SEX Speaking as a media professional who has been subject the past month to her PR push for this year's Sex Worker Film and Arts Festival (Sat/18-May 26), let me tell you that Carol "Scarlet Harlot" Leigh will stop at nothing to raise awareness about sex worker's rights.
But she has a lot to talk about. The festival's eighth incarnation is one of the biggest yet, featuring films curated by Laure McElroy, member of POOR Magazine's board of directors, and "Whore's Bath", a spa day for sex workers (Sun/19) that was the brain child of Leigh's co-organizer Erica Fabulous. Film screenings (including a mini-film fest May 25 at the Roxie), panel discussions, empowerment workshops, and performance events abound.
Poster illustration for this year's festival by Finley Coyl
Leigh says the festival, inspired in part by the sex worker events organized by India's Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, is meant as a repository for the formidable creative output by members of the world's oldest profession, but also as a bid for greater visibility for sex workers.
"I look around me and see lots of people with so much to be proud of in their skills, talents, wisdom, persistence, and generosity," says Leigh.
TOP PICKS AT THE SEX WORKER FEST
"Whorecast" Live! Sat/18, 8pm, $10-50 sliding scale. Center for Sex and Culture, 3149 Mission, SF. Ira Glass may have effectively barred sex activist Siouxsie Q from calling her sex worker podcast "This American Whore", but under its current moniker the show is just as smart and sparkling. In this live edition, our host interviews queer porn stars James Darling, Courtney Trouble, and more.
"Oral Services" Thu/16, 7pm, $5-20 sliding scale. Center for Sex and Culture, 3149 Mission, SF. Author of vaunted sex work novel Sub Rosa Amber Lynn will use her ginger locks to seduce you into acquiescence at this night of spoken word — the fest's first ever — by sexy pros. She's joined onstage by Brontez Purnell, Rhiannon Argo, Juba Kalamka, and other authors who've turned a trick or two thousand on their life's path.
Take a ride with Mariko Passion May 24
Whorrific Popcorn Theatre Bus May 24, 7pm cabaret $15, 9:30pm bus $30, both $35-50. Meet at Center for Sex and Culture, 3149 Mission, SF. "We did decide not to be too wild, so there is no sex on the bus, because Mariko's dad will be there," clarifies Leigh about this performance cabaret followed by a three-hour mystery tour around the city hosted by Mariko Passion (whose one-woman Modern Day Asian Sex Slavery: The Musical played the festival back in 2011.) "Well, maybe a little lap dancing would be okay." We can tell you that after this evening, you'll be a lot more familiar with the local habitués of SF sex workers, and perhaps someone's lap.