I've been really into Taschen's coffe-table bio of vintage porn icon Vanessa del Rio, subtitled Fifty Years of Slightly Slutty Behavior. The book was previously available in exorbitantly priced special editions but finally came out in a reasonably priced edition earlier this summer. I love the idea of context separating porn from art, as though these outrageously raunchy, almost sickly saturated images of a crazed self-appointed slut are elevated to higher culture because they're blown up and bound in a book that you can't hold with one hand. I don't think that there's a frame classy enough in the country to make a DP shot move your soul (rather than your pants), but hey, it's a fun thing to explore all the same. It's funny and outrageous like Vanessa herself.
Throughout the book is a biographical interview with Vanessa and she is awesome: unabashed to a near-mythic level (she says she's never had a bad sexual experience, which is somewhat hard to believe coming from an active porn star who also turned tricks), somewhat political (she calls herself the biggest feminist ever, not in reference to her giant boobs but her belief in freedom to do "whatever the fuck you want," especially sexually) and utterly outspoken (pious types, like the nuns she was terrorized by in Catholic school, are all "repressed whores"). The most shocking thing she talks about is how much she enjoys her enlarged clit that came as a result of steroid use during her period of body-building in the mid-'80s (she calls her thing-thing a plus compared to drawbacks like bacne and body hair). I would have clipped her rhapsodizing her small penis-like genitalia (no hypocrite, she embraces labels like "hermaphrodite" and "drag queen"), except that part's not on the 2-hour+ DVD of an interview interspersed with vintage clips that accompanies the book.
But what's above is, and it's even better. In the clip, Vanessa explains that after getting her male cat, Tarzan, fixed, she bought him a "deluxe" set of replacement silicone balls to fill his sac. "I didn't want him to have a shriveled up, hairy sac, with nothing in it," she explains. I think it's an aesthetic thing? Cat's are, after all, terribly, terribly sensitive. She elaborates and it's all pretty insane ("I got him to match my house!" she gushes of his leopard print). If you went into a lab and mixed up tacky porn-star brain chemistry with that of a crazy cat lady, this is exactly the sort of thing that would come out. And really, any discussion that begins, "OK, I'm going to explain my cat's balls," is obviously a discussion worth listening to.