Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meet the Neighbours: Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex.

Howdy folks! Another little interview with a neighbouring blogger – actually, it’s a rather long interview, but I refused to trim it because it’s so damn good. I won’t even bother to do any introductions – I’ll let Nio, of Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex. do that herself. Enjoy.

***

Tell us about yourself! Who are you, and what has led you to this point in life/work?


I’m 25 years old, grew up in small town New Zealand then moved to Melbourne, Australia in 2007 to do my Masters in Fine Art.

The conceptual aspects of the art I did at university revolved around gender, cuteness, performative identity and sexuality. When I completed my MFA, I got some fantastic feedback from the assessor who observed that though my art had sexual undertones, he would really like me to explore the sexual aspect more overtly. That comment really stuck with me, but then life got busy, I needed money and I had to get a job. I ended up working in a call centre collecting credit card debt for a bank, until I decided I needed a job that allowed me to eat chocolate and watch porn all day.

That is when I found my current work as a video and image editor for an “ethical erotica” company. I was interested in the company’s mission statement which seemed to be about subverting the dominant paradigm when it comes to consumable depictions of sexuality – ie, making porn that was different. I felt this could give me some experience and insight into various ways that sexuality can be depicted – with the idea that my work could help inform my art and politics. I actually ended up contributing a little to the company’s projects myself which basically involved taking naked photos of myself and wanking on camera! Obviously, the work I did was low-key and soft-core, but I still feel as if it’s given me a little more insight into how it feels to be in front of the camera in a sexual context. Something that struck me was how much fun I had, how much of a non-event it was otherwise and how it felt less exploitive and soul destroying than working for a bank had been.

I’ve recently gone part time at my job to concentrate more on my art and keeping in mind the comments I got from that university assessor, I am now attempting to bring the things I have been learning and thinking about sex and porn into my own artistic practice. Today, I spent almost an hour examining wooden fruit in an interior decorating shop, wondering if I could paint them pink and use them as dildos in an installation.


Tell us about your blog - what is the focus? What are your goals?


My blog is a space where I can give a more coherent form to the thoughts that have been floating in my head for many years now about some of the things that I think about the most – feminism, art porn and sex!

The goal started reasonably loose but I am starting to realise that though I am not an overtly political person, this blog is also somewhat politically motivated. The climate in Australia is disturbingly conservative with the Church having far too much power. It also seems to me that certain groups of people have become more vocal in their moral hysteria about “porn culture”. I find a lot of their arguments frustratingly simplistic, especially as they often don’t tend to define what “porn” actually is, and in fact seem to mean mainstream heterosexual porn, which while being the most widely available type of porn, is not actually all that porn can be.

Basically, it seems that everyone wants to take the moral high ground and that nobody wants to be the pervert standing up for porn and sex. I decided I wanted to be one of the perverts who does! My aim is not to uncritically talk about porn, sexuality and their relationship to art, but to attempt to discuss them as the complex subjects they are. Though I am a white, cisgendered female and therefore have my own perspective and privileges, I hope not to be too preachy but rather encourage open dialogue about the things I wish we’d discuss more often without getting hysterical, judgemental, moralising, or seedy.


You identify as feminist - how do you define feminism? What do you find are the most common misconceptions of feminism?


I indentify as a feminist because I believe feminism is still relevant and important, not only for what it has given women but for the conversations it continues to create. Yes, women in the West have come a long way as far as their rights go, but I believe we need to go further. And while I do not believe in imposing Western feminism on women of other cultures, I feel feminist discourse can be useful for women everywhere.

I get frustrated when feminists are lumped together. There are a million different forms of feminism, but I feel that the thing that binds us together is the belief in women’s rights. Because of my specific stance in regards to porn, sexuality, BDSM etc, I actually like to further clarify my stance by calling it “sex positive feminism”; this is not totally necessary but I find it useful for positioning within the much broader spectrum of feminism.

The most common misconception I come across is that feminism is about women being superior to men, which is ludicrous. People complain about the wording, that “feminism” means it’s all about women and, well, duh. Feminism IS about women’s rights and equality because we still need to fight for these things.

A more modern misconception seems to also be that feminists are silly women who are just imagining their feelings of being oppressed, that feminism is no longer necessary in Western society and that feminists are just a bunch of white, middle class whiners. As a white, middle class whiner… I resent that! In seriousness, I find that argument offensive as it invalidates the perspective of a large group of people without seriously considering why they might feel this way.



