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It’s June!

It’s June! And maybe you’ve noticed that Cine Sinclaire is not launched yet. I’m going to take a sec to let you know what’s going on.

Cine Sinclaire is run by a small group of folks –mainly myself and my husband, Aaron, who does the programming for the site. We’d been on track to launch in May, but Aaron got a new job pretty much on May first. The adjustment to the new position has taken a lot more of Aaron’s energy than anticipated. It’s a remote position, which means he’s been working from home – which is awesome! But without a laptop at his disposal, he’s basically been stuck in our basement for up to 12 hours a day, working on his job or on Cine Sinclaire.

Seeing that this was pretty shitty for his wellbeing, I decided I’d much rather delay the launch of the site. Our minds and lives are worth so much, and with my experience with anxiety in life, I don’t want to inflict that kind of work on anyone.

This is a decision that I do not regret in any way. I really do want the site to launch ASAP, and as soon as things have balanced out, we’re only about 2 weeks from launch. Ideally we’ll launch in June now that Aaron has a laptop and can work outside of the basement. Working on the front porch is certainly more refreshing than not seeing daylight, I’m sure you can understand that.

I’m so excited that you’re excited for the launch too! And I can’t wait to share all of this hard work with you!!

Why I didn’t change my last name.

I acknowledge that I am a Canadian white cis woman in a hetero monogamous relationship as I write this. This piece is to express how I came to my choice to keep my name, acknowledging that we all make our own choices.

There are plenty of folks out there that know that I got married this summer. I married a lovely dude with a lovely heart and soul that encourages me to do exactly what I want in life.

People have been full of congratulations to now, but as the months have passed (we’re at 4 months at this point), the conversation has shifted a bit. Folks are noticing something “important” (to them, I suppose). My name on Facebook has not changed. Often it takes a while for folks to get around to being, for example, Jane Smith (Knox) on FB, so I saw that I was being given a decent window in which to “get around to it”. Trouble is, I’m not getting around to it. My legal birth name is still my legal name, and will continue to be until the day that I die. And even then, it’ll still be written on things until the day that those things are too old to be read.

Why? WHAT?! You’re bucking tradition, you’re not being considerate of your partner, you’re making me uncomfortable

Sorry I’m making you uncomfortable by exercising my rights and making you think a tiny bit.

My decision not to change my name was one that I arrived at both through a lot of thought and none at all. I’m going to break this discussion down into a few main reasonings: Equality, tradition, choice, and identity.

I’m talking about straight up equality on the issue of taking a name. If society expects me to take my husband’s name with no question, that’s unidirectional, not equal. That’s an assumption that I will take someone else’s name.

For me, when Aaron and I were dating, I’d brought up the issue of taking names. I remember distinctly asking Aaron if he would take my name if we got married. He laughed at me. Straight up “HAH!” in my face. He did step back and realize what a shit thing this was to do, and how deeply our patriarchal society has effected him, to the point at which he would have a knee-jerk reaction to laugh at me for asking. Some of you may be a bit offended by this, and trust me when I say that I was too.

We unpacked the laugh over the next little while and came to some understandings about it. First off, we break down that women and men (or feminine vs masculine) are not regarded to be on the same playing field when it comes to names.

Men are typically brought up knowing that they will have their name til death (and beyond). Women, on the flipside, are brought up feeling that their last name will not be their last name forever. When women later say something like “Of course I changed my name, I’ve just never really felt that connected to it”, we have to realize that that statement does not exist in a vacuum. Women don’t feel that connected to their names because society teaches them that they are not supposed to hang on to them. It’s deeply rooted in Western culture, and its roots are very interesting and oppressive. Essentially, marrying into a name was all based around the concept of property. And we’re not just talking about the traditional “women have no rights” thing, we’re going back to as recently as the 1800s, where women became the property of the man upon marriage, stripping her of her right to own land, vote, or participate in contracts (known as coveture) even though unmarried women could do at least *some* of those things. Any children that woman bore were to carry on the name of the father, thus creating a stream of property heirs, insuring that any material wealth accumulated would stay in the family. It wraps everything up into a neat little package. Trouble is, women were part of that neatly wrapped package only as property themselves.

