a weekend’s worth of brain food

This coming weekend is gonna be so cool.

I’ll be doing a bit of shameless self-promotion here, but mostly I’m just excited about the super-cool stuff that’s going on in both Toronto and Montreal – only a small part of which is mine – and I wanna share!

So the big U of T kink conference is taking place on Friday evening and Saturday. It’s entitled “Fetish: Working Out the Kinks” and you can read up on it here, where you’ll also find a link to the U of T box office in case you want to buy a ticket. The final schedule has just been sent out, and I’m stoked at the diversity of presentations.

I don’t even know what Carol Queen will be talking about, but it goes without saying that I’m really looking forward to her keynote address on the Friday night. What a way to kick off a weekend! On the Saturday, I am very much curious about Mehre Khan’s presentation, “Sexual Fetishism as Anti-Racist Activism,” precisely because I’m consistently disturbed by the kinds of racial fetishization that go on out there in kink-land and I can’t wait to hear a fresh take on the idea from someone who has a clue. There’s also my friend Ingrid, a fabulous, brainy self-identified butch MTF trans woman and kinkster extraordinaire (who, among other things,presented at An Unholy Harvest in October) ; she’ll be giving a talk entitled “Consent: Public Policy vs Social Practice in Sadomasochism.” Mmmm. Brain food. And there’s my most excellent colleague Jacqueline St-Urbain, who will be giving a presentation entitled “Luscious in Leather: Leatherdyke Concepts of Beauty,” and yes there will be photos, and apparently I’m in some of them – which I fully consented to but which I admit is a little freaky considering the only criterion I gave her was “don’t show anyone my pink bits.” Good thing she’s presenting after me, or people might not look at me quite the same way during my own talk! Ahem. Anyway, there are several other presenters whose topics look thoroughly intriguing too. I’m honoured to be among such excellent company.
As for me, I’ll begiving a meaty presentation smack in the middle of the afternoon (naptime anyone?) about the political and community intersections between various alternative sexuality and relationship movements, entitled “(Un)Common Ground: Intersections of Poly, Kinky and Queer.” It all started with a really juicy conversation between me and Pepper Mint during his visit last summer.I think most people who have a finger or two in the poly, kinky or queer pies tend to recognize there’s a certain overlap, but we wanted to explore the specifics of how that plays out and the reasons for it happening in the first place, so we started mapping it all out… and getting more and more excited about it. At one point I said “We totally have to start taking notes!” and the rest has happened via phone calls and e-mails in the months following. We’ll be co-presenting the same paper at the Leather Leadership Conference in San Francisco in early April, but this time I’m doing it solo since darling Pepster couldn’t fit in the travel time for this event. I’m a little nervy about presenting it because it feels like a whole lot of conceptual stuff and I don’t have diagrams prepared or anything, but we’ll see, I may pull something together to help on the visual end of things. Otherwise it’ll just be me “being a smarty-pants” (as Boi M said this afternoon) with the aid of a pad of paper and a marker. Yay for lo-tech!

In addition to the talk I’m giving, I’ll be on the closing panel along with all the other presenters. The questions we’ve been told we’re talking about are really intriguing ones about the academic / community divide when it comes to kink – why it’s there, how it can be resolved, what we can learn from those who straddle it. Very cool. It’ll definitely be neat to discuss these questions with a bunch of other people who actually do straddle the divide to one extent or another, because it’s definitely one that comes up a lot. Perhaps it’ll inspire me to get in gear and write reviews of the next essay or two from the Powerful Pleasures book by Kleinplatz and Moser. It’s on the list…
Last but not least, that same day, if you don’t make it to the conference itself, you might want to tune into CIUT 89.5 FM for the “Sex City” show from 5 to 6 p.m. Local queer-about-town Bryen Dunn will be interviewing me about the conference on Friday or Saturday and broadcasting our conversation during the show, along with interviews with a couple of the other presenters. So while we’re all sitting on the panel, our voices will simultaneously be heard on the airwaves… what a weird idea. Anyway, check it out!

Now, on Saturday night, if you are in Toronto (or you can get there) and you’re the least bit inclined towards the practice of erotic writing, you may want to sign up for Carol Queen’s workshop at Come As You Are. I’ve posted the details below. For anyone who’s read her work, you know that her stories are hot, articulate and realistic. You’ll never find one of those “I must utterly suspend my disbelief and that means I can’t quite engage in a satisfying jerk-off” stories in her anthologies. I very much believe in the potential value that fiction work holds in terms of education – not because it always educates, but because it certainly can, so if you approach your fiction writing with an activist bent, you’ve got lots of opportunities. So hearing the reigning expert on the matter divulge her tricks for doing so with skill… well, it’s a rare opportunity indeed.

On the other hand, if you’re in Montreal (or can get there), I strongly encourage you to go check out Lazlo Pearlman’s performance at the Edgy Women Festival. This is one of the many occasions on which I dearly wish I could clone myself and be in two places at once; Lazlo gave a short version of this performance piece at a Meow Mix last summer at Pride, and it absolutely rocked. The long and more in-depth version will surely be a fantastic treat. Lazlo is hot, hilarious, and highly intelligent… not to mention he’s a language geek! Hello, drool! Plus he gets naked. Really, folks – what more could you want? I had the pleasure of interviewing the man himself not too long ago for an article in the Mirror, so if you want a taste of him before the show, read it here.

So that’s my menu for the weekend. Please feel free to pass it on. And come say hi if you see me around!


How To Write (Erotic, Thoughtful & Realistic) Sex
With Carol Queen, PhD.

Erotica was one of writer Carol Queen’s early forms of sex education — and was it ever misleading! Now Queen is known for hot sex scenes that depict what might happen in real life and in which she strives to incorporate all the diversity she finds in her real-life communities. This class is for writers (established and aspiring) who’d like some advice and inspiration from one of the sex literati — bring your questions and, if you like, a scene you’ve written (or been working on) to share with the class. Non-judgmental feedback guaranteed! Queen is also known for personal essays about sexuality, incorporating her own experience as a way to delve into larger issues, so if you’re a non-fiction sex writer, you’re also welcome!
Saturday, March 15 2008, 7:30 – 10:00pm (All genders welcome.)
Where: Come As You Are, 701 Queen St. W.
Cost:$30/person (Sliding Scale Available)
To pre-register please call 416-504-7934 or http://www.comeasyouare.com.

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