June 1, 2010
I was sitting in my hotel room watching TV after a long day on the road. It is the only time I watch TV and like a good addict I watch it till it hurts! I know I need to go to sleep to get up for a flight or a performance but I can't seem to turn it off!
So it was 4 am. I was still cruising the channels when I came across this naked woman answering questions about sex. She was doing what I always dreamed of, except she was naked. She was a porn star, but that's no excuse.
People were texting, emailing and sending IMs, and she was giving answers. There was an off camera research person feeding her said answers, and some answers were incomplete or plain inaccurate. Such as a question about anal intercourse being generally unsafe, even protected. Huh!!!
Anyway, I was inspired and I set up my performance the next day just like this talk show. Since it was on the fly all I had was my cell phone, so the audience could only text me their questions. It was a big hit! I got over 500 texts!
I didn't need anyone to feed me answers because I have 20 years of teaching, plus a B.A. in Health Education under my skirt. Having lots of personal know-how didn't hurt either. (They used to call it being a slut -- little did I know one day I would call it research!) Oh, and then there is all that skill in the Dungeon as a Dominatrix -- as well as my foray into the world of pay-to-play sex, a.k.a. being a Hooker. It adds up to a Ph.D. in sex! There was little I did not know, and having modern technology at my fingertips got me any answers fast from my laptop. I have to admit I had no idea what an Icy Mike was!
When I heard Oprah Winfrey and Mark Burnett, the producer of Survivor, were casting for a reality show for Oprah's new network, OWN, I immediately whipped up a tape to enter. After working feverishly on the tape for 24 hours straight, I lost sight of myself and started to think, "What are they looking for?"
It seems that my view on sex education crosses some secret boundary. Both videos answering questions about sex that I posted online have been banned from YouTube. I tend to offend people with what I think is an open and honest style. With the desire to win in mind I made a conservative and boring tape and sent it in. I apologized to friends for making them watch it.
People were supportive but my closest friends said it did not represent my personality or style. So I did a second one that was more engaging and humorous and did not sanitize my message, but hopefully is palatable. At least they posted it.
I think it would be fantastic having an openly HIV-positive woman as a regular on mainstream TV. When was the last time we saw that? It is another way to keep the conversation about AIDS ongoing and upfront. Chances are pretty slim that I will win because I am so behind in the voting, and getting the most votes only gets me the opportunity to compete on a reality show for the coveted daytime slot. But nothing changes if nothing changes, so it is worth the shot!
You know how when you were a kid some of you playacted at things you dreamed of being when you grew up? Since I was little I've had an ongoing conversation with Johnny Carson. I have the commercial breaks down pat. I was made for this job! Move over Sue Johansson and naked porn lady: Heeeeeere's River!
Vote now for River in the Your OWN Show contest -- let's make our girl's dreams come true! You can vote as many times as you want, and if you are feeling feisty, leave her a comment!