The UNLV Special Collections and Archives is pleased to introduce a new collecting initiative dedicated to preserving the history of sexual entertainment, culture, and economies in Southern Nevada and beyond. With the launch of the Sexual Entertainment and Economies Collection, UNLV will have the distinction of being one of the few universities in North America to house a designated sexuality collection. The goal is to become a leading repository for historical and contemporary collections documenting sexual entertainment and economies, including sex-tech entrepreneurs and adult industry trailblazers. The collecting initiative is a partnership between Special Collections and Archives and the UNLV Department of Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies.
Why Las Vegas and why UNLV?
Long before the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority coined the slogan, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” in 2003, sexual entertainment was a defining feature of the city’s core identity and an integral part of Nevada’s economy. In 1971, brothel prostitution was legalized in Nevada in counties with fewer than 700,000 residents. Gentlemen’s clubs and adult stores dot the Las Vegas landscape, and every January, the AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, one of the largest adult entertainment showcases in the world, comes to town. Few cities globally have garnered the reputation that Las Vegas has as an adult entertainment mecca.
As the most active repository for historical collections in the region, we are uniquely positioned to house Sexual Entertainment and Economies collections, taking as its focus an area of social and economic life that makes Las Vegas and the state of Nevada unique. This collecting area will join world-renowned collections on the history of gambling and gaming, significant collections documenting the entertainment history in the city, and the Oral History Research Center, which focuses on gathering the first-person histories of marginalized communities in the city and region.
The UNLV Libraries will launch this collection with a series of special events on Thursday, January 25, 2024. This includes an afternoon symposium featuring academic experts on sexual history, culture, and commerce and an evening reception and discussion with the collection’s inaugural donors. The launch coincides with the annual AVN Adult Entertainment Expo, an event that draws considerable national and international media attention.
To help launch the initiative, Special Collections and Archives has brought in collections to support research on sexual entertainment and economies.
Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano Papers on S.I.R. Productions
The Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano Papers on S.I.R. Productions (1981-2015) contain the personal and professional papers of Rednour and Strano, two lesbian filmmakers, writers, and activists from the 1990s until the 2010s. The collection contains the personal papers of both Rednour and Strano, including correspondence between the pair before they married in 2006. The collection also contains the professional files of Rednour and Strano in their capacity as creators of SIR (Sex, Indulgence, and Rock and Roll) Video in 1998. Materials include financial documents, correspondence, scripts and editing notes, crew information, publicity photographs, and direct order forms for S.I.R. Productions. In addition to records on SIR Video, the collection also contains a number of sex-positive and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) publications from the LGBTQ scene in San Francisco, California during the 1990s.
Do you have a collection you are interested in contributing to the collecting initiative? Contact Sarah Quigley (firstname.lastname@example.org), Director of Special Collections and Archives, or Dr. Lynn Comella (email@example.com), Professor and Chair of the UNLV Interdisciplinary, Gender, and Ethnic Studies Department.
If you are interested in supporting the initiative, you can make a tax-deductible donation through the UNLV Foundation (select the Sexual Entertainment & Economies Collection option when making your donation). If you have any questions or need assistance with donating, contact Heather Torgersen (firstname.lastname@example.org), College of Liberal Arts Senior Director of Development.