Love Sex Death and Art

A year and a half ago, former proud prostitute and porn star Annie Sprinkle teamed up with her partner, UC Santa Cruz professor Elizabeth Stephens, and committed to doing art projects about love for seven consecutive years — and thus the Love Art Laboratory was formed. The centerpiece of Phase One of this experiment is a huge, soft bed (which gets plenty of use) surrounded by colorful lab equipment, test tubes, feather boas, and supporting performance artists in lab coats. Sprinkle and Stephens have an informal and infectious chemistry as they share and reenact stories from their relationship — and what stories they are! After snapping Polaroids of willing audience members' naked breasts ("It's art, not porn"), they dive under the covers with a night-vision video camera and project live footage of their wild lovemaking. The desire to candidly document their adventurous lives and make every moment (even the painful ones) into art is what bonds these two and provides the substance of the show. Whether they're throwing a dance contest to choose a sperm donor, staging live four-hour kiss exhibits in museums, or making collages out of breast cancer radiation X-rays, the pair doesn't shy away from getting personal. While the show is shocking, the obvious and gregarious love these two share imbues the evening with a generous amount of sweetness and hope.

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