Happy Valentine’s Day, Anna Nicole

February 14, 2007

All right, maybe it’s a little odd to send a Valentine to a dead person I didn’t even know, but all the cable news frenzy has been a Valentine of a kind too, right? A twisted one, but then, that’s entertainment… as Anna Nicole (nee Vickie Lynn Hogan) must have known.

I’m guessing she didn’t start out knowing it. A lil’ Texas girl for whom the best available route to the most glamour, fabulosity, and probably also just plain makin’-ends-meet lay in the many gentleman’s clubs that mushroomed up there in the 80s. But you meet a lot of rich guys in those places, maybe she figured, and so she did. Never mind that the one she snagged was old enough to be her great-granddad — he looks pleased as punch in those photos of him they’re showing on TV.

photo from allposters.com

This isn’t exactly the American Dream. And yet it is, for plenty of American women (and gayboy twinkies, too, truth be told, who are just as up for finding Mr. Rich Mr. Right). See, Anna Nicole’s American life is, in this historical moment, pretty much completely shaped by her femaleness, not to mention by her class. And at this time, when the pundits are alternatively helping to keep the bright lights of life still shining on her memory and shaking their heads because everyone’s so fixated on her*, her death, her details, the great attention paid to her passing isn’t just because she’s America’s Rose (huh?) or our next incarnation of Marilyn Monroe or even America’s Diana. It’s because she’s the girl next door who rose to unexpected (and in one sense unexplained) heights. *She’s* the proof that in America, anyone can make it really big… and that fantasy helps so many people wake up in the morning, it’s no wonder folks are fixated on Anna Nicole. For one thing, dying young, while nailing any kind of celebrity to the wall of the pop limbo hall of fame, really messes with the fantasy.
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When Blog Topix Collide: Gavin Newsom, Porno Politics, and Ethical Sluthood

February 2, 2007

The Chron’s editorial page today features San Francisco’s two biggest sex issues of the week, and their juxtaposition has our young mayor ass-deep, as my dear dead old dad Max Queen used to say, in alligators. (Max had a “drain the swamp” tagline, but that now belongs to Nancy Pelosi; I won’t belabor it.) I’ve been meaning to write about both issues, and now that they are contextualizing each other harder than two French feminists in a dark alley, I guess I’ll tackle both at once. I mean, of course, the controversy over Kink.com’s purchase of SF’s historic Armory building (the handsome, dungeonesque relic at 14th and Mission), and this week’s dramatic revelation that Newsom had an affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, a staffer married to his friend and campaign manager.
SF Armory, photo from Noehill.com
That this latter situation is not one of those consensual threeways with which some of us liven up our weekends seems pretty clear by Alex Tourk’s action upon the affair’s revelation — he abruptly quit — and Newsom’s somber, “sorry”-filled response response to the press. (Though always-priceless Bad Reporter Don Asmussen had a field day with that notion in this morning’s cartoon.) Irritating letters to the editor are already blaming the kerfluffle on “San Francisco Values” — these kneejerk folks sure do like a buzz-phrase, from Bush to Limbaugh on down to opinionated people in San Rafael — but give me a freakin’ break: this guy is the first mayor of a major American city to have an affair? Can you say “Rudy Giuliani“? And THAT guy’s a presidential candidate. In fact, last I heard, he was the Republican’s front runner.
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Goodbye, Molly Ivins

February 1, 2007

This has been a hell of a year for death, and I don’t mean the charming hooded one who speaks in ALL CAPS from Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. And today I picked up the paper to see truly bad death-related news (besides that from Iraq, which is there on a fluctuatingly-horrific-but-always-petty-damn-bad basis): Molly Ivins has left this mortal coil.

