Idea Sex (or the joy of creative collaboration)

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I’ve been a bit caught up in figuring out how to market Seducing the Muse, the workshop I am facilitating with Gwenn Cody.    I’m been struggling with my own creativity.  How to give it space and time when  I don’t feel drawn to writing, even though I have projects that need my attention.  I have a hard time shutting myself up in a room and making myself Be Creative.

Friday night I hosted a party that reminded me of one of the greatest sources of creative  inspiration available – collaboration.

Some background –

I’m in a group on Facebook called Sex Culture Revolutionaries, started by a woman named Poly Superstar, and in that group there was a lively thread discussing porn.  Specifically, why porn gives some of us the heebie-jeebies (this conversation was inspired by Russel Brand’s video about porn addiction).  A man named Andrew Sullivan wrote the following:

But my real issue with porn (even so-called ‘feminist porn’) is that it focuses on what sex looks like and not what it feels like. There is no understanding of how to use sex as a narrative tool and how to shoot, edit and score performances so that they elevate and arouse the entire system. Standard porn is the visual equivalent of a run-on sentence.I think if porn had better grammar (broader intellectual scope) there would be a better discussion about the various needs porn either serves or doesn’t. Right now, the adult industry is essentially releasing one violent action movie after another. I think this is about to change, however:
http://www.marriage2point0movie.com

Turns out this guy is the director of the the movie Marriage 2.0.  I went to the link and watched the trailer – it’s a film about a couple with an open marriage, and features both a story, and sex.  This is something that I’ve wanted to find forever in the movies (and was thrilled when Shortbus came out.  And as most of you know, I’m also a huge fan of Hump).

So I invited a couple of friends to have a viewing party (thanks Alex, for cohosting!).

The director contacted me and offered to skype with us before or after the movie, if we wanted to ask questions or share our experience.  I said “Of course!”  How cool, I thought, to get to hear from the director!

Turns out, my idea for an intimate party grew to over 40 people.    Friends brought lovers, and food ,and whiskey, and more friends,  and the evening blossomed into a happening.

At 8:30, with a living room full to bursting,  we tried to contact the director on Skype.  My friend Alex had set up the screen so that it projected onto a wall.  Unfortunately, Andrew wasn’t available, so we went on to screen the movie, and figured we’d talk to him after.   We streamed from the website hosting it, and for the first 15 minutes or so, all was well.  There seemed to be something of a story, and the sex scene we watched, while not drastically different than much of the porn I’ve seen, felt effective, respectful.  Arousing even.  There would be occasional stalls in the buffering, and we made the rule that when the video was stalled, you had to snuggle someone nearby.  We made the most of the technological glitches.  But about 15 minutes in – the streaming went kaput.  We couldn’t get it to load.

So there I was with a group of snuggly people, all looking at me expectantly.  What are we going to do now, fearless leader?

It was a terrifying moment.

The truth is, I am an entertainer, and I love to facilitate people having fun and playing games, but I am not an improv artist.  I love to have a script, a plan, I love to feel prepared.  I felt like I got caught with my pants down.  I didn’t have the first idea what we  (all 40+ of us) should do instead.  Make our own porn?

So I did what I could – I suggested different games we could play, different improv exercises we might try.  A few people jumped up to volunteer, or tell stories.  We had some good laughs, but it felt rocky.  I’m not particularly good at inventing games on the spot, and having such a huge group of people felt unwieldy.

I kept breathing and trying not to panic and think “I don’t have to figure this out on my own.  Trust that something will come up.  This much arousal and creativity in the room – something is bound to work”.

We decided to take a break.  People got up and got food, started talking to each other.  And a friend of mine said, “What if we play something like ‘I never?’  We could write down a bunch of scenarios, and have people read them outloud.  And then if you HAVE done it, you could act it out.”  Another friend said “Yeah, or what if you HAVE done the thing, you have to kiss someone near you?”  This was getting good.  I said, “what if instead of acting it out, we invited people who HAD done the thing to tell a story about it, if they want to?”  (Logistically, I knew this would work better than trying to act it out).

