Ashley Huizenga on Sex, Starvation, and Art
See also: Ashley Huizenga is an academic-minded singer and performance artist. She wants to get you off
Our music feature this week focuses on Ashley Huizenga, an L.A. musician and performance artist known for her academic-minded -- and also quite filthy -- shows under the guise of her alter ego Actually Huizenga.
Trained as a classical pianist, she creates epic '80s inspired dance scores that feature wailing guitar solos, shimmering synth sounds, and sexy lyrics like "You're top's off/Mine's coming off/You're giving it/I'm taking it/Who's driving this car?" Having recently shot the latest installment of her video series "Soft Rock" - in which she is literally boffed on camera -- she spoke with us about her monthly show at Cheetahs strip club in Hollywood, her upcoming solo album, and much more.
On her Kickstarter campaign:
I asked all my YouTube subscribers to donate to my Kickstarter. I tried to make each message personal but their name is a screen name so it's like "dear big cock xoxo help me make my dream come true."
On her last Craigslist ad:
I was trying to find a guitar shredder: "Master Guitar Shredder Wanted." Eight people responded, two said they were gonna come, and one showed up. My cousin escorted him -- he was over 50 -- and he came down into the basement. I had Traces of Death playing and a fog machine. Me and my friend Ryan were wearing black hoods and drinking. He came in and we were like 'hook up to the amp' -- this shitty little amp. And he hooked in and started shredding really seriously to Traces to Death. He wasn't weirded out by the fog. He liked it. He did it for like an hour. Afterwards, I had this honeydew melon with a knife in it and I opened it and fed it to him while he was playing like 'ding an ning a ding a ning'.
On British holding cells:
I got held at customs three different times for six to ten hours in prison. In the women's and kids section.
On why the Pompidou museum in Paris didn't put up a video she submitted:
I don't know what offended them so much. We cut out all the full on sex. There's one part where he's going down on me, and we just zoomed in. If there was a nipple, we zoomed into something else. Maybe it was the part where Renata got pushed against the tree. She and Peter were in the room in Arrowhead that has a tree in it. We lit it from above. Blue and white light. She had drank a little too much and we had been up all night the day before. That day we tied the boys to the trees, and we were whipping them. I had a rifle. No one was offended by that.The next day I shot Renata and Peter in the room with the tree. I told Peter to pretend like he was raping her. He didn't really have any clothes on exactly. He pushed her head into the tree. She was so drunk she started crying for real. She looked so sad. There's no nudity. Peter's body looks like a sculpture. He's blue.
On Big Foot:
It's really curious but it knows it has to hide.
On her first pornographic video and the Spartans:
I went to Greece for the first time to visit [my love interest] Socrates. His parents are from Greece. He was born in New York but he's 100% Spartan. They lived in caves for three hundred years because the Turks ruled Greece until the 1800's so the Spartans had all these caves -- they still have them. They preferred to live in caves than be ruled. I think that's why some Spartans look different.
I wanted to make a video for "Don't" so I'm lip synching while we're having sex. I thought it would be fun to lip synch during a sex scene. But it became something different than the music video. I was in New York -- New York is hard. I was living in this hippie house, this gigantic Victorian house in Prospect Park. I lived in the doctor's old office. It had a giant fireplace. There was a sex swing above the bed. Some crazy lesbians lived there before me.
I got kicked out of London because I had gotten stuck in the snowstorm last Christmas and overstayed my visa. So I decided to stay in New York cause I didn't want to come back to L.A. defeated. I edited Soft Rock then. It saved me.
They're born to survive. I love how they're scary.
On her marriage "performance":
It's a marriage scene that leads into a human sacrifice and some homoerotic stuff.
Who's getting sacrificed?
Who's getting homoerotic?
On the "sexual maypole" in her last video:
I directed a video for Late Night Guys -- my dad said "no videos to be shot here [in the family home] at all" I woke up at 6 am, got my hair and makeup done, and then the boys came over. We had to be out by 6 pm. We had all these really hot guys, and we had a sexual maypole around me. Abdi was lying up on the mantle with a kitten. We were eating ice cream outside. Everything was white outside and black inside. Pop but nice.
