Back to All Events

Stigma Unbound: A Sex Workers & Allies Performance Night

Catland Books presents the first event by Stigma Unbound, a performance art series showcasing the work of sex workers and allies.

All sex is performative, but sex on demand is also labor, and labor should be paid. Sexuality is the crux of many of our modern culture’s anxieties, but when individuals monetize our sexuality, we polarize the civilian populace. Moralists who denounce our corruption and condescending would-be saviors alike treat sex workers as a legion of the lost and desperate. Sex workers are met with pity, derision, and fear because our culture views sex itself as dirty, shameful, and damaging. Those who profit from our own sexuality are dangerous because we harness the abilities that all decent people know must be reserved for marriage, or at least romantic love.

We will gather close tonight to speak truth to pain and fear, pride and success, labor and capitalism.  This carefully curated assembly will bring together a host of professionals and our allies, for an evening of video and live performances to scintillate and challenge you. With great intention, the artists presenting their work include sex workers of widely varied professions as well as advocates whose art examines gender, sexuality, and power. This strategy allows all of us to present our most honest work while protecting the status of all contributors. While some of us professionals are out and open, all of us are working in the margins of the free market and against the law. Many of us carry the constant fear of being revealed to our families or current or future employers, and we have no legal protection against stalking, rape, or theft.

We perform sexuality according to our clients’ tastes, whether their fantasy is innocence or experience, dominance or submission, but the truth is that sex for leisure and pleasure is also performative. Thus the examination of sex and power through the medium of live performance art is a natural union. We invite you to question the nature of how we each perform gender every day, how we perform arousal and pleasure for our partners, how we perform confidence and expertise to customers and coworkers. Be prepared to confront your own passive and active consumption in this audience tonight.

TINA HORN is a writer, educator, and interdisciplinary media-maker. She produces and hosts “Why Are People Into That?!” a popular podcast that demystifies desire. She is also the author of Love Not Given Lightly, a collection of nonfiction stories about bay area sex workers; and a guide to dirty digital ethics and etiquette called Sexting. In 2010, she co-created, produced, and directed a video project called QueerPorn.Tv, which won two Feminist Porn Awards (Honored Website 2011 & Most Diverse Cast 2012) and a Cinekink Award (Best Experimental Short), in addition to being nominated for an AVN (Best Alternative Website). Tina holds an MFA in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and is a LAMBA Literary Fellow.

BONNIE LANE considers her current practice as an anthropological study into human sexuality.
Her works are an observation, participation, reflection, and critique of the changing in heterosexual identity and desire as a result of the increase in online communication, the accessibility of instant gratification, and the decrease in actual physical contact. Materializing in an interdisciplinary practice that spans video, photography, installation, sculpture, sound, collage, short stories, and virtual and IRL performance, the works question prescribed gender roles by exposing private experiences that are coded with subtle indicators to ask the audience “who is watching whom?”

ALICE ASTER creates absurd and uncomfortable narratives meant to invoke the delirious and dissonant experience of being a woman within the shadow realm of our society. Her work deals with issues of identity, and how one's sense of self are routinely challenged and attacked both internally and externally in contemporary society.

MEDUSA MACHINA is a writer and performer focused on fear using Esotericism, technology, and activation as her medium. She has performed in pieces such as InnocenceSUBS by Kathleen Dycaico at SPRING/BREAK and Superchief, Generation Ship by Caitlin Baucom and presented by Trevorshaus at Mana Contemporary, Rosemary for Rememberance by Gina Chiappetta at Otion Front, and In Illo Tempore Vignetes with the Leimay Dance Ensemble in partnership with BAM and the New York Restoration Project. Garcia has exhibited her own work at Pioneer Works, Secret Project Robot, The Foot Light, and Trevorshaus. She is the lead archivist of performers at Trevorshaus.

ROWAN ALEXA is a selkie that crawled on land and lost her coat when she was just a pup. Raised in the forests of the northwest by a matriarchal clan of witches ever since, she has returned to civilization to rewild the place through premonition and pleasure, in all its forms.

GEMINEMISIS is an explosion of gender that is both a critique and a celebration.

Curated by Charles Mallison, Olivia Cream, Ian Deleón and Tif Robinette


Earlier Event: October 25
Witchcraft 101: Curses, Hexes & Jinxes
Later Event: October 27
Sacred Smokes