We quickly got paper and pens and began writing.  (We changed it from I Never to I’ve Never to leave room for the potential of it happening someday!).

I’ve never made a woman come.

I’ve never had sex with 2 people at once.

I’ve never had sex with someone who’s name I didn’t know.

I’ve never come from riding a horse.

I’ve never gotten turned on watching porn.  

We had a whole bowl full of slips of paper in a matter of minutes.  We gathered everyone back in the living room, and one by one, passed the bowl. (My friend Callay spearheaded this- and she was awesome at getting people to participate).  Each person got to read a statement, and sometimes, they’d kiss someone near them.  Often the whole room either kissed someone, or got kissed.  And there were some WONDERFUL stories.   We heard about a night of spanking sailers, and anal beads that got caught and experimenting with a cat licking your pussy.  The stories were so funny and real and honest and intimate.  The entire party took on a very different feel.

Everyone got to participate to the level they felt comfortable.  Everyone got to play.   We left that night feeling closer to one another, and that we had created our own entertainment.

As much as I want to see what happens in the movie, I’m so grateful that the internet prevented us from being passively entertained.

We participated in something very special that night – the birth of a brand new party game.  All because some ideas got together, and had sex.  They inspired and evolved, affected and changed one another.

Collaboration.  When you’re tired of trying to make it happen on your own, ask a friend to brainstorm.  Bring in a someone who’s mind turns you on, and sparks your own creative fire.   That’s the lesson I walked away with.  That, and I have some incredibly sexy friends.

P.S.  In a weird zeitgeist of the Universe, turns out Ellen played a version of this on her show last week!  She had Madonna on as a guest, and announces they are going to play “Never Have I Ever.”  Then she says, “It’s always fun to play with more than two people, so let’s bring out Justin Beiber!”  (the crowd goes wild).  She then gives them statements like “Had Phone Sex” and they have a paddle that says I Have or I Have Never.  I learned more about Justin Beiber in two minutes than I ever have.  I LOVE GAMES!

P.S.S There are 3 spots left in Seducing the Muse (April 10-12).  If you are feeling inspired to get creative, save your spot NOW.  Early bird special ends Mach 23rd.


The “What Is Erotic?” Erotic Selfie contest!

The “What Is Erotic?” Erotic Selfie contest!

And we have a winner!  Scroll down to the bottom to find out who won the What Is Erotic? Selfie contest!

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Dance Naked Productions is premiering a brand new show called What Is Erotic? This show is a curated cabaret of artists answering that provocative question!  There will be storytelling, stand-up, performance poetry, sexy scenes, song and dance.   Trust me when I promise you that there is something for EVERYBODY.   What I have loved about putting this show together is the vast spectrum of answers, in all kinds of artistic expression.  It’s freaking fascinating.  And in honor of the theme, we are holding a contest!  YOU can win tickets or a DVD of the show!

Show Dates: 

Previews – Jan. 27th & 28th (Fertile Ground Festival)

Premiers: February 12th, 13th & 14th

Location: The Headwaters - 55 NE Farragut St. Portland, OR

Tickets: $15-$25  - GET TICKETS! (this show will sell out!)

Join the What Is Erotic? event on Facebook to see all the other entries!

So much for logistics. Onto the

EROTIC SELFIE CONTEST!!

Rules – you don’t mind it being posted on this blog or facebook (we will be discrete and only post ones on fb that are SFFB – Safe For Facebook!- no nipples/genitals or butts).  You may be as anonymous as you like.  (but provide contact info in case you win!)

Winners drawn by lottery January 26th.

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Check back here for more entries!  We are posting new ones all the time (and head over the the facebook event to see some of the tamer entries!)

(Scroll all the way down if you are looking for graphic)

Click here to  Send in YOUR selfie by January 26! Or if you are feeling shy, then just GET TICKETS!

(These are a few of the favorites over on the Facebook page)

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The power of nipples….

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Especially beautifully adorned nipples!

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Not totally naked..

