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Stretch To Sex Jams & Make Porn Prints At This Pop-Up Holiday Show

By Mae Rice in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 13, 2016 8:15PM

Image via Shop Sensual organizers.

Winter is the sexiest, thirstiest time of year, at least according to Love, Actually, which I watched yesterday. (The people in that movie are always like, "Because it's Christmas, let's make out. And seduce our best friend's wife and our married boss!") In Chicago, you can celebrate this erotic season without disrupting any monogamous marriages—unless, of course, ethical non-monogamy is your thing—thanks to a pop-up event this weekend: Shop Sensual.

Produced by artists Leah Ball and Chelsea Ross, both of whom have worked on a jewelry line and portrait project called Feminist as Fuck [ed note: some NSFW photos at that link] alongside cultural producer Kristen Kaza, the event kicks off on Friday and runs through Sunday at Humboldt Park's Reunion (2557 W. North Ave.).

It starts with an erotic art market on Friday, with jewelry from Cities in Dust and Ball's own line, harnesses from GNAT, and more. The kick-off party will also feature sexy poems and "lounge and pile vibes" (I'm imagining some sort of non-chair seating arrangement).

The point, according to Ball, is to celebrate all things femme, pleasurable and sensual at a time when many of us can forget to do so, when we're busy bundling up in 10 layers of sweaters, finding gifts for our families and dealing with the stresses of the holiday season.

"I'm always interested in creating spaces where people can be truly expressive of who they are in a really authentic way," Ball told Chicagoist. "we felt like it would be really cool to centralize [a pop-up event] around the idea of sensuality. The holidays are so much about family and stress, and considering a lot of people are having hard conversations with their families right now, we wanted to create a place where people could feel really seen and appreciated in a community that's supportive and loving."

Ball, who, in addition to Feminist As Fuck, makes illustrations of feminine, nude figures masturbating, may be uniquely qualified to make this happen. ("I had always done illustrations of women, and it made sense to me to portray something that most people think of as taboo or secretive or shameful and try to show that it's actually erotic and beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of," Ball told us.) She said she and co-organizer Kaza tapped into their community of queer and femme-identifying local makers and asked them to contribute projects that explored the subjects of pleasure and the senses. Expect to find one-of-a-kind leather harnesses, wooden paddles and erotic poetry at the pop-up this weekend.

"We're most excited about creating a space to be affirming and also community building, rooted in the femme, sensual, and intuitive realm," Ball said.

In addition to a market, there will be three classes, each $15 a pop, spread over the course of the weekend. There's a slow jams yoga class led by Lauren Ash, co-founder of Party Noire, on Sunday afternoon, and an erotic art-making class where guests can make prints from feminist form, led by Ball.

Learn more at the pop-up's website or its Facebook page.