My stylist Devin he had this cool leather boustier with a hoop. I attached gold and black ribbon to these chains on the boys who were all wearing skimpy leather and lace outfits, and they went around me while I was singing. One boy was tied to a harp kind of like Busby Berkeley. My hair was all the way down to my knees, blonde.
On meeting Morrissey:
I didn't know he was coming [to the family house, which was for sale] - I only knew there was going to be a realtor. I was sitting outside by the pool looking at my texts. Someone came up behind me and -- in an English accent -- said "What is this?" It was Morissey, and he was pointing at our chicken coop. It doesn't have any chickens in it anymore so it looks especially strange. I looked at him and said "that's the chicken coop but the chickens died." I said "Possums ate them". He said "Interesting." I don't think he likes animal cruelty -- maybe that's why he didn't buy the house. He had on a plaid three-piece suit, just to go out in the day and look at a house.
I used to take care of the rabbits. I used to breed them. I wasn't supposed to. We had a lot until our Dobermans ate them. There are bunnies and dogs and cats and parrots buried all over this property. Most of them are just in the ground but Bowie, our first sphynx cat has a tomb and everything. He looked like a bat. He was old. My mom brought him down to the basement in a shoe box with flowers on him. We had a little funeral. You're not supposed to bury pets. It's against the law. You're supposed to make them into ashes. Our two Dobermans were named after our grandmothers. Dolly got hit by a car right outside. Marian died of cancer. We had to make them into ashes. They were too big. That's like putting a human out there. But there are lots of baby rabbits. We had a crazy rabbit named Snowball who lived for 7 years. She had rolls of fat. This little dwarf rabbit somehow mated with this giant white fatso and no one knew she was pregnant and she gave birth on this grate and her babies got stuck in the grate and she was eating them. If they don't want them they eat them.
On her feature film, Write A Book About It:
That was me capturing what I had in L.A. before I had to let it all go. I wanted to get rid of all my costumes. Leave this house.
On simulated sex:
I responded to a job ad and this guy said "So I'll give you 500 bucks but I'm gonna fake hit you." I thought "OK that's kinda funny." Then he was like "And I'm gonna simulate sex on you." I asked to see some references. I'm not gonna do that sort of thing if it's not my own project.
On her job hunt:
There was another guy who wanted to ship me to the woods outside of Portland for heavy metal illustration. He said "I'm gonna treat you like a princess for a whole week but you can't bring anyone else. We can go to the Ren Fair."
One guy said he had a warehouse full of wedding dresses. He said "try on as many wedding dresses as you want then pick one and I'm gonna tie you up in it. Then I'm gonna come over with my wife and take pictures of you. Is that cool?" He apparently makes films for Sundance about oil.
On her first Cheetahs show:
I wore my wedding outfit but as a stripper. I put my mic in my bouquet.
On British strippers:
Strippers in London -- not so great. They wear these strange fake gowns and then go to back rooms and just take them off. People don't tip cause they have pounds. So you only get paid for lap dances. There are some clubs where the girls have pint glasses. It's like alms for the poor.
On Bunnies and starving:
My mom [a former Playmate] put high heels on me when I was a baby, in her Playboy days when I was like one. Seventeen wanted her on the cover but she wouldn't cut her hair. So she came to L.A. The weird thing about modelling is - What do you do once you stop? My sister wants to do modeling but I told her to find something else. My mom told me how she had to starve. You can get into car accidents. That's why they say models are dumb. Cause they can't eat. They're starving! You can't think. I've tried not eating for a day and I can't think. I walk into walls. Some people get really angry. When I don't eat I get dizzy. I think it feels kind of good.
On Greece and high heels:
I was in Greece shooting for "Soft Rock." I was supposed to be on this mountain with these Satanist guys on a slab. I was falling down the cliff in my white stripper heels.
