This Weekend – Burlesque-Lil’ Steph & Touch Me Variety Hour

You won’t be bored this weekend in Philadelphia.


Lil’ Steph Presents: Rasputin’s Room

Friday, March 20, 2015
Philly’s Poshest Burlesque Show!!!
Doors at 9pm
Show at 10pm

The Criminaly Cute, LIL’ STEPH
The Golden Throat of Burlesque, BROADWAY BRASSY
The Bronx Bombshell, LILY FAYE
She’s like Sugar and Spice, SOPHIE SUCRE
The intoxicating, HATTTIE HARLOW
with kitten AMELIA MON COEUR
Quench your thirst at the bar in true Rasputin style with one of our specialty cocktails at the pre show cocktail hour. Be sure to stay after the show to drink, mingle and dance with the glitterati!!
-General admission: $10: available at the door both seated and standing
21+ Only

Sunday, March 22 – Touch Me Philly’s Weird Ass Variety Hour… and a Half!  2! A FUNdraiser for ‘Reasonable Fear: A Theatrical Exploration of Rape Culture

Cover Photo

  • Sunday, March 22
    at 6:00pm
  • L’etage

    624 S 6th St, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19147
Touch Me Philly Productions is back with another Weird Ass Variety Hour… and a Half! As always we’ll have music, comedy & more FUN! TMPP is bringing back a few audience favorites as well as welcoming some FABULOUS new faces to the Touch Me Philly Stage!JOIN! Mistress of Ceremonies and Satirical Siren Alyson Rodriguez Orenstein!
SEE! The Bikini Hooper as she dazzles the crowd!
LISTEN! To the musical stylings of Hayley Jane! She’ll rock your socks off!
LAUGH! With the comedy stylings of Rachel Fogletto, Vickie Fernandez & Hannah Harkness! These fierce funny ladies will have you rolling in the aisles!
BE AMAZED! By Philly Boylesque at it’s finest and funniest from The Amazing Brettzo!
ENJOY! Different takes on burlesque with the luscious Lady Lolita!
DELIGHT! Gina Leigh and Aaron Lathorp share a piece of puppet perfection!

WIN! Raffles! Trivia! Win prizes including tickets to future Touch Me Philly Shows, t- shirts, and 1 lucky winner will receive a $100 Gift Certificate to Philadelphia Eddie’s Tattoo Shop!

All that AND MORE for just $10! Join us for a 6:00 cocktail hour and 7:00 show!

Amazing! You’ll enjoy a spectacular show AND be supporting a good cause!

This event is a FUNdraiser for TMPP’s series Reasonable Fear: A Theatrical Exploration of Street Harassment & Rape Culture running April 16-25 at The Luna Theater. ( ALL monies raised at this event will go DIRECTLY into making that show the best it can be so you can feel awesome knowing your money is making meaningful theatre happen! Most theatre is funded more by donations than ticket sales! So we need YOUR help!.
If you can’t make it to the show but want to help, GOOD NEWS! You can donate safely online to our Indiegogo Page- and even earn perks for your contribution! (Click that link! Share that link! Enjoy that link! Yay, link!) But we want to see you in person too!

Let us entertain you on March 22nd!


Come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Erotic Literary Salon, tonight in Philadelphia.


AS A KID, Ela Darling fell in love with the idea of virtual reality. This was the late ’90s, early 2000s; Johnny Mnemonic and the Nintendo Virtual Boy had already come and gone, and VR had moved from brain-busting sci-fi concept to schlocky punch line to faded cultural footnote. But still, Darling was an avid reader and D&D player, and the idea of getting lost in an immersive world—“making visual what I was already losing myself in books for,” as she puts it—was something she found not just exciting but romantic.

Not surprisingly for an active reader, Darling went on to get a master’s degree and become a librarian. Perhaps more surprisingly, she then stopped being a librarian and started acting in pornographic movies. (Yes, that means she officially became a sexy librarian. Fun fact: She has the Dewey decimal number for the Harry Potter books tattooed on her back.) And after a few years of bondage scenes, masturbation videos, and girl-on-girl movies, Darling attended the E3 videogame trade show and tried an early version of the Oculus Rift, the headset that jump-started the current VR revolution. “The first thing I think of when I hear of new technology,” she says, “is ‘How can I fuck with it?’ or ‘How can I let people watch me fucking on it?’ Usually there’s one or the other application if you think hard enough.” With Oculus, Darling didn’t have to think too hard at all; now, at 28, she’s busy forging a future as creative director (and star performer) of VRtube, a nascent online studio and distribution center for VR porn.

