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Smut Slam: Local storytellers sound off about the pleasures of the flesh

Next week, the Mainline Theatre offers a jolt of titillation with the Montreal edition of Smut Slam. The night promises a veritable cornucopia of erotic storytelling, though like all romps in the hay, there will be elements of spontaneity and chance. Scintillating bards are invited to sign up before the show to deliver a five-minute piece of erotica based on lived experience, and a lottery system will select participants at random. The theme of the slam is “Best Laid Plans,” a tongue-in-cheek reference to lust afterthought and complicated trysts. Award-winning playwright and performer Cameryn Moore is orchestrating this evening of aural sparring, along with co-host JD “Hobbes” Hickey. All purveyors of smut will face off in front of a trinity of judges: DeAnne Smith, Sherwin Sullivan Tjia, and Velma Candyass.

While the stage at the slam is a perfect spot for provocateurs, triple-X orators, and the audiences that love them, there are more nuances to the show than your average case of tawdry exhibitionism. As Moore points out, honest and authentic discussion about people’s sex lives is often written off, or cast in a negative light. The Smut Slam is an important venue for such dialogue, as Moore explains, “it's an encouraging, non-judgmental space in which people share sexual truths. Sometimes it's raunchy, sometimes romantic, but always real.”

For your reading pleasure, here are some mini-profiles of the Smut Slam hosts and judges:

 


Cameryn Moore

Photo: Caleb Cole

Playwright, performer, sex activist and educator, phone sex operator—these are but a few of Cameryn Moore’s credentials. Previously a choreographer, Moore is also a kick-ass cook. Because of her 2011 solo show slut (r)evolution, she has visited thirty-four cities across North America. Her work in theatre, literature, and activism/advocacy is both a challenge and invitation to adventurous audiences everywhere. Her forthcoming power | play (choose your own adventure) will premiere in Boston in May, and touch down in Montreal in June. She is also the author of Bang It Out: Sidewalk Smut for Lovers, Lushes, and Other Passersby, a collection of her best erotica.

 

JD “Hobbes” Hickey

While JD “Hobbes” Hickey is many things, amateur he is not. For over fifteen years, this local wordsmith has been telling unbelievable tales to rapt audiences. He hosts his own Story Slam series here in Montreal, is the auteur of two storytelling CDs, and procured many bragging rights last June after winning the finals at Once Upon a Slam in Ottawa. It’s also noteworthy that Hickey won first place in the Liar’s Competition at the 2009 edition of Festival Interculturel du conte au Québec.  

 

DeAnne Smith

Photo: S. Quinn

Talented. Quirky. Fearless. These are all terms of endearment used on the world wide web to describe the comedic juggernaut otherwise known as DeAnne Smith. In addition to delivering solo shows filled with acerbic wit and engaging humour, Smith is responsible for such Montreal staples as Comedy OFF the Main, Tale Spin! and Stand Up/Strip Down. Perhaps you’ve seen her on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and The Comedy Network. During her travels abroad, Smith was nominated for a Barry award at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and she posted a YouTube clip detailing the many perks of swank hotels, such as milk in the mini-bar. While doing stand-up in Port Augusta, Australia, a pair of underwear struck Smith in the face after a man in the audience turned his unmentionables into a projectile.

 

Sherwin Sullivan Tjia

Photo: Ryan Kamstra

If you’ve ever attended Love Letter Reading Open Mic, Crowd Karaoke, Strip Spelling Bee, or the magical Slow Dance Night, then you’ve participated in a joyous event organized by Sherwin Sullivan Tjia. When he’s not busy injecting much-needed creativity, camaraderie, and a sense of play into Montreal nightlife, Tjia is an author with five books on his literary curriculum vitae. His latest work is a choose-your-own-adventure-style tale told from the perspective of a cat, with the fitting title of You Are a Cat! When prodded about his relationship to smut, Tjia responds, “Smut has always been very kind to me, using all its strength to be gentle.”

 

Velma Candyass

Photo: glamourparties.ca

Aside from doing choreography for the Dead Doll Dancers and the monthly neo-vaudeville show The Candyass Club Cabaret, Velma Candyass is a teacher and a performer. Her focus on a variety of body types allows women of all ages, shapes, sizes, and abilities to embrace and enjoy the techniques of burlesque and striptease. In whatever spare time she has left, Velma Candyass takes part in Save the Main, a group of folks fighting to save the iconic Café Cleopatra and its surrounding neighborhood from gentrification. When asked what her relationship to smut is, the entertainer-extraordinaire pontificates, “I like to cuddle and spoon with my favorite smut while I enjoy a glass of wine, and I always keep a Costco value-pack of AA batteries nearby. Smut is always available and it’s willing to replay the same part repeatedly for me. Smut never complains about how long I’m taking, it doesn’t roll over to go to sleep, and it never says it’s too tired.”

 

Smut Slam: Where storytelling and erotica collide
Wednesday, January 25 at 8pm
Mainline Theatre | 3997, St-Laurent mainlinetheatre.ca