Cabaret Con-Sensual Promotes Sex Positivity

0 Comments 13 August 2015

madeleine harris

Comedy and cabaret meet with Cabaret Con-Sensual, a sexy showcase promoting consent and sex positivity.

by Daniel Barron


[UPDATE: This post from August has been amended to include the info for December’s event, “Winter Is Cumming.”]

Nearly three months ago, actress and performance artist Madeline Harris stood before a packed audience of the Art Share LA space in a state of near undress. And over half the room had tears in their eyes. Let me explain. Harris had just finished putting on a razzle-dazzle burlesque showcase as part of Cabaret Con-Sensual, a saucy revue series founded by Harris herself. Sashaying in front of the crowd in an oversized coat, she playfully disrobed to the soundtrack of Radiohead standard “Creep.” Her teasing display evoked a rapturous chorus of hoots and cheers, but the whistles died down as her routine then took a shocking detour. Covered only in pasties and small undergarments and with seemingly nothing left to take off, Harris proceeded to remove the final layer as she brought out a series of cue cards. The cards revealed that the same year “Creep” was released was the first time she was sexually assaulted. On the song’s ten-year anniversary it happened again. Her composure staggers as she lifts up the final cards. Now, they read, she bares herself to audiences “…To sexualize myself on MY  TERMS.”

It’s gutting, it’s triumphant, and it’s perhaps not the kind of emotional punch the attendees had bargained for. But then, Cabaret Con-Sensual wasn’t conceived as your average variety show. Started as a fundraiser for Harris’ organization More Than “No,” it presents an eclectic mix of comedy, song, dance, and burlesque in the name of promoting sex positivity, a movement which Harris describes as endorsing sexual experimentation in all forms so long as it is pleasurable and within the bounds of consent. Concurrently, it has been a special priority of Harris’ that Cabaret Con-Sensual celebrate a broad concept of human sexuality. In a culture where sex symbol status is most commonly reserved for fit Caucasians, she takes special care to arrange bills that spotlight all body types, ethnicities, sexual orientations, and gender identifications. Collectively, it is a show that affirms a healthy perspective towards our bodies in a time when rape culture and sexual assault have become tragic staples today’s headlines.

More Than “No” was founded in May of 2013 after Harris read an account in 2012 of a young woman who was raped in the Steubenville, OH whose experience closely paralleled her own. Recognizing the deficit of public awareness regarding assault prevention, it has since been her life mission to not only to provide survivors with support, but also a a safe avenue for them to express their narratives through informative online videos. But as pleasure and pain can sometimes be closely related, Harris believes that these messages can be presented in positive, even fun manner.

Says the website:

Although many would separate comedy and activism, we believe that the best way to discuss a tough subject is with a light heart. Therefor, our first goal is to create educational videos that are insightful, shareable, (dare we say) comedic that address sexual assault in an approachable manner.

Loosen up, strip off your inhibitions and say “yes” to Cabaret Con-Sensual when it returns at LA Mother on Friday, December 11th with hosts Amanda May Gavlick and Matthew Irving Epstein. Tickets are $15 and you can purchase them HERE.












Cabaret Con-Sensual: Winter is Cumming opens Friday, December 11th at 8pm. Doors at 7:30pm. Purchase tickets HERE.


What NOT to Say to Rape Survivors (NOTE: These are real!)



Madeleine was a guest on Steve Hernandez’ Fat, Drunk & Lonely podcast earlier this year. Have a listen HERE.


Follow Madeline Harris on Twitter and Instagram.

Follow More Than No on Twitter and Instagram.

Learn more about More Than “No” on the official website.

“Like” More Than “No” on Facebook.

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- who has written 423 posts on Yay! LA | Arts & Culture Magazine.

Rudderless college graduate Daniel Barron founded Yay! LA Magazine on a love of writing, passion for the arts, and a firm belief that people really like talking about themselves. He contributed to a number of publications, including LA Music Blog and the defunct The Site Unscene, before deciding to cover arts and entertainment the way he wanted to read it. He works as a freelance writer and digital PR consultant in his current home of Los Angeles. Follow him on Twitter at @YayDanielBarron.

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