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Indybay Feature
Related Categories: California | Arts + Action
Sex Workers Present Sexy, Healing & Political Arts & Cultural Festival
by Carol Leigh
Wednesday Apr 29th, 2015 8:28 AM
The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival has provided a forum for sex worker film and video makers since 1999. The Festival has since expanded to become a vibrant venue for performances, workshops, visual arts, political organizing and skills sharing.
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The San Francisco Bay Area Sex Worker Film & Arts Festival has provided a forum for sex worker film and video makers since 1999. The Festival has since expanded to become a vibrant venue for performances, workshops, visual arts, political organizing and skills sharing. The Festival recognizes and honors prostitutes, dancers, porn performers and other sex workers from diverse communities, who have been dynamic and integral members of arts communities since time immemorial.

Long running events including ‘The Institute of SexWorkology’ and ‘The Shannon Williams Whores Bath’ in Oakland, our magical healing spa dedicated to Shannon Williams, a great leader and friend who died in January. This year Gina Gold kicks off the Festival with ‘Sex Worker Diaries,’ in conjunction with TMI Storytelling also featuring Julia Query ('Live Nude Girls Unite!' director), Simone de la Getto and Jana Drakka. The Festival introduces Queenie Bon Bon, in her solo performance, ‘Deeply Leisured’ direct from Australia, opening with Lexi Lipstick in work from ‘Born Again Pervert.’ A Free Solo Performance Workshop series for sex workers by Sangria Red culminates in ‘Sex Worker Soliloquies,’ an ensemble work based on solo performances with Mariko Passion, Incredible Edible Akynos and Cinnamon Maxxine.

Juba Kalamka hosts the $pread Book Launch SuperParty with music by Vixen Noir (releasing her new CD, Dangerous). $pread readers include Scarlot Harlot, Fabulous, and special guest, Professor Mireille Miller-Young, who also launches her new book, ‘A Taste For Brown Sugar: Black Women in Pornography.’ Spoken word artists also include Catherine Plato, Tucson's Kym Cutter and Mack Friedman.

Community events include Sex Work IS NOT Trafficking, a community discussion and screening about the increasing scapegoating of sex workers, youth, migrants, people of color and other communities under the guise of anti-trafficking. SWAG (Sex Workers Action Group) joins the Festival this year to present 'Human and Here: A Community Event Against Violence' mobilizing resistance and addressing conditions surrounding violence against sex workers and transgender women of color.

The Festival has screened over 300 movies since 1999. Movies play at various venues including a marathon sex worker screening at the Roxie Theater on Saturday May 23rd (with a morning queer male stripper brunch at Center for Sex and Culture!) 2015 brings a new focus on sex workers' families and communities. 'Born into Porn' from the US features Nina Hartley and Peru’s ‘I am a Sex Worker’ from the cultural activist group, CiudadaniasX, are also programmed as part of ‘I Heart A Sex Worker’ sponsored by SWOP Bay Area. ‘Remedy’ explores the good, the bad, the offensive, the cruel, the hysterical, and the plain weird aspects of the commercial BDSM world without passing judgment. Videos from around the world portray fierce sex worker activists as the movement expands in Africa through the work of SWEAT and Sisonke. Pagan and ecosexual ritual movies including ‘Holy MILF’ close the day. This year the Festival also sponsors the 'Filmmakers Forum' an informal screening and discussion where filmmakers and the audience have a chance to examine trends in sex worker cinema.

Festival Founder, Carol Leigh AKA Scarlot Harlot says, "Sex workers have an excellent vantage point from which to view hypocrisies, from the lawmakers who use our services, then sponsor policies which further criminalize us, to the wanna-be saviors who claim to 'rescue' us but only increase our vulnerability. This whores-eye-view of society is reflected in this body of work by sex workers."

Tickets are available at http://www.loveandcondoms.eventbrite.com/ See our full 10 day event calendar at http://www.sexworkerfest.com/swfest2015/calendar2015.html