Tag Archives: reviews

From Birth To Chosen

5 Apr

A vibrant treasure of a collection of short films was shown at the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival. ‘From Birth To Chosen’  had eight films that explored the areas of gender and family, both born and chosen. With a mix of documentary, drama and comedy, this group of films delighted the audience and left all who saw them contemplating issues of gender identity and what family is all about.

The programme started with a U.S. documentary, ‘The Family Journey: Raising Gender Nonconforming Children’, which interviewed various family members from several families about the issues that both they,  and their children,  faced in society and amongst friends and peers. This touching, candid film was very moving. It was refreshing to see the family love and support that was given to the children concerned. With a wealth of different experiences and emotions felt between the interviewees, this film provided a sense of hope and recognition to many.

Another short film from the U.S., ‘Loop Plane’ was a gem of a film. With a fictional story set in an amusement park, following a day in the life of a transgender teen who lives and works there with his supportive father, this wonderful short took you on a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Beautifully acted and directed, and with some quite stunning cinematography, this film is definitely worth looking out for.

Nominated by the LLGFF for the Iris Short Film Prize (which is one of, if not the, gay and lesbian short film awards), ‘James Dean’ was a smart, funny short set in Scotland. Perfectly capturing the way families behave, argue and relate, all whilst waiting in a car ready for a family outing, this amusing film pleased the audience no end. Everyone could relate to the way families bicker, support or disagree, and the ‘punchline’ towards the end of the film was fabulous.

‘Spiral transition’ was a personal exploration of the development of relations between a mother and her trans son, from the moment when he first finds out her feelings about his transitioning. ‘Absence’ was an artily crafted short about gender fluidity, and the way some have to navigate between identities, in order to relate to family members. ‘Living Room: Bar Wotever 2008-2009’ is the first installment of an ongoing project by Dr Jane, about the people who go to the fantastic Bar Wotever, and what the space means to them. It gave a real sense of why Bar Wotever is cherished by so many and incorporated some of Dr Jane’s stunning photographs as well.

Filmed as a pilot for a possible series, ‘Traverse City’ followed the adventures of a woman and her trans boyfriend as they cross the U.S. to meet her gay male parents. Much comedy was had from the reactions of the gay father, the seperate sexual adventures of the non-monogomous central couple, and the awkwardness of having a partner meet the parents for the first time, which most can relate to. Incorporating comedy, drama, animation and fantasy, this had the audience laughing out loud and waiting for the next installment.

The final film in the selection was ‘Bella Maddo’. This fantastic comic melodrama was about a self-obsessed pregnant wife and mother, and the hell she brings on most of her loved ones. Although none of the characters in the story were transgendered, all the actors in the film were. Co-writer, director and amazing star of the film, Janice Danielle, wanted to make a film that showcased talented trans performers, in roles they may usually not be considered for. This hilarious film had a great sense of heightened drama (in the best possible way!) and was shot, written, directed and acted to a very high standard. It made ‘Mommie Dearest’ seem tame by comparison, and was extremely well received by the audience.

Hopefully you will all get the chance to see this great collection of films. You will be amused, enlightened and have your heart touched by the films.

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Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)

3 Apr

Showing at the BFI London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival,  ‘Mutantes (Punk Porn Feminism)’  is a documentary about the sex positive feminist movement, as seen by the activists, sex workers and performers. Virginie Despentes (director of the film ‘Baise-Moi’ amongst others) has interviewed a wide-range of pro-sex performers, academics, film makers and activists across the U.S and Europe, notably France and Spain. With clips from various porn films and performance pieces interspersed throughout, this winner of the CHE ‘Derek Oystan Film Award’ at this years’ LLGFF, is thought-provoking, entertaining, sexy and informative.

