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Archive for Sidewalk Smut

SMUT STAND REPORT: September 5, 2015 (Montreal, QC)

I don't look quite this put together on the Smut Stand...

I don't look quite this put together on the Smut Stand, not when it's approaching 30 degrees Celsius out there...

 

WHEN: 4.5 hours (4-8:30pm), September 5, 2015. WHERE: Prince Arthur Street near St-Laurent, Montreal. OUTPUT: three full-length pieces, including a lovely nipple-torment scene out in the woods; a rain-dampened back-alley, no, not blow-job, but pegging; and a tender blow-job session for a woman who loves to swallow.

The day before this I had tried out a new-to-me spot—on St-Denis, where the neighborhood had set up a blocks-long public terrasse for the summer—and it was a complete sizzling dud. The people passing had places to be, and there were a lot of families and ALSO mostly they were Francophones, which is the particular challenge of this city. I got a few people stopping and inquiring and taking business cards, but when I'm not at a festival or otherwise promoting my shows, general visibility takes the back seat to making money.

SO, yesterday I decided to go back to my old tried-and-true, the pedestrian street of Prince Arthur, across from the slightly seedy bar/terrasse whose name I can't remember because it's been worn away from the awning, that's the kind of seedy that I'm talking about. There's not a heavy flow of foot traffic, but the sight lines are fantastic and the fact that no cars are allowed means that the typewriter noise carries well.

But OH MY GOD COPS, SO MANY COPS. When I arrived, there were already two police cars parked facing St-Laurent. I rapidly reviewed my history with Montreal police—they are generally curious/bemused, and have never closed my stand—and decided to just, you know, set up like there were no cop cars there. But all the while, in my peripheral vision and attention, I was keeping an eye on them. That spot seemed to be a traffic trap, for drivers running the red light at that intersection. One car would take off with lights flashing, and then within 5 minutes another car would roll around the corner and take its place. At one point there were two cop cars and an unmarked police van there, and I was just, FUCK FUCK FUCK, any minute. But though they walked by me several times, I kept my outward cool, and eventually they all left. My intersectional experience of cops while being a busker and a sex worker (of sorts) and a woman and white is specific and weird.

Business was oh so slow for the first hour and a half, but I was getting a few inquiries, people who didn't just gawk but came up and asked for the pitch, so I elected to stay. The first customers were a young couple on bikes who had pedaled past and then did that thing 20 feet on, where they slowed to a wobbly stop, conferred, and then walked their bikes right back to the Smut Stand. (This is a safer option than the other common response, sudden braking.) They were super fun to talk with, as was the next customer, a young man whose green eyes stunningly matched his t-shirt. (I forgot how fucking gorgeous people can be in Montreal.) This guy was super upfront about all manner of things, and gave enough detail to make the smut—which was to be a gift to one of his lovers—really sing, WITHOUT dictating, which I hate. I didn't get to deliver that to him in person, as he was in a meeting; a young woman, who I think was the person who was supposed to be receiving the smut, came to pick it up. I warned her that she was NOT to look at the smut, and sent her on her way.

Right around when I was doing this guy's interview, I got a special surprise visit from Allison Von Der Lande, my guitar-playing busker friend who I often see down in New Orleans in October. Allison had taken my earlier half-joking FB plea seriously ("please stop by and bring a latté or friends who would like some smut"), and brought a couple of friends (who ended up not getting smut, but still very nice) AND bought me a latté. We had to catch up quickly, because that's when the customer rolled up, but spoke long enough to establish that we were in fact going to cross paths in New Orleans and that UK Muse was every marvelous thing ever.

