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PORNOTOPIA: Porn Festival Uncensored

Pornotopia 2013 screens in Albuquerque, New Mexico November 1st. The festival includes Jennifer Lyon Bell‘s Matinee, and select scenes from Tight Places: A Drop of Color, Heavenly Spire (Ned), and CrashPadSeries Volume 6. For tickets and more information, visit selfservetoys.com. We interviewed Self Serve’s Molly Adler about the event that almost didn’t happen. 

Pornotopia recently won a Supreme Court Ruling allowing it to continue its festival this year. Were you worried about the outcome? How much work was it to go through with the trial and what does it mean for the sex-positive community that the work has been allowed to screen? 

Molly: I was definitely surprised and grateful for the State Supreme Court decision. The decision contained some refreshing common sense pointing out that showing adult films once a year doesn’t turn the theater into an adult establishment. The court was clear: hosting one erotic film festival, on one weekend of the year does not make the Guild Theater an “adult amusement establishment,” just like a club that plays jazz music once a year would not become a “jazz club.”

Tight Places: A Drop of Color

Tight Places: A Drop of Color

Self Serve has created and produced Pornotopia Film Festival, but the theater and the theater owner were the ones really ‘on trial’ during this whole ideal. We were very lucky to have the support of the New Mexico ACLU since the beginning. While the justice system moves slowly, we were anxiously awaiting decision after decision at the local level, at appeals then the State Supreme Court level. We saw judges at the lower courts both agree that our festival did in fact break the law as written. What was frustrating was that the judges did not at first consider the issues of free speech at all. Only the Supreme Court Justices actually acknowledged that the way the zoning law was applied was too broad and not logical.
I am thrilled we are safe to host our festival again.

CrashPadSeries Volume 6

CrashPadSeries Volume 6

What are the challenges of curating Pornotopia? 
Molly: Pornotopia is a community driven event. We seek volunteers to help us represent the diversity of sexuality out there. The screening committee helps select porn that is diverse, relatable, independently made and shows real pleasure. The community helps select films and we collectively pick out the best scenes to showcase.

There are unique challenges, also, in managing the ideals of representing many different experiences and preferences. We also learned after the first year it is not ideal to show feature-length films from start to finish. People don’t watch porn like that, so it is super awkward to sit in a theater for over an hour watching one film (with no fast forward button). Some shorter films we do show from start to finish – like Matinee by Jennifer Lyon Bell at Blue Artichoke Films. This is a short film that is all about the build up, so seeing it in full is the only way to see it. On the other hand, we select some scenes from full-length DVDs so that we see more variety in each set.

Matinee

This year’s festival will be somewhat compact, because we were only able to have a one-day event with our short notice of legal changes. Next year’s festival will be an entire weekend, in which we have time to show even more films.

The legal challenge and not knowing how the law would be enforced was certainly our number one challenge in years past. Now that we are legally cleared to have Pornotopia Film Festival again, we have surpassed that significant challenge.

It’s clear that Self Serve Toys values free speech and sexual expression. How does the festival align with the store’s mission? 

Molly: That’s a great question!  Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center is a brick and mortar store in Albuquerque, NM. We believe in creating a safe, guilt-free space where all different kinds of adults can find more pleasure in life, get sex and relationship questions answered and be themselves. Self Serve is the only women-owned and education-based sex shop in New Mexico. We meet people where they’re at and help them find more joy — whether it’s purchasing their first vibrator, learning how to use a condom, finding their gender identity or learning how to be a better lover.

Much like the store, Pornotopia Film Festival fosters a safe space for exploring diverse sexualities on the big screen. Unlike in mainstream Hollywood films or old-school, misogynist porn, Pornotopia supports people with natural boobies, people of size, people of color, transgender folks, more gender diversity and real orgasms. Many folks never see themselves represented in mainstream movies or porn, and we showcase films that fill that gap. We also celebrate more woman filmmakers, LGBTQ filmmakers, and underrepresented people of color in porn. At the theater, we announce our intention to provide a safe space during movies. We encourage audiences not to “yuck someone else’s yum” and try to make sure everyone is comfortable with expressing their enthusiasm for the films. It’s an empowering and fun experience when a theater of over 100 people clap after a big orgasm on the big screen!

These sorts of spaces are sadly still very unique in American culture. For many folks, Self Serve and the community around the store and Pornotopia are a place to feel normal, empowered and sexy.

Ned, Heavenly Spire

Find Self Serve Toys and learn about the Self Serve Sexuality Resource Center

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The post Happy Valentine’s Day! CrashPad’s NSFW Sex Toy Shopping Guide appeared first on CrashPad Series.