The list of interviewees is extensive, starting with Annie Sprinkle, who always manges to raise a smile and challenge prejudice in an enlightened and humourous way, Carol Queen and other women from the early days of the pro-sex feminist era. We follow the changes, growth and expansion of ideologies from the early 1980s to the present day, demonstrated by the views, activism and porn produced by the punk porn movement’s new radicals in France and Barcelona. The way the shift in feminist thinking has occurred over the decades shows how there is constant change as our understanding of gender, femininities and masculinities and sex itself is constantly challenged and built upon.

This refreshing, provocative film has many instances of humour, politics and what the pleasures and limitless expectations of sex is all about. It will leave the viewer with much to think about, as well as the memory of some hot films, which I am sure you will want to remember the titles of. Some of these clips have not been widely seen before, and will leave you wanting to seek them out to view in full. It also helps you rediscover some lost classics; I, myself, had forgotten the joys of Lydia Lunch’s fishnet clad ass as well as Tribe8’s ferocious BDSM influenced live performances. Strong, intelligent women, with a pro-sex, ethical feminist stance and aesthetic, that will hopefully counteract what is unfortunately an often misogynist porn industry, can only be a good thing. Let’s hope we get the chance to see more work from the punk porn feminist movement, and open up all our eyes to what is possible.

From A Top Writer – ‘Boy In The Middle’

3 Mar

Patrick Califia is one of my all-time favourite writers. He is an incredible wordsmith, able to write both fiction and fact in a way that both draws the reader in and informs you. His erotica is some of the hottest writing you will come across. Boy In The Middle is another of his compelling, sexy short story collections of polymorphous perversity and hardcore, sexually charged scenes. Califia has a way of taking the reader right into the story. He has the ability to describe place, character and atmosphere so well, you can’t but help feel a part of it.

cover for "Boy In The Middle" by Patrick Califia

Boy In The Middle has such a collection of differing characters and set-ups that I defy anyone not to get some pleasure from it. Whatever your kink, fetish , gender or sexuality, Califia caters for you in this book. His writing will  surprise you, in being able to turn you on to a story, scene or character you may otherwise not have thought you’d be interested in; such is the power of his imagination. I recommend anyone who enjoys erotic fiction to read this book. Allow yourself some time to indulge and immerse yourself  in it, because it will be hard to put down. Oh, and if you’re reading Boy In The Middle in public, be aware that its effect may leave you needing to find somewhere, for a ‘quiet, private moment’!

Night of the Blue Stockings- Up the Ladder to Success!

28 Feb

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

Be upstanding for the fabulous Night of the Blue Stockings! We were lucky enough to go and see this popular and busy evening of cabaret and burlesque performance held monthly at the Bethnal Green Working Men’s Club last Thursday night, and what a glittering, fun-packed show it was. A host of  hilarious acts with a warmth and sense of joy that would be hard-pressed to better, captivated their appreciative crowd.

Fancy Chance, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and kink

Our honorary Madam Chairperson for the evening was reigning Alternative Miss World 2009 and London’s Top Tranny 2010, Fancy Chance. Keeping things swinging, with her humour and audience interaction, she MC’d throughout the night between the other great acts on offer. She also delighted us with her own revolutionary act, taking us all the way from North Korea’s national anthem to good ol’ Yankee capitalism via an outrageously funny dance and rhythmic gymnastic display that had the audience on their feet and wanting more.

Honey Wilde, photo K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

First act up was Justin Pants, with his alternative burlesque Action Man strip. If you ever wondered what Action Man keeps under his pants, well, yes, it is a weird, plastic non-penis. A very clever take on male stripping! Next up was Honey Wilde, the fantastic burlesque artist, with an avant-garde, in the most tongue-in-cheek way, musical performance of inventive cover versions of some 80s electro classics. Never before have two (yes, TWO!) toy pianos and a kazoo (!) sounded so good. The crowd both recognised and loved her amusing renditions of tunes by A-Ha, the Pet Shop Boys and others. Laurie Anderson could learn a thing or two.

