Note: Links are NSFW.

For today’s Daily Cal column on queer porn, I interviewed Syd Blakovich (also known as Shawn), who is involved in the local porn scene both on and off camera. She performs for Kink.com and Pink and White Productions and co-produces for Pink and White too. In her free time, she also trains in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, muay Thai and mixed martial arts.

Her most recent full-length porn, “Champion,” came out in December, so I thought it fitting to talk to her about what’s going on in the world of porn.

Christine Borden: So what exactly is queer porn?

Syd Blakovich: Big question. Queer for me is kind of like an umbrella term that encompasses a variety of genders and sexualities. It’s also about fluidity, movement, transcending and crossing boundaries and for these very characteristics it makes it incredibly hard to define. Queer is very open-ended and leaves room for expansion, it’s about breaking things down and apart. Queer porn doesn’t quite fit into any of the traditional genres that have been set up the industry. I think that consumers have been conditioned into buying products based on antiquated formulas about what sex and the bodies that perform it should look like and how they fit into this paradigm. I am more interested in cracking it open, providing personal narratives about individual experiences, not creating another culturally produced edict for expressions of sexuality, gender and identity.

I believe that girl-on-girl and lesbian could even fit under the queer umbrella; however, there is a certain notion that accompanies these genres that the performers are a specific gender or sexuality and the consumers are too. It is placating to the consumer/producer notion of “you are what you eat,” and for me that is something I just can’t swallow. It’s the idea of imposed identity versus chosen. This is the crux that media teeters on. I think queer is more along the lines of chosen with room to grow.

CB: What do you enjoy about making porn?

SB: I love my job! I feel like that is something not a lot of people can say. I get to work with and for my community members creating sustainable economies and businesses that not only support our visions and ideals, but our livelihoods as well. I think getting paid for doing something that you love is a privilege, and I am continually grateful for the opportunity to do so. Getting to work with so many beautiful and intelligent people is absolutely amazing.

CB: Do you find your work empowering? Do you think your porn can be empowering to viewers?

SB: Empowering is an understatement. I think giving an authentic voice to the creation of media is beyond empowering, especially when it’s by groups of people who are marginalized, spoken for and continually silenced. To quote Shine: “It’s necessary.” Homogenized media is a real disservice to the breadth and complexity our culture and society. When you have a monopolized form of representations being produced by a very small segment of the society, it’s detrimental to not only who we are but who we can become.

CB: I saw “Champion,” and I’ve got to say that the first scene with Madison Young was phenomenal–loads of energy. What was it like filming that particular scene? Any other parts of “Champion” you especially enjoyed doing?

SB: Working with Madison on “Champion” was phenomenal. I have know Madison through the art scene for some years and have a lot of respect for what she is doing on and off screen. This combined with Madison’s and Syd’s performative stage personalities proved to be an extremely dynamic paring. Syd has a very aggressive, toppy, physical side, and it was wonderful to explore that with Madison, who is a bit of a ‘pain slut,’ adorable bottom who totally enjoys sex. This was the first time we worked together and have since worked together several more times. I think I was able to push this scene, physically and aggressively because I was familiar with her and trusted her ability to handle and enjoy what I threw at her.

I also really enjoy working with Jiz Lee, who is one of my real life partners. It’s really terrific to be able to share the level of intimacy and passion we have for each other. I love the idea of documenting personal intimacies, providing a public platform  for talking about these things. This is one of the many reasons I love porn.

CB: Do you think porn can be a type of performance art?

SB: Porn is performance and it is an art. I am a performance artist on top of the fighting and porn and see numerous overlaps between all these things. Its about movement, a dialogue between bodies, construction of meaning and messages about ourselves and our culture. It is a document of physical expression, referential, imposed and owned sexualities, genders and identities … I believe that porn is the new contemporary medium of the feminist and queer art movement.

Image Source: courtesy of Syd Blakovich Eleanor Digby
The Porn of Champions [Daily Cal]



Comments:
J from Pink & White Productions said:
Jan 27, 2009 at 2:29 pm

Thanks for a fantastic interview. Just a quick note that the photo credit should actually be Eleanor Digby for Champion-movie.com. She’s a wonderful photographer who shoots with Pink & White Productions and her shots of Syd Blakovich as Jessie for the film are incredible. Thanks!



Essin' Em said:
Jan 27, 2009 at 2:48 pm

Awesome interview – Syd/Shawn is one of my favorite queer performers, and I’m glad to see she’s getting some of the lip service (no pun intended) that she deserves. Also, I really enjoy hearing her thoughts on what she does – thanks for publishing it!

She’ll be interviewing on my show “Sexuality Happens” on http://www.RadioDentata.com, 6pm PST/9pm EST on Feb 5th if you want to hear more of the interesting things she has to say!



Christine Borden said:
Jan 27, 2009 at 2:52 pm

J, I fixed it. Sorry about the mix-up.



C'mon said:
Jan 27, 2009 at 8:46 pm

Worst Sex on Tuesday writer EVER. Figured you’d have realized that the first time…



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Jan 28, 2009 at 1:34 pm

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Alan K said:
Feb 10, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Hi Syd, you’re very well spoken and articulate. Unlike the usual “porn stars”…very impressed!
Al.



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