Julie Sherman (julieswn) Wed 1 Jun 11 19:30
This week, for only one week, we welcome author (and WELL member) Susie Bright, to discuss her new memoir, "Big Sex, Little Death." Susie Bright is the author of the national bestsellers Full Exposure and The Sexual State of the Union, as well as The Best American Erotica and Herotica series, which ushered in womens erotic publishing. Her newest book is her memoir, Big Sex Little Death. She the host/producer of Audibles In Bed With Susie Bright, the longest-running sex-ed show in the history of broadcasting. She was co-founder and editor of On Our Backs magazine, and was the first journalist to cover erotic cinema and the porn business in the mainstream press. A progenitor of the sex-positive movement, Bright taught the first university course on pornography, and brought lasting sexual influence to her role and writing in films like Bound and The Celluloid Closet, as well as playing herself, "the famous feminist sex writer," on Six Feet Under. Leading the conversation will be our own <tnf>, David Gans. David Gans is a musician, journalist, radio producer, and a long-time member of the WELL. He was a founding member of the <inkwell.vue> team and continues to serve as an "A&R man" for this forum. He interviewed Susie Bright at Book Passage a few weeks ago and enjoyed the conversation so much he agreed to continue it here. Welcome to Inkwell, Susie and David!
David Gans (tnf) Wed 1 Jun 11 19:41
We should also note that Susie has been with us twice before. See <inkwell.vue.54> and <inkwell.vue.91> Welcome back! I'll begin by asking you a question I asked you at Book Passage: How does one become a socialist organizer while attending Uni High?
Susie Bright (sueb) Wed 1 Jun 11 22:36
Hi, David. Are you from LA? -- my book tour brain is melting softly and I can't remember. It's midnight in Minneapolis and I just arrived here from San Francisco; I've been on road since Detroit in early March. Anyway, it was very easy to become a yippie anarchist radical pinko fag/dyke feminist beatnik in West LA in the 70s, because our high school was filled with the children of UCLA professors and Hollywood colony and rock and roll survivors, at the height of the Vietnam War. We had an underground newspaper called the Red Tide,which was named during an acid trip at Zuma Beach. Here's a web site with some of our old issues, and our lawsuit against the State Board of Ed for first amendment rights for students. I was the most gung ho plaintiff you ever saw. http://theredtide.wordpress.com/about-2/
David Gans (tnf) Thu 2 Jun 11 11:53
> Are you from LA? San Fernando Valley, but only til I was 12. My family moved north (toward the LSD!) just in time for all the interesting stuff. Jeez, a lawsuit over a newspaper advocating the right to wear hats in school. I remember the battles we had a few years earlier over the length of our hair. They made us pin our hair back for our senior class photos, and one guy had his excessive locks airbrushed out in the yearbook. It all seems to chickenshit today, but it was an important battle front at the time; we were continuing the work that the beatniks and then the hippies started, filling black-and-white America in with some color. > I was the most gung ho plaintiff you ever saw. I'll bet you were! Okay, I think I started this thing off in the middle of your story. Let's go back a bit, and please tell us about your parents and your peripatetic upbringing.
Susie Bright (sueb) Thu 2 Jun 11 20:15
I'm in my mom's hometown tonight, Minneapolis. A crowd came to see me at the Smitten Kitten, and they were so erudite, I felt like I was ina grad seminar. My dad would have really liked being there. My mom would have liked to read about it later, pref in The New Yorker. I remember showing my dad the Well for the first time, as I was leaving to live in rural France for a spell. This was in 1990 or 91... I was explaining to him that I wouldn't be lonely or isolated bc I could talk to my Well friends every night. It was one of the first times i traveled to a non-English speaking country without my dad... And man, I had been spoiled, bc he spoke every language, no kidding, no matter where we went or who we met. He would protest that, of course, saying he didn't have multiple language mastery, but he protested too much. Now that he's passed away, I have all his teenage teach-yourself language books, from Burmese to Russian to every Native American writing system. At 16, he really wanted to learn them ALL. You just don't meet people,like that anymore.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 3 Jun 11 10:17
I think there are plenty of interesting, interested people. You just gotta poke around, as the Grateful Dead sang. You are the child of academics, and you moved around a lot because they split up - rahter acrimoniously - when you were pretty young. Very early in the book, you write: "I was bullied as a kid because I was intellectually precocious but socially inappropriate." Can you say more about that?
Susie Bright (sueb) Fri 3 Jun 11 13:06
When i said i didnt meet people like my dad these days, i mean people who make it their aim to learn every language on the globe. Everyone's become a specialist in linguistics and language studies, that's the vogue. -- As for interesting people, yes, my goodness, that's the pleasure of being on tour, it's a treasure chest every day. As a child, I was a shy bookworm and had a "vocabulary." My mom moved the two of us almost every year, or less. I wore dowdy home-sewn clothes, orthopedic shoes, welfare office spectacles, what a sight I was. I had everything in working class schools to ID me as a target except a sign that said "kick me." I was an only child and my mother never had a single person over to our apt. I suppose it's brilliant I didn't bite or turn aggro. I was a very good tree climber and could sometimes out-climb my tormentors but then they'd wait at the bottom. David, if no one is here except us, maybe we should just get completely obscure and esoteric.
