Sparrow Songs: Episode 3: Pornstar Karaoke

Sparrow Songs is a project in which filmmaker Alex Jablonski and cinematographer Michael Totten make and exhibit one short documentary per month, every month for one year.

Episode 3 – Porn Star Karaoke

Every week porn performers, fans and others from the adult industry get together at a bar in the San Fernando Valley to sing karaoke.

Jablonski and Totten’s third short documentary functions as an almost perfect microcosm of pornography, encompassing nearly all sides of an industry whose existence remains more, shall we say, problematic than most. It is a subject so rife with moral, emotional, and intellectual landmines that I fear even treading near it, especially when there are people so much more qualified to wrestle with it (a prime example being the always smart and stunning Susannah Breslin, from whom this clip was pilfered and who has written extensively on the matter). It’s a powerful piece of film and I present it to you here, then, with limited comment. Feel free to draw your own conclusions.

5 Responses to “Sparrow Songs: Episode 3: Pornstar Karaoke”

  1. Lulu Says:

    “Porn doesn’t do harm to anybody?” He must be ignorant about the industry.

  2. Adam Says:

    Lulu, my thoughts exactly.
    One of the biggest problems with pornography is that it’s considered “legitimate”. I’m not talking legally, but socially.
    It’s a problem because it means that people don’t look at it as an industry that exploits people, objectifies women’s bodies, deepens chauvinistic and mysogenic social views and all this under the guise of fun, sexuality and free choice.
    Even if the pornstars themselves live happy, fulfilling lives (as you can see in the movie, some of them have a very strong disassociation from themselves while they “work” – not a sign of a great emotional state) the product they produce is harmful.

  3. R. Says:

    Porn is like a double-edged sword. You have porn that is made by people (males and females) who want to take out the objectifying and the chauvinism and just make a movie glorifying sex. Then you have porn that just makes people turn into mindless chauvinistic/misogynist dimwits.

    One good person to check out how they view the porn industry is Violet Blue. Another is Annie Sprinkle, a former pornstar turned sex educator.

  4. Mer Says:

    Adam, I completely hear what you’re saying, but I think you’re painting with some pretty broad, sweeping strokes… and as far as porn goes, there are many, MANY different strokes for different folks. Can I assume that, like Lulu, you’re referring to more mainstream “industry” porn?

  5. Adam Says:

    Of course.

    The very name – “Industry Porn” implies there are industrial standards, not something i’d like to be seen applied to people, definitely not to sex.

    I don’t see a problem with, say, a couple, or friends, or whatever, that want to film their sexual experiences, or even stage sexual scenarios and put them out for all to see.
    It’s just that that’s hardly ever the pornography one runs into.
    Of the porn I’ve seen, I can say that in all of it women were depicting victimization – schoolgirls sleeping with their teachers for better grades, secretaries with their bosses, stranded drivers with mechanics ect. – all situations promoting a misogynistic world view where women’s only legitimate tool to forward their interests is their sexuality and a warped take on sexuality where sex is a thing that is given by or taken from women, never an act where both sides are equally situated.
    And that is what most pornography is about. I see it as a tool used for suppressing women, and it’s dangerous because while most pornographic products hide behind disclaimers stating said product is intended for adult use only, it’s fairly well known that pornography is consumed by most teenagers and is considered an integral step in becoming sexually mature. This contributes to the image women have in modern society (As socially weak, sexually dependent individuals who enjoy being forced into a lower social caste – I have yet to meet a real live woman who would enjoy meeting up with three completely strange men, immediately engage in somewhat extreme sexual intercourse with them, have them all ejaculate on her face and leave, yet this is how a lot of women are depicted in porn) and it would be irresponsible to say that people don’t form connections in their minds between this and their real sexual worldview.

    I’m not even going into the unrealistic body image pornography (and mainstream modelling) promotes, and how it is responsible for a lot of eating disorders, low self esteem and monetary investment in dangerous and needless plastic surgery.

    So, yes, I’m sure there’s pornography that depicts a loving and equal relationship between two (or more) individuals who all have realistically flawed bodies that are nonetheless represented as sexual and erotic,
    but that’s hardly what you usually run into.