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Dedicated to "academics, whores, and academic
whores everywhere," Annie Sprinkle's Hardcore from the Heart: The
Pleasures, Profits and Politics of Sex in Performance, examines Annie
Sprinkles career in the sex industry, as well as the development of modern
attitudes on sexuality.
Hardcore from the Hearts intended audience is the
twenty year-old college set for whom Sprinkles work has become required
reading. But that certainly doesnt
make the book any less enjoyable for the rest of us. Gabrielle Codys Introduction and Rebecca Schneiders Forward,
however, are rather dense reading for non-academics. And there are plenty of non-academics who adore Sprinkle!
Annie Sprinkle began her career as a porn star of
both stage and film. She later toured
extensively with her infamous Public Cervix Announcement during which she
invited audience members to view her cervix onstage, with the help of a
flashlight and speculum. Sprinkle is a
supporter of free speech, freedom of sexual expression, and above all, safe
sex. She now spends much of her time
exploring sacred sexuality, and sharing healing sexual energy in workshops and
Hardcore from the Heart is organized into three
parts. In Part I, Sprinkle re-creates
transcripts from her numerous stage and screen performances. Some of those transcripts recall, explain,
or deconstruct Annies role in the porn industry. Some of them are self-reflective, others are strictly
entertaining-- most are thought-provoking, if not educational. Annies writing is accessible and
conversational. She uses explicit,
informal language to describe and explore her role in sexual politics over the
past few decades. Annies prose is
humorous and engaging. Her message is
more serious, but her delivery is pure entertainment.
Part II is a collection of essays and letters
written by Sprinkle during her career as a performer and political figure. This section of Hardcore from the Heart is
particularly delightful. Sprinkle
demonstrates how her belief system evolved, and delves into some of her
political battles. In one letter, a
humble Sprinkle expresses concern that her previously sex positive attitude
toward all sexual activities did not distinguish between healthy sexual
activity and abusive or dysfunctional practices. Sprinkle has re-evaluated her relationship with sexuality and
public performance, and moved into the sphere of healthier, if not healing,
sexual practice. Part II proves that
Annie practices what she preaches.
Throughout her career, Sprinkle has asked audiences to carefully examine
their sexual attitudes. In this book,
she joins her audiences on that journey of discovery.
Gabrielle Codys commentary at the end of Parts I
and II are written in a very different voice from Annies; a drier, academic
voice. Which would be fine were it
clearly indicated that a different narrator is speaking, but such indication is
lacking. Readers should expect to
endure some readers whiplash as narrative voice changes from Sprinkles to Codys
and back to Sprinkles.
Part III is a collection of interviews and
conversations Annie has had with various leaders in the porn industry, art
circles, media, and academia. Veronica
Vera, Linda Montano, Barbara Carrellas, Richard Schechner, Mae Tyme, and Monika
Truet are among those included. An
impressive cast, Mae Tyme shines the brightest, being a well-known anti-porn
feminist. During the interview she and
Annie converse, learn from each another, disagree, and enjoy thinking about
porn from the others perspective. A
true artist, Annie is, to pull off such an interview so beautifully.
Hardcore from the Heart concludes with a letter
written by Sprinkle, addressing her relatively new audience of twenty-something
feminist intellectuals. Annie, ever
the performer, must address her readers one last time before exiting stage
left. She parts by sharing her vision
for the future, offering some handy advice, and bestowing a mermaid blessing
upon us all. May boundless joy come
over you, too, Annie Sprinkle!
2002 Chris S. Witwer
S. Witwer is a freelance writer living in Austin, Texas. She
holds a Bachelor's degree in English Literature from the University of Texas.
Her publishing credits include Austin Monthly Magazine, a weekly column
entitled "Lesbian Aesthetics" for Bluway.com, and the