This week Portable’s Kat George visited the VICE offices in Williamsburg to chat with Slutever’s Karley Sciortino and producer Adri Murguia about VICE’s new video series based on Karley’s blog. There’s not much more we really need to say, other than we’re huge fans of these two girls, and that what they’ve produced is every bit as tender and revealing as it salacious. Above you can watch the third installment of VICE’s Slutever; below you will find a transcript of our conversation, which at times you might find shocking, lending itself to the vulgar, but that at other times betrays a far more thoughtful intention, and an awareness and self-reflexiveness that is sometimes lacking in the testosterone driven environment cultivated by VICE…
(Ed. Note: This is an excerpt of the original interview. To read the full piece visit Portable by clicking here.)
Portable: How did you get involved with VICE?
Karley Sciortino: I was an intern. I guess it was around 2008 because it was around when I started writing my blog, actually, and then one of the girls that worked there was like, “we really like your blog, do you want to write for the VICE blog?” This is when I interned for the guy that was the head of the website, and then I just wrote freelance for them. I’ve been writing freelance since.
P: Do you only write about sex and dating?
Karley: For VICE I guess I mainly write about that, or under the guise of that. I did a series for a while on the website where I was interviewing people with weird fetishes which is where [VICE's Slutever video series] came out of. But then I also am just a journalist for a living, I write for Dazed and V and AnOther, and write about anything that would be in a style magazine.
P: With the Slutever series, is that an idea that VICE approached you with?
Adri Murguia: Well I think it was like a weird thing where the director of content at VICE wanted to make a show for girls and I was producing stuff here, and [Karley and I] had met a couple of times through friends but we didn’t know that we would eventually end up working together or anything, and the director of content here was like, “um, I want you to make this show for girls, I think this is something that VICE needs to do, and theres this girl called Karley and she’s got a really cool blog. You should meet her and you should think of something to do with her.” And I was like, “Oh, OK cool,” and they called her in for a meeting and I was like, “Hey…”
Karley: “We’ve met!”
Adri: “We’ve met ten thousand times, how are you?”
Karley: Originally I guess the idea was a show for girls but we weren’t necessarily going to make a show based on my blog about fetish and stuff. There were a few incarnations… For a while we were going to do a news show where I sat behind a desk and we filmed it but were like, “Oh my God this looks like shit.”
Adri: It was just like someone having crazy brain spasms.
Karley: It was based on—do you remember All That? On Nickelodeon? And it was like Lori Beth Denberg and it was, “Lori Beth Denberg with vital information for your everyday life!” and she was sitting behind a news desk pretending to be a news caster but, everything is pink and glittery. It was that idea where we’d talk about current events but the current events were things like, “We have a new roommate!” And [Adri would say], “I don’t think anyone is going to find this funny at all.”
Adri: Yeah, and then we sat down and talked about other formats and stuff, and then we just realized that doing it according to the blog was the best way to go about it. [Karley] already had so many stories on the blog that it just made total sense to base ourselves off that. And it was also just super cool cos normally we make documentaries and purely scripted stuff like Dalson Superstars. What was cool about this is that it’s half scripted and half not. So it’s half of what we’re really good at which is making documentaries, and also taking a stab at something new which is doing scripted material, and doing it with a writer just makes it so much better.
Karley: All the episodes we’ve done so far are pulled from blog posts that were already there so we kind of agreed to do it in that format of I’m writing something and at the end I’m going to think of a conclusion of what I’m writing.
P: Because it’s a little bit of a parody on Sex And The City as well. There was one episode of opening credits that satired Carrie getting splashed by the bus in the SATC opening credits.
Karely: Oh my God you got it! Some people didn’t get it. I mean, have you seen Sex And The City? It’s a shot by shot remake!
Adri: We came up with the idea and we were like, “Let’s go do it, let’s go do it on Bedford Avenue and make it super low fi and shitty.” And we went out there and it was literally me with like a smoke bomb standing behind Karley. The production photos are hilarious. Afterwards we did it like, shot by shot and it was a fifty second intro, and we were like, “Dude this is too long. You can’t do this!” So we cut it down. I feel like mostly guys didn’t get it.
