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A peek into Peep Show’s porn screening 

You’re invited, as the second-annual showcase of queer and feminist pornography lights up the screen.

click to enlarge Jacques LeFemme and Papi Coxxx dismantle the patriarchy in episode 163 of The Crash Pad.
  • Jacques LeFemme and Papi Coxxx dismantle the patriarchy in episode 163 of The Crash Pad.

Jean Ketterling doesn't want to anyone to get the wrong idea.

"It's a porn screening," she says. "I think that's important to put that out there. We're very explicit about the fact that you will be seeing explicit content."

Ketterling, on behalf of the Rad Pride Collective, is organizing this year's Peep Show

---an annual celebration of queer and feminist porn taking place at Gottingen Street's (((Parentheses))) Gallery on Monday evening. The progressive celebration of smut showcases sexy films outside the often-problematic world of mainstream pornography.

"It allows us to change these heteronormative, cis-sexist images that are spewed everywhere," Ketterling says. "All this shitty media in the world... I don't believe the solution to that is to say we don't need it, or we don't want it. It's to resist it---to push back against it and reclaim it. To twist it for our own political wills."

Last year, some 40 people attended the inaugural Peep Show, which saw the windows at One Block Barbershop taped up, lest some impressionable child catch an eyeful of the action. This year's event, sponsored by San Francisco-based queer porn filmmakers Pink and White Productions (home to the famous Crash Pad series), will offer community-suggested clips of performers whose skin colour, body size or disability isn't usually embraced by the porn industry.

"It's just different," says Ketterling of the images on display. "That depiction of those people being sexual is so important because our society has a tendency to desexualize anyone who's not straight, cis-sexual, white, thin."

Mainstream pornography's gleeful embrace of a racist, fat-phobic and sexist culture is why Ketterling feels Peep Show is a needed presence at Pride.

"The reason we create this space at Rad Pride is to push back against that. To basically say, 'We think what you're doing is shit. Here's some better stuff.'"

The event comes at a pivotal time in how Canada thinks about sex. As the House of Commons justice committee looks to redefine sex and labour with Bill C-36, it's important to think consciously about how we want our porn to be produced. For Ketterling, a key aspect of feminist porn is that those involved are treated fairly---always actively consenting and being paid well.

"When feminists and queer folks have control over the porn, in terms of production, we know they're talking to the performers and treating the performers the way they want to be treated."

Peep Show, which is free and accessible to anyone over 18, is a way to promote those practices. Though Ketterling does caution, the event might feel a bit strange at first.

"It can be a weird experience, watching porn in public. I think it's a really fun and interesting thing to do... It just changes the dynamic, people laughing at things, or whispering."

Yes, it'll address serious issues faced by marginalized communities seeking to push back against an oppressive media. But don't worry, the event will still be exciting. It is porn, after all.

"It's going to be fun. It's going to be sexy. It is sex. People should expect that."


The Rad Pride Collective presents Peep Show: Queer and Feminist Porn Screening Monday, July 21 at 8pm
Parentheses Gallery, 2168 Gottingen St
https://www.facebook.com/events/1490102541207214/?ref=22

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