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AH, the mystique of black and white –

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The guys are getting braver! (at first it was only women, but not anymore!)

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Ooh, some peeks at the underworld….

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(not exactly a selfie, but we’ll let that go)

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This was the first entry by a guy!  SO delighted that a fellow stepped up.  And it’s not JUST a shot of his cock!

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Today’s theme is clearly the luscious eroticism of boobies!

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Bottoms up!

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Who is this masked dick licker?

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Speaking of licks…

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Oh, this one is close to genius!

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A tempting tease…IMG_6934

and for the leg (wo)men….

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Okay – I’ll admit I’ve been having a moral dilemma about cock shots.  Here’s the thing – I don’t love cock shots.  I FEEL SO BAD SAYING THAT.   But maybe it’s cuz over on Fetlife, so many guys send you their cock shots and I can’t help but wonder, “What makes you think this is hot?”  but that of course is MY opinion.    I mean, I love cock.  I really do.   But I somehow don’t find cock shots all that erotic.  But you know what? Who am I to make that choice? Interestingly,  only one woman sent a pussy shot and I kind of mentally censored that too.   So I’m going to post a smattering of the cock (and pussy!) shots I’ve received, and let you may make own decisions.  And apologies to any cock who’d feelings i’ve hurt.

Here they are, in all their glory….

down here at the bottom of the post.

FAIR WARNING.

Scroll down for delicious dick and tangy pussy, my lovelies.

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And remember, if you are in Portland, GET TICKETS! to What Is Erotic?

We are going to have so much freakin’ fun!

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YOU MADE IT TO THE BOTTOM!!  I hope your eyes are filled with the beauty of your fellow humans.  Aren’t people lovely?  And brave?  To me, there is nothing more erotic than people claiming their own eroticism.  And now, to announce the contest winner…

Selected BY RANDOM LOTTERY….

I give you….

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The Erotic Selfie Contest Winner!

(If this if your selfie – you will be contacted by me, Eleanor, to claim your prize!)  To all those that entered – bless  you.  Thank you.  I had such a wonderful time checking my email these past few weeks!

If you didn’t win and would still like to see the show, there are a few tickets still available!  Come see the live version of the erotic selfie!

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The Sex Museum in Amsterdam.  It’s no work of art.

The Sex Museum in Amsterdam. It’s no work of art.

So I’m in Amsterdam at the moment.   My friend Gabriella invited me to join her on a whirlwind tour of Europe.  Our goal?  to help seed Sex-Positive Meet-Ups groups (her mission is to make the world a more sexually liberated place.  We are here to proselytize!)  I’m doing my show Lust & Marriage (a polyamorous love story) on Saturday night, but until then, we’re playing tourist.

So of COURSE we went to the Sex Museum.  We are here to pay homage to the most liberated city in Europe! Home of the famous red light district! (Speaking of the Red Light district – walking through that neighborhood last night felt a lot like walking though a zoo.  I got the same queasy/fascinated feeling – I didn’t want to look – so many girls in lingerie staring at their phones.  There’s something sort of soulless about it. But…I’m glad it exists…. I think.  I suppose I always struggle a bit with sex & commerce.  I wish no one had to pay for it).

Welkom to the Sex Museum boys and girls!
Welkom to the Sex Museum boys and girls!

But I was talking about the sex museum.  So for 4 Euro (not bad entry fee I must say) you walk into a world of giant cocks, mannequins giving handjobs, tiny figurines fucking, Marilyn Monroe & Mata Hari dioramas, endless old brown photographs from the last century, comic strips, and an odd assortment of erotic art.  It is enormously hetero.  A small collection of gay male erotica and a smattering of lesbian art (Which is one of the few things that actually struck ME as sexy). (That and the images of women touching themselves).

I personally would love to see more “Sex from around the world” – different cultures take on sexuality.  I’d love to see more how attitudes to sex have changed over the generations, and how it varies from country to country.   I’d love to see more art that actually turned me on- but who knows – maybe the plastic tits on the wall turned SOMEONE on.