Everyone will say all the good stuff about Molly that can be said: She’s a plain-spoken (or rather, fluent in Texas-speak) liberal muckraker journalist; she knows just how bad it is in Washington DC today because she observed (and muckraked) Bush back when he was Texas governator; she’s irreplaceable. Hell, even Bush himself gave a nice comment at the news of her death, doubtless written by the guy or gal in the office whose job it is to do such things. I saw her speak at a Feminists for Free Expression conference, I think it was; she was even better in person than on the page, and that’s saying something.

But most of the obits, wonderful as they’ll be, won’t say a word about what Molly had to say about dildos, so I’m going to call that detail my own contribution to the outpourings of love and gratitude to this most engaging and unique of columnists.

Now, I know nothing about Molly’s personal feelings about dildos, if any. But I had the honor of being a commentator in a movie in which she also played that role, Dildo Diaries — some people who talk to me have heard me say being in that video with her was one of the great honors of my life, so see, I’m not just buttering her up because she’s dead. Dildo Diaries, by two awesome Austin women, takes up the question of why owning more than five dildos is illegal in Texas. Not only do they talk to Molly, whose quip about the situation is pure Ivins — “It’s illegal for a prick to touch an asshole in this state” (which means what? Shrub wasn’t allowed to shake hands with The Hammer?) — they also go around to Texas state legislators to get comments. The actual legislator who introduced the law talks to them! You’d think when raw-boned Texas gals with cameras come to your office asking about such things that a sensible guy would hide under the desk.

DD isn’t seen widely enough, in my opinion; it played at Frameline in 2003; its auteurs, the Mizzes Barton and Wilder, show it in Austin now and again; and there’s an 11-minute clip on Youtube that you owe it to yourself to see.

With all the other things you’re going to hear about Molly Ivins this week, check it out to remind yourself that she could bring her own special genius to bear on *any* bone-headed pomposity that came into her view.

(By the way, if you think this situation is as stupid as Molly does, you’ll love the Wet Spots’ song “Texas Annie” about it.)

The Wet Spots - Hello Kinky

sfgate has Molly Ivins’ last column … and they say there’s a place for us to post our thought on her, though I was rushing too fast to figure out where that place was. Feel free to post them here, too. Goodbye, Molly. Every once in a while somebody goes too soon, and as far as I’m concerned we still need you.

To remember her? Raise some hell and do a breast exam.
Molly Ivins

Valentines Day ….so so soon

February 1, 2007

I know that people have mixed feelings about Valentines Day. My friends opinions tend to range from “its a merchandising based holiday aimed at driving post Xmas sales” and ” It’s a way to make single people feel bad” to “It’s the most romantic day ever!”.
To be realistic, it IS an awesome day for Good Vibrations. When Valentines Day appears suddenly everyone starts questioning the state of their love life. They want to have more sex, better sex, chocolate sex…
For me, I think of holidays like this as reminders of what I might have been forgetting to focus on in my own life. Have I been remembering to tell my loved ones how important they are to me? Am I making enough time for intimacy, pleasure, orgasms….
Even with a life that often revolves around the business of sex, I can get wrapped up in the daily grind and totally push aside my own sexuality. I’ve decided that this year, I’m not doing Valentines Day on Valentines Day 🙂 I’m going to pick a few random days and treat my partner to some extra special attention. It’s important to me that my expressions of love are seen as expressions of love, not as “its valentines day I guess I should do something sexy for you”. Sure, there will inevitably be February 14th related events. We do have reservations at an uber restaurant in Napa and I bought him a really cute card from Elephant Pharmacy, but that will not be the focus of the majority of my energy. I have much more scheming to do over the next few days. I have GV products to buy, exotic desserts to bake and sheets to launder! I’ll let you know how it goes.

How Is An iPod Like A Vibrator?

January 15, 2007

Or vice versa? OK, this just came to me, and today I am in a fog of influenza-induced fever, which is the excuse I plan to use if the iPod people tell me I’m taking their name in vain.