This is where our tradition came from. Marital rape, oppression of personal rights and freedoms, property bypassing women, inability to enter contracts or own land, the list goes on. Obviously, for some, this isn’t exactly a system that they would want to honour as a tradition. That’s their choice, and it’s fine because it’s theirs.

I understand that, today, women are granted all of those freedoms (though some often come under fire again and again, namely marital rape). Arguments against keeping one’s name are generally for tradition and for ease of family naming. Tradition, I don’t mess with. If that’s your choice and it makes you happy and you’re not forcing it on anyone or hurting anyone, do it ’til you can’t.  But if it’s really all about family naming, shouldn’t the woman’s name be equally considered in the conversation? If that’s *really* the reason folks pester me about changing my name, why aren’t they also pestering Aaron? Because that’s not really the issue here, is it? It’s back to tradition and the assumed idea that women will change their names. In fact, 70% of Americans think that women *should* change their names, with 50% of people thinking it should be law (NY Daily News).

So let’s think about tradition.

Tradition is something closely held by individuals, but can often vary from person to person. Around Christmas, I watch Muppet Family Christmas, and my father watches It’s a Wonderful Life. Arguments for which comes first are heated. Tradition!

Keeping that in mind, it’s assumed that everyone’s tradition is the same: that women take men’s names. It’s also assumed that tradition can’t ever be changed. For myself, I grew up in the province of Quebec here in Canada. In the early 1980s, Quebec introduced part of the Civil Code of Quebec that stipulated that women would keep their maiden names. My parents married in 1981, at which point the code was already in place. My mother kept her maiden name. When I look to the rest of my family, I see the exact same thing. All of my aunts and uncles have kept their names, save for one aunt and uncle that hyphenated. Among all of them, one family chose to assign surnames to children based on their sex (females take the mother’s last name and males take the father’s), and the rest went for the more traditional model of the children taking the father’s name. The latter situation includes my family. My mother has always had a different last name than her children, which is an interesting thing. I’ve asked her if she feels that this severs her connection with us, which she has always answered no to, seeing as she will always be linked with us by blood and experience. But really, she would have been free to give us all her name as well. It’s all super personal and based on the relationship(s) involved.

While the act in Quebec is problematic because it eliminates the choice of women to change or not to change their names, it did create a new tradition for me, and most importantly showed me that the world does not end if your last name does not match your spouse’s last name. I realized that, based on my lack of exposure to family members changing their names, I hadn’t really ever seen myself as wanting or needing to take my partner’s name, no matter their gender. My tradition is not to take my partner’s name. All it takes is one generation to flip that script, and I’m living proof.

There’s also the problem of writing into law that a woman must take a man’s name in marriage because, well, not every marriage is between a man and a woman. And also choice, preference, and, ya know, equality.

And a word (or 100) on identity. One’s last name can be a source of pride, of status, and of personal identity on so many levels. Offices, companies, products, all kinds of things bear the names of the people and families that invented, opened, or produced them. Traditionally, this was men – because, if you remember, women couldn’t really own things, so if you saw Sampson and co, Sampson was probably a dude. Women, on the other hand, are taught from a young age that their name is not going to be their name forever. There may be work already done to study the effects of being unable to fully connect with one’s own name, but I’d posit that it presents itself as yet another barrier to women in the professional workplace. If anyone has more information on this, please let me know.

As for my legal birth name, I’ve made it my own. I’m lucky enough that my own personal and family history lets me personally enjoy and own my own last name. I realize that, technically, my last name is what it is because it was my father’s name, but I’m not letting that stand in the way of my keeping it. We have entire generations of women whose names *are not* their own. They’re their fathers’ names until they have their husbands’ names. Knowing this, I’m claiming my name as my own, keeping it, and venturing forward into the world to create new traditions on my own terms. No, the answers are not written in stone anywhere as to what I’d do if I had a baby, but guess what? Not all marriages are focused on having babies either! If we got around to it, our communication level in our relationship now puts us in a place where we can have the discussion honestly without a knee-jerk laughing reaction.