But, I’m glad there is a Sex Museum at all.  you gotta start somewhere.  I share with you some of my favorite images…

(this is a ridiculous 10 sec video of a animated mannequin handjob, complete with jerky machine sounds)

http://youtu.be/LPseSoXA8tw

I kinda loved this twirling statue of Rudolph Valentino in some tango movie  – on one side it’s all very innocent….

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and then it slowly turns to reveal…!  (I think this is the photo that may get me banned again from facebook.  I took it down almost immediately – but it had already been flagged. )

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This is the Red Light district of old….mature ladies smiling and beckoning and wearing some sexy version of Mormon underwear.  Now they are all barely 20, clad in g-strings,  and making no eye contact.  Again, I guess it’s sexy to some, but it just struck me as so sad.  Girls in cages.

Can’t remember what this mannequin was suppose to represent.  But I was appalled at the pubic hair fail!

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(C’mon docents!  Do your due dilegence!   Actually, all the pubic hair in the entire museum was kind of odd.  Like they were wearing merkins – Madame Tussaud’s it is not).

Here is a peek into the life of a woman who holds herself in a bondage position and seems to have goat ears.  I’m not sure quite…  Not judging!

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The toilet itself was a work of art.  IMG_4448

 

and then I found actual toilet art.

 

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This series kills me.  The expressions!

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I appreciated the art that celebrated women of size.

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A few of them actually turned me on (I have a thing for cockatoo?)

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This was probably my favorite.  Seemed the most honest somehow.

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This one of of the only images of a male orgy – I tried to capture it but it’s a line drawing from a book, so kind of faint.

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Cocks in general were well represented however.

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From the very tiny…

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to the Costco size.

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All in all,  an entertaining hour.  But for an activity that is at the core of human existence, kinda weak.  Social archeologists – get on it!  We have so much to learn!

 


What Is Erotic Auditions!

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If you are a sex-positive person who’s dreamed of storytelling, poetry reading, singing, dancing, playing an instrument – performance of any kind – you are encouraged to audition!

We are currently creating a brand new community-based show called What Is Erotic?

What Is Erotic? is a cabaret-style curated performance, by and for the community. Artists of all kinds are invited to present their answer to this question, and share their erotic imagination as part of a group production. (Prior performance experience not required).  Each piece averages about 3-6 minutes long. We showcase dance, song, storytelling, comedy, spoken word, performance art and more.  (also accepting visual art/videos for pre-show and intermission slide-shows)

Auditions will be November 30th at 2pm at Artists Repertory Theater (1515 SW Morrison St., Portland. OR 97205). If you know you want to sign up to audition, email eleanor @ dancenakedproductions.com and put AUDITION in the subject line.   I have a few spots left for the 2-3pm time slot.

Auditions don’t have to be memorized or polished.  But do come with an idea of what you want to perform.  (Both myself and a few other directors will be working with the artists to help bring your ideas to fruition!) The auditionis a showing of your concept and what you’ve developed up until that point, but again, YOUR PIECE DOESN’T HAVE TO BE COMPLETE. It does need to be a well developed idea that is cohesive, erotic, and doable. We understand you will have another 2 months to hone your performance. You will be told in December if you are part of the final cast.

What Is Erotic? will preview as a workshop production during the Fertile Ground Festival (Jan. 27th & 28th) (http://fertilegroundpdx.org) and have a full run during Valentine’s Weekend Feb 12-14.

please sign up on the facebook event page to stay up to date.

More info about What Is Erotic? below…

IMPORTANT DATES:

Sun. Nov 30 @ 2pm -Auditions: Artists Repertory Theater (1515 SW Morrison St., Portland).  (You must be pre-registered to audition.  Please do not just show up!)

