Dressed to Kill is a typically hysterical film by Brian De Palma with one of the great opening scenes in movies. To survive unpleasant, unsatisfying sex with her husband, Angie Dickinson fantasizes about touching herself in the shower while gazing upon a hunk shaving in the bathroom mirror. As she builds to climax, a rapist grabs her from behind, her shaving hunk unaware of the violence behind the shower door.
De Palma was never a master of dialogue, but his camera work is usually striking and his close-ups in this scene make it more erotic than Hollywood usually allows. In fact, he was forced to cut a few below-the-waist shots to avoid an X rating - something he fought against passionately but lost.
The DVD has a bonus clip splitscreen of the theatrical R rated version underneath the original version, pubic hair and all. It's enlightening in all the right ways, and the splitscreen is somehow more erotic than the individual clips because you don't know what to focus on (a sensation often experienced at orgies).
For the benefit of humanity, I've posted it - where do your eyes fall?
Angie Dickinson was 48 when Dressed to Kill was filmed, and she is the best part of the movie. It was exposed that Dickinson used a body double in the shower scene (playmate Victoria Johnson), but that doesn't diminish her striking portrayal of a strong 48 year old female sex drive. If more movies were this honest, getting older wouldn't seem so bad.
Post-3am introductions in a bar are often regrettable, but not in this case, as I wouldn't have discoverd this entertainment.
The smile-inducing Swiss fraulein Ulla Schlegelberger.
1958 Burt Glinn photo "A stripper disrobes in front of a silent film of Charlie Chaplin at the Kino Club" (Berlin)
Susan Sontag journal entry 8-23-61
I like this idea of sex as rhythm resulting in a kind of hypnosis. But Sontag reveals perhaps an early dislike of penetrative sex when she describes sexual rhythm as inherently monotonous. Why not refer to sex as maintaining a rhythm steadily or contstantly or consistently or tirelessly? Lord knows there are plenty of bands and songs that maintain a rhythm monotonously, but the Lord knows even better that a steady, tireless rhyhtm need not be monotonous, as evidenced by James Brown's 19 minute complete take of "Escape-ism."
But there's a reason James Brown edited almost all of his hits down to between 3 minutes ("I Got Ants in My Pants") and 7 minutes (e.g., "Cold Sweat"). A recent report, "Canadian and American Sex Therapists' Perceptions of Normal and Abnormal Ejaculatory Latencies: How Long Should Intercourse Last?" indicated that the "adequate" duration of sex is 3 to 7 minutes. To be clear, this is 3-7 minutes of actual penetration, and does not include foreplay, bra-strap unfastening, or frantic searching for a condom.
The "desirable" duration of sex, according to the study, is 7-13 minutes. This happens to be the length of most Barry White songs.
But how long is necessary for hypnosis to kick in?
This will require further research. Stay tuned.
Feb 3 Barcelona - 33 I 45
Feb 4 Winterthur, Switzerland - Portier
Feb 5 Winterthur, Switzerland (DJ Set) - Kraftfeld
Feb 6 Vienna - FLUC
Feb 7 Linz - Posthof
Opening for TROPICS
Feb 8 Linz - Rother Krebs (DJ Set)
Feb 9 Chemnitz - Lokomov
Feb 12 Berlin - Grüner Salon
with Loch Lomond
Feb 14 Berlin - CCCP (DJ Set)
Feb 15 Berlin - Michelberger Hotel
Feb 17 Copenhagen - Rahuset
with Blackout Babies
Feb 19 Bremen - Lila Eule
Feb 20 Hamburg - Hasenshaukel
Feb 21 Copenhagen - Studenterhuset
Feb 22 Copenhagen - Bakken
Disco Dick party!!
Feb 23 Paris - Le Truskel
Feb 23 Paris (DJ Set late night) - Maison Blanche
They say the brain is the biggest erogenous zone, but getting turned on is pointless without a body with which to enjoy the pay off. (Also, it's tricky to fit an entire brain in one's mouth.) This is why stories of brilliant thinkers and entertainers getting caught with their pants down are a dime a dozen. The body rules. The body controls the mind.
