Archive for the ‘Erotica’ Category

Telegraph Article on Victorian Erotica

May 10, 2008

Telegraph Article on Victorian Erotica

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Interesting article in the Telegraph on Victorian Erotica:

“Ever wondered what our great grandparents got up to behind closed doors? A new collection of erotica leaves little doubt, says Guy Kennaway.”

“‘I bought my first erotic photograph in the mid-1980s,’ Danny Moynihan tells me. ‘I had come across some photos of Austrian origin of rather portly looking ladies in petticoats playing with sex toys. I thought they were rather amusing.’

“Moynihan is an artist and a curator. He has collaborated frequently with his friend Damien Hirst and has written a novel – soon to be released as a film – satirising the art world. He is also the owner of one of the world’s largest collections of vintage erotica.

“‘At the time I was buying and selling 20th-century photographs with the art dealer Paul Kasmin,’ he explains. ‘In those days photos didn’t really exceed $5,000, though we did own a Violin d’Ingres by Man Ray which we sold to the Getty for $10,000, but that was an exceptional piece.'”

“So presumably, were the dozen or so pictures that started Moynihan’s collection of nearly 500 often explicit photographs, many of which decorate the walls of his Chelsea home, where I have come to meet him.”

Read more.

Image: Nu féminin allongé Amélie, by Félix-Jacques Moulin, from Wikipedia

Lady Chatterley Review

May 8, 2008

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French filmmaker Pascale Ferran’s Lady Chatterley is a magnificent film. It strips the celebrated D.H. Lawrence novel, which I’ve always found interesting but impenetrable, to its critical core, while creating a portrait of Lawrence’s class politics as well as his longing for passion over obligation. The film is now available on DVD.

Constance, Lady Chatterley, is the wife of Sir Clifford Chatterley, a soldier crippled from World War I. The couple moves to Wragby, the estate near the mine that presumably provides much of the family’s wealthy. With Clifford’s immobility, Constance takes to wandering the grounds of the estate, and meets up with the gamekeeper, Oliver Parkin, a rough-hewn, taciturn chap with whom she quickly forms a crush and begins an affair.ladyChatterly1a.jpg

As the secret affair progresses, other social expectations of Parkin and, more immediately, Constance, come into play. Since Sir Clifford’s injuries leave him unable to father children, he agrees to let Constance seek — secretly — another father for the child, but with stipulations that the child have a heritiage that is “at least decent,” in class terms — a that rules Parkin out, making the clandestine affair even more dangerous since, of course, Constance wants to have and raise Parkin’s child.

As Constance and Parkin become more intimate, Parkin turns out to have as rich an inner life as Constance — in his youth, his mother told him his daydreams made him just like a girl. This revelation occurs late in the film, and it’s only then, close to the film’s denoument, that you really start to understand what Constance sees in Parkin.

Lady Chatterley is marked by stirring performances. Marina Hands turns in what I read as a bright-eyed, dreamy Constance troubled with the frustrations of the too-rigid world — not just her own social and cultural obligations, but the injustice of class overall, a fact underlined by her encounters with Sir Clifford’s mine workers. Jean-Louis Coulloch’h’s Parkin is a rough, practical and in many ways emotionless man within whom dwells a delirious passion, so often weighed down with depression. Constance and Oliver open up new worlds, each for the other. It’s all the cliches you want it to be — every hackneyed romance novel stereotype, rendered with the kind of principled subtlety that both suits the era and makes the subject matter feel fresh despite it’s having been beaten into submission by judges and English teachers alike for eighty-plus years.

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The D.H. Lawrence novel known as Lady Chatterley’s Lover is actually the third version of the story that Lawrence wrote. The versions are sometimes described as “drafts,” but when Lawrence finished a version he set it aside and later started from scratch, so the three versions are remarkably different in a variety of details — for example, no dialogue is the same between version two, John Thomas and Lady Jane (from which this film is adapted), and the third version usually regarded as definintive.

French filmmaker Pascale Ferran says of the third version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover: “Certain aspects of the book excited me, but in my view, it was an impossible book to adapt, unless it were an adaptation so free that I wouldn’t have dared to think of it. It must be said that [the third version] is pretty verbose, and in that respect, the book has aged badly. It’s as though Lawrence, in veiw of his subject’s eminently subversive nature and the censorship that he was anticipating, felt obliged to theorize the novel’s thesis through his characters’ voices: love is stronger than all class barriers.”

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Even so, it seems like Lawrence’s message was diluted by his fear of crossing those boundaries. In the third version, Constance’s lover was a former army officer, putting him almost in the same class as Constance. Here, Parkin should have been a miner.

