porn

Let’s get Productive: 4 tips to get to it and get shit done

This is a post in my dildoholiday series. If you’d like to read the whole shebang of what happened while we were out there, you should totally start out here.

Moving right along.

Day 2 in the #dildoholiday household started at a reasonably late hour, with a few cautious tweets from a couple of us around noon. As we stumbled about in our sleepy bodies, we found the Cherub of Shame juding our food choices from inside the refrigerator. Jerk.

Photo by Girly Juice

Photo by Girly Juice

The day had one main topic to be touched on at some point: productivity. Trouble was, we’d all stayed up so late being excited and settling in to the house that we’d all barely slept. I’ll touch on why that’s shitty for productivity later, but I imagine you can draw a correlation in your own life beteween those nights that we get 4 hours of sleep and the amount of work you (don’t) get done the next day.

We all eventually gathered around the big kitchen table with our laptops and ideas, and Girly Juice led us in a chat about productivity. Her output is amazing, and we all particularly adore her for it. Her dedication to a regular release schedule, and the amazing content that she throws out shows that not only does she write a lot, but that she does work to make that writing turn out so well.

Look 'ma, we got off the couch!

Look ‘ma, we got off the couch! photo by Reenie

So, without further ado, here’s Kate’s tips for productivity, inspired by #dildoholiday and Girly Juice:

1) Make more effective lists

I live by lists. I can’t concentrate on any one thing for longer than half an hour generally, and so I really need to write down all the shit that I need to get done in a day or none of it will happen.

I also know how I handle stress, and how I let myself get defeated by tasks. For example, if I have the list item “Clean your office”, I might start that task but will quickly get distracted and move on to some other thing that is either on my list or just something shiny nearby that catches my attention. At the end of the day, my office still looks like shit and my list has just as many things on it as it did before, since I didn’t really finish cleaning my office.

So instead, here’s an example of my lists:

-Pick up papers off bed and sort them
-wrangle sex toys
-dust desk
-take out the garbage
-replace bag in the garbage bin

Can you see the difference there? I’ve made all kinds of little list items based around cleaning the office, but I get to check off way more shit way more quickly. It really helps me to manage larger tasks by listing the steps involved.

The exact same thing goes for work tasks. For example, I’m in the middle of planning an East Coast screening tour with a colleague on Evernote (which is great for coworking). Obviously the list could include something like “Get venue”, but there are so many steps hidden in that one step. The list, as it stands, for the venue in each city contains the following types of steps:

-research venues via locals
-find contact person
-email re regulations on screening nudity
-settle date
-book venue

Break it down into small, manageable tasks that you can check off easily and, more importantly, keep track of super easily.

2) Make yourself get out of your comfy spot

I never do anything but this in bed.

I never do anything but this in bed.

I have a super comfy spot on the couch in my living room, and also I have my bed. I’ve spent a long time perfecting both of these spaces so that everything around them calms me and makes me think gleefully of the past, present, and future. While that’s awesome, I often find myself just sitting there, thinking, for literally hours. I can’t be stopped.

I like to physically put myself in a space that is built for my productivity, or in a space that is quite simply not my fucking couch. While my couch is great, it lacks a place for me to put my mouse and use it in any useful capacity. Most of the work that I do require some serious mouse use, and I primarily work from a laptop since I travel so much.

All of that said, your space to work in should be comfy. My office in my house is a space that celebrates the accomplishments of my reasonably short time here on earth. I keep framed copies of newspaper articles about me, awards I’ve won, etc, all around just to remind me to keep at it. But it’s a space that’s specifically meant for work. The couch was not meant for work, for me. If it was for you, then by all means work on the couch. But try to separate your comfy relaxing spaces from your work spaces, whatever they look like.

3) Get fancy

Here I am, getting fancy for a day of productivity.

Here I am, getting fancy for a day of productivity.

