Follow on Twitter at: @SensoraPlanet here
A LA LUCHA ARTS GROUP production
The De-Sensitization of a Nation
Theatrical Solo Production Written/Performed by Raquel Almazan
Developed with Penny Arcade
Recent performance at Dixon Place NYC December 2012
Contribute with your content below:
For information on bookings contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
For sneak preview video: here
Press mention on Broadwayworld.com here
Interview about the process of the show on Crazytownblog here
A star is born - porn star that is. Based on the life of real adult stars, this dark comedic solo play follows the metamorphosis of Sensora on a surreal journey from glam porn star to snuff assassinated President to a refugee launched into the galaxy.
Porning the Planet melds Japanese Butoh dance and narrative performance through a multimedia experience to explore how our virtual world interacts with our “realworld.”Conceived from contributed real life interviews, recordings and blog based pornography, Porning the Planet challenges our notion of how pornography has altered our methods of how we communicate and connect with each other and our own consciousness – our creation of a“De-Sensitized Nation.”Her daily rituals can be downloaded for mass consumption.
(David Davila) How did PORNING THE PLANET come about?
(Raquel Almazan) The play was inspired by the book “female chauvinist pig movement”, by Ariel Levi and by the numerous books about womanhood by Jane Caputi. For ten years I’ve worked with marginalized groups of women in the sex industry and in prisons. This lead my work to demand a political process. Holding interviews in strip clubs and pornographic environments. The platform for my current piece comes from five years of processing with women, research, and public art presentations. I am now armed for the ultimate challenge of embracing and unearthing pornography in all its forms.
The piece strives to connect ancient women’s mythology with modern media, pornographic images, and how women’s sexuality is used as a weapon against themselves. I’m working to fuse today’s whore as the power symbol in finding ways to honor the virginal whore that refuses to go mainstream porn but instead redefines what it is to be feminine.
Another major aspect of developing the piece has been my collaboration with performance art legend, Penny Arcade, who as project director has passed on the integrity of the themes that the piece deals with. She has served as a guide in creating this challenging work through the solo performance tradition.(DD) You’re a Butoh dancer, and you use that style in PORNING THE PLANET. What exactly is Butoh?
(RA) Butoh is a form of dance and performance technique that was started in Japan after World War 2 by Kazuo Ohno and Tatsumi Hijikata. It focuses on grotesque body movements and taboo topics like the suffering of Japanese people when the atom bombs were dropped. There’s no set style but it’s traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow controlled body movement.
(DD) How did you get involved with that?
(RA) My choreographer Vangeline, of Vangeline Theatre, is my butoh dance master, I have been studying and training with her for six years. Prior to my training with her in NYC, I was introduced to Butoh in my undergrad program. Butoh has been a large part of my theatrical and spiritual practice for ten years now. I have had the honor of training with several Japanese Butoh masters over these years as Butoh is an art form that requires the act of repetition, and it usually takes twenty years before one is proficient in the form. It’s a practice that one strives for in different parts of your life in order to develop, the best parts of your Butoh dance may occur well into your forties and fifties.
(DD) How does Porn connect to this particular style of dance?
(RA) Butoh if often associated with the grotesque; when I read about a therapist who had men pose in sexual porn positions; I was shocked and intrigued at the emotional responses the men had. The act of placing the body into these vulnerable and extreme positions aligned with the intentions of the piece. Butoh often also finds the beauty in the grotesque and allows the body to express the inner turmoil or peace of the spirit without conventionally restricted movement.
