — 7:30 p.m. — $20

Let award-winning porn performer and director Madison Young teach you how to make your own porn! Learn the basics of how to tap into your own personal sexual fantasies, how to manifest those fantasies for the camera, the basics of documenting, writing a script, casting, financing your porn, and how to get your movies to the intended audience (even if that audience is just you and your partner).

This is the perfect class to help you get a jumpstart on submitting to Hump!, the Northwest’s amateur porn film festival!

Madison Young is an award-winning BDSM and fetish porn star, director, published writer, artist and gallerist. She runs the queer production company Madison Bound Productions and is the founder of Femina Potens Art Gallery, a nonprofit art gallery and performance space. She has taught workshops, lectures, and acted as a panelist on the topics of sexuality, feminism and pornography, and kink all around the world. Young’s soon to be released memoir, Daddy, will be available in fall 2013.

This class has already taken place. Thanks for attending!

  Events      ,  
Dec
21

Industry Spotlight: Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston

Shine Louise Houston grew up in Southern California, where the beaches were all the rage. As a boogie-boarding tomboy, her earliest career aspirations included veterinarian, archaeologist, and designer — but her first venture as an entrepreneur involved completing other kids’ science homework for $2 a packet.

Houston graduated from San Francisco Arts Institute with a Bachelors in Fine Art Film, and later got a job at Good Vibrations. It was there that she encountered some of her first porn movies. Like other feminist pornographers, Houston saw a void in the porn landscape. She was dismayed by the lack of representation of queer identities — both in front of and behind the camera.

After five years at Good Vibrations, Houston left in order to found Pink & White Productions in 2005. Her first film was The Crash Pad, a movie about a secretive San Francisco apartment where queer folks can go to have spectacular sex. Her subsequent films, Superfreak, The Wild Search, and Champion, have all won numerous accolades. Meanwhile, the success of The Crash Pad sparked the website Crash Pad Series, which updates regularly and provides the content for the Crash Pad Series DVDs.

Here’s a short scene from The Crash Pad:

Inspired by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, and visual artists from the Craftsman era, Houston’s work is cinematic, sultry, and realistic, with an unmistakable aesthetic feel to it. Her performers have all different types of bodies, sexualities, and gender identities and presentations, and people of color are always represented. Houston has high ethical standards, so her sets are comfortable, safe, and supportive, and she gives very little direction to her performers — preferring the scenes to unfold organically. She hopes queer folks can see themselves in her films:

[My movies create] empowerment by saying yes we are beautiful, we’re an art form, we’re not all gym bunnies, and that’s OK. We’re not all super high femme and all this kind of stuff. It’s like, hey, let’s normalize this. These are queer bodies. And hey, we can be just as hot as the models in Penthouse. It’s empowering when you can see yourself reflected in an image. If it’s powerful and sexy you might think, wow, I really always wanted to identify with that but I can’t because my body doesn’t look like X. But maybe that person is brown, they’re heavy, they’re butch, and thought that was totally hot and know that they can be totally hot. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our bodies and we shouldn’t be ashamed of our sexualities.

In 2010, Houston was honored with The Visionary award at the Feminist Porn Awards, where she was described as being “responsible for the explosion and popularity of queer porn into the mainstream.” Even at the mainstream AVN awards, CrashPadSeries.com has been nominated for “Best Alternative Website” and Champion nominated for “Best Video Feature.” Trying to count the number of other nominations and awards Houston’s work has received will cause you to run out of fingers and toes!

In 2011, Houston released perhaps her most personally challenging project to date: Heavenly Spire, an exploration of masculine sexuality that features cis and trans* male-identified performers. For Houston, creating the site has allowed her to explore her own fascination with masculinity. For viewers, it is a different way of looking at masculinity, and with a quite artistic flair — scenes are shot in Super 8 style, with high contrast and manipulation of light.

Last month, Houston launched PinkLabel.tv, a video-on-demand site that includes the work of progressive, independent adult filmmakers and studios such as Annie Sprinkle, Courtney Trouble, Carlos Batts, Jennifer Lyon Bell, T-Wood Pictures, and Handbasket Productions. Keeping in step with Houston’s ethical business practices, filmmakers on PinkLabel receive fair-trade commission for the digital distribution of their work.

Recently, Houston was interviewed on Tristan Taormino’s Sex Out Loud radio show, where they discussed the Crash Pad empire, what it means to be an ethical pornographer, the inspiration behind Heavenly Spire, and why PinkLabel is an important site for budding porn filmmakers.

Catch Shine Louise Houston on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and YouTube. Her projects are on Twitter as well: @PinkWhite@CrashPadSeries@HeavenlySpire@PinkLabelVOD.

