Above: Me backstage with the amazing Reginald Lamar in San Diego during the 2007 Tour.
I wanted to go on the Sex Workers' Art Show Tour this year, as I did last year, but I withdrew my application because I also wanted to stay and work on the new space for the School of Burlesque. It was a tough choice because SWAS means more than a lot to me, but I've been getting lots of calls and messages from the road that make me feel almost like I'm in two places at once. Love is good stuff. I can't be there now so I'm really putting myself into this blog post to establish my undying affection and solidarity for my peeps on the road.
In case you thought there was nothing controversial about burlesque and performance art any more, think again! The heat is on. I'm told one article described the show, in an article illustrated mostly with photos of burlesque performers (including me), as "Beyond Offensive."
This USA Today blog post links to several articles.
Hiss, Boo, Bah
The amount of censorship that actually occurred is a bit shocking to me, and that' saying something from someone who's actually been removed from a panel about sex work because the producers of a debate were afraid I'd bias the panel because I had actually worked in the sex industry (yeah, figure that one out, the other side was allowed to have a former sex worker speak and yes I'm still pissed about it):
"10 minutes before the show the STATE ATTORNEY GENERAL of VIRGINIA contacted us ordering a ban on the selling of any of our merchandise - which includes books written by our stellar touring authors, pin up photos by some very smart & pretty ladies, my Mistresses of George W. Bush Bid Him Farewell 2008 Calendar -(available by the way at www.thingstolookat.com), along with the volume entitled Working Sex- edited by Annie Oakley which shares the many different tones of sex work and the experiences involved (please buy online!) Our fearless leader also was given a contract just days before our appearance at William & Mary College stating that we were to give up our rights to solely follow the obscenity laws provided by the State of Virginia and that while following them campus officials would have the final say in what was "obscene". Also the contract banned us from filming, even for personal use the show in any part so there would not be any record of what actually happened on stage. The campus officials could stop the shows at any time and/or refuse to pay. No one under 18 was allowed in and cameras were banned."
--From *BOB*'s Blog
And in case you didn't catch my rants last year when I encountered a taste of the same, you can read my tour blog here:
Jo's SWAS Tour Blog 2007