Sydney Ladies Artists Club

A social and support organisation for invited female artists based in Sydney.

Monday, May 22, 2006

REPORT: Reading Group Event

Afternoon Tea

On Saturday the 20th May, the first SLAC reading group event took place at 3pm at E Pulie's house. Eight members attended.

The reading was an edited transcript of a short film made by Luca Babini in 1992, wherein the author and academic Camille Paglia held a conversation with the actress and model, Lauren Hutton, about matters such as feminist thought, date rape, and the difference between the sexes. (Transcript printed in 'Vamps & Tramps - New Essays' by Camille Paglia, Viking 1994).

Not all members were enamoured with the points of view taken by Ms Paglia & Ms Hutton in the transcript, and I tend to feel we didn't really get to the bottom of these differences of thought within the hour or so of conversation that we had about the reading. Still, it brought up some interesting points and conversations around these subjects.

The next reading was handed out by L Day (date for discussion to be confirmed).

A future exhibition opportunity for the club was raised for discussion with the group by L Kelly.

For 2 more photos of the event, go to:

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

REPORT: Jelly Wrestling

beer swilling Feminazi & SLAC member J.Polk, ringside at the Oxford

Jelly Wrestling at The Oxford Tavern
10th May, 9pm

Notwithstanding the slender turnout from the SLAC/Bilateral Petersham contingent, the hot topic of female spectatorship at raunch events like live jelly wrestling was spectacularly and disturbingly foregrounded during last week's excursion to The Oxford Tavern.

Actually there WERE a lot more ladies in attendance at the Oxford this time than last time. Our own party of six plus a fair smattering of women and a spunky boi or two acclimatised in the front bar before the wrestling commenced. The only hitch was that there were a WHOLE lot more men in attendance as well. Jolly big gaggles of them, and this time markedly younger. The energetics of a room packed with early twenty-somethings was quite different to the contained & dour vibe of the middle-aged council worker set from a fortnight before. Testosterone gathered like storm clouds. There was no way this gig was going to be stackable, but there we were, along for the ride.

Trooping out to the back room for round one with our drinks, it became even clearer what a different evening we were in for. The room was jammed, with rows of folk standing as well as seated, blowing out the ‘intimacy’ - if that’s what you’d call it. The MC had absorbed the quirk of women being present in the audience and committed it to his obnoxious auto-commentary (“good to see the ladies along tonight, and we look forward to seeing a few of you in the ring yourselves later on!!”). And lo & behold, Claudia was in the ring! Some of us were already privy to Claudia’s power-packed performance style, having admired her sassy striptease dance routines & astonishing muscle control on our first visit. This was promising!

And indeed on this night it was Claudia single-handedly putting the ‘wrestling’ back into jelly wrestling. The coy smiles, psuedo-holds and general saucy slithering were out the window as menacing grins, flexed biceps and commando rolls were precision wielded in Claudia’s efforts to psych out her valiant opponent, Teagan. Likewise she was putting the ‘SEX’ into the sexy play. It goes without saying that the whole spectacle of jelly wrestling hinges critically on a heterosexual male fascination with lesbian lovemaking. And even more critically on its simulation, so that audiences might glean titillation without having to entertain the actuality of an empowered female sexuality. Typically this is hammed up by your garden-variety wrestler with a repertoire of bottom-slapping & breast-jiggling gestures, with some occasional groin snuffling in a vague semblance of cunnilingus thrown in. But here was Claudia really making a meal out of her opponent’s jelly moistened, bikini-clad crotch. From several innovative angles. Even more interestingly, when it came time to spotlight an audience member for some special jelly attention, Claudia chose the only woman seated in the front row, diving playfully for HER crotch. Yep, it was ladies night all right.

At the close of round one we chatted with another party of ladies who’d read about the SLAC excursion here on the blog care of a cross-posting by Sheilafest (very cool!). Back in the front bar we shared our observations whilst watching the strip shows. Lucy rightly pointed out that despite all the girl-on-girl ‘action’, the wrestling scenarios all inevitably ended in hair-grabbing, rear-mounting simulations of penetration ultimately catering to the male imagination. A number of us decided that stripping was clearly the fall-back mode of employment for classically-trained &/or professional dancers, much like café work for actors or education for artists. And Josie reckoned she’d cracked the insufferable fact that the dancers seemed not to own a skerrick of cellulite, having spotted a give-away wrinkle that suggested some sort of specialist hosiery. We spent a good while peering but the verdict was inconclusive.

From the outset of round two it was obvious that from here on in the evening’s events would be inextricably linked to the presence of a particularly Spirited Lady Spectator also along for the ride at the Oxford that night…

stay tuned for second installment!

Sunday, May 07, 2006



Someone called ‘Lady Penelope’ left this question in the comments somewhere on the SLAC blog – strangely, I can’t find it when I look on the site, but it did arrive in my inbox.

This is a difficult question to answer – if you look at the description of the club at the top of the blog page, you’ll see it’s ‘A social and support organisation for invited female artists based in Sydney’. When we set the club up, S Goffman and I simply ran through the female artists we knew in common, and in a sort of hurried and top-of-mind way listed them and invited them to join. Most accepted the invitation; a few didn’t. Then I think we might have added one or two members subsequently.

I thought of this club as something that couldn’t just be open to everyone that came along, mostly for reasons of simplicity of organisation (there's a bit of work involved getting everyone organised and on the blog, keeping them in the loop, etc), but also because I think of the club as a kind of real-life art performance, in a way; it’s like a group show that exists over time, and when you invite artists to participate in a group show, it’s normal to have to limit those numbers.

Another more practical reason to limit the number of members in the group is that many of the activities are held in members’ homes, which aren’t normally huge venues. So far this hasn’t been a problem, and the number of chairs available and the size of the room seem to just accommodate the number of ladies that turn up to each event.

However, the idea of making the club exclusive is not a particularly attractive one – the art world has enough exclusivity (or perceived exclusivity) going on within it as it is, without adding another whole new club to which only a few people can belong. The unfortunate use of the word ‘club’ in the group’s title I think also contributes to this sense of exclusivity (it’s only really there so that the acronym spelt out ‘SLAC’ – this was important to me).

I suppose the short answer to this question is, ‘you can’t’; that is, no one else can become a member of the club. That being said, however, I have been considering putting it to the ladies that we have a member drive sometime, where each existing member can invite one more lady to join – not because we need more members, but because it may provide some of the ladies with a friend to attend the events with, making the club more comfortable and relevant to them. Also, some members are less active than others, so there may be some room for more...

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Jelly Wrestling!

It's wet, it's wild, it's the contentious gender spectacle of live jelly wrestling!

SLAC joins forces with Bilateral Petersham for a second round of soft-porn sightseeing at the infamous Oxford Tavern. Soak up the view (& flying jelly) from front row in the back room. Enjoy strip shows between rounds by consummate performers with truly impressive command of their hamstrings. But best of all, be there as we collectively effect a subtle intervention in the event dynamics and displace the primacy of the heterosexual male gaze... we're going to stack the joint with Sydney Ladies, Artists or otherwise!

where: The Oxford Tavern, corner New Canterbury Rd & Crystal St Petersham
when: Wednesday 10th May 9pm
$7 door charge

bring your lady friends!

image courtesy of Sex Bomb Promotions