Take the best queer bookshop in the Southern hemisphere, add a handful of erotica writers, a dash of luscious burlesque flesh, a sassy MC with green hair and enhanced boobs and an eclectic audience and what do you get?
Due to an unplanned babysitting offer I had the great fortune to go to the second Saucy event last Saturday evening. Hosted by Hares & Hyenas in Fitzroy and presented by Little Raven Publishing and Va Va Boombah Fat Burlesque, Saucy is a quintessentially Melbourne event.
It’s quirky, interesting, a little bit challenging and a whole lot of fun. Where else would you see a show opened by a gorgeously Rubenesque gal singing Phantom of the Opera on ukulele (Hissy Loco), followed by a matter-of-fact tale of sexual mathematics told my a man in shadows?
My fair (and ever more crowded) city has a long history of playing host to this kind of fringe event - my favourite kind of event – ever! The performers at Saucy are not household names, they are not fodder for the masses, but they are talented and unique. These people sit outside the predictable square and deliver open-minded, honest and utterly unapologetic entertainment.
Little Raven Publishing director, Van Roberts, had the idea in collaboration with Aimee Nichols, co-founder of Va Va Boombah following the launch of Little Raven One where the burlesque girls stole the show. They decided the highs and lows of burlesque and spoken word complimented each other and having seen it myself I’m inclined to agree.
Roberts draws authors and readings from the small publishing house’s cache of writers. The style and subjects of the erotic readings are as diverse and inspired as the big girl burlesque performances interspersed between them. On Saturday we had the gay man’s theory of tops and bottoms (Andy Murdoch), an illicit encounter against a stable wall with a Laplander (Van Roberts), lickable lesbian beat poetry (Brigette Lewis), National Geographic inspired dance halls (Jock Read-Hill) and self lovin’ porn (Ankur van der Woude read by Talia Eilon).
An attentive audiences sipped wine as Saucy unfolded its delicious erotic scenes, convincingly read. Words are emphasized with sighs, gyrations and tender touches, as well as humour, vivid imagery and the odd clever twist. In between the always-sexy-plus-size gals from Va Va Boombah dish up respectable burlesque on a shimmering tu-tu. (It’s a refreshing change these performers don’t get ALL their gear off.) The performances are inventive and wild with plenty of tease and Harlotte Bronte left many of us gagging for more juicy snakes pulled from unbelievable places!
Saucy was fun, but what I enjoyed most about the evening was its diversity in both performance and attitude. Saucy is as much a salute to the variety of human erotic experience, and vulnerability, as it is to erotica itself. Difference is not just tolerated at Saucy, it’s encouraged and celebrated. It doesn’t matter what your sexual orientation, your dress code, your kink, your pain or pleasure – Saucy embraces it all – with gusto.
Live readings of erotic fiction are rare in Australia but their popularity is building. Adelaide Dymocks has hosted two well attended Sex in Words events this year, the first of which I was lucky enough to be part of. Little Raven Publishing is doing its bit to garner a following for spoken erotic word events in Melbourne.
And if you think these kinds of events are only attended by trench coat wearing perverts think again. There is nothing grubby about them, quite the opposite. The atmosphere feels fun and clean, sex without the hang ups or the shameful morning after, if you will. And the best part is the opportunity to enjoy the written erotic word in a whole new way.
So keep your eyes and ears peeled on Facebook and websites for an erotic spoken word event near you and don’t be shy. Get yourself a friend or two, go along and be ready to be pleasantly surprised and thoroughly entertained.