Love in the time of corona: Supporting our performers
It’s a strange moment in time for so many of us across the world. Schools closing, events cancelling, bars and restaurants shut tight, a “social distancing” imperative that requires we stay several feet away from other people and stay home if at all possible. Here in Amsterdam, we are all now mostly housebound, though the measures are still voluntary and not mandatory. It’s a strange time.
Blue Artichoke Films and the coronavirus
Of course this is somewhat of a burden on Blue Artichoke Films. Our new film Wild Card is hard to complete under these circumstances, and all our events are canceled (like our SXSW “From Fantasy To Film” filmmaking workshop, exhibition at the Awkwardness art show, and Adorn’s Dutch film premiere at the Cinedans Fest dance film festival).
However, we will surely be just fine.
There are others in our community hit much harder.
Supporting erotic performers and sex workers
The hardest hit in this time of crisis are our wonderful performers. Under even regular circumstances, many of them experience massive daily discrimination limiting them from marketing their work, giving sex ed information online, and practicing even legal sex work such as performing in porn and webcamming.
In this pandemic, work for most erotic performers has ground to a complete halt. Shooting erotic/porn films is not possible, one-on-one escorting is not possible, and many other erotic services (BDSM facilities etc.) have closed.
We feel for our performers, and we want to share a few ideas of how we can work together to help each other out in this time of crisis.
What can folks do to help?
Many of you are hit hard financially by the pandemic, and our only hope is that you stay healthy and take care of yourselves financially.
For those not hit hard, maybe you can help those who are. And some of these ideas don’t cost a penny. Anything at all that you can do to support sexuality artists right now is meaningful, and we appreciate you considering it.
Helping when you have spare funds
If you have spare funds to help:
- Check to see if your favorite performers belong to platforms where they film and broadcast their own videoclips, offer creative writing, or other artistic endeavors. Clips4sale, Patreon, and OnlyFans are great places to start. (Patreon has kicked off all the freelancers they have deemed too sexual, but some performers are flying under the radar or offer less-sexual content there.)
- If there is a way to donate directly to a performer you think could use help, it would likely be extremely welcome during this tough time. Just keep in mind that PayPal, the usual go-to for donations, is extremely unfriendly to porn and sexwork. Unless you’re sure your donation platform is totally sexworker-friendly, keep the description on your donation blank!
- If you like watching webcams, or might like to try, see if your favorite performers offer shows. It’s a great corona-safe option for both of you!
- Buy porn! Stream it, download it, buy DVDs for future gifting purposes. If you’re cooped up at home, and you have any privacy at all, you have a great excuse to exercise self-care via pleasure and orgasms. (Sounds like we’re kidding, but there are positive health benefits from arousal and orgasm — take advantage!). In some cases you will be supporting the production company and not the performers directly, but if it’s a small production company that you believe in and that you believe treats their performers very well, your funds make the difference in them being able to create a “next film” versus not being able to manage making any new movies for the foreseeable future. And a “next film” will certainly hire performers.
- If you were planning to attend an erotic event (burlesque/strip shows, erotic film screening) that has been canceled, consider donating the price of your ticket to the performers — especially if you were able to get your money back. It might not be a lot, but with enough donations it could make a difference for someone.
- Donate to organizations that are supporting out-of-work sex workers during this crisis. For example, our performer Bishop Black helpfully recommends Karada House, a Berlin BDSM and Rope space that is crowdfunding to help queer folk and womyn, POC and their friends. A Netherlands organization doing this is Red Umbrella’s Dutch Emergency Fund. We’ll add more resources as we hear about them.
- Some performers and sex workers, even though in need themselves, are helping the less fortunate. For example, our friend Sadie Lune, an American porn performer/sex worker/artist/activist has put the word out on Twitter that she is personally supporting sex workers with loans and grants “since work is impossible here now,” so sex workers should contact her if they need help, and she will do what she can. She also suggested that we can help spread the word: “If you’d like to donate to someone in need, please paypal me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll make sure it gets into hands that need it.”
Helping even if you have no spare funds
If you are financially struggling but can donate time & attention:
- Use social media to signal-boost the performers and movies that you really like. Mention why you like them! Gaining re-posts and followers can sometimes help a performer get hired for new job opportunities down the road. And since so many performers are overwhelmed and worried right now, showing your sincere appreciation helps keep everyone afloat emotionally.
- If you were planning to attend erotic events (burlesque/strip shows, erotic film screenings) that have been canceled, use social media to thank the organizers and the performers. Even if there’s no immediate financial help to doing this, a lot of organizers are exhausted and despondent right now — and we want to keep them going so that they will thrive and hire more performers in future. And PS – if the event in question is a mainstream organization that took a risk by planning an especially sexual special program, make your gratitude known! Let people know that you were planning to attend, and will do again in future.
- Encourage others, on social media or in private calls, to donate to performers/nonprofits if they can
- Keep the good fight alive with making our culture more sex-positive, including calling out slutshaming language, calling out sex-work-phobic slurs and common expression, and expressing positive attitudes towards porn, porn performers, and consensual sex work of all kinds.
A shortlist of our recent performers whom you can start with, if you’d like to support them: Bishop Black, Kali Sudhra, Sadie Lune, Parker Marx, Liandra Dahl aka Helen Betty Corday, AnnaBelle Lee.
If you’re a performer and have an idea about resources or strategies to add to this list, please contact us anytime at [info] at blueartichokefilms.com
Sending love to all of you during this difficult time.