The Sell Your Body Show
Houston’s Britt Vasicek is putting Baudelaire’s most infamous quip into action
I like to think I’m special and different, but I’m reminded frequently that I am not; to wit, when I met Houston-based comedienne, performer, artist and producer Britt Vasicek — among many things, the founder of the Sell Your Body Show — I couldn’t help but open with exactly the question I’m sure everybody who interviews her about the show opens with: what’s with the name?
“What is art? Prostitution.” — Charles Baudelaire
If I were a cleverer person, I’d have had that quote from Baudelaire ready to go before sitting down with Britt — I did not, but better late than never, I suppose.
That Baudelaire quote is a bit like a pop song that gets stuck in your head — it’s deceptively simple, but has enough punch to metaphorically lift its own needle and reset itself, over and over… what, really, is the difference? What is prostitution, even?
For the record, Google kicked back: the practice or occupation of engaging in sexual activity with someone for payment.
Fortunately, Britt has spent much more time (literally years) pondering these things than I have.
“Where the title [Sell Your Body Show] came from… now, this is a very corny story,” she warns (it isn’t) as she attempts to lounge in a chair I pulled from the office kitchenette into my office. She attempts for a few seconds, then matter-of-factly and without fanfare gives up because it can’t be done in that flimsy, shitty little chair, and returns to the origin story again perched, as one does on a terrible little chair.
“I was like 20, and my car had broken down. It was the alternator, and I didn’t have the money to fix that. I was living in a heroin house at the time, though not doing any heroin — a long story in itself — and my best friend, Kendall, came over and brought me chicken nuggets (back when I still ate meat), and we both cried about my car. And then I was just like, ‘I’m going to start selling my body,’ and she was like ‘why don’t you just throw a show?’”
Every artist has been there — Britt would probably fare better on the corner than I would, based solely on looks and raw sensuality, but the central theme is relatable, maybe even universal: every creative who wasn’t born into wealth or patronage has had at least a few of those sell-your-body moments.
‘Fuck this — this is crazy. Can I just fuck for money? Anything would be easier than this…’
And, despite having no event-organizing experience, what resulted was a truly unique and special event — the first-ever Sell Your Body Show.
“I had done little shows up until then, but because I had told everyone that loves me and knows me, ‘this is to raise money for my alternator — I really need the money — I am going to die, going to lose my job — we packed this tiny little shack that had a pole in it, and it was the middle of the summer in Houston, and the AC goes out right before the show — it was the hottest, sweatiest, most disgusting night of anyone’s life. Everyone was, like, dying… but they stayed.”
August 18, the Sell Your Body Show, now in its ninth iteration, returns to The Secret Group featuring comedic crests like the deep-throat contest and a ‘strip comedy’ competition set against truthful, often heartrending tales from creators, entertainers and artists.