This week we 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. As if that wasn’t enough, you can check out Karley’s top 5 favorite sex scenes in movies 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 like, “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 like, everything is pink and glittery. It was kid of like that idea where we’d talk about current events but the current events were like, “We have a new roommate!” And [Adri] was like, “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 or something, 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 cos 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. What does that even?… 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 wont 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. 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…
Karley: You had a new intern and you were like, “Can you please research wether or not drinking pee is good or bad for you?Whether or not it’s legal to be married to more than one person at the same time”
Adri: I literally had a 28-year-old guy intern and I didn’t realize how uncomfortable it was for him. I was like, “Can you please research the ten following BDSM terms and email them back to me at the end of the day.”
P: So how did you pick those two guys out of everyone you have contact with?
Karley: Those were probably the two guys I’m closest to. There was another guy that I was sending emails with over a long period of time but those are the two people that I liked most, and it was interesting because even though we have this power play relationship where I was like humiliating them or degrading them, I actually really liked both of those guys and our relationship kind of extended beyond that power dynamic. Sometimes Book Bitch would email and be like, “I got a new job” and I’d be like, “Oh my God cool,” and then he’d be like, “This is a picture of my dick, in the bathroom at my new job.”
P: What was it like to have someone drink your pee?
Karley: Well sometimes I do that for money, now, but at the time I had done it before a few times with this dominatrix I work with but that was the first time… I dunno it was weird…
Adri: It was one of the first times you actually did it.
Karley: It was one of the first times I actually did it so I was nervous. It’s funny cos when you watch all the raw footage so you can see I’m nervous about it.
Adri: You’re also nervous about meeting him.
Karley: So I’m just nervous. But I think it’s like anything where you become desensitized to something, so the more you do it the less it seems weird. The first time you watched it you’re like, “That’s gross” and the more you watch it you dont even care anymore. So I think at the beginning it was something that was weird for me but now it feels like, I guess, “Who cares?” Right? But I was nervous and I was also nervous because it’s easy to get pee shy especially when there’s a camera crew. And it was awkward because I couldn’t go… Well there were some bits edited out… Should we talk about that or not?
Adri: Sure, if you want…
Karley: Actually what happened was that I peed at first into his mouth and then they were like you can’t have that on our site because it’s illegal, they said.
Adri: Apparently there’s some law where you can’t show someone peeing into someone’s mouth, it’s like worse than porn.
P: But isn’t there porn where that happens…?
Adri: Yeah there is but I think that’s…
P: Is it fake? Can you show people peeing in general?
Karley: You can show people peeing next to the mouth.
Adri: The thing is, I guess, in episode four you see Sissy Sarah drinking a glass of Karley’s pee, like, is that pee real? We could very well argue that it’s not, but it is, do you know what I mean? It’s kind of like a weird mind game between whoever is putting these laws out and how we’re producing the episodes.
Also, it was intense, and I don’t think it was necessary because it just took away from everything, Like, it just took away from their relationship and the build up to going to London, meeting him. You also see at the begining of episode three before she meets Book Bitch we literally go through their entire relationship, like emails, photos, videos; you know? Then she just gets there and pees on him? It’s like, what did we learn here? This guy you’ve been talking to for three years and you just peed on him and made him leave. Which is not what happened, you guys actually had a real conversation. There so many ways to edit things out to make it completely different, like the first edit of episode three was just very superficial in a way. You didn’t show that you cared for him, but you knew that you did and I knew that you did so we were like let’s do this the way it’s supposed to be and not like, pee on him.
P: There’s something very Louis Theroux about it.
Karley: That’s actually the best compliment I’ve ever gotten.
Adri: That is the biggest compliment ever.
Karley: I love him so much, I also think he’s the hottest guy on earth.
P: He approaches it from a really unassuming place and it’s similar with you where people seem to feel really comfortable and at ease around you. Except for maybe that Crunc Tesla guy. He was weird.