I personally have gone through several "evolutions" of feminism due to various experiences, books, classes, and a multitude of other influences. What has been your own "evolution" or "journey" through feminism? What or who have been the biggest influence on your perspective?


I grew up with parents who very much nurtured my feminism. However, the early manifestations of feminism I went through involved a period where I couldn’t even wear a skirt without feeling I was bowing to the patriarchy and I never, ever wore makeup. I was basically denying my own desires to sometimes dress and act “girly”, because I seemed to be making the mistake some people make in thinking that to be equal to men, one must act like them.

Then I went through a phase in my mid-to-late teens where I decided that feminism was no longer necessary and I started making art exploring sexuality as well as posing naked for photos and posting them online on deviantart.com (perhaps in rebellion to a boyfriend who told me that if I ever did nude modelling, he’d dump me). A few of the nude photos received a reasonable amount of popularity but I was shocked by some of the hateful vitriol spewed my way by people who seemed to despise me, simply because I was a 19 year old posting naked photos of herself online. What had originally felt like a fun, liberating and revealing experience became one that was complicated and upsetting because I realised my body was a playground for projections not just from creepy men but also judgemental people. This was my first real understanding of how loaded it is for a woman to reveal and own her body/sexuality.

Somehow, this led me back into feminism because I realised I don’t live in a world where my body only belongs to me. But I still felt frustrated by a lot of feminist discourse I was exposed to at the time, which often made me feel hopeless, helpless and guilty about my own desires to dress nicely, expose my body in an exhibitionist manner, be sexually submissive and so on. In a funny way, feminism often felt oppressive because everywhere I looked, there was the patriarchy and how the hell was I supposed to be myself? How was I to avoid being a female chauvinist pig?!

Then I discovered sex positive feminism and the conversations surrounding it and this is where my feminism is at right now. My current stance is also influenced by people working on sex workers’ rights. I can’t point to one specific influence but I’m certainly inspired by people such as Susie Bright, Dorothy Allison, Annie Sprinkle and Audacia Ray. I enjoy the sex positive feminist stance because it has helped me learn to acknowledge and accept aspects of my own sexuality and self. My relationship with my desires and with my feminism is still a complicated one, often fraught with contradiction and uncertainty, but I think it’s valuable to always question ourselves and accept our contradictory nature. We’re complicated creatures, we human beings.


You explicitly invoke porn and feminism as core aspects of your blog - what is your perspective on how these two subjects intersect? How do you feel about the various ways feminism and porn have clashed and bonded? Where do you situate yourself in the "sex wars"?


As a woman who enjoys using pornography as a masturbatory tool, and who is interested in exploring it artistically, I want the right to be able to do so. So in that sense, I am distressed by the anti-porn stance certain feminists take, specifically those who want it outlawed as I am very much against censorship. I am against paternalistic laws that deny women the right to bodily autonomy and moreover, make criminals out of sex workers. So, as stated earlier, I identify as a sex positive feminist.

That said, there’s one hell of a lot of mainstream porn that I find incredibly disagreeable; its depictions of women are often misogynistic, violent without contextualisation, and it tends to sideline women’s pleasure to concentrate on male fantasy and orgasm. In my mind, there is absolutely no doubt that porn is a feminist issue and as such, should be critiqued, deconstructed and reconstructed into something smarter, more female-friendly and therefore sexier. The answer, to me and others such as the wonderful Violet Blue, is not to censor porn but for women to demand better porn. Organisations such as the Feminist Porn Awards, which have been running since 2006, are doing a great job of encouraging porn through a feminist lens.

It’s certainly not an issue without complexity, and I’m not even necessarily against porn that does display idealised female bodies, as obviously porn is fantasy, but I simply want there to be more alternatives and rational discussions about the topic. I’m not interested in the “for” or “against” sort of attitudes of some, as I think when you’re discussing a topic as complex as human sexuality and the depiction of it, you can’t discuss things in simplistic black and white terms.


Art and porn are two typically binarized spheres, in both legal and cultural contexts. What are your thoughts on the way society locates these spheres in opposition? What is your perspective on the relationship between art and porn? How do you define what you have referred to on your site as "art porn"?


