Good Vibrations Makes the Scene at South by Southwest SXSW

Finally, we’re beating a path to the notorious SensSurround experience that takes over Austin, TX every March, helping to keep it weird! I’m just waiting for my airport connection now — at the gate at Dallas/Ft. Worth International Airport, which is, may I say, a very different part of Texas. (One, in fact, I know from my younger years; I worked in Arlington, the college town between these two large cities, in 1975, at my college roommate’s big brother’s biker bar. That is a fine way to get to know the alternate reality that is Texas.)

So tomorrow morning I’ll meet for a breakfast confab with my fellow panelists — Julie Gillis, Lisa Vandever, and Michael Stabile. Julie is an Austin resident who produces Bedpost Confessions, a sexual storytelling night — and a sometimes Good Vibrations Magazine writer. Lisa is the impresaria of CineKink, the sexy/kinky film festival — now in its 10th year! And Michael is a filmmaker and journalist and filmmaker, director of “Smut Capital of America” (2011), about the birth of ‘hardcore’ in the late 60s.

Can’t wait to talk about sex with these folks!

Our panel is Old Tech, New Tech, Same Old Sex? Here’s the description:

In the 70s porn theaters were a social space; in the 80s VCRs made viewing private; the 90s saw the rise of internet porn and online forums, allowing a still private but more social anonymous space; in the 2000s we are online with porn; meeting, mating, and educating, and very, very social–but this may or may not lead us to greater comfort and ability and pleasure in live, skin-to-skin and face-to-face sexual space. A mix of old and new technologies lead us to ever-increasing ways to connect, share, learn, enjoy. Today we can bridge technologies to create a social sexual experience that balances the risk of exhibitionism and exposure with the presumed safety of anonymity. Historically, media representations of sex have generated new sexual identities and helped redefine existing ones. Mingling identities real and virtual in real and virtual spaces may let us synthesize the best of old and new… or will it shape our knowledge and expectations in increasingly unreal ways? [schedule]

After that, I’ll report back to let you know how it went!

And Monday we’re getting together for a sex-positive meet-up and soiree. We’re not the only sex folks at SXSW — far from it! Hopefully we’ll meet our fellow visitors as well as Austin people. After we schmooze for a bit, I’ll do a reading. Oh, and there’s a gift bag from Good Vibrations and gifts for the first 30 or so attendees, so if you’re in Austin: Come on down! Soiree: 6-8pm, reading: 8pm.

We’re being warmly welcomed to the Vortex Repertory Theatre ( at 2307 Manor Road.

Here’s the description — feel free to pass it on!:

Meet up with other sex-positive Austin folks and SXSW visitors! Hosted by our friends at the delightful Vortex Theatre and co-sponsored by Good Vibrations — one attendee will win a gift basket, and everyone gets a lil’ present while supplies last. We’ll gather in the Vortex bar, so everyone can wet their whistle. Come meet new friends and reconnect with old ones!

At 8pm please join Carol Queen for a reading from some of her most incisive essays and sizzling smut. A sexologist who uses her PhD to impart verisimilitude to her dirty books and a trained sociologist who’s fascinated by every manifestation of sexuality in culture, Queen is also Staff Sexologist at Good Vibrations, the famous woman-founded sex shop that has operated in San Francisco for 36 years, and is the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture. Her erotica is award-winning, her essays are taught in university sexuality and cultural studies classes, and a few years ago she visited the Oxford debating society to address whether promiscuity was a virtue or a vice. Guess which side she was on?

I can’t promise I’ll reprise the Oxford debate in Austin — but you never know! And after that — on to Washington DC for Catalyst! (


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

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