The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
Thursday, February 14, 2013 - 3B
From Page 1B
Her name in Renee, and she is
at The Dirty Show for a field trip.
"I'm in a graphic design
class," she says, "And I'm try-
ing to compare the pictures and
kind of pick the artists they most
emulate. It's a new feel for me,
but, yeah, it's awesome."
The trend of artists comparing
and contrasting their work with
the ones on display is prevalent.
A palpable sense of community
pervades, and every artist seems
to know each other; they come
to support their friends and to
see what the erotic art "world"
is up to.
Butch's "seduction" doesn't
come to fruition, but, unde-
terred, he continues to call over
every half-naked girl within 15
feet. But here's the thing: The
Dirty Show isn't a bunch of
swingers seeking a one-night-
stand. Instead, couples are the
most common sight. Holding
hands, they gaze at what could
be blush-inducing material.
Could The Dirty Show be the
ultimate Valentine's Day delti-
I pose the question to Reed, as
she leads me toward the "inter-
active" parts of the show.
"Every year, this is my Valen-
tine's date," Reed declares. "Do
you want to do the cheesy thing
and buy your girlfriend or your
wife chocolate? Not really. For a
lot of people, the art and the show
is a turn-on. Seeing all the peo-
ple and the art," - a ripped man
wearing nothing but a kilt strides
past us, Reed gestures toward him
- "The human form ... it's a great
non-traditional Valentine's date."
As we pass a whirling pole
dancer, Reed describes the
activities from years past: the
aforementioned vibrating merry-
go-round (which was assembled
awkwardly in Reed's garage) and
the "spank rock," on which par-
ticipants could bend over and
receive a spanking. This year, The
Dirty Show has a green screen
(Take a picture of yourself sitting
on a giant penis!) and something
called "Titties and Clitties." Awe-
'RUNAWAY BRIDE' (1999), PARAMOUNT
or shallow flop?
Daily Arts Writers Natalie
Gadbois and Carly Keyes
step into the salon for a
friendly debate on
The Dirty Show is North America's largest erotic art exhibit.
somely rhymed name aside, the
activity itself is playful enough:
Ladies paint the front of their
nakedbods, then they press them-
selves against a canvas. "Titties
and Clitties," get it?
Loud thumping bass starts up,
and the shows begin.
"Everywhere you look, there's
something to look at," Reed says.
"It's a celebration of sexuality,
the human form and being able to
come out and express yourself."
A male stripper, or maybe an
erotic dancer (funny that I'm try-
ing to be politically correct, here
of all-places) takes the stage. He
rips off his golden thong and cov-
ers himself with a bowler hat. The
ladies cheer. Roxi D'iite, "The
Bad Girl of Burlesque," is one of
the next performers, strutting
and swaying, delicately removing
her white garments. A graceful
flamenco dance, a busty lip-sync
- the acts are endlessly enter-
taining, but my eyes are drawn
toward two girls dancing in the
cages above me. One is dressed in
a sailor-like outfit, the other has
a horsewhip, and they both seem
lost in their own little worlds.
But, in a moment, they stop danc-
ing and glance at each other. The
sailor giggles and starts to thrust.
Openly laughing,they both gyrate
their hips, each toward the other.
A man comes with a ladder, and
lets them down from the cages.
They link arms and start skipping
away, still giggling.
It's this strange tenderness and
vulnerability laced with blatant
sexuality that makes The Dirty
Show special. Shame of the body
- of desire - is challenged and
laughed at by drag queens, stu-
dents, married couples, people
- "normal" or otherwise. Every-
one belongs here, because no
one seems above it all; we're all
human, so why not celebrate that?
Carly: When I recall the mile-
stones of my childhood, I think of
"Runaway Bride." I first saw this
movie in fifth grade while on an
airplane to Costa Rica, and even
among the crying babies and tur- Say yes to the dress.
bulence, I fell in love. Twas the
beginning of a lifelong affection I can't believe I just compared my
for Garry Marshall feel-good films favorite movie of all-time to a fast-
and Richard Gere (and apparently food restaurant I despise, but let's
my "thing" for much older men...). be honest: Most rom-coms are as
Despite the minuscule screen and predictable as the cheese on your
six rows of passengers between Gordita. And though, I agree, there
us, it were as if Richard and I were are better items on the menu, I love
alone on that flight. Between Mar- this movie because it's unrealistic.
shall's charm and Gere's ... every- It's an escape into a safe, idealized
thing .. how can a woman not fall world with the right combination
forthis flick? ofquirk and saccharine - complete
Natalie: I fully understand with a killer soundtrack.Is it a criti-
having an emotional connection to cally acclaimed film? No. But does
a movie and a dreamy movie char- it make me feel good? Yes. To the
acter - believe me, my disdain for average movie-viewer, which mat-
this movie is not a tirade against ters more?
the rom-com genre, and certainly Natalie: Predictability is com-
not against that sexy silver fox, forting,butIprefer mycomfortwith
Richard Gere. And as a clumsy a little bit of substance, like drink-
child (and adult), I've always taken ing a hot chocolate in front of a cozy,
comfort in Julia Roberts's wide fire - I don't want a movie leaving'
smile and goofy persona. But this me queasy the entire next day. Even
movie is inane. It has none of the the surprises in "Runaway Bride"
charm of"Pretty Woman," the bite are overdone, and Maggie and Ike's
of "Erin Brockovitch," the daft joy whirlwind romance never shows
that is "Notting Hill." It's a sappy, that their love is sustaining. Give
shallow picture of life in an unre- me a silly romance, give me happy,
alistically quaint town and of a simple characters, give me a wed-
"love" between two selfish fools. ding at the end. I'll take anything
Carly: OK, so it's not exactly but a movie about whiny people
Oscar-worthy material, but do who don't know who they are and
people go to Taco Bell expect- won't make their own decisions.
ing a gourmet meal? No - they go Realism doesn't matter, but caring
because they know exactly what about what happens to the charac-
they're getting, and it's comforting. ters does. This movie just doesn't
have that,thoughIwill admitwed-
ding dress-clad Julia Roberts rid-
ing away on a horse as U2 echoes
behind her might be the greatest
movie openingof all time.
Carly: Good rom-coins feature
predictable scenarios and major
stars who end up together; they
please the crowd. I'll accept flat
characters like a self-absorbed,,
big-city reporter and a flighty
small-town girl, who "finds-her-
self" by figuring out her favorite
kind of eggs, if they're Richard
Gere and Julia Roberts. The who
matters, and they wouldn't pay
certain actors $20 million a pic-
ture if it didn't. With its inevi-
table happy ending and on-screen
dream team - "Runaway' Bride"
Natalie: To utilize your Taco
Bell analogy once again, why
would I go to Taco Bell when Chi-
potle has the same food but bet-
ter quality? "Runaway Bride" was
made because the Gere/Roberts
pairing was so lucrative in the
delightful "Pretty Woman," but it's
evident that no real passion or art-
istry went into the making of this
it, I tried to look beyond its faults,
but all I found was a flimsy taco
shell filled with imitation beef.