Browsing posts tagged with queer
May
24

Shine Louise Houston’s latest queer venture

snapshot-film

Many in the adult industry are familiar with Shine Louise Houston’s work. She’s the founder of Pink & White Productions, which has been in operation for 10 years. She’s the mastermind behind The Crash Pad, a porn series about a secretive San Francisco apartment where queer folks go to have spectacular sex. Her other films, Superfreak, The Wild Search, and Champion, have all won numerous accolades. Along the way, Houston has always kept focus on what matters to her: representing queer communities and queer communities of color.

Houston’s latest project is SNAPSHOT, a not-so-typical queer love story for which she’s currently seeking crowdfunding. The film will be an erotic suspense thriller with two women of color as its main characters: Charlie meets Danny while pursuing a murderer she accidentally photographed. Houston’s penchant for thoughtful storytelling and moody cinematic style will surely be on display, all with hot, explicit sex woven into the storyline.


SNAPSHOT 
will be Houston’s fifth feature film, and the first that her production company will have complete control over. Independently producing the film will allow for more creative control, more time to edit, and more profit. Aside from these benefits, the importance of queer porn in general cannot be overstated. The crowdfunding campaign explains:

Though we consider Pink & White to be an entertainment company, we regularly receive feedback from viewers who tell us that our films help them to better understand themselves and to appreciate their bodies — especially brown bodies — as being worthy of healthy and happy sexuality. Through intimate portrayals, the films become a mirror for queer people with diverse bodies and desires. It’s rare enough to see stories of gay, lesbian, or trans sexuality that include people of color, let alone ones which casts them center-stage. SNAPSHOT is our story, but is also in a unique position to validate our experiences, and inspire a new generation of filmmakers.

Jiz LeeThe campaign’s goal is $40,000, which will pay for cast and crew, taxes, insurance, and food during production. If they exceed the initial goal by at least $10,000, they will release a behind the scenes video of the filmmaking process, and give all backers access to the early online screening.

Perks include DVDs, postcards, luxurious glass dildos, a Skype session with Shine, a cameo in the movie — or, get your name written somewhere cool: on Houston’s clapperboard, on Jiz Lee’s belly (that’s what we went for!), or in the closing credits of the film.

The campaign ends on July 2nd. If you can’t donate, consider sharing the campaign on social media (tag @ShineLouise, @PinkWhite, and #SNAPSHOTtheFILM).

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.

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.

May
17

Portland Queer Girl City Guide

Have you seen Autostraddle’s Queer Girl City Guide to Portland? This in-depth guide lists all kinds of queer-friendly restaurants, bars, coffee shops, strip clubs, hair salons, and tattoo shops in PDX, as well as events — such as queer dance nights, Portland Pride, and a plethora of other rad LGBTQ functions.

There’s a lot of love for our home, North Portland, in this guide! Under “Neighborhoods of Interest,” NoPo is listed as a “Gayborhood” (amazing!). Many businesses in our area are listed, including Bishop’s (which just moved in down the street from us), Mississippi Studios / Bar Bar, The Florida Room, Sloan’s TavernCup and Saucer, and Icon Tattoo. We were excited to see She Bop listed under “Etc.” as Portland’s local, female-owned sex toy shop. Here’s what they have to say about us:

[She Bop offers] a positive environment, helpful staff and a range of high quality sex toys. The shop also offers classes and workshops such as The Joys of Toys! & Exploring Burlesque: Striptease Salon.

The guide also gives a run-down of queer-friendly Portland colleges, sports teams, performing arts groups, outdoor adventure spots, and several non-profits we support, such as Bitch Media, In Other Words, and the Q Center.

Near the end of the guide, there’s an analysis of the diversity, safety, cost of living, and overall queer-friendliness of Portland, concluding that Portland is “very queer-friendly” and “very body positive, sex positive and accepting of gender variant identities.”

Within the city limits, queers are seen everywhere and go relatively unnoticed by the general population. Walking around town, you’ll see many different business with the HRC equality sticker hanging on a window, or a rainbow flag. Portland makes us queers feel very welcomed.

The overall atmosphere of the city is SUPER friendly. When walking around on a sunny day, expect smiles and nods from strangers and friendly waves. People in Portland are very chill, accepting, and friendly overall.

Autostraddle has published many other Queer Girl City Guides, including one for Seattle and one for Spokane. Really cool resources — check them out!

Jul
11

Finally! A bra guide for queer folks!

Yes! Lesbian social commentary website Autostraddle put together something that was sorely needed: a guide to bra shopping for those who identify as queer. The Bra Issue: Queer Fashion Guide For Various Shapes, Sizes and Gender Expressions is a guide to navigating the wide world of bras, whether your gender expression leans feminine, masculine, neutral or somewhere in between.

The in-depth guide features tips for finding a style of bra that fits correctly and makes you feel fantastic. The staff present their top picks for small boobs, large boobs, femme/girly shoppers, gender-neutral shoppers, and butch shoppers.

There’s also a section on binding that mentions binder/compression shirts like the ones we carry (Tri-Top Chest Binder and Double Panel Compression Shirt Binder).

But this isn’t just a bra guide. Interspersed between the bra recommendations are a few personal essays: “What’s A Butch To Do” and “What To Do With Boobs from a Queer Fat Femme Perspective.” Both are great reads. A quote from “What’s a Butch To Do”:

I want to seduce MYSELF and feel confident and sexual and powerful with a Special Lady. I want to hypnotize her with my boobs. I cannot do this in a flowery lace Balis Minimizer that my mother forced me to wear my entire life ’cause I carry 38Ds . . . we just need a designer to understand for the masculeeene lady – our femininity is IN our masculinity and someday I hope there is a bra that supports that.

See what I did. Supports that. Our boobs.

Har, har. Autostraddle also has a queer swimsuit guide and underwear guide. Totally awesome.

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She Bop is a women-owned sex toy boutique specializing in body safe products and education. Our mission is to promote healthy and safe sexuality by offering quality products and educational workshops in a fun and comfortable environment. She Bop welcomes people of all genders and sexual orientations.
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