Obscene, indecent, and raunchy are all words that come to mind when one describes the meaning of bawdy, and Bawdy Storytelling embraces them all in shocking and hilarious ways. On Saturday night, host and creator Dixie De La Tour rounded up some of San Francisco’s bawdiest to celebrate the series’ six year mark. Storytellers ranged from a Harvard graduate cum porn star to a dominatrix who pulled her human pet on a leash. Every act had an original story oozing with salacious goodness, and every one made the audience burst out laughing.
This was my first time attending a Bawdy Storytelling event, but I had researched it beforehand and it sounded exactly like something that I and my fellow comedy loving perverts would enjoy. I got to the venue an hour early and sat outside, people-watching until the line of colorful characters — dotted randomly with masked men in leather chaps and steampunks with dreads — began to shuffle through the front door. As I was about to walk inside, a nearly naked man wearing a duct tape bucket hat and rollerskates danced up to me and asked if I had ever attended a Bawdy event before. When I said it was my first time, he threw his arms up in excitement and with a satisfied groan told me that they were soooo great. I had a feeling it was going to be a magical night.
I grabbed a quick shot from the bartender and found a seat. Soon, the lights dimmed and Dixie took the stage, as she explained to the audience how these stories were going to work. Each storyteller has only ten minutes to woo the audience (a woman in a rainbow wig named Sparkle Bottom was time keeper), and they have to tell an original story that they’ve experienced themselves. She warned the audience that these stories are not for the faint of heart, so as the first storyteller took the stage I opened my mind and silenced my inner conservative grandma, ready for some x-rated action.
Below are links to the performers, along with some of my favorite quotes:
Blythe Baldwin, a queer slam poet with two professional gynecologists as parents, on her gynecologist mother giving her a vaginal exam: “She slipped the speculum into my vagina”.
Ryan Reed, an amateur sex worker, on moving to San Francisco without any money: “I’m about to be a prostitute”.
Natasha Muse, a transsexual comedian, wife, and mother of one, on having a baby after nine separate tries: “She’s a girl… for now”.
Mistress Liliane Hunt, an animal role-play enthusiast accompanied by her human pet, TykePuppy, attended Catholic school, where she had one teacher who was not a nun who would make a different kid pull off her thigh-high leather boots every morning: “I wanted to BE her”.
Dixie De La Tour, host and creator of Bawdy Storytelling and “Queen of the Perverts” (Fleur De Lis): “There are only two people in SF that I absolutely will not fuck – but how do you track that in a pitch dark room that’s writhing with naked bodies?”
Nichi Hodgson, a London journalist and occasional dominatrix, who looks strikingly similar to Rose Tyler for all you Dr. Who fans out there, on moving to San Francisco after a messy relationship with a man that got off on penectomies, and her reaction to meeting a new guy who was embarrassed to tell her he had a fetish of his own: “Feet! That’s all?”
Ned Mayhem, a physicist and porn star, on screwing the lunch lady while working on the giant particle accelerator in Geneva after college, and what she said: “It is good to fuck”.
Joe Klocek, stand up comedian and storytelling producer, on hiding in a bush with a ski mask on, getting ready to enact out a rape fantasy with his new girlfriend: “Why couldn’t she like flowers?”
Each storyteller had a fascinating and hilarious story that sounded straight from a dirty comedy movie, and they all had a personal twist that let the audience get to know them (quite candidly) in such a short period of time. Though funny, these are incredibly personal, and the fact that the storytellers are willing to share them with the audience lets everyone know that inside the Bawdy walls is a place where judgement and insecurity are cast aside.
After attending this event, I understand why Bawdy Storytelling is so successful and is still going strong after six years. The audience and storytellers fed off of the vibrant energy surging through the room, which created an exciting and incredibly memorable experience. It is not often that there is a safe space to relax and laugh in a sex positive environment, and it creates a feeling of trust for everyone involved that reminds us that we need to let our guard down every once in a while. Bawdy Storytelling is a truly innovative way for a storyteller to share their experiences, and I congratulate Dixie De La Tour on her success and hope there are many more years of X-rated tales to come.
Michelle Greenberg is a Litseen intern and Creative Writing student at SFSU. She likes to play drums and write poetry in her free time, and is obsessed with Charles Bukowski, Mexican food, and cats. She wants to publish at least one book of her original poetry and/ or own a guinea pig farm when she grows up.