So there’s my story. I’m sticking to it. Aaron’s sticking to it. We’re fine. Quit asking me when I’m going to “update” my name on Facebook, because it’s just fine the good ol’ traditional way it was throughout my life, IRL.

Casting Call: Toronto November 6-10, 2014

ALL PERFORMERS MUST BE OVER THE AGE OF 18 AND PROVIDE TWO PIECES OF ID TO PROVE THIS FACT.

CinéSinclaire.com, a soon-to-be launched Canadian feminist porn production company under the umbrella of Cherrystems Media is announcing a casting call for the Toronto area between November 6-10, 2014. Shoots will be approximately 2 hours in length, with a consent conversation beforehand and debrief afterward.

What we’re looking for:
Do you have a sexual story to share with the world? We’re presently casting performers for 15-30 minute clips to be used on CinéSinclaire.com. We’re looking for individuals that want to exhibit the ways that they have sex, be it vanilla, kinky, spiritual, masturbation, anything. The kind of sex you’re having is the kind of sex we’d love to put on film.

We are actively seeking anyone of any gender expression, orientation, shape, size, skin colour, ethnicity, and age (over 18), to create porn with us. We are ideally looking for couples or people that would like to work with another person that they are already familiar with, but will also look at full casting options.

To apply, complete the following:
Please send a brief but descriptive blurb about what you would like your scene to be, and why you feel this kind of sex should be on film, to kate@cherrystems.com. If you would like to include your ethnicity, gender, size, orientation, or otherwise, you are more than welcome to but are not required. Also please add confirmation that you are 18 years of age or older to your email.

Let us know if you have a shooting partner (or partners) in mind. Please only suggest people that you have already approached. We will need to speak with this person before the shoot as well.

Please include one photo of yourself so that we know what you look like! We do not discriminate, this is purely to get to know you and your aesthetic.

Shoots will take place in the area of downtown Toronto, ON, Canada at some point between November 6-10, 2014. Please advise if you’ll need an accessible space.

This is a paid shoot. Our reply email will contain details.

Getting shit done.

I’ve been a bit absent of late, and that’s ok. I took some time off from updating Cherrystems once a week, and that’s ok. I’m changing the direction of things a bit.

Cherrystems was sadly held hostage in a way for a long time. I bent to demands while suffering personally and, I suppose, professionally. I’ve been hitting up some seriously awesome therapy sessions, meditating (to be with myself and without the demands of others), working on me, and I’m pleased to say that I’m coming out the other side. 

I will take zero shit, and Cherrystems is my world-changing, life-making, love of my life. Haters gon’ hate. I’ll do it myself, and with a tiny team of dedicated people. I know, I know, this sounds passive. And it probably is. I just have to note that I’ve been held down and back long enough, that the suffering that I experienced was great enough, that I won’t share what happened or who pushed too hard *with anyone*, because that’s not productive either. But, I suppose this feels important to say because it’s a renaissance in my life.

I am responsible for the feelings of no one. I will put a body of work out into the world and I’ll be fucking proud of it. And I’ll admit when I’m wrong if I am at any point, and I’ll engage in productive dialogue about it, but I won’t let it hold me hostage any longer.  

“I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I’ve become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not want to smile at me.

I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparisons. I believe in a world of opposites and that’s why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or a word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience.”

– José Micard Teixeira

 

I had to change my path not because of anyone or any specific event. I had to change it for my own sake, and in turn, others will benefit. Lead with love in your heart, and not fear. I feared upsetting some people because they *made* me afraid, I feared retribution that was threatened and, in some cases, enacted. Fear was leading me, and I’m not letting it anymore. When you’re a woman running your own business, that’s hard shit to get your head around. Bending to the will of others is how women are generally brought up. I’m bigger than the societal norms that raised me. And again, it’s not an active rejection of people or situations, but a rejection of fear. 

I’m gonna change the goddamn world, it’s going to piss some people off, but it’s right.

Rad Retailers: Come As You Are

 

20111115-comeasyouare-07

This bright green space really encourages you to Come just as you are.

