YALE/NYC TOUR Part III: Education, Celebration and Controversy at SEX WEEK at YALE 2008
The Climax: Skull & Boned at Toad’s
Obviously, after seeing porn at the Yale Law School, we needed to release…
The Toad is much bigger now, having gobbled up a few neighboring units like, well, like a toad swallows flies. The main area is so huge, it’s easy to get lost. We wiggled through the crowd up to the VIP lounge where our friend Michael Blum ’95 and a bunch of revelers were waiting for us with beverages and smiles. We shmoozed and boozed with professors and porn stars, Yalies and townies. I chatted with Mating Intelligence researcher Scott Barry Kaufman and found out we both grew up in Lower Merion.
Four scantily clad young ladies gathered around, eager to join in on whatever we were doing. “You go to Yale?” I asked. They nodded vigorously, maybe a little too vigorously. “What residential college are you in?”
This was a test question (which any Yalie could answer in a half-second), and these girls broke up into embarrassed giggles, then confessed, “We don’t go to Yale. We’re from Quinippiac!!”
I tried not to sound patronizing as I replied, “That’s okay.” Quinippiac is a small private university in Hamden, a town just outside of New Haven. I remember when I was a student, certain Yale boys would go out with Quinippiac girls who seemed so much more relaxed, easy-going and less complicated (all of which often translates into “sexier”) than Yale girls.
But there were plenty of sexy Yale girls at Toad’s, including the charming Audrey Webster ’09 and vivacious SWAY Assistant Director Jacquie Coe ‘09, plus a bunch of hot hockey players and a contingent from the football team.
Everybody danced, romanced and fantasized about the captain of the football team making it with Savanna Samson who looked like the ultimate hot cheerleader. Exhilarated by his controversial appearance that night at the Law School, porn director Paul Thomas (PT) declared that he was now ready to teach a seminar at Yale.
Somebody led a bunch of us out onto the stage where we boogied in back of Savanna and a Conga line of Quinnipiac girls and townies, with a sprinkling of intrepid Bulldogs.
Marinating in the warm fuzzy fellowship feeling that the great god Bacchus bestows, Yalies and Quinnipiacers forgot their differences, embraced, grinned like inebriated fools, and felt the power and glory of positive connection. Praise be to the Power & Glory of Sex Week at Yale! We are all Brothers and Sisters, Lovers and Sinners. Hallelujah! It was a euphoric moment of communal ecstasy, impossible to describe without sounding utterly goofy, but as great an achievement for Sex Week at Yale as the lectures and panels, maybe even the climax of The Week.
The Afterglow: Saybrook Master’s Tea
If the Toad’s Experience was the climax of Sex Week, my Saybrook Master’s Tea the next day was the afterglow, the cozy, intimate pillow talk after the orgiastic fireworks.
Personally, these are the moments I love best, suspended in the afterglow of sex, when I’m really relaxed, with all that oxytoxin flowing through my system, my mind now stable enough to savor the benefits of what my body just did, my spirit floating on waves of pleasure and peace.
This was my second Master’s Tea.
Yale is filled with Masters. And we’re not even talking about the secret societies yet. Of course, in the sexuality field, when people talk about a Master, we think of a big guy in leather looming over us with a whip. At Yale, a Master is the distinguished leader of one of the undergraduate school’s twelve residential “colleges,” each housing about 250 students, a dining hall, library, theater, seminar rooms and other amenities, modeled along the lines of Cambridge and Oxford, to provide the friendly feeling of a small college along with the opportunities of a world-class university. When I was a student, a Master was always a Mister. Nowadays, Yale has female Masters, and they don’t call them Mistresses (that would be too kinky); they call them Masters.
One of them is Master Mary Miller, Vincent Scully Professor of the History of Art, avid squash player and mom. Master Miller presides over Saybrook, one of the oldest, most beautiful residential colleges at Yale, its gracious courtyards flanking one side of Yale’s Great Gothic Phallus, kingly Harkness Tower.
