Leeds Erotica Festival This Weekend

Tod Hunter
LEEDS, England — The city's first Erotica Festival takes place this weekend at venues across the city, offering cultural, charitable and educational events dealing with erotica "in a serious, tasteful and intelligent manner, but with a strong element of fun and celebration."

“The Leeds Erotica Festival will be a celebration of sexuality, sex and the beauty of the human body," festival organizer Amy Minns said. "We plan to use the arts to break down the stigmas associated sex and erotica.”

Festival visitors can attend events including artistic workshops, an erotic art exhibition; an erotic literature day with short story and poetry writing workshops and a competition for erotic writers; screenings of films including Pier Paolo Pasolini's controversial "Salo," "Kinsey" and "The Nototious Bettie Page"; and a night at "Dr. Sketchy's Anti-Art School," described as "a cross between a life-drawing class and burlesque."

There will be a Halloween Masquerade Ball tonight at the newly opened "Loft," with DJs playing in the main room and an intimate side room with entertainment by alternative dancers, performers and cabaret stars.

Burlesque and Cabaret night is scheduled for Saturday, with dancers, comedians, musicians and cabaret stars — more than 30 different acts — performing at four different venues.

The festival started last night with a burlesque costume skills workshop, a bisexual speed dating get-together and a screening of Pasolini's 1971 film "Il Decameron."

For more information, including a full schedule, visit the festival's website.