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SMUT STAND REPORT: Nov. 1, 2014 (New Orleans)

WHEN: 6 hours (8pm-2am), Nov 1, 2014. WHERE: mural fence next to the Art Market, Frenchmen Street, New Orleans.   OUTPUT: eight custom works, including a lamp-lit alley gang bang; a humiliation and anal-rape scene for a guy who could rival Extreme Top for being aggressively show-offy about how hardcore he is; and a Victorian-era softcore power-exchange situation, with shades of classism and blow jobs.

It was my first night on after two nights off. The night before Halloween and Halloween night itself are definitely no-fly zones for any kind of vending on Frenchmen Street, except for maybe food vendors and people selling glow-stick necklaces and glittery fairy wands. I had worked for nine days straight by the time October 30 rolled around, I was coming down with something and I was long overdue for a break. As it turned out, I got hired for a Halloween party, to sit in a corner for an hour and a half and do microsmut. The money was stellar, and the people were nice, but the music was a little too loud to work with and MICROSMUT IS FUCKING HARD, MAN, under the best conditions. So I was glad to return the day after to my normal habitat.

Walking from Cafe Envie to Frenchmen Street, on my way to get the Smut Stand from the car, I had passed several of the normal mural fence habitués sitting in their chairs somewhere a full block closer to Esplanade. I didn't understand it. And then when I set up my stand along that fence, there was NOBODY THERE. Makes me wonder if that group just knows to get out of the way for Halloween weekend, or maybe someone made a complaint about the street harassment and general blocking-of-the-sidewalk that they engage in. Whatever it was, like, I get people need to have their place, but it would be nice not to have to constantly be struggling to compensate for the seriously bad vibe they bring to that stretch of the sidewalk. We'll see if they're back tonight.

A tattooed gentleman and his buddy came back last night. They had visited earlier in the week, on the bike-shop side of the street, and I had been very put off by the tattoo artist. The other night he had gone ON AND ON AND FUCKING ON about all of the extreme implements he has, whips and floggers with broken glass and bits of razor blade woven into them and the ceiling suspension hook that he has in his apartment, and he talked about the erotica story writing that he and his friends play at, where they alternate every two lines and try to out-kink each other. I looked at him and said, "That's not what I do." His friend was a little embarrassed, I think. In my head I was like, if you do come back like you say you will, I want to write you the soppiest, most Hallmark-y fucking BDSM love story ever.

Well, so he did come back, with his friend, and commissioned a piece. I made a point to say, when I was giving him what I now call "the rules of engagement," that I did not really care how "extreme" he was, that I was sure that he was amazingly well qualified in that arena, and he could be sure that I was well qualified in the smut-writing arena, and we neither of us needed to be in this to show off for each other or prove anything. But I didn't get a chance to write it as romance, because what he gave me in the interview really didn't leave room for that, and I never write revenge smut to take my feelings out on a customer. What he gave me was extreme humiliation, around body and self-esteem, forced anal, choking, whatever would cause the most pain and humiliation to her… After the interview, I further clarified with him that I was not dealing with actual rape, and he nodded and said "Contracts." Inwardly I shrugged. There are people who get off on being humiliated; surely that implies the existence of people who get off on doing the humiliating, and here was one, but it is not a mindset that I wanted to spend a lot of time in. I ripped the smut out, loading it with body-hating stuff that I haven't been near in 25 years and angst around anal cleanliness, and let the protagonist poke and prod at his victim with contempt, spit in her face, make her cry and cry. I didn't enjoy writing this piece, but the customer liked it very much.

On the plus side: A young woman approached my stand tonight and said, "Have you ever done this in Indianapolis?" Yes, I said, in 2011. "I knew it!" she exclaimed. "I bought a piece from you there, my friends and I bought pieces! I framed mine and it's hanging in my bedroom! WOW. That was nearly 3.5 years ago. Back then I had no idea what I was doing, that Sidewalk Smut actually did have the potential to affect people. I didn't know. I guess they always did, though. It's a nice thought.

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