P: So have you got a whole season of Slutever already?
Karley: We’ve got four and we’re making five.
Adri: We’re working on shooting five now and then we’ll take a break and hopefully start filming season two. We shot everything in about four months … and then it just took a lot of fleshing out of what the concept actually was, like the whole voice over, Karley writing, the parody, how much of it actually is a satire and how much of it isn’t. Everyone just says it’s a really thin line between being an actually smart commentary on modern girls and New York or whatever, or actually just a fucking joke, you know? So I think that just fleshing out that concept took us a few months in post production. We tried a few different edits and we got it to where we wanted it. Also, it’s the first show that VICE has ever had for girls, made by girls, and we didn’t want it to be like, oh, this is so girlie!
Karley: But we also had to keep part of that cos this is how we talk!
Adri: We wanted it to be the best it could possibly be, just because we were making a huge statement releasing it through VICE, which is a heavily male oriented company.
Karley: We’re really proud that it did well because there was a little bit of tension like, “Oh God if they make a girl’s show and girls made it and it didn’t do well,” you know, “We told you! Girls suck!” That’s why we’re excited that it’s doing well now. But then the Sex And The City thing is such a good reference because everybody from the age of 16 to 60 — me and my mom used to watch that show together — loves that show. And it’s funny and I really respect that show but it’s not really an accurate representation of what living in this city, or what a normal person’s sex life, is like.
You know that scene in Mean Girls where they’re getting sex ed and it’s almost like that’s such a good way to make fun of high school sex ed because it kind of was like that. I grew up in a really, super Catholic town and our sex ed was teaching you not to have sex … I remember they had some PTA argument where our health teacher wanted us to learn how to put condoms on a banana and then the parents were like, “No they can’t. They can’t use any condoms.” That’s what it was like. It was kind of combination of that—trying to give something real when all of the outlets you have for sex a lot of the time are not real at all.
P: What does your mom think of the show?
Karley: She saw the first episode. She was so nervous to see it but she really wanted to because she’s part of it. I kind of think she won’t watch the other ones which I’m glad about. I was thinking about it, and there’s not much in it that I don’t want her to see. The only thing I was really nervous about her seeing was the multiple anal sex jokes and I was like, “Oh my God she’s going to think I have anal sex, that’s really bad!” But she watched it and the thing is like a satire and she said, “It was funny, I wasn’t expecting it to be so funny.” I think realistically now she understands that I’m not waiting ’til I’m married to have sex, and she has a sense of humor. She can laugh at herself.
P: How much of what you put on your blog and put out through the show is you and how much is just part of the process of reporting?
Karley: Over the past couple of years I’ve got that question a lot, “Is any of it made up?” And none of it is fake. It’s all based on real life, and then obviously there’s a little bit of character being played in the show when I’m saying things like, “WTF is he even talking about?” I guess it’s an exaggerated version of myself because I talk in internet slag, do you guys not talk in Internet slang?
P: Of course. Everyone does!
Karley: If we didn’t include that it would be a false way that I would talk or I would write. So yeah all of the stories on the blog are true. The slaves are people that have been in my life a long time, and it was cool because I probably would never have met them if it wasn’t for this show. Like I never would have gone out of my way to meet them because it would have been too awkward. I almost felt safer meeting them with a camera crew there, like they’re not going to be a psycho and kill me because there’s guys with cameras behind us.
P: What happens in the upcoming episodes?
Karley: [The one that is released today, episode three], I meet the guy that paid my rent — do you remember?
P: He bought you books?
Karley: Yeah he bought me books—Book Bitch—and he paid my rent for two months, and I meet him. In the fourth one I meet this guy called Sissy Sarah I used to post pictures of, he’s a cross dresser that likes to drink pee… Yeah. It was almost like our relationships were so long, I emailed them for years it was hard picking specific emails to show that they sent me to edit it down because I talked to those people for hours.