This tip definitely won’t be the same for everyone, and I understand the classism inherent in getting fancy for business. But this element really works for me, so I’ll talk about what it means to me in the context of my own experiences.

I started to like “dressing up” around the age of 24. I had previously been a very jeans and a t-shirt kind of person, and didn’t really do the femme thing. I think I owned two pieces of what I’d call makeup, no nail polish, and maybe one dress. I also didn’t have much disposable income. But even back then, I remember that getting up, putting on whatever made me feel good, doing my hair (it was short, easy to do, but even just the act of *doing* it was important), and sitting down to work on whatever was in front of me really got me started.

Since then, I’ve amassed a lot of “fancier” items, but the ritual itself remains the same. Now it includes things like earrings and fancy nail polish (I cut the waiting time involved in this by using Julep’s Polymer Topcoat, which dries super fast). The trick is to get a bit fancy, feel good about yourself, but also not spend the entire morning/afternoon/whatever getting fancy. I try to limit myself to about 20 minutes, and I should also note that the idea of getting dressed is actually a thing that motivates me to finally get out of bed. Maybe this is a way that I can pitch to myself that buying all the clothes I buy is actually an investment in my business. Yeah.

For me, it’s a dress, earrings, brows, lipstick, putting my hair up, and a nice set of underpants. For you, it could be your best sweat pants and a top that makes you feel awesome about yourself. The idea of the whole thing is to make yourself feel really good about yourself before you start working. As a few #dildoholiday participants pointed out, feeling good about yourself can also mean feeling *super* comfy. Harness the power of clothing, however you like!

4) If you work from home, try leaving home every now and again

It's my laptop working on things from a college campus in Winnipeg.

It’s my laptop working on things from a college campus in Winnipeg.

This is more important than you’d think. Getting out of your space can stimulate creativity in ways you didn’t know it could. Being in a new environment kicks you out of your habits and into new ones.

I tend to either rent space at 245 McDermot, which is a coworking space in Winnipeg owned by ACI (Creative Manitoba) that rents hot desks for $30/day, go to an hOffice, or go to a local haunt that serves frosty beverages, since I don’t drink caffeine at all. I have a magical productivity spot that lives around 1.5 drinks and then sharply drops off, and so I do have to make sure that I pace myself with great discipline. I imagine this is the same for coffee drinkers. (and please don’t think this means you need to consume alcohol or caffeine or any other drug in order to be creative or to focus)

Stay tuned for the next episode of #dildohoilday on my blog, where we’ll talk about making our own glass dildos!!

And if you haven’t read part 1 of the #dildoholiday series, go read it right now!! 

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Ciné Sinclaire’s Curated Clip Store – Call for submissions!

Do you make porn? AWESOME! Are you Canadian? EVEN BETTER! Not Canadian? Read on, you may also fit in here.

CinéSinclaire.com is a porn site with emphasis on the experience of fucking/sex/intimacy. Performers guide shoots through their own boundaries, wants, desires, and consent. We are launching this Spring with a catalogue of our own films produced by Kate Sinclaire, and a clip store of content produced by others. We are intersectionally feminist, and prioritize the inclusion of groups of people that are traditionally underrepresented in porn, or that are traditionally not given space for their own narratives.

We will be implementing a curated clip store section of our site. We’re paying specific attention to Canadian producers, but are happy to view work from anywhere in the world! If you’d like to submit some of your own work to be hosted on our clip store, we need a few things from you:

-The file in final high res quality: 1080p is great, or whatever the largest file size you have is. Please send in MP4 (H.264+AAC) format.
-A 20-40 second trailer to promote the piece, again in the same formats above.
US 2257 forms for all performers featured in your work. This includes everyone that appears in the film, whether they are active participants or not.
This form, filled out, giving Cine Sinclaire permission to distribute your film, and stating that you have the rights to distribute the film. If you did not produce the film personally, you must obtain permission from the original producer. Cine Sinclaire and Cherrystems Media will not claim responsibility for distributing films that are not owned by the person that submits them, and legal action can be taken against the submitter if the rights do not belong to them, for misleading Ciné Sinclaire AND for violating copyright of the original producer.
-Send all information to kate@cherrystems.com, and send all files to the same dropbox. Not all films will be eligible for the clip store – we will select films based on quality. In doubt? Submit and see! Anything not accepted will be politely returned with encouragement to create more, and the work will not be featured in any way on Ciné Sinclaire.

