“Naughty Bits” fursuit video shoot with Rachel Lark – sex-positive art in the age of Trump.
by Patch O'Furr
Armed with a ukelele and raunchy/smart songs like “Fuck My Toe”, Rachel Lark is an Oakland, CA based singer-songwriter with a fierce and funny voice. She has a new song, “Naughty Bits”, that playfully protests against sex-negative politics. It’s a response to SESTA, a law against sex trafficking that throws free expression under the bus. Furry dating site Pounced closed in fear of overreach of the law.
For those of you who don’t know what’s up with SESTA (and I’m not judging, there’s a lot going on these days) here’s what you should know….
1. It equates all sex work with sex trafficking (not the same thing)
2. It hurts sex workers AND victims of sex trafficking
3. It has serious and scary implications for free speech on the internet
4. It potentially criminalizes sex worker solidarity and advocacy
This law sucks, but when things suck, we make art, and that’s the only way out of the despair. – Rachel Lark
Rachel wrote an in-depth article about this: SESTA, Sex Work, and Art in the Age of Trump.
Her music career has included work with Dan Savage, media personality from the Savage Love column and podcast. That should tell you that her songs are perverted in a socially redeeming way. She plays at Bawdy Storytelling, a popular San Francisco performance series. (They warmly welcome furries). It’s not radio music, but now I have to compare her to artists like Moby or the Dandy Warhols, who are my evidence that successful artists use furries in music videos.
Rachel’s need for furries for the “Naughty Bits” video reached me early on a Sunday morning. The call for help came with almost no notice. I read a tip about it while waking up at a furry house party. It was full of so many cuddling animals that I crashed on the kitchen floor at 4AM.
A super fun furry party with super cool furries! pic.twitter.com/vg4VMOK6K8— Dogpatch Press (@DogpatchPress) April 22, 2018
Rachel had missed 3 furry parties in one day, including that private-invite cuddle party. Half of the Bay Area Furry community must have come out for all of them and it would have been a great opportunity to shoot. But in the morning nobody had energy to come with me. She needed two fursuiters and I was alone. So I took both of my suits to Rachel’s house, where her non-furry helper was waiting to gear up with me.
“Sorry about the short notice”, Rachel told me while I unpacked in her living room. “I wrote the song and got it recorded with a video in 8 days. That’s a thing about making art in the age of Trump. If you don’t do it right away, every day some new scandal pops up and makes people forget the previous one.”
We traded chat about furry lore and the practicalities of suiting, and Rachel was as curious as could be, unlike an outsider looking for a jolt of sensationalism. She was just being an artist with a vision that needed both of my fursonas to cuddle. Of course, that wasn’t hot at all. It was just doing my professional duty to partner with an innocent yet enthusiastic non-furry and fluff him up.
Furry cuddling only got in a few shots of the video (3:40, 4:20 and 5:00) but it was worth the effort. I met the crew, spread goodwill and got a look at the production. The video has fabulous drag, puppy players (one is a furry too) and slow-motion flogging. The song starts with slow fingersnaps and swells into an epic chorus. Try some of her music, and think, what if we got her to do a show with Pepper Coyote or a furry song?
When puritans try to wipe out expression, artists are on the same side together. I’d already been in music videos with shared associates with Rachel. This was part of a thriving local subculture and I’m glad furries were included as a vital part of it.