RAQUEL ALMAZAN (Writer/Performer) B.F.A. in Theatre from University of Florida and and M.F.A. Columbia Playwriting Candidate. La Mili Taco Truck (Theatre Row Production) La Paloma Prisoner w/ La Mama ETC, INTAR and Labyrinth Theatre Company, WPIC Stockholm. The Hopefulness (Theatre Row Reading-Rising Circle Theatre Company) Porning the Planet (Dixon Place) Glossy Page Pimps (directed by Michael Garces). Death of the Doll, the film(BHLIFilmFest) andNaked AngelsTheatreReadingSeries. SheWolves: Women in Sex, Death and Rebirth, NYC Fringe Festival, P.S.122 Louis O’Gerrits Theatre, Junkyard Food. Ur-Faust that toured to Hyterio Theatre in Athens, Greece. Grants- Ford Foundation, Manhattan Community Fund, and The Artist Access Grant. Nominated 1st annual United States Artists Grant innovative theatre artists. www.raquelalmazan.com
CHARLOTTE BRATHWAITE (Director)
Her works have been presented in the Americas, Europe, the Caribbean and Asia. A director of classical and maverick texts, operas, dance, multi-media, site-specific, installations and concerts her work has been commissioned and presented by Het Veem Theater Amsterdam, The Living Theater, Joe’s Pub, La MaMa E.T.C, HAU Berlin among others. Yale Repertory, Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, Awards/Honors: Princess Grace Foundation Award; BA, Amsterdam School for the Arts, the Netherlands; MFA, Yale School of Drama. Currently Assistant Professor of Theater Arts at MIT.
PENNY ARCADE (Dramaturg/Development Director) Legend, icon, wild-hearted demoness bad-girl bitch. It is impossible to describe the juggernaut that is Penny Arcade without entering the world of hyperbole that she not only inhabits but also personifies. www.pennyarcade.tv
VANGELINE (Choreographer) Vangeline is a Butoh artist from France and the Artistic Director of the Vangeline Theater, a Dance company firmly rooted in the tradition of Japanese Butoh while carrying it into the 21st century. Joyce SoHo, White Wave, Here Arts Center, Dance Theater Workshop, PS122 Performance Space. www.vangeline.com
Current design: SINDY BUTZ
Current design: SINDY BUTZ
JEFFREY MICHAEL Upcoming new design (Costume/ Installation)
is a London based costume, fashion, and production designer for film, theatre, and celebrity. His work has been showcased in feature film, theatre, advertisement, TV, red carpet, and shown at London, Paris, Brazilian, and Mercedes Benz Fashion Week. Trained as an architect in Canada, his costume work showcases detailed handmade pieces, as well as using layering and unique texture to portray character. He received his Bachelor of Architecture with High Distinction, along with his Minor in Film Studies from Carleton University.
SANDRA POWERS (Multi Media Artist) Peruvian-American filmmaker Sandra Powers has always had an interest in the fantastical and the macabre. Screenings at different festivals in France, Germany, England, South Korea, the U.S. Art direction for the operatic glam-rock band "Timur and The Dime Museum" and works at Nickelodeon. www.sandrapowers.com
FERMIN GONZALEZ (Graphic Design) holds a B.FA. in Visual Arts and Design from University of Florida. His work has been featured at the CELTIC IX Festival Internacional de Teatro, The New York International Fringe Festival, and “The Design of Dissent” a book by Milton Glaser and Mirko Ilic. Designs for *S,C,P,F (Miami) an international Advertisement Agency based in Spain. Fermin has spearheaded both interactive and print efforts for several artists and enterprises such as IKEA, COCA COLA, FLOR DE CAÑA RUMS and DR.BRANDT. For the past 3 years, he has volunteered marketing services to a coffee cooperative "Cafe Cocano" located in Port du Paix, Haiti. Member of American Institute of Graphics Arts (AIGA) www.typegrafix.com
ADAM MANSELL (Sound Design) Adam began studying piano, trumpet and voice
fervently at the age of 8 and began writing original work. After embracing the music
of Bach, Mozart and Beethoven, his teen years brought forth influences as far and
wide as Radiohead and Aphex Twin to Thelonious Monk and Brad Mehldau. Adam
completed a long collegiate haul at SUNY Buffalo State with a double major in Music
& Psychology as well as film scoring at the Berklee School of Music. http://www.adammansell.com/
BRITTANY ANDREWS (Consultant) Named one of the Top Three Porn Stars by "Entertainment Tonight" & Cosmopolitan. Both from porn and from her stints on "The Howard Stern Show", both radio & on the E! Channel. At PLAYBOY Channel as she has hosted over 10 of their best shows. www.brittanyandrews.com
NANCY KIM (Co-Producer) is a writer/performer and producer. She is a member of Rising Circle Theater Collective, a theatre company bringing artists of color together to develop and create new work. With Rising Circle, she also launched Q Up, a youth arts program for Asian American high school girls from Queens.