Hooray! It’s that easy! Now, how does the payment work?

Payment will be distributed to the party that submits the film to Ciné Sinclaire when a certain profit level is reached. To begin, this pay out level will be in $50 increments or monthly (if film is making more than $50 profit per month, that month will be paid all at once. If it takes a film longer than a month to make $50 profit, pay will be sent out when the film makes $50) and will be online-based. Ciné Sinclaire will take a 40% cut of the sale of each film to cover bandwidth, maintenance, processing fees, and customer service. The remaining 60% will be given to the party that submits the film. A minimum price will be suggested based on length of the film, but producers are free to otherwise name their own price for their work.

Can I have my own store?

This option is coming down the road, but for now, users will indeed be able to search the Ciné Sinclaire clip store by production company/producer, as well as by performer and various tags! You can host all your own work in one spot without worrying about all the time and cost of building a website! Yay!

When does it launch?

We’re just finishing up final details of the design now, so the rest is really just waiting on various things to be implemented/go through. We’re ideally hoping for April/May 2015 at this point! Speed bumps happen. 😉

Let’s make amazing things happen together!

My Journey Through Porn

TW: sexual assault, rape

Spoiler: Porn is the good guy.

I’ve been working in some kind of porn in some kind of way since I was roughly 20, which was 10 years ago. You can look into my projects here and here. I won’t get into them now, but know that they’re awesome and you should totally check them out if you’re over 18.

This is more about the years in between than where I am now, though. It all really starts years before that, growing up in a working class household in a white suburb of a mid-sized city in the middle of nowhere. A city most recently named Canada’s most racist, which is an interesting thing to note but of course isn’t the subject of this. Or not so much directly.

I grew up in a household that encouraged a positive relationship to sex and sexuality as children, mostly due to my mother’s openness. My puberty wasn’t really full of questions as I moved through sex ed. I’d already read it all in books by the time I was 10 and hitting sex ed for the first time in 5th grade.

Shit was honestly pretty idyllic and lovely.

And then I got my period. My curfews stalled, and I was no longer allowed to hang around with boys. My life became super scrutinized, and I had no idea what happened to the open conversations we used to have around sex. My bedroom and personal items were routinely rifled through looking for evidence of penis in vagina, drugs, drinking, anything.

I was a developing woman myself at around 12, and I found that drawing the female form in the nude helped me to understand my own body and that of others. By creating images, I was rejecting ideals and body types that were so frequently presented to me as a young woman with eyeballs. I got to explore what I thought people’s bodies looked like under their clothes, which always fascinated me. It still does.

I threw out a few of the drawings that weren’t as awesome, as one does. One day, my parents found a drawing that I did of a naked woman, lying on the floor, an arm draped across her body. I’d thrown it out because it just wasn’t good enough, or I’d drawn her arms too long, or something, and it wasn’t going to be right. I thought literally nothing of it, because my history of talking to my mother about bodies was so open. And I was throwing this in the trash, so who gives a shit, right?

A few days later, I was called to the kitchen table to have a talk with my parents. There lay the drawing. I was confused as to why we were having a meeting. My mother, to her credit, did reassure me that if I were attracted to women, then that was fine. But overall, the message was clear. I was not supposed to do this. I was not supposed to draw naked people. It made my parents uncomfortable. I remember them asking why I had drawn it. I replied simply that I thought the female body was beautiful. This wasn’t a good enough answer. There was shame, there were instructions not to do it anymore. It was made clear to me that naked women’s bodies were primarily not mine to enjoy since I said I was not gay, and here I was, a 12 year old human with a vagina, drawing naked women. It seemed logical to my parents that I was possibly a lesbian – because bodies are for sex, not beautiful in their own right.