As Saybrook was my college at Yale, I am always delighted to revisit its castle-like architecture infused with homey ambiance.
For my first Master’s Tea at SWAY ’04, I talked about “Sex at Yale.” This time, I spoke about “Sex & God.” It was Sex & Spirituality Sunday, and we spent the day grappling with this most slippery, emotional and political of subjects.
I outlined my talk in my Valentine/Lupercalia Bloggamy, so please give that a good read, if you haven’t already, to get the gist of what I talked about. As always, the Doc Johnson Pocket Rockets were a big hit and the perfect icon (Drop Pocket Rockets, Not Patriot Missiles). It was a great honor and pleasure to sit again in Master Miller’s gracious and spacious living room, addressing some of the brightest and most privileged young adults on the planet (Saybrook won the Gimble Cup for the higest overall GPA at Yale last year) on matters of Sex & God as they thoughtfully sipped Earl Grey tea and munched on sugar cookies, and the chimes of great Harkness reminded us that we were in heaven.
The Lover’s Quarrel: Sex & Spirituality Panel
If Toad’s was the climax of The Week, and my Master’s Tea was the sweet afterglow, the “Sex & Spirituality” Panel after the Tea was the lover’s quarrel after the afterglow. This was one of those SWAY ’08 cases of right-on intentions, off-balanced chemistry. Good panel chemistry is tricky to create. It’s as important as relationship chemistry, but different. Unlike a relationship, fellow panelists don’t need to love each other to make a great panel. They don’t even need to agree; in fact, it’s better when they don’t. But they should have the right balance of controversy and conviviality, disparity and respect.
The Sex & Spirituality Panel was out of balance in more ways than one. First, there was the religious background imbalance: All five panelists were Jewish, or at least, had been Jewish. When Joe had told me the panel composition a week before SWAY, I’d warned him that there were “too many Jews” for a panel that is supposed to address a broad spectrum of points of view on Sex & Spirituality for a student body that is mostly Christian, as well as Muslim, Hindu, etc. I must confess I felt awkward and politically incorrect about saying this, especially to a student, but I was trying to head off that imbalance . Joe agreed and sent out invitations to religious organizations and Yale Chaplains in Christian denominations, as well as the Muslim and Hindu faiths. None of the chaplains responded, except one rabbi.
So there we were, Stevie Jay, a Jewish performance artist; Dr. Judith Kuriansky, a JewBu (Jewish Buddhist) media psychologist; Dawn Eden, a Jewish-born rock journalist (originally Dawn Eden Goldstein) who converted to Catholicism, found chastity and became a Born-Again Virgin, Jane Bernard, a Jewish writer about intuition, and me, the token Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobo. Dawn Eden called me a “lapsed Jew” in her blog. I don’t consider myself “lapsed;” I prefer “evolved.” I wonder if Dawn Eden Goldstein would call herself a “lapsed Jew.” More likely, she believes she has gone “beyond” Judaism in her acceptance of Jesus Christ. Jesus is her rock star now. One more Jewish panelist, Slifka Center Rabbi James Ponet, didn’t even join the panel, but stayed in the audience. Maybe he thought there were already too many Jews on the panel. Or perhaps he just felt safer this way.
Living legendary WOR-AM (710) New York radio personality Joey Reynolds was the moderator. Joey is a really sweet and very cool guy, but he didn’t seem prepared to discuss, let alone moderate this panel. Maybe it was because of all the Jews he saw before him, but he started things off with a Never-Ending Story about Al Goldstein, yet another Jew in Sex. It seemed unrelated, or was Al Goldstein actually Dawn Eden Goldstein’s Uncle Al? It was beginning to feel like a semitic-erotic conspiracy…
The Jewish Question aside for a moment, it was great to see Dr. Judy again after so many years ago, when we met on “The LA Morning Show,” where I was promoting my first book “Advertising for Love” (Morrow) that forecast the personal ad revolution still raging on the Internet today, and she was just emerging as a media psychologist. Now she’s an expert in Tantra. When Joey introduced her, she hopped up to the lectern and gave a power point presentation that seemed a bit out of place since the rest of us were just there to talk. But I like Dr. Judy; she’s got a good, practical but loving, down-to-earth approach to sex and spirituality, and she had the chutzpah to bring along some kind of animal penis fossil that she passed around the class.