It’s not just enterprising actresses who think this way. Call it Rule 34a: Whenever a new media technology appears on the horizon, someone pops into a comment thread to say, “I can’t wait to see what the porn industry is gonna do with this.” And indeed, from VCRs to CD-ROMs to streaming video, nearly every home entertainment platform of the past 40 years was either popularized or downright pioneered by companies that could help people watch other people getting freaky. It generally works out well for everyone: If half of all videotapes for sale in the US in the late ’70s hadn’t been X-rated, it might have taken VCRs a lot longer to reach critical mass in the early ’80s.

Yet no visual technology has ever been so perfectly suited to sexual applications as VR. Yes, video brought sexually explicit content from theaters into homes, but virtual reality promises to eclipse even that shift. Historically, we’ve found titillation at a remove. In erotic woodcuts, DVDs, even streaming webcam shows, there’s a frame—whether a book, a Polaroid border, or a screen—through which we experience whatever it is that turns us on. VR is more than just another iteration. It doesn’t just change the frame. VR erases it. It allows us to exist inside the environment. The NSFW possibilities are endless. Yes, we’re at the dawn of this thing, and all the easy points of reference—Star Trek’s holodeck, the Matrix, Community’s Dreamatorium—are years of refinement and R&D away. The real question is what we’ll do in Year One.

Here’s what we’re not going to do: pull a Lawnmower Man. That is, we’re not going to put on full-body haptic suits, climb into gyroscopes, and transform ourselves into shimmering posthuman forms that overcome our bodily shackles and merge with one another in a transcendent liquid singularity. A huge part of the reason VR has finally tipped into mainstream consciousness is that it’s lightweight and low-­footprint: a headset display, some sort of input controller, and sound. Sure, the libidinally aspirational can shell out for omnidirectional treadmills and mo-cap harnesses to facilitate Peak Air-Hump. Japanese sex-toy company Tenga has even helped design a complicated prototype that syncs a virtual sex simulator with … well, you can imagine with what. But for the foreseeable future, VR will be aural and visual only; if localized tactile feedback is what you’re after, you’re gonna need to handle that yourself. (Good riddance, “teledildonics.” You’re the worst word ever, and you’ll be despised long after your passing.)



We’re also not going to lose ourselves in a panoply of CGI flesh calibrated to our every kink and whim. Not that people ­haven’t tried: The past two years of VR game development are littered with the husks of abandoned projects with names like Sinful Robot. The problem is, as their developers learned, creating a fluid 360-degree video­game is already difficult—and making it stereo­scopic and photo-realistic complicates things exponentially. Players can handle the janky facial animations in an action game like Far Cry 4 because they’re secondary to the purpose of the game (i.e., Shoot Everything). Certainly, depictions of sex can be arousing at low fidelity, as erotic comic books and vast swaths of hentai anime suggest. But obliterate the proscenium the way VR does and suddenly those lossy signals lead straight to the uncanny valley, that very unsexy place where things look sorta real but not real at all. The vast majority of VR-­capable “adult games” are Second Life–like knockoffs with graphics that look like waxy (and waxed) blow-up dolls. While a VR version of phone or FaceTime sex isn’t tenable yet—even if you could see each other, you’d have headsets on—the most promising avenue appears to be 360-degree 3-D video, like the kind some people are using to produce VR concert experiences or the projects showcased at Sundance’s New Frontiers program in January.

When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus RIft, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.
When Ela Darling and her collaborators filmed some test footage for the Oculus Rift, what they found wasn’t just titillating, but human.

Regardless, what we are going to do is find something virtually (sorry) unheard-of in pornography: intimacy. The thing that’s going to take us there is “presence,” that phenomenon that occurs when head-tracking latency, screen quality, and processing wizardry combine to trick your brain into thinking that you’re existing in a virtual space, rather than just watching a screen that extends past the edges of your vision. If your brain believes it, your body reacts in kind—with all the responses that come along with that.