Adri: Oh my God. Dude, like…
P: It was so awkward when one of the wives left and you were like, “What is happening”…
Karley: I know that wasn’t even fake that was real. Then she was like, “I’m not signing a release you can’t use any of my footage”, because I think she was embarrassed. Cos she went, and then he treated her like shit. He was like, “Well, we’re not even married.”
P: Was he high?
Karley: He smoked like 50 blunts when we got there! We couldn’t start filming because he was smoking for like an hour.
Adri: And it was also so stressful because we got there and it was so awkward and the two girls were like, “Oh my God when I first met Crunc he was like, so beautiful.” We couldn’t tell if it was real or not real or like what was going on and we realized that it was mentally real but none of them actually…
Karley: They all thought he was really cool.
Adri: They all think he’s amazing!
Karley: He’s kind of famous, I think.
Adri: They were like, “His music videos are so rad, have you heard his new ‘Vampire Killers’ single?” and I was like I have no idea what you’re talking about, but yes. And he showed up and literally he showed up with like, 15 dudes.
Karley: Like, an entourage.
Adri: Like a crew of people.
Karley: And then he go so high, and we were like, “We have to film now cos we’ve been here for 3 hours”. [Adri] tried to put a mic on him and he was like “No, you cannot put a mic on me, it’s messing with my aura.”
Adri: I was like, “Well if you don’t want to wear a microphone, I can’t hear you. I cannot hear anything you say.” Then afterwards I realized that it didn’t matter because he made no sense. I kept trying to put it on his chin and he was like, “Don’t, my aura’s going to get totally fucked if you touch my necklace.” I was like, “You’re insane actually.” Then he wanted to keep his camera rolling because he was convinced that… Was it that the CIA was after him? Like the CIA was after him or something…
Karley: He was so insane. Then we thought maybe he was homeless because he kept asking us to buy him food. We were like yeah we can buy you some food but we can’t buy you multiple meals.
Adri: We had to buy him and his entire crew food.
P: So with people like that do you just get tips emailed to you of weird sex shit that’s going on and he was one of the people you just discovered that way?
Karley: Well I actually discovered him because my lesbian roommate was like, one of his wives as a joke because she thought he was so funny. But she actually developed a weird online relationship with him to the point where she was one of the top wives. She had a special name, it was like Amanda Queen of Downtown, Goddess of Friendship and Breast Feeding. She created her own name!
Adri: But apparently he’s really cool and everyone really likes him. We had fun I guess, but at that moment it felt really tragic because it was just like, he was so stoned, the girl was freaking out, she was embarrassed, she started crying at some point.
Karley: It was like an abusive relationship. He was bad. I didn’t want to say that being in a polyamorous relationship was bad because of him, we wanted to get it across that he’s bad, but not all these are bad. But I think a lot of them probably are bad, because what kind of woman wants to be in a relationship where they’re… I dunno… Multiple women, one man… You’ve got to be brainwashed a little bit right?
P: Did you get to hear anything about any of the women’s backstories? Like where they’ve come from or if they’ve dealt with any hardship in their lives?
Karley: I don’t know. One of them was an actress… Wait they were both actresses.
P: I thought I’d seen her in a movie or something!
Adri: They were all musicians and actors and stuff like that.
Karley: I think they see him as someone who is successful and cool and they want to be around him. We were like, “What have you gotten out of him?” and she was like, “Well he put me in a music video.” I think they want to be associated with him and then maybe are sleeping… I don’t really understand what’s going on with the relationships. Then we were like, “What are you getting out of this?” to him, and one of his things was, “Well, when you’ve got girlfriends in every city and you go on tour, you never have to pay for a hotel.”
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? Cos [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 is 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: With Crunc Tesla, you set up a situation, and he just sort of… Did it to himself. He made us laugh at him, not you.
Karley: We weren’t trying to make fun of him. But if you’re like, the most awful person on planet, there’s no way of editing around the fact that you’re evil and make no sense.
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.