Stevie Jay refuses to be labeled, and well he shouldn’t be. He’s the kind of guy you feel more comfortable hugging than shaking hands. He started out by gently chastising Dawn for calling him “gay” in her blog, then went into a performance arty description of a spiritual/sexual outercourse experience he had with one of his fans. Jane talked about the communal ecstasy of love-ins, her voice warm and a little woozy, as if she were just emerging from the afterglow of the 1970s.
And then there was Dawn Eden Goldstein, the Jew who converted to Christianity, who had, in fact, become more Christian than most Christians, more Catholic than most Catholics, and substantially holier than thou. While the others on the panel had evolved from Jewish upbringings toward an even more relaxed, sensuous spirituality, Dawn had taken the opposite path into the punishing dogmas of chastity. It was tough for the rest of us JewBu types not to gang up on her, especially when she said Sex Week didn’t present any events about relationships. What about Relationship Monday with Dr. Pepper Schwartz and Dr. Ruth? I had devoted a portion of my “Sex & God” Master’s Tea to relationships, marriage and how to make love everlasting. But of course, these were three more Jews talking about relationships. Oy!
Dawn did make a valid point when she said it looked like Sex Week at Yale was sponsored by pornographers. Calling Saturday “Vivid Day” was not a brilliant idea. Ironically, Vivid had given no money to SWAY, but simply “absorbed the cost” of sending their CEO and stars to Yale. Interestingly, the Church and Nightline “absorbed the cost” of The Great Porn Debate. Maybe there was a little too much Porn and too much Church in SWAY ’08.
But there was nowhere near enough Church for Dawn. She complained that Sex Week wasn’t expressing her point of view, even though she was an invited speaker. She seemed so fragile, the chaste girl among the heathens. She used her own personal life as a constant barometer; at one point, stating authoritatively that long before she “realized that masturbation was sinful,” she found it “depressing.” She then concluded that after masturbating, “people” feel depressed. Well, at least she didn’t say “people” go blind or grow hair on their palms.
Still, I felt obliged to clarify. “Certain people feel depressed. Depressed people feel depressed.” Most people, of course, feel better. Masturbation takes the edge off, relieves stress, frustration and physical as well as mental congestion, helps you to discover the deepest pleasure points in your body and mind, lets you sleep, can be sex educational, inspirational and even spiritually healing.
I was about to say all this when suddenly, I heard Dawn snapping at me, “Lay off the ad hominems” after I said that people who feel depressed after masturbation are generally depressed people. I hadn’t meant to say that she was depressed, but since she brought it up, well… She did seem like she was ready to burst into tears – or sue me – so I just left it alone. Maybe I should have gone on the attack and said if she’s going to extrapolate from her own personal post-orgasmic depression to say that “masturbation leads to depression,” then she’s inviting ad hominems galore. But I didn’t. I’m a lover, not a fighter. I wasn’t out to hurt the woman’s feelings. I was just saying that masturbation isn’t inherently depressing any more than other kinds of sex. Depressed people get depressed after all kinds of sex, including marital sex.
One reason why some people feel depressed after masturbation is that they believe what their religion has told them: that masturbation is wrong. These folks spank their monkeys like everybody else, at least occasionally, but they feel tremendous guilt and shame about it, because they are doing something their culture frowns upon. Some religions, such as Catholicism, are more vehemently against masturbation than others, promising an eternity of hellfire for just one little wank. Perhaps Dawn’s depression is, in part, a form of shame, thanks to her conversion to Catholicism which, for centuries, has induced a strong sense of shame in masturbation and other forms of sexuality to maintain control over its flock at the deepest levels of emotion.
