Thursday, February 26, 2009

Porn, Torture and Torture Porn: “Graphic Sexual Horror,” Interview with co-director Anna Lorentzon

Watching “Graphic Sexual Horror,” Anna Lorentzon and Barbara Bell’s nonfiction look behind the rise and fall of heavy BDSM porn site, the first thought that came to my mind was from my film critic’s perspective: “How’s this gonna play in Peoria?” And the second thought was inevitably from my submissive’s perspective: “Is this gonna give my lifestyle a bad name?”

There is no pat answer to either question, which is why I was so thrilled that co-director Lorentzon found time to let me pick her brain prior to the film’s East Coast premiere at this year’s CineKink Film Festival, on Friday, February 27th at 11:10 pm at Anthology Film Archives. (Full disclosure: “Un Piede di Roman Polanski,” an homage to Roman Polanski’s foot fetish by myself and Roxanne Kapitsa, will screen the following evening as part of the festival’s “Twisted Knickers” shorts program at 6:45 pm. Stop on by!)

To read the interview visit Spout.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A Sneak Peek at Bandaged

“Bandaged” is S&M filmmaker Maria Beatty’s foray into the indie mainstream – if one could call a flick best described as “M├Ądchen in Uniform” meets “The English Patient” meets “Eyes Without A Face“ “mainstream.” Fittingly, none other than Abel Ferrara is serving as executive producer, though it just as easily could have been David Cronenberg since Beatty’s stunningly visceral cocktail of sex and bodily terror would surely merit that auteur’s seal of approval.

To read the rest of my review visit The House Next Door.

Monday, February 23, 2009

CineKink Film Festival: The Auteur

With as succinct a title as Bertolucci’s “The Conformist,” James Westby’s “The Auteur” follows Italian director Arturo Domingo, a man of uncompromising vision. (“We don’t have the budget for rose petals,” a production designer patiently pleads onset, to which Domingo replies, “Do you not hear what I’m saying?” then continues with his explanation of how he wants those rose petals to fall.) Unfortunately, Domingo has fallen on hard times. Having lost control of his masterpiece to scissor-handed producers years ago, financing for the epic that will return the Italian auteur to his once celebrated status now has been pulled unless he can get his onetime muse to work with him again.

Never mind that Westby’s film is fiction, and that the title of Domingo’s masterpiece is “Full Metal Jackoff” – nor that former muse Frank E. Normo (a hilariously happy-go-lucky John Breen) won’t consent to play Bob the Banger in the epic “Gangbangs of New York” because the part requires circumcision. Westby has crafted a brilliant little indie satire – a “Blue Movie” for cinephiles.

To read the rest visit the Screengrab at Nerve.

CineKink Film Festival: The Agony and The Ecstasy: The Workshop

So as someone who has never desired nor even understood the appeal of monogamy in the first place (and who spent nearly six enlightening and loving years as the personal slave to a married, gay-for-pay hustler, the first year of which I chronicled in my own memoir “Under My Master's Wings”), and who has yet to discover my own sexual hang-ups, perhaps I’m the wrong critic to review “The Workshop,” Jamie Morgan’s documentary that chronicles a 10-day sexual seminar in the woods outside of San Francisco led by a British spiritual guru named Paul Lowe. While participants are shown the way to enlightenment via getting naked and fucking like rabbits, it’s nevertheless a brutal course for Morgan and his fellow polyamorous newbies, filled with conflicts about body image and fidelity, the playfulness giving way to tears of pain, and proclamations of feeling “vulnerable.” Yes, as someone who would answer the question, “Wanna go to an orgy?” with “Sure, if there’s gonna be bodybuilding strippers there, preferably Latino,” I guess I’m just too shallow to relate to all these emotional “issues.” What’s with all the bitching and moaning? I wondered. I wanted to scream at the screen, “It’s only sex, people! Get over yourselves!”

To read the rest visit my Sex Beat column at Carnal Nation.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Fusion and CineKink Film Festivals – Save the Dates!

Thursday, February 26th at 4pm at NYU (721 Broadway, 9th floor)

I will be appearing on the “Smart Talk: Women & Film in the Blogosphere” panel at this year’s Fusion Film Festival (and best of all, all events are free!)

