Archive for the ‘Sex’ Category

Ang Lee’s ‘Lust, Caution’ Gets an NC-17

September 9, 2007

lustcaution

The new film from Ang Lee, director of Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm and Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, has received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Starring Tony Leung and Tang Wei, Lust, Caution (Chinese title: Se jie) is set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, and concerns a Chinese woman recruited in a plot to seduce and kill an enemy collaborator.

From Hollywood Reporter/CNN:

The Motion Picture Assn. of America’s ratings board cited the film’s graphic sexuality for its decision. A source said too many of the film’s sex scenes violated the ratings board’s unwritten rules (like the number of allowable pelvic thrusts, for example) to make an appeal possible.

Sources who have seen the film said it contains at least three scenes — one a long montage — featuring multiple acts of aggressive sexual activity in different positions. There’s no full-frontal male nudity (the source of some NC-17 rulings when shown in sex scenes), but male-on-female oral sex, non-S&M restraints and several nontraditional sexual positions are depicted, conveying the aggression and emotional conflict between the main characters.

When asked if anyone was shown, say, upside down, one viewer said, “It depends on where you’re standing. They’re very flexible.”

The film’s distributor, Flexible Features, er, Focus Features, said they would not appeal the decision or recut the movie. Lust, Caution will screen at the Venice and Toronto film festivals in the next few weeks, then will open in NYC before going to “select cities” on Oct. 5.

Image via Wikipedia.

Arse Electronika

September 9, 2007

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Arse Electronika is a conference about sex and technology being held in October at Kink.com’s Porn Palace in San Francisco. The event’s description on its website reads:

According to a study by Simon Smith, more than 800 items were registered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office as sex toys between 1840 and 1997. Among them was a condom with a built-in computer chip that can play music. Progress?

From the depiction of a vulva in a cave painting to the newest internet porno, technology and sexuality have always been closely linked. No one can predict what the future will bring, but history indicates that sex will continue to play an essential role in technological development.

Read more here.

At the conference, I will be chairing a panel on how technological developments drive creative innovation. Panelists are me, Arse Electronika organizer Johannes Grenzfurthner, Violet Blue, and Kyle from Slashdong. My description of the panel reads:

Erotica is thought by tech devotees to drive technological innovation, but how does technological development alter erotic expression? There are types of erotica being made today (or tomorrow) that would not have been possible 10 or 100 years ago — in what ways are these different, from the perspective of creative psychology and the erotic arts, than what artists would be making if we were still printing dirty stories on a printing press?

Not incidentally, the conference is like a block from two of the best taquerias in SF and also pretty close to the best Vietnamese food in the world at Tu Lan. Get your tickets now.

Good Vibrations in Financial Straits

September 8, 2007

goodvibrations.jpg 

The below is from XBiz, referring to an article in SFGate:

SAN FRANCISCO — Landmark adult retailer Good Vibrations has been blindsided by a drop in Internet sales and growing competition, as well as falling victim to changing Internet trends and Google’s shifting algorithms, according to a story posted Friday on SFGate.com.

Good Vibrations company officials told SFGate.com that company revenue for the year is likely to end up $3 million short of the $13.9 million they had projected.

They are seeking a $500,000 line-of-credit to buy inventory for the holiday season They also are seeking venture capital in the amounts of $1 million to $5 million to add retail stores in order to decrease dependence on web sales.

In many ways an innovator in the realm of adult retail, the 30-year-old, female-owned company operated for most of those years under a nontraditional business model, as a co-op, and espoused a philosophy of alternative sexuality and diversity.

Good Vibrations in Financial Straits

September 7, 2007

goodvibrations.jpg 

The below is from XBiz, referring to an article in SFGate:

SAN FRANCISCO — Landmark adult retailer Good Vibrations has been blindsided by a drop in Internet sales and growing competition, as well as falling victim to changing Internet trends and Google’s shifting algorithms, according to a story posted Friday on SFGate.com.

Good Vibrations company officials told SFGate.com that company revenue for the year is likely to end up $3 million short of the $13.9 million they had projected.

They are seeking a $500,000 line-of-credit to buy inventory for the holiday season They also are seeking venture capital in the amounts of $1 million to $5 million to add retail stores in order to decrease dependence on web sales.

In many ways an innovator in the realm of adult retail, the 30-year-old, female-owned company operated for most of those years under a nontraditional business model, as a co-op, and espoused a philosophy of alternative sexuality and diversity.