In spite of this fog I managed to reply to an email from women’s mag journalist Jen Allen, who’s writing up a story on vibrators for Self Magazine. What are common concerns? What do we say to Good Vibes customers who have those concerns? One of the complaints of some nascent vibrator buyers is: But it seems so mechanical!

And after all these years I finally had an answer just about everyone in this increasingly technological society will be able to relate to, given the number of Apple sound-and-moving-picture gizmos that have infiltrated our lives: Sure, a vibrator is mechanical, but so is an iPod, and every day more people are plugging into those instead of just humming their favorite tunes.

See, I *can* hum. And sing… sort of. But music is such a many-splendored pleasure, it would be a shame to restrict myself to only my own shower stylings. When I wake up in the middle of the night or the wee hours now (perimenopause: such a garden of delights, whether or not you call ’em hot flashes or “power surges”) I have a trick for going back to sleep that involves assiduously avoiding getting on the mental squirrel-wheel that is obsession with all I need to get done; I figure that unless I’m going to get up at 3:30 a.m. to do it, I’m better served by actually falling back to sleep.

Princess Teacup Bouvier aka Teacup Jan 07.jpg

So I put my hand on Teacup (she’s usually there within reach, probably *hoping* I’ll have a hot flash), getting her to purr, and I sing songs in my head. Things that I haven’t heard in thirty years — Veronique Sanson, people! Where is she now? The entire Rocky Horror Picture Show album! (You know I have a minor obsession with it, and there is nothing more soothing than “Don’t Dream It, Be It” when the night is dark. Plus if I drift off to erotic dreams of Frank N. Furter, RiffRaff, and Columbia, so much the better – www.rockyhorror.com).

All the Britpop that used to play on the UK radio station that beamed to the continent when I was an exchange student in Germany in 1973. You can’t find that stuff on jukeboxes now, my friend. You can’t find the German stuff at all! Heino! No *way*! Nor, for that matter, is most of the jukebox fare from my days at Butterfield Stage Station, the biker bar in Arlington, Texas, where I worked in 1975, easily accessible in the new century. Sure, I can download Jefferson Starship doing “Miracles,” but all that other cowboy/biker bar stuff? I wouldn’t even know where to look. It, like the bikers I cruised or went home with, live in my brain, especially at 3 a.m.
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Vote for Carol!

January 12, 2007

VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE SEX BLOG! Nominate by midnight EST, 1/15/07.

DirtySpoke wants you to nominate your favorite sex blog in the following categories. They say:
Once nominations are counted we will post the top 5 blogs in each category for voting. So get your friends, readers, enemies and lovers on board to nominate you. Only one nomination per IP address (duplicates will be deleted). Make sure to include the blog site address (i.e.-http://your-site.com) in the ballot form.
The following categories are open for nomination:
• Best Overall Sex Blog (Any sex blog, by a man, a woman, a group, gay/lesbian, etc.) – Winner to appear with Meme on the radio and receive a copy of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s new book “Caught Looking: Erotic Tales of Voyeurs and Exhbitionists.“
• Best Female Sex Blog (Limited to blogs written by a woman, that means she’s gotta have a vagina)
• Best Male Sex Blog (Limited to blogs written by a man, yes, with a penis)
• Best Couple/Group Sex Blog (This can be a blog written by a couple or group, but has to have at least 2 writers – Not a blog about group sex) Winner to receive a 2 DVD set of The L Word, Season 4 (Catch the premiere on Showtime Jan. 7, 2007 at 10pm)
• Sexiest Sex Blogger (Based on pictures of the blog writer) Winner to receive a copy of “The Ethical Slut: A Guide to Infinite Sexual Possibilities“
*More Prizes to be announced!
Wanna promote yourself? Add a button on your site for nominations! Go HERE for the html code!
Are you interested in sponsoring a category? Contact us for details.
Remember, nominations close 12 midnight EST 01/15/07!