Several years ago, I read an essay by Alan Moore called “Bog Venus vs Nazi Cock Ring” that spoke of the way Victorian attitudes towards sexuality basically ghettoized pornography and left it in its current ugly state. I don’t know just how historically accurate this essay was but I certainly agree that the reason we polarize art and porn is because we tend to hold art on a pedestal as a higher human endeavour, something beyond the flesh, but culturally we tend to see sex as a dirty, irritating aspect of our animal selves; something lowly, based only upon bodily function (like shitting or sneezing).

I tend to think of human sexuality as far more complicated than this, and as such it should not be beyond exploration in art. Nothing should be beyond ethical exploration in art. Of course, a lot of artists explore sexuality in various aspects, but when it comes to imagery that is explicitly sexually arousing, that seems to have become an almost entirely exclusive domain of pornography. But I think if art can make us laugh, cry, think and feel… why can’t it make us horny?

Of course, this is where it gets tricky: how do I define art porn? Well, that gets to the question “What is art?” That’s a hard question! Art is subjective and I think the same is true of porn. In 1964, Justice Potter Stewart said of hardcore pornography “I know it when I see it." I’ve heard people say “I know art when I see it, and that’s not art,” of Marcel Duchamp’s work, so it’s obvious to me that when it comes to what is art and what is porn, it’s in the eye of the beholder.

But as for my own definition of “art porn”, to me art is a creative endeavour that attempts to express complexities… so art porn, to me, is either art that tries to be arousing or porn that tries to be complex. In my mind that’s how you get art porn, but whether it makes GOOD art porn is an entirely different matter. I’m not yet sure what makes good art porn – I guess I’ll know it when I see it!


Is there anything about the porn industry that troubles you from a feminist perspective? What, if anything, would you change about the industry in its current form?


Oh there is fuckloads about the current porn industry that troubles me. The first thing I’d like to change is how the industry aims almost exclusively at an audience that is the stereotypical notion of a heterosexual man – no wonder so many women despise porn, it’s like a parody of the patriarchy except it’s not a parody! I’d really like to see porn producers consider their female and queer audiences a lot more, humanise their female actors, think more, explore human sexuality deeper, become more imaginative – gah! Just… get… better!

But I really don’t think the onus can be put entirely on porn producers. Just as we’re buying fair-trade chocolate, free range eggs and locally farmed carrots, we need to become ethical consumers of porn. Know where your porn has come from, question the producer’s practices, put your money where your mouth is and support ethical and indie porn companies. We all know about supply and demand; we need to demand better material to wank to.

Finally, we need to stop vilifying porn producers and actors and start respecting them as human beings. If we stop marginalising sex and sex workers, perhaps more artists will venture into the territory and transform the landscape. If porn is currently a dangerous monster, this is only because we have made it so. I believe we can change that.


What are your Top 3 favourite XXX movies, and why?


1. The Opening of Misty Beethoven. A friend of mine lent me this old classic and so far it’s been the only feature length porn film I’ve been able to sit through in its entirety. I love that it is clever, funny, sexy, has high production values and subversive power play (one scene has a woman fucking a man with a strap-on, I want to see much more of that!), and the movie ends with the woman in power. Oh and I totally came about six times while watching the film.

2. The Fashionistas. Actually, I watched this high budget BDSM film years ago and can’t remember much of it, but one scene really stood out for me. One of the stars, Belladonna, is sexily stripping and watching herself in a mirror, obviously turned on by her own image. This really struck a chord with me – a wonderfully sexy sort of narcissism.

3. Stage Left, which is a short film on ifeelmyself.com. Haunting music as a female clown walks onto a deserted stage, lit by two spotlights. She starts masturbating and the music gradually fades out as her cries get louder. Her orgasm is intense and emotional, then she takes a bow, exits, and returns to her work sweeping the stage. It’s a quick film, erotic but also kind of alienating, emotional and haunting for me. It speaks to me about the performative aspect of sexuality and of loneliness in a way that is almost surreal. Also, I like it when scary things are eroticised and clowns are the height of scary!

