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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 26, 2013 - Volume 41 Issue 30
Bringing sexy back - The 11th annual Seattle Erotic Art Festival offers something for everyone
Arts & Entertainment
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Bringing sexy back - The 11th annual Seattle Erotic Art Festival offers something for everyone

SEATTLE EROTIC ART FESTIVAL THE SHOWBOX SODO August 2 - 4

For its eleventh year, the Seattle Erotic Art Festival will be showing the finest erotic artwork in the world and giving attendees a lush atmosphere in which to explore their sensuality. Presented by the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture, 'the Seattle Erotic Art Festival proudly shows fine art that is not generally found in mainstream galleries and art shows,' Sophia Iannicelli, festival director, told SGN. 'In fine art, the line between erotica and pornography becomes irrelevant.'

Visual art is the backbone of the Seattle Erotic Art Festival, which seeks to support artists producing erotic works of art through providing a place to show and sell their works. Art collectors from all over North America come to the festival to add to their collections, and many attendees leave the festival as first-time art buyers.

The festival was founded in 2003 by photographer Jim Duvall, current board president of the Foundation for Sex Positive Culture. As an erotic artist, Duvall noticed that there was a demand for his and his contemporaries' work, yet galleries were generally unwilling to hang erotic art. 'I remember thinking, 'this work needs to be shown' and realizing that we would have to show it ourselves,' he said. The festival aims to meet the need for a venue and satisfy those demands, and in the past 10 years it has given hundreds of artists the chance to show their work to audiences numbering in the thousands.

MIXED MEDIA
The festival brings together multiple forms of art including visual, literary, performance, interactive installations, and, of course, the creatively sexy costumes of the attendees. This year, there will be an erotic film series at the Grand Illusion Cinema, which will host four programs over three days. Programs include film historian Dennis Nyback's 'Stag Party Special' and his 'Ooh, La, La! A History of Lingerie'; Remedy, a feature film by Cheyenne Picardo; and an erotic short film showcase. Live performances include a Naked Girls Reading event, hosted by Jesse Belle Jones.

Each night after the performances, the fun keeps going as the after-parties begin. On Friday night, lounge, jazz, and blues music will create a sultry atmosphere for blues dancers thanks to a five-piece band with the amazing Christa Wells on vocals. On Saturday night, it is time to let loose and let the music wash over you with dance DJs Ramiro (Uniting Souls Music), Michael Manahan, and others keeping the music going until late in the night.

'The Festival provides an atmosphere where people can freely express their sexual identities while enjoying being surrounded by sensual art in all forms,' said Iannicelli.

DESTINATION EVENT
One of the largest erotic art festivals in North America, with nearly 10,000 visitors each year, the festival attracts artists and attendees from across the nation and around the world every year. By entering an open and fun environment, attendees are able to get out of their shells, shed the sexual judgments found in normal society, and open up to themselves about sexuality.

'Opening yourself up about your sexual being can be a scary thing to have exposed. We are really prone to judging people in sex and sexuality,' said Duvall. The Seattle Erotic Art Festival promotes less judgment and gives shame less power. 'It's a hot-air balloon and we're poking holes. If you can read everyone's mind, everyone is a sexual being: walking around, covering up, and denying it.'

Duvall views this as the biggest reason for the festival: 'People can see thousands enjoying the art, get validation on their sexuality, on the diversity that surrounds them. Friends can view different pieces of art and see what speaks to them - to their heart. Even if the friends of the person don't comprehend the message of the artwork, they still respect each other afterwards.'

'Art is a powerful way to share experience and make emotional connection,' added Iannicelli. One of her personal goals is to exhibit art that communicates the erotic so well that a person can look at it and see the eroticism in it, even if what it depicts is of no sexual interest to them.

OPTIONS FOR ATTENDEES
Attendees can enjoy anywhere from strictly the art exhibitions to a full luxurious VIP weekend of art, performances, after-parties, and early access to the art exhibit. Day passes start at $15 and are available at the Showbox SoDo box office. General tickets start at $35 and are available online at www.axs.com, in person at the Pacific Northwest Library for Sex Positive Culture (1608 15th Ave. W., Seattle) and at both Showbox box-office locations, and over the phone at (206) 274-4525.

The Showbox SoDo is at 1700 1st Ave. S. in Seattle. Discount event parking is provided by the Safeco Field Garage.

Attendees must be 18 or older during gallery hours, and 21 or older after 6 p.m. For additional information, visit www.seattleerotic.org.

The Foundation for Sex Positive Culture is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that promotes the many ways sex is beneficial through education, outreach, the arts, advocacy, and research programs that serve the public. All proceeds from this event benefit the foundation, and donations may be tax-deductible.

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