“Somebody just f-ck me already!” demands Chris Kammler.
Behind sassy black-rimmed glasses, she stares out into the crowd at the Octopus Literary Salon in Downtown Oakland, her pixie-cut silver hair glistening in the light. Kammler could easily pass as the mother of any audience member here in their twenties, but there’s no awkward giggling or uncomfortable shifting in the crowd. Rather, the room stays attentive as the open mic reader continues to detail a very explicit scene.
It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month, which means the bookstore's stage is devoted to Dirty Old Women.
After Kammler, host Susan Kuchinskas takes to the mic in a maroon dress, yellow tights and red cowboy boots to introduce the next reader. The evening's stories ultimately includes everything from an American sex worker’s search for her own woman-for-hire in Bangkok to a steamy account of an otherwise shy woman’s first time being tied up — a la Fifty Shades of Grey. The crowd of nearly 50 people packed into the venue is stimulated the entire time.
Kuchinskas, 67, who writes erotica under the pseudonym Lynx Canon, started the monthly reading series nearly two years ago as a place for “women of experience” to read original erotica. At the time, Kuchinskas was just starting a memoir recounting her own wildly diverse sex life: she grew up in a family with little sense of intimacy, enjoyed free love as a hippie in college, spent 10 years as a lesbian feminist and experienced stints in sex work and go-go dancing. (The memoir will be published this spring.) Then, she met a woman in her seventies who had also written an autobiographical account of her sexcapades, and realized that there were probably more women their age writing unabashedly about sex.