Madison Young's Reveal All Fear Nothing
Renowned activist and performance artist Madison Young's one woman show hit Brooklyn this past weekend
by Holden Taylor
For some in the crowd it was the moment she pronounced the political manifesto of her prolific rear-end: “I saw my anus as a modern Robin Hood taking from the patriarchy and giving to the Revolution!” For others it was the somber yet strong writhing she did as an echo chamber of porn-related oppression and abuse epithets were delivered through speakers over her naked body. For the woman next to me — years involved in the kink scene — it was when Madison Young’s Reveal All Fear Nothing conveyed the performer’s transformation from an affirmation-seeking activist and pornstar into a grounded, ecosexual self-loving mother. For me, perhaps (but it is hard to be certain), my most memorable experience at Saturday night’s show downstairs at the Hacienda Studio must have been the tantric climax — when Young, encircled by flickering pillar candles, equipped with a Hitachi wand and a thin dagger gifted to her by the legendary Annie Sprinkle, serenaded by egg shakers in the hands of the crowd, brought herself to a simmering, thunderous and inclusive orgasm.
Or maybe it was when the audience shuffled into a single file line and, one by one, peered into Young’s vaginal cavern — propped open by a clear-plastic speculum and lit by an assistant’s flashlight — to see and become acquainted with the famous performance artist’s G-Spot, Petunia. Or, rather, it was the post-show photo-ops and mingling, the interaction for some with a hero. Or it was the Analstistics bit wherein Young, donning a navy blue double breasted blazer, role-played as not the schoolgirl but the professor, and informed the crowd of the staggering economics of her anal sex career — how her five hundred plus anal scenes has allowed her to uplift and embrace the communities she loves — the queers and the deviant, the kinky and the strange — through activism, through her very own art gallery (Femina Potens in San Francisco), through sex education, pornography instruction and performance art.
Reveal All, directed by Sophia LaPaglia, is Madison Young’s adaptation of the foundational, and now thirty-year old, one woman show, Annie Sprinkle’s Post Porn Modernist. This show was developed— and the influence is felt dripping throughout — with the help of the legendary Sprinkle. The performance charts Young’s arc as a sex figure and activist; from her humble beginnings as Tina Butcher (shy, insecure, quiet) toward her blossoming as Madison Young (bombastic, feminist, prolific, forward-looking) and into her role as Arbor (a mother, spiritual, tantric, loving, intensely present). Young began in sex work at the famous, now defunct, women-owned Lusty Lady in San Francisco and then grew to fame as a pornographic actress specializing in kink and bondage (she loves rope) and then used her success in tandem with her ardent feminism to become an activist, art gallerist, author (her memoir Daddy was published in 2014, The DIY Porn Handbook: Documenting Our Own Sexual Revolution and The Ultimate Guide to Sex Through Pregnancy and Motherhood in 2016), porn director and sex educator.
The show played Saturday and Friday night at Hacienda Studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn. Hacienda is a sex-positive, shame-free intentional community started by real estate investor Andrew Sparksfire, with another location now in New Orleans.
The crowd on Saturday was entranced from the onset, were engaged throughout — we played Name That Fetish as Young reached into her typewriter box to reveal various kinky toys: from dog bones and high heels, to pink balloons and laundry clamps, each to the outburst of interested and specifically piqued crowd members.
But where the performance seemed to deliver its gravity was not in the fun, though it was emphatically fun, rather in the radical and the painful, in the pronouncement of pleasure as a politic to be engaged and empowered. There was a clip from a kink scene which Young shared wherein the father of her children, James Mogul, and she engaged with one another so tenderly as to become political and revolutionary: Young was suspended in a spinning cage as Mogul tapped on its steel bars with a two-by-four and asked: “Who do you belong to slut?” The crowd was held tight, stranger’s hands grabbing affectionately at nearby wrists as Young responded: “I belong you to you, Baby.”
The show was a confluence of horniness and consent, of ideology and pleasure, of performance and introspection. There was prosecco flowing and an afterparty that saw naked bodies in hot tubs and bubbling intimacy, but the focus and the importance remained on Young’s display of radical empowerment and tantric sexuality.
For more on Madison Young and her one woman show, find her on Twitter @MadisonYoung and on the show’s page here. For more on the Hacienda Community visit their website here and for more about the legendary Annie Sprinkle follow her on Twitter @AnnieSprinkle or visit her website here.