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Diary #459

Though my Bay Area screening was a success, several things definitely did not go smoothly.  The screening audience was very engaged and I was joined in a Q&A afterward by veteran activist Kristen DiAngelo (American Courtesans); before the show I also recorded a podcast interview for my hosts, the Prostasia Foundation.  The next day I met one of my regular readers for a coffee date, then had a lovely overnight with one of my favorite gentlemen.  Also, the problem with my fundraiser was resolved, so at least I didn’t have to use personal money to pay my hotel and all (if you’d like to help me in future travels, please donate).  Those are the parts that went well; it was all the nonhuman factors which gave me trouble!  As regular readers know, I fly for free thanks to Ghost Rider, but that means flying standby and sometimes getting bumped to steerage, and if things are really overbooked it can mean getting bumped off of a flight entirely.  Well, last Monday I flew first class to LAX, but it looked like I was going to be bumped off of my flight to SFO until the very last minute (when they managed to get me onto the flight, apparently due to someone else’s missed connection).  At the screening Tuesday, we had some kind of glitch wherein the sound got about a second out of synch with the picture and the projectionist apparently could not resolve it; the theater made up to us by refunding part of our fees, and if you were in the audience and felt distracted, we will give you a free download (just email me for details).  Then on Wednesday afternoon, Ghost Rider (who keeps an eye on flight loads when he knows I’ll be traveling) let me know that it didn’t look good for the next day; we decided the best bet was for me to try to follow through with my original itinerary, but to understand it might not work out.  That turned out to be an understatement; by the time I got to the airport, my standby position for the flight had dropped from one to nine, on an already-overbooked plane.  Consulting with the gate agent revealed that, partly due to spring break traffic and partly to the genius who decided to repair a runway during the day (thus resulting in dozens of cancelled flights), there was no way to get a seat out of San Francisco for love or money.  Every flight on every airline out of SFO, San Jose, Oakland and Sacramento, flying to Seattle, Portland and even Everett (on Alaska Air) through every hub in the US was overbooked for both Thursday and Friday.  But I was in a good mood and mentally prepared for the eventuality; Priceline gave me a one-way car rental, SFO to Seattle, for only $130; I booked it, drove out of the parking garage about 2 pm, and I pulled into my driveway in Seattle at 12:45 (that included two refueling stops).  Definitely not an ideal situation, but in the days before I learned how to control my vertigo I did a lot of long-distance driving; the worst part about it was losing a whole day of writing time.  And it takes more than stupid bureacrats & drunk students to stop me from getting where I need to go!

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If you’ve been following me for a while, you may have noticed I don’t actually tour the way many escorts do; I just don’t like traveling to strange cities and sitting around in hotels hoping for business.  So unless you’re willing to spring for a long enough session to justify a special trip (at least as long as round-trip travel time, which basically means an overnight for much of the US), you would generally have to wait until you’re coming to Seattle or I’m coming to your city.  Well, in a few weeks there will be a situation kind of midway between “special trip” and “I’ll happen to be there”; I’m giving a presentation at Minnesota State in Mankato on April 29th (4 PM in the Ostrander Auditorium in the Centennial Student Union), then speaking at the Libertarian Party of Illinois convention on May 4th (Parke Regency Hotel in Bloomington).  That means that from April 30th to May 3rd I’ll be in the area between those two points with a rental car, so if you’re in Minneapolis, Chicago, or some place between, I’d be willing to see you if you book a dinner date on the 30th, 1st or 2nd.  If you’re in Chicagoland, I’ll have shorter apointments available on the 3rd.  Obviously I’m not going to bounce around like a pinball, but if you’re flexible and have the means & desire we can talk about a visit.  Don’t wait, though; I’ll be building my schedule as I get appointments, and as the schedule fills in I’ll have less flexibility.  Better still:  I’m willing to give you a special price if you’re willing to pay in advance.  And if you’re in Washington DC or southern Florida, keep your eyes peeled for similar specials in the next few months!  Of course, you don’t have to wait; I’m willing to make special travel deals for anyone who supports my documentary, and if you’re interested I’m just an email away.

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Diary #458

Tonight I’ll be screening The War on Whores at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland; Kristen DiAngelo will be joining me for a Q&A after the showing.  The show starts at 7:30; tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance.  I hope to see all of my Bay Area fans there!  Next screening: Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN on April 29th, at 4 PM in the Ostrander Auditorium in the Centennial Student Union; that event is free to students & faculty.  Of course, most of y’all reading this don’t live close enough to make it to either venue, but that’s OK; there are plenty of other ways to see it.  You can watch or download it on Vimeo; it should soon be available on Amazon as well, and we’re working on getting it into the iTunes store.  As soon as we can get my fundraising troubles sorted out (more on that later in the week, or you can read about the problem in this Twitter thread) we’ll be starting the process of getting DVDs made, and those will be for sale as well.  And if you’d like a screening in your own city (whether you have a nifty theater like this or not), just take a look here for info on how to do that.   

