Talking Dirty

Erotic Poetry Jam Reaches Climax with 8th Year in Montreal

A performer at the 2011 Aural Sex event steaming it up onstage. Photos Waid Hins

While other muscles such as the gluteus maximus or the heart may be more realistic candidates for the title of  “Mightiest Muscle,” the tongue has a distinct advantage, as it can do one thing the other muscles cannot—it can gossip about the other parts of the body.

At this month’s spoken word event the Art of Performing Aural Sex, the tongues of many a Montreal poet will be doing just that, in writhing, vivid, sensual detail.

On Feb. 9, Le Cabaret du Mile End will host what will be the eighth edition of the event. The brainchild of Concordia graduate Kym Dominique-Ferguson and his production company, Madpoetix, APASX is a pre-Valentine’s Day evening of erotic spoken word poetry, story-telling and movement dance performance.

“We want people to experience erotica on a different level,” said Dominique-Ferguson.

The event is meant to shed light on a topic often left obscured in the shadows—the many folds and facets of intimacy and sexuality. APASX explores it all, from the everyday erotic to the strange, offbeat and intriguing. It celebrates, reveals and discusses the invisible world of sex and erotica that all too often remain firmly hidden in private fantasy.

“No matter how much we say Montreal is an erotic city, it’s still pretty conservative,” said Dominique-Ferguson. “We want to break that taboo; we want people to enjoy other people expressing their sexuality.”

An established Spoken Word poet who competed in last year’s Canadian Festival of Spoken Word, Dominique-Ferguson originally put on APASX with Montreal’s Caribbean community in mind back in 2007.

“I was about to graduate [from Concordia], […] I was in the film program. I didn’t see myself going into film,” he said. “I’ve always been an entertainer in some way, shape or form. I said to myself, ‘What can I do to make an impact on Montreal using all my different art forms?’” he continued.

“I did three years of theatre in Jamaica and six years of cinema in Montreal and I’ve been doing poetry almost all my life. I wanted to combine the three and have people experience that on an artistic level.”

The idea was to set up an event that combines fun with deconstructing social barriers.

“We look at sexuality as something very taboo, as the black [Caribbean] community is traditionally Christian,” said Dominique-Ferguson. “We wanted to break that mold a bit.”

But the event has grown in both diversity and size over the years, drawing people of all kinds to the sexy spectacle.

“We’re feeling an acceptance from the outside community,” said Kym. “When we first started going this show, there were more black people, more Caribbean people. Now we’re finding instead of an 80-20 [ratio of black to other ethnicities] it’s more 60-40; there are a lot more people from the Asian community, white community and the francophone community.”

The event looks to make an impact that is “different from everyone else in terms of the poetry world.” This drive for diversity could be, in part, what keeps the show moving forward.

“The goal is […] to entertain people, to bring an erotic poetry back to Montreal,” said Kym. “Every year we have to bring it back, and to do that we have to switch it up because we have a lot of people that come regularly.

“So we can’t just give the exact same thing every time,” he continued. “We bring in dancers, poets. We switch up the poets every time, there’s music incorporated into it. Our goal is to bring in a larger audience.”

Setting the right mood plays a big role, too.

“We have a DJ that plays…the right kind of music,” said Kym.

“What we want to do is create an ambiance of warmth, to get people in the mood. […] There might be some singles, some people that are not. A lot of ladies get together and come, and a few couples.”

Ultimately, as Dominique-Ferguson explains, “The purpose of the event is to have a good time. We believe that it’s an entertainment product that can be enjoyed by everyone, no matter your ethnicity, background or gender.”

The act is divided into two parts, with the first concentrated on the romantic side, and things get down and dirty in the second half. However, Dominique-Ferguson noted that people tend to leave halfway through, perhaps spurred by the night’s topics.

“I suspect they leave because they want to…” Dominique-Ferguson says with a suggestive hand gesture.

The Art of Performing Aural Sex // Feb. 9 // Le Cabaret du Mile End (5240 Park Ave.) // 6 p.m. // $20 to $25 + fees advance, $30 doo