On Jeff Koons and Sex:
I like the gigantic billboards he did for his wife. Taking sexuality so far - it's funny but past funny. It's sexy but it has a sense of humor. So it's not offensive. It's a good way to relate to people -- to get a message across, through sex. It's not easy but it's the most fun way to show emotion. It's almost superficial but you're asking questions.
On the book she's reading:
He ends up killing his mother and raping his sister on a pile of corpses.
On that girl who got inside the horse:
It'd be kind of cool if someone wore you after you died.
On New York:
I got my wallet stolen then I got molested on the train -- everyone looked away. Then this cheerleader came up and gave me a hug.
On deciding not to be a professional athlete:
My dad trained me really hard. He wanted me to go to college for running. There were girls peeing their pants during our races. Then I got boobs. I didn't want to run professionally. I wanted to take art all the way.
I'm over 21 but I'm waiting for my manager to tell me how old I am. I was raised by old men in the woods. Ageism against women is annoying.
On Mae West:
Mae west lied about her age. She wrote plays abut everything -- homosexuality, prostitution... She got arrested. She wrote all her own scripts but they censored them so all her lines had to be innuendo. "It's not the men in my life it's the life in my men." Her plays were so sexual the police would come and arrest the entire cast. There's no record of it. She just made notes on napkins.
On modelling nude for Playboy:
My mom never got fully nude, which I think is kind of sad. I've seen her nude so many times. It's not that big of a deal. Especially if they're gonna retouch you and have nice lighting. Why not?
On her academic career:
I got in trouble a lot.
On her childhood:
I was a really sexual child.
On her teenage years:
They called me "chicken legs" and "spider". I didn't get boobs until my senior year. I didn't get my period until my senior year. I remember going to the mall and mothers would be like "That's what anorexia does to you" but I didn't even know what that was. I had braces. I was so embarrassed.
On David Bowie:
I didn't like boys -- only David Bowie. I had a Labyrinth party. The theme was a drinking game, I didn't know what that meant. I just found it online. No parents let their kids come so only one girl showed up who didn't even know it was a party. The game was you take a shot -- of water -- every time Sarah says crystal ball. The loser was the one who had to pee first.
On her first masturbation:
First time I masturbated was to David Bowie in Labyrinth.
On puberty and excitement:
I think there's a weird line where you're supposed to become an adult and you don't want it. I felt the most sexual when I was a child. All I thought of was touching and seeing peoples' bodies. Not in a gross way. I used to climb up a tree and let the dogs attack me. We'd get the Dobermans excited then run to the jacaranda tree before they bit us.
Everything is related to sex. The rules are always related to sex, against sex. Rules about movies, rules about society, the law, the side-saddle. They're trying to keep life in check and control nature. Control the female. It goes back to the rib. Too much emotion and too much power.
Homosexuality has always been there. Why does it have to be so singular? The media doesn't know how to represent love or homosexuality. I have never had a gay friend that acted like any gay character on TV.
Gays are really important in a relationship. Having gay friends makes a straight couple closer. Gay men can love a woman but they can't get a hard on. It's a different kind of love. Pure and interesting, and male. I've blushed with my gay friends. I'm not a fag hag. But we feel something special, something that almost makes us feel like we're going against our true selves.
On having sex:
When I'm having sex with someone it's totally different then when I'm hanging out with them. I don't feel like it's the same person. I'm thinking that I'm having sex -- it's everything. I'm not thinking about anyone. It's just that. When people say it's love they're associating happiness with love -- people should feel love but when they say 'love love love' they're not understanding what it means.
On Oscar Wilde:
Oscar Wilde loved his wife.
On dangerous affairs:
I've been the rebound. I've been the other woman -- I didn't even know until there was this crazy girl running after me.
I accidentally put someone in the hospital while making out. I jokingly threw this guy off me and he landed on a shot glass and cut the main thumb vein open. There was blood everywhere. We went to the emergency room. He had his arm in a sling that made him have a thumbs up for 3 months.
On old ideas:
Never go back.