For Leonard Koren, founder of WET magazine, bathing is a philosophy. We decided to pay homage to his fascinating legacy by launching our own Bathing Interview series. We met with ADULT magazine co-founders Sarah Nicole Prickett and Berkeley Poole to talk about nakedness, vacations, quietude, and illumination — and of course eroticism and their upcoming ADULT second issue. If New York is not the best place to bathe, it is the best place to feel sexy.
Do you shower or do you bath?
Berkeley: I took baths a lot more before I moved to New York.
S: Yeah, in New York I think you’re very lucky if you have a bathtub you feel comfortable bathing in. Mine is populated mostly by cats. But a bath is one of my favorite things. I’m very relaxed in water generally. A bath or a swimming pool at night.
B: That’s what I miss most about Toronto. The pool hopping…
S: You know what it is, pool-hopping? After a bar at 2am or 3am, if you’re drunk or high, you would bike with your friends, and you would go to one of the public swimming pools, which had usually closed at 8 or 9 at night, and you would take off your shoes and climb the fence and incur a small injury or two, and then swim until you were sober enough to bike home. And every once in a while the police would come and everyone would get a ticket.
B: But I never got one.
Do you enjoy being naked?
S: It depends on the context I guess. I like to be naked in certain situations of course.
B: I sleep naked.
S: Mostly, or I sleep in underwear. Um, I usually can’t eat naked, and I can’t work naked, but I can lie around and do nothing naked. Uh, I guess it’s a case of not mixing business with pleasure.
What’s your ideal bath in: the ocean, the sea, or at night, or in the east river? With people, by yourself?
B: Hmm, that’s tough. I think in a lake, the lake is the most calm.
S: Being from Ontario, lakes are more common. We didn’t grow up next to an ocean. I have very strong memories of going late at night, when I lived near the lake water in the west end of toronto, and going and swimming at night. Night swimming is my favorite activity. You have to be alone I think.
B: Well it’s funny because night swimming is always terrifying at first because you have this irrational fear of things lurking in the water, and then as soon as youre over it, it’s like, this is actually very relaxing.
S: It’s really the truest meaning of the color black. Like you’re just totally submerged. This makes me want to go home, which is not a feeling that I ever have.
Tell me about the influence of WET magazine on Adult? Was it a reference? How so?
S: Well because I think we both wanted — although neither of us are American, or perhaps because of that fact — we were interested in doing a magazine that would be in and/or revive the American erotic tradition which is located mostly in the 70s, so we look at Viva magazine— I actually looked at a lot of copies of Viva, it’s a glamorous women’s magazine. Anna Wintour worked there, as a stylist. It’s great, they would have the amorous astrologer, a lot of columns on swinging. You don’t see that so much in women’s magazines now, it’s not so pleasurable. Even sex is very routinized. It’s about beating the levels art sex — there’s like beginner, advanced, master, whatever.
B: Well I think the spirit of WET really appealed to us, because it felt really authentic and fun and loose. There wasn’t a lot of rigidity in the design or in the photos or writing, and I think that’s what appealed to us the most, and that’s what we aim to do with Adult.
Tell us about the new issue. I heard the theme is… Necrophagia?
S: Not entirely, yes and no. On the back of the magazine we reprinted this necro-card, which was made by some old punk jack-of-all-trades named Stewart Homes. Our managing editor found him, and he had made this necrocard and printed it in a zine, and had distributed it himself in the ‘90s. It was very ‘70s design though, and we redesigned it a little bit and we printed it on the back of our magazine so people could cut it out and carry it in their wallets instead of being an organ donor, you could be a body donor, and anyone could use your body after death. Again, though, for this card to carry any validity, you’d have to live in one of those six or seven states.
S: But even where it’s illegal, it doesn’t usually have a heavy sentence. It’s not a federal offence, which is interesting. A lot of other things involving the violation of bodies or the destruction of bodies are a federal offence. But maybe it’s an old religious belief that when you die it’s no longer property.
S: No, it’s true! The American state is very interested in protecting property, but when you die… I don’t know. I think it must have something to do with religion. It’s a very Christian nation. There weren’t any rules about [necrophilia] because it was unimaginable to anyone that someone would do that, or because they truly believed that the person no longer resided in the body at all, that it was only a temporary home and afterward the person was in heaven, so it didn’t matter what you did to the abandoned husk.
Do you think, actually, that text is a good approach to eroticism? Other than photography?
S: Yes, of course, because it was my first approach to pornography. I mean we’re from the last generation that can remember a time before the internet. I feel like there’s a very particular age that we are, it’s like we reached a certain level of maturity, of reading comprehension, we could read whole novels, watch films, do all this stuff, and do this without the Internet. And for all these people, including us, the internet changed the way we did all of those things, how we watch movies, how we consume text and so on and so on, but I have very crisp memories of being a child, even an early teenager, and reading in a cornfield under the covers at night, going to the library because we had strict parents and I wasn’t allowed to watch movies at that time. We didn’t have the Internet until after other people, and the library was the only place where I was sort of free to roam, because… what could you do wrong in a library? Of course I would go to the romance section and read all these trashy soft cover novels… and when we did get the internet I was obsessed with erotica, and would go into chat rooms, and, you know, and I would be Ashley or Veronica, like a model/waitress. [Laughs]. I was pretty innocent in these activities. Even in those chat rooms, anything below the belly button I was lost without a compass. But anyway, for me, even the act of reading something that isn’t sexy or erotic necessarily at all—in content or in intent— is like, sometimes I’ll be home and read something in the afternoon, and it always makes me feel like being sexy. It’s so associative for me. That time of day, light, being in a bed, all of that, I don’t know. So the answer is yes, to whatever you asked. I don’t know, what do you think?
B: Well I think also being such a visual person, a lot of times visuals can be kind of a let down, especially when it comes to porn or sexy imagery. Just because the images are so prescriptive and also they are just sexy in a way that I didn’t feel appealed to me. I could see why it was supposed to, but it wasn’t quite working. So I guess that’s why text would appeal to me more, because it lets your mind wander, in terms of the imagery, more than a photo does.
The last part of the bathing interview, you know what it is.
B: Tell us.
S: Oh my God, we both die.
Uh no, you run naked through the terrace. That’s the last part.