The Antique Vibrator Museum by Clifford Henderson

Rest Home Runaways 300 DPILook who dropped by for another visit! My friend Clifford Henderson. She recently did a group reading at The Antique Vibrator Museum and agreed to share the experience.

You can learn more about Cliffi on her website (http://cliffordhenderson.net/). For now, though, enjoy the blog!

The Antique Vibrator Museum
by Clifford Henderson

Antique Vibrator Museum? I admit I too was intrigued. I’d never heard of the place. But I can assure you, it exists, on gay Polk St. in San Francisco. It’s attached to the store Good Vibrations. Bold Strokes Books’ author Dena Hankins set up a reading with the proprietor of said museum and put a call out to any BSB authors in the area, welcoming us to join her. I live in Santa Cruz, about two hours away, and figured: Why not? I admit, I was as curious about the space as anything.IMG_0116The day of the event, my partner and I took Highway 1. It’s one of the most beautiful drives in the world, winding along the Pacific, and since it was fall, we had the added treat of passing through field after field of pumpkins and hay stack mazes. We arrived in San Francisco with just enough time to slurp down a cup of hot chocolate and share an apple pie crepe. The trip, to my way of thinking, had already been a success.

Once at the venue, we had to walk through the store to get to the museum. Seeing the wares of sex displayed so unabashedly and in such bright light was both startling and refreshing. But by now we were in a bit of a hurry so had to cruise past the vibrators and dildos, lubricants and sex manuals to the museum in back. I was happy to note that people were already starting to fill the place: a nice mix of women and men, mostly middle-aged. IMG_0939After introducing myself to the other readers, my partner and I settled into a couple of chairs in the back, right next to a case featuring an antique vibrator that, swear to God, looked like a hand-crank egg beater. Heart pitter-pattering (I’m always a little nervous before a reading), I scanned the crowd and spotted an unlikely woman dominating the front row. Walker by her side, she looked to be in her eighties and wore a huge flower covered hat, a floral dress, and sneakers. She reminded me of aged Minnie Pearl.

But there was no time to ponder this interesting character, a woman named Carol Queen, who identified herself as the resident sexologist, stepped up to welcome everyone. She invited Dena onto the stage, a.k.a. the front of the room, to get things rolling, but before Dena got up there “Mini Pearl” turned around and squawked, “I see I’m the only one in the front row. What are you? A bunch of scaredy-cats?” which caused some chuckles and some rearranging of seats.

IMG_0118During our early communications about the reading, I let Dena know that “Rest Home Runaways” wasn’t just filled with sexy scenes. For this reason, she billed me first, her idea being that we’d go from G-rated to X. I was fine with that. I’d be able to enjoy the other readers without the pressure of knowing I was up next.

10661862_554563548022559_5693900911565447703_o(1)

And so the reading progressed. I read a short comic piece in which my character Morgan Ronzio is forced to take a business call while trying on lingerie at a store called All About Romance. (Seemed appropriate considering the location.) Next came Eric Andrews-Katz who read from his highly suspenseful “Balls & Chain” featuring his plucky protagonist Agent Buck 98. Kathleen Knowles, a favorite of mine, read a delightful excerpt from “Forsaking All Others,” a novel marinating in polyamory and politics. Then came the wonderful Felice Picano who read an engaging story from his memoire, “True Stories Too” about casting directors’ infatuation with him. But none of the readings thus far included sex, which might have gone unnoticed by me had it not been for Mini Pearl, who shot up from her seat crying, “Where’s the smut? I came for the sex!” She then grabbed her walker and pushed through the crowd and out the door.

It was too bad she left. Dena’s reading from “Blue Water Dreams” was hotter than two goats in a pepper patch, and had women and men alike wriggling in our seats like pollywogs. We rounded out the night with a question and answer session and some book signing. And we all of us got a coupon for 10% off at the store.

So, now you know what you missed. Hope to see you next time.

IMG_0940

Advertisements

2 thoughts on “The Antique Vibrator Museum by Clifford Henderson

Comments are closed.