Life & Love


When I show up to the Super Wonder Gallery on Saturday for the panel discussions, the staff and volunteers are still setting up. The plan is to have computers projecting porn clips on the gallery walls all day, but there are a few technical difficulties getting started. The coordinator apologizes to me profusely, and I tell her it’s no problem.

There is a table at the gallery displaying the glass butt-plug shaped trophies from previous years’ winners, as well as an array of vintage porn. The man behind the table, Nicholas Matte, is the curator of the sexual representation collection from the Mark S. Bonham Centre of Sexual Diversity Studies from the University of Toronto, and has brought some items from the archive to introduce people to the resources and information available to study. What I had assumed was a commercial endeavor was actually an academic one; in the spirit of the festival, he was there to educate, not sell.

I see a man wearing a fur trimmed velvet coat over a brocade vest opened on a bare chest, with round tinted sunglasses. “Your outfit is very seventies!” I say, approaching him.

He laughs. “Part of my soul is still in that decade.”

“That’s fashion,” I say. “You can take what you like from an era and leave the crappy politics behind.” I introduce myself and ask if I can interview him, pointing to my recorder. I ask for his name and pronouns.

“My name is Addi, but I perform under the name Malcolm LoveJoy,” he says. “And my pronouns are he, she, and Love.”

“What do you perform?” I ask.

“Porn,” he says. Oh, right. Though all the events that weekend are open to the public, almost everyone I talk to is connected to the festival in some way: porn performers or producers with films nominated, academics and educators who are running the events, an erotica writer who sits on the jury. A film LoveJoy has starred in, Reunited (by a local indie studio called SPIT) has been nominated, and he would also be sitting on the sex education panel that afternoon.

“I would be here even if I wasn’t nominated,” he says. “This is my life.”

“It seems to be a tight community,” I say.

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“There is a community. It’s small and very beautiful,” he says. He’s a passionate and effusive speaker. “There’s not that much money here. It’s very professional. People still have standards. But a lot of people who are doing it are doing it out of their heart and their love for sexuality.”

Aside from the porn projections and panels, there are futuristic looking goggles being passed around with the offer to experience “Virtual Reality Porn.” I try on a pair, and instantly I’m in a 3D room, staring straight into the crotch of a woman spread out on a couch. “I’m going to see if I can cum harder than my friend here,” she says. I turn my head and realize I can look around the virtual room. There’s another naked woman sitting on the couch next to her. I keep turning my head, and suddenly the room ends and I’m staring into a black abyss, with “KINKVR.COM” flashing on the screen, like I’m in some X-rated version of that Daffy Duck cartoon where he walks through the end of the world. I quickly whip my head back around so I’m back in the real fake reality. I’ve never tried VR before, but in the movies I’ve seen, it’s always interactive. I reach out in front of me to see if that does anything (it doesn’t), and I realize how I must look, standing in the middle of the gallery, wearing a VR headset, groping invisible tits. The woman on the screen is about to cum, but then a warning flashes in front of me: “5% battery power. Please charge device.” I take the goggles off. I guess future porn has its own kinks to work out.

Sunday night is the awards ceremony, taking place at The Great Hall, a venue I had previously only attended for concerts. I wasn’t sure how formal it would be, but the dress code seems to be pretty liberal: there are tulle gowns revealing full sleeve tattoos, cocktail dresses and suits on people of all genders, jeans and corsets. I sit behind someone wearing sequined shorts, knee length rainbow socks, a harness, a leather vest, and sequined nipple pasties.



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