Dr. Judy corrects Dawn’s sex disinformation
Dr. Judy declared that Dawn’s contention that masturbation causes depression was outrageous. But Dawn was undaunted. She tried to be “scientific” about it, carefully explaining that orgasm releases oxytocin, which is sometimes called the “cuddle hormone.” Therefore, she concluded, if you are masturbating by yourself with no one to cuddle, you will get depressed.
EXCEPT that oxytocin is about much more than cuddling. It’s about pleasure. It’s a natural pain-killer, relaxant and confidence booster. It makes you feel better, whether you’re cuddling your lover, yourself or your pillow. It’s released in a woman’s bloodstream during the birthing process, stimulating contractions and easing the pain, and it helps with breastfeeding. Oxytocim is also released through orgasm, through masturbation as well as other kinds of sex, creating that feeling of euphoria, well-being, relaxation, tranquil power, the after-glow. Sure, oxytocin can make you want to cuddle, especially if you’re next to someone cuddly. But it can also just make you feel good, all by your cuddly loveable self. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
Also, everybody masturbates, or almost everybody, and not everybody is depressed. Moreover, as George Carlin said, if God had intended us not to masturbate, He would have make our arms shorter.
As long as we’re getting personal, let me say I have enjoyed many an oxytocin highs with my husband, other lovers and all by myself. And it concerned me to hear that Dawn was actively avoiding oxytocin like it was HIV. I wondered if consistantly low oxytocin levels lead to depression. I tried to give Dawn a Pocket Rocket, but she refused to take it. I told her she didn’t have to use it on her genitals (though Jesus never said there was anything wrong with vibrators.). If she couldn’t bear to use it on her vulva, she could use it on her aching back or shoulders cramped from blogging. Vibrators or “massagers” are marvelous for releasing all kinds of tension, sexual and otherwise.
Dawn looked at my Pocket Rocket like it was a pocket knife. In the restroom before the panel, she had confessed to me that she had some back problems that a vibrator might really help, but she “could not” take this gift from me, though she did take my 10 Commandments of Pleasure, once I assured her that there were no naked pictures inside. I was tempted to say, “My child, take the Pocket Rocket, and say three Hail Maries,” but I let her go.
Why wouldn’t she take the vibrator, even though she acknowledged needing it for her back? Must her whole body suffer for the sake of chastity? Or is it publicity? Her body would probably love it, and her spirit too. But her Church Group supporters would not appreciate news of Dawn Eden accepting a Pocket Rocket from Dr. Suzy. For the Chastity Queen of the Church Group and College Circuit, this was a sponsorship gig, her sponsors being the Yale Christian Fellowship, part of InterVarsity, and Yale Students for Christ, to be, in her words, the “token chastity advocate.” Did they also “absorb the cost”?
Dawn’s book is called “The Thrill of the Chaste.” I have just barely cracked it open, so to speak, though I’ve already blogged about the lighter side of chastity: the art of the tease. But Dawn’s idea of being “chaste” is much more pious than seductive teasing, which brings up the darker side of the chastity fetish: hypocrisy. Let’s compare the trajectory of Dawn’s life so far to another chastity zealot: Saint Augustine of Hippo. I don’t think she’d be offended by this comparison; in fact, she may well be delighted, since Augustine was one of the theological Fathers of the Catholic Church who elevated the state of chastity to a great virtue, and celibacy to an even higher virtue. Prior to him, most Pagans and Jews considered celibacy more of an eccentricity or inconvenience.
Chastity came late in life to both Augustine and Dawn who seem to have experienced plenty of pre-marital sex in their twenties and early thirties. Augustine spent his youth enjoying many hedonistic escapades (of which his wealthy Catholic mother disapproved) with the 4th century AD equivalent of “sluts,” one of whom was his concubine for 15 years. Likewise, Dawn alludes to having had various lusty, though unrewarding sexual encounters, as would be expected of a reasonably cute blonde rock writer.
