She came, she saw, she conquered all inhibitions.
In two cabaret shows that left little to the imagination, porno star turned performance artist Annie Sprinkle offered the audience at Maryland Art Place last weekend this message: What strikes one person as pornography will strike another as a post-pornographic, postmodern, deconstructive discourse.
Not that she used all those ten-dollar words, but in her breathy sing-song voice she said -- or sighed -- as much.
Describing Ms. Sprinkle's bluntly ironic show-and-tell act stretches to the limit what may safely be written in a family newspaper. Her last name became her cinematic claim to fame, for instance, but the most one can say here is that it does not refer to the weather.
Her performance piece was called "Nurse Sprinkle's Sex Education Class." Of course, her white nurse's uniform quickly came off to reveal black lingerie, most of which came off too. Although her talent may only be skin deep and her insights into the skin trade no deeper, her show sure wasn't boring.
In a ribald slide lecture, she described how she transformed herself from an uptight middle class kid into a porno star who in a 17-year career made more than 150 XXX-rated feature films with, had photographic spreads in magazines including Foot Fetish Times, sold snippets of her pubic hair through the mail, had sex with 3,000 men, and on the local front, performed live at a salary of $4,000 a week at the since-demolished Little X theater on North Howard Street.
Ms. Sprinkle, whose measurements include her age, 36, acknowledged that her porn career hurt her parents and sometimes left her feeling jaded, but she still loves porno as a "creative outlet." She described how safe sex can be a "healing tool" in the AIDS era, after which she tossed out green condoms and safe sex guidelines.
Her show had as its highlight an invitation to walk up to the stage and hold a flashlight to examine her cervix. Only a convention of gynecologists would have formed a longer line than queued up in MAP's packed 100-seat basement cabaret.