Adri: My sense of production changed so much, I would literally be like, “Karley can you send me a few emails of Sissy Sarah asking you to piss for him, or like, asking you to ridicule him online, or some pictures of him with cum on his hands”, or shit like that. And just looking at my email threads about this show, emails from the editor, “Less Karley peeing in the first minute, more in the second minute, thanks. Bye.” and I was like, “What are you talking about?” We went through so many emails from these guys because they’ve been writing to [Karley] for years…
So I would ask, with the videos, do you have like, a favorite one?
P: I think I liked the Sissy Sarah one the best, just because your relationship with him came through the most. There was friendship there. And there was a nice moral.
Karley: That’s true. I liked that too. I’m more into going and interviewing weird sex weirdos. One of my bosses was like, “It’s funny when it’s just girlie dating stuff.”
Adri: I think a lot of the time it’s just intimidating for men to see girls do things like that. You know what I mean? [Karley] is in complete control of the situation, in all of the episodes. It’s a different type of control when you’re literally tying someone onto a bed and spitting into their mouth, and it’s another type of control when you’re going around interviewing your mom, and like, your friend about blow jobs. It’s still pushing some boundaries, giving a blow job to a banana in a public park, but you know, doing something like that with a slave is totally different, whether it’s an Internet slave or just some dude or whatever.
I think it makes dudes uncomfortable sometimes, but I think that the fact that we’re doing this through VICE, and VICE started off making content that wasn’t exactly traditional to say the least, the fact that we’re kind of doing that as girls and we’re a team of girls putting it together I think that that has a good effect on the audience. I think that people that want to know about this show are people that care to know about the production of the show and what we’re about. They get that we’re trying to do something totally different and that’s what’s important, that people actually get it. Even though some dudes are like “This is totally weird,” they take it for what it is.
P: Well it’s different from anything we’ve ever seen VICE do on TV.
Adri: I think a huge part of why it really works and of why girls really like it is that even the way that Karley writes is so relatable and honest and it’s not pretentious, like, “Ugh, my God, I’m just such a sexual goddess.” You know what I mean? You’re like, “Actually, that was weird, I don’t understand what’s going on.” It’s just brutal honesty and we all feel that way sometimes. It’s the same kind of vulnerability that comes across in your blog and what makes you so approachable comes across in the video. A lot of people are saying that the videos are the closest thing to the blog. And that’s what makes it appealing I think, it’s important I think. It’s hard to have girls like [Karley].
P: Is it a feminist series?
Karley: Obviously I guess it is, but people always ask me, “Is your blog a feminist thing?” I think probably the show is more of a product of what feminism has created, and the fact that we’re allowed to do the show is because of what has been done in the past, but I don’t think that we’re actively… There was never, in our conversations about the show… It never comes up as a statement or a feminist statement necessarily.
Adri: But I guess it’s implied, in a way. It just is what it is.
Karley: By saying it’s a sex show “For girls”, normally when you make something about sex you’re doing it to titillate or tantalize for a male audience. But we’re not trying to be sexy, we’re not trying to turn anyone on. I’m glad you got the nice thing. I don’t want anyone to ever think we’re making fun of these people. We want to humanise them, and realize that they can laugh at themselves too. I think they’re looking to laugh at the show as well.
Adri: We don’t want to make fun of people, even though that’s very much the style… Maybe I should word that differently…
Karley: It’s not about poking fun at people.
Adri: Or about poking fun at the situation or anything. I think it’s more about poking fun at ourselves while being smart about it at the same time.
Karley: Learning about other people.
P: So what’s the fifth episode about? Are we allowed to know?
Karley: Remember the girl at the end of episode four? Mistress Amanda Whip who is the dominatrix giving her expert opinion on why guys like to drink pee? So we do a tour of her and her house where showed us all her sex toys and what they do and how to hurt people and we haven’t done the rest of it but the idea is to go to a dungeon situation and she’s going to teach me how to abuse people properly.
Adri: The right way.
Karley: With love!
Adri: I’m excited.
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