Ang Lee’s ‘Lust, Caution’ Gets an NC-17

August 26, 2007

lustcaution

The new film from Ang Lee, director of Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, The Ice Storm and Eat, Drink, Man, Woman, has received an NC-17 rating from the Motion Picture Association of America.

Starring Tony Leung and Tang Wei, Lust, Caution (Chinese title: Se jie) is set in Japanese-occupied Shanghai during World War II, and concerns a Chinese woman recruited in a plot to seduce and kill an enemy collaborator.

From Hollywood Reporter/CNN:

The Motion Picture Assn. of America’s ratings board cited the film’s graphic sexuality for its decision. A source said too many of the film’s sex scenes violated the ratings board’s unwritten rules (like the number of allowable pelvic thrusts, for example) to make an appeal possible.

Sources who have seen the film said it contains at least three scenes — one a long montage — featuring multiple acts of aggressive sexual activity in different positions. There’s no full-frontal male nudity (the source of some NC-17 rulings when shown in sex scenes), but male-on-female oral sex, non-S&M restraints and several nontraditional sexual positions are depicted, conveying the aggression and emotional conflict between the main characters.

When asked if anyone was shown, say, upside down, one viewer said, “It depends on where you’re standing. They’re very flexible.”

The film’s distributor, Flexible Features, er, Focus Features, said they would not appeal the decision or recut the movie. Lust, Caution will screen at the Venice and Toronto film festivals in the next few weeks, then will open in NYC before going to “select cities” on Oct. 5.

Image via Wikipedia.

Gay Politics, The Sopranos, and Merv Griffin (in the corner pocket)

August 20, 2007

mergriffin.jpgToday was the day for strange gay showbiz news: The first item from IMDB concerns Merv Griffin, whose irredemably boring talk show was my daily afterschool babysitter for years — probably aggravating, if not causing, the sense of existential malaise that has plagued me ever since:

The decision by the Hollywood Reporter and the Reuter News Agency to run an article by columnist Ray Richmond about the late Merv Griffin’s alleged homosexuality on the day of his funeral — then pull the article from their websites — then restore it — has touched off a storm of public and industry controversy. L.A. Weekly columnist Nikki Finke reported that the Richmond column was yanked after editor Elizabeth Guider was contacted by angry friends of Griffin. But David Ehrenstein, who writes a column for the popular liberal blog The Huntington Post, said that Richmond contacted him “fearful for his job” and he, in turn, called Michelangelo Signorile’s “Sirius Out Q” radio show about the censorship. Listeners to the program, Ehrenstein writes, deluged the Hollywood Reporter with demands that the article be restored. And a few hours later it was.

…and I ask you, what universe are any of these people living in wherein Merv Griffin wasn’t gay AND in which everyone in the world didn’t know he was gay, OR, if he wasn’t gay (about which I don’t actually give a shit, nor, I think, do most of us) what universe were any of these people living in wherein they actually thought that everyone in the world didn’t already figure the cat was gay and figure everyone else knew it, too.

If Merv wasn’t gay, he did a great job of seeming queer as a three dollar bill, in which case I do wish he had come out as straight, so other heterosexual beta-male pseudo-homo metrosexual pansies, among which I sometimes count myself depending on my mood, can take heart.

But no, he chose to go to his grave one of those ambiguous Hollywood closeted gays, which seems to be the fashion, contributing further — whether he was gay or straight — to our culture of homophobic sex-hating self-destruction.

I feel strongly that everyone has a right to privacy — your sexuality is your business — but I feel less and less tolerant of a Hollywood where queers naturally gravitate, only to remain closeted in the service of a career.

But wait! Sensitive Vito is here to save the day, by beating all of those gays to death with a pool cue. No, wait some more, the uppity queerazoids have stopped him!

The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has won a victory against Oregon-based Rockwell Billiards, which had introduced a pool cue endorsed by The Sopranos star Joseph R. Gannascoli, who played a gay character beaten to death and sodomized with a pool cue in the TV series. The cue was advertised as “A Cue to Die For.” Following protests by GLAAD, Rockwell agreed to withdraw the product. In a statement, GLAAD President Neil G. Giuliano said, “Rockwell Billiards has done the right thing by no longer selling a product that many deemed offensive and insensitive.”

rackem2.jpgAs someone who suffered through every god damned episode of the useless Season 6 of The Sopranos, only to have two-thirds of the country trumpet the genius of David Chase because he’d discovered tape splice, I have to say that this is about the ONLY thing I can imagine Gannascoli doing that could be more offensive than his credulous portrayal of token homo Vito Spatafore in what might have been Season 6’s most hackneyed, bland, tedious and unimaginative storyline if the season hadn’t  teemed with other hackneyed, bland, tedious and unimaginative storylines.