Somewhere in their mid-thirties, both Dawn and Augustine burned out on all the sex. Dawn seems to have gotten tired of the rock ‘n sex lifestyle, as many rockers do when they inevitably age; then she reinvented herself into a Catholic Born-Virgin Jew for Jesus. Augustine dumped his girlfriend and converted to Catholicism when his mom threatened to disinherit him if he didn’t. Both Dawn and Augustine chose the path of “chastity,” i.e., no sex (including masturbation). In Augustine’s case, this meant celibacy from then on, while Dawn expects to have sex again when she gets married some day. Chastity is a legitimate personal choice, especially for people who were sex fiends in their youth. The problem I have with both Augustine and Dawn is that they insist that this is the only virtuous path for everybody. And then there is the hypocrisy. They tell young people “Don’t do as I did. Do as I say,” even though one vital reason they appreciate chastity in middle age is because they sowed their wild oats when they were younger.
They also seem intent on turning Sex Week at Yale into Chastity Week. Or Marriage Week. Maybe they’ll settle for Relationship Week. This is what bugs me about religious crusaders. I don’t have a problem with people practicing their religion, just as I don’t mind when people indulge their fetishes. But when religious zealots try to convert the perceived heathens and enemies of God, that’s usually when the bloodshed begins.
A female student in the front row asked the panel why there weren’t more relationship-oriented events during The Week. Without much in the way of moderation, all of us panelists talked over each other, trying to answer her in a big cacophonous JewBu mess. Then SWAY founder Eric Rubenstein strode to the front of the class and verbally jumped on this sweet-faced female student, telling her that she shouldn’t be asking the panelists a question like this; she should come to the meeting the next day and pose it to the students who planned Sex Week. Of course, it wasn’t Eric’s place to jump on any student for asking a question, and he soon realized his mistake and apologized. Freedom of Speech goes both ways. But let’s be fair. This wasn’t just any sweet-faced female student questioning the curriculum. This was a “plant,” a conservative Christian blogger named Nicola, there to support Dawn Eden, and, in her own words, to “offend,” and perhaps disrupt Sex Week at Yale.
Then Carlo, a former Catholic who was “tortured by nuns” and later converted to Judaism, raised his hand from the back of the lecture hall and asked Dawn an obscure yet poignant question about why so many unbaptized babies and Jews were still languishing in limbo. Dawn recoiled from the question as if he’d asked what kind of underwear Pope Benedict has on under his dress. Limbo is obviously not on her Collegiate Chastity Talking Points. After all, limbo (a Catholic theological concept created by St. Augustine of Hippo) may not be part of Church doctrine, only part of their scare tactics.
Shortly after limbo and before the end of time, Joey decided we’d had enough. We then disintegrated into smaller groups to continue quarrelling, snapping photos of each other holding our books, penis fossiles and calendars, or bloviating before the cameras of the always congenial Sex Week: the Movie students.
Then the Lord (and/or Lady) brought forth torrents of rain, thunder and frizzy hair, so I took my little entourage of hot men across Old Campus and past Claire’s Corner Copia to the Owl Shop Smoke Lounge on 268 College Street, “smokin’ since 1934.”
Actually, first we ate at the Anchor Diner next door, then went to the Owl to drink, smoke, dance, whip willing buns in honor of the Lupercalian Bun-Whipping Season, and take the Sex & Spirituality conversation to a higher level.
What a cool place, a little bit like the Speakeasy, and just a few steps from Yale. I danced with all my marvelous men, then we ran through the rain, vamping like Jules & Jim in front of the old Tomb of Skull & Bones.