I tore up all the drawings of naked folks I’d done. I internalized that shame, that nudity was supposed to be shameful, and, mostly, that naked bodies were not mine – not even my own body.

Skip forward about 4 years, and I became sexually active at around 16. I suppose I still had my virginity, but that’s just by some societally-accepted version of things. I’d actively decided that I was not going to have p-in-the-v sex until I felt ready to navigate everything that came along with it. I did everything else, because I knew from my still-voracious appetite for sexual knowledge which actions carried a lower risk of STIs and pregnancy.

My first sexual experiences were with complicated at best, and not that amazing. Mostly. There is a certain level of sloppiness in human interaction, and I get that. And we’re talking about a bunch of young folks that only have basic sex ed (mostly anatomy, and mostly internal anatomy in terms of what we learn about those with uteri) and have had nothing but mainstream porn and media to inform them of what sexual encounters should be like. It’s a lot of fumbling, and it was mostly based around some fucked up things based around access and rights to women’s bodies. But I don’t feel like any of it was out of the ordinary. It was exploration of bodies, consent, and emotions.

All of these experiences came to a head while I was in my first long-term relationship. Rights and access to my body were reinforced as not belonging to me in this relationship. We moved in together. I was fresh (two months) out of high school and 18 years old, and here I was living with this guy in a two bedroom apartment on a notoriously rough street North of Portage Avenue in Winnipeg. I honestly loved the idea of the freedom that came with it, but hadn’t bargained for the intricacies of living with a partner – and all the issues around porn that would surface because of it.

I’d had issues around porn since I was about 10 and had walked in on my father using the early internet to slowly download photos of naked women. I’d mentioned it to my mother, and it nearly caused a divorce. The choice to have or not have the divorce, however, was actually placed on me. My two other siblings had hard answers to the idea of divorce, yes and no respectively, and my mother did not want to make a decision. I remember sitting on a blanket at one of my brother’s football games and being given all the information and told to make a choice. Clearly, porn was the cause of all this stress (and not my parents’ inability to fucking communicate or make decisions like a goddamn adult), and so I associated porn with destruction of relationships.

My partner’s porn habits quickly became obvious. I shared my experience and asked what kind of compromise we could come to. To continue the shitty communication, he agreed not to look at it anymore (unrealistic – for both of us, actually). I inherited my parents’ distrust and frequently checked into his history, learning that he was indeed still consuming the porn. Then we sat down to talk about it. And it was completely the worst fucking thing.

Instead of “I see how you feel”, it was “why aren’t you as cool with it as the women in the movies and pictures?” The conversation went entirely that way, and then it was over. He told me that, even though we were having sex 2-4 times daily, I was not sexually open enough. He started to pick clothes for me that were much more revealing than I would ever have worn, and I kept trying harder to make him happy, by doing pretty much anything.

This is the lady we’re talking about, at age 19, in the second apartment my then-partner and I lived in.

I enjoyed sexual exploration, so I was mostly happy to engage in as much activity as there was to be had. The trouble is, that wasn’t really good enough for him. Being perpetually available was not good enough. There was a lot of emotional manipulation, specifically making me paranoid, and lots of things that I realize now were abuse – like waking up covered in cum, unbeknownst to me. He was expressing what he thought of me by using my body while I was asleep, without my consent. I’d wake up either from the icky sticky wetness feeling on my body or, if I managed to sleep through the night, I’d wake up with a crust to shower off while he’d already left the house. I did object. Every time.

This was a person who was actively involved with the U of W’s LBGT* and Women’s Centres.

I feel so disconnected from that story, even now. I have trouble picturing it or understanding it as a thing that a human would do.

