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    Portland Featured:
    Reba and Eric of the Mystery Box Show

    Portland Featured: <br>Reba and Eric of the Mystery Box Show

    Portland, Oregon is a city full of so many things happening every night. The Mystery Box show has always stood out to us as an event to attend if you were looking for something entirely different. The Mystery Box show is a sexy storytelling event series that features honest stories from real people.

    We’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the Mystery Box show ourselves and recently had the opportunity to chat with Reba and Eric, the minds behind the show. Read on to find out how it all started, their process in curating the show, unexpected lessons from storytellers and audiences and more!

    What inspired your search for a sex-themed storytelling event in Portland, other than the obvious desire to want to hear other people share their experiences?

    In the beginning, it was just Eric, who was involved in the storytelling community. He always really liked hearing the stories that focused on sex and thought surely, there must be a storytelling show featuring ONLY sex stories in Portland. After discovering that there wasn’t, he decided to start one of his own. He had zero experience producing a show, but just really wanted to make the show he wanted to see.

    Reba came along a little less than a year later, bringing her experience as a  performer, producer and coach, adding the necessary ingredients to really make the show what it is today. i.e. more emotions and meaning. For Reba, that’s what the show is: a way to connect with other people. She believes that sharing sex stories helps to “normalize” sexual experiences and makes us feel like we belong.

    How is the process for finding new storytellers and coaching them for the show?

    People pitch stories to us via email!

    Usually folks hear about us from someone who has attended or performed in the show. Or they have attended a show themselves and think “I’ve got a story to share!”

    We ask for just 2-3 sentences in a pitch. If the pitch sounds like it has some good potential (Does it make us want to hear more? Are there obvious stakes? Is it about sex instead of merely including a bit of sex), we arrange to meet in person or over Skype to hear the whole story. We prefer it this way because ultimately, the story will be performed live, not written. Language is usually very different between the two media. During the coaching sessions, we offer notes to the storyteller. Usually these notes offer ideas on story structure, points of clarification and emotional stakes. Then we arrange to hear the story again at a later date, with the notes incorporated in the new version of the story.

    We ask that the storyteller not memorize their story like a script, but rather to memorize the concepts, scenes, or beats, so that the story comes across more conversational and authentic. Usually we only need 2-3 coaching sessions.

    Just before the show we have one final “rehearsal” with all 5 storytellers together for each specific show as a chance to bond. It also helps to calm nerves, knowing that there are 4 other folks being very vulnerable on stage in front of 400 strangers and friends. And it’s an opportunity for us to offer final feedback on the story as well as help with stage presence and delivering a story in front of a microphone.

    Was/were there ever (a) situation(s) where the show took a completely unexpected turn?

    Yes! There was one time, for example, when a storyteller got on stage and told a completely different story than the one we had been working on together. Not only that, but it took a wild turn toward the gratuitous! We really try to coach folks into not being gratuitous, both in language and content (unless it specifically adds to the story, of course). We’re very careful now to specifically ask folks to tell the story we all agreed on once they’re on stage!

    Are there any topics/experiences that haven't been covered in the show that you're both interested in?

    We are always looking for new and interesting stories, to bring even more diversity to the show. For example, we’d love to hear stories from little people. Reba has been very interested in hearing an orgasmic birth story (we haven’t featured one yet). There are also always new fetish/kink stories we haven’t featured yet, like stories from Furries (if they consider the Furry aspect sexual in nature), electro-stimulation, body modification, a story from a gimp’s experience, etc.

    How many stories have been told so far?

    Over the span of 5 years, we have showcased nearly 200 sex-centric stories! We have 6 MainStage shows a year (one every other month) and occasionally pepper in additional shows in other locations. To date we have taken The Mystery Box Show to: Portland State University, OMSI After Dark, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Wordstock and Arse Electronika in San Francisco.

    How do you keep each upcoming event fresh?


