Sunday, February 11, 2007

Spectator sports

The other night, we went to the Sex Workers Art Show. It happens here at a run-down factory building, the same building where there's an open mic poetry night I sometimes attend. I'd been before, but it was the first time I took my hubzand. It was a different show than last year's, with more spoken word and fewer dances, but what dances there were were fun. Especially Ms. Dirty Martini's "Patriot Act," a dollar-bill-swallowing, bump-and-grinding, assinuating, irreverent, very fleshy spectacle. Ms. Martini at one point extracted a long necklace-like length of paper money from her ample rear end, prompting the Amazing R to pay a visit to the "merch" table to talk with her about magic and tricks. I stayed up too late, but it was worth it. The organizer and emcee, one Annie Oakley, wanted to remind everyone of the thankless anonymity of sex workers and also of those in service industries and low-end jobs -- basically, the minimum wage earners of this country. The Sex Workers Art Show is politically correct in a good way, and I'm proud that our city somehow snuck it in. And yet, it still raises questions about how much and in what ways the "sex industry" should cater to naturally arising "needs," and how much it manufactures those needs. Business has never felt obligated to question its own morality, and the business of America is still business, even if we are farming most of it out. At least the Sex Workers Art Show was American-made, but then, it was show-biz.