So if you’re standing at the edge of a skyscraper in VR and you lean over the side, you experience vertigo. If you’re in a darkened corridor on an alien spaceship and you hear a rustle behind you, you freak the fuck out—full, heart-pounding fight-or-flight response. If you’re sitting in a musician’s apartment while he noodles on a piano, his dog sleeping behind you on the hardwood floor, you feel serene. (This isn’t speculation; I’ve done all those things in various VR environments—some CG, some video—and I’ve had all those reactions.)

The big question is whether sexual content in VR will induce the same reptile-brain response. Ela Darling would certainly like to know. She found like-minded colleagues last year when they posted on Reddit about wanting to make VR porn. They flew her from California to Maryland last April; in true tech startup fashion, they turned out to be 20-year-old college students. (“It was very Weird Science,” Darling says.) Nonetheless, they shot a test scene in their dorm room. Rather than invest in an array of pricey high-end Red cameras like many other fledgling VR video companies, they went decidedly DIY, taping together two GoPro cameras to create a stereo­scopic 3-D image with a wide field of view on the cheap. (Again in true tech startup fashion, Darling initially wore an R2-D2 swimsuit.) After she flew back to LA, one of the students emailed her; he’d finished processing the test scene and was so blown away by the result that he wanted her to be a partner in the venture. “This is unlike any porn I’ve seen,” he wrote. “It’s like I’m watching an actual person.”

More great articles:

Cabaret Administration Pizza Party Fundraiser! Sunday March 15

Cabaret Administration brings you some of the best Burlesque/Cabaret in Philadelphia; definitely worth the trip if you live at a distance. Philly has some great Burlesque and this is one I can recommend highly.


Cabaret Administration Pizza Party Fundraiser!

Cabaret Administration Headquarters 1730 North 5th Street

March 15, Sunday – 6:00pm – 11:00pm

This will be an awesome event to raise money for The Cabaret Administration.

We are extending this invite to our fans on FB! All we ask is that you RSVP as we are making FRESH PIZZA DOUGH!

Pizza will be 10$ per pie. I have decided that toppings and specialty pies(like mushroom truffle oil!!) will be additional $.
Basically, you show up, tell me your toppings and in about 15 minutes you have a pizza.
Everything is from scratch. You’ll never even want another pizza again.

One of the things we aim to do with the funds is bring Meagan L. Rumberger back to Philly to perform in our FTLF re-mount at the end of April. She performed the role of Claire in the premier of this show a year and a half ago and we want her back!

Some of the girls and boys of the Cabaret Administration will be on hand to serve you your pizza and other antics.

Massage therapist Donald Little offering chair massages with proceeds going to the CA!

There will be other refreshments available and maybe some other burlesque-y- show-y items also “for sale”!

Invite people! It’s a rolling open house type party! The more the merrier! 

RSVP – please

Like them on fb

Nature and sex redefined – we have never been binary

Reminder next Tuesday, March 17 come celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at the Erotic Literary Salon.

Are there only male and female sexes?

A recent article in Nature suggests that biologists ‘now think’ the idea of two sexes is inaccurate; in fact, says Vanessa Heggie, for decades biologists have been at the forefront of campaigns against this simplistic understanding of sex. It’s the first question we ask about a new baby; but perhaps impossible to answer.


recent article in Nature claims that biologists ‘now think’ that sex is not a binary feature for human beings – rather than being simply male or female, there are various kinds of sex, such as chromosomal sex or hormonal sex, and all of us exist across several spectrums of sexual identity.

Two sex; five sex; nine sex models

The claim that we are non-binary is well evidenced, but the claim that this is what biologists ‘now think’ seems to ignore much of the history of sex and gender research. This is made clear by the very first comment on the article, signed ‘Anne Fausto-Sterling’. Fausto-Sterling is a pioneering researcher into sex and gender identities, and published controversial work in the early 1990s suggesting that there were at least five different ways of measuring sex – a publication which is not mentioned at all in the Nature article.

The scientific scepticism of ‘binary’ sex – that is the idea that there are men and women and they can be clearly distinguished – started even earlier. In 1968 the Journal of the American Medical Association carried an article by biologist Keith L Moore, listing nine different components of someone’s sexual identity: external genital appearance, internal reproductive organs, structure of the gonads, endocrinologic sex, genetic sex, nuclear sex, chromosomal sex, psychological sex and social sex.

