I quickly discovered two things. First, that Flawless was alive and kicking it on 72nd Street, right off Central Park, where she'd been since the late sixties. And second, that she wended through the last fifty years of American history like a queer Forrest Gump, touching Edie Sedgwick and William Burroughs, Bobby Kennedy and Jackie O., L.A. in the 70s, Paris in the 80s, and New York always and forever. It wasn't she who needed the archive, I realized, but rather, we who needed an archive devoted to her: the poor Jewish kid from "coal dust South Philly" whose legacy was as important as it was invisible.
Israel Oka was 22 years old when he started doing sex work—a mixture of professional domination, erotic massage, and escorting. He’d been “working a minimum wage job at a movie theater” at the height of the Great Recession. Eventually, a dominatrix friend inspired him to consider sex work as a way to make ends meet. “It started off as supplementary income,” about a $100 a week, Oka said. Sometimes, this gave him the financial resources to pursue other interests, like political activism. Other times, it was survival sex work, helping him get by when he was homeless.
At various points she's been a clown, a juggler, and a freak; nowadays she's the slack-rope-walking, stilt-striding, shit-stirring ringleader of the free, mostly-annual political spectacle known as Circus Amok,