Sep
14

3 weeks left to submit to HUMP! porn film fest

It’s that time of year again, folks: the Pacific Northwest’s much-loved HUMP! amateur porn film festival is on the horizon. The deadline for submissions is Friday, October 5th, which, believe it or not, is coming up fast! It’s just 3 weeks away, so if you want to submit a film, you’ll want to get crackin’!

HUMP!’s aim is to let you be a porn star for a weekend, not for life. All genders, sexual orientations, and most fetishes are welcome, as are all styles of film, such as hardcore, softcore, live action, and even animated. Films are screened for three weekends in November at theaters in Portland, Seattle, and Olympia, then destroyed in front of the audience at the final screening.

Best of all, there are cash prizes! There is a $1,000 first prize and $250 runner-up for the categories Best Humor, Best Kink, and Best Sex, and a whopping $5,000 grand prize for Best in Show. Winners are determined by audience ballot, which is always fun.

The extra credit props this year are sweater vests, lesbian sex, and packing peanuts. Submissions must be no more than 5 minutes long and can be dropped off or mailed to the Stranger or Mercury offices. Awesomely, there are no entry fees whatsoever, and anyone who submits a film (no matter if their film is chosen or not) gets two free tickets!

Want to make something for HUMP! but need more people to participate? Check out the new HUMP! classifieds, where you can connect with potential cast, crew, and filmmakers.

For inspiration, behold the winner of Best Humor at last year’s HUMP!, a film about a centaur fetish that the filmmakers decided to put online for all to enjoy. We were dying laughing at this one last year.

  Community      , ,  
Aug
27

Industry Spotlight: Buck Angel

Before he was a groundbreaking trans filmmaker, motivational speaker, educator, and advocate, Buck Angel was a little girl in Southern California. He grew up roughhousing with boys and fantasizing about being John Wayne. But when puberty reminded him of his biological sex, he became tormented.

As a young woman, Angel worked as a high-fashion model, but his unhappiness with his body led him to substance abuse, depression, and homelessness. It was only when he got sober and started seeing a therapist that his life began to turn around. It took him some time to find a therapist who understood him, but when he did, he began taking testosterone and later underwent breast removal surgery. He finally felt like himself.

Buck Angel first began working in the porn industry as a fetish filmmaker and website developer for the MTF market. But in doing so, he saw a rare opportunity to fill a niche. He noticed there were no sites dedicated to FTM performers. He realized he could break new ground, and that’s exactly what he did.

And so, Angel’s career in the adult industry has been peppered with firsts. He began calling himself “the man with the pussy,” and with the debut of his website in 2003, he became the first FTM adult film producer and first FTM porn star to run a membership-based website. In 2005, he also became the first FTM performer to be featured in an all-male porn film produced by an exclusively gay porn company (Cirque Noir from Titan).

It was not easy at first; he faced a lot of resistance from judgmental people. But his wife and friends convinced him to persevere, and in doing so, he began to truly believe in himself and his work. He explains:

when I started doing my pornography, I started to empower myself. By putting myself out there in the world, exposing myself completely — physically and in a way mentally — I had to take it as an empowerment thing or I was going to get beaten up. People were writing the most horrendous e-mails you can’t even imagine . . . Pure hate. People couldn’t handle who I was or what I was doing. So, I either had to quit or deal with it and I decided to deal with it. That is when I knew I loved myself. That is empowerment.

Under the umbrella of his company, Buck Angel Entertainment, Angel has directed and produced many porn films, such as V for VaginaThe Buck Stops Here, and Buckback Mountain. His work has garnered him several awards — in fact, he was the first trans man to win Transsexual Performer of the Year at the AVN Awards (in 2007). In 2008, he was presented with the Boundary Breaker of the Year award at the Feminist Porn Awards.

In March of this year, Angel was appointed to the board of directors of the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, an activist organization that works to advance sexual rights and freedom. He has also done a good bit of motivational speaking at colleges, film festivals, and other events, breaking down societal constructs and encouraging self-acceptance and empowerment.

Angel’s latest endeavor is a docu-porn series called Sexing the Transman XXX, which earned him a 2012 Feminist Porn Award for Most Tantalizing Trans Film. The second installment of that series has just come out, and he has also launched a trans men live web cam site.

He has an active YouTube account where he has posted tons of PSAs, an “It Gets Better” video, and clips from various TV appearances. He currently lives in Mexico with his wife, Elayne Angel, a world-renowed body piercer, and their several rescue dogs.

You can follow Buck Angel on his websiteFacebookTwitterTumblr, and YouTube. He’s everywhere!

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