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Arousal wasn't meant to be known as the exhibit where some guy jerked off in front of everybody, but that's a little like saying the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal really wasn't about sex. Arousal was to be an exhibit in which Saturnalia could be celebrated and explored by artists and audience in a loft space known as the Monkey Building for its decorative façade. That loft space turned into the Monkey Room on a cold opening night last December. With erotic art exhibited throughout the two floors, the most arousing activities were impromptu -- as when a group of nude models, on hand for life drawing, became part of the crowd and mingled while still nude. Why, these are the sorts of things that happen in Greenwich Village or the Castro, never in St. Louis! But they did, to the extent that when Arousal had its official closing in January this year, the organizers toned the party down and everybody kept their clothes on. The jerk-off was banned, although, weeks later, he offered to become a columnist for the Riverfront Times.

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