In case you porn-positive bike-sexuals out there haven't heard yet, one of our favorite pornistas has just released her latest movie, "Live Sex Show.’’ We were just giddy with excitement when we received an email from Ms Trouble inviting us to review it. We thought the concept sounded really interesting and particularly related to what we try to do with our project, bringing sex out of the closet and in to the open for discussion and expression in an attempt to untangle ourselves from all this shame we are wrapped up in.
We landed in Austin with a few days to spare before our show at the 29th Street Ballroom. Our wonderful host, writer of sex blog F*bomb and founder of Austin's Smut City (a monthly screening of awesome and obscure porn) was also really excited to see what Ms Trouble was up to. So after a delicious dinner from his favorite taqueria, we all got comfy and put it on.
'Live Sex show' is exactly what it sounds like, a series of scenes of different people having sex in front of a live audience. This alone opens up a plethora of issues and questions within film, sex and pornography. Here at Bike Smut one of our main goals is to assemble an audience to watch different interpretations of obscenity to allow them to make their own decision about what is obscene and what isn't. By showing a group of people watching different interpretations of sex and sexuality, Trouble has encouraged these same ideals. The movie audience sees and identifies with the live audience and is encouraged to share these ideas within their own community. This, in turn, will help to redefine sexuality and obscenity within our community and society as a whole.
The execution of the concept was well handled and felt very personal, it did not however feel like it was from the audiences point of view. So I feel in part like we were not only meant to be watching the actors but also the audience (even though we never really see them) As the movie goer you do not feel just part of the audience. You feel as though you are watching the action and watching the audience watching the action. Sometimes the performers actions speak directly to the cinema audience, putting the live audience in the place of the voyeur, where as other times the performers interact more with the live audience, leaving the movie goer to feel like the voyeur.
For example, the first scene shows a girl pleasuring herself, and while we are aware of the audience watching her, she is playing specifically to the camera. She is seemingly unaware of the audience watching, personally taunting and teasing us with her performance. It is not until her climax when the applaud from the live audience draws her attention to them with a smile and a bow.
This feeling carries on for the next few scenes, and one thing I start to notice is how, unlike in so much pornography, this film is shot with an active female gaze, both in the cinematography and in performance. Because within our patriarchal structure, women are too often the bearer of meaning rather than the creator of it, art is told from a male perspective rather than a female one. We are caught quietly watching male fantasies being played out over a woman's image. However in this, the camera feels like and active participant, rather than the usual passive watcher. The female stars command the gaze from the audience, even when they are in roles of submission. Both scenes with cis male actors seem to use the them almost as props on which to express their desire.
As the film moves on we get to the scene with Tina Horn and Roger Wood. Like before, despite Horn being in a place of submission, I still get the feeling that she is commanding the scene through her desires. She seems expectant, prepared and loving every second. After some great spanking and power play, we come to a beautiful moment when Wood tries to take Horn's boots off and she whispers "You're supposed to leave them on" and Wood then turns to the audience, explaining "She wants to leave her boots on"
That moment totally turns the scene ins out, without ruining the moment. The first thing that shocks me is how damn sexy I think this is. The couple becomes transparent, and it portrays a deep level of comfort and trust with each other. It is also proof of how much Horn is commanding her own desires through the scene, where she is seemingly in a submissive place. It also shows how she is willing to break from the scene in order to get exactly what she wants. This moment also directly acknowledges the audience for the first time, and the movie-goer finally gets a taster of being to secret onlooker.
The scene progresses with a few giggles that make their way into some impressively passionate fucking and wonderful screams of pleasure from Horn. Once they are done with the discussed scene and finish with fantastic kiss, Horn tumbles over and Wood suggests that they could just keep going 'until they kick us out'.
Horn then inquires about how much time they can have, and after an ok from an outside voice, asks Wood, "Do you wanna keep fucking me?" Wood rolls her over with a 'yes' and giggles of approval come from the audience. I thought this whole interaction was beautiful, sexy and filled me with so much joy! And to top it off, the sex they have them is even harder, hotter and wonderfully candid.
Next is Jiz Lee and Nina Hartley. Both wonderful performers who are both playing directly to the live audience. The scene has a simple narrative in which they take turns fisting. The whole thing feels fun and relaxed with loads of communication between them, which I love to see and really turns me on. I loved the bit when Jiz Lee lays down her ground rules before they start, and they discuss all the discussions they had with each other prior to getting on stage through email, etc. The live audience is feeling super relaxed by then, making the at home audience almost feel like they are there in the room. It was a wonderful way to show how much fun communication and consent can be, as well as showing how important it is to sexuality, and especially pertaining to the act of fisting.
The film ends with the cast grabbing Trouble for an 'all hands on deck' effort to get her off. With lots of laughing and fun being had by all, the film ends on a relaxed note of satisfaction. Our at home audience is feeling pretty great by then too. We happily sit and discuss our thoughts on the film, especially commenting on how sexy we found the communication towards the end. Now while not everyone will be comfortable watching this with their friends or even their lovers. I do hope that the concept can help ease people into the idea of sharing pornography and sex in their community, even if it is just by talking about it more. We all have to remember that way before film, home video cameras or the Internet, humans used to watch each other have sex, live. ‘Pornography’ of all sorts has been seen and shared throughout our species since long before we found a way to define it. I do hope that more pornographers will attempt to touch on this issue of sharing in an effort to redefine the genre.