And it's deeper than that. On his deathbed, Christopher Hitchens wrote that his physical suffering made him realize, "I don't have a body, I am a body."
In this spirit, I present for your erogenous enjoyment BODY TO BODY TO BODY, a night of performances from three of my favorite bodies: Alison Clancy's, Adrienne Truscott's, and my own.
ALISON CLANCY is simply one of the most breathtaking dancers and performers I've seen in New York. She dances with the Metropolitan Opera and leads the dream thrash band HUFF THIS! She will present a solo dance called IF I LET GO THIS WILL BE ECSTASY.
ADRIENNE TRUSCOTT, one half of the legendary Wau Wau Sisters and a choreographer and performance artist who just staged the acclaimed show "Too Freedom" at The Kitchen, will present a one-of-a-kind, impossible-to-describe performance called I DON'T MEAN TO BRAG: ADRIENNE TRUSCOTT'S ONE-LADY RAPE ABOUT COMEDY STARRING HER PUSSY AND LITTLE ELSE.
And I, as SMOOTA, will wear leather pants and sing songs about my body, your body, and the twain at which they meet.
It all takes place...
This FRIDAY, JANUARY 18, at 10:30pm.
At THE LIVING THEATER, a beautiful, unusual space at 21 Clinton St. (between Stanton and Houston) in the Lower East Side.
$10 at the door
Beer and wine for sale. Flasks allowed. Nudity encouraged.
As every wayward Catholic girl knows, sex and religion are inextricably tied. The religious among us enjoy sex as much as the heathens. Judaism in particular is enlightened in its belief that sex is for more than mere procreation; it is a joyful act of pleasure and companionship, a basic need to be fulfilled along with our need for food and water.
Although Jewish law unfortunately insists only married couples should engage in sex, it is otherwise quite reasonable and refreshingly female-focused for religious doctrine. I'm no rabbi, but there are several aspects of Jewish sexual doctrine that I believe we could all benefit from adhering to.
According to the Talmud, women have three basic rights: to have food, to have shelter, and to have S-E-X (perhaps not in that exact order). In fact, the rabbis of the Talmud established "laws of Onah" to insure that a woman's basic sexual rights are fulfilled. These laws are requirements that men must meet to fulfill their marriage contract or face divorce.
The great Maimonides aka Rabbi Moses ben Maimon (1135-1204): "A husband is forbidden to hold back from his wife her matrimonial rights for sexual relations."
Above: Maimonides, looking quite reasonable.
The Talmud isn't stingy with how often men must perform either: "The times for conjugal duty prescribed in the Torah are: for men of independence, every day; for laborers, twice a week; for ass-drivers, once a week; for camel-drivers, once in thirty days; for sailors, once in six months. These are the rulings of R. Eliezer." [M. Ketubot 5:1]
(As if women needed another reason to never marry a camel driver.)
The Talmud also encourages foreplay:
"When your husband caresses you to arouse your desire for intercourse and holds the breasts with one hand and “that place” with the other give the breasts [at first] to increase his passion and do not give him the place of intercourse too soon until his passion increases and he is in pain with desire" [Rashi to Shabbat 140b].
(Although the above passage is addressed to women, many believe this is actually veiled instruction to men to prolong foreplay.)
Most enlightened is the Talmudic emphasis on the importance of female orgasm. The Talmud suggests that sons result from a woman orgasming first and daughters result from the man org-ing first. "If the woman emits her semen first she bears a male child; if the man emits his semen first she bears a female child." [Niddah 31a] It goes on to cite a rabbi by the name of Katina (3rd Century) who brags, "I could make all my children to be males."
Men should all strive to be more like Rabbi Katina.
To honor such men, I will be joining Golem this Saturday at Cameo for a special Hannukah show. I hope you can join us.