The relationship dissolved along the way as he slept around, and insisted on an open relationship on his end and not on mine. He was to be allowed to sleep with anyone at all, and I was to wait around – because women’s bodies are property, and his penis had laid claim to that piece of land. I called bullshit on this, and we finally decided we’d call it quits. That night, he did not return home after dinner to decide who was moving out – instead, he hooked up with a woman that lived several floors above us, then expected to come back into the apartment to get ready for work. I lost my mind.

It was after my initial breakup with my partner that I decided to shoot for a website. I met some stranger at his apartment in Osborne Village, he filled me up with gin, and I took off my clothes. Something clicked in that moment for me. I felt powerful; in control. I was 20 at this point.

The first shoot – with not-so-great lighting, but lovely otherwise!

My motivations for starting in porn were definitely not ideal. There was a lot of baggage there, and much of the motivation was to show men how sexually available I was, and how I was just as cool as the women in porn – while still maintaining that I didn’t like porn, and that what I was doing was somehow better. Obviously, I was being a hypocrite, but we’ll get to that. However, there was also the motivation of body positivity, and giving other people that feeling of being powerful and in control of their own image. I was still just grappling with all kinds of shit.

I continued to sleep with people randomly, and I can say that a lot of it was exploratory and fun, but the way that I was doing it was still mostly based in the fucked up abuse of the first long term relationship. I used sex to get to people, and to try to have some kind of power. I also used it for fun, and as an outlet, but much of it came from a pretty dark and fucked up place.

It was around the age of 21 that I met a guy in a bar, which was not an odd occurrence. We decided to meet up after class one day, since we were both studying at the U of M. We went out for a drink, it was nice, and then we headed back to my place. I remember having the conversation, in which he asked me if we were going to sleep together. I’d been trying to give myself a bit of time to figure myself out at the moment, and so I’d actually used my own words when I said “Ya know, I don’t think I’m actually that kind of girl.” Which I meant to mean that I was realizing that maybe I wasn’t the kind of person that wanted to sleep around all the time – maybe I wanted to start being choosier and making the decisions for myself. (I should note that there is nothing at all wrong with being *that kind of girl*, just that I was reconsidering if I was or if I just thought that I should be)

Long story short, I got drugged that night in my own home and I put out whether I wanted to or not.

Cue the string of possibly even worse decisions and avoiding of even more realities. I did a lot of fucked up things to a lot of people. I dabbled in some super unhealthy BDSM-type activity (BDSM is not inherently unhealthy, but my topping was not from a positive place, and when I was being bottomed, I’d relive my various abuses in a negative way), dated guys who would routinely yell at me, and generally just did what I could to get by. But through all of this, the idea of Cherrystems blossomed. The body positivity, owning your own image, and being in control of how you are represented. It was the only thing that kept me from feeling the pain at a deep level.

Still, I refused to call Cherrystems porn. I felt it was something better, more thought out, empowering, and positive. The porn that I thought I knew ruined relationships and made men believe that they owned women’s bodies. What I didn’t realize is that porn can be all of those positive things too, and that what I was doing was really no different – it was just given a privileged narrative.

As I grew up and began confronting my demons, I started to realize the truth of the situation. It wasn’t porn that was fucking anything up. It was all people in my life. It was people avoiding real communication, compassion, and forcing me to make decisions that I didn’t want to have make. My parents couldn’t see eye to eye on it, and ultimately put their relationship on me. Being young, I couldn’t fathom my parents being wrong – and so the culprit was most definitely pornography. I brought this pain with me to my future relationships, came down hard on a lot of folks about their use of porn even though I was also consuming it in the same way – but I figured in my hypocrisy that the way that I was using it was not exploitative and was somehow better.

