by Maribel Martin
A staple of Sydney’s independent arts community and the Fringe Festival for more than five years, erotic fan fiction embodies all that the Festival is about. Behind The Music, held at a small theatre in Redfern, saw writers and musicians take the stage to perform a series of stories about the sexier side of the music industry.
While the thought of erotic fan fiction may normally conjure up ideas of fan- written blog posts, Behind The Music, demonstrated that the genre has evolved and isn’t just for the die hard fans anymore.
The performances were a mixture of multimedia presentations, live singing and even a bit of improvised impersonation with some of the biggest names in music such as Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, Daft Punk and even Louie Armstrong as the topic of bedroom banter and wild fantasies.
Brainchild of Fran Middleton and Virginia Gay, the erotic fan fiction nights started eight years ago when the two girls got talking in Melbourne and thought it would be a laugh. The event is a relaxed and a low-key affair that is held regularly in both cities. The theme of the night and who performs changes every time the event is run, giving lots of different artists an opportunity to get involved.
Liam Bray, sound engineer for Lady Sings it Better, an all-girl vocal trio who performed a piece on the night, said he got involved because it was funny and different. “It’s a lot of fun to work with the girls. We have a laugh about our own fantasies and what we would find funny and then go from there when writing the fan fiction.”
The content of the night can be full on – penis metaphors, the mechanisms of robot sex and even the awkward wet dream story. No taboos are left out and no fantasy unexplored. But the environment is relaxed and all the performers sincere in their intention to just have a good laugh.
It’s not about shock value or making the audience feel uncomfortable, it’s about giving them a chance to have a little fun. It’s not all about being naughty in the bedroom either and the surprise of the night is having received some food for thought. The stories are more thought-provoking than just the initial laughs and give the writers a chance to say what’s on their minds.
Performer Elmo Keep offered a short story about a girl on the hunt for a date when she starts getting chatted up by Google in human form.
Google is in love with the girl, and thinks they are perfect for each other because he knows everything about her already. The piece makes a point about how much privacy there is on the Internet and how people give themselves over to technology.
The crowd at the night was small, a combination of those who are regulars and first timers trying something new.
“I’ve never been before. I heard about it through a friend who said it was funny but I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Stefan Munoz, who was in the audience. “The content surprised me the most. It was all just stories about musicians and things we all think about at one point or another, so it’s great to know that other people are thinking about it too”.
Being a part of the Sydney Fringe Festival has allowed the event to reach a wider audience.
“The most important thing is to keep an open mind and be prepared for the unexpected,” Liam Bray said.