Objectives and Outcome
GROUP SEX: Sex Work, Activism, Performance
Initially inspired by Carol Leigh’s Safe Sex Slut compilation, we came together as a group to explore sex-workers’ rights, community and activism. We decided to create a night of performance, which would both showcase some of the pieces we had created for our remix assignments as well as bring together a group of performers who have a background and stake in the sex-worker’s rights movement.
We began conceiving of the night just as the The Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act (SESTA) and Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act (FOSTA) bills were passed into law in April, which gave us very important material for the interviews with Carol Leigh, and a powerful focus for the show.
Our show, Hot to Trot, brought together an intergenerational group of performers and sex workers to honor legacies of activism and resistance. It was performed at Bizarre Brooklyn, Tuesday May 15 at 7:30pm. Bizarre is a queer-friendly bar and venue, known to the Brooklyn burlesque and performance communities. HTT was hosted by Jo “Boobs” Weldon, an outspoken and articulate advocate for sex-worker’s rights and a legend herself. She gave some background on the political issues for the audience. The politics were also highlighted by video of an interview with Carol Leigh, mixed with clips from her ‘Bad Laws’ video (video presentation created by Kyle Croft). Further audio from Carol’s video provided background for Peekaboo Pointe’s reverse strip tease and ode to sensuality. Additionally, there were performances by MF Akynos, Jacq the Stripper, Ding-Dong Daddy, Hilary Preston, and a video interview with Essence Revealed. There were thematic through-lines: finding one’s voice/having agency; celebrating and democratizing sex and the erotic; acknowledging sex-work as labor.
We sent out press releases, and drew a lively and supportive crowd, who were genuinely pleased with the performances, and told us as much- both in terms of overall entertainment, and the personal as well as the political messages they contained. It also brought in a decent door, $200 of which was donated to The Red Umbrella Project (RedUP) a small peer-led organization based in Brooklyn, which does community organizing and advocacy to facilitate policy and systemic change to support the rights of sex workers. We were also able to pay all the performers for their work thanks to additional funding from Brooklyn College.