January 11th @ 2pm – Rehearsal
January 18th @ 2pm – Rehearsal
(you must come to 1/11 or 1/18 – you are welcome at both!)
January 25th @ 2pm – Dress Rehearsal
January 26th @ 6:30pm Tech Rehearsal

Fertile Ground Preview Shows
Jan 27th & 28th @ 7:30pm (Call for Artists 6pm)

Promotion Day – TBA

February 8th @ 2pm – Rehearsal
February 11th @ 6pm Final Dress/Tech Rehearsal

Feb 12, 13, & 14th @ 8pm  – Show Time!  (Call for Artists 6pm)

WHAT – What is Erotic is a community-based performance oriented cabaret that celebrates the erotic.
WHO – Dance Naked Productions is a sex-positive theater company in Portland, OR that has been producing theater since 2005 (past productions include GGG: Domiantrix for Dummies, Lust & Marriage and the Inviting Desire series)
WHEN – What is Erotic? premiers as part of the Fertile Ground Festival in late January and will have a 3-night run over Valentine’s Weekend
WHERE- All performances will be at the Headwaters Theater (55 NE Farragut )
WHY – Because as a culture we need to be more open about sex.  Because Portland is full of incredibly talented people who need the opportunity to share their genius.  Because it’s going to be so much freakin’ fun.

History:
What Is Erotic? began as a fundraiser for the 418 Theater in Santa Cruz (http://www.whatiserotic.com), and has enjoyed a 10-year history as a successful community production. This marks the first year it will premier in San Francisco.

The Portland production will serve as a fundraiser for Dance Naked Productions. Performers will receive a DVD of the show, 2 comp tickets to the Fertile Ground workshop performance, free access to the Sex & Creativity workshop, lots of hands-on directorial attention, entrance to after-parties and a whole new circle of interesting friends

As a participant in the show we value and expect communication with the directors, a commitment to coming to all required evenings, to tell the directors if you won’t be able to make it to a required evening, to participate in being in community with the What is Erotic? cast members.

Artist Support: An amazing aspect of the show is the support team created to help artists get pieces that really work well. We offer two group options for honing and feedback.

1) Group Rehearsal evenings are offered as a means to present your piece in front of your fellow performers and directors, see how it feels with an audience, and get supportive feedback and input on your progress.

2) Individual coaching & support each act is assigned one director for feedback, general communication, and support in the full creation of your piece.

In addition- all participants will be invited to participate in an OPTIONAL Sex & Creativity workshop led by Dance Naked artistic director Eleanor O’Brien free of charge (non-performing participants pay $50).

Production: We have a production team. Every year we look for awesome people to help create the show. Do you or your friends want to help with production? Stage managers, AV, Box Office, Prop Creation.

Promotion: Part of being in the show is promoting the show. We ask that you be willing to spread the word when the time comes.

If you are interested in participating, please get in touch!


It’s your turn. What Is Erotic – to you?

i_want_you_02It’s your turn. You get to be the creator on this one.

Hello my darlings – Happy fall! It’s time to make things. Harvest the richness summer. And I’m not talking tomatoes. I’m talking about making art!

I’ve got a new show in the works. It’s called What Is Erotic? and it’s starring YOU.

I hope!

What Is Erotic? is a cabaret style performance made up of all kinds of people answering that very question. There will be storytelling, song, poetry, dance – all kinds of artistic expression. It will premier in January (details below). This is your opportunity to get involved with Dance Naked Productions in a hands-on way. If you live in Portland, and you’d like to know more, keep reading…..

There is a reason I’m calling this show What Is Erotic? I love to start with a question. I gets my mind churning, seeking, casting about. And this question is one I genuinely I ask myself a lot. What do I find sexy? Does that come from ME, or is that what I’ve been culturally conditioned to believe? (Thong underwear, for example. Stiletto heels. Ugh). But what really turns ME on?

Sometimes, I have no idea. I hunger for more erotic engagement. I want to feel alive. I want to feel ignited. And so, I keep asking the question. 5 years ago, me and a group of women created a show called Inviting Desire. That show (and the ones that followed) were written and performed by professional actors. We asked this question of ourselves and wrote pieces based on our answers. The end result was a series of incredible shows the likes of which no one had really ever seen. Authentic answers to this very question by a cast of lovely, talented women.

