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Mixing Business With Pleasure 

Catch the Sex Worker Film and Video Festival before Ashcroft outlaws fun

Wednesday, May 21 2003
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With Bush, Ashcroft, et al. surely planning to outlaw fun of any kind, what better way to honor the true "sweet science" than to attend the third San Francisco Sex Worker Film and Video Festival? This cinematic celebration of our streetwalkin', hand-jobbin', lap-dancin' pals of several genders covers a refreshingly wide range. For the many fans of expatriate Brazilian tranny ho communities in Italy, there's the fine short doc Travesti. Who knew that the granite-hard siliconed butts and breasts of the film's near-gals are irresistible to almost every straight Italian male? Henrique Goldman's underrated feature Princesa, about an expatriate Brazilian tranny in Italy, of all things, is also on view. More tranny prostitutes, these from Calcutta, appear in the doc Tales of the Night Fairies, though the focus here is more on the straight female whores. It's bracing to see them play kick-ass against corrupt authorities, antiquated laws, and bourgeois Indian feminists desperate to separate themselves from "trashy" sex workers.

Jennifer Blowdryer's collection of vignettes, Smut Fest, resurrects the ethos of the 1950s urban strip joint to varying effect. Some of the routines are simply mindless rehashes of old grindhouse acts; others offer stylish entertainment, notably "Kembra & Squeaky," a pair of comic crazies who spit and prance to the strains of a hook-heavy psychobilly number. The string of docs about the "real" world of commercial porn gets another entry with The Girl Next Door, a sweet yet sad portrait of noted porn queen Stacy Valentine. The anti-Stacy, the fabulous Juliana Piccillo, appears in I Was a Teenage Prostitute, which shows the happy side of whoredom in its revisiting of her brief, amusing career as a hand- jobber at a massage parlor at age 17.

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Gary Morris

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