Part of Summer 1991
Gwendolyn is hot stuff these days, what with her stage shows Merchants of Love and Hardcore packing them in at the last two Fringe Festivals, and her contribution to the NFB’s Five Feminist Minutes, Prowling By Night, being screened across Canada and abroad. Although she has recently gained wider audiences, Gwendolyn has actually been slugging away as a performer and filmmaker for many years. She has worked in both media to extend her work as a prostitutes’ rights activist into new territory and to voice her experiences as a stripper and sometimes whore. ‘Raunch Bouquet’ chronicles the fast talkin’, streetwise super-8 films Gwendolyn has been making for the past five years. As with her performance and other work, Gwendolyn has gone at making films in her own unique way. Her super-8’s use rough hand-made puppets, props and sets accompanied by hard-hitting live sound-tracks in a style that knocks down the boundaries between film and performance. ‘Raunch Bouquet’ will feature Gwendolyn performing her film sound-tracks live, and will include slide and performance interludes.
Up until the completion of Prowling By Night, her first 16mm production, all of Gwendolyn’s films were made for presentation within her stage shows or were commissioned for specific events. In ‘Raunch Bouquet’, Gwendolyn pulls this work together into a single program, tracing the development of her filmwork and giving viewers a chance to see some of her more rarely-screened efforts.
Gwendolyn started making films in 1986 when, along with other sex-trade workers, she was asked by A Space to make a movie for a show entitled ‘Towards an Erotic Film Language’. The result was Out of the Blue, a Cosy Porn and Variety Slut Show: “Cosy Porn so it wouldn’t sound scary. And Variety Slut ’cause the total budget for the film was, like, $300. There wasn’t enough money to pay people. Instead of professional sex, we did it for free. The premise of the film was what we find sexy.” These days, Gwendolyn is still placing the issues and politics of her community into a film context. She is part of a small but growing group of sex-trade workers (the best known of whom is probably Annie Sprinkle) who have become media activists. “I’m just tellin’ you what I know. I can’t speak for the other girls. I don’t want to be the whore who makes movies. I want to be one of the whores doin’ it. Film’s a way to get the information out…what we know talked about.” ‘Raunch Bouquet’ will present the following films and performance by Gwendolyn:
2 films from Merchants of Love (A sex worker’s experience in therapy):
Choice Boredom 10 min.
“She was my very first therapist. I was crazy about her.”
Katrinka 10 min.
Addiction, obsession, sex, violence.
Xcerpts from Out of the Blue 20 min. approx:
“If I told you I like pussy, you’d think I was talkin’ about my cat.”
“I’m not saying I’m a Goddess, but…”
Dope Den Sequence, and more juicy bits.
Pedagogy 15 min.
Political prostitutes demonstrate rubber in action. Play safe work safe: ‘ a message from the world’s oldest profession’.
Plus slides and performance interludes from Hardcore, etc.