    We try very hard to feature folks from all walks of life. All gender identities, sexual orientations, ethnicities, ages, and lifestyles. We also strive to find a good variety of stories within each show so that it doesn’t become a pattern that people expect. (e.g. “Oh, here comes the virginity story. Now it’s time for the BDSM story. Next up is the sexual trauma and recovery story.”)

    Sexuality is on such a wide spectrum, we never feel we’re at a loss for new subject matter to explore. As long as people pitch stories to us, we know we’re shining light on more and more of that spectrum, and that will keep it interesting and new.

    As for keeping the show fresh in the moment, at the show, we coach storytellers into making it personal. It’s a simple idea, but a powerful one when used properly. Using “I” statements, as opposed to giving a “lecture” helps give the show a momentum as the audience is carried along with the stories being told on stage.

    What have been the most popular stories so far?

    Eva Blake, Sexological Bodyworker

    Henry Bear, photographer

    Tod Kelly, writer.journalist

    Any memorable feedback from storytellers and/or audience members?


    Storytellers will often tell us that the coaching process is therapeutic and cathartic for them. Although that isn’t our intention, it feels nice to be a part of that feedback.


    We also learned from audience feedback early on what kind of trigger warnings are appropriate and when, which we are really grateful for!

    What kind of trigger warnings are appropriate?

    Trigger warnings are tricky because anything can trigger anyone. We give a general content notification at the top of each show explaining that we showcase stories on the entire sexual spectrum, including stories on the darker side. We ask our audience to be responsible for their own triggers and to take care of themselves however necessary (like stepping out of the room, visiting the bar, etc.) if the need arises. With that being said, if a particular story contains obvious triggers (sexual assault or abuse, for instance) we give an additional warning before that story.

    What else have you learned from audience feedback over the course of the Mystery Box show?

    The feedback we love the most is when audience members tell us that they connected with a story and felt “normal” about a sexual experience or fetish or kink, etc. because now they knew they weren’t the only one. This directly affects the way we coach  storytellers. Connecting and community building is one of the major driving forces behind the show.

    What's next for the Mystery Box show?

    We may consider taking the show to other cities in the future, but for now we are working on building a stronger community here in Portland. We’re also exploring the idea of putting together an anthology of stories that have been on our show in book form.

    What other cities would you like to see the show take place in? I'd love to see it in Berlin.

    We’d LOVE to come to Berlin!! Our biggest goal/challenge with traveling with the show is making sure we have an audience where we go. This means building an audience BEFORE we get there and/or performing in a venue that can market for us/is popular enough that folks know and trust the shows they book. We have quite a following in Portland, but are still working on getting National/International! So far we have taken the show to San Francisco twice, but are pretty open to where we might go if all of the components align!

    More on the Mystery Box Show
    f: mysteryboxshow

    t: @mysteryboxpdx
    i: mysteryboxpdx

    Get your tickets for VIP and General Admission!

    Portland Featured:
    Chase Hart of My Friday Films

    Portland Featured: <br>Chase Hart of My Friday Films

    Chase Hart is a Portland-based photographer, who has bewitched his followers through dreamy aesthetics. Soft, yet intentional color palettes, multiple exposures and a strong adventurous narrative dominate Hart’s body of work. For a while, we’ve all been wondering... who is the man behind it all? Clone-a-Willy was determined to find out.

    First things first, how did you get into photography?

    Photography has been in my life [for] such a long time that I don't even remember how it happened. I grew up in a small town with a really awesome art community. There was a large group of filmmakers and photographers that were intertwined with the snowboarding world I was apart of. These guys were making super 8 films and using film cameras for all of their projects. I was snowboarding 150+ times a year by the time I was 5, so this was my world. Highly influenced by these people who are still creating and trendsetting in the world now, I started using my community college darkroom and lab when I was 12. At this point I was only focusing on black and white process because the color wheel enlargers were too tedious for me.

    What was it exactly about your first inspirations in the snowboarding world that made you want to create?

    Snowboarding motivated me to pick up a camera, but it wasn't the snowboarding part that made me want to create. All the guys in the snowboarding world doing creative stuff made me want to do more art. There wasn't one ‘ah ha’ moment, it was just being surrounded by a lot people who I admired.

