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All photos courtesy of Cameryn Moore.

Share your story at Cameryn Moore’s Smut Slam

By Brian Carroll on February 22, 2016

Cameryn Moore is a self-described “award-winning playwright/performer, sex activist and educator, sidewalk pornographer, and a long-time phone sex operator”.  On February 25th, she is bringing Smut Slam to Ottawa: a performance where attendees sign up to tell a five-minute erotic story drawn from their own experiences.  A team of judges awards prizes to the tellers.

Brian Carroll interviewed Cameryn Moore about the upcoming Smut Slam and her other work.

Photo from Cameryn Moore's website.

Apt613: You keep coming back to Ottawa. Your two Ottawa Fringe shows, Phone Whore and slut (r)evolution have built you a following here. What keeps you coming back?

Cameryn Moore: Ottawa can be a strangely conservative city. I will go to places that are considered conservative, just because I know the people who are there, who aren’t conservative, want and need stuff that speaks to them.

There are lots of people who are wanting more radical kind of presentations around sexuality… and sex. I am willing to step into that.

I’ve met some of your fans from Ottawa, Thunder Bay, Atikokan and Winnipeg. They’re very enthusiastic about you and your work. More females than males. There doesn’t seem to be a demographic. There are no obvious clues in terms of people’s appearances.

Why do you have this wide diversity of audience?

People are more starved for authenticity in sex-themed theatre than the theatre world is aware of. That cuts across demographics.

You’ve got something coming up called Smut Slam. What is Smut Slam anyway?

It’s glorious. It is another one of these things that I’ve undertaken along with Sidewalk Smut.

Sidewalk Smut is where I set up a typewriter in bohemian, café, night club districts. This is something I do around North America and the UK. I just set it up. I have a little sign on my table that says “Abrupt erotica. Smut while you wait.”

I just type away and wait for people to come up. When they do, the premise is: I interview them for a few minutes. I have a certain intake interview. When they step away for 15 minutes, I bang out a half to two-thirds page stream of consciousness custom erotica for them.

I bring this up because I don’t know why that works. There is no reason in the world that should work. That strangers should feel safe coming up to me, answering my questions, and being excited afterwards. But it works! It has worked for five years now.

Smut Slam is similarly improbable. It is an open mic, featuring real life first person sex stories. Part of the incentive is we have prizes. Not for the smuttiest story. We have a panel of judges. … They will assess each story on certain criteria, and then award prizes.

I don’t know why that works. … People are shy. But once I tell a story or one of my judges tells a story, when they see that I don’t mean Penthouse letters, I mean actual stories. People see that “Oh, I’ve had an experience that I want to tell about.”

And it does work. I’ve taken this around North America and to the Edinburgh Fringe.

So that’s Smut Slam.

I tell a couple of stories, but I am just the host. Like any open mic, we need exhibitionists and voyeurs. We need people telling and listening.

Who can participate in Smut Slam?

Well, you have to be old enough to get into the brew pub: 19.

Our judges’ panel is incredibly diverse. I’m looking forward to seeing what comes out of that. I make a point of, when I promote it: this event is kink friendly, queer friendly, trans friendly, fat friendly. We are one of the friendliest storytelling events you’re going to find.

Generally, it’s anyone who has a story to tell or who likes to hear stories about sex. I think that’s a lot of people.

What should they bring?

Ten dollars to get in. An open mind. The best thing about Smut Slam: the stories have a five-minute limit. If you don’t like the thing someone on stage is telling… if you’re like “Oh, that is weird!” First of all, keep it to yourself. Secondly, hold tight and wait. Because, in another four minutes and 30 seconds, there’s going to be someone else up there telling something else.

I won’t say that there’s something for everyone, but there’s something for a lot of people.

Who’s sponsoring Smut Slam?

I aim for venues that are free or cheap, so working for bar minimum… Smut Slam audiences are generally drinkers. People seem to think they need to drink something to get in that head space.

All we need sponsors for is prizes. Venus Envy is providing our prizes. A couple of people on the judges’ panel are throwing in some tickets for events.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

In 10 years I want to be still performing.

I don’t want to be famous. I want my work to be famous.

Thank you, Cameryn.

This interview has been edited for length.

Smut Slam is produced by Cameryn Moore and Ottawa entertainer Miss Helvetica Bold. Smut Slam will be taking place Thursday, February 25th at 7:30 pm at the Clocktower Brew Pub (575 Bank Street). Doors open at 7. The show lasts about two hours. Tickets are $10 cash at the door. For more information, see the Facebook event page.