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Live like a Suicide
The world’s most famous punk-rock porn portal gets off the Internet

It’s been called punk porn. It’s been called an on-line adult industry for the hipster sect. It’s been called a grrrl-powered Playboy. Regardless how you deconstruct it, SuicideGirls.com, an on-line community erected around pin-up-style photos of punk-rock and goth girls, proves that sex still sells. Especially when it’s coupled with a DIY æsthetic, an empowered indie-rock attitude, and a thrust toward artful tease and titillation over spread-legged exposure. Half a million people visit the site each week, reading its on-line journals and interviews, posting comments, and checking out the chicks. The stars of the site, the 261 Suicide Girls, aren’t Playboy pretty. They aren’t all glossy blonde with boobs like over-filled water balloons. They’re much more girl-next-door — but only if your next-door neighbor happens to look like Christina Ricci, a Sleater-Kinney fan, or the girls behind the bar at Charlie’s Kitchen in Harvard Square.

Missy Suicide launched the site in September 2001 to fill a void. "Everyone I know is pierced and tattoo’d," she says over the phone from LA, "but there wasn’t a place where you could find real, pierced, tattoo’d girls in mainstream media presented in a genuine way." Indeed, that’s what you’ll find on the site: rings and studs and rods pierce all imaginable parts. Skin is canvas for huge tattoos. The girls come in all sizes, from waifishly androgynous to voluminously curved. You’ll see horn-rimmed glasses and studded bracelets, pixie-sweet crops and long thick dreads. You’ll see hair that’s green and blue and black and bleached. You’ll see tits and ass and sometimes some pink.

But Missy insists the site’s about more than naked girls. She combined the "body mod" look with a penchant for pin-up models from the ’30s and ’40s to create a place on the Web "where anyone who appreciates the æsthetic can come join a like-minded community." The site includes interviews with the likes of Neve Campbell, Pete Yorn, Martin Amis, and William H. Macy plus chatrooms, bulletin boards, videos, and blogs. "I wanted to be able to give girls a place to express themselves in the photos and in words. Three-dimensional is so much sexier than two."

Which brings us to the Suicide Girls Burlesque Tour, a group of six SGs coming to the Middle East this Monday. The Suicide Girls’ version of burlesque started in Portland, Oregon, where a couple of girls performed locally on a regular basis and decided to take their show on the road. The Suicide Girls take burlesque — a traditionally transgressive combination of ribald comedy, dance, and striptease — and "update it for our generation," says Siren, one of the performers and also a Suicide Girl photographer. "It’s a punk-rock version of burlesque. We use music by the Ramones and Björk and Joan Jett." Siren admits the show is sexy, "but it’s not something you’d see in a strip club, which is refreshing for a lot of people. It’s something you could possibly bring your mother to." That is, if you don’t mind watching girls get nearly naked and rip electric tape of one another’s bodies with their teeth while standing next to your mum. "It’s cute and sexy," Siren adds, "without being overboard. It’s not about shock value."

The sexiest part about Suicide Girls, says Missy, "is that the girls are being themselves. They’re in control of how they’re presented. That’s so much sexier than any male fantasy."

The Suicide Girls Burlesque Tour comes to the Middle East, 480 Massachusetts Avenue in Central Square, this Monday, February 9. Tickets are $12; call (617) 864-EAST.


Issue Date: February 6 - 12, 2004
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