Lust Duster 

Keeping lesbian sex hot

WED 1/19

You are a woman. You love another woman. And when you met, the sex was intoxicating. At work, you daydreamed about her strong arms, the weight of her breasts in your hands, the little tattoo at the base of her spine. At home, you went at each other like yowling cats. But time passed. Things changed. Now, most nights, the most erotic thing you share is a pint of Chocolate Fudge Brownie in front of Home and Garden TV. Well, you had a good run. But it couldn't have lasted. That's just the way relationships evolve. Right? Wrong, wrong, absolutely wrong, says writer and sex educator Felice Newman. "The idea that long-term relationships and sex are mutually exclusive categories -- I don't buy it," she says. As for the cliché about lesbian couples losing sexual desire, she growls: "It's my goal to bust that one in my lifetime." Partnered sex, she insists, can be intimate and intense, whether you have one partner or many. She'll explain how when she appears tonight (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. at Berkeley's Change Makers Books & Gifts for Women (6536 Telegraph Ave., 510-655-2405), at an event titled Lesbian Sex: Keeping It Hot for the Long Haul.

San Francisco's Cleis Press has just released the second edition of Newman's popular Whole Lesbian Sex Book, and among the new goodies is a chapter about creating durable, satisfying, sexual partnerships. Newman surveyed hundreds of queer women and found that those with happy sex lives had one thing in common: "It doesn't matter if you're kinky or vanilla or super-experienced or in your first experience with women, penetrative or nonpenetrative, butch or femme or androgynous," she says. "What really matters is deciding that having a great sex life is a priority." And for partners who've lost the spark, Newman is here to put it back. "Some lesbian couples do stop having sex," she says, "so I want to help them get back on it -- or on each other, as it were." -- Chris Ulbrich

1/20-1/24

Lit Happens

Fox-y advice

Hot sax in the Balkans inflames The Sound of Blue, the latest by San Francisco novelist and screenwriter Holly Payne, in which music brings together a couple in crisis. Ponder love and war with Payne at Orinda Books (Thu., 4 p.m.). ... Forced conversions to Christianity, repressive priests: It's all part of The Secret History of the Witches, along with contraceptive magic and the other good stuff. Author Max Dashu, founder of the Suppressed Histories Archives, riffs on the craft at Belladonna. Tickets $8-$20 (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... It's local; it's literary: It's a publication party at Diesel celebrating Her Voice Is Blackberries, the new poetry volume by Joan Marie Wood, founder and director of the Temescal Writers workshop community (Thu., 7:30 p.m.). ... Growing up in a crowded world isn't easy. Annie Fox, author of the teen books Can You Relate? and Too Stressed to Think?, shares tips on whom to trust and how to talk and what to say at Pittsburg Library. The first forty patrons will receive a free Fox book (Fri., 4 p.m.). ... He didn't have his sea legs when he signed on to join a fishing crew destined to sail straight into a hurricane. But travel writer Redmond O'Hanlon lived to tell the tale in Trawler. Hear him spin fish tales at Cody's Telegraph (Sat., 7:30 p.m.). ... From pennywhistles to urinal cakes, experimental poet Ron Silliman, author of Xing and Tjanting, has much to ponder at Moe's (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... He said so much more than that thing about "four score": Abraham Lincoln comes alive again through his own speeches, captured in context by Ronald C. White in The Eloquent President. White is at Black Oak (Mon., 7:30 p.m.). ... In The Rocketreview Revolution, Adam Robinson uses artificial intelligence and offers customized suggestions on improving your SAT scores, including the most advanced SAT-taking techniques ever created. Get a boost from The Princeton Review cofounder Robinson at Barnes & Noble Antioch (Mon., 7 p.m.). -- Anneli Rufus

Fri 1/21

House Music

This is hardly an original thought, but here goes: Heaven bless electronics. As anyone who has played in a band can attest, the more members you have to share your musical house with, the harder it is to throw a party. But with electronics, well -- all you need is two people with a genuine connection to make a big, collaborative sound. Back in their Alameda High days, Matt Payne and Peter Lim played together in a band called Formerly Bridgeway, which became the flagship for the art collective (R)evolutionary (Id)entity. Now the pair go it alone, together, as the madcap electronic pop duo Tensegrity Nine. Payne wields keyboards, bass, and a bottomless bag of electronics while guitarist Lim handles fervent, rapping vocal duties. They perform at the Oakland Metro Friday with Mandrake, which doesn't rely on electronics to make its barn-raising punk-folk sound -- frontman Liam Carey's impassioned wail helps its musical house catch fire. OaklandMetro.org, 510-763-1146. -- Stefanie Kalem

Sat 1/22

For Reelz

Open your eyes to the music

"Cinematic" is one of those words that gets tossed around music reviews like a dead hand grenade. (See Rob Harvilla's January 5 Down in Front for a more in-depth exploration of this.) True, the absence of lyrics in instrumental music forces listeners to use their imaginations more, the way an old broadcast of The Shadow might affect an avid TV watcher -- just close your eyes, kiddies, and imaginate! But Reel Change takes the appellation to a higher level than that of lazy labeling; the band features artfully out-there filmmaker David Michalak on lap steel and percussion and, during Open in Total Darkness, the CD release party for the album of the same name, the quintet -- plus special guest Kyle Bruckman on oboe and English horn -- will perform live to such brief, visually stunning Michalak works as 1999's When the Spirit Moves (right). The show starts at 8 p.m., cover is $6-$10 (sliding scale), and 21 Grand is at 449B 23rd St., Oakland, for the time being, anyway. 21Grand.org, 510-444-7263. -- Stefanie Kalem

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