Come As You Are is the very first stop on our way through highlighting some of the absolutely amazing retailers that carry Fuze. Retailers that we work with are absolutely top notch, and they may exist in *your* city, even if you don’t know about them yet. We’re here to tell you all about why we love each shop, and why you should support them by shopping there.

CAYA, as it’s colloquially referred, isn’t just your average sex toy shop. They’re special for so many reasons. First off, they’re a worker owned co-op. If that sounds a bit novel to you, it’s because it is. They’re the only worker owned sex shop in the whole world! It’s not an easy task being so awesome and anti-capitalist, and so the shop has seen its ups and downs. For example, in 2013, the shop fell on hard times and needed to do something to turn the tides *fast*. A testament to the impact this shop has had on the community, folks rallied to support them. CAYA bounced back, but the little scare proved to everyone just how important it is to support the shops you love.

Co-operatives are based on values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. As a co-operative we believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility, and caring for others. This fits well with our mandate as a sex-positive sex store serving a wide range of clientele.” – CAYA’s website

CAYA carries a lot of really great toys and gear, from vanilla to kink and back again, as well as a great selection of books. Carefully curated, everything that comes into CAYA is top quality, but with enormous attention paid to accessibility (cost, use, etc) and inclusion. There are so many amazing, truly sex-positive bits about CAYA that I honestly can’t write it all out. If you’d like to learn more, head over to their About Us section, and read until you can’t get the smile off of your face.

When you walk in the door, you’ll be greeted by the smiling bright green room lined with toys of all shapes and sizes. The friendly staff will be more than happy to answer any questions that you might have in a very friendly, accepting, and attentive way. You’ll also find information on all the workshops that CAYA runs, and their amazing sex toy recycling program, which helps folks who don’t have as much cash to have access to quality toys made of body safe material – something we believe everyone should have.

I’m also mega excited that CAYA will be coming to Winnipeg in late May/early June. I’m presently working on organizing a workshop for them while they’re out here, so keep your eyes peeled for more information.

In the meatime, head over to CAYA’s online shop and buy all the Fuze goodies!!

Feminist Porn Heaven day 4/7: Conference Time

Saturday morning got started a tiny bit late, with Aaron and I getting slightly lost on the way to to the Feminist Porn Conference. It was being held at the University of Toronto, but we had a bit of a time figuring out just which building it was actually being held in.

Regardless, we showed up in time to quickly get registered and sneak off to Jiz Lee and Shine Louise Houston‘s workshop on affiliate programs. For those unaware of what an affiliate program is, let me give you a bit of a walkthrough.

An affiliate program at the bare bones level lets a person become an “affiliate” of a website, meaning that they put up a unique code on a website that they maintain advertising another site. For simplicity’s sake, we’ll use Cherrystems as our example. Jane talks about Cherrystems on her blog a lot, and she wants to link to us. While it’s all fine and good just to send traffic over, wouldn’t it be nice if Jane got a bit of cash for sending us all that traffic? That’s what an affiliate program rewards. When someone clicks her unique link to Cherrystems, it leaves a cookie in their browser’s cache (cookies are just a text file that gets stored for a certain length of time in your browser’s cache, letting you do things like stay logged in to a website) so that Cherrystems knows how that user originally got to the site was via Jane’s link. Still with me? Lovely!

When someone that clicks Jane’s link *joins* Cherrystems, that’s where the dollars come in. We offer a 20% cut of all referrals on a recurring basis to the general public. So let’s say that someone clicks Jane’s link, then joins Cherrystems on a 3-month term (automatically recurring, or automatically charged every 3 months). That’s $40 every 3 months that that person pays, and Jane gets 20% of it every time they pay. That’s $8 every three months. While that doesn’t seem like much, it adds up when multiple people click through and join. If Jane refers 8 people at that level, that’s $64 every 3 months, and an extra $256/year just to have a little banner up.

Advertising is expensive. Cherrystems has advertised in magazines like Bust, and we’ve sponsored a bunch of events. The thing about throwing money around like that is that it only gets about a 3% return on the investment amount. Affiliate programs mean that a company doesn’t have to pay out of pocket to get advertising space, and that we can pass on actual cash to individuals that help us out.

