Monthly Archives: March 2012

Is Marche du Nain Rouge Racist?

nain rouge detroit

This weekend I attended one of Detroit’s favorite community gatherings–Marche du Nain Rouge. Each spring, Detroiters gather in the Cass Corridor for a celebration ritual in which they get to call upon a myth from the city’s founding and “chase the red dwarf” out of the city. According to legend, an evil red dwarf will be seen in the streets prior to violent tragedies, beginning with an attack of the first white settler in Detroit in 1701 and including Detroit’s surrender in the War of 1812, the Battle of Bloody Run, and the 1967 riots. All of these events are struggles over race and territory.

About 3 seconds after it crossed my mind that the “nain rouge” (“red dwarf”) is probably a reference to Native Americans and that historically, the myth was probably used to villainize Native Americans in Detroit, I saw this:

The woman holding this sign is Doc. She stood alone at the beginning of the Marche du Nain Rouge, affecting the necessary shock to present some critical information that seems to have been lost somewhere in Detroit’s compulsion for community. By the end of the parade, a small group gathered around Doc and conversations ensued about race relations in Detroit, the relationship between the historical European American oppression of Native Americans and African Americans, the lacking conversation about race in Detroit, the practice of ritual, and the making and re-making of meaning. You can watch a video of Doc explaining the history of Marche du Nain Rouge on the sidelines of the parade in the Cass Corridor.

What do you think–how much history still exists in this newly-revived Detroit tradition?

Interview with Michael Eric Dyson

I spoke with “hip hop intellectual” Dr. Michael Eric Dyson at the AT&T 28 Days event in Detroit, a speaker series hosted by Common and held each February to promote progressive thinking about African American history. Dyson is a professor at Georgetown University and the author of books such as Why I Love Black Women and the bestselling Holler If You Hear Me: Searching for Tupac Shakur. I seized the opportunity to ask some very difficult and personal questions about race and interpersonal communication:

1. Why do I feel so uncomfortable when I talk about race?
2. Why do I feel foolish when I “act black”?

From AT&T…
AT&T recently held its 28 Days speaker series event in Detroit, Mich. at the Shriners Silver Garden Events Center on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Now in its fourth year, the AT&T 28 Days campaign celebrates Black History Month and aims to motivate consumers to use their voice, share their vision and move into action this February and throughout the year. The Chicago event was hosted by award-winning hip hop artist, actor, author and activist Common and featured an inspirational message from innovative leader and bold visionary, Desiree Rogers. The 28 Days speaker series consists of a seven city tour that showcases some of today’s influential and respected leaders offering their own unique perspectives on how consumers can shape their own future. To see the full schedule of speakers and AT&T 28 Days speaker series tour stops, visit

Concept Over Quality: Erotic Film Fest Hits Detroit

detroit-film-festOn August 26, Detroit will host its first erotic film festival, Detroit Independent Video Erotica (DIVE), a one-night showcase of international short films and videos. I got the opportunity to talk with “the DIVE team” about porn, Detroit’s erotic art scene, and how affordable, user-friendly technology gives everyone the opportunity for creative sexual expression. Check it out: 

Jane Fader: In Detroit, the most successful and beautifully organized art events–the Dirty Show and DAMNED especially–always seem to have sexual themes. Where do you locate the DIVE film festival in Detroit’s artistic landscape?

The DIVE Team: Even though the DIVE Festival is not based on the Dirty Show, the erotic poetry slam, the Noir Leather fashion shows, or any other event, those events do go to show that there is strong demand and participation in the field of erotic art in the Detroit area.

JF: DIVE’s call for art strongly emphasizes the difference between erotica and pornography, but doesn’t offer a definition of either outside of the exemplary. Could you elaborate on the difference between erotic and pornographic?

DIVE: As for the distinction between erotic and pornographic, it’s difficult to say. With mainstream cinema, there are some depictions of sexuality that are pretty explicit, as in films like Shortbus, Y Tu Mama Tambien, and Shame. However, that did not make those films pornographic. All we can say is that we’re not likely to be interested in videos of the kind one would see on, the sex for its own sake without any sense of style, story, or artistry; the gangbangs; the misogynistic stuff.

JF: What kind of videos and films are you interested in?

DIVE: The goal of the DIVE Film Festival is to inspire people to make (or submit existing) creative erotic/sensual works on video. The criteria for submission is being left somewhat vague because we don’t want to limit people’s creativity. As I’m sure you know, the range of expression of sexuality is vast, in terms of the range of preferences, and in individual expression. We want to be accepting of all of it. The great news is that creating video works no longer depends on having professional-grade equipment. Most newer cell phones and point & shoot cameras have very good video quality, and editing and soundtracks can be done with software provided free on many home computers (like iMovie). These are easy tools for “amateurs” who want to create and contribute a piece. Ultimately, the finest image quality is less important than the overall concept and style. Beyond that, we’re hoping to draw in the artists, too–the people who have a unique vision that they can use to approach this subject matter. In talking with people in the art community, I’ve heard tales of some video work that sounds incredible, and hope that the creators of those works will submit them to the festival. While we expect that most videos will be live footage, there’s always the possibility some will be animated, claymation, stop-action or even a Ken Burns-style montage of still photos that use zooming and panning to create the dynamics. That would be fantastic! Works need not be literal, either. The depictions can be metaphorical or abstract. They can be as short as a television commercial or any length up to six minutes. We want the audience to leave the festival…over-stimulated…(pardon the bad pun).

DIVE is currently accepting submissions of films, videos and animations of all genres ranging anywhere from a few seconds to 6 minutes. More information and updates on the DIVE Facebook page.

Orgasm is NOT Female Ejaculation

Female pleasure is so confusing.

Female pleasure is so confusing.

When I wrote about my difficulty with orgasm, I got a lot of questions from people asking whether I was talking about my difficulty achieving orgasm or my difficulty achieving female ejaculation. Any confusion is totally understandable. I would estimate that about 2/3 of the people I talk to about female sexual response are not aware that there is a difference between female ejaculation and orgasm. The words orgasm and ejaculation are practically synonymous in American culture. I am aware of this and and since I have been discussing female ejaculation for the past five years or so, it’s important that I clearly distinguish orgasm from female ejaculation.

As sophisticated sexual creatures, we must understand that orgasm is not female ejaculationOrgasm and female ejaculation are two very different sexual responses that occur by way of two very different sexual stimuli, are experienced through two very different directions of muscular contraction, and have two very different ways of making their occurrence known. I created this table to help distinguish between the two:

Orgasm is not female ejaculation

So to clarify, my last post was about my difficulty achieving orgasm, NOT my difficulty achieving female ejaculation. I have never ejaculated. From my understanding, it is an “advanced” sexual ability for most women, and because it is the stimuli that is pleasurable and not necessarily the response itself that is pleasurable, my motivation to achieve female ejaculation is not as strong as my motivation to be orgasmically “regular.” I have difficulty with orgasm, and I think that a lot of other women do, too. And while I find female ejaculation extremely interesting on an intellectual level, having orgasms is and has always been more important to me.

My Difficulty With Orgasm

If you haven’t slept with me yet, you probably don’t know that I have difficulty with orgasm. I have always been honest in posts on my “sex blog,” but being truthful is a whole different story. This video begins as another quirky vibrator review but turns out to be a confession of my difficulty achieving orgasm. I’m interested to know if this is something you would like me to talk about.