Sharing the Pleasure
In the afterglow, with the oxytocin flowing, we yearned to share the pleasure. We wanted to give something back to Mother Yale. Not that we’re the Harkness family here, but we felt the urge to donate. Why not start with Saybrook? Our guest suite had all kinds of wonderful amenities, Victorian dressers, shelves of books by Yalies, fireplace, couch, chairs and coffee table, but no desk, no place to comfortably keep our laptop. So we went up Broadway, stopped at the Campus Customs Boola-Boola Shop, then picked up a nice little computer desk at the Yale Bookstore which we carried back to Saybrook. We were a sight, strolling down Broadway carrying a desk, but it fit perfectly in the bedroom between the windows overlooking the courtyard, and its wood matched the wood of the floor.
On Broadway, we ran into Stevie Jay, and (of course) hugged him, then hung out for a while, continuing the Sex & Spirituality conversation, wandering through the amazing Sterling Memorial Library, and ogling gargoyles, chimera and architectural oddities, including a carving of a student drinking beer, smoking a cigarette and looking at a “girly” magazine that I remembered Dr. Wesley Needham, one of my instructor’s and Yale’s architects, showing me in my student days. Then, it was a secret treasure. Now, it’s on the Internet.
We also sat in on the last event of The Week on Safe Sex Monday, a look at America’s Sexual Health through the Trojan Condoms “Evolve” campaign with Trojan Group Product Manager David A. Johnson. Here at The Dr. Susan Block Show, we feel like we’re part of the extended Trojan family since most of the Condomania condoms that we use and giveaway are Trojans.
At the same time, in the room next door, Dawn was giving an insurgent “Chastity” lecture to a handful of people that had no relation to Sex Week, and directly competed with the Trojan event. Who says a student interested in chastity might not also want to learn about condoms? Eric wasn’t happy about the conflict, but being the peacemaker that he is, he wanted to find common ground for the sake of future Sex Weeks, so he attended Dawn’s lecture instead of the Trojan talk. She appreciated it, which probably portends more chastity in Sex Week 2010, so Dawn and I may well meet again. Oy.
Later that night, I got a googlealert that Dawn had blogged about me. Whoa, Miss Chastity is fast. I’d barely been able to check my email since the panel, and she’d already blogged about the whole event in misleading, self-serving, gory detail. Well, when you’re chaste, you don’t have much to do besides blog when you get home. I’d been having sex, as well as dancing, drinking, smoking and donating a desk. I got to hand it to her: she’s quick with the spin. She’s also a nasty little thing. The Chaste One spits fire and brimstone. Maybe it’s because she’s not getting her fair share of oxytocin, but Dawn seems to take a kind of obsessive pleasure in criticizing every little detail about me she could come up with, from my Lust et Veritas Thong to my Lupercalian whip (made by Gene) to the fact that I was wearing “Yale blue…Marian colors” to my multiple blasphemies. My bloggamy was her blasphemy. I was really trying to like Dawn (she said, gritting her teeth) and welcome her into the Big Tent of Sex Week at Yale and the general sexual liberation that is going on around the world and that is, despite the vicious backlashes of various militant fundamentalist religions, getting more liberated every day.
But she was out for blood. Then it “dawned” on me: It’s the Christian way.
Perspective: Blasphemy and Bloggamy
“She called me a blasphemer!” I announced indignantly. Carlo laughed at me for even hoping that someone who works for the Church would say anything “nice” about a “Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobo.” I felt like the SWAY students must have felt about Fox TV. I also felt like maybe I should heed my own counsel. Here I’d been lecturing the students like a schoolteacher about how you have to be tough: When you do work in the sexuality field that is worthy of an ‘A’ according to some, you’re bound to receive an ‘F’ from somebody else. Not to mention get called all kinds of names.
It IS tough to take these ungodly insults, even from obvious prudes and fundamentalist loonies. Since my recent near-death experience, I know better than to fear false gods or God(s). Still, Dawn’s slurs sting the little girl within me who felt cold spit on her hot face when called “Kike” by a couple of young thugs for Christ back in the old schoolyard.
