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What's your porn identity?

Posted at 16:00 on 1 Dec 2017 by Pandora / Blake

In early November I gave a talk with Myles Jackman at ORGCon, the UK’s biggest digital rights conference. Journalist Wendy Grossman (@wendyg) facilitated a discussion with me and Myles (@MylesJackman) about age verification.

We outlined the issues as well as we could in 20 minutes - which isn't long given the complexity of the situation. I mentioned that the whole premise of the Digital Economy Act - that children can ‘stumble across’ porn and be damaged by it - is not backed up by any evidence. We also talked about the unworkability of implementation within the deadline; with enforcement announced for April 2018, the regulator has still not been appointed, and porn producers in the UK aren't going to have enough time to evaluate and choose an age verification service. 

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Tags: age verification, Digital Economy Bill, Myles Jackman, Open Rights Group, queer porn

 

DIY Queer Porn show on Radio AvA

Posted at 19:09 on 7 Nov 2017 by Pandora / Blake

A couple of weeks ago I broadcast my first very own live radio show for Radio Ava, a DIY sex worker community project. I presented 90 minutes of DIY Queer Porn, including steamy audio teasers and interviews with some of the hottest up-and-coming stars of the UK queer porn scene. It was great fun - I really enjoyed playing at being DJ with the tunes I'd picked out, and it was so great to be in the studio with other sex workers.

I broadcast an interview I'd recorded and edited earlier in the week with Cookie Cosmos, in which they have loads of interesting things to say about being a trans porn producer, the ways in which mainstream porn lets down trans performers, the value of social media for DIY porn, and their exciting forthcoming projects. I've been lucky enough to meet Cookie now, at the trans femme porn screening they showed work at, alongside their wife and fellow porn maker Rae Cosmos, and Chelsea Poe. It was an amazing evening; so great to connect with other trans non-binary folk including three icons of trans porn, and see some of the exciting work being produced by new filmmakers in the UK right now. I'm eager to collaborate with Cookie and Rae and already plotting ways I can find time to get together and create some work with them.

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Tags: Ava Caradonna, Blath, Dion de Rossi, DiscoTitts, DIY porn, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, queer, queer porn, Radio AvA

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Feminist Porn: where to find it and how to feel good watching it

Posted at 09:40 on 16 Aug 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Feminist Porn: where to find it and how to feel good watching itI'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 workshop is on the evening of Thursday 31st Aug and costs just £6 + £1 fee, so it's super affordable. Tickets are available here on The Book Club website. It should be a fantastic event - I hope to see some of you there!

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Tags: ethical porn, events, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, film screenings, porn, queer porn, teaching, workshop

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Huck Magazine article on indie porn

Posted at 22:02 on 5 Apr 2017 by Pandora / Blake

You may remember my post last month, telling how I had a journalist and photographer over to my home one evening to watch me and Blath shooting a ritualistic, witchy content share scene. Well, the photos and resultant article are now available in Huck Magazine.

The piece contains some good stuff: talks in a positive way about queer kinky porn, critiques the Digital Economy Bill and Age Verification, and quotes Vex Ashley and Bishop Black along with me and Blath. It also does a bit to center our work in the historical context of political porn, rather than trying to claim that we are inventing it (as a lot of journalists do when they hear about alt porn for the first time). And at least there isn't any pointless "can porn be feminist???" questioning. I have to admit I'm also struck by the pictures - the photographer did a great job of capturing the dark sexy vibes of the scene (credit to Blath for the arty lighting). Sequins and "decriminalise sex work" postcards: yup, that's a queer porn set.

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Tags: age verification, Blath, Digital Economy Bill, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, media, porn, queer porn

 

Introducing the London Porn Film Festival

Posted at 17:30 on 29 Mar 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Postcards of the London Porn Film Festival

I’m SO happy that London has *finally* got its very own London Porn Film Festival, courtesy of those fabulous queers over at Wotever World <3 It’s on next week from Friday to Sunday (April 7-9), and I’m delighted that they are showing two Dreams of Spanking films: Please May I Come, Mistress and Queer as in Fuck You. Even better, I shall be there to do some Q&As! Ever since I first attended the amazing Berlin Porn Film Festival in 2014, I’ve longed for a London equivalent to showcase radical queer porn in its many beautiful diverse forms, so this is super exciting - please help me support it so it can become an annual event!

