Picture the scene. You’re sitting in a strange room with your friend, waiting for the near-stranger to come and give you instructions, and, you hope, some money. You look around at the expensive furnishings, and your friend, who is wearing just a bed sheet. “So…are you wearing any underwear?” you ask. “No,” they shoot back at you, and you both crack up. And then your client comes back in the room, and you eye them with a mix of ingratiation and just enough jut of the chin to let them know who’s in charge.
The mix of camaraderie, defiance, curiosity and sitting around naked in unfamiliar places is familiar to any sex worker. But the two characters onscreen are Sherlock Holmes and John Watson, who have been summoned to Buckingham Palace to work on a confidential case involving some compromising photos of a young royal. The photos in question are held by one Irene Adler, a dominatrix, who we also see in tantalisingly brief shots intercut with Holmes and Watson. While they look at tastefully posed photos from her website, she thumbs through real-time snapshots of them on a swanky phone. A game of wits is thus begun between Holmes and Adler, in which they bluff, drug, evade and outfox each other by turns for ninety convoluted minutes. [READ MORE]
Wendy starts her run on AMC’s Breaking Bad playing the lead in a live scared-straight PSA. Hank Schrader, the loudmouth DEA agent, pulls up to her motel’s parking lot while she’s grabbing a root beer from the vending machine. He’s got his nephew in tow, and it’s pretty clear what show he wants to see: the junkie hooker whose life is so godawful that Walt Junior will be terrified right off the gateway drugs.
Hank’s an asshole. He calls Wendy “princess.” “Don’t make me get out of this car,” he hollers out the window, in a tone that would make me and my touchy indoor pride and nervous indoor instincts bolt the other way. But Wendy’s not what you’d expect, and she’s barely what Hank’s expecting, either. She wanders over, apathetic but dutiful. She pegs him straight away as a cop, then as a cop who wants to buy pot, then as a cop who wants to buy pot and have her blow the teenager in the car with him. She’s pretty okay with all of those things, except the teenager part, and checks to see if she can instead score some weed off of him. She barely answers any of his leading questions and eventually Hank gives up and dismisses her. She saunters away, unfazed.
The problem for Hank, whose dickhead ways give voice to an anti-sex-work public, is that Wendy isn’t scary. Nothing about the whole scene is scary, except maybe her gruesome teeth. The scene illustrates the gulf between public perception of the horrors of sex work (and drug use) and the banal realities of both choices. After the conversation, when Hank turns to Walt Junior and says, “So, what do you think?” Walt Junior, bless his heart, gives voice to a kindlier, dudelier, segment of the public, and just grins: “Cool.” [READ MORE]
Kat and I howled when we saw Jason Sudeikis’ strip club DJ character last year, and he returned to Saturday Night Live this weekend when former male stripper—and current star of Magic Mike, Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper movie—Channing Tatum was the guest host. The show made the most of his background. Tatum’s monologue revolved entirely around his former profession.
Tatum’s opening monologue:
Ladies’ Night at Bongo’s Clown Room:
Bongo’s Clown Room:
I do so appreciate it when comedy finds the funny in strippers without making jokes about our deaths or our emotional damage.
2 Broke Girls is, in its first season, a breakout hit for the bawdy CBS network. The traditional, filmed-before-a-live-studio-audience sitcom follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of young women waitressing at a diner while they save up to launch a cupcake business. Occasionally there are jokes that use Coldplay and the Arcade Fire as punchlines, and it takes place in Williamsburg, so it’s sometimes called a hipster comedy.
It’s a show that we love to hatewatch. 2 Broke Girls has shocked us (I know!) at times with its throwbackracism and heavy use of rape jokes, not to mention its willingness to toss off lines about cumshots, anal, and 85 variations on “that’s what she said.” From the very first episode, we wondered, “Why don’t they just strip?” and patiently waited for the idea of doing sex work to occur to them. Finally, the episode “The Upstairs Neighbor” addressed sex work. Sort of. Bubbles, Charlotte, and Kat gathered on Skype to watch and comment on how 2 Broke Girls handled the idea of hooking. [READ MORE]
Thomas Jane, star of HBO’s Hung recently alluded to a personal sex work past. Sound like a publicity stunt? Maybe. But it’s unlikely the actor would be hyping up his show about middle class, straight male escorting with stories of street work while homeless and just 18. (Or, as Us magazine—can I put the magazine part in quotes?—charmingly puts it, “I was a homeless gay hooker.”) What Jane actually said was:
You know, when I was a kid out here in L.A., I was homeless, I didn’t have any money and I was living in my car. I was 18. I wasn’t averse to going down to Santa Monica Boulevard and letting a guy buy me a sandwich. Know what I mean?
Though Us insists Jane is admitting to having “often performed sexual acts with other men in order to pay the bills,” it sounds more like he occasionally allowed a (survival) sugar daddy type relationship to develop with other men. It’s also possible the Us staff is not great at reading: Jane said he was accepting of “sexual flavors” not “sexual favors“…provided that’s not a transcription error by the LA Times?
The emphasis in the interview is more on his sexual “experimentation” back then, and his attempt to make nice with the gay media who thought some of his previous statements were homophobic. But Mr. Jane, if you ever do decide to dish on the details of that time in your life, think of us first. We’d love to have an exclusive.