MONET HURST-MENDOZA (Co-Producer) is a playwright, producer, and director from Los Angeles, CA. New York producing credits include Playing in Traffic (Women's Project/EST), Miss Lulu Bette (Women's Project), PlayRISE Festival 2011 & 2012 (Rising Circle Theatre Collective), Work(s) in Progress (Bare Bones Ensemble); Los Angeles: The Women (dir. Bob Goldsby), Richard III (dir. Armin Shimerman), and The Young Idea Project with The Antaeus Company. B.A. in Theatre Arts, Marymount Manhattan College. www.angrypatrons.com
AARON SIMMS (Associate Producer) As You Like It, The Golem, Othello, War of the Worlds, The Comedy of Errors, Tombstone Saga of the American’s – The West, The Merchant of Venice, Dracula for Inwood Shakespeare Festival. Deleted Scenes and Alternate Endings for LABryth Theater’s Master Class, Encore ’97 for Ohio Showboat Drama. K Comma Joseph for Up Theater Company. Broadway wardrobe production credits: Sister Act, Evita, Peter Pan, Cirque Dreams, Jersey Boys, Cirque du Soleil’s Wintuk. Off Broadway wardrobe credits: Rent. AEA, SAG-AFTRA, IATSE. He is the Producing Artistic Director of The Back Porch - New York Vaudeville. Follow Aaron Simms on Twitter: @TheaterCreator
This piece will also be built with the contribution of interviews, recordings and blogs based on the community's experience with pornography.
FEEL FREE TO RESPOND WITH YOUR NAME OR ANONYMOUSLY. YOU CAN READ BELOW WITH YOUR REACTIONS OR OWN IDEAS ON THE STATE OF MODERN WOMANHOOD.
Porning the planet – A STATE OF BEING
Inviting the voices of the people who work in this industry from all sides of the camera. I’m offering my audiences a counter pornography, to create a new way of what is erotic, sexy, stimulating based on our exploration of ourselves and what we symbolize in our newly founded porn planet. Raising awareness to loss of meaning in social ritual.
READ BELOW, FEEL FREE TO REFER TO THE FOLLOWING QUESTIONS AND OR ANYTHING THAT INSPIRES A RESPONSE FROM THESE QUESTIONS AND IDEAS PRESENTED. SOME OF THESE QUESTIONS WERE EXCERPTS FROM ARIEL LEVY’S BOOK FEMALE CHAUVINIST PIGS and inspired by the various texts of JANE CAPUTI
1. what do you define as porn?
2. Is porn just negative or positive to you- or do you have a criteria on what makes porn a negative or positive experience for you?
3. What in your everyday life would you consider to be pornographic?
4. Do you feel the rise of raunch / pop porn culture empowers women economically as successful business women? – do you feel it really empowers women’s sexuality or confines them?
5. Has porn opened/ changed the view you have on your sexuality? If so how?
6. Do you and your partner use porn together in your sexual lives?
7. How open are you with family members or friends about your porn purchasing/ viewing?
8. Has having porn so accessible in your everyday life made your immune to sexual content? Example- rate from 1 to 10 if having porn on, or a magazine open makes you uncomfortable.
9. Who created the concept of porn? Who was it created for?
Do any men associate the women’s feminist movement with pornography? Or is that connection or lack of connection only considered by women?
10. Do you feel the women’s feminist movement has been co-opted by the porn commercial industry? If so, why and list examples you relate to. If not why, and list examples you relate to.
11. Do you feel that there is any connection in your life between pornography and technology?
12. What does it mean to you to be “like a man’? Of “like a woman”? Is there any such thing? Do you believe there are any inherently female or essentially male traits? How do you feel these roles play out in porn you’ve been exposed to.
Emotionally unavailable. What does that mean? We have a culture built on hiding behind and within products.
The way we filter human experience is different now then it has ever been in history. Technology allows an emotional buffer to communicating with our fellow human beings. So when I continue to refer to pornography in the following text- pornography will refer to how we execute modern rituals of communication.
If pornography is sexual images, videos and experiences with no social value. Then how has porn effected the way we ultimately view ourselves, our sex partner and our human experiences with friends and families. It is easy for us to make interactions with strangers pornographic in nature, where we filter the experience as a means to an end. The check out girl scans your items, you don't look at her, you go for your wallet or purse and pull out your debit card to scan. You hear her far away voice say "credit or debit". And that's what registers with us, how do you like it sir? Immediate financial power or reserved power. Based on your response you choose your numbers and complete your transaction. If your humanity has not been completely stripped then you made decide to look her in the eyes and say " have a nice day, or thank you".
