Archive for July 2011

Pornography in Denmark

I went out with Rick, Charlotte, her brother Robert, and Laurie last week and saw “Pornography in Denmark”. It was pretty awesome from several angles: historical, sociologically, and hey porn is pretty much always awesome.

Short form: there were laws against hardcore porn for pleasure but an exemption for documentaries. Exploit the loophole. Make money. Change attitudes and laws about porn in America. Win.

Yes, it’s a real documentary. The most striking moment for me was watching a couple going at it and hearing the narrator list off the prices of myriad pornographic literature. The intention was clear from a documentarian’s viewpoint, “See this? This is big business. We should have this in the US.” But I was a bit distracted to listen to the prices. ;-)

Here is the (fascinating) handout we got before the film:

The film you will see tonight completely changed the exhibition of sexually-oriented films in San Francisco. It was the first film containing hardcore sex to be shown publicly here. From this point forward interest dwindled in softcore sexploitation, and dozens of theaters jumped on the hardcore bandwagon (including the Roxie in the Mission).

It’s worth noting that this is an artifact, and not fine art. lt was made by a 34-year-old Alex de Renzy, at the world’s first sex trade show in Copenhagen. Because the film is constructed as a documentary, de Renzy was able to include hardcore material being presented at the convention. He could then argue that the footage was justified within the context of a documentary about censorship and pornography, but was not pornography itself.

He began showing it at his own theater, The Screening Room, at 220 Jones Street, where he had been presenting softcore pictures since 1967 (most of which he made himself). The film cost de Renzy $15,000 to make. It sold $25,000 worth of tickets in its first week, and is said to have gone on to gross over 2 million. The Screening Room was raided dozens of times by the police, but de Renzy was never successfully convicted of anything.

He went on to become a hugely successful pornographer, directing several films which are considered classics of the genre, including Pretty Peaches, Babyface and Femmes de Sade. He introduced at least three actresses who went on to become icons of adult cinema; Desiree Cousteau, Annette Haven and Aunt Peg (Juliet Anderson) — who was a longtime volunteer here at YBCA until her death last year.

After these “golden age” classics, in his later years de Renzy churned out well over one hundred shot-on-video, anal sex oriented quickies under the pseudonym Rex Borsky. He died in June of 2001.

“Smut Capital of America: San Francisco’s Sex Cinema Revolution” film series continues through August 25. Visit for film descriptions and program details.
Program notes by Joel Shepard, YBCA Film/Video Curator


You missed this movie in this YBCA series but there are several more to see! The series ends this month so click and see some culturally relevant and historically important smut this month!

There are a few more films coming up as part of the series. Go see them.

Automotive Trouble Codes

If the “Check Engine” light in your car has come on and you find out what the trouble code is, you can use this website to find out what the code means:



They also have THE database of car recalls. Check and see if your car has any recalls!

Movies of Late

Saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 last night. Completely awesome. See/read what came before or you won’t get it. I think seeing it in “Digital Projection” at the Daly City Century 20 was good, the cinematic effects were just so…. real. 2 weeks after opening, the theater was full, and everyone in the audience was over 30. Curious.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button – 3 hours of kinda bland character study with 1 neat twist. Meh.

Grandma’s Boy – juvenile, funny male humor. I liked it.

40 Year old Virgin – I was expecting juvenile, funny male humor. There was a bit of that, but it was much better than that. Very enjoyable :-).

UHF – Ouch. Weird Al has learned a LOT about entertaining people after this film

Anvil! The Story of Anvil – Holy crap, these guys love music. An honest documentary about the real life Spinal Tap.

Mega Shark Versus Giant Octopus – there are 60 seconds of awesome and 2 hours of them poking you in the eyes with a stick. Watch the awesome here.

Eddie Izzard: Definite Article – stand up show. He completely rocks. You should watch more stand-up. Seriously. Funny.

The Passion of Joan of Arc – I always thought I was missing out on something awesome by not seeing this 1928 “classic”. I watched most of it and completely couldn’t get through it. I totally don’t get why this is a classic.

City of Angels – Started pretty good, went way downhill. :-(

Demetri Martin. Person. – Funny stand up is always funny and puts me in a good mood. I like funny standup.

The Gates – the story of Christo and Jeanne-Claude installing The Gates in New York City. Good stuff. It’s amazing how much perseverance it took them to get this piece to happen. Pretty awesome. But then I like big awesome art.

Iron Man 2 – Wee!

High Fidelity – Certainly classic John Cusack.

Idiocracy – After all the hype some friends gave it, I though it was going to be as awesome as Zoolander (wow, that is an awesome movie… just earlier this week a friend said offhandedly “Oh, the files are in the computer!” and I laughed so hard). It isn’t. It has it’s moments, but only a few.

The Princess Bride – watched again at a house party with friends, brought my holocaust cloak :-). This is still a near perfect movie.

The Sopranos – I’m most of the way though the last season. What a powerful show.

The Revolution

The Revolution was televised. But it didn’t earn even a single Emmy nomination. – me

SolarWorld Electic Rate Hike Lie

According to the CPUC, this SolarWorld billboard, which I saw at Civic Center station BART last night, is a lie created by lying liars.

The historical electric rate chart at the CPUC says that average electric rates have gone from 13.8 cents per kWh to 15.1 cents per kWh, that is a 9% increase. The sign indicates a 21% increase from 2006 to 2011.

Find the CPUC historical rate chart here. Local archive.

Honestly, I don’t have it in for SolarWorld. I just have it in for getting facts right. They could have made a compelling argument with the data at hand, but they chose to lie instead.

Making backups of my Google data

Since switching from Outlook to Gmail, I’ve been nervous about not being able to back up things like my contacts and email. There’s a new service called Google Takeout that lets me back up lots of my data locally. Sweet!

Here’s where to look:
Google Takeout

The Data Liberation Front – a related Google blog.

I put a note in my calendar to run the backup every couple months. :-)

They currently back up
Contacts and Circles
Picasa web albums