But now, I’m asking you. I’d say “the general public” but you’re really not. If you’re reading this blog, chances are good you have some interest in this question. Or at least, it won’t offend you that I’m asking (and if I’m wrong, for the love of vaginas, please close the tab and return to cat videos on Youtube!)

What is erotic? To you? Take your time. Allow yourself to wonder.

In fact, here’s a little something that might help. I just stumbled across the concept that there are seven stages of creative midwifery (this apparently comes from Plato).

The 7 Stages of Creative Midwifery

  1. Ask the question. What are you curious about?
  2. Research. Investigate, explore, experience. Anything/everything counts! It’s YOUR process.
  3. STOP. When enough is enough, stop looking for more input. Rest.
  4. Gestate. Daydream. Dance. Do the Dishes. Distract yourself. (the technical term is divergent behavior, which sounds so much like deviant behavior! Kinda makes you wanna get out the flogger, don’t it?).
  5. Eureka! You know how you get those ideas, tiny flashes of insight, as you are falling asleep, driving, in the shower, looking in the fringe? PAY ATTENTION. Write ‘em down. Don’t dismiss, or hope they’ll come back to you. Honor their arrival by actually recording them. Text yourself. Tell Siri to take a note. Don’t put it off. Capture them!
  6. Take action. Try out your idea. Draw a picture, write a poem. Make something.
  7. Be Seen. Share your idea/art/product with the world. Put it out there.

And that’s how you birth art. Easy peasy!

So now we’ve got this question. What Is Erotic? I’m so curious as to what YOUR answer will be. Start by doing some research! Follow your curiosity. Try something new. Explore something deeper. Then stop and allow the experiences to stew inside yourself. Give yourself time to percolate. And as the answers pop up, start writing them down. Capture those moments, those snippets, those ideas. Create something. Doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe it’s a haiku. Maybe it’s an aria. Maybe it’s a letter to your lover.

Here’s the thing. You have creativity inside you. We all do. It’s so bizarre to me that anyone even questions this anymore. When it comes to eros, to sex, to love, to relationships – we ALL have insight. No matter what you do for a living, or what your medium is, you have something interesting and relevant to share. You don’t have to identify as “an artist.” You just have to start making stuff.

MAKING IT. Not just thinking about making it,  but actually DOING it. And then SHARING it! With SOMEONE. Putting it out in the world. This is so important. Send a letter to your lover. Submit your poem to an erotica website. Post your fantasy on Fetlife (you can be anonymous!) Write a monologue or a song, and perform it! (More details about that option below!).

We have a cultural scarcity around sharing our sexual selves in an authentic way. Your voice, your vision, your ideas are needed. Please. Share them. Send them to me if you like! Then freakin’ congratulate yourself for adding to the richness of this world, for expanding your soul – for being a creator, not a consumer!

And if you’d like to take it a step further…. I have discovered that my mission in life is to help people access their erotic genius. To provide a forum, a safe space, a means to examine and explore where this genius lives inside you (a creative midwife, if you will).

That’s why I started teaching workshops, and it’s why I am producing this new show. What Is Erotic? is an opportunity for ANYONE to get involved in making art. I’m holding open auditions. There will be an orientation on November 16th here in Portland where you can come and ask questions, and where we will play some games to inspire ideas. This is free and open to everyone. Join the facebook event to be kept informed as to time and location.

Auditions are November 30th at 2pm. (Email me to sign up!). That gives you plenty of time for steps 1-6. I’m happy to provide Step 7.

And if you need help with steps 1-6, there are a few spaces left in my upcoming Sex & Creativity workshop Nov.1-3. This show is an opportunity to be seen, to make a statement, to create a metaphor, to share your ideas and thoughts. You can find out more about it here. There will be a workshop performance as part of the Fertile Ground Festival  in Portland (January 27th & 28th) and a run on Valentine’s Day weekend. I hope you’ll be a part of it (and being in the audience counts!)

I can’t wait to hear your answers.

XXX,

Eleanor

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