You can actually find our affiliate program here. For example, here are some of the banners we’ve got:

caroline254x331   Candie234x60   Belinda240x120   adventuress160x320

You would need to go sign up for our affiliate program and get your unique link started up before any of these banners will make you any money, of course. 😉

Anyhow!

That talk was great for me to sit in on, because it made me realize how little the CS team actually knew about promoting themselves and Cherrystems. It’s a new thing to focus on!

The rest of the panels for the day were absolutely great, including one with Jessica Drake, Christopher Daniel Zeischegg, Dylan Ryan, Shine Louise Houston, Tristan Taormino, Carlyle Jansen that really spoke to me. A lot of the issues addressed therein were ones around the experience of being on a porn set. Things that performers like and don’t like, things that are expected, and how to create an atmosphere that best makes your performers feel comfortable.

As a new porn producer, I really enjoyed hearing that talk. I mean, I’ve been working on Cherrystems for most of my adult life now, but having pictures taken and doing video performances of sexual acts are different in a lot of ways. They’re similar, but I feel that an all new level of comfort and safety need to be achieved with the advanced level of intimacy that you’re sharing with your performers.

It was also really amazing to get to hear from folks that have worked on (and do work on) mainstream porn sets, and to hear about what life is like over on that side.

The day passed by all too quickly, and bled out into the night. Aaron, myself, and Bee headed over to Bar Mercurio, where I briefly met Lynn Comella, and Constance Penley, and ended up spending up the night hanging out with a great friend, Kevin Heffernan and Sarah Stevens and her partner. Pizza was had, jokes were made, and the night was ultra relaxing.

I skipped out on the Switch party that night though. The trouble with the Switch party for me is that I’m not one that just jumps right into an intimate encounter at a sex party. There just aren’t enough spaces at the Aslan studio for me to chill out and get to know anyone, and instead I end up feeling and acting super awkward – hah! So this year I just decided that pizza and cocktails and an early night would serve me best. All the other Cherrystemmers, however, hightailed it over there and had a great time. 🙂

And now it’s time for me to go away! AWAAAAY!

Punk as Fashion

It’s been a pretty productive day filled with a lot of punk rock lovin’. When people who didn’t know me when I wore more of a punk uniform learn about my adoration of the genre, I often get comments like “well you sure cleaned up.”, or insinuations that I don’t actually enjoy it because I wear pretty socially acceptable clothing.

I guess. Except that to me, having a uniform to adhere to in punk always pissed me off as much as any other imposed social force. My A-line high-waisted skirt, blouse, and pointy-toed booties are just as punk rock as the person wearing them, thanks. 🙂

If anyone has any female/queer-driven stuff I should check out, let me know. I’ve been the shittiest for not seeking it out hard enough.

 

Feminist Porn Heaven, Day 2: Screenings, partyfun, and them feels.

The second day of Feminist Porn Heaven did not disappoint. Remember when I mentioned that I ran into Courtney Trouble at the storytelling slam? They very graciously mentioned that we could use their room to shoot some porn in on Thursday. They were staying at the glamorous and beautiful Gladstone Hotel, which is an art hotel in which all of the rooms are different. It’s an amazing place, and Courtney is an amazing person for letting us shoot in there. I of course took them up on it, giddily. 🙂

The morning started out with eggs and toast and all the strawberries in my room for all the Cherrystemmers that had arrived at that point. It was a great way to get the day started and get folks on the same page. From there, we coordinated with Courtney and then headed off on our way to the Gladstone with Dayna, Keelie, Caroline, and Jasper in tow.

We met with Courtney as they were setting up for a shoot in a different room on the same floor, along with the amazing Tobi Hill-Meyer. Someday I’ll write a praise post about both of these porno powerhouses and the inspiration they’ve given me and members of the Ciné Sinclaire/Cherrystems team. Anyhow, Courtney gave us the key to the room and we set off to get to work. The thing about the Gladstone is that you don’t know what room you’re going to get until you’re in it. The room Courtney gave us access to was absolutely  gorgeous. The walls were a deep, beautiful red, and all the furnishings were dark antique wood pieces, with old books as accents. The feel was positively luxurious.

