On this hot and hazy Monday afternoon, you can already see the beginnings of something big. Artists and workers filter in and out of spaces in Sahara Commercial Center’s New Orleans Square. They’re painting walls and planning installations in preparation for the three-day 12” of Sin VI erotic art festival.
Six times larger than in years past, the nearly-30,000-square-foot, two-story retail space will be transformed into an immersive playground for the adventurous. It was previously held inside the Arts Factory, and the new location offers room for a dizzying array of art, entertainment and educational workshops. Organizer, sexologist and Sin City Gallery owner Dr. Laura Henkel has designed the festival to be art-centric, with more than 100 artists from multiple countries set to participate. Guests are invited to contribute to the vibe by dressing to “let their sexy selves shine bright.”
“What’s so great is that [the growth] has been so organic,” Henkel says. “The landlord is very supportive of the arts. He wanted to see more arts happening here, and he donated the space.”
Five days out, local latex master Chris Bauder has set up an eerie three-room exhibit in one of the retail spaces. He’s still finalizing his layout, but the effect is already striking. In the front room, the artist has constructed a sculpture that appears to belong in a bizarro-world sex shop. Glitter pills, bone-colored shapes and a red neon sign are on display behind glass, an ode to consumer culture.
Down the hall, artist Nancy Good has just finished hanging lush fabrics in a section of her multi-room space. “It’s all part of the experience, almost like performance art, finding ways to magically transform the space,” says Good, who is curating a show of four female artists, titled Provocafemme.
In one interactive piece, Good will invite viewers to write what they like about themselves on a female mannequin, intended to counter rampant negative self-talk. For now, though, the form is blank.
Later, Good will hang a collection of miniature paintings by collaborator Kim Johnson. “They’re all teeny, tiny portraits of nipples,” Good says. She admires one framed piece that’s about the size of a silver dollar. “I’d like to wear this as a lapel pin,” she jokes.
In addition to the art, festival workshops will teach kink etiquette, the nudist life, Shibari (Japanese rope bandage) and what it takes to be a male dominatrix. Aspiring politicians shouldn’t miss Dick Pic 101, taught by Ambrosia Minge.
Evening events are all about live entertainment, with jazz dominating Friday night. On Saturday, the lineup includes a burlesque variety show plus local band Tippy Elvis, a self-described “carnival of crazy.”
Proceeds will benefit local non-profit organization Sin Sity Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and the Sisters AIDS Drug Assistance Program.
12” of Sin VI July 21-23, hours vary, $20/weekend pass. 900 Karen St., 12ofsin.com.