Babetown, population 2403

Suicide Girls pay us a call, third coffee table book in tow

A coffeetable book just this side of tasteful.

SEX Maybe Selena "Missy Suicide" Mooney's description of the erotic media empire she's built is a little simplistic: "We did it in a way that women could find sexy, because I started it and I'm a girl and I didn't want it to be completely gross to me."

But truth be told, the concept behind Suicide Girls really isn't all that hard to digest: take fine girls that have piercings, punk hair color, tattoos, and/or all the above. Get them naked. Take pictures, pretty ones. Let us eavesdrop on their lives through blogs and message boards. Cue money dance.

And now Mooney's girls are in a coffee table book.

"It's actually our third coffee table book," the founder of the soft core porn site-social network tells me during our phone interview in advance of the Suicide Girls: Hard Girls, Soft Light signing on Tue/26 at Mission: Art and Comics.

Perhaps sensing my lack of paid membership to the site, and hence my possible ignorance as to their position of power, Mooney briefs me on how world domination is going for her Girls. Originally based out of Portland, Ore., at press time the Suicide Girls numbered 2403. Every continent is represented in their legion. (Shout-out to that sultry research scientist in Alaska.) They have a weekly radio show in LA, have toured the world doing burlesque shows, opened for Guns N' Roses, and have been immortalized in comic book form. Last year, the Girls released their fourth movie, documenting a weeklong 30-babe frolic in a converted windmill in England.

Hard Girls, Soft Light is the perfect format, however, for enjoying the Girls' particular luminosity. There is Kemper from Los Angeles with her striking pubis mon rose tattoo, my favorite ink in the book save Arabella from London's architectural flourishes around her breasts. "We wanted to show the girls in soft, beautiful light and make it as if you were waking up next to them, to show the softness of their beauty," says Mooney.

Here is the Suicide Girls' perfect conceit: you are paying for the pleasure of this porn, but it's entirely believable that it was made not just for your enjoyment, but that of the Girls themselves. Mooney has a lot to say about showing alt forms of beauty — back in 2001 when the site was launched there was hardly the glut of tatted-up hotties in the media that there are today. Then as now, tattoos were deal-breakers for many aspiring porn stars.

Mooney says she started the site primarily as a place for people to bond over a different sense of what made beautiful. (Do note: you won't find a ton of armpit hair or body diversity on the Girls site — we're talking tattoos, not anti-hegemony.)

Seems like the Girls agree. "Of course the basic premise of SuicideGirls as an online community from which I've been able to make a lot of friends and take part in a lot of interesting creative projects [sic]," says fair-skinned Annalee from Edinburgh in one of Hard Girls, Soft Light's featured quotes, pulled straight from the models' Suicide Girls blogs.

"The more women who are comfortable with their bodies the happier the world will be," Mooney asserts. No arguments there. 

Suicide Girls: Hard Girls, Soft Light signing Tue/26, 7pm, free. Mission: Comics and Art, 3520 20th St., Suite B, SF. (415) 695-1545,; Afterparty 9pm, free. Bender's, 806 South Van Ness, SF.

How I Came Out Tue/26, 8pm, $10. 1772 Market, SF. Charlie Ballard may have made his mark as a local stand-up comedian, but this night of performance will go deeper than "didja ever notice when?" Guest stars -- including Joshua "Peaches Christ" Grannell share their coming-out story on stage.

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