My last client of the day was a single MILFy woman, slender and tall with an amazing rack, dressed in a style I would call "dressy biker babe", and she walked in her heels like she had never worn any other footwear in her life. When she found out what I did, she plopped right down on the pavement next to me and said, "Let's do it." She was absolutely forthcoming with me, talking about her several lovers and occasional exhibitionism, but when we got to the bit about a pleasant sexual discovery, she kind of hrrrrmed and lowered her voice and got a little fidgety. "The thing is, I really like pleasing my lovers, making them feel good, you know, stroking their egos," she said. "Like, one of my guys, I squirted with him for the first time recently. I totally squirt with other men, but hadn't with him yet. So… I let him think that was the first time, and he loved it. I like different things with my different lovers, with him that was new and fun." The way she talked about pleasing them, and the fact that I couldn't actually get any answers from her about what she personally liked made me feel a little queasy, I'll be honest. But something to think about, isn't it? If that is what gets someone off, being that much in service to someone else's needs, then so be it. You can't argue with a turn-on. But I do hope she thinks a little more, after our conversation, about what she likes. Because I really feel there ought to be something.

All through the shift I enjoyed occasional manifestations of what it might be like to become a cult phenomenon. I mean, that's not my GOAL—I would like to make it big in my own particular way—but there's no denying that there is starting to be some kind of low-level collective awareness of the Smut Stand and, I guess, of me:

  • Five people recognized me from shows: "Weren't you in the Fringe?"
  • Two people recognized me from Smut Slam, and asked when the next one would be.
  • One person recognized me from the description of Smut Slam that she had gotten a couple of weeks ago from a friend, and asked when the next one would be.
  • One girl with bright blue hair walked by and said, "WUT I SAW YOU IN LONDON." Brick Lane? "YES, WUT THE HELL."

And one customer from last year walked by just as I was closing the deal with my first customers of the day and said, "Do it. It's the best present you can get for yourself with $20." He stopped by again later and said he would be coming around today with his girlfriend for another piece. REPEAT CUSTOMERS, AWWW YEAHHHH.

OH! And I got a religious guy stopping by! He looked like an ordinary hipster grad student, but the red flags started going up almost immediately. "Wow," he said, after I gave him the pitch. "But, don't you feel that it might be better to turn that energy to something more meaningful?" What do you mean, turn that energy? "Well, you seem like a very intelligent woman..."—at that point I was definitely starting to give him some side-eye—"it just seems like you could put those talents into other projects." I do other projects, I said, and reeled them off. They all have to do with sex, but I personally believe that what I do with all of work can be pretty fucking meaningful. I try to create an encouraging safe space where people can think and talk about their authentic sexual selves. In our culture, as it is, that is really really rare. GRRRGH. Don't you tell me what to do with my talents, you fucker, was my thought. For all of his insinuations and assumptions, which I cleared out like I was wielding a rhetorical machete in the jungle, this guy was so mild-mannered that I didn't feel the need to brush him off immediately. But WHOA, I don't often get sex-negative people actually stopping to talk.

And then my friend Scott Ryder stopped by on his way back from a démontage (theatre load-out, I learned a new French word!) that actually wasn't happening until next week. As soon as Scott rolled up, the White Knight with sex issues took off, which I was glad about, because he was starting to get into hypotheticals around fantasies, like sheep fucking and incest, and it was all heading toward something that was going to get a little more confrontational and nasty. Scott had brought a container of Indian takeaway, and after I had cleared away the typewriter, I tucked into a samosa and half a naan and some saag bhorta (spinach). The evening, against all odds, ended on a high note.

SMUT STAND REPORT: August 22, 2015 (Edinburgh, UK)

WHEN: 3 hours (2:45-5:45pm), August 22, 2015. WHERE: In Cowgate, Edinburgh, UK. OUTPUT: four full-length pieces, including some outdoor pussy-eating for a fiery Fringe fling, a rough fuck over the back of a sofa (with a blow-job to clean up the resultant mess), and a proper scary torture session involving knives and a comic-book villain in velvet gloves.

The stand opened up with a bang for this session, I was still setting up the pull-up poster when a friend of mine walked up with her Fringe fling, who I had met a few times already. My friend had been a satisfied smut customer a couple of years ago, and so had told this new lover all about the smut stand and about my work; I get a little nervous about that sort of thing, and indeed about anyone who finds me owing to word of mouth, because oh god, how do I live up to the hype? Somehow I manage, but it is always nerve-wracking. On the plus side, having someone there ready to step in meant that passersby would see me in action right away, with customers. Interviewing people draws nearly as much attention as typing.

