The Art Of Love

Two Edgy Women Bring Marriage Project to Montreal

“We’re trying to imagine ways that might open people’s minds and hearts.

We’re proposing poetic and metaphoric ways of thinking about the problems that humans are facing right now. There are so many different ways to heal our Earth and…wait, is someone peeing?”

There’s a pause on the line.

“They don’t call me Sprinkle for nothing, honey.”

Landing the interview with former-porn-star-turned-Ph.D Annie Sprinkle and her “dyke professor and playboy” partner Elizabeth Stephens is certainly unlike any conference call I’ve made to date—and if the content of the conversation is any indication of what to expect from their headlining performance at this year’s Edgy Women Festival, you may just pee yourself from excitement.

I’m told it’s no small miracle to have the two San Francisco-based radical sex performers and academics on the line at the same time and what starts as a cold-call turns very warm, very fast.

“We love you,” they giggle, immediately inviting me to their 7th art-performance marriage ceremony in Ottawa, where they plan to wed the snow.

“Love is so powerful,” says Stephens. “We’re always interested in exploring that complexity, you know? We’re not just new age, woo-woo healers here.”

“But nothing against them!” Sprinkle interjects.

“Oh no! We love the woo-woo, too,” Stephens laughs. “But our work is not too, too woo-woo.
“Woo-woo with an edge, maybe.”

Sprinkle and Stephens have travelled the world since 2005, promoting their marriage project “Seven Years of Love as Art.” Each annual queer wedding distinctly incorporates colours and themes from the seven Hindu Chakras, and each feature elaborate costumes, performance work and special guests. They have already married the moon, the mountains and the sea.

The project started as a response to violence, war and the anti gay marriage movement in the States, but has evolved to currently include elements of environmentalism and the founding of what they call “ecosexuality.”
“We’re trying to reclaim love from Hallmark,” explains Stephens. “What I’ve learned [from these weddings] is that people really need a public space to gather and celebrate whoever they are and whatever they love […] so they can envision different realities.”

As self-proclaimed lovers with the Earth, Sprinkle and Stephens say they are attempting to change the metaphor from “Earth as Mother” to “Earth as Lover”—a distinction they believe could revolutionize how we interact, and nurture our deteriorating planet.

“When we started out this work, it was about being in love with each other, but from that it’s grown into a love of the mountains, the sky, the moon. It just keeps growing,” explains Sprinkle. “Love can grow to universal proportions! […] By the end of our talk, most people will probably come out as ecosexual, or at least ecosensual.”

Vowing to love, honour and cherish the Earth until death ­­do they part, Sprinkle and Stephens plan on going headlong into the field of sex ecology after the final wedding.

“We really feel like the environmental issues are what we want to deal with for the rest of our lives,” says Stephens. “We’re really marrying those.”

‘We’re not just new age, woo-woo healers here.’
—Elizabeth Stephens
Interdisciplinary Artist

Taking place in the 800-seat SAW Gallery in Ottawa, the last wedding of their seven-year project will take place on March 26.

If you want to catch the pair in Montreal prior to the nuptials, they are performing “The Adventures of the Love Art Lab” on March 19 at the Sala Rossa and hosting a Sidewalk Sex Clinic open to the public at La Centrale on March 21.

“The beauty of sex is that you can always learn more,” says Stephens. “[These projects] are ways of opening up space for certain things that aren’t ordinarily discussed in public.”

Suddenly, something fluid happens on the other end of the phone.

“My girlfriend is totally turning me on with all these liquid noises,” says Stephens, inattentive to my last question. “There’s an experimental water piece on the other line. We should run.”

The Ecosexual Wedding of Elizabeth Stephens, Annie Sprinkle and YOU to the Snow / SAW Gallery / 67 Nicholas St., Ottawa / March 26 / 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. / Attendees are asked to dress in white