City Pulse

By Jennifer Wright

A vast variety of novels – from Atonement to, say, The Thornbirds – will offer up a saucy, steamy sex scene for their readers. But what if you don’t want to wade through a hundred odd pages of description before getting to that scene? What if you don’t really need to know about the heroine’s tormented childhood, or the secret double identity of the hero? There are times when the furtive longing so often seen in romances just isn’t going to cut it. Fortunately, the bordello-turned-bar Happy Endings Lounge in the lower East Side is serving up something a little spicier with their In The Flesh erotic reading night (although they also serve something sweet, in the form of free candy and cupcakes).

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The bar – a former erotic massage parlor which offered happy endings of a very different kind – was recently voted the “Best New Bar and Lounge” by Time Out New York and manages to be both decadent and kitschy, with shower heads and former saunas juxtaposed with red velvet booths and martinis. While the bar is worth visiting anytime, it’s particularly popular on the third Thursday of each month, when the In The Flesh reading series occurs. The series welcomes “eroticism of all stripes, spots and textures.” As such, authors read everything from raunchy smut to bittersweet memoirs. The In The Flesh blog notes that all authors though, regardless of their subject matter, are “required to get naked on the page.”

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The event lends a great deal of exposure to its readers who range from nude models to famed bloggers to popular erotica writers. In The Flesh is hosted by the saucy Rachel Kramer Brussel who wrote the Lusty Lady column for the Village Voice, and has been featured in over a dozen erotica anthologies (those looking to learn the craft, and perhaps even perform at the readings themselves, might also find her erotica writing workshops helpful). With write-ups and recommendations of the series from sources ranging from the New York Times to Nerve.com to Dr. Ruth, the event offers something for everyone and, should you choose to attend, it will hopefully leave you lusting for more.

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What: In The Flesh Reading Series
When: Third Thursday of every month, 8pm
Where: Happy Ending Lounge, 302 Broome St., Ground Floor

Originally published November 2007
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