My question is that our interaction is not just based on capitalism and how our current sterile process of interacting is set up as business transactions.
Again porno as detached, as a way of communicating. Yes the de-humanizing is rapidly increasing. and part of that is whats' happening to woman. Women are de-humanized from thier own experience. Birth, sex and expression for woman are compartmentalized, product oriented and still often controlled by men. We have come leaps and bounds as woman - but like all movements and the womans movement is no different and now we must contemplate, "was it co-opted by the corporate porn industry"? And if so, how do we function in the pornography of everyday life?
Women will take back by force, by art and social change our expression, re-define sexuality and womanhood. If I want to wear stripper shoes, fishnets and a g-string in the street, my place of business, in my home. I should be empowered to do so because I want to, gets me off and fulfills me in someway- not just because I can make $200 an hour doing it on a web cam. Does money always empower us? "Sexy" because you say so or "Sexy" because I know so. Some women and girls don't know what is really sexy to them, just what they've been told is sexy in their societies.
Symbolic motherhood- fatherhood is often more powerful tools then biological parents, because they overide idealogy and what we ultimately embrace as family and what we choose to worship.
To redefine whore- lupa in latin is wolf; it also means whore
The wolf woman as whore is ancient. The whore is the power symbol, some male power structures made it dirty to de throne us. If we redefine what virginity and whorism means to us then no one can divide it in us any longer. We are viriginal whores every one of us, it is all sacred, all parts of us. When we strap on our sex gear we may be despearately clawing at the sacred power within. The danger in depleting our sacred energy is in not knowing how to honor the true whore in side ourselves. Leaving both men and women vulnerable to the corporate mainstream porn movement.
This is an ancient scam, the world's oldest profession, is the world's oldest technique developed by men to benefit only themselves. Now instead of the traditional pimp we are controlled by media images that bitch slap us, take our money and humiliate us into believing, that's what your worth. raquel almazan
REBECCA ALMAZAN RESPONDED
. that's what i meant.
yeah i know what you mean about the de-humanizing affect of our modern society. honestly- i ask you again, because we spoke about this when you were here, was the women's liberation really a liberation- or just another way to subjugate under the guise of freedom? in my mind - things have not equalized in the least. women are still being operationalized in that pornograhic slave way..only now its worse because its acceptable to be the whore. actually- if you don't engage in this behavior - you are seen as an outcast and get labeled as the "ugly girl". you're just not hot like the girl willing to get piss drunk and show her pussy dancing on top of a table. it becomes like a competition made to separate the solidarity of the femme in an attempt to "get the male". disgusting. i just read a very interesting article- just one that i have to read for this week's reading for my class- about africa and the use of language to create political legitimacy. it refers to the african political language and culture as being entrenched in patronimic references. i thought of you because it deals with referring to the state as the "father figure" and also matronly quality to take care of the people. i remembered the conversation we had about father figures. it was interesting.
REBECCA CONTINUES !
well...i agree with you. i mean that's why i don't agree with the lesbian movement of late or the feminists who claim they are feminists and all they are doing is redifining themselvs in a man's world with men inspired terms. i mean...a woman wearing a tie is great. but if she is doing it to mascunalize herself and not because she thinks it looks great is wrong. women try to mascunalize themselves to try to compete with men and that's stupid because all you are doing is emulating them instead of creating their own originality. that is my problem with the feminist movement. and yes strippers and whores have been brain washed to the point of nothingness. they disappear inside this idea of being a whore and a stripper because you cannot be "yourself" and be a whore or a stripper- you have to literally become an alterego to be able to deal with it psychologically. ultimately women do cheat themselves out of their own happiness to be something they are not.
what you are talking about with images is very complicated cognitively speaking. you can trace what people are taught to think- yes. i believe it is true that all the images we are forced to see and know as "truth" is not really your truth. women don't know what sexy is- true. but men don't either. the process is not mutually exclusive. men get brainwashed too. to beleive what they do is right and what they see in women who have their tits blown up and their lips pumped up as sexy. we are all fucked in the head. because corporatism has co-opted sexy. whatever sells becomes the new sexy. but likewise- if there is a demand- people must want it for a reason. they must be attracted to it for a reason. so which came first -the chicken or the egg? In this- I am convinced that it is an extremely complicated question. But not completely deconstructible. The lupa is an interesting concept but i don't know the origins of the word used as whore.