When Ferran discovered John Thomas and Lady Jane, with its simpler and more direct take on the story and themes, she decided it would serve better for a film adaptation than the third version.

Thank God she did; as impenetrable as I found the third version, there’s a gorgeous story here to be told, and Pascale’s interpretation is a rich version as overgrown with visual symbolism as the Wragby estate is with Lawrence’s fecund and highly symbolic vegetation.

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What’s more, it’s somewhat depressing to view this film both in the consideration of history and in the context of Hollywood’s recently puerile output; there’s full frontal nudity of both Hands and Coulloc’h, in an almost textbook example of how sex and nudity can be used with sensibility as an integral part of a larger story. I’m not sure the MPAA would agree.

The Cesar awards are France’s equivalent of the Oscars, and Lady Chatterley walked away with five of them: Best French Film, Best Actress for Marina Hands as Constance, Best Literary Adaptation, Best Costume Design, and Best Cinematography. Since I haven’t mentioned those last two aspects of this flick, let me tell you that the costumes/sets and the cinematography are nothing short of amazing: in every way, the visuals of Lady Chatterley are a feast, sexy and inspiring from every angle.

If you’ve an interest in eroticism in literature, then Lady Chatterley’s Lover, love it or hate it, is a piece so critical to history that it can’t be ignored. More importantly, it’s a beautiful story that suffered in its best-known version from Lawrence’s reticence in telling it. Ferran’s told it in a new way, and it’s lovely.

Photos courtesy of Kino International. Used with permission.

Amelia and Forrest

April 17, 2008

Amelia and Forrest

Originally uploaded by Thomas Roche

Amelia G and Forrest Black of Blue Blood, whom I’ve been working with for like 14 years now. They came up for the AdTech conference at Moscone Center, and came by to tour the Armory and shoot some documentary video of me explaining the history of the Armory and what we do there.

They are responsible for www.gothicsluts.com, www.barelyevil.com, www.rubberdollies.com, and more, none of which are safe for work, all consolidated under the http://www.blueblood.com site, which is also not safe for work. I still think of them as the people from Maryland publishing punk rock scifi goth horror erotica. They’re not from Maryland any more.

Find more of Amelia and Forrest at www.blueblood.net, www.blueblood.com, and www.spookyblog.com.

My Sucky Valentine: Now with Charles Gatewood!

February 12, 2008
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Hey!!! Rock on!!! Charles Gatewood has just agreed to read at  My Sucky Valentine this Thursday! Charles is one of my favorite photographers of all time and a walking piece of counterculture history. Plus he rocks as a writer. I’m hoping he’ll read a bit of his amazing autobiography. Hope to see you there!

My Sucky Valentine 2008
A benefit for the Women’s Community Clinic and the St. James Infirmary

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008
Doors 7 – Show 8
Artwork SF — 49 Geary — San Francisco (www.artworksf.com)

Featuring readings by
Sherilyn Connelly, Charles Gatewood, Thea Hillman, Carol Queen, Lori Selke, Julia Serano, and Simon Sheppard

Hosted by Thomas S. Roche 

Every year, San Francisco writer Thomas Roche and a sex club, dungeon, art gallery or dive bar full of his closest friends, hated rivals and future ex-wives gather together to explore all the darkest themes of love and romance — psycho girlfriends with nutty exes, boyfriends with skid marks, and heartache, heartache, heartache!

I know, I know — for this, you want we should pay ten dollars? But what makes this event slightly different than your run-of-the-mill group drunken crying jag at Old Joe’s Barroom is that My Sucky Valentine peels back the rotting rose petals of romance that cover the fragrant bud of sleaze. Many of San Francisco’s best-loved erotica writers step away from their usual sex-positive selves and mingle their appreciation of the nastier side of sex with bitter and downright admissions about how wrong it can go.

This year’s event is a benefit for the Women’s Community Clinic and the St. James Infirmary. Past years have featured stories and poems about star-crossed romances, ill-conceived sexual encounters, crockery-smashing breakups, mistaken identity, dates with serial killers and of course, entries in that tried-and-true subgenre of modern literature, known as the “You Suck Fuck You I Fucking Hate You!” story — proving, as the poets have said, that “Revenge is a dish best served live on stage in front of a hundred people, preferably wearing black leather.” In, you know, a literary fashion.

People attending are encouraged to wear their sexiest, skimpiest, kinkiest sleazewear. This year’s event is unthemed, meaning you should wear whatever sleazy sexwear turns you on, while keeping with the barest shreds of propriety — no nipples, y’understand, or at least keep ’em under wraps and/or electrical tape. The silent auction will take bids on special packages of sleaze, from hot erotica to overwrought gonzo porn and more.