Jasper only has two sets up on Cherrystems at the present moment, so I really wanted to encourage them to shoot something awesome. As it turns out, the breakfast of strawberries was an inspiration point for them. I wish I could show you the pictures, but I left my snaps on a card with Bee, and she’s still out in Toronto. SOON! Point is, strawberries and Jasper make an awesome combination. It’s also really cool to be on set when people transform themselves and push their boundaries a bit (in terms of putting on a certain face or mood). Jasper is usually like me in photosets – silly, genuine, and playful. This shoot, however, required a bit more seriousness. The red of the walls, the red of the berries.. My god.

We also got to shoot an amazing caning scene between Caroline and Keelie – their dynamic is amazing, and I absolutely love that they consistently invite me and a wee team in to share in their intimate moments. It’s amazing to me, everytime. Seriously.

Once we wrapped, we headed back to our hotel to briefly nap and get organized before the screening. I am a huge fucking fan of naps, and I cannot state this enough. So I napped until it was time to leave.

The screenings this year were 100% amazing. Even the film that ended up upsetting a few Cherrystemmers led to some really great discussion about the representation of sex on film, authenticity, performance, and respect on set. While milling about the lobby, I got to run into Cinnamon Maxxine, who I desperately want to shoot with this year. Here’s hoping that can become a reality!

My favourite? Shit, I can’t pick a favourite. There were so many amazing moments, from the intensity of Bed Party, hilariousness of Best Slumber Party Ever, and the playfulness of No Artifical Sweeteners. It was a huge night to remember, and no one left that room without feeling all of the feels (in some way). Phhhewwwwww, intense!

Following the screening, we headed off to The Steady for the afterparty. It was there that I got to catch up with Jon Pressick again, and to meet the amazing Lucie Blush, who runs welovegoodsex.com – which I linked to her name just to throw you off there. We had a great time getting to know each other and talking a bit about sex toys, which was great.

I also got to dance with friends, relax, and Veronika Lee and Bee showed up too!

The night ended on a great note with a smile on my face, and we headed back to the hotel, feeling all of the feels.

Feminist Porn Heaven, Day 1/7: The Check-in

As many of you may know, I attended the Feminist Porn Awards and Feminist Porn Conference in Toronto this past week. Now that I’ve finally got a chance to take a breath, it’s time to do a recap. I’m going to do my best to go day by day, recapping all the things!

I flew out early Wednesday, a little worried. I’d been sick for pretty much 2 weeks straight leading up to this, which was a product of working far too much on far too many projects for over a month. Turns out your health can be hurt by not paying attention to yourself. WHO KNEW?  Anyhow. I boarded a flight from Winnipeg to Toronto and got myself mentally prepared for the week to come.

I checked into our hotel after the usual transit rigamarole. We stayed at the Studio 6, which turns out to be run by Motel 6. It was nice for reasons of there being a kitchen in each room, full fridge, etc. I travel enough that a hotplate and a microwave goes a fuck of a long way.

Over the course of the rest of the day, Jasper, Dayna, Caroline, and Keelie all joined us at the hotel. We ate food, we got ready, and then we eventually headed out to Tell Me Something Good: a Toronto sexy storytelling slam. I was going to be judging sexy stories along with Jon PressickTobi Hill-Meyer, and Ms Naughty – an amazing panel of judges to be a part of. We show up, we’re greeted by the organizers of the night, the powerhouse duo of Samantha Fraser and Sophie Delancey.