But then we get to the tricky bit. I started to do interviews for newspapers and radio in which I’d get the question – is Cherrystems art or porn? And what is the difference? I at first insisted that we were different because porn was inherently exploitative, and that it dehumanized people and broke them down into parts with functions rather than autonomous human beings with bodies that have parts. Indeed, there still is a difference between those two methods of producing porn, I just hadn’t realized that. I didn’t yet have the vocabulary and experience with feminist porn to realize that that’s all it was – a difference in production styles and values. As I started to become more exposed to the idea that porn could be positive, I slowly began to unpack my own hangups with it. Soon, I realized that porn and art are the same thing. A switch flipped, and though I still felt uncomfortable with it, I started calling Cherrystems porn.

Once I started calling it porn, I was forced to understand all of the moments in my life that had shaped my relationship to the *concept* of pornography. It was a challenge. A fuck of a challenge. But it was something so liberating. I was and continue to be constantly inspired by people that are so amazing, that have their own stories to tell.

I think ultimately, Cherrystems and Ciné Sinclaire are my story to tell. They’re the story of my own reclaiming and newfound understanding of my own sexuality.

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!

Feminist Porn Heaven Day 3/7 – IT’S FRIDAY.

Sorry for my brief delay in blogging. Life got a bit in the way, but that’s how life is sometimes. We’re back on track to talking about Friday, the day of the Feminist Porn Awards gala, and a whole amazing lot more.

Friday morning, I woke bright and early and fired off a text to Dayna, who was staying a few rooms down the hall from me. It was time for us to figure out how to use the awesome cameras that she brought for us to use. We sat ourselves down in front of youtube and watched tutorials on the menus and settings on both cameras, ate some breakfast, and got ourselves synced up. Bee, Jasper, Veronika Lee, and others did some drop ins, which was great.

I headed down to the office of the hotel, did some routine printing of our 2257 forms, and we got ourselves out of the hotel – we being Bee, Dayna, and myself. We were off to meet the amazing Andre Shakti to do a Cherrystems shoot with her, then on to creating a scene for Ciné Sinclaire with both Andre and Jiz Lee. Commence overactive squeeing on our parts. We work with some amazing folks already at Cherrystems, and so it was amazing to move into working with professional performers. Eek, it was so incredibly much fun.

But I shouldn’t get ahead of myself! We showed up at the air bnb spot where Andre was staying, loaded in, and had a chat to get to know each other. Andre is a great human being, let me start off by saying that. She walked us through what she had envisioned and showed us her outfit (Which was awesome, by the way), then Bee and Dayna took over. I’ve been shooting sets for Cherrystems for about 2 months now (running the show is a different kind of work), but that doesn’t compare with the 6 years I’ve worked with these two. I definitely knew that they would work awesomely together, and that the opportunity to shoot someone as great as Andre should go to the folks who have worked the hardest. They absolutely loved it! Andre was super willing to work with us and some amazing shots were gotten. I can’t wait to have the set up and ready to be viewed!

From there, we had a bit of a lull in the action before Jiz showed up. I ran out and got some sushi for the set, to make sure we were all deliciously stuffed full of food. It was a great choice. I ended up picking a random hole in the wall spot on Yelp whose name I can’t recall for the life of me. Honestly, though, it was some of the best sushi I’ve had in Toronto. I don’t often have good sushi luck in Toronto.

After eating, we set up the bedroom for the scene. Dayna and Bee rolled around in the sheets to get the lighting just right, we synced up our cameras, and then Jiz arrived! Andre was actually recording a little piece for Siouxsie Q, who records the Whorecast. It was a really great way to get the conversation started and discuss boundaries and for me to get across to everyone how the set would operate.

We had a good conversation about pay amounts and what performers are comfortable doing for which pay rates. As a startup, Ciné Sinclaire doesn’t have the most enormous of budgets. While we can afford a reasonable pay rate, it’s actually quite low for bigger names. The way that we came to an agreement was basically similar to how rates and actions are typically negotiated in sex work in general – the amount that you pay gets only certain acts. I think this is completely correct. Just because I paid a certain rate as a producer does not at all mean that I have any right to demand certain acts from a performer.

