Finger provocative pages at this weekend’s Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair

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Artist: George Pitts. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair

It’s so hot today the city has declared a heat advisory, but this weekend might be even steamier when the first-ever Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair sets up sexy shop at Point Green, a new photo studio and event space in Greenpoint.

Organized by Matthew Leifheit and Finn Jubak of Matte Magazine, the book fair will be showcasing a wide variety of erotic and sexually-oriented materials. It has typical fare like photography, literature, and zines, but there’s also jazz musicians playing in the nude, “really unsexy porn” screenings, a performance by M Lamar, and even “live cake sitting.”

Though it might be logical to assume an event showcasing erotic material came about because of difficulties showing that genre elsewhere, the fair’s curator, Matthew, tells Brokelyn it was actually the opposite.

“I would say that many of the book fairs I’ve been to recently are sort of dirty book fairs anyway, even if they’re not calling it that,” he said. “I’ve noticed there’s a lot of erotic material being made by artists, and some of my favorite things I’ve seen at the book fair are erotic materials.”

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Book fairs have been appearing in droves lately as a way of showcasing more independent publishers and small presses, but demand doesn’t seem to be going away.

“I haven’t been to [a book fair] where it’s empty, so it seems like people are really interested in this kind of thing,” he said.

Erotic art might be a scandalous idea in theory, but it can be easy to perpetuate subject matter and bodies with more conventional appeal (i.e.: white, cisgender, heterosexual, conventionally attractive) and get away with it because the work is sexual, making it automatically subversive to many.

Matt says that there is plenty of work in the fair that evades this trap. Some people he says are “playing with the conventions of what erotica should be” include writer Larissa Pham, who will be reading from her book Fantasian on Saturday afternoon, and fellow Badlands Unlimited author Lex Brown, who Full Stop describes as using “the cloak of the erotic novel” to discuss body politics.

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Artist: Rachel Stern. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair
Artist: Rachel Stern. Photo courtesy of the Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair

A few other subversive works he mentions are M Lamar’s multimedia performance work “American Cuck,” a collection of rare queer zines, Rachel Stern’s “unconventional body” self-portraits, a coloring book exploring the homoeroticism of wrestling, and Devin N Morris’s 3 Dot Zine, a publication aimed at “highlighting concerns of black, brown and marginalized bodies.” There will also be a rarely-seen slideshow display of George Pitts’s erotic work, a photographer and Parsons professor who passed away this past March.

Of course, that’s just a small portion of everything to see at the fair. Looking at this provocative material might leave some feeling hot and bothered. Don’t just head home to sweatily swipe through Tinder; this book fair comes with an afterparty. But don’t expect to shuffle off to a bar or club. The post-fair affair is an “inclusive sex party” called Inferno, held in a secret Brooklyn location on Saturday night.

For Matt, this was a logical decision above anything. “If we’re going to have an afterparty for a book fair with erotic material, it should probably be an actual orgy,” he said. Fair enough.

The Brooklyn Dirty Book Fair is happening July 15-16 at Point Green Studios, 260 Java Street.

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