David Lawson’s solo show, VCR Love, had a limited engagement recently at The Brick Theater. Bold and innovative, this show explored the consequences, both positive and negative, of the increasing availability of porn in American society as seen through his own experiences.
The story begins with Lawson’s first “exposure” to explicit nudity at the impressionable age of 11 (a quick calculation based on context would put the year at 1995) when Lawson saw his first pair of naked female breasts which made an appearance in the seminal classic Animal House. The mental sensations of this discovery along with the struggle to replicate this initial thrill move him through the next few years of his life from stolen Victoria’s Secret catalogs to taping the “good parts” of MTV like Fiona Apple and Mariah Carey in there slinky skimpies. “It meant more because of the time I spent waiting for those precious moments on tv, and it would now be preserved forever”. VCR love, indeed.
Lawson follows this up with the exploits he and his friends, Ben and Keith, went on at the age of 14 in search of the forbidden. From stealing naked yoga videos, to waiting a few hours for their 56.6 k modem to download a 2 minute video on Ben’s parents computer, to calling as many random 1-800 sex lines they could think of and listening before the charges would kick in. Did this ruin them or did it lead them to appreciate things more in a simpler time? Because of the investment and the camaraderie of the shared experience something was present then that isn’t as common with porn in this day and age.
Lawson argues for and against the benefits of the modern ease of finding outlets for titillation by pointing at the diversity needed in order to stand out in a saturated marketplace. It is this which has led to the rise of any imaginable niche through a few carefully crafted keywords at your favorite porn watering hole. Be it ‘furry’, ‘she-male’ or ‘french threesomes’ the personalization of your predilection offers an ease and even the oddly solipsistic connection that being able to reach out anonymously can be.
For the uninitiated Lawson delves into the world of online porn with stories such as his friend’s “double reverse role-play” with his own sister as they meet in a chat room, each thinking the other is the opposite sex of what they actually are. He includes anecdotes of viewing the masturbatory habits of strangers that is prevalent on a new social video network known as Chatroulette and other even more “interesting” sites.
In the end he advocates that all this is good, pointing to the benefits of becoming a better lover through being able to express more creativity by being truly open about what is most private with his new girlfriend - who also has an interest in porn. He relates a touching story of how he found out she liked porn – he said she looked just like Sasha Grey (a famous adult film actress) and she said,”That’s the nicest thing anyone’s ever told me.” That she not only knew the name but also that she found it a complement was what opened a special time of sharing between the two of them.
Now they can talk about different things they’ve seen or would like to try. Lawson sees this as a way we all could benefit from this modern anonymous catalogue of human sexuality that is available right in our own homes. By using these tools we could all become better, more capable lovers, engaging in more educated and interesting conversations about sex. We would not have to be as afraid to talk about these issues in mixed company and not have these barriers that are so strong between the sexes when it comes to … well … sex.
All in all, VCR Love is a good night of comedy. It takes you from the past to the present with a lot of good storytelling. Great for a one man comedy night (even moreso than perhaps a theatrical piece).
Since 2/3rds of the audience were women on the night I attended, I’d say Lawson’s prediction of internet porn creating more transparency and more exploration may already be coming to pass. So go ahead and do your part to help make the world a better place and bring your mixed company to the next production of VCR Love on March 23rd at the Lounge at Dixon Place or perhaps David’s next play Turning Atomic Tricks playing at the Parkside Lounge (March 10) and at Simplestudios (March 11). Find out more information from his personal web site at dtlawson.com,
~~~Next showing of VCR Love March 23rd The Lounge at Dixon Place 161A Chrystie Street (between Rivington and Delancey) NYC Click Here to see calendar and find out more.