    What motivates you to continue using analog film?

    With film, I feel like I have more creative control. I’m able to manipulate so many things. I really enjoy the process of soaking film, doing multiple exposures, painting with dye.

    Where did your statement, "I'm only a love letter away" come from?

    I'm obsessed with Robert Smith (“Friday I'm in Love”).

    "I'm only a love letter away" comes from one of my favorite songs from my youth Voxtrot.

    Besides the obvious, what draws you into often photographing the female form? What else are you attracted to aesthetically?

    To be honest, I'm not sure what deeply draws me into shooting the female form. I've had a progression in my photo-taking career that started with just black and white shapes and basic things. That eventually turned into traveling photos and lots of people stuff, [a] decisive moment influenced by Henri Cartier Bresson. Shooting friends and mostly girlfriends just organically happened. It wasn't something I was looking for to begin with it. It feels right. I think I’m naturally into [a more] feminine, softer feel. I'm really attracted to colors and open spaces.

    How do you believe you can photograph women in a way that's empowering for women?

    Everyone I shoot gets something different from it. I grew up with a single mom, who is a badass. I [think I] don't see things the same way as maybe other people do?

    I shoot photos of people that are my equals. I treat them with respect and I don't sexualize any situation. It’s about the art for me. If my style feels empowering and motivates more people to go shoot or allows someone to feel more comfortable about themselves then that’s awesome.

    How does your day job affect your photography work?

    It doesn't. Photography is my favorite thing to do. I’ll always find the time I need for it.

    Favorite spot you've found while traveling on photo adventures so far?

    I prefer being in big open spaces, like Death Valley. I’ve also really enjoyed shooting in charming cities like Tallinn and Prague. I know I'd like to get to Havana because I'm really into colorful places. Locally (Pacific Northwest), I love going to Florence (sand dunes) and the Painted Hills.

    Next projects? Future events?

    More traveling with my best friend Abby, who I'm obsessed with and love shooting photos of. If that's a project, we sure create at a crazy pace. I’m also very close to opening a boutique in Portland that should be going by August. It's called Maripoll. It's going to eat a lot of my time but should be a fun adventure.

    Are you opening Maripoll alone? What's the story behind the boutique?

    I’ve recruited a good friend of mine who's more fashion savvy than myself to team up with me. So [I won’t be] starting this store all by myself. I also have a lot of good friends that are helping out in small ways. No real story... just excited to put energy into building something for myself.

    To find out more about Chase Hart / My Friday Films:

    Follow his muse/ queen-babe:


    NSFW // Experiencing Pornceptual in Berlin

    Last week, my friends and I attended a party put on by Pornceptual at the Berlin club, About Blank. We expected a sex party, but soon realized it was much more. The formerly illegal, multi-room club in Friedrichshain transformed into the most fascinating erotic performance art party that I’ve ever attended.

    Photo credit: Andrea Galad

    Thump stated the vibe perfectly in a recent interview with the people behind the project/party series:

    “The project has a socio-political mission that many parties of this sort lack: challenging the mainstream porn industry's misogyny, exploitive treatment of its workers, and fetishistic views on race and sexuality by creating an alternative model based on inclusivity and queerness.”

    Founded in May 2012 by Brazil-born artist Chris Phillips, Pornceptual is an art project that aims to “de-contextualize pornography in its usual sense and show that an explicit sexual content can be considered art.” It began solely as an online gallery for erotic art, but has evolved into a platform for people to express sexually in a creative way. Pornceptual is proof that pornography can be respectful, intimate and artistic, while questioning usual pornographic labels.

    “We believe that art (and sex) should be an open experience. This is also a way of creating new possibilities of representation of the human body. The usual body representations in commercial pornography or even in most works described as ‘erotic art’ are very limited. So here is an alternative for commercial porn, a product that is not only completely monotonous and predictable, but also sexist and plastic.”


