Esoterotica stimulates both your upstairs and down with smart, funny and original erotic writings from local authors, including poetry, spoken word, short stories, essays, humorous monologues and even songs. Erotica is defined as “literature or art designed to arouse sexual desire,” but to the writers of Esoterotica, erotica more broadly explores an integral part of the human experience, the pleasures of the senses. I spoke with one of the founders, Aimé SansSavant, about the past and future of erotica as literature and entertainment.
What inspired you to start Esoterotica?
Esoterotica started as a one-off event to coincide with PrideFest 2009 and we did another special event for Pride in 2010. At the time, I was organizing a fetish-oriented club event called Moulin Vieux that ran for six years; and that is how I first became involved in the special events that centered around erotic readings. And as a lover of literature (read: English major with minor in creative writing) and erotica as a form of literature, I decided to start the event regularly after the Decadence show in September of 2010 and we have been bi-monthly on Wednesdays (with a few additional dates here and there) ever since.
That’s a lot of erotica! How has the show changed since you started it?
It has gotten bigger with more writers and more of a following. We have more themes as well as an additional Inappropriate Improv show. We still do our special events for Pride and Deca/Dykeadence. I do not know if I had any specific hopes for the event other than I wanted it to grow and become more of an event for both the writers and the audience. It is becoming more and more writer- driven, meaning that while I am the host of the shows and coordinate emails, I do not dictate any of the other details. I do not screen any of the writing before it is read, pick, choose or censor. The themes we decided on as a group as well. I had hoped that we would eventually be able to publish a book of all the great work coming out of this event and we are, actually. Also, a great website is in the works, complete with writers’ photos, bios and samples of work, as well as a calendar with descriptions of our event and different shows. One thing I did not expect was that we would be trying to put together a show for Fringe this year, but we are! A group of us are putting together an Esoterotica performance, in the style of the bi-monthly show but also a little bit more.
You mentioned that there are themes. What are some examples?
Earlier this year we did shows themed more loosely on our favorite body parts and collaborative erotica that were duets or group writing.
But we’ve also done some more specifically on erotica about work, workplaces and the like, called “NSFW” and “Virgin Voices” all about first times, which was also coupled with an open mic invitation for new writers. This month, we have three shows, “All True Confessions,” which is exactly that—all true stories from our writers about actual experiences, on Wednesday June 5th; “Frisky Fairytales and Folklore,” which will be erotica based on or involving characters from fairy tales and folk stories (right before Midsummer) on June 19th; and for Pride we are pairing up with Queerlesque! on the 21st with a show called “Queer Hearts” right before their show. Queerlesque! is a benefit performance for Women with a Vision, and while our show is pay what you can, all proceeds from that night will go towards the benefit just like Queerlesque!’s.
Who are some of the writers? And are you looking for new writers?
We are always interested in having new voices and new writers. There are approximately 25 writers/poets who are regular or semi-regular readers at the shows. We have some that read pretty much every time like Shadow Angelina and Rebecca “Evie” Draves, and a few who join us when their other projects or shows allow, like Wilhelmina Baker and Paul Oswell. Many read often when the theme strikes them or challenges them and there are a couple who join us mainly for special events. We have recently had a few new people join in and I think that they will become regulars as well, which is really nice. More and new and revolving voices is one of the things that makes Esoterotica so interesting and keeps it very writer-driven, which I think is very important for both the writers’ and the audience’s experience.
Esoterotica is at the AllWays Lounge at 2240 St. Claude Avenue. All shows are pay-what-you-can. For more infor mation, check out esoterotica.com.