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Tristan Taormino to return to UNCG

Published: Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Updated: Monday, January 18, 2010 09:01

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A benefit party planned by Tristan Taormino’s supporters will fund the now well-known sex lecturer’s return to UNCG later this month.

John Russell, The Carolinian’s Arts & Entertainment editor, and Jen Broome, a UNCG alumnus, have organized a party at the Phases bar on Tate Street to raise money for Taormino’s return. The party, open to all ages and free of cost, will accept donations at the door and include sex toy raffles and a student auction. No final date has yet been set for the lecture.

Taormino, an author and sex columnist, last spoke at UNCG Feb. 11. Her appearance was criticized by the chancellor and some students after conservative columnist and UNCW professor Mike Adams wrote a column lambasting the university for hosting a “porn star.” While Taormino has directed and appeared in two porn films, she has said that represents a very small part of her career.

Indeed, Taormino was well known for her column in the Village Voice and her books on sex and sexuality before she entered the porn industry. When she returns to UNCG, she plans to give a lecture on why she decided to do sex films after a successful career in other venues.

“This is a woman who has money, a career, and education. Why do pornography?” said Joe Killian, The Carolinian’s editor-in-chief. “Most people think of porn stars as prostitutes or on drugs, but this is a woman who is the exact opposite of that paradigm.” Russell and Broome credit Killian with the idea of bringing Taormino back to campus.

“I think people want to hear what she has to say,” said Russell. “Pornography is an area of culture that is rarely explored. It has a lot to say about who we are as a culture as well as sexually.”

Russell said many students approached him after the controversy asking why Taormino’s talk hadn’t been better publicized. This time, he said, her visit will be no secret.

“The unfortunate thing about the first visit was how poorly publicized it was,” he said.

To hear many talk, especially some UNCG College Republicans, that was the best thing about Taormino’s lecture. Many protested Taormino’s mere presence on campus, and some called her a “whore” who was “unqualified” to give a lecture on sex.

John Rouse, a member of the College Republicans and Student Government delegate at large, said, “I don’t care if she comes back to campus. I wouldn’t invite her back myself, but she’s free as a citizen of this country to talk whenever she wants.”

Rouse added that “some of the stuff she talks about is vulgar and indecent.” When asked for specifics, he said, “It’s nothing articulate or coherent; I just don’t like the woman. It’s a personal repulsion, not some ideological overarching thing.”

The party starts at 8:00 p.m. this Saturday at Phases, which is next to New York Pizza. Taormino’s speech, which will be sponsored by the Carolinian, will happen April 20 or 21. Check the Carolinian for full coverage.

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