    The project still holds onto its artistically-driven conceptual framework. Phillips works with his team:

    • Chris & Raquel: Partners & Organizers 
    • Kasper Burghout: Online Shop & Partnerships Coordinator
    • Pierre Emo: Performance & Content Curator
    • Justus Karl: Performance Curator
    • Eric Phillips: Magazine & Content
    • Diego Garcia aka Projekt Gestalten, Curses & Jamaica Suk: Resident DJs

    Guests are often photographed and filmed at the party consensually, in sectioned-off, private spaces. These images are shared on Pornceptual's website or made into actual pornographic movies via partnerships with sites like


    Fedato told THUMP, “It's very important to say that it's not a usual sex party, because we are promoting a link between sex and the art world, and this is not normal in a sex party.”

    Thursday’s event was described to be a part of a “a new series of events that merges performance art and queer pornography. In a night staged as an initiation rite, Pornceptual will exhibit a roundelay of performative erotic art, including the work of various Berlin-based artists and guests.”

    We stayed late: dancing in the smaller enclosed area, watching erotic performers and keeping a prolonged gaze with other intrigued party attendees. The dress code was open and not very intimidating. I saw people in casual wear and others without anything at all. There was less emphasis on a theme for dress this time around. I opted for something new: nipple tassels. The air was full of acceptance, despite the lack of personal space that is sometimes required between strangers.

    The garden of the club opened up much later into the night because of the stormy weather, which gave us a break into fresh air. We had nearly been suffocated by the amount of heat and sweat the club held. Finally, I watched a man bathe in milk as we made our exit. Upon leaving, all I could consider was how the next party would turn out. What made for a harmless and innocent introduction, sans casual sex and heavy petting, evolved into the possibility of a new introspective era. That’s more than I could ask for from any party.

    More on Pornceptual:

    Upcoming events:


    Official Closing Party of Berlin Pride 2017

    PORN by Pornceptual: 4th Year Anniversary | Berlin


    Portland Featured: Laurs Kemp

    Portland Featured: Laurs Kemp

    Photo credit: Laurs Kemp


    Laurs Kemp is an up and coming Portland-based designer, creating the most flattering basics, dreamy one-offs, all inspired by cinema and the female gaze. We got a chance to ask her about her artistic process, her perception of fashion, the local landscape, body positivity and so many things in between.


    How did you start your business?

    After studying fashion merchandising at college and working several basic retail jobs, I continuously made one-off pieces made mostly of vintage materials and sold them online. I finally decided to take a leap and try to design full-time. I worked out of my home at first and relied mainly on Instagram and Etsy. Katie Freedle of the Portland shop Backtalk asked if I wanted to be the designer-in-residence at her shop for a year and that helped me tremendously to develop my line and get the word out. Now, I have a studio space and sell mostly through my website, Garmentory, local pop-ups and a few select shops. I still feel like a newbie in many ways though. I'm constantly learning.


    Many of the forms in your apparel are incredibly complimentary to all body types. How did you hone in this?

    There's just something effortless about "loungewear" pieces that I've always gravitated toward. Every body shape looks gorgeous in a kimono-style jacket or oversized shirt, plus you're secretly comfortable! I pretty much want to dress everyone like they're on their way to a Soho art opening in 1979!

    Photo credit: Aaron Levy


    Can you elaborate on your "Rohmer Series"? Where were you when you created the first garment? How has the series been received? What has it inspired? Etc.

    The Rohmer series allows me to combine my love of repurposing vintage, embroidery, and film - specifically the films of the French director, Eric Rohmer. Each embroidered "pose" from the series is inspired from a still of an Eric Rohmer film. He is one of my favorite directors and one of my go-to inspirations for my entire line! I started by posting a few vintage silk blouses with these embroidered poses on Instagram several months ago, and I am so thrilled at the positive response I've received! It even lead to a collaboration with Goodwin, an online concept shop comprised entirely of exclusive pieces by independent designers.

    Photo credit: Laurs Kemp


    What do you think of specifically when you imagine the "female gaze"?