Charlotte Moorman ("the topless cellist") has existed in my constellation of inspirations ever since I learned about her while working long ago at the Harvard music library. One of the librarians, a cellist himself, told me he kept her poster on his wall while in music school in the late 60s.
Julliard-trained, Moorman first fell for the avant-garde after playing a John Cage piece that involved both playing cello and cooking and eating mushrooms (not of the magical variety). She became associated with the wonderful Fluxus movement (along with Yoko Ono) and, among other things, became a pioneer in bringing sexuality into what was considered "serious" music by Western Civilization standards. Her renegade music even pre-dated much of pop music's libidinous explorations. Two years before Jim Morrison was arrested in Miami for allegedly whipping it out, Moorman was arrested for toplessness (on Feb. 9, 1967) in Manhattan during the performance of "Opera Sextronique" by Naim Jun Paik. (She was tried and convicted for partial nudity but the sentence was eventually suspended.)
The flyer for "Opera Sextronique" (see below) is profound. It made the case that "serious" music could not be taken seriously until it began to explore sexuality in the way that painting and literature had. "Music history needs its D.H. Lawrence its Sigmund Freud." It all reads as quaint now for a number of reasons, but it's a nice reminder that music should still aim to provoke and explore new territory. And feature topless cellists.
Legendary sexologist William H. Masters, relating research on the female orgasm:
Dr. Mary Jane Sherfey's analysis of above reseach:
My analysis of above analysis:
Get in shape, girls. The eternal orgasm is within reach.
One confusing aspect of American culture is our generally prudish reaction to nudity and other people's sex lives while we simultaneously allow endless sexual fantasy to be displayed in advertisements and entertainment. As a result, it's rare to see photos or movie sex scenes that carry any truth in them at all. In our collective consciousness we have effectively removed hair from torsos, body "flaws" that distinguish one person from another, and the reality of post-sex clean-up.
Bat For Lashes recently released an album with a cover photograph by Ryan McGinley featuring Natasha Khan posing nude and holding a man over her shoulders. This inevitablly created controversy and Khan has given interviews expressing her disappointment that anyone would want to censor such an "unsexy" (her words) photo considering she has not been retouched and is not wearing makeup and her pose is not provocative. She told one interviewer, "A sexualized female body [e.g., Beyonce] has become a banality that doesn't even cause a blip. But a completely natural, make-up free woman literally supporting a man leads to endless speculation."
We have to take this with a grain of salt considering it exists in the PR-drenched world of music journalism, but I'm disappointed that Khan doesn't take the stance that her au natural depiction is in fact the opposite of unsexy precisely because she isn't hiding behind a manufactured, sexualized presentation. The photo is far more erotic than any typical Beyonce shot because McGinley allows Khan's self-image to come though the photograph -- we are spared the typically constructed identity presented in most musician photos by the fashion-influenced photographers that rule today.
In the same interview, Khan references inspirations for her photo made in the past by heroes PJ Harvey and Patti Smith, and I'm struck by how those photos seem dramatically more real and raw than Khan's.
Has our idea of what is "super-raw and wild" (as Khan describes her photo) become less raw and wild? Obviously rock star images have always been manufactured, but today's marriage of music with the fashion industry has made it a particularly bleak time for finding the real in music and the musicmakers. There's nothing wrong with fiction and fantasy, even in music -- but there's danger when manufactured ideas are presented as authentic.
All of this is really just a long lead up to a truly raw and authentic and daring depiction of bodies, love, life, and a real consequence of sex: Lourdes Jeannette's stunning recent portrait of a mother breastfeeding her child.
I wish this were an album cover!
The ultimate Smoota stalker review by resounders.com: original link is here.
Diamond Rugs at the Earl – My Little Unicorn
There he stood in the foyer of The Earl, scanning the room with his debonair stare. Posing, long flowing hair and a Jesus face wearing a white belt. I see you. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. I’m going to talk to him, someone with a white belt has something to say– but I couldn’t. Reconnaissance time. Who’s the Asian chick? Girlfriend, possibly? Good sign: he likes brown girls- at least there’s a chance.
