Under the Table: Hysterical Literature

Her name is Stormy Leather and she is not a pole dancer, prostitute or porn star. However, she does often go by The Naked Girl of Burlesque, and above she is pictured getting off to a 4-minute reading of Bret Easton Ellis’ American Psycho, for film project Hysterical Literature.

Of course, there’s more to it than that. Thanks to Photographer Clayton Cubitt, readers world ’round may realise their bibliophilic wet dreams in this marrying of literary sophistication with licentious abandon. The premise is simple: offer a woman a Hitachi vibrator, a table, and a book. In return, ask her to “dress as you would for a date with a man, not a boy,” and try to hold out for as long as you can.

For Stoya who admittedly is, but so much more than, a porn star, that meant a Vivian Westwood dress, minimal makeup and expensive panties, slightly wet in the gusset. To read, she brought along Necrophilia Variations by Supervert. The rest? Recorded history.

Now, you may very well find it hysterical, but mostly I find it delectably crude & stimulatingly genius; high art meeting and melding with the low-brow, or in other words, decidedly my sort of thing. Cubitt’s no-fuss set, shot in black and white, showing each subject with a book in hand, while eluding at a mystery beneath, achieves something wildly unheard of in popular pornography: it elicits eroticism through covert means, instead of garishly shining lights and camera on an explicit sex scene.

Much like Andy Warhol did in the 1960s with his 35-minute silent film Blowjob, the film is set to capture the transient changes in the subjects physiognomy, while they’re being pleasured off camera. The genius behind it? It all goes beyond the sex. Without a white coat and a controlled lab, Cubitt managed to bring attention to the ongoing physical, psychological and arguably philosophical debate about Body vs. Mind, armed only with a book passage and a vibrator. At the beginning, we see each woman start her reading, completely focused on the words. Often, by the five or four minute mark, their bodies take over and their brains give way, going blank, and losing their place on the page. The words lose their meaning, momentarily becoming nothing more than a ticking time-bomb, the symbol of what their trying to outlast.

The sweetest thing is when they’ve come, it’s over, and they eloquently deliver the closing line, punctuated by a giggle, or a pant.

It might fascinate you, turn you on, or turn you into their personal cheerleaders. Regardless, I dare you to not scrub through the following videos like you’re alone and watching your favourite porno, or cuddled with your favourite book; safe for work with earphones:

Stormy, My favourite:

Teresa, My first:

Stoya, The One Who (excellently) Documented her Experience:

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