    In a nutshell, everything since time immemorial has been filtered through the the Patriarchy and Male Gaze, without much thought for anyone other than straight white men. I'm not sure if the "Female Gaze" is an academic term, but I like to use it as shorthand for how I seek out inspiration, collaborate, design and generally interact with the world. For me, it's the idea of women re-appropriating and celebrating their ideas, endeavors, bodies, and sexuality on their own terms, independent of preconstructed Patriarchal norms. (Phew!)

    Photo credit: Alexis Paschal


    What are the struggles and advantages of being a female business owner?

    Of course, I experience some of the same stigmas as any woman (regarding healthcare and so on) as well as categorically unfair privileges in other areas, so I will say overall I am beyond lucky that I have found being a female business owner to be my absolute pleasure. The community of Portland and the online community by and large have been so encouraging and inspiring. Because of all those that have gone before me and paved the way, I have for the most part been able to receive nothing by support and friendship. I hope I can give some of that back to others who are just starting out.

    Photo credit: Laurs Kemp


    What do you expect from the future of Portland's fashion scene?

    Portland's fashion scene has such a rare atmosphere of collaboration and encouragement. It is becoming more diverse, high-concept and sustainable all the time! I simply hope for more! More makers, more shops, more events!


    What are you most inspired by right now, specifically?

    Right now, I'm really into still life paintings by Dutch masters, blurry amateur photograph, monochromatic outfits, artists in their studios, and Geoffrey Beene. And about a hundred movies. The best way to see what I'm watching is to follow my Mubi account, where I archive and rate everything I watch, or my personal film journal on Instagram, @_staircasewit.

    Photo credit: Christopher Garcia Valle


    How do you balance professional and personal life?

    I always plan on setting aside "work hours" like a proper grown-up, but I find myself somewhere between listening to tons of podcasts at the studio and watching movies while I answer emails at home. A bit of work and a bit of play at the same time all day long. I'm sure I will have to buckle down and make schedules down the road but right now I am trying to give myself plenty of time off - especially during those rare sunny days in Portland. Basically, I'm a bad Capitalist. I'm fine with my business progressing at a glacial pace. I'm very happy where I am.


    What is your process in creating new work?

    I'm mostly motivated to create new work not by the traditional fashion calendar, but by collaborating on a project with another local artist, maker, or model. We'll plan a concept for a photoshoot, video or runway show and I'll make a few new pieces in respect to that concept or medium. Then, I will make a small batch of that new style and sell it until the fabric simply runs out. Films are my main source of inspiration as well. I try to watch at least one film per day.

    Photo credit: Alexis Paschal
    Photo credit: Laurs Kemp


    Top five films right now?

    Always a tricky questions because it changes constantly, but here are the five films I would choose right now if I were curating a film series where the only theme is that I want the world to appreciate these hidden gems as much as I do.


    1) Chameleon Street (1989) by Wendell B. Harris, Jr.

    2) Variety (1983) by Bette Gordon

    3) Sherman's March (1986) by Ross McElwee

    4) Night Moves (1975) by Arthur Penn

    5) Design for Living (1933) by Ernst Lubitsch

    Can you talk about your most recent collaborations with local artists, makers, and/or models?

    One of my goals this year was to do a lot more photoshoots. I'm trying to break away from the idea that I have to do photoshoots in this traditionally professional way with a brand new collection. I think being an "amateur" is a highly underrated concept. I want to be an amateur as long as possible and just meet up with people I admire and make something with them!

    For one of the shoots, I asked performance artist/dancer Allie Hankins to wear some of my clothing while performing some improvisational pieces in the Rose Test Garden and in her studio while I took a stab at photography and videography alongside Jessica Clemens, another local photographer/stylist I admire. I love seeing how the same clothes can look completely different with you have a different model, photographer and concept! Plus the shoot itself is always so fun and inspiring!

    Photo credit: Laurs Kemp


    Find more information about Laurs Kemp and her incredible work here: