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Penile Ponderings poster
     In a response to Eve Ensler's Vagina Monologues, Hershel Washington Chiu has written the powerful and moving, “Penile Ponderings.” Rather than talk to men about their penises, Chiu speaks directly to the penises to get their sense of life, love and the work-a-day world.

Q: What was the inspiration for "Penile Ponderings?"
A: "I am a big fan of Enseler's Vagina Monologues," Chiu said as he sipped a cup of Jasmine tea in his Manhattan apartment. "I was disappointed, however, that we never heard from the vaginas themselves only from their "owners." (At this point Chiu makes 'air quotes' with his fingers.) I felt the women's vaginas were victimized all over again as they were gagged in favour of their "masters" (makes air quotes again). To my mind (Jesus, again with the air quotes), it's like their vaginas had been transported back in time a hundred years; it was sad. How do I know that, just because (alright, can we stop with the air quotes?) that woman would dress her vagina in a pinafore that the vagina would want to wear it? Maybe, if you bothered to ask her vagina, it would rather wear something by, say, Donna Karan. You know, that little pinstripe number that tapers at the waist? But not the charcoal, the slate grey. I think the charcoal would clash with her vagina's eyes. I'm not speaking for her vagina, god knows; but neither can she! This is what led to my creating Penile Ponderings.
shy penis
"Surprisingly, the penises were very open though; some did not want their identity shown ..."
Q: Did you run across any problems or issues while making the production?
A: "For the production, I video-taped several penises, drawing from a wide selection of penii, penisees, whatever. Surprisingly, the penises were very open though; some did not want their identity shown so I had to do some after-production editing. In the videos I tried to let each penis speak for itself; I put no restrictions on what it could say or how it could say it."

Q: Were there any stories that particularly moved you?
A: "Yes, (Chiu pauses as he attempts to compose himself). Yes. Through unfortunate circumstances, a penis I spoke with became involved in the porn industry. The thing that was so moving was that this penis did not want to do porn, it wanted to do stage work and mainstream film. In particular, it wanted to do Richard the III at the Kennedy Center but the prejudices in our society relegated it to stud work."

Q: Do any other stories come to mind?
A: "Yeah, there was a particularly angry penis that had become extremely misogynistic. I believe this was primarily the result of fatigue and overwork."

Q: How so?
A: "Well, the man in question was not very popular with the ladies so he had a tendency to ... masturbate ... a lot. That being the case, the penis had very little time to itself and was working constantly. Fairly or unfairly, the penis blamed the man's lack of popularity and its fatigue on women."

Well, it sounds like a very exciting project and I look forward to seeing it.

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