Layover recently was picked up by Good Vibrations, and I remembered that I had wanted to post some of the interviews I’ve done to this blog.
Femina Potens EXCLUSIVE Interview with Selina Raven and Jiz Lee
By: Francesca Ochoa
Selina Raven and Jiz Lee, two of the many amazing performers in Layover, a hot, kinky spin off of 70’s femdom- turned –queer- as –fuck, shared a drink, some thoughts on the power of radical porn, and some juicy behind the scenes reflections. But first, an introduction…
Selina Raven: I started working as a dominatrix in 1998, and that was my first formal introduction to the sex industry. I have a very firm belief that men should not be profiting from women’s sexual labor. When I started working as a dominatrix, I was working at a house owned by a woman and ever since then I’ve been very careful that the profits of my sexual labor go to someone I love and trust or a woman- ideally, they go mostly to me. Most of my income comes from professional domination. I don’t do a lot of video work, mostly because I want to make sure that the reoccurring income goes to a cause that I believe in. I am very happy that this is the case for this film, Layover.
Jiz Lee: My introduction to the adult industry was through Shine Louise Houston’s first film, The Crash Pad. I have been doing films with Shine ever since, all of her feature films and her website. Now, my main income comes from doing web work for adult toy businesses and partly through affiliate programs with Shines company and other women friendly, feminist toy companies that I support.
Francesca Ochoa: One of the interesting things about feminist and queer porn is that it is a medium for women and queers to control their bodies and body images. I think where the money goes is a huge part of that. Do you think companies such as Madison’s and Shine’s can maintain their own viable and autonomous community of radical porn? Or do you see it as something that will be co-opted by the larger mainstream industry?
S: I think by its nature it is going to be a small enclave of industries in cities that have a large queer population like San Francisco and New York. I don’t know that it would be something that would be co-opted by the mainstream just because it is such a homegrown and community grown kinda thing. The perspective I have goes all the way back to On Our Backs Magazine in the late 80’s. Susie Bright was like “hey, you know lezzies actually have sex drives- it isn’t all about cuddling.” Its been interesting for me to watch the evolution of this because initially there was On Our Backs and Good Vibrations, just these little bits and pieces of queer and lesbian sexuality, and it has been great to see it expand in the direction that it has been. Its tremendously exciting to see that there is queer porn out there and that there are more, well, just more of what turns me on.
J: I think the more there is out there, the larger that market will be. In some ways we are fostering our own market and consumer base by putting our work out there. I also think it is okay if the mainstream views it. One issue that I often hear is “ oh, you’re doing queer porn, but what if some straight dude watches it?” I don’t care. Actually, I think it is great.
S: Yes, please! Give us your money, straight man…
J: Yeah, and if they like it, and it informs them on how different bodies look and act and maybe helps dispel some misconceptions about queer sex, and their turned on by it, than yeah, more power to ‘em.
F: That actually hits upon my next question about audience. SF has these wonderful kinky ma and pop, insular-seeming porn companies, but you are both okay with the outside world viewing it?
S: Well yeah, there has to be a genuine alternative to the plastic princess stuff that comes out of the San Fernando Valley. There is such a narrow image that gets fulfilled in the mainstream porn industry. But, there are all kinds of niche markets and all kinds of turn- ons for people and that’s what’s fascinated me about sexuality most throughout my life: where people get there individual ideas about sexuality and how fetishes are formed.
J: Yeah, if I ever was on Miss America or whatever pageant, my answer for world peace would be Queer Porn. I honestly think that it could change the world. Alright, say you have someone who was a homophobe, or totally confused with hatred about a person they’ve never met. And say they watch our kind of porn and develop an understanding, maybe think its hot. And then, maybe, they meet someone who they can relate to what they’ve seen in that porn. They have a reference for that sexual orientation or gender identity that they’ve seen on screen. And for people who may have never seen a body or gender performance like there own on screen, it might validate them and help them to feel secure. If you’re ok with your own self, then you feel better, treat other people better, and then there is no war, just world peace, flowers, bunnies and kittens.
