Annie Sprinkle’s Wedding is Censored!

Update! At noon on 10/15/10, we received word from Annie that the original venue contract has been reinstated. Many congrats to Annie & Beth!

Wow, the very same week I tune in to Google News and see both same-sex marriage and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell being addressed at the very top of the page — the important “Breaking News” categories — I also learn that my dear friends Annie and Beth, whose Blue Wedding to the Sea I attended in Venice last year and wrote about for CarnalNation, have had their upcoming Purple Wedding location yanked by the LA Parks Department.

One doesn’t have to stretch the imagination too far to guess what kind of lurid nonsense the Parks people think Annie, Beth, and 400 of their friends are going to get up to — part of the intractable problem with DADT and same-sex marriage opposition is that homophobes and the homo-nervous sexualize queers way more than most queers even do themselves. WAY WAY more.

Of course, Annie has been around the block, and has showed her cervix to an impressive subset of the world’s population. (I wrote about her show Post Porn Modernist, where she did her Public Cervix Announcement show, in my book Real Live Nude Girl.) But now that she wants to get married and be monogamous, the folks down at Parks and Rec can think of nothing but lesbian bonobo* orgies. Purple lesbian bonobos, I guess.

*The lesbian bonobos pictured here may in fact be bisexual, as so many bonobo ladies appear to be, and are courtesy of an awesome artist, Rune Olsen, on exhibit at NYC’s Museum of Sex — photo courtesy of me and my iPhone, which will take frisky pictures even if it doesn’t want me to have any frisky apps.

Way more about Annie, Beth, and their weddings and other performance and art projects at their website http://loveartlab.org/ — info about how you can protest the Parks Department decision is below, and if you can help Annie and Beth with a Kickstarter donation, check out their info video here.

MEDIA ADVISORY: LA COUNTY PARKS CANCELS ANNIE SPRINKLE AND BETH STEPHENS’ GAY ECO-SEXUAL WEDDING, CITING “UNSAFE CONDITIONS

On Friday Oct 8th, well-known performance artist Annie Sprinkle received a call from LACounty Parks & Recreation Deputy Director, Kathleen Ritner, informing her that her rental contract for her wedding at the Farnsworth Amphitheatre in Altadena had been canceled due to “unsafe conditions created by the public announcement of the wedding inviting people to witness their “eco-sexual wedding , in which Ms. Sprinkle would make vows with her long time romantic and performing partner Beth Stephens under the auspices of the full moon.

In 2004, Sprinkle and Stephens had an appointment at San Francisco City Hall to get legally married, but the day before they were to get married, the weddings were stopped by court order. It was then that Ms. Sprinkle and Ms. Stephens decided to have a series of art weddings in which they would commit themselves, including a legal wedding in Canada.

The Los Angeles marriage was to take place Oct 23 at the Farnsworth Amphitheatre, in Altadena, where weddings are often held throughout the year. While drafting their contract Sprinkle and Stephens told the rental office they were expecting around 400 people at the wedding, at least 100 of them performers and artists helping them create the wedding. They hired the recommended number of security guards and proceeded to mail 120 hand made invitations, and also posted the wedding announcement on various social sites and alerted interested media. After commentary about the wedding appeared on the popular local “Altadena Blog, Sprinkle received a call from Ritner, who cited security concerns by unnamed Los Angeles county law enforcement personnel.

On the advice of the law enforcement agencies of the County of Los Angeles, we are canceling your Facility Reservation Contract, #18716, for the Farnsworth Park Amphitheatre on October 23, 2010. It was discovered that your event is being advertised over the internet and is indicating that the public at large is invited to the free event. This has created an unsafe condition.

Since many free events are held at Farnsworth and advertised widely, both over the Internet and through print publications, including teen music nights, concerts, and charity events, since the venue has a capacity well in excess of that expected by the wedding organizers, and since the cancellation occurred abruptly without an opportunity to hire additional security to deal with additional individuals that the LA police believed might attend, Sprinkle, Stephens and their wedding co-creators believe that the cancellation is in direct response to the gender of the brides, and the environmental activist themes of their vows. The wedding is to be officiated by Reverend Billy, a NYC based preacher/performer who said, “It is bad enough that same sex marriage is illegal in California but now even the performance of a same sex marriage is called un-safe.

Sprinkle & Stephens have no plans to cancel the wedding. They have requested that the County of Los Angeles rescind its cancellation, and allow Sprinkle and Stephens to use the Farnsworth venue for the commitment ceremony, and are hopeful that the County will see the error it has made. Anyone who is incensed by the discriminatory decision of the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Department can call (213) 738-2961 or send a letter of protest to:

Russ Guiney, Director

Parks and Recreation Dept, LA County

433 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles CA 90020


A webform for an email letter is here: http://parks.lacounty.gov/Parkinfo.asp?URL=Contact.asp


In the event that Los Angeles County does not change its position, Sprinkle and Stephens are currently seeking an alternative venue. Dozens of performers and artists have created work specifically for the wedding, and many of them are coming from a great distance, along with family and guests. The self-identified eco-sexual couple say, “Nothing can stop us from celebrating our love for each other, and for our Earth.

Sprinkle and Stephens are considering filing suit against LA County and are represented by Terry Gross, a well known First Amendment lawyer with the San Francisco-based law firm Gross Belsky Alonso LLP. According to Gross, “A wedding is a time to announce the commitment of two people openly to the community. They shouldn’t have to do it quietly without announcement just because they are two women. We are certain that the County would not cancel the same event were it between a man and a woman.

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Press please contact:

Lindsay Kelly 720-260-4507

Email: interruptions.coordinator@gmail.com

Savitri Durkee 347-693-8857

Email: savitridnyc@gmail.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 12, 2010

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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