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Erotica Uncorked

Polly Frost Comes Home for the Holidays with Sexy Comic

“I’m not looking to get into Oprah’s book club,” explained Polly
Frost, the self-described erotic sci-fi and horror author whose
X-rated comedy soap opera, Sex Scenes, has been making a splash at
readings in New York City, “I love raw, pulpy stuff.” On December
28, Santa Barbara’s cooperative winery and tasting room, Cellar
205, will host a live reading of Frost’s Sex Scenes, transforming
the Funk Zone into an erogenous zone.

Raised in Santa Barbara, Frost moved to New York in the ’90s to
write, contributing humor pieces to the New Yorker and film reviews
to Harper’s Bazaar before surrendering to the desire to write
erotic fiction. She cowrote her steamy stories with the help of her
husband, Ray Sawhill, and claimed all couples should write erotica
together.

“I was always pushing the envelope with my humor pieces anyway,”
she said. “Eventually I just thought, ‘The hell with it. I’m tired
of not being able to just do it.’” Doing it, of course, is Frost’s
favorite subject. Among the 18 tales that make up Sex Scenes are
“Impulse Control,” a story about a Hollywood call girl whose
involvement in a high-profile sex scandal leads to her own reality
TV show, and “Profit Margin,” about a female porn mogul who works
in the sex industry but can’t get any action with her own husband.
Actors will be reading both stories at the Cellar 205 event, as
well as excerpts from “A Personal Relationship,” a gay story set in
Santa Barbara. “In New York, our audience is gay, straight,
bi — everyone,” Frost said. “I hope we’ll find the same thing in
Santa Barbara.”

For more than a year now, Frost has been delivering monthly
installments of Sex Scenes to hungry New York audiences. Die-hard
fans follow the theatrical readings at the Cornelia Street Café,
the same venue where Eve Ensler’s OBIE Award-winning play The
Vagina Monologues was born. Frost considers herself part of New
York’s erotica scene, and often presents her work alongside
burlesque performances. Though in some ways she sees her work as
inhabiting the fringes of literature, Frost believes sex is central
to the work of all great writers. “I think the most important
writing is about sex — but these days, it gets marginalized into
erotica. If you read Henry Miller or Philip Roth, it’s highly
sexual writing, but we’ve gotten to the point now where we’ve
broken apart from that.”

In addition to five L.A. actors, the cast presenting Sex Scenes
in Santa Barbara includes Cellar 205’s co-owner John Bargiel and
S.B. native David Vining, who now works as a director in New York.
Despite the gutsy nature of her work, the author admitted she’s
slightly nervous about bringing Sex Scenes out of its big city
context and back to her hometown. “My parents have read everything
I’ve written and heard some of it on recordings,” she said, “but
this is the first time they will have heard a live reading.”

It’s a bit of a risqué gift to bring home for the holidays, but
Sex Scenes is decidedly tamer in content than her upcoming book,
Deep Inside: Extreme Erotic Fantasies, a collection of stories
scheduled for publication by Tor Books in June 2007. According to
Frost’s 18-and-older Web site, Deep Inside “breaks every taboo as
it takes you inside the throbbing flesh and twisted urges of the
kinky, the depraved, and the supernatural.”

By comparison, Sex Scenes promises relatively soft-core
pornography-cum-comedy. “It is satire,” Frost warned. “In addition
to being highly sexual stuff, it’s also pretty outrageous.” Nervous
she may be, but a little aural sex obviously doesn’t scare
Frost — she’s cool, but far from frigid. “I’ve never had anybody
walk out during a performance,” she said, “but I’ve had people make
out.”

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