“There once was a dog named Hally, who lived with the Tosis family. Hally Tosis was very good dog, but she had a big problem. Hally Tosis had horrible breath. Whenever Hally Tosis opened her mouth, horrible things happened.” This excerpt from Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey doesn’t just tell the story of a stinky-mouthed pup, it also tells the story of pornstar Sasha Grey. No stranger to controversy – this is, after all, the woman who, in her first hardcore scene, requested a mid-coital punch to the stomach – Ms. Grey last week landed herself in rather hot water by giving a performance of a notably different kind: reading to the students at Emerson Elementary in Compton. Parents who learned of Ms. Grey’s porn past complained to the Emerson PTA, who subsequently contacted the principal. After a school spokesperson flatly denied that Ms. Grey was even present at the reading, photos surfaced online at TMZ showing the tastefully dressed multiple AVN Award winner reading Dog Breath to a floor full of students. Sprung!
Amidst the chaos that followed these revelations, both in the Emerson and greater Los Angeles school communities, on tabloid media sites, and across the pornosphere, were indignant calls for Grey to withdraw from the reading program. Apparently unwilling to do so, Grey insists that porn is her past and that she is now focusing her attention not on double-penetrations and blowbangs, but on solidifying her career as an author (Neu Sex), musician (aTelecine), and mainstream actress (Entourage). She seems intent on fashioning herself as a provocative, intellectual, pseudo-feminist artiste. Who but a serious intellectual could fashion a modest and humble response to the Read Across America debacle containing such ready-made pull quotes as “I am an actor. I am an artist. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a partner,” and “I have a past that some people may not agree with, but it does not define who I am. I will not live in fear of it. To challenge non-profit education programs is an exercise in futility, counter-productive and anti-educational.”
You go, grrrl.
It has been a big week for transgender Americans, with a landmark U.S. Tax Court ruling and the passing of a bill in Massachusetts that will grant legal civil rights protection to transgender individuals. The Transgender Equal Rights bill, approved by the State Senate Wednesday, will, when signed by supportive Governor Deval Patrick, grants transgender MA residents protection against employment, education, housing, and credit discrimination, as well as include gender identity and gender expression to the state’s hate crimes law. Legislative Counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, Gavi Wolfe, stated: “This bill is about giving transgender people an equal shot at obtaining everyday basics we all need — a job, a place to live, an education. It’s a major step forward for fairness, and we urge the legislature to pass it right away.” The fight for transgender equality is not over, however, as a key clause calling for protection against discrimination in public accommodations was dropped two days before the vote after heavy criticisms from House Republicans.
In the U.S. Tax Court, a ruling may now force the Internal Revenue Service to allow transgender individuals to deduct unreimbursed medical expenses from federal tax returns, as any other citizen would a non-gender related medical expense. Rhiannon O’Donnabhain changed her sex from male to female and attempted to deduct hormone therapy and surgery from her 2010 tax return only to find the IRS disallowing on the basis that these procedures “did not treat a medically recognized disease or promote the proper function of the body.”
The Tax Court, however, saw things differently citing four bases for its ruling in favor of Ms. O’Donnabhain: “1) the disorder is widely recognized in diagnostic and psychiatric reference texts; 2) the texts and all three experts testifying in the case consider the disorder a serious medical condition; 3) the mental health professionals who examined Ms. O’Donnabhain found that her disorder was a severe impairment; and, 4) the Courts of Appeal generally consider gender identity disorder a serious medical condition.” Although she was not able to claim a deduction for her breast enhancement surgery – the court said her tits were fine without it – and although the ruling notes that it is “not to be relied upon or otherwise cited as precedent by taxpayers,” the IRS has agreed to no longer hold the official position of denying gender reassignment patients and those having treatment for Gender Identity Disorder the same tax rights as cisgender citizens.
Evil Angel has long been a company devoted to allowing porn’s most talented performers a chance to direct their own productions. Having made an adult auteur of Belladonna, Stagliano and co. handed Bobbi Starr a contract and a budget and told her to basically do whatever she wanted. After the success of her first three feature-length DVD releases, Bobbi’s World, Shut Up and Fuck, and Vicarious, each of which offered a view into Ms. Starr’s constantly evolving sexuality with plenty of rough hardcore, girl-on-girl fucking, and incredibly intimate POV-shot scenes, Evil Angel is set to unleash her latest creation, a feature quite simply entitled One.
“One is many things. It’s a song by U2. It’s a song by Metallica. It’s a song by Three Dog Night. But in my case, One is a solo masturbation movie featuring Kara Price, Tori Lux, Julie Night, Asa Akira and, of course, myself.” While Bobbi’s knowledge of popular music history might not be top-notch – respect where respect is due; Three Dog Night’s One is horrendously overwrought cover of the spare, beautiful Harry Nilsson tune – her performances are always vibrant and thrilling, even when she’s not wrapping her ass around a stiff dick or fisting a fellow pornstar babe. With such a luminous lineup, One is sure to set your fires a-burnin’, Pink fans, in ways only Bobbi Starr, performer/writer/activist/director, can muster.
Explaining her vision, Starr says One is not a “pretty, milquetoast” female masturbation movie of the kind you’d usually see in mainstream porn. “There are fetish themes, which my fans will identify as something I return to often, as well as lots of latex. This is a movie about women literally taking control of their own orgasms.”
About. Fucking. Time.