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A woman dressed in a black silk robe that shows off her black-stockinged, gartered legs and bare thighs strides around a small stage outfitted like a fancy lady’s boudior. “His was first,” she says. “In my ass.”

Our interlocutor for the evening is The Woman (played with penetrating erotic intensity by Laura Campbell), a former ballet dancer whose “pelvic floor” has been wound up “like a corkscrew” after a lifetime of practice at the ballet barre. “Now it’s being unworked. His cock, my ass, unwinding. Divine.”

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Let’s do the time warp again! And by “time warp” I mean warping to an alternate universe about six months from now when the Nouveau Burlesque, downtown New York’s indigenous revival of the Great 20th Century American Burlesque, opens on The Great White Way. Now, this is an alternate universe, so it looks similar, but it is not identical to our own. In this alternate universe, some greats of our contemporary scene have different names and different histories: Jo Boobs is still the boss, but the alternate Boobs is still partying like it’s 1979. The famous, gritty theater where it all goes down is either The Box or the Slipper Room crossed with the Minsky’s National Winter Garden Theater, circa 1925, and the beautiful ingénue isn’t a brainy, erudite Fordham grad, she’s an NYU doctoral student writing a thesis on alternative gender performance, circa 1995.

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‘Tis the season of holiday parties, corporate and otherwise. On the longest night of the year my companion and I dropped in on the SPI Marketing holiday party at the Rootstein Mannequin Showroom on West 19th Street and 7th Ave in Chelsea.

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balloon-dude

By J.D. Oxblood

Through friends of friends I got on the guest list and passed by to check out the hubbub, bub. M2 is one of those Chelsea monstrosities that is everything you would expect—a long frickin’ walk from the subway, an enormous, cavernous room cut up by gargantuan furniture pieces guaranteeing that movement becomes impossible when the joint gets crowded and that no proper dance floor will ever erupt, grotesque hanging structures (in this case, faux-mirror balls constructed by crystals hung in sequence by 50-pound test) designed to remind you of the vertigo-inspiring height of the ceilings (nothing declares opulence in NYC like wasted space), louder than necessary, and a fantastic, state-of-the art lighting setup that is completely underused, like your grandma buying a Hummer and never taking it out of the driveway.

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Jo Weldon with her pupils Friday night at the Slipper Room

Friday night (April 24th) was graduation night for Jo Weldon’s New York School of Burlesque at the Slipper Room.

Each and every one of the women who performed are stars and gave standout performances. But natural talent only goes so far. Ms. Weldon not only knows how to pick them, she also knows how to train them.

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by J.D. Oxblood

Our livery car driver has inexplicitly decided to roll all the way down Flatbush, which is like a Christmas Eve parking lot considering that it’s Saturday night in Park Slope.  I’m wearing a gangster-fied pinstriped double-breasted jacket, my editor is in a full tux, and our other accomplice looks like a 1950s cartoon character.  We’re rolling with three gorgeous women and a bodyguard; I somehow feel that we’re one gorgeous woman short—I like to ride with a spare.

We arrive at the Montauk Club, designed by Francis H. Kimball and completed in 1891.  The story goes that he was inspired by a palace on Venice’s Grand Canal, and the imposing Venetian gothic architecture rises from the banality of the Slope like a monolith in a highlands desert.  Stone.  Mahogany.  Stained glass.  My jacket pocket feels suddenly empty—I really should be packing hooch to fully be in character.

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“Come on, let’s go downtown, Trixie and the Monkey are performing at the Slipper Room.”

“No, no… I’m drunk, I don’t have a notebook with me, I don’t have my camera—“

“Let’s just go see the show!”

“Ok, fine, but I’m not working!”

Famous last words. Hear me, O children, as I say verily unto you, once one has started down the path of wickedness, there is, truly, no turning back. And truly, once one has committed oneself to the recording of said wickedness, merely being wicked will never again suffice. Which is a long-winded way of saying, I went to the Slipper Room and totally blew my cover. It had been so long… I was just so HAPPY to be back in a burlesque venue, and the show was so show-stoppingly amusing, and I so show-stoppingly inebriated, that I just couldn’t HELP myself from talking to the performers and generally making a total ass of myself.

Click here for the HIGHLIGHTS!

Hell(o) (t)here

Hell(o) (t)here

I am truly in Hell.  The only work I have managed to get is in the comic book convention world.  Which, judging by the sold-out numbers of people at the Javits for the New York Comic Con, is still kinda recession-proof.  I fell into the work, really.  I don’t even read comic books*  (Get the whole story here).   And I definitely don’t “get” comic book geeks.  I mean, they’re sweet enough, in their own, special, pasty, basement-dwelling way, but I mean, puh-lease.  You weren’t all home-schooled, were you?  There has to be an ounce of social skills somewhere in that cranium, right???  Whatever the case may be, these skills were not on display (yet again) at this year’s New York Comic Con.  Actual snippet of overheard conversation on the crosstown bus on the way to the Javits:

Geek Girl1: So when I finally saw X-Men 3…

Geek 2: Oh you didn’t!  It was HORRIBLE.