Andre being Andre, with Kate, Brynna, and Dayna (under the sheets). Photo by Jiz Lee, click to see it in its original context on their blog.

Andre being Andre, with Kate, Bee, and Dayna (under the sheets). Photo by Jiz Lee, click to see it in its original context on their blog.

So, without giving too much of the scene away, I’ll have to say that this is a kind of softcore scene that is *incredibly* intense. If you’d like to see trailers and the like, keep watching my blog. The site itself should be launching this summer!

I had to run quickly after the shoot, which felt a bit shitty of me to do, but I had a hair appointment to make it to for the awards show. Dayna and Bee were magic champs and finished up the pay and paperwork while I jetted off to get someone else to do my hair while I caught up on emails and phone calls. I’m so not used to having long hair so, honestly, I knew that paying someone else was going to save me endless amounts of frustration of attempting to do it myself.

Once I was done getting my hair done, I ran back to the hotel, put on my dress, and got on my way with a group of Stemmers toward the VIP party at the Feminist Porn Awards gala! This event is so awesome to me. It’s a whole bunch of amazing sex workers and porn lovers in one room being awesome together. We come together, celebrate the work of our peers, and have a great time doing it. It’s actually the one night of the week where I’m just there to be entertained and have fun with my friends, coworkers, and other folks that *get it*.

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There were so many of us representing Cherrystems this year! L-R, back to front: Caroline, Dayna, Kate, Veronika Lee, Keelie, W, Bee, and Jasper!

 

If you’d like to find out who won each award, head over to the Feminist Porn Awards’ website. You should probably go ahead and purchase all of the films that won or were nominated. Or at least a bunch, or several. 🙂

I’m also at the FPAs to represent my silicone toy company, Fuze. If you don’t know much about us, you can check out this post here to get a bit of a background. We were a silver sponsor of the Feminist Porn Awards this year, which was really great. I absolutely love how many more people know about our little company every year, and we definitely love helping to support such a great event held right up in Canada. All up in it.

Other absolutely amazing things that happened were: Courtney Trouble’s dress, the tribute to Carlos Batts, Trans Grrrls (with our own Velvet performing in one of the scenes!) winning tantilizing trans film, the amazing entertainment, and every single person in that room that night. It was all amazing.

Following the awards, a few of us headed back toward the hotel to get some grub. Bee, myself, and Playground Conf friendo Lauryn met newly-arrived Aaron at Pho Pasteur, which was probably the best way to end the night that I could have thought possible. Aaron is our programmer at Cherrystems, and he’s also the person that I’ll be marrying this summer. We hadn’t actually spent more than 12 hours together for 4 weeks at that point, so having him out for Friday-Sunday was really really necessary.

I got a good sleep that night. 😉

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!

I’m on my way!

I’ve left the beautiful springy weather in Winnipeg for different pastures for the weekend! I’m presently sitting in Toronto in an airport lounge, waiting to board at flight to Washington, DC, for Catalyst Con. So many amazing talks to attend, people to meet, connections to make, and things to experience. 

It’s so incredibly important to me that this event gets put on twice a year, and especially that it alternates between East and West coasts. Catalyst Con West tends to take place in/around LA, whereas Catalyst Con East takes place in Washington, DC. Rather, Arlington, VA – which is across the bridge from the big ol’ policy hill. This ensures that once a year, people from either coast are better able to make it out to the event. It’s little considerations like this that help it to be a successful event. Not to mention the attention to accessibility, and the community base that helps travellers connect with people to split hotel costs.

The event is really like no other. The atmosphere is positively.. Sex positive. In my personal, day to day life, I have a lot of non-queer cisfolk around me who have never had their ideas challenged. I do a lot of educating in my day to day life. I do a lot of tiptoeing, a lot of trying to make sure people don’t get mad at me when they use a slur (it’s essential to me as a cis queer femme-y lady in a hetero relationship that I stand up and be an ally in conversation so that I can stop the aggressions before they fall on the ears of someone whose lifestyle/entire life is being shit on because I have the privilege of having the world mostly cater to my ass). But at Catalyst Con? We’re cool. Suddenly I’m immersed in a space made of fucking sex positive fairy dust and happiness. 

