ATALANTA, the Building

"Babies in carriages take to me instantly," Ms. Byrd said, leaving the salon as a blonde a shade beyond beach. "I think it’s because they were conceived while their parents were watching my show. Dogs love me, too. I’m like an old friend because when people fall asleep with me on TV, the dog is still watching."

robin byrd in the nytimes, c. 1996. watching her show— a manhattan public access program where she interviewed adult entertainers and screened low-budget ads of them dancing wearing riot cop / babylonian / bdsm gear—  is one of the first times i can remember being secretive. i’d sit in the basement of my dad & his girlfriend’s apartment, sound turned down, looking at the door nervously every time i heard a bump behind the walls. i wasn’t sexually excited by the show at all, & i don’t think that was the point— i think the point was to present an on-screen utopia where sex existed separately from shame. still, i knew i wasn’t supposed to be watching it. still, i find it impossible to take sex unseriously, despite the obvious vaudevillian undercurrents.