GG1: I didn’t think it was so bad, at first, you know, just taking it at face value, but then they explained to me how it was totally in opposition to the art and color scheme by so-and-so and blahdy-blahdy-geek-blah…

… and this drivel went on the ENTIRE CROSSTOWN RIDE.  Nightmare.  How do I get myself into these situations?  Anyway, I was working a booth for my new semi-F/T gig with the longest running independent comic book convention in NYC.  I have biz cards and everything!  I am officially one of THEM.  O.M.F.G.

... themmm

... themmm

And I work for one of the top guys in the comic book collecting world.  Somehow he’s one of them and not one of them at the same time.  He knows them all, but he used to  ski with the beautiful people at Studio 54.  High and low, as it were.  Anyway, scads of people come by his booth and I get to people watch them all.  I could go on and on about the various freaks and geeks**, but the ones who really caught my eye were the Gothic Lolitas: you know, Asian girls in a mix of goth and maid uniforms, with a Lolita twist.

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Essentially, these girls are walking manga.  I was Goth, bitd, but this is a Japanese twist on an old classic.  I talked with one self-professed Gothic Lolita, 18 year old Kana from Manhattan.  She said she first got into the look 8 years ago after seeing J Rock artists on TV (example here).  She saw the fans of that style of music and wanted to dress like them.  It’s a very cute world with which to identify.  As opposed to Cosplay fans at the Comic Con, Kana said this is her normal style of dress.  She likes bands like Plastic Tree, and she and her friends get together for karaoke parties.  She seemed really well-adjusted.  It was refreshing, in this land of make-believe.

Kutie Kana

Kutie Kana

So I am officially an insider in this crazy comic book world.  But I guess now I can finally finish my Sandman collection.  I’m only missing #2 and #43.  Christ.  Kill me now.

*Except Neil Gaiman’s Sandman in the 90’s.  Brilliant.  Oh, and the occasional Betty and Veronica when I was little.  Can you say cat fight?  Me-ow!

**New rule: Guys, if you’re wearing spandex, will you PLEASE wear a cup?!?!?!?  I am still scrubbing those lumpy images from my brain.

starliner-blog

By J.D. Oxblood 

“I can promise you, if LAST CALL AT THE STARLINER LOUNGE isn’t one of the most original shows that you’ve ever seen, then I will eat a pack of cigarettes.”  With an offer like that, how could I refuse?  Yes, that was the inimitable Snuffy Patterson, and I was half hoping the show would suck so that I could watch him suck ‘em down.  No dice, but it turns out I still won:  he eats a cigarette in the opening as an ad for “Turkish Cigarettes—the cure for halitosis.”  The sourpuss face on this kid is priceless.

We’re back at Corio, another night of hopeless debauchery, shaking off the post-holiday season delirium tremens.  It’s a Wednesday night and cold enough to freeze the rye on my breath.  Seems that all the gorgeous dames in this place only work the Pontani shows; the skirt serving us hooch is looking a little long in the tooth.  Maybe it’s a good thing that she’s not in a corset.

Brian Newman and his band loosen the crowd with a couple of standards, starting with “All of Me.”  This kid looks about two days past getting his draft card, and so thin you could pick your teeth with him.  He can warble, though, so damn well I wondered if the horn in his hand was just a prop.  But he made a sucker of all of us and blew the damn thing better than Gabriel.  He’s backed by keys, skins, a bull fiddle who can lay down a bass line that walks with a ten incher down the left leg, and a sharp-dressed urbanite blowing a thoughtful motif on a tenor sax.

I settle into a cold one and tried to follow the convoluted plot.

Snuffy, our narrator, picks up as Softy Malone enters

It’s true. These guys really rock. If you’re in Dubai, they’re at the Seaview Hotel in the Marine bar. (Sorry if the video resolution is crappy. It’s Youtube’s fault. I’m working on improving it.)

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Burj Dubai

The Burj Dubai is the tallest building in the world and holds records for many “biggest” and “most” categories including tallest structure, tallest freestanding structure, building with the most floors, and highest vertical concrete pumping for any structure. The picture above was taken (by me) from the roof of Al Ghaya Residence on Sheik Zayed road, a pitiful 30+ story building. In the foreground you can see several other buildings in various stages of construction.

dubai-skyscraper

This is the building next door to Al Ghaya Residence, some 80+ stories tall. It has been under construction for more than a year, and it looks complete from the outside. It is empty, however, and the entrances are sealed. This building became emblematic, for me, of our unique historical moment.

