Tag Archives: Cheryl Cohen Greene

Berkeley sex surrogate: ‘My work is like cooking school’

Cheryl Cohen Greene
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Just in time for Oscar season, Cheryl Cohen Greene — the Berkeley-based certified sex surrogate whose relationship with the polio-stricken writer Mark O’Brien forms the basis of the indie crowd-pleaser The Sessions — has a new memoir, An Intimate Life: Sex, Love, and My Journey as a Surrogate Partner (Soft Skull Press). Here she talks with San Francisco magazine’s Nina Martin. Cohen Greene will be reading Tuesday, Jan. 29, at 7 pm at Books Inc. on Fourth St. in Berkeley.

How did you decide that you wanted to do your own version of the story?
The timing with the movie was somewhat coincidental. I had been writing a book for many years [but it got derailed for various reasons, including the death of her collaborator at the time]. Eventually I found [Oakland-based coauthor] Lorna Garano, who is fabulous.

Meanwhile, [the movie’s director/screenwriter] Ben Lewin, who had polio as a child, had read Mark’s essay [On Seeing a Sex Surrogate, 1990]. It touched him so deeply and he decided to make a movie. Ben and I met [in the mid 2000s], and then for three years I didn’t see him. We talked occasionally on the phone. His wife Judi, whom I adore, said to me, “Get on his case. We have to make some money, but I want him to write this.” They actually re-mortgaged their home to finance the movie. They sold jewelry. For them, making this movie was an act of love. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

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DAY OF THE DEAD  The 1400 block of Shattuck in North Berkeley will be the center of this year’s Dia de los Muertos celebration Friday night. Join dozens of people walking in a candlelight procession as they honor those who have passed on. There will be a community altar from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. and the procession runs from 7:45 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. There will be free face painting, mariachis, Aztec dancers, fire dancers, food trucks and a beer and wine garden. Comal, the Mexican restaurant on Shattuck Ave., will also be holding a Dia de los Muertos themed evening.

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