You can read the wonderful blog Feminism. Art. Porn. Sex. here!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"...not the kind that will inspire female laughter": Garage Girls (1982)


Hey folks! Some of you may remember my critique of Robert Rimmer's review of Stiff Competition a little while back, where I took Rimmer to task for misguidedly presuming the film to be misogynistic, based on his own (and by extension, society's) attitudes toward sexuality, physicality, and gender. Rimmer is a curious fellow. His reviews are an invaluable resource, but he frequently baffles me with his assertions that "women will love this one" or "women will be repulsed by the tone of this sexvid." Peoples' expectations of male and female porn consumption is a little bee in my bonnet, but more broadly something that fascinates me. In my experience, people seem to think that women want no close ups of genitalia, and no "nasty" content, while men of course desire exactly these very things. Men and women aren't so simple though y'all, and I do enjoy going into a film Rimmer has promised me I, as a woman, will love or hate, just to see who he thinks I am, and to ponder what this says about cultural attitudes toward gendered sexual desires.

Rimmer remarks of Garage Girls, "The humor in this one, which is almost continuous, is not the kind that will inspire female laughter. Rather, it is male barroom or fraternity humor. Thus in 1982 not all adult filmmakers agreed with Chuck Vincent." Hmm. I love Chuck Vincent, but I love Robert McCallum too...and what in the hell is "barroom humor"? Fraternity humor sounds really unfunny, so I'm already on the fence about this pic. Don't get me wrong -- even though assumptions about gendered behavior/interests irritate me, certainly there are some themes and forms of humor that are misogynistic, and could be regarded as something women (and like-minded men) might not want to watch. There's a homosocial form of bonding that can often be extremely alienating to women (necessarily so, in fact), most obviously in jokes that are at the expense of women, sexualizing them in dehumanizing ways for the cackling benefit of groups of men, and generally mocking them as a way of securing a hysterically insecure masculine heterosexuality. Clearly, if Rimmer were referring to this form of humor, I would likely give him a hearty Amen! But alas, as with Stiff Competition, I found myself watching Garage Girls in disbelief -- what on earth was Rimmer referring to?


First of all, lets break down the plot: a group of four women have just graduated from a mechanics school, have purchased a little shop, and are starting a business together -- their "dream come true" -- but face problems in the form of sexist expectations of women mechanics. As Lisa DeLeeuw tells the gals, "Men are gonna give us a rough time, customers and competition." But they're in it for more than just money -- they want to prove they're independent. The gals set to work fixing cars, and indulge some of their own sexual desires with customers along the way, including a sweet budding relationship between Lisa DeLeeuw and Duke (John Leslie), a supportive cop who is helping the girls out with security. There's more though, as you shall see...


From the get go, it's clear that the female protagonists are interested in independence, both economic and sexual. It's not uncommon for a film to preach feminism but fail to deliver via sleazy and one-sided sex scenes, but Garage Girls really seems to make an effort to depict female autonomy and sexual pleasure. When Duke offers his help to Lisa in the wake of an attempt at sabotage ("Somebody just doesn't like girls being mechanics!"), he clarifies that his protection would be solely as a civil servant, and it's Lisa who entices him into the shower room (why they have a fancy shower room in the back of the shop is anyone's guess, but I like it). The sex that ensues is egalitarian, and when the other girls get a look at Duke, they're cheekily imploring him to whip his cock out so they can see. Clearly, these women are interested in sex, and for the most part set the boundaries. In a genre where cunnilingus and attention to female orgasm is so routinely neglected, Garage Girls features plenty of oral loving for the ladies, and verbal articulations that they're climaxing. In addition, the women have subtly defined sexual characters ranging from monogamous (Lisa) to totally and casually obsessed with sex (Dorothy) that render each of them unique, thereby avoiding simply depicting them all as liberated sluts.


Later, still battling saboteurs, the girls have to contend with Bonnie and Clyde, who are on the run from the cops and attempting to stick up the garage. Luckily, Dorothy LeMay is a "karate expert", and a pretty kick ass scene where the women handle their business ensues. I wasn't expecting this kind of silliness, but it was certainly welcome, and a refreshing change that the women kicked ass without the assistance of their cop buddy. Once Duke does show up, he simply takes Bonnie and Clyde downtown, and the gals get back to work.


One of the more interesting scenes happens toward the end, where Lisa is called by Georgina Spelvin, Youth Corps leader, to fix a flat tire on their bus. Lisa not only fixes the tire (jacking it up with all the "kids" inside, no less), but keeps Georgina busy so the horny teens can fool around for a while. Finally, Georgina literally falls in on the action, and discovers her own awakening, crying out "Praise the Lord!" It's a curious Mary Poppins-esque scene, with Lisa serving as a kind of sexual assistant who also changes their tire on the side, and cruises off with a smile. It's just all so goddamn good-natured.