Saturday, February 28th at 6:45pm at Anthology Film Archives

Un Piede di Roman Polanski – Roxanne and my warped homage to the master director’s foot fetish will be premiering in the “Twisted Knickers” shorts program at this year’s CineKink Film Festival.

Hope to see everyone there!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

In Defense of Ted Haggard

Larry King’s interview with Ted Haggard – the pastor of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs and the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals until his meth and rentboy proclivities forced his ouster – on CNN Thursday night blew my mind more than the charges that brought the former tweaking queen into the spotlight in the first place. Though he’s been making the talk show rounds to help promote Alexandra Pelosi’s The Trials of Ted Haggard, which also aired Thursday night on HBO, the real revelation is that Haggard has actually got something important to say in lieu of the predictable, anti-gay bible thumping we’ve all come to expect from the fundamentalist movement. In fact, how Haggard views his sexuality isn’t that much different from the viewpoint I’ve advocated in Whose Gay Pride? in which I called for a reevaluation of the very definitions of gay, straight and bi.

To read the rest visit my new Sex Beat column at Carnal Nation.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy Belated Birthday to Henry Rollins

Flipping channels the other day I was surprised to see that the rock and chat show hosted by hardcore icon Henry Rollins (who turned 48 on Friday the 13th!) on the Independent Film Channel still hasn’t been given the boot. I still remember one of the original episodes years ago that literally made me cringe when the middle-aged punk rocker, absurdly deferential and so clearly out of his league, interviewed maverick director Werner Herzog. It was the first time I realized Rollins’ problem, that in his thirst for knowledge he devoured facts that he was unable to digest, only spew them back up like after a bad drinking binge. He’s an intellectual poseur really, a geek wanna-be, and what’s so ironic and disturbing is that he’s forever going against one of the founding tenets of punk rock – just be yourself. Longing to be part of an intelligentsia far out of his reach (“If only I read enough books about black holes maybe I can get Stephen Hawking on the show!”), Rollins ignores his own talents – and remains painfully unaware of his own limitations.

But for me, the truly defining moment came during a segment showing Rollins typing a tongue in cheek letter to ultraconservative pundit Ann Coulter who undoubtedly wouldn’t know Rollins from a roach spray salesman (or did she, in fact, meet him back in the day when the singer achieved what was probably one of his lifetime goals of appearing on her friend Bill Maher’s “Politically Incorrect”? I certainly could picture Ann and Bill in a prizefighting debate while Rollins looked on like an eager puppy begging to jump in, oblivious to the truth that no matter how hard he worked he’d never have the skills to turn pro). Yet what bothered me most were his smart-ass suggestions to her, that the Republican cheerleader become his “domestic-concubine” who would just “shut the fuck up” and worship him. Hot and bothered me most. With every “shut the fuck up” typed by fingers connected to those brawny tattooed arms I imagined dropping further and further to my knees in adoring submission until I would finally take that punk rock cock in my mouth. So in a sense my sexual frustration watching the beefcake Rollins mirrored his own frustration with himself. I would fuck him in a heartbeat, I thought, if he would only just shut the fuck up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Trials of Ted Haggard

Alexandra Pelosi’s “The Trials of Ted Haggard” is a behind-the-scenes peek at the fallen pastor post meth-and-male-escort-scandal as he struggles to rebuild his life now that he’s been banished from his Colorado Springs mega-church and forced into exile in Arizona. Traveling from “safe house” to “safe house” with his loving wife Gayle (who explains her decision to stand by her man with a no-nonsense, “I don’t believe in writing people off”) and well-adjusted sons, they literally rely on the kindness of strangers. And if you think I’m being metaphorically melodramatic describing Haggard and his kin in biblical terms of banishment from their holy land, forced to wander like ancient Jews, think again. One of Pelosi’s frequently used title cards actually explains that the New Life Church inexplicably fixed it so the sweet-natured Haggard not only can’t preach in Colorado or anywhere else – he’s been booted from the entire Rocky Mountain state!

To read the rest of my review visit Spout.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Absolutely Fabulous

From New York magazine's recent feature on Demetri Martin, whose upcoming Comedy Central show contains a sketch called:

“This Is an S&M Couple Whose Safe Word Is ‘Bill Pullman,’” which ends with a man in leather being hit with a cricket bat and yelling, “It’s that guy! You know! The actor! What’s his name!”