An Inclusive Litany
Some things have changed in the lesbian world: political purism apparently no longer extends to the bedroom. The first of four scheduled workshops celebrating s&m was one of the best-attended and least tense events, attracting a multiracial crowd of 350 with lots of self-identified incest survivors. When a muscular, gorgeous 20-year-old complained that "it's not enough to learn about s&m from books, I need experience!" 349 women looked blissful. "Do I hear her calling for teachers?! With shoulders like that, you're not gonna have any problem," one called out soothingly. Most postmodern line from the conference, also from the s&m workshop: "A beating that I had two years ago is what enabled me to get through Saudi Arabia, because it taught me I could withstand pain."
After a few days, many of us wished we'd had a similar preparatory experience. Censorship started on Day Two, when a local photographer and a cartoonist handed out 300 copies of a drawing chiding the policy prohibiting the use of flash cameras. (Conference organizers claim they can cause seizures in epileptics.)
Minutes into "Sex/Love/Stories," Tim Miller's solo program at Dance Place last weekend, it's abundantly clear why this ardent and unshackled performance artist was denied a National Endowment for the Arts grant by NEA Chairman John Frohnmayer and his advisory council.
"Sex!" Miller bellows, entering from the rear of the space. "Love!" Then, in a quieter voice: "War ... AIDS ..." With these big, resonant, scary words, he offers up an outline of all that is to come bursting forth from his oh-so-clever mouth... He yanks down his pants and has a very frank, emotionally charged discussion with his bared anatomy about the importance of celebrating the flesh, especially in the midst of disease and censorship and death.