amongst books

amongst books

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sex Lit Resurgence in Ottawa

this past weekend was fraught with sexual literature, starting with the Reclaiming Eros reading on Friday at Venus Envy, that I was honoured to be a part of.

it was a joy to hear Luna Allison, Barbara Brown and Suzanne Blackburn read. I opened with my kinky rendition of My Favourite Things and then read a timely political smut story in which Tories were flogged. oh the satisfaction ;). Luna performed a combo song / spoken word piece complete with the audience simulating a heartbeat for her. lots of love in that room Friday night. she also read two short stories, one of which she will continue when she reads in November at the new and wonderful Naughty Thoughts Book Club (more on that later).

Barbara Brown and Suzanne Blackburn came from Toronto to launch Suzanne’s book. Was lovely to hear Barbara’s spoken word pieces, particularly a poem about the sensuousness of spindles. Suzanne, who is from the States, read from Reclaiming Eros: Sacred Whores and Healers. It was an interesting format for a book. Suzanne wrote in the first person but based on her interviews with celebrated sex enthusiasts such as Annie Sprinkle. The idea that sex is something to be celebrated shouldn’t be something novel in this day and age, but it is. Damage is done to people if we repress their sexuality. Readings like the one at Venus Envy go a long way toward reminding us to rejoice in our sexuality.

Thanks to Sara and Fiona of Venus Envy who provided a lovely welcome and organized the event. It was the first time any reading organizer for readings i’ve taken part in has ever taken the time to look for and put out any of the erotica anthologies i’m published in alongside the book being launched.

it was clear on Friday night that Ottawans have a great appetite for sexlit. i don’t think there are enough opportunities to read and listen to such in Ottawa. there is something beautiful about being able to read sexually explicit writing and not be the sole voice and then afterward to have such a loving response. i guess it didn’t hurt that i was wearing clothing i usually reserve for the boudoir :)

one new initiative that is helping to alleviate the sexual tension in Ottawa is the Naughty Thoughts Book Club, the new reading series launched by Capital Xtra’s head heart throb Marcus McCann. Montrealer Daniel Allen Cox was the debut author, brining his novel Shuck(Arsenal Pulp Press) to Ottawa. It’s about a 90s NYC porn actor, sex worker. Daniel dropped his pants to re-enact the novel’s title and a scene set on New York streets. He has very nice grey boxer briefs. He also finger printed a willing volunteer from the audience, but alas, didn’t frisk or cuff anyone. Maybe next time. Marcus read from the novel on Daniel’s behalf because the author doesn’t like to read from his own work. I’d like to know how to get away with that ;)

You may recall Daniel’s first book, Tattoo This Madness In, published by Ottawa’s own Dusty Owl Press. It’s still available thru the Owl. And you can pick up Shuck from After Stonewall at 370 Bank St, a splendid bookstore featuring the best in GLBT fiction, non fiction, porn and more.

Hats off to Marcus for starting this new series. It was delightful to sip my pomegranate mojito in the Buzz while hearing about the top ten most effective ways to become a porn star.

we’ve had sex lit as the main course at reading series before: a few years ago the folks at Capital Slam ran a series called Talented Tongues at Venus Envy, hosted and organized by Lisa Slater, who has since left Ottawa for Vancouver;

another series Dirty Girls, ran for a few years at the Laff and then the Mercury Lounge and was hosted by Ottawa writer and former Xpress sex columnist Nichole McGill.

Who else pens sex lit in Ottawa?

Patricia K. McCarthy is a self-published writer of erotic vampire books. She recently had a launch for her latest novel, the Crimson Boy at Venus Envy. Spoken word artists Jacqueline Lawrence, Steve Sauve and Oni the Haitian Sensation, have been known to dish up a sexy poem or two. check out Oni's Bedside Booty Book CD. Megan Butcher also writes sexy vignettes.

who else?

Matthew Firth writes gritty and straight-up stories where sex is included, usually as something uncomfortable or embarrassing, but never avoided in his writing. He is also the publisher/editor of Front&Centre Magazine, which features writing and reviews from all over the world. The stories are not always sexual in nature, but often. My story "Caught in the Rain" about a woman's sadistic delight in watching another women standing in the rain was published in F&C.

speaking of magazines....we just had a launch of Carleton’s new sex mag, the Moose and Pussy at the Dusty Owl recently and before that my good pal Liam Taliesin published two issues of a wondrous literary erotica journal called Moist, now defunct thanks to distributor bankrupcies alas. but it was a gorgeous and sexy mag and i still miss it.

next up on the sexual celebration is another Capital Xtra event “Transgress” at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on October 24, featuring Sean Horlor, Todd Klinck, Nairne Holtz and Daniel MacIvor.

judging by audience reactions and the well filled rooms at this weekend’s readings, Ottawa’s appetite for literature which deals openly with sex and sexuality has not yet been sated.

let’s keep it coming.

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