Tag: Cheryl Dunye

Pornography in Helsinki: WONDERLUST Festival of Diverse, Conscious Sex

by Jiz Lee on / Queer Porn

I’m off for Finland tomorrow to appear as a special guest June 13-14 at WONDERLUST, a new “diverse and conscious sex” festival in Helsinki, Finland.

While there, I’ll present an evening of short films I’ve curated (Spectacular Porn) and my workshop (Fucking for REEL). I’ve presented versions of the workshop at PornFilmFest Berlin and Princeton University, and am excited to bring it to Finland’s new festival.

“We grew up thinking that the sexual revolution is a historical event, yet now recognize that it is an ongoing process instead.” – Wonderlust

When we watch sexual media, we can learn much about other people’s sexuality, and ourselves. In “Watch & Learn”, we’ll observe diverse sexual scenarios that span age, ability, gender, sexuality, and film genre — from documentary to sex guide, mainstream gonzo, queer indie porn, and music video. As a film genre, pornography can take us into fantasy realms exploring sexuality in deep ways. How does a film portray a relationship? Can a script create characters to safely break cultural taboo? What is the connection between sex and violence, and, how can porn heal traumatic experiences? This screening will contrast portrayals of real couples with those in fictitious relationships. Each presentation will be followed by a Q&A moderated by Marjo Pipinen.

I love the inquisitive, open-minded nature of WonderLust. Here’s a quote from their FAQ about what “Conscious Sex” means to them.

What is conscious sexuality? 

With this term we want to suggest intelligent and reflective approach to sexuality. We want to encourage discussion and experimentation on what sex could be for each individual and inspire more ‘do it yourself ’ mentality. We wish to emphasise, that anyone is free to explore their own sexuality and desires, without necessarily following any pre-determined norms.

Curating films is HARD. There’s too much porn, too little time! Papers could be written about why I chose what I did and not other films alone. At the end of the day, while not everything could be included, I decided to choose films that were easy for me to contact and obtain permissions, spanning indie shorts and Feminist Porn Award-winning titles from PinkLabel.tv’s curated selection of films, including Shine Louise Houston (BED PARTY, CrashPad’s Guide to Fisting), N Maxwell Lander (Emile, 98bit), Tobi Hill-Meyer (Doing it Again), Sadie Lune (Baby, You’re Frozen), and which I’ve come across at festivals or online such as Bruce LaBruce’s Offing Jack, Clark Matthew’s KRUTCH, Marc Silver’s Ageless Sex, Danny Wylde’s This is Love. Then there’s a few I’m in as a performer. For this screening, I’ve selected behind the scenes footage from CrashPadSeries.com, as well as Courtney Trouble’s Going Here, Dana Vespoli’s Girl/Boy. Christian Slaughter’s BIODILDO, Tristan Taormino’s Expert Guide to Pegging, and Cheryl Dunye (Mommy is Coming).

Find more information and tickets online at wonderlust.fi. The venue is wheelchair accessible; please contact wonderlusthelsinki@gmail.com or phone 0449715285 for assistance. Here’s the some press around the festival, so far on Nyt and Sylvi, and more to come!

 

WonderLust

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Clever Screens presents BOUND

by Jiz Lee on / Events

Gina Gershon’s mouth.

The way Jennifer Tilly breathed the name, “Corky.”

And the excitement of watching a straight-up Hollywood film that was about… dykes! Dykes, and the mafia, and a lot of bloody money, and murder. But damned if my strongest memory of BOUND still flutters back to Gina Gershon’s curled lips.

My first experience watching BOUND was in college, years after the film’s release in 1996. It was the early 2000’s and I was immersed in school and soaking up LGBT media I’d missed as a teen. This was also around the same time I discovered Cheryl Dunye’s The Watermelon Woman. Jump forward 17 years, sweeping past my explorations as young queer, bouncing within my journey in the adventures of porn, and here we are. Cheryl, who I later worked with on Mommy is Coming, has invited me to present BOUND as part of her Clever Screen series at the New Parkway in Oakland.

Jiz Lee Presents: BOUNDBOUND
On the Clever Screen
New Parkway
474 24th Street, Oakland, CA
Thursday, July 25th at 6:30 PM
$6 (Six bucks is a total score. Plus they’ve got great food and beer that you can enjoy on a comfy couch IN the theater.)
Facebook — Say you’ll come, invite your friends!

The plot: Corky (Gina Gershon), a tough female ex-con and her lover Violet (Jennifer Tilly) concoct a scheme to steal millions of stashed mob money and pin the blame on Violet’s crooked boyfriend Caeser (Joe Pantoliano).

The New Parkway is Oakland’s beloved picture-pizza-pub for movies, food & drink, and good clean fun. They’re open 360 days a year, serving up mostly $6 movies, yummy diner fare, and a heavy dose of community.

BOUND is an American neo-noir crime thriller written and directed by The Wachowski Siblings. It’s been amazing to watch Lana Wachowski’s gender transition in Hollywood and to get the sense that we might at a place where LGBT issues are less of an obstacle now than it was when she and her brother made their debut with BOUND. I’ve read a few interviews and it seems that the film was not only difficult to cast, in part because many actresses didn’t feel comfortable playing lesbian characters, but also difficult to produce, as many studios requested that they recast the role of Corky to be male. (Here’s an interview with the siblings that includes this experience, via Gadfly Online.) The Wachowskis stuck to their guns though, and created a film that not only won several awards but was also recognized within queer communities as depicting a more believable representation of lesbians in mainstream film.

A big part of the accuracy of this depiction is in thanks to the fact that the directors had Susie Bright. Susie co-founded On Our Backs Magazine 1984-2006 — I actually appeared in it’s final issue in 2006, which was the same year The Crash Pad was released. It’s sad that it folded, please support any print publications you love — but I think by the early 2000’s, the majority of conversations about queer sexuality had moved online, and I guess I followed suite when I started this blog in 2007. Anyhow, Susie joined the production to choreograph the sex scenes, which were filmed in single shot, aiding itself to a visual sense of realism. Here’s a quote from her experience and influences working on the film:

“Bound is memorable erotica because of the script, because of our life experiences and dedication to getting this right. We are not nearly as cute as J. and G. [Jennifer; Gina], nor could we take direction half as well, but in this case, it’s the writing magic and storyboard design that makes the sparks fly. I based this sex scene on my own lesbian life at the time, and an old unheralded porn movie (3AM) by Robert McCallum that starred real dyke lovers and gave me some great ideas that I figured we could (barely) make R-rated.” – Susie Bright

By the way, here’s a link to watch the 1975 porn classic 3AM: The Time of Sexuality, and the scene in particular staring Georgina Spelvin and Sharon Thorpe. Thank you, internet.

And, now’s the part where I admit that it’s been A WHILE since I’ve seen BOUND. In fact, I think it’s been well over 10 years. So I’m looking forward to watching it again. There’ll be a lot of fun things to look out for, besides the sex. Look for themes including “lesbian” visual film cues, such as hands. As Susie notes, hands are the “lesbian sex organ, the cock” — I agree that the use of hands definitely carries sex well beyond the scope of traditional coitus, though hands can be employed by people of any sex and orientation. LOVE hands.

Another theme to look out for: being “trapped” — as in closets, in situations, relationships, sex, work… something definitely familiar within LGBT experience but that which everyone can relate to. Maybe that’s part of what makes BOUND a film and one we care to watch again. That, and Gershon’s mouth. Unf.

I’ll end with a clip from the Directors’ Cut which you can find in the DVD extras. If you can’t make it to the Clever Screen next week on July 25th, consider renting the film or watching it online, and let me know what you think!

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