The Baharain Tribune noted on October 2nd 2008 that Dubai’s growth is “founded to some extent on a burgeoning property market heavily dependent on borrowed money”, and Norton Rose, a corporate law firm specializing in investing, said on its “credit crisis blog” that “there are rumors that some large projects will be placed on hold.” The analyst at Norton Rose is optimistic, if not in the near term, at least in the medium term:

The “real” market, that is where construction has commenced (and therefore finance is in place to complete the project) or the property has been completed, is suffering a short term state of confusion although the medium term view is that the market will bounce back particularly in quality sectors in quality locations.

But this may be a species of optimism ridiculed by Paul Farrell (my new favorite Wall St. contrarian) in his Marketwatch.com editorial today. Norton Rose thinks the fundamentals of Dubai’s growth are strong, and that the financial problems of the last year will clear up soon, but one could also make the case that demand in Dubai has always been artificial, and that its incredible ten (really five) year growth spurt is an effect of the global bubble that has driven over-production in all sectors to astonishing, never-before-seen levels. As the New York Times reported recently, globalization led to global growth, and now it is leading to a global contraction. Is it implausible to postulate that globalization, growth, and blowing bubbles were interconnected, self-reinforcing phenomena?

But beyond a global contraction, Dubai has other worries. Norton Rose again spins the situation in positive terms:

Dubai has built itself as a trading hub, financial centre, tourist resort and is an attractive and exciting place to live. The number of expatriates moving to Dubai from throughout the world is staggering; all of these people will need a home. Office space still remains in very short supply with heavy demand. Rents in all sectors have continued to increase and demand remains strong, however owner occupiers are struggling to find lenders to accommodate them.

On one hand, many of the immigrants to Dubai are from India and Pakistan, and those people are definitely not the people Dubai wants filling up its empty towers. Certainly, Dubai’s planners have gone to great lengths to lure Western investment. Investment banks are able to run by Western laws — within the walls of their own buildings.

The lush courtyard of the Dubai Financial Center

The lush courtyard of the Dubai Financial Center

But outside the walls Dubai is still a theocratic state run under Sharia law. The world chuckles at Vince Acors and Michelle Palmer who were caught having sex on the beach and sentenced to three months in prison. The situation is made human and poignant, however, by the case of Marnie Pearce who was accused of adultery by her estranged husband and consequently convicted and sentenced to six months in prison. As a result she may lose custody of her two children entirely. In the print version of the article from January 5th, Ms. Pearce tells the reporter for the Telegraph with obvious passion that Westerners need to remember that Dubai is not a liberal state. A woman — any woman — can be punished for being alone in the company of a man who is not her husband or kinsman. And that is a kink in Norton Rose’s projection of continued demand for Dubai properties.

THE MOST COMPREHENSIVE %*&#! COVERAGE OF THE 6TH ANNUAL NEW YORK BURLESQUE FESTIVAL ANYWHERE ON THE INTERWEB!

Roxy Dlight Friday at the Bell House

(Sound of Alka Seltzer plop plop fizz fizzing. A Zippo lighter clicks, lights, clicks shut. Venetian blinds are drawn. J.D.’s voice is heard; a voice scarred by cigarettes, Hendricks Gin, and late, late nights of carousing with half-naked… er, people.)

If I sound exhausted it’s because I am. Tore up from the floor up. Shredded like my mini-wheats without the frosting. My four-day stubble has four-day stubble. My front room is knee-deep in beer and whiskey. I think I may have seen too many boobies. Let me say that again. I think I may have seen too many boobies. The last time I saw that much flesh it was Mardi Gras in New Orleans and Katrina was just the name of a sweet young girl from Kansas who took a left turn at Albuquerque.

You gotta hand it to Angie Pontani—the lady knows how to throw a party. Four days, four venues, eighty-eight acts by my count—adds up to well over a hundred performers—and so much hotness the Devil himself had to go back home to cool off. My knees ache from standing at attention, my [unmentionable] aches from standing at attention, my feet are swollen, my fingers are nicotine- and ink-stained, my lungs are crying out for non-nicotine-flavored air, my liver has straight-up packed its bags and left me—AND it took the dog—my sinuses are about to fall to the floor and I’m pretty sure I raised the GNP of Columbia this weekend. I’ve given out a dozen fake names, and at least four other people have claimed to be me in the hopes of getting free schwag, which basically adds up to a half dozen people thinking they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, or a half dozen people who don’t know they had sex with J.D. Oxblood this weekend, depending on your point of view. Murray, I told you, that’s confectioner’s sugar, it’s Monday morning, and you need to get the hell out of my bathtub. Anita, you can stop acting drunk, it’s over. Let me call you a car, and yes, I’ll call you. Purrhaps. Scotty, I meant everything I said and at least half of what we did, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still be friends.

Get some!

