A phone-sex operator turns her personal stories into three nights of performances 

Cameryn Moore Is a Total Slut

Cameryn Moore Is a Total Slut

The most important thing to know about Cameryn Moore isn't that she's a phone-sex operator, or that she's queer, or that she's an active member of the BDSM community. The most important thing to know is that she's a phenomenal storyteller. The fact that the stories she tells are smutty, raw and informed by years in the sex-work industry is just icing on the cake.

When I speak to Moore, who is based in Canada but performs all across the globe, she is in a cafe in New Orleans with a guy she met on OkCupid. That's typical on-the-road fare for Moore, who has been combining her personal experience as a phone-sex operator and a self-proclaimed slut with playwriting for over a decade.

"The work I do as a phone-sex operator opened up sex for me as a field of inquiry," Moore says. "It's easy to put sex and sexuality in the category of something frivolous, but it's fascinating to think about how it affects us as a society, and how we need it and hide behind it and flaunt it."

She performed two of her one-woman plays in Nashville last year: Phone Whore at Little Hamilton, and Slut (R)evolution to a private audience of Nashville's BDSM community. But For/Play is a new performance, and this weekend marks the first time she'll perform all three on consecutive nights at the same venue.

"This is the first year that I've had all three in my pocket — and Nashville, you got lucky because it's the first place where I had a venue partner and producer who was that keen on the content."

The venue is The Owl Farm, and the producer is Rose Marie Pink, a lifelong Nashville resident and galvanizing figure in the local LGBT community.

"The thing about Cameryn's work," Pink says, "is that you have a woman talking openly about desire and addressing female sexuality, and we don't really see that very much in our society. We see a lot of male desire being reflected in females and women being validated by male desire."

Pink worked with Moore when she performed Phone Whore at Little Hamilton last year. After the venue closed, she and partner Jazzi Bennett opened The Owl Farm because they recognized the need for a venue that could house the subversive performances Little Hamilton was known for — there aren't a lot of venues that are open to Moore's brand of overtly sexual theater.

When I speak to Pink, she is trying to locate venues that will allow her to post Moore's show announcements on their premises. It's common to be turned away when you want to announce a show with a name like "Phone Whore," or if the poster shows Moore's scantily clad figure posing with a phone and a whip. The fact that Moore's smart, engaging performances have won many awards — including Best Female Solo Performance at the 2010 San Francisco Fringe Festival, and Best of Fest at the 2011 Winnipeg Fringe Festival — gets overshadowed beneath the lurid content of her plays.

Moore speaks of the plays as a trilogy. In the first, Phone Whore, the figurative curtain rises as Moore's "Larissa" spends a typical night on call as a PSO. In between callers, Larissa speaks directly to the audience in a series of monologues that explore desire and the intimate details of her chosen avocation. It's scandalous, frank and heartfelt, and it just might change the way you think about phone sex.

Slut (R)evolution digs deeper into Moore's life story and her transformation into a sex-positive, queer and kinky woman. Moore defines a slut as "someone of any gender who is in charge of their own sexuality, and thinks consciously about their sexuality."

The newest addition to Moore's repetroire is For/Play, which she describes as a combination of storytelling, erotica and spoken-word. For/Play is like a porny Choose Your Own Adventure story, with certain points of the narrative dependent on what specific audience members want. "For/Play came after two years of doing the other two shows and feeling that audiences tend to be a little passive. They think, 'Let's sit back and watch while Cameryn tells us dirty stories about her life.' " Cameryn wanted her audience to take more responsibility for what happens, for what she says, and for how they interact with each other.

Before returning to her OkCupid date, Cameryn says the reason she expends all the energy it takes to stave off disparaging looks and find venues and audiences willing to hear her stories is that she really believes in the work she does. "We are, all of us, evolving as sexual beings. I want to ask if you can make sense of it, and can you bring your own conscious mind to bear on that. And what happens if you do?"

Email arts@nashvillescene.com.

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