It was chilly night at Space 4 Art’s outdoor theater in downtown San Diego. Those who were lucky enough to check the forecast were bundled in heavy jackets and some even brought blankets. The less fortunate who arrived underdressed, expecting a picturesque San Diego evening, either toughed it out in their seats or sought refuge next to a makeshift bonfire as they waited for the show to begin. These brave souls weren’t gearing up for some “fireside chat.” Not even close. They were gathered to hear tales of sexual misadventure from Bawdy Storytelling’s motley crew of performers.
The ringmaster in this circus of sexual oratory is Dixie De La Tour. She established Bawdy Storytelling five years ago to shed light on a culture that embraces sexual freedom and exploration.
“I started this because I used to go to sex parties all the time and I would watch people head off to private rooms and I’d never get to hear what happened, and I’m nosy,” De La Tour said. “I wanted to know what happened behind those closed doors.” The idea for her show began to take shape after a trip to storytelling night at the Burning Man festival. The annual event in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert is notorious for its “no holds barred” approach to sexual inhibition. Inspired by the personal nature and entertainment value of the stories shared that night, De La Tour began organizing small gatherings in San Francisco coffee shops.
“It started off like a ‘pervert coffee club,’” De La Tour said. “Other people started coming because nobody else talked this honestly about sex.”
Now the event has become a mainstay in Northern California. Its traveling show hits cities across the Pacific region. Storytellers have 10 minutes or less to share their real-life sexual experiences. Reading stories from paper isn’t allowed. To receive a spot on the set list, performers send in their stories to De La Tour and the most entertaining are selected. When the show travels, local storytellers get an opportunity to share as well. The show at Space 4 Art marked the first time Bawdy Storytelling traveled to San Diego.
One might think the local audience for this type of show would be tame in comparison to San Francisco’s eccentric inhabitants. However, on that cold night, attendees traded in their business suits for dog collars and corsets. They could be seen making out with significant others in their seats while others shared passionate embraces across the theater.
Bawdy Storytelling revealed San Diego is home to a variety of sexual countercultures, including tantric sex practitioners, swingers, dominatrix and leather communities just to name a few. And all were in attendance for a fun night of storytelling.
The show opened with the musical stylings of Yuki Lay Me, a scantily clad mistress playing a ukulele. Her most memorable piece was a tribute to her favorite female body part in the tune of “Oh Canada” titled “Oh Camel Toe.”
Eight storytellers were on the docket that evening.
Highlights included a story from local performer Melissa Hoobler about her first experience creating a profile on a swingers website. Hoobler, recently divorced, had decided to spice up her love life and invited a couple from the site to experience her first threesome. The steamy encounter was interrupted by her pet rabbit when it attempted to join the party.
Adult entertainer Miss Maggie Mayhem shared the tale of how she got her start in the industry as a student at a University of Calfornia school. Mayhem along with another stripper performed at a bachelor party full of conservative men in sweater vests who weren’t tipping well. They decided to spice up the party by showcasing a very public tryst. Needless to say, things loosened up a bit and money started to rain. Mayhem later discovered the men in attendance were professors at her school.
San Diego State student Tiara Collins said Bawdy Storytelling would be a great night out for other students.
“The event wasn’t just entertaining, it also embraced the unique qualities and experiences of the storytellers and those in the audience,” Collins said. “I’d recommend it to students because it shows the importance of being comfortable with their own sexuality.”
De La Tour plans to bring Bawdy Storytelling back to San Diego soon and even hopes to host a show on SDSU’s campus.
“We had a great audience tonight and I’d love to do an event on a college campus where kids are having sex all the time,” De La Tour said. “You guys probably have some great stories.” To see future tour dates and view clips from the show, visit bawdystorytelling.com.