Tour de Masturbate-a-Thon part 3: finis

December 13, 2006

By Carol Queen

Yes, I’m insanely late. I thought I posted this three months ago. Is it possible that I’m too Luddite to blog?

Anyhow, this is how that notorious trip to London-town ended up. We just had a meeting yesterday to try to plot another one next summer! And the Brits will have had a whole year to practice masturbation; I’m sure it will be stellar. Word has it the Aussies may be interested as well. Now, the wayback machine, to August:

Did anyone ever have a better nights’ sleep than this? A successful Masturbate-a-Thon under our belts (well, some of us more than others — I bet that Ruth woman, she of the nearly-50 orgasms, slept the sleep of the angels, unless she ate so much chocolate that she tossed and turned). And by the time Saturday night came around, I was WAY less jet-lagged.

Me, I slept well, and poor Robert slept all day. Really. He just couldn’t wake up, he’d put out so much of his already-low energy. So I went out to Camden Market with Clive, shopping for London snowglobes and Union Jack underwear, both of which can be had there, plus cute sexy dresses and punk clothing for people of all generations. I had to make it back to the Rookery Hotel to have an interview with London’s Bi Community News via Ian, whom we met aeons ago at a bisexuality conference. It was a pleasure to reconnect with him and we had a great chat — I’ll have to ask him if there’s an URL associated with that interview. We’ve been collecting links on the London ‘Thon, thanks especially to the amazing PR talents of Karin Tobiason, and a batch of those can be found below.

Karin, incidentally, has a secret life as an erotic artist. That’s how I met her, curating erotic art shows for Good Vibes back when that was my job; she just had a show of her torn-paper collages in the Good Vibrations Magazine.

Here are all the links I have at the moment: http://www.masturbate-a-thon.com/DC-pages/comments.htm

And here’s the one on YouTube, which is especially exciting because YouTube is so famous this week. Note, if you watch it, that it must have happened early enough in the ‘Thon that I was not yet entirely crispy-fried: http://youtube.com/watch?v=oORynpjNXkg

After the Ian interview wound down I managed to rouse Robert from his by-now-22-hour slumber. Maybe this is just how it is in Europe, and that’s where the Sleeping Beauty fairytale comes from. Was Sleeping Beauty really hellaciously jet-lagged? So the lot of us went out to a nice ‘spensivo London dinner at a trendy joint called The Zetter. “The Lot” consisted of Robert and me, Karin, Ian, Clive, and his pals X and XX. We postmortemed the ‘Thon for everyone who hadn’t been there, but then talk turned to another of my pet enthusiasms: the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Like many of my generation, I found “Don’t Dream It, Be It” words to live by (can you tell?), but I note that the influence of the RHPC has followed me and succeeding generations down the years; in fact, I took the Center for Sex & Culture’s interns to see it at Oakland’s lovely Parkway Theatre just before we left for London. One of said interns was the Rocky Horror Club president at her East Coast women’s college. RHPC haas a college club? See, when you get older, naivite sets in all over again, just when you think you’ve shaken it off. Well, I’ll write about this more another time. But suffice it to say that the two new-to-me Londoners I met via Clive had a fabulous RHPC-related anecdote: They had honeymooned in New Zealand and happened to be in the home town of RHPC creator (and player of Riff Raff) Richard O’Brien when they *dedicated a statue to him*!

People, tell me there’s no future in being your own, freaky self. A *statue*!!

Say, if the Rocky Horror phenomenon changed your life, let me know. One of these days I’m going to write about it. And hey, does anyone have a picture of that statue? I’ll post it here if you send it!

And then we went to sleep, went to the airport, went home, and were jetlagged for Jesus. But a different Jesus, I think, than the one in that poor Green guy’s life.