Did Mr. Gannascoli, whom I am tempted to presume is gay because no fag could ever do that crappy a job of playing a straight person, feel that in order to buttress his public heterosexuality, he needed to promote a product that drew attention to the way in which his queer character was offed (“punished” in left-wing bleeding-heart theory-nerd parlance)?

Probably not. He probably didn’t give a second thought as to whether selling a pool cue would reassure people he was straight. But somebody somewhere, presumably at Rockwell Billiards, thought it was a laugh riot to sell a Vito Spatafore pool cue.

I’m not big on the idea that when in movies, plays or books bad things happen to sexual minority or female characters, filmmakers and authors and actors need to be taken to task — art is art. But commerce, too, is an art, and the Vito Spatafore Sodomy-Ready Pool Cue is a big fat Ishtar, just like Season 6 of The Sopranos. Good riddance to both.

Photo by Sean Mack, modifications by the author.

Sexual Attractiveness and Evolution

August 13, 2007

Speaking of sex & science… Over at Science Blog, interesting stuff about research at the Natural History Museum about sexual attractiveness and evolution:

Choice of Sexual Partner Shaped the Human Face

Men with large jaws, flaring cheeks and large eyebrows are sexy, at least in the eyes of our ancestors, researchers at the Natural History Museum have discovered. Facial attractiveness played a major role in shaping human evolution, as studies on our fossil ancestors have shown our choice of sexual partner has shaped the human face. The findings appear in the online, open-access journal PLoS ONE.

The face holds the secret to determining the sex of our ancestors and what makes us attractive to the opposite sex for reproduction.

According to palaeontologists at the Natural History Museum, men have evolved short faces between the brow and upper lip, which exaggerates the size of their jaw, the flare of their cheeks and their eyebrows. The shorter and broader male face has also evolved alongside and the canine teeth have shrunk, so men look less threatening to competitors, yet attractive to mates.

Read more here.

Do Men Have More Sexual Partners than Women?

August 13, 2007

Lively discussion going on over at the Scientific American blog:

Men average more sexual partners than women, right? Wrong.

Surveys consistently report that men in the U.S. population average seven sexual partners, while women average four. Everyone assumes men are cads and women are out to protect their virtue, so this makes perfect sense, except…

“By way of dramatization, we change the context slightly and will prove what will be called the High School Prom Theorem. We suppose that on the day after the prom, each girl is asked to give the number of boys she danced with. These numbers are then added up, giving a number G. The same information is then obtained from the boys, giving a number B.

“Theorem: G(EQUAL)B

“Proof: Both G and B are equal to C, the number of couples who danced together at the prom. QED.”

In other words, unless U.S. men are having tons and tons of sex with women who are outside the survey population (trips to foreign countries? prostitutes who don’t tend to show up in these surveys?) it’s mathematically impossible for men to average more sexual partners than women.

In the comments section, there’s a rather wonkish conversation about statistics punctuated by all the lively accusations and counteraccusations you’d expect from science nerds, including such illuminating questions as “Have you been in public recently or turned on a television???” and “Am I the only one that isn’t retarded here?” — not to mention such scientific statements as “Oh stop making things so complicated. It’s pretty simple, women divide by three and men double up.”

So how about you? Do you underreport? Overreport? Or are you just a big fucking slut and have no idea how many men, women, Realdolls, watermelons and puff pastries you’ve banged? Yeah, that’s what I thought, pervert.

Summer Rain (Podcast)

August 11, 2007

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Episode 4 of Thomas Roche’s Razorblade Valentines is “Summer Rain,” a romantic erotic story of devious exhibitionism and rampant precipitation. It features sexually explicit language and descriptions.

Phone Sex (Podcast)

August 11, 2007

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 Episode 3 of Thomas Roche’s Razorblade Valentines is “Phone Sex,” a satiric story I wrote about an actual (and unfortunate) sexual experience I had. It features explicit sexual language and description.