The second ever Come Inside: A Sex & Culture Theater Festival is like a prototypical tryst with your casual FWB: you can play games, drink booze to ease your nerves, and perhaps even make a fool of yourself in public.
"It's hard to find a lot of sex-positive shows that travel to Portland," says Eleanor O'Brien, founder of Come Inside. "When you have conversations with people on the topic of sexuality, it turns into intimacy."
Gracefully returning from its first stint in 2013, when it was presumed DOA, the Come Inside Festival allows you to celebrate some of your sincerest insecurities. A mixed bag of theatrical storytelling, singing and staged readings, it's like the walk of shame with 40 people by your side. Here, sex (even bad sex) is seen as a rite of passage.
The festival is sprawled out over 11 days and features nine sex-themed shows: double the number of shows since round one in 2013. Please note: there will be no actual sexual acts performed publicly throughout this festival. But, as you might expect, its content is barely PG-13.
At times, the Come Inside Festival acts as a bold safe space that enables a live audience to collectively cringe. At "Phone Whore," you can listen in on the live ramblings of a sex phone operator who may emit a jolting nostalgia for some of your own late-night sexting sessions. Other shows, like "In Search of Cruise Control," touch on hard-hitting issues like sexual abuse. Then there are pieces like "'Ze': queer as fuck," which attempt to shade your high school sex education by speaking out on topics like gender fluidity. The festival kicks off with a visit from the nationally celebrated "Bawdy Storytelling" at the Star Theater, which is essentially a sexually frustrated version of The Moth.
The Come Inside Festival celebrates the relatable, human properties of sex itself, but also the idiosyncrasies that surround one's individual sexual identity. At Come Inside, you're in good company. As it turns out, a lot more of us started out by placing the condom on the wrong end of the banana than we might have previously suspected.
See it: Come Inside: A Sex & Culture Theater Festival runs Sept. 28-Oct. 8. See dancenakedproductions.com for schedule.