I'm overjoyed to announce that I have been asked to be the Guest of Honour at the second London Porn Film Festival! The LPFF is an annual festival celebrating queer, feminist, radical and experimental porn from around the world, and this year it runs from Thurs 12th til Sun 15th April - starting tonight! - at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury.
I attended last year's festival and did a Q&A on the films I screened, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting to watch lots of diverse, exciting and hot queer porn. You can read press coverage and my comments on last year's event here, and my blogpost about the new experience of creating audio descriptions for my films here.
I am delighted that the festival is returning this year, and excited that it's going from strength to strength. There's a larger programme, more films, and a choice of two workshops, one of which I'll be facilitating - my popular DIY Porn workshop which will be held on Friday (tomorrow) at noon. Making your own porn can enable you to express yourself, enjoy your body, embrace your sexuality, and have fun! Come along for some tips on how to create hot, inclusive porn, and see some sexy clips to showcase some different approaches to DIY porn. I really enjoyed giving this workshop on Valentine's Day and can't wait to do it again - here's my write-up from the last one. There are still a few places left so don't miss out - get your tickets here!
I'm super excited for this queer porn screening that's touring Europe right now! The headliner is Fucking against Fascism, a collaboration between Courtney Trouble and Chelsea Poe, which is screening alongside selected films by Bishop Black and the Sluts4Sluts Collective. The UK event is a week tomorrow, Saturday 17th March from 5pm-10pm. Here's the Facebook event. If you're in London you should come!
I very much enjoyed the SCL (Society for Computing and Law) event on Sextech, porn and the law last week. It was hosted by lawyer Neil Brown, and chaired by Daniel Cooper. There was a sizeable audience and four speakers in total; in addition to Neil and myself, Sarah Jamie Lewis and Dr Kate Devlin.
Dr Devlin kicked things off with an engaging talk about sex robots, one of her areas of research. She shared some of the hype and misinformation that the media tends to indulge in around sex robots, and why a lot of it is hyperbolic and sensationalist. She talked about what sex robots can and can't offer; including a preview of the Harmony bot which is being developed in California at the moment. Dr Devlin went to visit the lab working on this project, and she describes the robot as a beautifully crafted silicon sex doll with an animatronic face and a recorded voice controlled by AI. They've got an in-house AI team and the AI is apparently remarkably good; you can chat to Harmony. The robot head mounts onto the standard sex dolls, meaning the body is poseable, but doesn't move independently. Read Engadget's report on meeting Harmony here.
Myles Jackman and I will be sharing a 30-minute slot, covering how porn is "the canary in the coalmine" when it comes to free speech, the privacy risks of the Digital Economy Act, and where we go from here. I also hope to cover within that how porn censorship will impact upon members of marginalised communities, with a particular focus on queer sexuality - a subject close to my heart, and to many of yours I think.
Last Thursday evening found me screening porn to a crowded basement bar in Shoreditch, as part of my workshop ‘Feminist Porn - where to find it and how to feel good watching it’. It was totally sold out, and when I got there I realised I'd underestimated how big an event it was going to be; there were apparently a hundred people there including ten journalists, so the whole thing was a bit higher profile than I'd anticipated. I hope that the coverage is favourable, and that my material wasn’t too controversial for the members of the press who were there.
My intention was to introduce the topic of feminist and ethical porn to people who wanted to learn more about it (including talking about the differences between those two terms, and some of the problems that have been raised with ‘feminist porn’ as a phrase), and to also screen some short samplers of some of my favourite feminist porn films, to give an indication of the variety available under that umbrella.
To kick things off I gave a very brief history of feminist porn, starting with Candida Royalle’s Femme Productions of the 1980s (read a heartfelt bio of her here), and introducing other important feminist directors and producers since then, from Annie Sprinkle to the present day. The first screening was a short clip starring Annie which kicks off with her schooling a male lover in how to lick her pussy. I wanted to show that porn which bucks mainstream trends and centers female pleasure and desire has been around for several decades now, and is going from strength to strength.
I am delighted to have been invited to speak at an event in October, organised by the Society for Computers and Law (SCL), entitled 'Sextech, porn and the law - a glimpse into the future of sex and sexuality and its regulatory framework'.
I shall be on a panel with the fantastic Dr Kate Devlin, Sarah Jamie Lewis and laywer Neil Brown, and the event will explore the technology of sexuality in detail including its history, current and future developments, privacy and security, and legal issues affecting production and sales. My talk will centre on how the legal framework affects the production and distribution of online pornography, with a focus on the new Digital Economy Act and its forthcoming policy of mandatory age verification. After the four talks there will be a Q&A session which provides an exciting opportunity to ask the opinions of some of the leading experts in this field.
The idea for the event was prompted by the interest in Neil Brown's excellent article 'Sextech: sticky legal issues?' which talks about sex toys that have internet connectivity, and the resultant data collection, privacy and security issues; and about sex robots and the various ethical issues around them. I really recommend a read.
I'm really excited to be giving a workshop on ethical porn and how to find it, on Thursday 31 August. It's part of the Sex Ed for Grown Ups series of events on sex, sexuality and gender, held at The Book Club in Shoreditch, London. I shall be talking about what makes porn ethical, and how to find porn you feel comfortable watching. Porn is a very personal topic, and some people's squicks are other people's squees. But it's a fact that the free tube sites where a lot of people browse for porn don't make it clear whether what you're watching was consensually or ethically produced, and don't include much material by queer and feminist producers.
I'll be sharing some of my favourite porn which has not been created for the straight male gaze, but instead centres the pleasure of queer and female performers. The evening will include some screenings of hot feminist porn clips, plus the opportunity to discuss what we see. I'll give advice about how to be an ethical porn consumer and find porn where the performers were treated well. I'll also talk a bit about my experiences as a performer and producer in the porn industry.
The event was hosted at Newspeak House, a political community space dedicated to helping technologists improve the way that we make collective decisions as a country. It has regular communal meals and there's lots going on, so if you can get to Bethnal Green and this sounds like your cup of tea, I recommend looking it up.
Tickets are now on sale for SEXIT: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws? an event taking place at the Birtish Film Institute as part of BFI Flare, the LGBT+ film festival. SEXIT will question the new wave of censorship which disproportionately targets queer pornographers, performers and portrayals of alternative sexualities. What does it mean when a feminist UK business is forced offline, but hardcore free American porn will still be readily available?
I'm delighted to be sitting on the panel along with the brilliant Myles Jackman - and I've heard some exciting rumours about other front-line activists and filmmakers who may be joining us to. This promises to be a great discussion, and it's great to see the BFI making space for this conversation amongst queer and kink community members.