Please May I Come, Mistress is part of a 100-minute programme with seven other shorts under the title ‘A Thousand Queer Sexualities - films that span a breadth of erotic possibilities, and at the same time subverts them and swerves past the easy answers’. This film screens alongside Since You Asked So Nicely by Ms Naughty at Bright Desire, starring myself and Parker Marx in my first published boy/girl scene - which is queerer than you might expect.

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Tags: Charlie J Forrest, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, fairtrade porn, Fauni Cate, feminist porn, film festivals, queer porn, Wotever World

 

Queer Porn at the British Film Institute

Posted at 14:51 on 28 Mar 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Myles Jackman, Jiz Lee, Pandora Blake and Jay Bernard at Sexit, BFI Flare

When I started making spanking films I never once imagined that I would get a chance to screen them at the British Film Institute. Porn - especially queer porn and fetish porn, and Dreams of Spanking is firmly in both camps - is in many ways innately counter-cultural. When I launched the site I didn't expect the draconian criminalisation that would follow; but equally I didn't expect that queer porn, specifically my queer spanking films, would be considered cultural enough to be shown somewhere like the BFI.

It's a bittersweet juxtaposition, perfectly illustrated by something I noticed when I arrived at the BFI for Flare, the LGBTQ film festival, at which I was taking part in a panel discussion around how porn law affects queer porn. The banner across the Flare reception desks proclaimed the sponsors of the event; and there on the left was the legend "Supported by the Department of Culture, Media and Sport." How ironic that the very department of the civil service supporting this event is the one which introduced a statutory instrument in 2014 criminalising many forms of queer porn, including my own. It was surreal to speak about that criminalisation, to a sympathetic audience eager to learn how they can resist state oppression, at an event supported by the very public body responsible for that oppression. For me, that dissonance aptly summarised the widening gap between legislation imposed from above by those who have no clue about sexuality or sex work, and an increasingly open-minded public who mostly consider the sex lives of consenting adults to be their own damn business.
 
Before the panel proper, I recorded a video interview alongside queer porn icon Jiz Lee, and Chocolate Chip, who stars in Snapshot, the new "porn noir" sexy whodunnit by Shine Louise Houston, with questions asked by Flare programmer Jay Bernard. Jay is one of the curators of the festival, and they did an amazing job co-ordinating the Sexit panel and programming queer films that center people of colour. The interview was intended to be streamed via Facebook Live, but apparently the BFI is an old old building with shitty connectivity, so it was recorded instead - I'll link the video as soon as it's available. 

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Tags: activism, Digital Economy Bill, Dreams of Spanking, ethical porn, Extreme Porn legislation, fairtrade porn, feminist porn, Gender politics, Jiz Lee, kink activism, listen to sex workers, Myles Jackman, obscenity, porn, queer porn

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La Fete du Slip

Posted at 11:09 on 10 Mar 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Pandora Blake at La Fete du Slip porn film festival

I'm writing this blogpost on my way back from Switzerland, where I've been staying in Lausanne for five days for La Fete du Slip. Apparently it's the biggest festival of its kind in Europe after the Porn Film Festival Berlin - I'm told that six thousand people attended this year. It was my first time there. I was invited to accompany the screening of my film Please May I Come, Mistress, and they kindly offered some help with expenses which made it possible. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet members of our extended international porn family, discover hot new films, and visit Switzerland for the first time.

I’m always curious to visit new places. Lausanne is a small town on the Swiss bank of Lake Geneva, with the French Alps decorating the horizon. It’s hilly, each incline a hidden third dimension invisible on Google maps, but quickly discovered puffing up and down cobbled streets, or trying to work out a way between different levels of roads and bridges on foot. The central streets are paved and tidy, with restaurants, little shops and all the other trappings of a wealthy town. Other areas - like Arsenic, the venue hosting the porn film screenings - are more like the cities I’m used to, with large concrete infrascructure, graffiti and somewhat more urban decay. Even by London standards it's very expensive. Food and drink costs over twice what I expected, and I still hadn't got used to it by the time I left.