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Diary #457

Last week was quite lovely!  On Monday I went over to Lorelei Rivers’ to help her with a little decorating that required four hands and two sets of eyes, and then we had our first Who night at her new house.  On Wednesday my friend Winnie had her baby, and I got to visit her at the hospital and hold the teeny girl (the first newborn I’ve held this century), whom I think will grow up to be as lovely as her mother.  I also launched a new fundraiser last week to cover some of the final distribution costs of The War on Whores, and to subsidize screenings for groups (such as student or activist groups) that can’t afford a screening fee; as usual, my readers amazed me by getting me to 25% of my goal in only four days!  And to top it all off, I heard from two of my favorite clients whom I haven’t seen in a while that they’ll be visiting in April.  Now, I’m not saying the week didn’t have its problems; however, the week in which I don’t turn into a complete stressball at least once or twice is a rare animal indeed.  So I’ve learned to enjoy the good stuff while it’s there, even if I can’t quite manage to keep the bad in perspective.

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Since the requests are staring to come in and I launched my fundraiser on Monday, I figured it was time to let y’all know how you can see The War on Whores for yourself.  The easiest way, of course, is simply to watch or download it on Vimeo; it should soon be available on Amazon as well, and we’re working on getting it into the iTunes store.  Next week or so we’ll be starting the process of getting DVDs made, and those will be for sale as well (and I’ll be sending out autographed copies as gifts for donations.)  The best way to see the film is at a sponsored screening; the next one will be at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 9th.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance.  The next one after that will be Minnesota State University in Mankato, MN on April 29th, at 4 PM in the Ostrander Auditorium in the Centennial Student Union; that event is free to students & faculty.  I’m also trying to set one up in Chicago a few days later, and we’ve got possible future screenings in the works for Washington, DC, Austin, TX, Providence, RI, and Orlando, FL.  The way to set up these screenings is to email me; I’ll forward your email to my producer, Paul Johnson, who sets up the actual details.  Please be patient; Paul can only work on about two events at once, plus he’s got other tasks to do (like getting the discs burned) and this isn’t his only film, so he often has quite a few plates in the air at once.  Obviously, nearer events and those who can pay all the screening fees, etc, are the highest priority, but my fundraiser is intended to cover the fees of student and activist groups who may not have very much money; please do not ask for this unless you really need it, because the funds will only go so far and we want to use them to help groups who really have no other options.  If, on the other hand, you are in a position to be generous, you could sponsor a screening yourself; if you’d like to do that just email me using the link above and we can get to work on it!  Last but definitely not least, we are trying to ignite as much buzz about the film as possible so it will be widely seen; if you can somehow help with that (for example, if you have a TV or radio show you can invite me on to talk about the film), please let me know via this link.  There are many ways to help us get this important message out, and as always I’ll need the help of my readers to do it.

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Last week I drove  up to Vancouver for the Canadian premiere of The War on Whores.  Though the screening was Wednesday evening, my producer, Paul Johnson, suggested I drive up on Tuesday in case of some delay at the border.  There was no substantial delay on the way there, but on my return trip Thursday I was delayed for almost two bloody hours at the border because…who knows?  The line was absolutely motionless for almost an hour, then finally started to creep forward in the way such lines are wont to do.  But that nuisance couldn’t ruin my mood, which was high due to the success of our screening and panel discussion afterward, in which I was joined by veteran Vancouver sex worker activist Kerry Porth, and Svend Robinson, Canada’s first openly-gay MP (who retired from Parliament in 2004 but is now running for office again).  Friday was a day of catching up, and then on Sunday I started my new GoFundMe to help cover the movie’s promotional costs!  My next screening will be at the New Parkway Theater in Oakland, CA at 7:30 pm, Tuesday, April 9th.  Tickets are $20 and can be purchased in advance.  I hope to see all of my Bay Area fans there!

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On Wednesday night, we had the Canadian premiere of The War on Whores, to a very nearly full house; the panel afterward consisted of me, veteran Vancouver sex worker activist Kerry Porth, and Svend Robinson, Canada’s first openly-gay MP (who retired from Parliament in 2004 but is now running for office again).  But while I’m getting most of the attention at these events, and in the buzz surrounding the film, I think it’s important to acknowledge that my part in both the creation of the movie and the screenings largely consists of just being Maggie McNeill.  Everything else, from the original concept, to the development, to running the camera and sound, to chasing down the other interviewees, to editing, to promotion, to event planning, is the work of producer/director Paul Johnson.  When Paul (far left in the picture below, with Svend and Kerry) first approached me in October of ’15 with the proposal to do this film, I was interested but wary; he quickly allayed my concerns and has never once given me any cause to question his motives or abilities.  In more than three years of working together he has never treated me with anything other than respect and professionalism, nor ever given me even a hint that he thought of me any differently than he would think of any other professional he was working with.  He made this film happen almost single-handedly, and is still putting in a tremendous amount of work to prepare it for other distribution channels (including Amazon and DVD) and set up screenings and other publicity.  I owe a great deal to him, and if the movie takes off as we hope it will, I want everyone to remember that while I’m the pretty face in front of the camera, Paul is the brains and talent behind the camera who made it all possible.

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