One would think walking into a dim theater to watch various sex workers perform would bring some type of guilty connotation. That was not the case for the Sex Workers’ Art Show in the Multicultural Center.
Annie Oakley founded the show to expose the human side of sex work such as stripping and prostitution through artistic performance. Their acts included songs, monologues, and dance numbers. Overall, the show had a great flow, alternately building up momentum with frenetic acts and slowing down with mellow performances.
Bridget Irish kicked things off by handing out potatoes to the audience. She then had them thrown back and attempted to catch them all in her pantyhose. The curvaceous Dirty Martini came out with a fabulous fan and feather display and returned later with strip dance tribute to the working girl. She magically pulled dollar bills out of nowhere to replace each article of clothing she took off. C Snatch Z came out with an intense performance, shredding a lemon on a grater as if it were an electric guitar. She rocked out so hard that she caused a wardrobe malfunction.
Easily the highlight of the show was redheaded bombshell Jo Weldon. I can only describe her as equal parts Jessica Rabbit, Morgan Webb and Elvira. She asked for a volunteer to step up for an impromptu lesson on stripping technique and etiquette.
The show wasn’t composed entirely with flashy numbers. It did contain a lot of emotion as shown by performers Amber Dawn, Kirk Read, Reginald Lamar and Stephen Elliott. These individuals recounted their experiences with abuse, prejudice and heartbreak. Despite these difficulties, they have been able to persevere and rounded the show with their universally human displays. The highly receptive audience came out that night with more respect for sex work – understanding that the separation between these performers and any other individuals is nonexistent.