On a stage at a small theatre (with a full bar) in San Francisco’s Mission District, the Blue Ridge Mountain transplant doesn’t need to try very hard to get a series of agreeable exhibitionists to share their tales of trysts and triumphs. The winner of the night is a woman who had sex with her tattoo artist and his girlfriend.
But that’s liberal San Francisco. Friday night (July 22), Bawdy Storytelling makes its second appearance in Los Angeles with “Libertine!” at the Abundant Sugar Warehouse in the arty Brewery Complex near downtown.
“No matter where we are, we insist that the stories be true, and we start from there,” De La Tour says. With shocking red hair and a set of lungs that could win a hollerin’ contest, she commands stages throughout the Bay Area three times a month and must turn people away from telling their bawdy tales.
Here are a few lines from last week’s show:
“This story ends with my torso covered in blood.”
“I start to feel a little greasy, like a bad night at the Power Exchange.”
“I’m not thinking ahead; did I mention she squirts?”
“I’m not a lesbian and I don’t eat vagine. But go ahead and eat mine if you want.”
Finally, from a woman named Lady Monster who rimmed Jello Biafra:
“We are cheek to cheek to cheek to cheek.”
De La Tour launched Bawdy Storytelling in 2006 and alternates locations between Oakland and the Mission. I attended a packed show with about 70 people in the audience that De La Tour described as “smallish.”
“I went to a lot of storytelling nights when I first got here,” she says, “but none were an outlet for filthy stories. I led 15 years of a pretty filthy life. I show up at parties with a bullhorn and just match people up that I want to see have sex.”
“That sounds like a great service for shy people,” I say.
“Sometimes people are taken aback,” she says.
Over the years, De La Tour learned that she needed to curate the stories, lest the storytellers ramble on, go too far afield of a theme, or fall in love with their own voices.
“It’s not about you or the dominatrix in your head,” she says, “it’s about the real story.”
Indeed, the shows I’ve seen both in San Francisco and L.A. (last month’s inaugural L.A. show featured Carol Queen and Nina Hartley) are on the whole entertaining, upbeat, and frequently galvanizing but, as is the case with exhibitionists, sometimes the stories seemed overly staged or self-congratulatory.
“You can’t look as if you’re trying too hard,” De La Tour coaches potential storytellers, “but you can’t show up unprepared, either.”
If San Francisco is a place where everyone has sex but might have a tendency to be too in your face about it, Los Angeles is the hub of people profiting from sex but who might not be that good at it themselves. It makes for a different dynamic.
At last month’s L.A. show, a woman insists upon herself from the stage. She’s a bit angry and strident. The man sitting two people over from me whispers, “Whoa. I just broke up with her…”
Meanwhile, in San Francisco, a coquettish Czech woman in a short dress, maybe 45, describes her dalliance “with one Bi and two supposedly gay boys.” She is palpably delighted. “And it wasn’t even a sex party.”
As a resident of L.A. I am always pleased to see large groups come out just to hear people talk—you know, like what happens in civilized places—which was the case last month and will doubtless be repeated July 22 as Kelly Shibari, Ernest Greene, Nikol Hasler, Adrian Colesberry, Mommy Fiercest, Michael McCarty, TS Morgan Bailey, and Yours Truly share some true, filthy stories.
Previously on Porn Valley Observed: Ryan Keely at Sexy Tales—”You came to watch a porn star read?”
See also: Bawdy Storytelling Facebook Page, Bawdy Storytelling