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Annie Sprinkle's contemporary lectures are known to be fairly explicit: She has at times pleasured herself on stage, while encouraging those in the audience to do likewise in their seats. I first learned about her some years ago in a Women's Studies class, during the requisite debate of "Porn and Stripping: Empowering vs. Embarrassing."

She had been making the rounds of academia with a controversial dramatization of her unlikely segue from '70s and '80s porn star to '90s professor. We had heard from more progressive campuses that the "grand finale" culminated with her inserting a speculum into her vagina and inviting any curious audience members to take a peek into the inner sanctum. Her performance art was too radical for the Deep South (where I was at the time), but I found an obscure VHS tape of it in the "Mondo Bizarro" section at a local video store and the blossoming feminist in me was hooked.

For two decades she has toured her theater shows and sex workshops internationally, and dedicated her academic career to the exploration and expression of sexuality. Her research on female ejaculation has added a new dimension to the mystery of the female orgasm, and she has worked with other sex specialists to document the existence of the phenomenon.

And even in the jaded days of 2011 she still manages to create controversy. Her headlining slot at the Ellsworth Grand's "Sex Is the Spice of Life" Festival on April 27 has, promoter Kristie Billings says, "really fired the kooky conservatives" up. Sprinkle's current work is about love, relationships, breast cancer, aging, and the place where ecology and sexology intersect, which she calls Sexecology. Let's hope she brings her speculum to the spectacle.

Annie Sprinkle at the "Sex Is the Spice of Life" Festival | April 27 @ 7:30 pm | Grand Auditorium, 165 Main St, Ellsworth | 207.667.9500 | 15, 18+ | presenting "My Life and Work as a Post-Porn Modernist, Radical Sex Educator, and Ecosex Activist | April 28 @ 7:30 pm | at SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St, Portland | 207.828.5600 | $13, 18+

  Topics: This Just In , Annie Sprinkle, SPACE Gallery, SPACE Gallery,  More more >
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