And the people! The people! From presenters to attendees, everyone in the building is top notch. I’ve met so many people in just one conference that I can now think of as my ccon friendsies. There are too many to name – I’d be afraid of leaving someone out. It’s seriously the kind of environment you can walk into as a sex positive educator/sex worker/blogger/whatever, and feel totally welcome. 

Is that a great accidental PSA for ccon or what?

I can’t wait. Hope my flight stays on time!

A weekend of Trouble

It’s Monday! Oh no! But that means that Courtney leaves tomorrow. Alas, all good things must come to an end – but it’s been really great talking to another person who runs a little porno empire. We talked about things I should do with Cherrystems, about BitCoin, and about the industry in general. I’m seriously forever grateful for their guidance.

The screening on Friday was a huge success. Courtney showed over an hour of clips from their repertoire, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. But before we get to that, I have to talk about the opening act, ChubRub Burlesque. Oh my God.

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Heather’s comedy stylings as Ms Dirty Snowflake.

If you ever ever see these ladies on a bill, go. Don’t wait. Go. Experience it, you will not regret it. From Ray’s straight-to-the-heart talk about sizing to watching Mel’s intimate relationship with cake, this show was amazing.

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Ray’s monologue on sizing was powerful.

The final act was definitely the most amazing, which involved all of the ladies doing a full on traditional choreographed burlesque routine. Their work was super super appreciated, and we can’t wait for them to have more and more gigs around town. Seriously, they’re that amazing.

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HOW FREAKING CUTE IS THIS?!

I got to speak a little too! Mostly praises for ChubRub and Courtney Trouble, but it’s always interesting to get up in front of a group of people and speak when you don’t do it super often. Also, I really like my dress.

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Hey, it’s me!

Next up was the main event – Courtney Trouble’s presentation, titled Feminist Porn: Representing Pleasure. We were treated to tons of clips, to which I could sometimes hear the audience breathing deeply to from backstage. The talk included focus on representation of queer groups in the porn that Courtney produces.

Having this kind of presentation in Winnipeg was so important. I spoke to some people the next day about the screening, and they admitted that they weren’t too sure about what to expect before arriving at the venue. It turns out, they realized, that feminist porn looks just like any porn – but with more emphasis on inclusion and representation of bodies, ethical treatment of performers, and more.

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Courtney, nailing it.

The talk then bled out into night, and we headed to bed tuckered out and super glad with how it went. So many people to reach in this prairie town!

The next day was an early start, as Courtney and I were joining model Arachnia for Cockroach zine‘s Let’s Talk About Porn panel. There’ll be a full audio recording available soon, so I won’t spoil too much of it for you – you’ll soon be able to hear it all for yourself. Suffice it to say, we addressed some good topics, and reached out as human beings who make porn.

I also started to become more comfortable with the idea of calling myself a sex worker. Maybe you’re wondering what I mean by that, and why I’d be uncomfortable or maybe even why I’d want to call myself that.

Cherrystems is a soft porn site. We don’t engage in sex acts, we simply appear naked on the internet. While I’m starting to make harder porn, I had previously felt that my sex work just wasn’t *sex*y enough for me to be considered a sex worker. I have a huge amount of respect for all sex workers, but have mostly seen the term claimed by escorts, in call workers, phone sex folks, and people who are having sex on film. I assumed that I simply wasn’t good enough yet, to be quite honest, but I feel much more confident in claiming the title after this weekend. I’m really happy about that.

And now we’re at today. Today I get naked for Courtney, which makes me super excited. It’s really just a matter of selecting a location and going for it. Later today, however, Courtney will join me on set with our CS models Caroline and Keelie as they work on one of those amazing harder sets for the new site.

It’s going to be a good day.