Saturday, March 25, 2006

Seattle Erotic Art Festival

Quivering Arrows
Consolidated Works, Seattle, WA

This is the biggest event of the year for Seattle's sex-positive community (and it seems like you have to say that as if it's one word - sexpositive - so that no one confuses it with a general unbranded healthy relationship with sex). While the point is the exhibition of paintings, photography, sculpture, and Other featured on the walls of ConWorks, what really draws attention are the jacked up boobs and leering swingers around every turn.

The theme at the opening night costume party for the Seattle Erotic Art Festival this year is "Deities of Eros". I'm not so up on which one is Persephone and which one is, um, Hades? Is that one? But there are some fantastic costumes here. After a guided tour around the event by a guy named Pete in a painted-on tiger outfit, we begin our slow perusal of the art, some of which you can see right here. Some of it is good, some pieces are hilarious, and others evoke an "ouch Ouch OUCHIES" response in me. Many of the most evocative pieces are already sold. Where exactly do you hang your gigantic photograph of a guy blowing himself? In the living room?

My first attempt to photograph the attendees is soundly trumped by a security guy in a Utilikilt, who tells me that for "safety" and protection of the art I can't take pictures of people, even with their consent. This of course compels me to take more pictures. We make our way to the bar in the back of the room and shimmy by people making out against the wall or screechingly demanding that their fantastic costumes be documented. One of the guys is so shrill that I flatly refuse to take his photo, even though he's entirely blue and dressed as, uh, Nefertiti? Aquaman? Either way he is annoying.

For every corset, pastie and pair of assless chaps in this room, there is the expectation of a hook-up later. I mean, if you can't find someone to take you home after this event, you are clearly Doing Something Wrong. Even the weird older lady with her boobs on serving trays will probably find joy tonight. Several people make eyes and comments at my friend - well, specifically at my friend's chest. The younger sexpositive set is pretty attractive on the whole, but we know if that if they don't get good grades and stay off the grass they'll turn into the creepy older set that you don't ever want to see naked.

Also everyone is pied. We meet several people who strike up bizarre conversations and then apologize with "I'm kind of messed up right now." In a clumsy attempt to recreate a high school experience, two women in beautiful costumes smoke up in the bathroom then wander around happily not recognizing their own friends. The bartenders pour strong drinks to a set of people who never make it out of the bar to see the art. Bums are felt, fabric is tested, and desires are blurted.

After a few hours we pretty much get it, and wander through the store looking at penis pendants and noonie soaps. It's a great event with a wide array of art, and a lot of these folks will be back tomorrow and the next day for more opportunities to wear on the outside what they feel on the inside.


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