Did You Have a Festive Meth Day? Well, Happy AIDS Day

December 1, 2006

World AIDS Day: like everyone who lived through the second half of the 1980s, I’ve seen way more of these than I ever wanted to. I told you last night that I’d lost a bunch of people to methamphetamine: the heart attacks, the brains blown out, the too-much-too-soon-too-bad are certainly part of an epidemic different from, yet related to, AIDS. I’ve lost more people to HIV than I can count, but lately, many of the HIV+ people I know who’ve died have had some involvement with meth. But that doesn’t mean that’s the only thing that offs PWAs now (remember that contraction of Person With AIDS? So much less hopeless than calling someone a “victim”).

But if you had told me in 1989, say, that in 2006 we’d have to use this day to remind people that HIV kills, I’d have been incredulous.

We dreamed of a day when there’d be a cure, of course. As people dropped like flies in San Francisco and elsewhere, as people dropped the other things they were doing in their lives to care for each other, protest, and politic, The Cure was on everyone’s lips. Sometime in the early-to-mid 1990s, after early PWAs suffered behind hellacious experimental drug regimens that made even precious extended lifespans pretty miserable, the drug companies got antivirals together that allow HIV’s spectrum of diseases to be much more live-with-able than the old meds like AZT.

Now, instead of showcasing the World Without Art it looked as though the epidemic had wrought, with creative queers among the first groups of people to be hard-hit by AIDS (and subsequently to die in droves), the radio message as I drove home tonight was: Remember, it’s not really cured.

While guys justify barebacking because there are medical treatments now and besides, everybody knows about safe sex and it’s seronegative guys’ responsibility to insist on it, every day another bus comes into the station in every city big enough to have a lot of queer and bohemian people, and riding it is a kid who just got out of high school in Montanta or Oklahoma or Alabama who got worse-than-bad sex education and no information at all about how to be a healthy gay man. While we used to teach that if everyone used safer sex all the time, it wouldn’t be so necessary for individuals to come out as HIV-positive OR -negative, many in the community persist in identifying according to serostatus.

To say nothing of all the straight people who once again don’t believe AIDS has anything to do with them, and the global epidemic, which follows poverty and poor education like bad news after worse.

Each of us can do things that matter. We can remain educated about HIV and talk about the issues. We can get our heads out of the sand, if that’s where they’ve been. We can demand accountability from politicians and make sure our friends (and our kids) have access to condoms and safer sex information. If you don’t use condoms, get some anyway. Someone you know might need them. Next week *you* might need them. My very first blog entry here was written in memory of my friend Steven Brown who’d just died: I bet he’d want to tell you, just like my friends James Campbell and David Lourea and Honza, like John Lorenzini and Cynthia Slater and Daddy Bear Rings and Clark Taylor and all the many, many other people I’ve known whose lives were too short because of this bug: You don’t want this disease. And you don’t want anyone else, anywhere in the world, getting it either.

Want to do something else about AIDS today? Bristol-Myers is donating $1 to an AIDS foundation every time someone goes to their website and moves the match to the candle and lights it. It takes like two seconds to raise $1 at https://www.lighttounite.org/ — if we all do it, that’s $1 times a lot. Plus it feels a little like a ritual, and you can post your own HIV stories there.

Helping a drug company advertise itself is not usually my favorite thing to do. But it’s not like our government is ponying up the cash to help. Help these guys write a nice big check — it’s really the *very* least we, and they, can do.

Happy Meth Awareness Day, Everybody!

November 30, 2006

I don’t talk about drugs much, you know; it’s not what people seem to want me to address, and I’ve actually used way fewer drugs than the average hip person. It’s not like I get invited to groovy drug conferences like Annie Sprinkle (www.anniesprinkle.org), who is in the loop with all the mind-expansion folks who go to Hawai’i for their shindigs. Of course this is understandable, since being with Annie is very mind-expanding whether or not you do drugs at the same time.

I don’t talk much about rock and roll, either. But it’s Meth Awareness Day, and I just feel like celebrating with a little awareness of something other than the War-On-Drugs variety.