I was there to see the Diamond Rugs, a highly recommended band from Nashville; a menagerie of characters.
Two whiskey’s down and straight to the front of the stage. There he was, purple lit and statuesque, clenching trombone. My Jesus lover with a 70′s swag is part of the band? I was captivated by this character who barely played but stood there like a mascot with that Fabio stare to the horizon. Meanwhile the others rocked the stage, tongue kissed a stage jumper, lit cigarettes mid song and shared beers with the audience.
Who is this man that can steal the show with no words and barely any effort?!! I ran home to do some more recon not knowing what the future had in store. I typed “trombone player for TV and the Radio” into the Google machine and Voila, Smoota! David Smoota Smith to be exact, a Film & Lit graduate from Harvard.
Oh my good gracious me. He was more of a character than I imagined. His profile banner on Defendmusic.com was a slightly provocative and insanely hilarious picture of him laying on his side in a white suit, again 70′s style.. I’m starting to see a trend. See for yourself!
As I read on on I was intrigued by this unicorn of a man. So sexual, erotic and smooth. I played his track “Pink bra playing guitar” to find myself rolling in laughter. Is this for real?! Did he just say “she is so delicious she should be my mistress”. It wasn’t until I found myself twerking my hips to his groovy sex music that I realized this boy’s got soul and I’m definitely in love.
Let’s put it this way… If I owned a condom company I’d want him as my spokesperson.
If I knew then what I know now about the man in the white belt, I would’ve never hesitated to talk to him. He probably would’ve been open to conversations and relations with me AND the Asian chick.
I leave you with a video that I believe captures his man-sensual essence.
Enjoy responsibly. Yes, that’s right. Smoota. S&M, O, O, T&A.
Exchange from Roger Corman's 1971 film Gas-s-s-s aka Gas! or It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It
Boy: Were you really screwing Dr. Murder?
Girl: Screwing? What a horrible word! Where did you ever hear that?
Boy: Oh, I made it up.
Girl: Why don't you make up a beautiful word for lovemaking? I bet you can't.
Boy: Of course I can. There's lots of beautiful words.... Turquoise!
This poster of Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) was the best-selling poster of 1978:
She regretted posing for the photo (having done so only because her husband thought it was a good idea), and stated, "I never meant to be a sexual object for anyone but my husband. I never thought a picture of my body would be tacked up in men's bathrooms. I hate men looking at me and thinking what they think. And I know what they think. They write and tell me."
Three years earlier saw the release of Anyone But My Husband, a XXX feature (by female exploitation director Roberta Findlay) about a woman who takes up multiple affairs after her husband loses interest in her.
In these pornography-saturated days, it's easy to forget that, in many parts of the world, the body is still oppressed. New Yorkers can't contain their hysteria when a woman goes topless in the streets; in Tehran, "morality police" detain Iranian women for wearing improper clothing and makeup. The one upside to oppression is that it increases desire. Desire still exists in New York, and it must burn extra hot in Tehran.
New York-based Iranian artist Golnar Adili uses the female body to evoke longing and desire in several beautiful pieces:
A Thousand Pages of Chest in a Thousand Pages of Mirror (2011)
A Thousand Pages of Chest-Curved (2011)
A Thousand Pages of Chest in a Thousand Pages of Mirror-Pink (2011)
AESOP FABLE: The Scorpion and the Frog
A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the
scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The
frog asks, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion
says, "Because if I do, I will die too."
The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream,
the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of
paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown,
but has just enough time to gasp "Why?"
Replies the scorpion: "Its my nature..."
One of my favorite visual artists, Xaviera Simmons had her 2009 photograph "Untitled (Pink)" included in Mickalene Thomas' Tête-à-Tête show at Yancey Richardson this summer. The show focused on images of the black body, and Simmons' photograph is a beautiful, powerfully sensual photo that reminds me of Walerian Borowçzyk's bizarre 1975 Fench sex film The Beast, which previously found its way across my nightstand.