Everyone Needs a Good Wank!

By on July 2, 2012.

One of the highlights of our weekend in Edinburgh was the wonderful Artwank show. The show is the brain child of the devilishly wicked Ophelia Bitz and along with her trusty Porn Ferret she has put together what I think is a brilliantly unique, funny, sexy and in some moments slightly disturbing show based around vintage porn.

At the end of the show they then went on to explain that their show had been given a much coveted spot at this summers Edinburgh Fringe Festival, which they had of course instantly snapped up. However as with most artists they were operating on a tight (insert the words non-existent) budget for this project and so were about to launch a crowd source funding video to try to raise some much-needed funds to actually get them to Edinburgh.

So at the end of the show I hopped up from my seat and asked Ophelia and The Porn Ferret if they would be interested in being interviewed for Molly’s Daily Kiss in exchange for a bit of pimping of their video and luckily for you my lovely readers they said yes so without any more ramblings for me…. well for the moment anyway here is the lovely Ophelia Bitz (OB) and her trusty Porn Ferret (PF) to tell you more

What is Artwank all about?

OB: ArtWank is a bonkers meeting between cabaret, vintage pornography and historical research. We have spent the last 18 months researching the history of smut, producing events and parties and inviting sex industry professionals to give lectures on their work and experiences. It’s an interactive affair and we have now developed an hour-long comedy show to tour with so we can meet even more of the wonderfully diverse people who seem to be attracted to the same sensibilities and progressive attitudes to sexuality that we are.

PF:  It’s our chance to make the world a better place through pop music and porn!

What inspired you to start this project?

OB: I work as a showgirl generally but I was offered the chance to curate a film night at the Marlborough Theatre in Brighton as part of their Silver Wednesdays series, and I think they expected me to put on MGM musicals, but being as my brain works the way it does, my first thought was ‘Vintage Porn!’. Then I found out how hard it is to come by!

I was motivated to make the show partly because of my experiences looking for porn on the internet – generally speaking, I find most readily available films to be either aesthetically off-putting or ethically questionable, and by the time I’ve waded through identikit blow job shots and badly-lit amateur stuff the mood has generally passed! I liked the idea of taking the beauty that could be found in erotic films and making them a shared experience.I have always been drawn to using sex as comedy and film allows me a much greater scope than just performing my ideas.

How many hours of porn have you had to watch in the name of Art!? (a terrible sacrifice I know but luckily we have people like you willing to do it on our behalves 😉

PF: As a researcher and the editor for ArtWank I’ve had to endure many gruelling hours in front of a computer screen watching porn. If I had to guess I’ve watched at least 120 hours in video and sound editing for the shows we’ve done, probably over 24 hours in researching and that’s not counting any of the porn watched rehearsing and performing the show – our Fringe run alone will add over 24 hours of porn-watching! It’s a tough job..

From watching the show in Edinburgh the two things that stood out for me about the clips were that firstly the people in them seemed real/human, there were no fake breasts or rippling 6 packs and all the clips seemed to have a touch of humour about them. What is the main thing you have found that vintage porn has that is missing in today’s mass-produced industry?

OB: I’m certainly not claiming that vintage porn is the answer; many women in the films we show wouldn’t have had the power to vote or and career control, and there is a rise in excellent contemporary porn from people like Courtney Trouble and art projects like Bike Smut that are blending comedy, compassion, hot sex and gender diversity to great effect.

However, I find that the flawed nature of the performances and filming techniques in the footage that we show is much more revealing and endearing than much commercially produced material at the moment. I like to see happy humans having fun, as do the millions of internet users choosing amateur over commercial footage at the moment.

So tell me about Edinburgh fringe and the fund-raising you need to do?

OB: We’re taking our show to the Fringe because we want to attract opportunities to tour and to expand. It’s going to be hard work (I have done the Fringe 5 times before and I know exactly how it beats your body to a pulp) but I am very proud of the show we’ve made, and I hope that our current fans and supporters like what we have made. It’ll be exciting to bring something potentially controversial to the Fringe and see what a wider public makes of it.

We’ve always kept our ticket prices low and paid everyone who has contributed performances to the shows so we haven’t made much money despite sold-out houses and winning awards! The reality is that we’re making the show by commuting weekly between London and Weston-super-Mare and we just can’t afford to fund the whole Fringe run by ourselves. We’ve made a brilliantly silly video with our friends Lexitricity and Aeon Media (they lent us an incredible kit to play with!) and have launched a crowd-funding campaign on Sponsume that people can donate to and win ace prizes.

What are your future plans for Artwank?

OB: Aside from touring the feature show, we want to put to use all of the research and stories that we have gathered over the course of the project; I’m thinking about putting together a book. We have also been offered the most amazing opportunity to programme our own festival for a week at Marylebone Gardens in London. We want to bring together all our dirty cabaret friends with some intensive workshops and experiments, and loads of art, parties and exciting partnerships.

Ophelia Bitz & The Porn Ferret

Artwank Logo
So dear readers for once I am asking for YOUR help. Pervy artist need YOU! Without funding these guys are going to seriously struggle to get to Edinburgh let alone sustain themselves and their show for a whole month in what is undeniably a beautiful but rather pricey city.  Just a measly £5 donation will get your name and image in  Patrons’ Hall Of Glory on the ArtWank website, which sounds like damn cheap advertising to me and of course the more you donate the more Artwank will honour you in return. The only thing I am not quite sure about is how much you have to donate to get Ophelia to come round and sing you filthy songs in the comfort of your own front room but I am sure it is possible…. This is your chance to support an innovative and exciting art project in it  infancy and who knows maybe Artwank will soon be coming to a theatre near you…. has to better than another Andrew Lloyd Webber musical surely!?

[framed_video column=”full-width”]http://vimeo.com/lexitricity/artwank[/framed_video]

To find out exactly how you can donate to this project and  the exciting goodies they have in store for you if you do then click on the link below. Go on, you know you want to really….

About: 

Molly Moore - Author, Blogger, Photographer, Speaker
Find me in my corner of the internet at Molly's Daily Kiss
and on Twitter @mollysdailykiss

    Find more about me on:
  • facebook
  • googleplus
  • twitter
  • youtube

Related Posts:

  1. Such a shame I am nowhere near Edinburgh to witness this myself!
    A wonderful initiative and I really enjoyed reading the interview.

    What Ophelia said about the real/candid qualities of vintage porn is so true for me personally. I love the “flaws” and peek into real life that contemporary amateur porn brings. Knowing that it’s real people like me having real fun is a much bigger turnon then any perfectly sculpted body could ever be.

    *scrurries off to find some spare pennies*

    xoxo Jana

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *.

CommentLuv badge