(Image: Bob Fischer, Annie Sprinkle, and author Michael Nejman; text excerpt from Laughing at the Sun)
While noshing at an all-you-you-can-eat buffet in the heart of Las Vegas, we spied an Elvis look-alike who resembled The King during his heftier later years. He was probably not a professional Elvis impersonator, although he was sporting a jet-black pompadour hairstyle, flashy sunglasses and mutton-chop sideburns. He even had a bit of a snarl as he reviewed the buffet’s ample gastronomical choices.
“Hey, isn’t that Les?” I said quietly to Bob.
“Wasn’t that the name of the surgical hermaphrodite from the Annie Sprinkle show we saw?”
Annie Sprinkle was a porn star-cum-performance artist who identified herself as a Post Porn Modernist back in the fall of 1990, when Bob and I had witnessed one of her events. She had embarked on a self-proclaimed “Anti-Censorship” series of shows designed to challenge community standards. Bob and I had scored front row seats for her “Annie Sprinkle’s Sex Education Class” at a venue called Lower Links on Clark Street in Chicago. If there was one thing we shared in common, Bob and I both appreciated erotic, offbeat, bizarre events.
“Oh, yeah,” Bob smiled. “Les!”
We both knew the Elvis look-alike wasn’t actually Les, but he had triggered memories of that curiously strange evening.
“Remember when Annie came out in that skin tight white nurse’s uniform wearing stilettos and a bustier?” I snickered.
“Her huge titties looked like they were going to burst out of that outfit!” Bob said and then he recalled a few highlights from her lecture and slideshow.
As part of her “sex education” lecture, Annie had shared images of a wide variety of graphic sex acts conducted with some of her clients who were burn victims, paraplegics and amputees. Since she was informing us about the wide variety of terms related to sex and sexuality, she also talked about transvestites, cross-dressers, and finally, hermaphrodites. And, lo & behold, she said there was as a surgical hermaphrodite in the audience named Les, who she proceeded to bring up to the stage.
Enter Les, who looked like a sleepy, heavily tattooed, beefy Elvis. Les was originally a woman who went through a sex-change operation and decided to keep his female genitalia. A penis was constructed from skin taken from his thighs and buttocks. The penis was a hollow flap of skin that could be made erect by inserting a hard, plastic tube inside it. Testicles were created using saline sacks, which hid his vagina just behind them. We knew all of these details because Les had disrobed and Annie had walked us through these physical modifications while he sat on an examining table.
The experience was more mesmerizing than shocking, although I have to admit I felt a bit precarious sitting in the front row only a few feet from the action.
“Les was all tatted up,” Bob recalled. “Didn’t he have all of these directions on his bod, like ‘twist here’ and ‘prod’ there?”
“Yeah, he had a whole lotta ink,” I said just before stuffing a forkful of lettuce into my mouth.
“The show ended suddenly though, didn’t it?” Bob continued. “Annie was going to perform a Boob Ballet but management stopped the show.”
I swallowed the lettuce quickly so I could insert, “The police were supposedly at the door because some guy fainted in the back of the room and paramedics needed to do their thing.”
“That was bullshit,” Bob shook his head and smiled. “I think it was just a convenient way to end the show before things got really weird.”
I nodded in agreement and the motion accidently expelled a few pieces of broccoli off my fork and on to the tabletop. Bob took notice that I didn’t eat the broccoli from the table, and only from my salad plate.
He looked at me incredulously, “Aren’t you going to eat that?”
I looked at the stray broccoli with disdain, “What are you nuts? I’m not going to eat that!”
As I stared at the lone green crowns, I could only imagine the germ infestation left behind by the disgusting, damp rags used to wipe down the tables. Certainly there could now be some Super Germ perched on the broccoli just waiting to attack my colon!
“That’s perfectly good food,” Bob said. “You’re really being silly.”
With that, he took his fork, speared the broccoli on the table and promptly deposited it in his mouth and chewed it.
I could barely disguise my urge to gag.
“To each his own, I guess,” I managed to say, suppressing my gag response. Bob might as well have swallowed a live cockroach.