Misster Blanche Dubois, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

All the way from 1933, Depression era Kentucky (kinda), came songstress Miss Anna Kronist. Playing her guitar and singing quite beautifully, she entertained us with her songs about love, death and a Blondie cover in the style of  down home Americana. A wonderful musical moment.  She was followed by Misster Blanche Dubois, who was somehow able to  blend drag with a lion costume! Singing ‘La Vie En Rose’ in an operatic, lionesque (trust me) chanteuse way, he then transformed into a kinky, burlesque striptease. The audience bellowed with laughter as we were treated to what a ‘naked’ lion can do.

Anna Kronist with Fancy Chance, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

The Madam Secretary of The Blue Stocking Society is Audacity Chutzpah, and, as her name suggests, she certainly had plenty of both and more besides. She amused and delighted the house with a very witty sketch about being stuck on a desert island. It was an inventive and engaging act, which had the audience in stitches. Ending with a sing-along, in which we all happily joined in, this was a fantastic evening.

Audacity Chutzpah, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

With tea and cakes on offer (a nice little touch) and DJ Josephine Shaker playing a suitably impressive selection of retro sounds in keeping with the ambience of the night, a very enjoyable and entertaining night was had by all. The lack of any pretension, the engaging nature of all the performers, and the unique blend of inventiveness and hilarity on offer, makes this a night out I can not recommend highly enough.

Night of the Blue Stockings, photo by K.James for Coffee Cake and Kink

25 Feb

World Book Day is almost upon us, and the end of our monthly Review raffle is coming up too!

So we would like you, our customers, to send us some Book Reviews!

We want to get all our customers reading, and what better way than for you to recommend books to each other! So if you have read any of our books (even if you didn’t buy it from us!), then fill out our Review form and give us your opinion.

And the best part is, not only will you be helping to inform other people about great books, but you’ll also go into our monthly CCK raffle!

So get reading, and then get writing!

Staff Picks: Little Ember Candle

26 Jan

We sell products that we love – we know they’re really as good as they look. This week, Rae has come over all enthusiastic again.

 

I was very lucky to be sent a JimmyJane Little Ember Candle by Santa over Christmas and this weekend myself and The Chap were finally free to try it out.

After a hard day’s work of D.I.Y, room re-decorating and slaving over a meal for four, we were full of stress and knots. We lit a few candles to wind down, one of which being the JimmyJane in Truffle and Gardenia scent. I have never been a fan of scented candles in the past; as a former perfume shop employee I’m very sensitive to artificial scents, and find that most candles smell like cheap air freshener, but I was completely won over by the full and complex scent that came off the candle. I couldn’t wait to start drizzling!


Luckily for us, it didn’t take too long to melt to a usable amount of oil, before I knew it I had enough to start my massage. As The Chap is a very sensitive English rose and doesn’t like things to be too hot, I snuffed the flame a few seconds before I started pouring. He reported back that it left the oil at a perfect warm temperature.

As soon as I started to rub the oil in, the scent started to develop beautifully. I couldn’t get enough of the smell! The oil was of a perfect consistency too; suitably heavy, lasting long enough to really work the muscles but at the same time not leaving a surface residue on the skin. The perfect test? The morning after our sheets were spotless!

When it came to my turn to be massaged, we kept the flame on. The ceramic pot meant that pouring felt safe and secure, and it really did feel similar to more traditional wax play, just with a little more subtlety between pouring heights. The best thing about the switch over? The fact that the fragrance had different upper notes on my skin. This meant that the perfume had been fully thought out to react differently to different pheromones. Gorgeous.

I can fully recommend the Little Ember Candles; in fact, I have the full set on order now! They are a perfect gift for every level of kink; yes they can be a fun substitute for wax play, but they also wouldn’t look out of place on your Auntie’s mantelpiece as they burn down just like regular candles. Also, they’re great value for money. Even though we played with our individual candle for over an hour, we still have two-thirds of the hardened oil left to play with. There’s no better way to learn about your own body yet alone that of your partner, so why not pick yours up today?