So two things. One, I want to send my thoughts into the ether for all the people I know who’ve died because of meth. It turns out that this party girl Tina has a very nasty side, and several people in my life have crossed her unsuccessfully. And I want to sing out to my old friend who’s still fighting speed — that’s what meth is, speed — because after losing his dear lover to AIDS, it’s easier to go out and get on with his life when he’s high. I hope his life is returned to him in one piece, and without the meth.

You know, just about the time when San Francisco was becoming a beacon of the sexual revolution, people stuck signs up around town that said “Speed Kills” — I wish people today would remember that, and realize that they were right.

One problem is that speed makes people mad to fuck. Dancing and having sex — it’s a pure party drug for many people. What’s not to like about something that can make you do both activities all night? But anything you take to make you more into the sex gets in the way of the sex: you have to pick the mind-altering space you *really* want. Almost every kind of drug, especially done to excess, gets in the way of sexual connection eventually, though some are much, much worse than others… even aclohol and nicotine. Hey, don’t you remember the billboard with the limp-cigaretted Marlboro Man? What do you think they were trying to get at?

But let’s look at the other side of the coin for a minute. I just had dinner with the inimitable Violet Blue, and she told me something I had somehow missed: the Meth Act is actually *part* of the Patriot Act. Now, which war do these people want to fight? There’s *already* a war on drugs, one that costs our culture plenty (I wonder if it’s an accident that a report came out today stating that one out of every thirty-some people is in jail, many of them on drug charges). And I am trying my best, though I’m no friend at all of meth or meth-cookers, to wrap my mind around the idea that stopping meth use will also stop the terrorists at the border.

It won’t wrap. Perhaps I need some LSD? Sweet mama, I hope the Republicans are not getting into acid now. That is just the *last* damn thing we need.

Sudafed or other epinephrin analogs can only be sold now if you sign a paper at the drugstore and get your name put into a database. The Patriot Act, like the country’s biggest direct mail clearinghouse, is not collecting enough names just by tapping phones and scamming libraries (to which the librarians, bless their little hearts, put a stop as if Bush and Rove were snot-nosed spitball-throwers in the stacks). Now, perhaps being inspired by the snot-nosiness of it all, they’re taking your name if you have allergies.

Happy Meth Day, people. Let’s all celebrate by taking a nice spin with the ol’ vibrator — it’s a natural high.

Sexual Freedom

November 30, 2006

One of the things that I enjoy most about the Good Vibes culture is how diverse the company actually is. Our offices and stores are filled with people representing a variety of ethnicities, orientations, shapes, sizes, genders and political viewpoints. The one thing that we all share in common is our dedication to sex positive education. The good vibes vibe goes way beyond tolerance. People don’t “tolerate” each other here; they genuinely embrace diversity in an accepting, nonjudgmental way.

Lately, I’ve feel marginalized (and offended) by peoples closed minded attitudes quite a lot in other aspects of my life. At graduate school, I have an instructor who describes BDSM as “something rich people do out of boredom”. During a meeting of sex educators recently, I heard monogamy referred to as “boring, unexciting & something vanilla people do”. While meeting with a psychotherapist who supervises one of my therapy cases she heard me use the word “poly” to describe a client and accused me of “putting the words into her mouth” because it didn’t sound like something “a client in Marin would say”.

I feel myself being pulled in fifty different directions. To traditional groups I’m a pervert; to self proclaimed perverts I’m boring, to my lesbian friends I’m either a breeder or in denial. Why is it that people feel the need to analyze and negate the parts of me that don’t fit in with their paradigm?

The world needs to pick up more of the good vibes mentality. Sexual relationships can be exciting whether monogamous or polyamorous. Gay, bisexual and straight people can have meaningful relationships. Being proud of who you are doesn’t mean being embarrassed for people who are the opposite. The next time you start to judge someone’s life, think twice about it, don’t tolerate them, accept them as you would hope to be accepted and share some good vibes.