Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Bumps, Bruises and Beauty Along The Way

Its been an amazing year so far. Many of you may not be aware, but while I am still very active in the adult video industry, I decided to focus on other aspects of my career this year, mainly my writing, touring with The Punany Poets & guest lecturing at colleges. I'm certainly not retiring anytime soon, but I certainly and happy to have some of the opportunities I have had as I change directions in my career.

On May 14th, I had a speaking engagement at Orange Coast College in Costa Mesa, CA as a guest lecturer. I appeared before a Human Sexuality class of 200+ students to speak about my life and career as a sex worker including my 16 years as an adult film star, fetish model, professional Dominatrix and escort. I presented an array of photos & video clips from throughout my career and discussed the varied facets of my life including maintaining intimate and familial relationships and delving deep into conversations about the fetish and BDSM industry. I also showed the students a recent anti-piracy PSA that I participated in with lots of other top names in the business including Ron Jeremy, Wicked Girls Kaylani Lei and Alectra Blue, Charlie Laine, Kimberly Kane, Joanna Angel and many, many others. The lecture was well received and I was able to share the lecture live via UStream with fans that wanted to peek in on what topics I cover on a college campus.

Earlier this week I did a phone interview with Lanie Spiezer, a writer for Penthouse who has written a couple of books and is working on her 3rd. This new coffee table book is titled, "100 Porn Star Confessions," (Quiver Books,) and features profiles, interviews, sex tips & photos on 100 top adult stars. I was thrilled to be a part of this project! I adore appearing in sexy mainstream projects - especially books that appear in outlets like Barnes and Noble. In the past I have appeared in photos in Christine Kessler's book "Pervy Girls" (Goliath Books,) and there was an entire chapter written about my life and career in Lawrence Ross' "Money Shot" (Running Press.) Last year some of my poetry was published in David Henry Sterry's anthology "Ho's Hookers, Call Girls and Rent Boys," (Soft Skull Press.)

"Click here to purchase a copy of Money Shot"

"Click here to purchase a copy of Ho's, Hookers, Call Girls & Rent Boys"

Having my writing published certainly isn't new to me... for years I wrote for print magazines such as the now defunct Black Mystique and the Hip-Hop/ Porn Publication Fish N' Grits. I also conducted interviews for Mainstream Hip Hop website with Phonte' from Little Brother & Dilated Peoples. I must admit however, receiving a hard copy of a published book is something else. I remember in the 5th grade, our end of the year English project was to co-author a story with a partner and illustrate it. Our finished projects were bound and laminated and placed in the school library. That first taste of blood was all it took to get me hooked and want to see more of my writing in print.

My only real resolution this year was to truly focus more on my writing. I have been hastily trying to complete my book on Relationships with Sex Workers titled, "How to Love a Whore." With a bit more research to go, I am hoping to complete it by the summer. I am also working on a separate project on Sex Work & Parenting. I have submitted an abstract to offer a seminar on the topic at the Scarlet Alliance Sex Worker Conference in Sydney, Australia in November, 2010. Much of the research I am doing at present has not never really been pursued before... so the writing is taking longer than previously thought as I want to not only pull from my own experiences but the experiences of other as well, both good and bad.

Yesterday's panel at UCSB was presented by the Feminist Studies Dept., The Women's Studies Department and The Film Studies Department. The panel was titled, "Race and Desire: Black Actors in Adult Film," and featured myself, Vanessa Blue and Tyler Knight. We discussed everything from fetish and BDSM in ethnic themed videos to White female performers that "don't do interracial scenes with Black males" or charge a higher fee for it. We answered questions about how we navigate the adult industry within the confines of discretionary racism to how I respond to feminists that question the image of the female submissive in BDSM. The talk was not only amazing but my conversation with a Doctoral student in religious studies who did his Master's at Harvard regarding how he discusses sex and sexuality within marriage with parishioners and those he counsels.

The absolute best part of the entire trip was dinner after at this wonderful bistro. A glass of Malbec and a honey glazed duck with a chambord sauce and I found myself deep in conversations about Octavia Butler's Wild Seed, Sexual Identity vs. Sexual Preference and Singular pronouns for GenderQueer people that prefer the terms "they/ their" over "He" or "She." I love intelligent, stimulating conversation. I left the dinner feeling inspired and anxious to finish my research and my book.

This week's appearances will be rounded out with a live stage appearance with The Punany Poets right here in Los Angeles. We will perform at a small theater in the NOHO Arts District of the San Fernando Valley. I love doing these cabaret style shows. The way we sling our erotic poetry and sex education in scantily clad outfits and verbal orgies on stage with our audience members... it is truly charged and enticing. I truly enjoy giving lap dances in a room full of watchful eyes, the volunteers always blush then get completely into it. We always introduce a sober moment in the show where I discuss HIV statistics in urban communities and test a volunteer from the audience using the OraQuick HIV test, (the only FDA approved oral swab for HIV,) to show how easy it is to not only get tested, but to have the conversation with a partner about getting tested. I have been working with The Know Now Organization, a mobile HIV testing company that can come to your home, hotel or place of business and test you and your partner, for a couple of years now. I've attended swinger's events and porn conventions with the group, spreading the message of the importance of HIV testing. Being asked to join the cast of the Punany Poets was such a nature fit for me. I would be able to perform my poetry, interact with my fans on stage and spread the message of safer sex practices and some kinky sex tips along the way.

So far this year, I have performed with The Punany Poets on Stage in Miami, DC, Detroit and even performing 2 shows off Broadway in NYC. I love being on stage in front of a large group of people. What few people know is that during high school I was cast as the wood nymph Phoebe in Shakespeare's "As You Like It," and actually won 2nd place in a Shakesperean Festival at Cal Poly Pomona for the role. I continued to act for a short period of time through college, but it was never my passion. I did however LOVE performing in oratorical competitions. The first time I performed "Phenomenal Woman," by Maya Angelou in front of a crowd of people, I felt the rush. I never experienced that feeling again until the first time I stepped on stage in Miami with The Punany Poets for the first time. The theater we performed in was huge... and our sold out crowd was so supportive. I overcame my nervous energy and pushed forward and received a standing ovation at the end of the show. I felt SO good when it was over... I've been getting paid for doing something I love for 17 years now... and this was a perfect transition in my life.

I love the way this year is playing out. There have been bumps along the way but overall, the first half of the year has been, overall, just right. :)

One of those little bumps is my old car deciding to finally take a shit. Yesterday something to do with the crank shaft blew a hole in my engine. So yeah... time to buy a new car. But considering all the positives in my life right now, I can be without a car for a few days. :)