I attended a very interesting panel discussion at the Nexus Contemporary Art Center titled: The Sex Worker as Artist, Activist, and Catalyst. The panelists were Annie Sprinkle, Dolores French, and Stella Zine. It was a very interesting discussion that ran a wide variety of topics, issues, and arts. About a hundred people attended the show on a warm Hotlanta evening.
Sex Worker was defined as anyone who works in adult films, performance art, prostitution, phone sex, and much much more.
The show started with Felicia Feaster introducing the members of the panel and describing the evenings course of events. Felicia Feaster is a contributing writer for Creative Loafing and other other magazines such as Playboy. She took special care to plug the merchandise available and encourage the purchase of tickets to Annie Sprinkle's up coming show at the 7 Stages Theater
Read one of her articles: Sexual Healing in a Strip Town. An article about stripping and the people who do it.
Dolores French opened the show with a dramatic reading from her memoirs. She emphasized that although the story was of a bad experience she had, it was the only one of her career and she was only reading it tonight for its dramatic effect. The story involved a client pulling out a rifle when she arrived and the disdain she received from the police when she tried to press charges. Despite the dark subject matter, Dolores French made the story tongue-and-cheek in her telling and the audience laughed right along with her.
Dolores French is a writer for the local Atlanta entertainment newspaper The Scene. She has also written her memoirs titled Working: My Life as a Prostitute, and appeared on national television talk shows such as Donahue. She is an outspoken activist for the rights of working women.
Her website: http://www.doloresfrench.com
Stella Zine followed with a mixed media presentation of speaking, slides, and video of her career as a stripper and performance artist in a band called Pagan Holiday. The slide show showed her sex-positive performance at The Point where she played her electric guitar in a very original way. I guess I should have been shocked, but... The video of the show added the music while she read along with the spoken parts.
She can be seen, completely, at the 24K Club on Cheshire Bridge Road or with her band Pagan Holiday at Club 513.
Read more from the Creative Loafing Article: Critics choice- Best Atlanta Stripper 1998
In the anchor position, the star of the evening, making her Southern debut - Annie Sprinkle took the podium with a slide show overview of her career with economic charts and photos. There was a striking contrast between the lovely almost shy women giving the speech and the naked porn star in the slides, but as she continued her show her "There's a porn star in all of us" theme really began to make sense. Her before and after slides of some of her friends in the business were amazing.
I've read about Annie Sprinkle in books by Lisa Palac and Susie Bright and was really happy to finally meet her in person. You can ready about her yourself in her autobiography: Annie Sprinkle's Post-Porn Modernist (she was nice enough to autograph my copy) or visit her website: http://www.anniesprinkle.org/ or rent any of her 200 plus videos.
After the presentations, Felicia Feaster started the question and answer portion of the show. The questions were numerous and varied: Topics included motivations, laws, ageism, starting out, and AIDS. It was very interesting and the panelists (and some audience members) were very forthcoming and honest about their experiences and feelings.
The evening concluding with a very bawdy performance of The Bosom Ballet performed by the entire panel. Stella had to struggle because her equipment wasn't as flexible as Annie's or Dolores' but it was a very entertaining show. The audience really enjoyed it and money flew onto the stage. Of course pictures weren't allowed during that portion of the show, sorry.
Well, that's what I saw. Question, comments, and corrections are always welcome.
|Written August 6, 1999
Modified 25 Oct 2009