I just got back, a short while ago, from attending a pretty amazing show: Sex Workers' Art Show 2008 (http://www.sexworkersartshow.com/). I got the invitation to join a new friend and his wife for the show, so I went. I didn't really know what to expect, but I admit to not expecting much. You see, I thought I would be let down by the performances. Oh sure, I expected there to be a little titillation, and there was definitely that, but it was presented in an air of openess and okayness that had me smiling the entire evening (and my friend, literally grinning from ear-to-ear!). What I didn't expect was to be impressed by the raw talent of the performances. Even the more burlesque acts were witty, intelligent, and impeccably performed. Sinfully beautiful.
But what surprised me most was the quality of the readings and the routines. These sex workers can write. And perform. One of the sex workers, a porn film star named Lorelei Lee (see picture), read some of the best flash fiction I've come across in a long time. Most of it was snippets of situations she may have lived through, like bringing home cough medicines for a sick friend lying on the couch, only to have the friend sit up and say, "I just watched the Ghandi movie, and I have no idea what it was about." Simple stories about real people. Snippets of reality packaged with an economy of words and a juxtaposition of events that only a seasoned author could produce. That she's an undergraduate, a porn star, and a an award-winning Tit-Tortured model, busted the hell out of a lot of my unacknowledged stereotypes.
If this show makes it to your burg, go see it. Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised. And titillated, for more than just the obvious reasons.