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Arts and Entertainment

In the Flesh: L.A. @ Freddy and Eddy

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Left: Carly Milne, curator of In the Flesh: L.A.; Right: Rachel Kramer Bussel, curator of In the Flesh in New York

“I wanted to look like a serious writer so I wore tweed shorts,” said Willam Belli, crossing one of his long and fabulously toned stems over the other as he sat in front of the mic last Thursday night. He smiled with red lacquered lips, tossed his long blond hair back over his shoulder, and was about to begin reading when a noise came rumbling from above.

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“Hold for plane,” he said, pausing congenially.

Belli was kicking off In the Flesh: L.A., the West Coast incarnation of Rachel Kramer Bussel’s (Caught Looking, He's on Top, Naughty Spanking Stores from A to Z 1 and 2) erotic reading series of the same name in New York.

Held at Freddy and Eddy's, a cozy little sex shop at Venice and Centinela, In the Flesh: L.A. is all about getting people thinking and talking. “I want to challenge both writers and the audience to open their minds and walk out of there with a different viewpoint on sex and sexuality,” said Carly Milne, curator of the West Coast series, about her goals for upcoming events.

For the inaugural evening, the attendees seemed pretty open-minded to begin with.

Belli, for example, the creator of Tranny McGuyver and guest star on nip/tuck, Sex and the City and CSI: NY told Milne prior to the event that he planned to read a story about “surviving toe rape.” Sounds so serious. The piece turned out to tell his tale of evolving from a “slutty, fat 12-year-old kid” to a 19-year-old who, on a warm afternoon, is hog-tied, bound and gagged…and toe raped. I know, I know – rape isn’t funny. But somehow - possibly by use of the following sentence: “Did you just lose a double-ended dildo in my ass?” - Belli managed to make it so.

Bussel was also there to read. Petite and voluptuous, with long black hair, glasses and minimal makeup, she told a story about getting finger fucked in an airport while waiting for a plane. Her story touched on the fact that at 32, she was “supposed to be more mature” than that – and by “that” presumably she meant lying with a stranger under a blanket while letting him put his digits up her pussy.

The nice thing about seeing Bussel read is that having lived in L.A. for so long, I forget sometimes that our spray-tanned, extended hair, fake-boobies version of sexy is unique to the confines of the plot of land between the 101, the 10 and the PCH.

Her unassuming and au naturel look had the effect of making her reading – which was very graphic – feel much more intimate. The lack of contrived sexiness worn as some kind of suit of armor rendered her just a normal woman, up there at the mic telling a bunch of strangers about how some dude fingerbanged her and then she jerked him off at Heathrow or Kennedy or Atlanta or wherever the story took place (I was distracted, OK?).

So, I am glad glad glad that this series is up here in L.A. I love this city, but sometimes we could all use a fresh perspective on what sexy means.

Photos courtesy of In the Flesh