Ed Ward (captward) Fri 3 Jun 11 13:09
Oh, there are those who lurk...
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Fri 3 Jun 11 13:11
... and we lurkers love esoterica and obscurity.
David Dodd (ddodd) Fri 3 Jun 11 13:25
Absolutely. The more the merrier.
Gail Williams (gail) Fri 3 Jun 11 14:28
Enjoying the tone you two have established and looking for more!
Carl Butz (cjb) Fri 3 Jun 11 15:01
I'm new to the inkwell.vue, so thanks (tnf) for providing references to Susie's previous appearances here. It was nice to get more context and I'm definitely putting "The General" on my list of movies to see. Meanwhile, (tnf), shouldn't <inkwell.vue.91> be <inkwell.vue.114>? This said, please excuse my interruption and carry us onwards ...
Lena M. Diethelm (lendie) Fri 3 Jun 11 16:45
I realize yr book was a memoir but I'm most curious about where you think you will put your energy in the future and how aging may impact that-especially since older women are generally portrayed as having boobs to their knees and certainly not worthy of desire.
Craig Louis (craig1st) Fri 3 Jun 11 17:40
Just added inkwell.vue to my conflist, because of this interview topic. So far, I've only skimmed the book, on the shelf at Bookshop Santa Cruz, but it's high on my reading list (lame.. sorry!). I am looking forward to reading the bio page by page, Susie. I was born in Pedro in '54 and was mostly there until I ran away to Berkeley in '72.
David Gans (tnf) Fri 3 Jun 11 17:56
Carl: thank you for the correction on the earlier Susie topics. I don't know how I got that wrong. And welcome to the Inkwell!! Susie: we're all okay with obscure and esoteric, but we've got a book to sell here. I must say, I think the title is somewhat misleading. I mean, there is a bit of sex in there, and there is one fairly detailed account of a sexual encounter, but the book is really about the formation of your charac- ter and your early life as a political activist. I am not complaining! I have been reading other biographical works, e.g. Peter Coyote's "Sleeping Where I Fall" and the Nicky Hopkins biography still being discussed here, and I've seen some biographical films of late ("Who Is Harry Milsson and Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him?" and "There But For Fortune," a doc on Phil Ochs); I suppose on a certain level am doing some background work trying to figure out how to tell my own story. I love the easy, funny, articulate, and absolutely fearless tone of your writing. You know who you are, and in this book we learn a lot about how you became this person. You write about your mother's unhappy and repressed nature, and your own fear and repression, and then we learn of your unfolding into the effulgent role model we see before us today. How'd that happen?
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Fri 3 Jun 11 23:19
I'm lurking too! You are not alone, you two, so hands on the table.
paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sat 4 Jun 11 09:50
Hanging out with the lurkers here too, waiting for inspiration to join the conversation.
David Gans (tnf) Sat 4 Jun 11 10:48
Didn't we send out copies of the book to a few WELL neighbors? Let's hear from those readers!
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Sat 4 Jun 11 15:55
I was too late to the party to get a book! But I've read ABOUT it, so I hope it's not terrible if I jump in with a question ... You ask the question "how did we get from Patti Smith to Girls Gone Wild." It seems to me that so much of what passes for sexual freedom these days is just performance, a commodification of naughtiness for mass consumption. Can we still find a way to see this as a sex-positive development, or have we landed in some kind of awful misunderstanding of what it means for women to have sex for sex's sake?
Peter Meuleners (pjm) Sat 4 Jun 11 16:05
David Gans (tnf) Sat 4 Jun 11 17:21
Susie Bright (sueb) Sat 4 Jun 11 20:43
I just got home this AM off my hard-poundin' booktour for a few days, and have called a day of recess... I made a pot of rum cocoa and a oven full of oatmeal cookies and am watching one disaster movie after the next until I fall asleep, hopefully for ten hours straight. But tomorrow am I'll start pounding the keypad in response to yr many interesting comments! Meanwhile, tell me your favorite diaster movie that you rec'd for massive unwinding.
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Sat 4 Jun 11 20:49
I recently watched airport '78 and it was hilarious! I really love con air for many reasons, a chief one being John Cusack in birks n' socks Armageddon scores high on the Bruce Willis - o - meter But that is a weird way to unwind, woman!
Jef Poskanzer (jef) Sat 4 Jun 11 21:26
Ooo cookies! How about: A Crack In The Earth.
Amy Keyishian (superamyk) Sat 4 Jun 11 22:33
Is that the one about magma?!
Craig Louis (craig1st) Sat 4 Jun 11 23:29
all journey to the center of the earth movies must have hot magma sequences. required.
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