S: There’s no war because everybody’s so comfortable with their sexuality, they are too busy fucking!
(Giggling. Unknown bar patron enters stage right and starts playing a banjo. Cringing.)
F: So, Layover… You (Selina) were recounting earlier how this project got started
S: Oh the genesis of Layover… so, Madison contacted me and asked me If I was available to do a girl/girl scene and I said yes. She put myself, and the girl I was going to be doing the scene, with in contact with each other. At some point during the email exchange I made a comment, “ah, you all are making me feel very sexy during my Mrs. Robinson years” and Madison took that idea and ran with it. The next thing I knew we had Layover. It is strongly influenced by The Graduate since I did call myself Mrs. Robinson, and low n behold I became her.
J: When you watched The Graduate did you ever identify with Mrs Robinson?
S: Well, the actual character in The Graduate is an unhappy character because she is powerless and she is seeking to regain power by having these interactions with a younger man. I don’t identify with her so much. Its more that she is one of those iconic roles. Once you get passed thirty, you start looking for these images. Hollywood and LA porn and cinema tell you that you are pretty much dried up by the time you are over 25. I’ve spent a lot to time looking for images of women that are still strong, powerful, and sexual. Mrs. Robinson is just an easy target. Interestingly enough, Anne Bancroft was only 36 when she played that role. I was like “hmmmm, ok…” I still got a lot of years ahead of me doing this, I don’t see myself stopping anytime soon!
Also, I think its fun to take things that happened right at the beginning of the American sexual revolution and put a queer spin on it.
F: Using the birth of feminist media and recasting it in the birth of queer media-
S: Yeah, yeah. It’s fun to play with that kind of power dynamic. I don’t how prevalent it is in queer culture now, but in gay male culture you see daddy/ boy pairings, and, um, there aren’t that many hot mamas out there. So, it’s my job to change that one boi at a time.
F: You two did a scene together. How was that?
J: I got to be the boi! I went on You- tube immediately and started watching the scenes with Dustin Hoffman. I think I was acting the most shy I’ve ever been. Usually, when I approach porn my character is really fun and exploratory with really switchy energy. It was really fun to play the seduced and sexually shy.
S: There were a lot of big eyes and blinking…. Like, “really? Blink, blink, blink,”
J: “Oh my gosh Mrs. Robinson, can you do it again?” ha! Pretending like I’d never seen female ejaculation… Which by the way was amazing.
S: That’s something that I haven’t shared with too many people. It was actually the first hardcore scene that I’ve done. I liked it because there was that power dynamic there. The main point of my work life is playing with power in a sexual manner. That movie and that role kind of encapsulated all that for me at once. It felt good to take what is a natural component of my personality, and be able to play with it in that way. “I get to be a dirty old lady, this is great!”
J: And I got to realize that I like that
S: Awesome. It was great, because I found you really attractive too, and I do have this thing for young boyish types. It was a great experience. The general atmosphere on set was very supportive, sweet, and low key. Sort of a “hey, we’re all in this for fun. Think nasty thoughts.” We (Jiz) were also separate for most of the time, and didn’t get a lot of chit- chat, getting to know you time. I think that added to the whole-
J: Meeting you for the first time-
S: “Oh, I just opened the door, and I happened to be a little aggravated right now. Hmmm. I think I’ll use you.” Yeah. That was fun.
F: It’s been a year since the scene was shot. Is there anything particularly memorable that sticks out to you?
J: Huh. We had laid, my dress shirt, on the kitchen table during out scene. It got ejaculation all over it. The filming went in reverse order, so I had to put it back on. It was wet.
S: I felt kind of bad about that. Ha. When you are in the moment you just go for it. I guess I was pretty turned on
F: Any final words on porn/ feminism/ identity?
S: No. Watch it. Make more of it.
J; Watch it. Buy it. Tell others about it.
S: Get inspired. Make porn yourself.
The interview originally appeared in the Femina Potens Newsletter.