“I’m not a performer, I’m a pervert,” says Dixie De La Tour, the host and curator of cultural phenomenon Bawdy Storytelling. Called “The Moth for Pervs” by LA Weekly, Bawdy Storytelling is all about people sharing their best, worst, most unusual, or most meaningful sexual experiences—all in 10 minutes or less.
At a recent Bawdy Storytelling event at Brooklyn’s Galapagos Art Space, De La Tour sat at a little table on the front corner of the stage, her shoulders peeking out of a black ’50s-style dress. She explained that Bawdy Storytelling began because “People were doing shit and I wanted to get all the details!” The hostess lovingly refers to herself, and anyone who attends Bawdy, as a “pervert”—someone who enjoys talking openly or hearing about sex. Bawdy actually began because De La Tour and her friends would get together for coffee and trade sex stories. Each week they had a different theme, and eventually people brought more and more friends; the event grew into a happening in the San Francisco area. Bawdy has been happening for six years, and the event recently made its first (but hopefully not last) foray to New York.
De La Tour is a self-proclaimed “traveler through the sexual underground” who tells candid, stirring and delightful tales about her adventures from her time as a bouncer at San Francisco sex club Kinky Salon (“I used to fix people up and say, ‘When I come back, you better be fuckin’!’”), her time as a clown in a porn documentary on HBO (“Don’t ever do a money shot with another clown”), and about an experience hiring an exotic dancer for a friend’s bachelor party (“She was an ugly stripper but the party was great”). In a world in which sexuality is something we’re told to be ashamed of, it’s satisfying to hear De La Tour’s stories roll off her tongue with ease.
A recent show was themed “No Holds Barred,” with storytellers including sex educator Ducky Doolittle, physical comedian John Leo, sex writer Twanna A. Hines, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon’s Seth Herzog, VICE and Jezebel.com sex columnist Karley Sciortino (aka Slutever) and Master Storyteller Mike Daisey. They told tales including juicy and often-poignant tidbits like, “I can roll a joint with my foreskin,” to misadventures with a strap-on that included the phrase “dildicorn,” to first sex, to soft-core BDSM relationships, to a threesome with the safe word “TURQUOISE!”
De La Tour says many people who’ve never told a story onstage before often have the craziest stories to tell, and it’s not unusual for Bawdy events to bring people together, literally. That’s what De La Tour loves about the events—the way they connect people. “It makes [sex] less foreign, less scary,” she says. “There’s a lot of sex education in this show,” De La Tour says of Bawdy; the audience often leaves thinking, “I learned something new today!” she says, or even with some new tips. “When people are up on stage telling their stories, you can’t judge them,” De La Tour explains. “It’s powerful because it’s vulnerable.” And truthfully, after all of the stories have been told, there’s a heightened feeling of camaraderie in the room—Dixie even encourages listeners to talk and tell stories amongst themselves during the show’s brief break, and many do.
At the end of the night, Dixie asks people to reach under their seats for a surprise. Some lucky audience members become the proud owners of dildos ranging in color, length, and width. Because what’s a party without some favors?
To learn more about Bawdy Storytelling and and watch some videos of previous events, go to bawdystorytelling.com.
By Elyssa Goodman