Talk about new centers of artistic creativity and thriving entrepreneurship these days has moved past the overcrowded and overpriced mainstays like New York and San Francisco and is now focused on less obvious hotbeds of young urban growth. One such city, and arguably the one struggling to defeat a horrible reputation, is Detroit, Michigan. Once the heart of America’s immense industrial might, the Motor City has, as everyone has heard again and again and again, fallen on hard times. And, while craft breweries, hipster tattoo parlors, “artisanal tea” growers, and intellectual-copyright-infringing art fairs now litter Detroit in a tribute to the bland commodification of former vices and artistic outlets, there is someone working hard to promote debauchery, degeneracy, and complete and utter filth. His name is Jerry Vile and he’s the creator of the annual Dirty Show.
Launching this weekend and running until February 21st, The Dirty Show is Detroit’s annual exhibition of erotic art and performance. Now one of the largest exhibitions of its kind in the world, The Dirty Show was created by Vile in 2000 as a small art showing and in 2005 opened its Call to Artists to anyone who dared submit work. The resulting thousands of submissions saw more than 250 artists from 20 countries exhibit work over four days. For this year’s 16th annual celebration of the filth and the furry see such artistic luminaries as Ron English, the late H.R. Giger, Clive Barker, and Saturno Butto along with prominent national and local talents like Glenn Barr, John John Jesse, Pamela Wilson, and Jason Levesque. And, to top it all off, Vile and Exhibition Director Genevive Zacconi have nabbed another sterling lineup of erotic performers of all kinds. Hell, they even got exhibiting artist, filmmaker, and hitchhiking enthusiast John Waters to agree to deliver an updated “Filthier and Dirtier” rendition of his acclaimed one-man show This Filthy World.
Sure, you’re not in Detroit (and, if you’re like most Americans, don’t plan to be) and can’t partake in all the ribald revelry of the Dirty Show 16, so why should you care? Well, dear reader, in a never-ending quest for further erotic inquiry, I am writing this blog from an unnamed airport terminal in the continental US, waiting to board a flight to Detroit and find out for myself the real dirt on The Dirty Show – and naturally I’ll be reporting back here with highlights, lowlights, and tantalizing tidbits galore. What, you think I’d let my close, personal friends and fellow porn enthusiasts miss out on all the fun?