When the saboteur, now dressed as a gorilla, takes things too far by trying to blow up the garage, the second car chase of the film takes place and the whole caboodle ends up with a weird showdown on the beach between Duke and Lisa on one side, and the gorilla/saboteur on the other. "Me and my buddies don't want the competition," the gorilla explains, "And we don't like women's lib!" Why should they share their mechanics' business with women? he reasons. And here comes the ickiest part for me... When the gorilla tells Duke that "us guys have to stick together," Duke protests, "You gotta have women!" Lisa concurs, adding, "unless you're a homo!"


Yikes. That old homophobic chestnut. A shame that they had to throw that in there, as though the reason men should support women's rights is because if they don't, they must be gay, which by extension implies that supporting women is equivalent to wanting to/being able to fuck them. Oh well, maybe Rimmer was dead on regarding this little exchange. That doesn't discount the whole film though, in my opinion, unless we are to go back over everything and read it simply as feminism = cock hungry sluts. I don't believe that's what the film suggests at all though. In fact, I found the film to be a refreshing antidote to the anti-sex stereotype of feminism without resorting to the insulting converse stereotype that feminism is great because it means all women want sex all the time and can no longer be raped. I can see how one of the scenes (the first scene in the bar) could be read in this latter way, however.


Of course, everyone lives happily ever after (including the gorilla!) -- Duke and Lisa remain an item, the other gals are sexually satisfied, and the film ends with a toast: "Here's to the Garage Girls! They're off to a great start!"

Rimmer concludes his review by saying, "Men between 18 and 40 may laugh their heads off, but most women won't." I didn't just laugh, I applauded! Maybe I'm not most women? Maybe Rimmer was watching a different movie? Maybe times have changed? Who knows, but I find it honestly baffling that such a blatantly pro-women, pro-women's lib film, with all its frivolity and sexy silliness, could be marked off by anyone as a prime example of porn that would turn off a woman, unless it is presumed that women openly enjoying sex is insulting. Maybe it's the dungarees with no bra? I recommend this flick to women *and* men who like fun and sexy XXX which doesn't dehumanize its subjects. Just be aware of that groan-inducing homophobic snafu.

"Here's to the Garage Girls!"

Sunday, August 1, 2010

"I'm Gonna Fill That Belly of Hers With Black Power!": Hot Summer in the City (1976)

Hola! It's been a while. I was perusing the web today, when I came across this article from March, a nice trip down memory lane for me, saying all kinds of nice things about my site, and concluding with those ominous words, "If only she'd post more..."

Well, you asked for it, here ya go!

I first heard about Hot Summer in the City when I stumbled across a quote from Quentin Tarantino saying it was the best porno ever made. I figured that would make it grimy, sleazy, and probably cool in a retro way with groovy tunes, but almost certainly not the best porno ever made, what with the likes of Pamela Mann and Misty Beethoven strolling around in the ether.

With that said, it certainly intrigued me, and after watching Gail Palmer introduce the life-altering The Italian Stallion, I figured I should check out some of her other titles.

I understood going in that I was pretty much guaranteed some degree of near-parodic racism and sexism, yet I was interested to see what this kind of racially charged sex/blax/exploitation genre would look like through the eyes of a white, female former sex worker. Maybe the fact that Palmer directed the movie steered me toward deeper thought, but from the outset it was clear to me that underneath the sleaze lay at least some rumblings of social commentary. Palmer appears to be trying to satirically point to something regarding white women, black men, and the implicitly present white male patriarch, most obvious in the "fucking the white woman to get back at the man" motif that underlies so much interracial porn then and now. It's also indicated in the scene where our "heroine" Debby runs away from the black rapists to a suburban house, crying for help. An old white man emerges from his home, sees the black men roughing her up while she screams, kinda nods, and goes back inside. This struck me as Palmer's indictment of middle-class, white male indifference to sexual violence against women, as well as a tendency to isolate racial issues to the periphery of "normal" society. In essence, what has this got to do with him?