Date #1:

Find yourself in a densely crowded downstairs Latino dance club, trying to find a drunken female friend and her roommate, with whom you were wildly (and unwisely) making out mere moments before. Get a call from a female friend who works in a bar. Miss the call. Get a text from her saying, “Come to the bar. X is single and ready to mingle.” Go outside, find the drunk girls, get them in a cab and wash your hands of it. Retrieve message from the bartender: “Come to the bar now! X just broke up with her boyfriend and is asking about you!”

Grab a cab to the bar even though it’s less than a 10 minute walk. Arrive and kiss your friend and thank her for the tip. Sidle up next to the newly-single, smoking hot, 20 year-old vixen.

(Editor: Be forewarned, the following is a graphic and explicit depiction of sexual acts of dubious legality.)

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Monday, July 7, 2008 marked the opening night of the new Monday Night Burlesque at the Performance Space Formerly known as Galapagos. The act to christen the space, or, to “embooben,” as Nasty Canasta put it, was no other than the now super-famous Julie Atlas Muz. She came on in classic black — eyes big as swimming pools complete with bikini-clad pleasure models lounging with Mai Tais — lost her black dress in under a minute, sucked off a rose in fellatiatic splendor, spat out the petals, spilling down her bare bosom, and before anyone could quite check the turgidity of his member, was crawling across the bar to bathe herself with a bowl and a bar of soap, complete with avid pit and crotch scrubbing. No one does nudity with laughter better than the Muz. She finished with a bottle of vodka upended over her entire body and I half-thought she was going to set her entire figure on fire. Let me be the one to tell you, folks: Julie looks hotter now than she did when I first saw her naked, 8 years ago. That’s some serious deal with the devil, and I think he got took.

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Saturday, June 7th I went with Ryan Beckwith, my buddy who illustrated our joint effort The War In Heaven, to two comics conventions in Manhattan. The Big Apple ComiCon (a. k. a. the Big Apple Art, Toy, and Sci-Fi Expo) was at the Penn Plaza Pavilion on 7th Ave at 33rd St. It was, in the words of the website, ” A fun day for sure [with] throngs of comic, art, sci-fi, and toy fans, celebrities, artists.” I saw throngs. I also saw Storm Troopers, Jawas, and girls with sexy, skimpy outfits and silicone enhanced breats (both drawn and living).

Obviously guys who read comics also like girls with slim waists, big breasts, and bigger guns. It was definitely a nerd masculinity-fest. And no man-party would be complete without some aging starlets to drool over.

I am sure the relationship is reciprocal. The guys love looking at lady pillows, and the ladies get all the devoted male attention they’ve been starving for since their series was canceled (ten years ago).

(This is the obligatory Facebook photo taken at Big Apple CmC.)

Ryan and I went downtown to the Puck building to check out MoCCA-fest, the Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art show. The crowd downtown was decidedly different. In the first place, men with tattoos of Vargas girls were replaced by girls with tattoos of quirky Americana.

The greeters at MoCCA were sweet and deferential, quite a contrast to the Storm Troopers and Jawas who greeted us in Midtown.

Inside, the comic books expressed a different mood.

More honest? Look at it from both perspectives: either the writers/artists in Midtown are proud, meat-eating men who disdain girly books filled with poncy, indecipherable art, or the writers/artists downtown are more sensitive to the fact that being an artist means putting your energies into something other than attracting the right sort of woman. To be fair, downtown artists are interested in slutty girls too. But for them it’s just another genre.

The downtown guys also seem to have a more refined sense of irony vis-a-vis the masculine posturing that seems inherent to comics. For example:

Kidding aside, both conventions were fun and a great opportunity to meet the major players in the graphic arts world.

The penis graffito is probably the oldest symbol in the world.

BTW, This is a close runner up: ({}).

There are many, many examples of the penis graffito, but for the sake of space (and sanity) we’ll just look at two from the Clinton-Washington G train stop. Both of them seek to impose sexual power on the person in the poster, and the only difference between the two — and it’s a slight one at that — is the gender object of the power.

Poor Moonshadow! He looks happy, but size of that member cannot be very satisfying.

Is it pornography? If it is, what can a concerned citizen do about it? Public decency is absolutely necessary — no one would argue it is OK for men to walk the streets wagging their membri viri at passersby. But how can you stop someone from stamping a symbol of male power on a poster in the subway? You could have the cops check everyone’s bag for Sharpies. Giuliani introduced paint-proof trains to get rid of unsightly graffiti. One rider took the matter into her own hands and attacked the vandals on their own turf:

From the Clinton-Washington G stop (Queens bound track):

Blacked out teeth are easy but not always funny. It looks like Marvell meets the Beverly Hillbillies. This person, however, has a good eye for humor. (heh heh.)

Walleyed pin-up girls are always funny.

It’s erotic and scary. Gives you that fun tingly feeling all the way to work.

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