I wish I’d gotten some pictures of the night, but unfortunately I was busy judging all of the stories very harshly and seriously (not true), but I’ve got some highlights for sure. The theme of the night was Catch Me if You Can, which was meant to suggest stories based in exhibitionism, voyeurism, outdoor sex, you name it. The theme was honestly quite loose. Something I didn’t realize, but really should have, was that the judges would be asked to tell a story. Eek! I had absolutely nothing prepared, and as a person that makes porno, I’ve got tons of stories – but of course nothing at all was leaping to mind about sets that I was running. The only one that came to mind was actually a story from a relationship that I was in that was less than healthy, so even though I knew the story would be steamy and sexy and downright blush-worthy, I had to stop myself and think of something else. I ended up choosing a short and sweet story about being recognized for being naked on the internet in the wild of a Shopper’s Drug Mart in Winnipeg. It did the job.

Now, on to the rest of the night. First off, Cherrystems donated two t-shirts to the pile of prizes available that night. One of the highlights for me was definitely when one of the winning storytellers disrobed in order to properly try on the Cherrystems tank top. Tobi’s story was absolutely fantastic, and Jasper and Dayna told some amazing stories too, and I got to spank the woman from The Spit‘s ass! Woo!

Overall, the stories were great and I had an awesome time making up numbers alongside the great judging team. Special bonus? Courtney Trouble was there! I got a great big hug and got to catch up on our last month since they’d stayed at my house. It was really awesome.

After the festivities that was the storytelling slam, the Cherrystems crew took transit over to Oasis Aqualounge to swim naked under the stars. There really is no better way to round out an evening. A few folks had never been there before, so it was nice to introduce them all to the magic that is that house. It was a “women get in free” night, and all of us that were in town at that point identified that way, so it was extra nice to just have a place to relax for free – even if it means a little crowd of dudes following you around, half-wanking the whole time. Bathhouses on straight nights, you know.

Stay tuned! I’ll be publishing a new day everyday!


Kate

Ccon: an immersion in amazing

I’m home! It’s not like I had an easy time with that though. If you follow me on twitter, you likely saw that I had a bit of a hard time with flights being cancelled AND delayed over 5 hours each way – this made for 12-16 hour travel days both ways – just to make it back to Winnipeg. So that sucked.

But you know what didn’t suck? Being surrounded by so many positive folks at Catalyst Con. I got to meet so many great new people, like Ruby Ryder, Lucas Brooks (Top2Bottom), Kara, Bex, the team from Lotus Blooms, Gwen from Secret Pleasures, Elena Kate aka radsexpdx, the Stockroom team, Artemisia FemmeCock, and so many more. Gram Ponante even said he was a big fan – though I think he may have been thinking of someone else, I’ll take it.

I also got to shake Annie Sprinkle’s hand, which was an incredible moment for me. She came to Winnipeg in about 2004 and gave a talk about starring in porn, representing female pleasure, and all kinds of things that, as it turns out, have shaped who I have become. My confession is that while I’ve always been an incredibly sexually charged human being, I used to be anti porn. My family was nearly broken up over porn usage, which I saw as being directly the fault of the porn. Turns out, the porn was just a catalyst. The lack of communication was really the problem there, but it’s hard for a 12 year old to see that. Anyhow. Flash forward 7 years and I’m at the University of Winnipeg to see a porn star do a talk. It was Annie Sprinkle. I went because a partner I was with at the time just really loved porn. I was trying to be open minded, so I went. All of my ideas were challenged. About a year later, I shot my first set of nudes, and a few years later I was launching my very own website. I should dedicate Cherrystems to her someday, if she’s into it.

The sessions that really stuck out in my experience from Catalyst were Lori  Adorable’s Positively Negative: How a Sex Positive Framework Hinders the Fight for Sex Workers’ Rights; the Ass Panel (Ruby Ryder, Lucas Brooks, CT Schenk [Aneros] and Tom Stewart [Sportsheets]); and Sex Toys: Past, Present & Future (Coyote Days, Sandra Daugherty, Suki Dunham, and Tristan Weedmark).

I’ll get into each session on its own as I go through my notes and compile my thoughts on each one, but just know that Catalyst Con did exactly what it should – brought people out to have dialogue and exchange ideas and innovation.

I sadly didn’t make it into the pool the entire time. My heart palpitations were acting up ridiculously badly, so I got a lot of sleep in instead. Well, honestly, not enough sleep, but more than I would have if I didn’t have this heart thing.

Hope your days are going well!