No reservation necessary, but seating is limited. For more information, email Thomas Roche.

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My Sucky Valentine: Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008

January 27, 2008

My Sucky Valentine 2008
A benefit for the Women’s Community Clinic and the St. James Infirmary

Thursday, Feb. 14, 2008
Doors 7 – Show 8
Artwork SF — 49 Geary — San Francisco (www.artworksf.com)

Featuring readings by
mi blue, Sherilyn Connelly, Thea Hillman, Carol Queen, Lori Selke, Julia Serrano, and Simon Sheppard

Hosted by Thomas S. Roche 

Every year, San Francisco writer Thomas Roche and a sex club, dungeon, art gallery or dive bar full of his closest friends, hated rivals and future ex-wives gather together to explore all the darkest themes of love and romance — psycho girlfriends with nutty exes, boyfriends with skid marks, and heartache, heartache, heartache!

I know, I know — for this, you want we should pay ten dollars? But what makes this event slightly different than your run-of-the-mill group drunken crying jag at Old Joe’s Barroom is that My Sucky Valentine peels back the rotting rose petals of romance that cover the fragrant bud of sleaze. Many of San Francisco’s best-loved erotica writers step away from their usual sex-positive selves and mingle their appreciation of the nastier side of sex with bitter and downright admissions about how wrong it can go.

This year’s event is a benefit for the Women’s Community Clinic and the St. James Infirmary. Past years have featured stories and poems about star-crossed romances, ill-conceived sexual encounters, crockery-smashing breakups, mistaken identity, dates with serial killers and of course, entries in that tried-and-true subgenre of modern literature, known as the “You Suck Fuck You I Fucking Hate You!” story — proving, as the poets have said, that “Revenge is a dish best served live on stage in front of a hundred people, preferably wearing black leather.” In, you know, a literary fashion.

People attending are encouraged to wear their sexiest, skimpiest, kinkiest sleazewear. This year’s event is unthemed, meaning you should wear whatever sleazy sexwear turns you on, while keeping with the barest shreds of propriety — no nipples, y’understand, or at least keep ’em under wraps and/or electrical tape. The silent auction will take bids on special packages of sleaze, from hot erotica to overwrought gonzo porn and more.

No reservation necessary, but seating is limited. For more information, email Thomas Roche.

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Wolf 189 (Interview & Photo Gallery)

January 11, 2008
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A photographer always offers a secret, voyeuristic thrill to the viewers of his or her artistic product, but aliased artist Wolf189 elevates the private, sensual moments of his models to extreme voyeuristic levels. The viewer often gets the feeling that not even the photographer was in the room. His skillful composition, framing and lighting capture naturally intimate images that reveal the sadness and desires we all hold inside. We spoke with Wolf189 about his relationship with his models, the process of a shoot, and his philosophy of untainted art.

Read more at Eros Zine.

Nora Ness (Interview)

January 11, 2008

Nora Ness is a German photographer and model who seeks to show “pure emotions and true erotic feelings” through her work. In her collaboration with Dutch artist Sander Steins, digital background manipulation melds with erotic images of Ness to create a dreamlike texture of erotic exhibitionism. The surrealism of their work together reflects a new style of erotic art.

With a Master’s degree in Life Science, Ness worked as a scientist for many years before seeking out her mode of erotic expression through modeling and self portraiture.

We recently communicated with Nora Ness about her background, philosophies, and work.

Read more at Eros Zine.

New Year’s Sexfessions

December 26, 2007

Read three short erotic confessions from suspiciously adventurous Eros Zine readers….

Nathan Strausse’s Vignette (DVD Review)

December 26, 2007

Photos courtesy of Nathan Strausse

Photographer Nathan Strausse enters into the video erotica world with his directorial debut Vignette. It’s a moody, atmospheric piece of dark erotica with an intense techno-ambient soundtrack and a heavy dose of fetish imagery.

Read more at Eros Zine.

Benjamin Furland (Interview & Gallery)

December 15, 2007


The precision of imagery in Benjamin Furland’s art is immediately apparent in each of his photos. Every detail — from makeup, to fashion, to pose, to lighting — is meticulously played out to vibrant ends. Whether they’re delicately glamorous women of golden eras or colorful playthings in fantasy worlds, his models are elevated to a status of mythical beauty. We spoke with the Argentinean photographer about his concepts, process and work ethic.

Read more at Eros Zine.