Following this, the men carry Debby back to their HQ, where they are apparently hatching some kind of scam involving terrorism against cops, staged to look like it was committed by black folks in order to start a race riot. Some rich white dude stands to benefit from this somehow, and the crew are sure to get away with it in such a heated civil rights climate. Why they are doing it, or who gains from what, I cannot tell you - either the film doesn't explain it, or I wasn't paying attention, or maybe it's simply the film's way of saying white men are racist, and black men are complicit in that racism. Perhaps someone can enlighten me otherwise? Either way, this particular group of black militants have no political agenda, and no quarrel with profiting from the good efforts of MLK.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. First, they all have to rape virgin Debby, in a not particularly convincing frenzy of violent homosocialism. They really don't stop talking to each other -- it's almost as if she doesn't need to be there. But of course, homosocial structures must have that reassuring female body in order to function. And in this context, a white female body signifies in very specific ways. Our main man Duke effectively claims Debby as his own, positioning himself as her pimp, so the other men have to jump through hoops, and win at poker, in order to gain access to his property.

Effectively, that's all there is to the film, but for me the intriguing parts lie in the gendered and raced characterizations, particularly Debby's curiously instantaneous transition into housewife and domestic servant. It's a racist, sexist stereotype that white women are submissive to men, while black women are not, leading to all sorts of cringe-inducing comments in the real world a la Wesley Snipes. It's very interesting, then, that Debby is immediately put to work cooking beans and pork chops, a rather surreal sight to see immediately following her forced deflowering. However, it's also a scenario that whiffs of white sexual fantasy and guilt. Later, she is the appointed whiskey-pourer during their poker game, and in general a quiet, meek little lady who dotes on the guys and never indicates any desire to escape (though she seems a bit down in the dumps). Let's face it though, and I suspect this is the point, she doesn't have a lot to go home to as established by the opening scene where she tells her boyfriend about the physical abuse she experiences at home, and then walks in on her mother fucking two guys.


Things certainly take a turn when a tough talking woman, Jody, shows up and starts verbally abusing Debby, growing jealous of Debby's "relationship" with her man Duke, and generally fulfilling the aforementioned black female stereotype. Well, she too gets raped when she puts up too much of a fuss about her boyfriend screwing Debby, but it all starts to wander toward the consentual, romantic rape formula that I have seen in dozens of porn flicks from this era, with Jody seeming to get into it while Debby is fucking her once-was-rapist in the other room to some soft and groovy tunes. It is here that the film starts to posture as a celebration of ebony and ivory and all the joys of interracial eroticism as Debby and Duke's bodies intertwine. (Following this, Duke tenderly orders the others to tie her up so she won't run away while he's out...).


By the end of the flick, it's not entirely clear what it all means, if indeed it means anything at all. What is clear is that Jody becomes the demonized obstructor of interracial love/lust, while the male sexual aggressors are vindicated. Jody orchestrates Stitch's anal rape of Debby, and when she tries to cut off Debby's tit, Stitch tries to stop her (what a hero!) and gets knifed himself. Just as Shorty goes to slice and dice the aforementioned white titty, Duke arrives, shotgun in hand, and literally blasts the meddling Jody across the room. He then seems to just leave Debby to wander the dusty roads while he drives off and presumably engineers a terrorist attack that we never get to see.


It's all a little too reminiscent of the complaints of black feminist theorists such as bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins that social justice for "blacks" effectively means "black men," while "women's liberation" effectively means "white women's liberation." Furthermore, the film depicts a sense of how marginalized and oppressed groups tend to marginalize or oppress other groups as a way of highlighting their own plight, or to assist in their own enfranchisement. An example of this would be the early women's liberation movement using racist tactics to campaign for the right to vote; another example would be the general tendencies of "horizontal hostility" and resentement present in the racism and hostility directed from one oppressed racial minority toward another oppressed racial minority, something that stems from an overarching white hegemonic structure that encourages and thrives on such in-fighting and competition. It seems as though whatever Palmer was trying to say about race, she ended up letting the men off the hook, while the black female is rendered the "problem." Of course, this might all be trivial fluff, haphazardly blowing in across a muddled series of random exploitation tropes, but it's there nonetheless.

With all this in mind, I found Hot Summer in the City to be a grimy and confusing affair that had pretensions to political commentary, and a few unexpectedly interesting nudges and winks at broader social issues, even if at the expense of a third party. In addition, Palmer's own fantasies of interracial lust and forced sex surely figure into the mess. The overwhelming reason to see this film, however, is for the jive talking banter amongst the men, and the steady stream of presumably illegally used hits from the 60s and 70s.


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