None of the people today were "cold" customers, in fact; I had pre-existing connections with all of them. First my friend, and then OH MY GOD, this young woman came up with her mother and exclaimed "You're here!" Turns out she had gotten a story from me last year. She only comes into town for a day or two every Fringe, and yesterday morning when she arrived, she said, she walked past my spot on Cowgate and said to her mom, "I hope the smut lady is here again!" I didn't remember her that well, but I remembered last year's story; it was a role-play rape scene along the specific lines of Little Red Riding Hood. This year's piece was even more specific: she wanted a story involving the Joker. A rape and torture scene involving the Joker. When she said this, I TOTALLY remembered our encounter from last year. I remember scrutinizing her really hard, then, and realizing that the Little Red Riding Hood thing wasn't a joke, this was a legitimate turn-on for her. Same thing was true for the Joker request: this was something she clearly fantasized about. So I pulled out all the stops, gave him a menacing switchblade and the line "I'm not sure if I want to fuck you or skin you alive." She LOVED it, hopping up and down after I read it—VERY QUIETLY—to her, and hugging me with tears in her eyes before she walked away, waving at me.

My last customers of the day were satisfying in a different, but related way. This one woman came up with her boyfriend and another couple in tow. "I told you I'd be back," she said triumphantly. Apparently she had passed me in that same spot two weeks ago, had spoken with me briefly, and had promised that she would bring her lover around when he came to town. So… here he was! AND one of their friends and his new girlfriend had gotten an earful about me, and here THEY were, each wanting a couples piece. The first couple got a hair-pullingly hardcore scene, but the second couple, oh man, they were the cherry on top. These folks had met on Tindr only a few weeks ago, but they were clearly completely gaga for each other. She was a very petite young woman, with long hair and sultry eyes and some kind of Central European accent; he was a strapping Scottish lad—like, easily 6'4" and built like a castle wall—and he stuttered a bit.

We had gotten at a few bits of foot fetishism in the interview, as well as some rougher play, so I thought their answers to the last question might be very hardcore indeed. Is there anything recently or vividly that was a pleasant discovery in sex? I asked. She said simply, "I've never been with anyone who has a foot fetish before, it's nice." And he said, "And I've never been with anyone who was okay with it." And they looked at each other and smiled. The pure joy and acceptance that they clearly shared around this discovery almost made me cry, and the way he stuttered after I read them the finished piece told me that he was pretty stoked now to have a story reflecting his own, very specific reality.

Some days I catch a glimpse of how deep this work can go, and it thrills me to the bottom of my endless pervy heart.

********

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Sidewalk Smut and Librarian Lust: two great tastes that taste great together!

I rarely—oh, so rarely—take specific content requests out on the Smut Stand. Usually the requesters are drunk stag dos, looking for something involving a donkey and two dozen green balloons and "a couple of hookers" (their words, not mine), and I am not particularly interested in engaging with those stories. (Although it might be worth seeing if I could stomach doing the novelty requests if I charged a premium. Hmmm….)

Anyway, I usually can't be bothered with special requests, but occasionally someone asks so nicely and their vibe is so pleasant, and the request is actually interesting to me, either from a personal or an artistic standpoint, so I go for it. A couple of days ago, when I was out on the Smut Stand in Edinburgh, I got a request that I couldn't refuse: something with a librarian, in a library. This was a request from a librarian who collects hard copies (heh heh) of LIBRARIAN PORN. This is a thing! She has a collection! When she told me this, I immediately felt the strength of her point, that a piece of bespoke typewritten erotica would be just the right visual element to tie together the collection.

Side note: I worked in a library for a few years, in my 20s, and holy fuck, was it boring. I thought perhaps writing something about a librarian in a library would be a little cathartic. (It was.) Plus, I don't think I've written about library sex before. Maybe once. It's not a common trope in the Sidewalk Smut business.

