So it turned out that Madison Young’s “anal fisting play” was about way more than ha, ha anal fisting. Number one, this woman, née Tina Butcher, can seriously act. Number two, her one-woman show, Reveal All, Fear Nothing is a play that anyone who considers themselves “Sex Positive” or indeed, interested in sex, desire, money and spirituality on any level, needs to see. It’s a journey through the life of a woman who worked in the porn industry for over 15 years. The minute you use the word “porn star” people start making silly sniggering noises and don’t take things seriously. So let’s think of this play rather in terms of The Odyssey. The Odyssey but with encounters with porn agents,fetish chests and Sex Magick instead of run-of-the mill meetings with Tiresias, Circe and the Lotus Eaters.
Madison, 35, starts out by introducing herself as a “body-based performance artist,” and a “feminist pornographer.” She’s directed 41 feminist pornos. She explains with great humour how life differs between regular porn and feminist porn.
On a feminist porn set, “you get vegan and gluten-free lunch and silicone-free lube. On a mainstream set you get spit.” On a mainstream porn set, “the guy tells you, ‘Come in 2 minutes.’ On a feminist porn set, the actress says, ‘give me two minutes and I’ll come for real.'”
Reveal All, Fear Nothing is structurally based around Annie Sprinkle’s Post-Porn Modernist show which she performed around America from 1989 to 1996. Annie Sprinkle tells of her sexual evolution through a series of burlesque-style autobiographical vignettes. Annie was denounced in the Senate by Jessie Helms for the “obscenity,” of this show, but, in fact Sprinkle was just trying to demystify the female body and the “obscene” world of porn. One scene has her inviting the audience to come up and take a look at her cervix. Madison invites members of the audience to come up to the stage and become porn directors in an erotic film shoot by talking pics of her stripping. Here are my shots
This is an intense one:. I flatter myself she did this special dance for me but in fact, she knew I was a journo:
She asked us to post them on #revealall
In Annie Sprinkle’s show there was a section called “Pornstistics” where she works out in figures how much cock she’s sucked in porn over the years. The measurement came to something like the height of the Empire State Building. Madison is more anally focused. She pointed out that in the porn world, a woman gets $500 for vaginal penetration but $1200 for boy/girl anal. A guy will only get paid $500 for being the pitcher. It’s one of the industries where women make “exponentially more than a man.”
So, with the help of a series of bum emojis (one bum equalling one day’s anal shooting) she showed us how many bums it took to get her through the month. One bum would be a month’s grocery shopping etc. She used much of the money to fund her own feminist art gallery, Femina Potens which ran from 2001- 2011. She poured $450,000 into it over the years. I forget how many bums worth that is.
The amount of dick she had in her anus over the years she estimated to be the height of the San Francisco Coit Tower which I just looked up to be 64 metres.
Other good bits in the show included the fetish chest, where the audience had to guess what sex acts the objects in the chest were used for: balloons, tampons, a hair brush. Hair brushes are apparently not just used for spanking. As Madison said, and I loved this because I hadn’t thought of it, in advanced BDSM, a brush might be used to merely brush the hair of your “sub”. This can be seen as a pervy act in the right context. Like, maybe as a reward for having submitted to half the London Shard’s length up your back passage for the past 3 hours. As Madison concluded, “there are many ways to pervert a hairbrush.”
Here is a glamorous chick demonstrating with tampons from the fetish chest.
Oh and there was something called “puppy play.” Madison said, “I personally identify as a spaniel.”
The guy sitting next to me was one of San Francisco’s classic, “Is he a bum/is he a bohemian?” types. He kept grunting and burping and I gradually realised why he was doing such a man-spread thing with his legs. The puppy play comments caused him to expand his legs very wide. I think he may have been one of Madison’s “fans.” But it all added to the atmosphere. Also, I loved the fact that some of the audience members were in stockings and plunging cleavage while others looked like they’d just rolled out of bed and were on their way to Walmart when they got distracted by a sign for body-based performance art at the Armory.
And so to that act. Here is Madison giving herself an enema (with soya milk) after the fisting.
She did the fisting bit brilliantly. It was very Dada. Basically having a conversation between herself and her arse hole.
“Would you like some milk? Is that better, anus?”
“Oh yes, can you burp me now?”
“Yes I can, good, good, beautiful anus.”
It was quite reminscent of William Burrough’s “The Man Who Taught His Asshole to Talk.”
When I interviewed Madison after she show, she confided that she’d been worried “that cookies might come out with the milk..” but nothing went awry the night I was there.
By the way, can I just say I love the T-shirt she put on for the fisting scene:
Can someone please get me an I HEART anus t-shirt?
But the most incredible section of the show was the on-stage masturbation. This was like the best Valentine’s Day present you could give me. I spent two years researching and writing a book, partly having been inspired by Annie Sprinkle’s “Sacred Whore” masturbation section to her Post Porn Modernist show. And here was Madison doing it in front of me. Annie had lent her the original “mermaid knife” she used for her original show in this part of the performance. I have no pictures of this part of Madison’s show because basically I was caught up in the energy of it. We were given shakers to rattle, we were encouraged to howl and make noise. Madison was moving deer antlers in the air, writhing in a deer skin, holding Betty Dodson’s favourite sex toy- the Hitachi Wand to her vulva. I totally got into it: the energy, letting myself feel the energy. Think about it. A woman is masturbating in front of you – you are not going to not feel a change coming about in your own body. You care going to feel the energy in the room. I was transported back to some experiences’ I’ve had on my Vision Quest in the Pyrenees. All that Shamanic stuff. And this was the end of Madison’s Odyssey. A spiritual/sexual end. Someone said at the after-party, “Her toes were curled up so you could see she wasn’t faking it.” But for me the proof was more the sweat glistening on her body afterwards. There was a post-coital release after the show for everyone. There was a recorded voice-over from Madison as she was clearly too shagged to speak. It was bloody brilliant. Forget the miserable Vagina Monologues. “Hamilton” won all the accolades at the Grammy’s last night but I doubt that audience walked away as transformed as we all were in the Armory theatre that night. Apparently on the previous night she’d ejaculated all over the deer skin rug.
Afterwards, at the party, director Sophia Lapaglia pointed out how Annie Sprinkle is paving the way to a sex positive future for today’s younger generation. She said that Annie Sprinkle performed her ground-breaking Post-Porn Feminist show 26 years ago, “and we’re still trying to catch up with her 26 years later.”
Here’s me and the very talented lady herself after the show. Hey, she doesn’t look like a “porn star” at all, right?
Next stop: Edinburgh, Berlin, New World Sex Order. GO MADISON YOUNG!!