Show Me Yours: ‘Blow Job Ballet,’ Valentine’s Day Sock Hop, and More

Performance artist, erotic filmmaker and author Madison Young (Photo: Courtesy of Madison Young)

For some doe-eyed couples, Valentine’s Day means sitting across from your squeeze at a rickety, dimly-lit table, eating overpriced, under-cooked food at a restaurant specially bedecked for the occasion with pink tinsel and the strains of 1980s power ballads. But if you’re not that sort of couple — or if you’re single and looking for something unusual to do on Sunday night — consider the very worthy alternative of an evening spent in the company of activist, author and erotic film actor/director Madison Young.

Like her mentor, the porn star, experimental performer and educator Annie Sprinkle before her, Young straddles with equal passion two worlds that rarely embrace: the adult entertainment industry (she is the recipient of no less than six Feminist Porn Awards, including snagging the “Hottest Kink Film” title for Bondage Boob Tube in 2008) — and the rarefied world of avant-garde performance and visual art (Young curates an annual performance art and experimental film event, the Askew Festival, at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, used to run the now-defunct Femina Potens gallery in San Francisco, and has given talks at Yale.)

Madison Young presents her new show "Reveal All Fear Nothing"
Madison Young presents her new show “Reveal All Fear Nothing” (Photo: Courtesy of Madison Young)

The Bay Area-based artist’s new multimedia theater piece, Reveal All Fear Nothing: A Journey in Sex, Love, Porn and Feminism, is a contemporary update on the Post Porn Modernist Show, an iconoclastic performance work that Sprinkle toured internationally from 1989 to the mid 1990s. That show covered Sprinkle’s sexual evolution from her early years as the painfully shy little girl Ellen Steinberg to the voluptuously open and politically forthright Annie Sprinkle in an effort to demystify the sexual underworld.

Reveal All Fear Nothing presents a parallel narrative for a new generation of sexually curious people and radical performance art fans. It charts Young’s own journey through the adult entertainment demimonde, and fittingly takes place in an intimate pop-up auditorium that’s been erected for the purpose in the middle of the gaping Roman Bath set at the SF Armory Building, where Young has spent much of her career to date producing erotic films. The experience promises, among other Valentine’s Day treats, a “blow-job ballet,” a segment involving anal fisting, and a special orgasmic ritual, handed down from mentor to mentee.

“No one could to a better adaptation of Post Porn Modernist than Madison Young,” Annie Sprinkle says. “She’s my porn/art daughter and a sex-art gladiator!” Catch the show Friday, Feb. 12 – Sunday, Feb. 14 at SF Armory, San Francisco. More details here.

But if blow job ballets aren’t your thing, don’t worry. Here are some other performing arts events to keep you busy around the digital water cooler for days to come.

Now through Sunday, Feb. 28: Dogeaters at the Magic Theatre, San Francisco
The term “dogeaters” is highly derogatory in the Philippines, though it’s quite literal: It means a Filipino who supposedly eat dogs rather than, say, chicken. Jessica Hagedorn’s 1990 novel Dogeaters gets at the underlying meaning of the term with wit, drama and passion. Set in Manila in the second half of the 20th century during the reign of Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, the book captures a nation uneasy in its own skin and unsure how to relate to the world beyond its borders. Hagedorn’s stage adaptation of Dogeaters is as sprawling (there are 34 characters) as it is compelling. The plot ping-pongs between a coming-of-age story about a girl growing up in an upwardly mobile family in the 1950s, and a narrative set in 1982 about a young, hard-up male prostitute who witnesses the murder of a high-profile politician. Magic Theatre artistic director Loretta Greco directs this Bay Area premiere production.

Luis Valdez's "Valley of the Heart" presented by El Teatro Campesino at San Jose Stage Company
Luis Valdez’s “Valley of the Heart” presented by El Teatro Campesino at San Jose Stage Company (Photo: Dave Lepori / El Teatro Campesino)

Thursday, Feb. 10 – Sunday, Mar. 13: El Teatro Campesino presents Valley of the Heart at San Jose Stage, San Jose
Dramatist Luis Valdez grew up on a ranch near San Jose, and only found out later that his family’s homestead had previously been owned by a Japanese-American family that had been sent to an internment camp following World War II. Many years on, Valdez (who made his name in the mid-1980s for the music biopic La Bamba) transformed this discovery into a Romeo & Juliet-like drama about a pair of struggling young lovers. When Ben Montano, who comes from a Latino family, falls in love with Japanese-American Teruko Yamaguchi, they struggle to stay together in the face of life-altering events, like the storming of Pearl Harbor and the threat of internment camps. Set in pre-tech Silicon Valley, when San Jose and Cupertino were surrounded by farms, the play reflects both Latino and Japanese cultures. “I think of this play as a Kabuki/Corrido because it blends both cultures,” Valdez says in an article about a 2014 workshop version of the production for the San Jose Mercury News. “I wanted to capture the multicultural fabric of life in this state.”

Hot Couture 2015 at The Crucible
Hot Couture 2015 at The Crucible (Photo: Heather Hryciw / The Crucible)

Friday, Feb. 12 – Saturday, Feb. 13: Hot Couture 2016 at The Crucible, Oakland
Now in its fourth year, this annual mashup of fashion and flames is at heart a wild work of performance art cunningly disguised as a runway show. What else can you expect from a production described as “Burning Man meets Cirque du Soleil”? 18 local fashion designers are working to produce more than 50 haute couture projects with industrial artists providing the fire effects to make the outlandish designs stand out. Look out for sprays of feathers, leather headpieces, and burning staffs. Bay Area radio music host Sterling James emcees the show, which also features a flamenco fire act from Fanna Ara, and live music and dance courtesy of Brazilian performance company Fogo Na Roupa, among other contributors.

Valentines Day Sock Hop presented by The Presidio Trust
Valentines Day Sock Hop presented by The Presidio Trust (Photo: Courtesy of The Presidio Trust)

Saturday, Feb. 13: Valentine’s Day Sock Hop at the Presidio Officers Club, San Francisco
What sweeter way to beckon in Valentine’s Day than with an old skool dance? The Presidio Trust’s Sock Hop takes you and your beau back to more innocent times, when “Mr. Sandman” was a perky hit for The Chordettes instead of the title of an unsettling graphic novel series, and grownups wore ribbons in their hair with no sense of irony. The event, back for a second year after the success of last February’s inaugural hop, features live music from The Ely Brothers and The Doubletake Band, dancing with the San Francisco Jitterbugs, and cocktails that will make you feel like you need a dashing chaperone in a ‘57 Chevy to bring you home.

And a few more promising performing arts events to keep you off the streets…

Thursday, Feb. 11 – Saturday, Feb. 13: Balloonacy at Cinnabar Theater, Petaluma

Friday, Feb. 12 – Sunday, Mar. 6: Shotgun Players present Blast Theatre Festival at the Ashby Stage, Berkeley

Saturday, Feb. 13 – Sunday, Feb. 14: Dana Michel’s Yellow Towel at Dance Mission, San Francisco

Author

Chloe Veltman

Chloe Veltman is senior arts editor at KQED.

 

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