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Tags: ethical porn, feminist porn, film festivals, Four Chambers, Goodyn Green, Jiz Lee, La Fete du Slip, Lilith Luxe, Mad Kate, Mathias Antonietti, Mickey Mod, queer porn, Vex Ashley

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Sexit: What the Fuck is Happening with UK Porn Laws?

Posted at 11:19 on 2 Mar 2017 by Pandora / Blake

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. 

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Tags: censorship, Digital Economy Bill, events, feminist porn, kink activism, queer porn, Shine Louise Houston, vampire porn

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Magazine interviews this month

Posted at 17:49 on 2 Feb 2017 by Pandora / Blake

Sexual freedom campaigner Pandora Blake

I've had several requests for press interviews this month, and it's been a great opportunity to get the word out about my political campaigning and the other things I'm working on. I've talked to a writer Artefact magazine about the Digital Economy Bill and its impact on feminist porn that should be out in the next few weeks.

I also contributed to a feature with  Huck magazine , who interviewed me and queer porn performer Blath together. We co-ordinated a content-share shoot at my house especially for the interview, so that Huck's journalist and photographer could both come and have a look behind the scenes on a feminist porn set. (I get a lot of requests for this, but far fewer publications that are willing to pay for our time, so it was lovely that Huck were willing to help make it happen.) We shot a super gothy ritualistic scene featuring hot wax, knives, witchcraft and lots of other fetishy hotness! The Huck photographer took lots of behind the scenes pictures which I can't wait to see, and we gave an in depth video interview too. I might be able to put footage of the interview up on YouTube - although it might be a bit annoying to watch, as it has the journalist tap-tapping on his keyboard in the background, making notes as we talked! But it was totally worth it - he wrote an amazing piece, and was generous enough to let us approve it before publication. I wish more media folks were like this! I'm looking forward to seeing the feature and photos in print - and of course the scene itself will be available on Dreams of Spanking and Foxclure Films  once its out. 

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Tags: Blath, ethical porn, feminist porn, media, Patreon, queer porn

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Porn Film Festival Berlin 2016

Posted at 11:17 on 21 Nov 2016 by Pandora / Blake

This year I took the train again to the Berlin Porn Film Festival, a habit I began last year and which I mean to continue. It's a ten or eleven hour journey across northern Europe, and I vastly prefer it to flying: I like the armchairs and reclining seats of the Eurostar and high speed ICE trains, with hot coffee brought to your seat, and fast, free wifi which is unconstrained by the adult content filters now ubiquitous in the UK. I like not having to do airport security, or waiting at boarding gates. For ten hours it's just me, my laptop and my books, as the autumn fields and grey skies of Belgium and Germany whip past at nearly two hundred kilometres an hour.

That space and time to reflect has become a necessary ritual for me before the film festival, which is so crammed with social and sensory overstimulation. The linear, methodical journey by train feels more like a pilgrimage than the stop-and-start process of air travel; there's something satisfyingly complete about watching the horizon blur by. And at journey's end, I find belonging, acceptance. Here is the community queer pornographers lack the rest of the year, dotted around the globe as we are, turning Twitter into our shared office. Here, I'm neither shocking nor extreme. Sometimes I struggle with the unspoken suspicion that I choose this life because some part of me is attracted to rebellion, to the feeling of being outrageous; but when being among my people brings me such happiness, that suspicion is silenced.

This was my third year at the festival. Some part of that powerful sense of belonging was born last year, when I was awarded First Prize in the Short Film Competition for Houseboy, my BDSM romance about the teething pains of a queer poly household. That recognition, coming at a time when this film - along with the rest of my website Dreams of Spanking - had been outlawed by the UK government as too extreme to be tolerated, kept me afloat during my legal struggles. It also explains why I feel more at home in Berlin, at least for the week of the Porn Film Festival, than I do in the UK, which seems determined to criminalise my sexuality and my self expression. True, Germany already has mandatory age verification for online porn - a spectre currently looming over the UK - but at least they don't place prudish limits on the activities consenting adults can watch or film.

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Tags: Ms Naughty, porn, Porn Film Festival Berlin, porn screenings, queer porn

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