A movement only needs momentum. The only thing is that the male movement has been in operation for much longer. The feminist movement needs to be guided in the right way.
In the meantime I try to keep my eyes peeled for what truly gives me desire and inspiration or what the world says i have to look at and say is sexy or what i want.
thats just it. it can't be dissected completely. it is so layered that i could make 30 pieces about it and never get to what damaged people in the first place. the hard core 1st wave feminists were necessary in order to create an alternative. now the alternative is blurred. the reason why we were fighting is blurred. many don't know their identity has been co-opted and they seek strength where they see it. to be cock like, is to gain power into the boys club. and isnt' that what we've always wanted? to be accepted in the circle of power. and what we do and compromise to get into that circle of power is what makes us inherently more like men. its the female president of hbo defending her stripper programming by saying "thats 50's talk, i love the sex stuff" . oh ok, it has nothing to do with you conforming to the programming of soft porn and straight up porn on cat house for mainstream male appeal. or appearing soft and not erection hard - tough when it comes to playing with "the big boys" of network. and thats' our fear now, that our femaile traits are inferior in the work place and that hillary crying was a women's calling card to winning. or can't we accept that our strength is the ability to cry on national tv and be vulnerable and not hide within the erection hardness of the thin fragile male ego.
instead of looking back, i'm digging deep into the ancient meaning of the goddess, the lupa, the wolf- the whore - the original holy one. and lets resurrect that in ourselves and if i'm getting the urge to do it in a pair of mark jacobs boots then that is an ancient desire. and its about finding modern ways to honor the virginal whore that refuses to go mainstream porn but instead redefines what it is to be feminine.
7:21 PM - 2 Comments - 1 Kudos - Add Comment - Edit - Remove -
porn seems all about intention. the question becomes who are you doing this for? yourself or another?? but maybe it didn't start out that way...what was it that broke women down to either fail at pleasing themselves or never internalize they are the only ones they have to answer to? why is that principle abandoned while the men have held onto obtaining power as it is defined by what they accumulate at the expense of others? why did men hold onto the ambition (although they went about it differently) whereas so many women just adopted a man's ambition as their own, its a way of settling... and settling feels like a result after you've decided that's all there is, or at least that's all there is for you.. doing it because it fulfills you means you take responsibility for fulfilling yourself. men look outside themselves for power. they need to conrol another in order to be in control. needing to be looked at by men means only something outside yourself can satisfy you, and in a way that makes them more masculine, because that ambition will never go away, because that need may never go away
Posted by Kara on Saturday, February 09, 2008 at 6:40 AM
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Well I agree with the fact that masculinity is defined by the power struggle over another. Domination is something that is projected over another in order to make one feel more powerful. Unfortunately, women do not harness their power in order to find a new space in this male- dominated era of power struggles which is not only evident in the household, but in modern societies and the conflict that ensues. This is what i was referring to when I said that modern feminism is only looking to attain power in a manner in which it pertains to the male. Why should we look to attain power in the male definition? Why can't we take it one step further and reclaim our femininity. Why do I have to wear pants to feel that I am crossing the boundary of that male dominated power. Why can't a skirt be just as powerful and be a symbol of power for women as opposed to something negative that debases us? I am going to be doing a research project which looks at the power struggle of wearing a headscarf (pertaining to muslim women) in europe and how that is creating a conflict with state identity. The headscarf is a symbol of power for these women because they associate it with their core identity. The state has a problem with women wearing the hijab in their modern society because they see it as a debasement of women and a clear indicator of their subjugation whereas a Muslim women (or at least the ones that wear it of their own accord) associate it with their power. THey are literally tapping into their own idea of what it is to be a woman and a muslim woman where they live. They refuse to be pushed into the "wearing less is better" movement that has made women weak and divided and sad. The state refuses to see that they can be both powerful and educated and wear the hijab at the same time. Perhaps this is a remnant of how the modern woman has literally forfeited her rights to be a part of this pornographic movement which satisfies who? Yes, men! I am still trying to work out the details of my thesis but I will keep you posted. ;)