So I wrote a nice medium-core cowgirl scene in a library chair that squeaked if the people having sex moved too quickly, in a huge, hushed library with all plush carpets and brass finishings and hard wood (heh heh). The customer said afterward that she was definitely going to put it on display. And then, like, a DAY later she sent me this lovely note and photographic evidence, and even a link to a publicly accessible spreadsheet of her librarian porn titles. (Because she's a librarian.) She said I could share this, so here it is, her email and the pics. Enjoy, my pervy bookworms!

Hello, it's your afternoon librarian client here!

As promised, photos of my new addition to the library porn/libroporn collection, alongside it.

I decided to collect erotic books about librarians about a year ago, because I'm...well...a  librarian, and the idea of collecting books about librarians doing the sorts of things that the stereotypes of librarians say we aren't meant to do amused me. Also, as erotica increasingly moves to digital versions, the hard copy of these sorts of books are getting harder to find, so now is a perfect time to gather them together as a collection.

My collection criteria is only that it must be a "traditional" type of librarian stereotype story - either repressed female librarian discovers the joy of sex, or a librarian is hiding her secret wild side under a veneer of respectability. That means there's a whole variety of odd plot-lines available without even going near the werewolf vampire librarians! Books are either bought new, or are secondhand library books found online...librarians seem to feature in those Mills & Boons romances a lot. It's getting hard to actually track down these books, as lots of non-erotica book descriptions/online information feature reviews from librarians, rather than being erotic books that feature librarians.

Of course, as a good librarian, I also have them organised on this public spreadsheet, so if my friends see any they can check if I've already got it! 😀

2015-08-20 19.08.05

"Don't drip on the carpet" is what I included in the autograph. 😀

 

My smut is on special display! (I wonder if she'd respect me less if she knew my typing paper wasn't archival-quality...

My smut is on special display! (I wonder if she'd respect me less if she knew my typing paper wasn't archival-quality...)

SMUT STAND REPORT: August 17, 2015 (Edinburgh, UK)

WHEN: 3 hours (3-6pm), August 17, 2015. WHERE: On Grassmarket, Edinburgh, UK. OUTPUT: five full-length pieces, including one each for a pair of sisters (they didn't witness each other's interviews, but wound up with mostly the same tastes); a cowgirl scene for a short, plump middle-aged lady in a pantsuit who was THRILLED by the whole process; and a vicious little "plow position" piece for a young (subby) woman who didn't look old enough to know about any of that stuff, but when she opened her mouth and started talking about it, then, yes, clearly she well knows her thing.

I haven't written a Smut Stand report in over a week, but let me assure you, I'm out there, every fucking day from 2 or 3pm to 6pm, when I have to close up shop and get ready for my show at 7:05. This is really the only way I promote my shows here in Edinburgh. Some days I get no paying customers but a lot of brochures flying into hands; other days it's all business and fewer brochures. The dueling demands of Smut Stand at a festival—promote the show, and then actually make some grocery money—can be tricky, but really, I just enjoy talking with people about sex, whichever way the interaction goes.

I do wish there was some way for me to better sell to the people who come up while I'm working on something else and don't have time to wait. Like, they say they'll look for me on another day, but I know I'm losing some of them. Maybe I could have a little display scrapbook of "off-the-rack" microsmut that people could flip through and purchase for £5. Hmm. Gotta find more ways to make impulse buys easier!

Sometimes it takes a while for a location to wake up to the fact that I'm there; I mean, usually it takes at least 20-30 minutes before someone steps up and orders something, sometimes as long as an hour. Yesterday I didn't even have a chance to roll the first sheet of paper in for the first warm-up piece, before a young woman from Chicago stepped and said, "I'm in." She and her younger sister had seen my show in the program book already, and when they saw the stand, she knew right away that she had to do it. Some people are like that. Her sister had been a little more tentative, but I guess when she saw how happy her big sis was with her piece, she didn't want to be left out.

