La Traviata means “the fallen woman”

Remember that scene in Pretty Woman where a glorious, red-gowned, bejeweled-necked escort, Vivian, is so moved by her first opera that she bursts out in tears and an applauding fit? Well, appropriately enough, that opera was La Traviata, aka The Fallen Woman, aka The Woman Who Goes Astray. Its central character, Violetta, is a courtesan who falls in love with a wealthy man. Score five for director Gary Marshall. Good job, buddy. Continue reading

Uranian sex and spirituality

In the late XIX and early XX century, a spiritual and philosophical movement was sweeping Europe in a fascinating way. Citing centuries of poetry, art, law and philosophy, scores of theorists and politicians were coming to many conclusions around a central theme: sexuality is transient, varying and sometimes temporary, and labeling sexuality and gender traits is often an inaccurate practice. This idea was dubbed the term Uranian. Continue reading

Oliver Twist’s friend Nancy

Many of us know the story of Oliver Twist, though far lesser of us have actually read Dickens’ classic book. A famous Broadway musical, several children’s books, multiple film adaptations and even cartoon variations have abounded in the 150 years since it was first published. While the main story lines each version—a poor orphaned boy gets into trouble with some criminals but eventually finds a good home—there is something dramatically missing in all of them that was a strong statement in Dickens’ original: Oliver’s friend Nancy was a prostitute. Continue reading

Escorts on the screen

I think we’re always responsible for our actions. We’re free. I raise my hand—I’m responsible. I turn my head to the right—I’m responsible. I’m unhappy—I’m responsible. I smoke a cigarette—I’m responsible. I shut my eyes—I’m responsible. I forget that I’m responsible, but I am… Men are men. And life… is life.
—Nana in Vivre Sa Vie Continue reading