The sad and kind of ironic part of this “Lover’s Quarrel” is that I really do love the Bible – Old and New Testaments – as much as any of these religious folks. I just don’t believe it’s the “Word of God” or a Truth above other truths. I love it as Western culture’s most influential work of literature, with some passages that I would consider erotic literature, such as the Song of Songs, the Book of Esther, and yes, in a bizarre, sadomasochistic way, Jesus suffering, almost naked, outstretched upon the Cross, for our sins.
That’s another thing we have in common: We’re all sinners, Dawn and me, Carlo and Eric, and everybody else at Yale and in the world. Whatever Jesus died or didn’t die for, we’re all brothers and sisters, lovers and sinners. And we are all Children of Sex. We may or may not be Children of God, Jesus or Allah or Buddha or Brahmaramadana, but we are all Children of Sex, reaching out, taking risks, making mistakes, loving one another, hurting one another, forgiving one another, and struggling to make sense of our not always sensible sex lives.
Sex Week at Yale ’08 was an Ivy Revolution in Higher Sex Education, the biggest SWAY yet. With nine days of speakers and thousands of students attending events, it was also the most controversial. Words were exchanged, but no blows were thrown. Despite the Skull & Bonehead currently in the White House, most of us Yalies prefer Weapons of Mass Discussion to Destruction. It was my honor and pleasure to be a part of the SWAY Discussion once again. At the end of our tea, Master Miller graciously asked me back for the next SWAY, and I’m already looking forward to 2010. I think I’d like to talk about Relationships this time. Or maybe Carlo and I will give a talk about Marriage.
If you’d like to get more information and support future Sex Weeks at Yale, going into its fifth year in 2010, click here. Or call our office at 213.749.1330, and ask for Carlo.
Hannah in Babeland
We flew back to LA just in time for a more So Cali approach to the subject of sexuality: A Sex & Dating panel at Babeland in Hollywood for our friend Dorota Skrzpek chic new book Sex, Life & Hannah.
This panel was more like a party. We weren’t molding the minds of the future leaders of the world. We were just sharing pleasure and advice about sex, love and hooking up.
There wasn’t a religious fanatic or anti-sex feminist on the premises.
True, I was “preaching to the choir,” a bit like a beach vacation after all the stress, controversy, rain, snow, fire and brimstone of Back East.
With Hannah Hotties in Babeland
Though I adore the cerebral challenges of Mother Yale, it felt good to come home to the more sensuous life of LA.
Tao Ruspoli’s FIX
A few days later, Teri and I went to a USC screening of Tao Ruspoli’s new film “Fix,” based on the true story of his relationship with his brother, featuring his stunning wife Olivia Wilde (niece of my Counterpunch publisher Alex Cockburn) and the casually gorgeous Shawn Andrews.
It was exciting enough to run into Mercedes McNab of Buffy fame when we arrived, but the movie itself (written by Tao and Jeremy Fels) is a marvelous cinematic journey, layered with pathos, humor, emotion and redemption.
With Mercedes McNab at Screening of “Fix”
It’s about a documentary filmmaker (Tao playing himself but called Milo) trying to raise the cash to get his drug addict brother out of prison and into rehab, a particularly timely subject with the recent news that the United States leads the world in both the number and percentage of residents it incarcerates, with more than one in 100 adults (and one in nine black men) in jail or prison, leaving far-more-populous China a distant second, according to a study by the nonpartisan Pew Center on the States. Fix also has excellent, mind-boggling editing (Paul Forte) and simply delicious cinematography (Tao and Gallo), filled with an intoxicating variety of eye and ear candy flavors, capturing the many beautiful and scary neighborhoods, freeways and faces of LA.
Purim Easter Bacchanal: 3/22
Speaking of LA, don’t miss our Spring Equinox Purim Easter Bacchanal on Saturday night, March 22. Make your reservations now. Come blaspheme with us Jewish Pagan Ethical Hedonist Bonobos and other sinners, and ring in the spring…