Have some drinks, get up on stage, and moan for two minutes while a porn clip rolls. Because regular karaoke is so passé, Montreal Porn Karaoke will be the place to see, be seen, and watch some entertaining fake orgasms this Thursday, September 5. It’s pretty much what it sounds like – participants get up on stage and provide the soundtrack for porn clips, all to the sound of 1970s funk music. It’ll be cheesy, it’ll be hilarious, but it’ll also be an interesting exploration of pornography in all its forms. You might just spend the evening blushing, but you’re also bound to learn a thing or two about pornography – and maybe you’ll even start to think watching people getting it on isn’t such a big deal. The Daily sat down with Sherwin Sullivan Tjia, organizer of this sexy queer-friendly event, to talk about making a fool of yourself onstage and what porn and action movies have in common.
The McGill Daily (MD): Is this the first time youíve done a Porn Karaoke event?
Sherwin Sullivan Tjia (SST): I did it once before two years ago and it was a huge success! I did not expect it to be so funny. I thought it would be all about sex. But folks in the audience were laughing the whole time. I learned a lot from that first one. First of all, make the porn clips shorter. And break up the porn karaoke with actual karaoke. Porn is such a concentrated and potent movie ó you have to have a palate cleanser after every few clips.
MD: Can you take us through the different steps of this karaoke competition?
SST: The competition element is very loose. People just sign up to “sing” a porn clip beforehand and we call them up one at a time. It’s very similar to actual karaoke, only we play porn clips, provide microphones, and play a cheesy 1970s funktastic porno soundtrack in the background. It is, frankly, ridiculous.
MD: Who will be judging the event?
SST: Myself, my co-host, and a secret judge hidden in the audience!
MD: Can you give us a little info on your background? How did you first start throwing events?
SST: I started putting on weird events a few years back. I wanted to put on events that I would want to go to myself. Also, I wanted them to be participative – excuses to do something, have a new experience. That’s why I did the slow-dances, the strip spelling bees, the crowd karaokes, the cardboard fort nights, the love-letter reading open mics. I wanted to create events that people could add to their bucket lists and tell their friends about. And I wanted my events to be warm and friendly. So many events are designed to be “cool,” so you feel like an outsider just attending. I wanted events where people had reasons to talk to each other, so they could form a kind of improvised community.
MD: Your events are always pushing people toward a more queer-friendly and open-minded attitude. Do you think Montreal Porn Karaoke can help create a safer and more accepting environment?
SST: I am hoping to show a wide variety of porn, and I encourage the participants to have fun but not at other people’s expense. I think we all have to work together to create a safe space for folks to express different kinds of sexualities. I kind of see myself as the coach of a volleyball team, and when you come to one of my events, you agree to be a warm and friendly team player.
MD: In that vein, what do you think of the porn that’s around today? Some people argue that all porn has negative consequences, while others think it can be an important part of our lives and our sexuality. What’s your take on all this, and how does Montreal Porn Karaoke fit in?
SST: I don’t think porn is getting better or worse. It’s kind of in a holding pattern. I wish it were more artistic or interesting. My favourite movie ever is Gummo, and I wish they would make porn like Gummo. The entirety of porn these days are like action flicks, recycling the same explosions and plots. Certainly porn is a fantasy reality and you shouldn’t take it too seriously. It’s a dark, campy, horny Hollywood. The trouble is when you mistake fantasy for reality. Nobody is saying the Fast & Furious movie franchise is encouraging speeding and car accidents, even though it probably is. Porn is judged much more harshly because America has a neurotic complex about sex, but not violence. Porn Karaoke is hopefully a place where people can have fun with porn in a public way that isn’t untoward or inappropriate.
MD: What would you say to those intrigued by porn karaoke but a little too shy to try it?
SST: You can just watch! Just like regular karaoke, if you are too shy, you can just have a drink, enjoy the show, and watch your friends make fools of themselves!
Montreal Porn Karaoke will be hosted at MainLine Theatre (3997 St. Laurent) on Thursday, September 5 at 9 p.m.. Tickets are $8 at the door.