On a recent trip back east to Rhode Island to visit my family, I was driving with my father and somehow started speaking of the Tenderloin, and he asked me if I ever heard of the Mitchell Brothers? I laughed and said “Uh yeah, I walk by it everyday and a good friend does makeup there!” He brought up the fact that he “heard” they did live sex shows there, and I decided to not press this topic any more with him, I didn’t need the visual of him in there, especially if I have to walk by that place all the time.
So last week as I was flipping through SF Weekly I noticed a short article written about an upcoming play that seemed like something worth checking out about the Mitchell brothers, (thanks Dad, I think!!) Friday night I attended that play at Z Below, part of the Z Space art workspace located in Mission. Z Space works with various disciplines of the arts including theater, dance, visual art, music and performance art. So this was totally a cute space to see the play “The Pornographer’s Daughter”.
Written and starred in by Liberty Bradford Mitchell, the eldest of all 6 of the Mitchell cousins and daughter to slain porn giant Artie Mitchell. Mitchell has an extremely unique point of view about the San Francisco porn giants as she discusses the burgeoning SF porn scene of the 70s and 80s and how her live was intertwined.
The 80 minute play touches upon everything from learning about puberty by Judy Blume, not her parents. To visiting her father’s office and her exposure to the intense movie sex scenes to the juxtaposing of summering with her mother’s WASP-y New England family. Where she was told never to speak of things of that subject matter. Ultimately wrapping up the play with the unfortunate murder of her father by his best friend and brother as well as her uncle, Jim Mitchell.
The show is augmented by photos of her family as well as some famous porn stars with a soundtrack of the 1960s all the way through the 1980s performed by the 3-piece man band The Fluffers (they were awesome and just as instrumental to making this play as dope as it is.)
I thought Liberty did a kick ass job performing in this play. It’s not easy putting your self out there, especially when 89.7% of the focus was on her. If you find yourself looking for something to do in the upcoming weekends and live in San Francisco, you should totally check this shit out, it’s awesome!
IF YOU GO
The Pornographer’s Daughter
Where: Z Below, 470 Florida Street
When: 8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays, 8 and 10:30 p.m. Saturdays, 5 p.m. Sundays; closes Feb. 16
‘Death to Paulina’ is the first solo collection from the line Dextrose, created by the very talented bay area designer Dexter Simmons. There’s something sinister about these photos shot by Kristen Cofer, which is beautifully juxtaposed against the warmth of a hazy daydream. I caught up with Dexter and asked him about his current collection:
Give me a little information on the man behind Dextrose?
My name is Dexter Simmons. I was born and raised in the bay area. Urban living, nightlife, and San Francisco are what inspired me to become involved in art and fashion. I have always worked in some facet of fashion; styling bands, editorial, catalog, hair, makeup, fashion shows and art instillations. Music is what really drives me, styling bands is probably one of my favorite things to do. Besides that I am a power dork, comic books, fashion magazines, horror films, and concerts keep me percolated. Don’t get me wrong though, I still like to go out to clubs and drop it like it’s hot.
How did Dextrose come about?
Dextrose is a manifestation of all the skills I have acquired while working in different facets of fashion. I always wanted to work on my own solo project, but I never had the time. I was propelled forward by a bad break-up/heartbreak. Forces in my life fueled me to express what I was experiencing and it just felt right. I remember waking up at 5:00 in the morning night after night like a zombie, sketching and draping to keep my mind right. I have always used fashion as a way to express what I am feeling. This collection is the most personal piece of fashion and performance art I have ever put together, I left my heart and soul with this one.
You started out designing clothes with your best friend Lauren Rassel and created the line Flawk, what is the most challenging obstacles about showing a solo collection?
The most challenging part about starting this solo collection after Flawk is expectations. We really set the bar high and hit the ground running. What I have been doing on my own is just so different than Flawk; it really is a lot darker. This really gave me a good chance to get in my own head and figure out who I am as a designer.
Why “Death to Paulina”? Is there Paulina?
Death to Paulina is a Pans Labyrinth version of my own personal heartbreak. It combines dark spooky classic American Mickey shapes with the occult. Its a story of a cult of women who believe the end of the world is coming and the only way to fix it and save humanity is to sacrifice Paulina. “We are not a cult, we are a cure, Death to Paulina”.
Who or what inspires you?
I get a lot of inspiration from horror movies, 70’s cult, religion, American classics and really just my emotional state. I love to watch John Waters’s films; they remind that beauty can be found in the most insane places.
If you could dress anyone in Dextrose who would it be and why?
Grace Jones because she is one of the most inspiring performance artists of my time. She takes all of the right risks, and isn’t afraid to make ugly beautiful.
When he’s not creating one of a kind fashions Dexter can be found bar tending special events and parties at Project One Art Gallery, http://p1sf.com/