The best part of today's session was both a properly festive sale—one couple in a straight, double-date group bought a commissioned work for the other couple to celebrate their 25th anniversary—AND a learning moment for me. The woman in the couple used a wheelchair, and I found myself having to think very rapidly about what was the relevant information that I needed, and what would be the best way to ask the questions to get that information. This lady had clearly lived a while with her condition; her matter-of-fact attitude about the information that I needed pretty much mirrored my matter-of-fact demeanor when asking the other questions, the sex stuff that made her blush a little. She had some kind of disease that was getting worse over time; it weakened her, and on some days, like yesterday, she had a struggle to even move her arms. So her husband needed to move her into position, and he needed to do all the hard work. "I get to just lie back," she said with a smirk. "Oh, and we do like 69, but he has to be on top, of course."

She liked the outdoors, but the wheelchair made that really difficult now, she said, so I placed the scene in their enormous backyard, with him rigging up a special sex hammock, sitting on a stool between her legs, then eating her out until she dripped on the grass.

That was a fun piece to work on.

*****

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SMUT STAND REPORT: August 9, 2015 (Edinburgh, UK)

WHEN: 3.5 hours (2:30-6pm), August 9, 2015. WHERE: On Grassmarket, Edinburgh, UK. OUTPUT: one full-length piece for an older gentleman who thought his girlfriend would fancy it, but had a REALLY hard time articulating what they liked to do. I ended up giving him a medium-core cowgirl scene, and broke my own rule about including proper names, because fuck it, I needed the money.

Out here in Edinburgh Fringe, Smut Stand usually goes one of two ways: lots of business and fewer flyers out, or lots of flyers and less business. This day was one of the latter. There are always people who are running off to try to catch a show, or eat some dinner—I cannot argue with people for custom porn over self-care, especially in the middle of the festival!—but when they tell me they will TOTALLY find me later, I kinda roll my eyes, even while I am grinning at them and thanking them. 95 percent of them will not make it back, and that's okay. They got one of my brochures anyway, and the remaining fanatical five percent? Will find me repeatedly, and bring their friends.

Yesterday really was a day to remember what the Smut Stand originally was meant to do: promote my shows and me. With the pull-up poster behind me, it cannot fail, at least in terms of public visibility. There are points, at about my 10:30/1:30 positions, as people are walking past me and they cross those lines, when they become aware of me, and look at me. It's a little cone of awareness, starting with me and radiating outwards, that affects maybe 90 percent of the passersby (and 100 percent of the people sitting out on the terraces). If they are by themselves they may smile or grimace, but if they are with someone else, inevitably they will read one of my signs out loud and start discussing it. When I'm out there, there's a constant hum, rising and falling—there on Grassmarket it depends a lot on whether the buskers have just wound up their acts, which means a bunch of people suddenly are out on the pavement again—but it's always there, a susurrus of "smut while you… abrupt erotica, what does that… smut… did you see that?… smut while you wait… I want that!... oh my god… erotica… smut while you…" It's funny to hear!

I met some fun folks out there yesterday, including a German woman who had seen slut (r)evolution the night before and was so excited to have seen a show that dealt with bisexuality at all. We talked about the feminist scene in Berlin, and she gave me the name of the most-read German feminist blog that she said I must get in touch with when I tour there in 2017. I also met two couples from Ludlow! (WUT.) I didn't recognize them, but they recognized me, said they had been volunteers there, so they hadn't had the chance to see my shows. (Of course they got a flyer. "Now's your chance to catch up!")

My one commission? He made me sad. Not the writing part or even the interview part, that was very straightforward. He was a simple man with simple pleasures: drunk sex with his girlfriend.

What positions?

"Uh…"

Okay, um, do you like cowgirl?

"That's where she's on top, right?"

Yes.

"Aye, that's good."

And what else?

"She likes my knob."

Does she? Excellent!

… and so on. I wrested the information I needed from him, got his money, took his mobile number so I could text him when it was time to pick it up, but when I texted him… no response. Twice I texted him, and then, after 45 minutes I had to leave and get ready for my show. I HATE it when that happens; I feel like that's confirming their worst suspicions about street performers, but DUDE, I read your number back to you! Either he was too drunk and switched a digit, or he just ignored my texts. <sigh> This means I have to carry around his piece in an envelope for the rest of the Fringe, in case he turns up and demands it.

Fucker.

*****

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