It’s possible to design tests for many of these kinds of sex, but none of them provide a convenient ‘male or female’ binary answer. Results will always depend on averages, on statistical norms, or on arbitrary cut-off points, and there will always be people who appear both male or female (or neither) when all nine kinds of sex are considered. Further, what science cannot do is tell us which of these tests is the best measure of sex, or which gives us our ‘true’ identity – that entirely depends on what we want to do with the results, why we’re testing, and our cultural attitudes towards sex and gender (gender being the psychological and social aspects of sexual identity).

(Barr) Bodies of Evidence

Moore wrote his article in 1968 specifically to criticise one form of sex testing: the tests that were being used in international sport to decide whether athletes were eligible to compete as women. Sport is often an arena that absolutely insists that human beings come in only two forms, male or female, and has spent around 80 years trying to find an objective scientific test that will prove that this is the case. So far it has failed.

This failure came as no surprise to many of the scientists working in genetics, or endocrinology, or other areas of the study of sex and gender. At least as early as the 1930s it was scientifically understood that some aspects of biological sex and gender identity might not match in individuals, and surgery and hormonal treatments were used to help people create stable identities. There were several high-profile cases of transgendered athletes in the 1930s and ‘40s, so the idea that sexual and gender identity might be fluid rather than fixed was discussed in the popular press as well as in scientific journals. These stories were part of the reason international sports organisations began to introduce stricter eligibility rules for women’s sports in the 1940s.


Tests for Barr bodies can easily be performed on cheek cells taken by a simple oral swab – the simplicity of the test is probably part of the reason it lasted for so long in international sport.Photograph: Guardian

Moore was intimately familiar with these tests, as he was a co-developer of the one the International Olympic Committee (IOC) used for nearly 25 years. Moore was the PhD student of Canadian scientist Murray Barr, who in 1949 published (in Nature as it happens) the discovery of the ‘Barr body’. This is a chromosomal artefact caused by the inactivation of the second X chromosome in a cell; as it is relatively easy to visualise it is sometimes used as a rough and ready indicator of ‘femaleness’ in mammals.

The Barr body test was the first standardized scientific test for sex used in international sport, replacing the unpopular ‘naked parades’ in 1968. But by the time the IOC introduced the Barr body test, it was already being condemned as unreliable as a proxy for sex by Barr and his fellow researchers, including Moore, who said

Females have been declared ineligible for athletic competition for no other apparent reason than the presence of an extra chromosome…[these tests] cannot be used as indicators of ‘true sex’

Why do we need the binary?

I’ve pointed out elsewhere that the problem with sex testing for sports is that none of the ‘kinds’ of sex correlate perfectly with sporting ability, so any test will exclude competitors with no physical advantage. Meanwhile lots of other genetic and physiological variations – such as height – confer advantages on some lucky competitors, and yet we make no effort at all to segregate these athletes in the name of ‘fairness’. Scientists always understood the limitations of sex tests, even if sports administrators struggled to accept them: in particular there was Finnish geneticist Albert de la Chappelle, who fought against the IOC’s sex testing regime of the 1980s, promoting a more complicated way of determining eligibility that would consider hormonal, physiological and psychological sexual identity.

Although attitudes towards people who identify as transgender or intersex, or simply ‘non-binary’, have not always been sympathetic, there has never been scientific (or philosophical, or sociological) consensus that there are simply two human sexes, that they are easily (and objectively) distinguished, and that there is no overlap between the two groups. Nor have they agreed that all of us are ‘really’ one sex or the other even if bits of our bodies or our identities don’t entirely match that sex. You can examine someone’s genitals, their blood, their genes, their taste in movies, the length of their hair, and make a judgement, but none of these constitute a universal or objective test for sex, let alone for gender.

When groups, whether in sport or elsewhere, turn to scientific definitions to try to exclude some people from the category of ‘woman’, it is worth remembering this fact: scientists have never agreed on which kind of sex really matters to our identities, or to our right to call ourselves men, or women, or neither, or both.

If you want to read more about the conflict between science and sex testing, @hps_vanessa has recently published a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Sport, Gender and Sexuality that covers the topics in this post, and more.