Everything But The Pussy

Kurt Vonnegut, Wide Open Beavers, Goodbye Blue Monday

Kurt Vonnegut’s infamous wide-open beaver doodle from Goodbye Blue Monday

Once upon a New York evening, I went to a friend’s backyard BBQ and housewarming party on the Upper West Side (who knew anyone even had backyards in Manhattan? I sure didn’t!). The party, food and people were great and all, but let me get to the chase.

Somewhere between a burger and a hot dog, while drinking my whiskey, I started talking to a guy by the bar. He was apparently new to New York. Had moved here from California a few months ago and was looking for “some fun.” Pretty quickly the conversation veered in the direction of fetish parties. I thought it was odd and amusing that this guy somehow knew to talk to me about these things when we were just hanging out at a vanilla party and there was seemingly no cue to bring this up. But I decided to help him out and (having had a few drinks) get on my “let me tell you a thing or two about fetish parties!” high horse. In fact, I was a little proud of the fact that I knew exactly where to go and what to do when it came to the fetish/kink/sex party-scene in New York and had that whole world mapped out in my head. Continue reading

Paulo Coelho on Sexual Deviance

While reading Bo Blaze‘s book, I was reminded of this passage I loved from Paulo Coelho‘s Veronika Decides to Die, which I read some time ago. So I thought I’d post it for you here, too. Hope he (Paulo, that is) won’t mind that I copied a whole two pages out of his material, I do love his work ever so much. Reading a sixth book of his (11 Minutes) now.

Here is the text:

“In his dissertation on Vitriol, he would have to include a long chapter on sex. After all, so many neuroses and psychoses had their origins in sex. He believed that fantasies were electrical impulses from the brain, which, if not realized, released their energy into other areas.

During his medical studies, Dr. Igor read an interesting treatise on sexual deviance, sadism, masochism, homosexuality, coprophagy, coprolalia, voyeurism—the list was endless.

At first, he considered these things examples of deviant behavior in a few maladjusted people incapable of having a healthy relationship with their partners. As he advanced his profession as psychiatrist, however, and talked to his patients, he realized that everyone has an unusual story to tell. His patients would sit down in the comfortable armchair in his office, stare hard at the floor, and begin a long dissertation on what they called “illness” (as if he were not the doctor) or perversions (as if he were not the psychiatrist charged with deciding what was and wasn’t perverse). Continue reading

Viewer Discretion Advised

Bushwick Burlesque, Darlinda Just Darlinda, BUshwick, burlesque, Bizarre, sideshow

Scary Ben and Darlinda Just Darlinda at their Bushwick Burlesque show.

(A.K.A.: How my friends put on an anniversary Burlesque show in Brooklyn).

So I went to the two-year anniversary of the Bushwick Burlesque show (the one I was talking about in my Two Cents on Twerking post) at Bizarre last Tuesday and it fucking killed. I mean, they always kill. But somehow they manage to kill even more each time. It’s a variety show, granted, but I haven’t seen range quite like theirs at many other shows. Having gone there religiously for most of the past two years. I have seen some of the best burlesque, creepiest sideshow acts, ridiculous absurdity and gorgeous dirt there. Scary Ben, who in his expertly moustached clown get-up runs the show with New York burlesque queen (and his fiancée) Darlinda Just Darlinda, was once describing the spectacle to a friend as “exuberant filth.”

I completely agree. “I LOVE exuberant filth!” I squealed at the time (and then proceeded to add it as a fetish on FetLife. Hey guys, you should join me!) It’s that and then some. TimeOut New York billed the show as, “inspired alt-ecdysiast shenanigans.” The Village Voice has previously dubbed Darlinda Just Darlinda, who I’ve been watching perform (read: stalking) since 2006, as “the mastermind of bizarre extravaganza,” a title she proudly and rightfully wears.

And as if their own acts of absurdist revelry weren’t enough, the show usually brings together international burlesque stars, boylesque eye candy, sideshow performers, clowns, drag queens, blues singers, comedians, fire performers, sword swallowers and other stage delights that don’t even lend themselves to classification.  Continue reading

That Was Hot, This is How

Bo Blaze, 50 Shades of Curious, Fifty Shades of Grey, E.L. James

50 Shades of Grey has taken the country by storm, now Bo Blaze is here to tell you how it’s done (and not done) in his guide on BDSM for beginners.

Piggybacking off the popularity of “Fifty Shades of Grey,” which has sold over 70 million copies worldwide, Bo Blaze, an alternative life coach on the kink scene in New York, recently published his similarly titled “50 Shades of Curious”—a BDSM guide for beginners. Even though the book is meant for novices, I’d highly recommend it to anyone at any stage of their kinksploration, as we could all use a refresher or two on how to practice kink and alternative relationships safely and ethically.

Bo, who has traveled around America teaching kink and alternative lifestyles at universities and conferences, reminds readers that BDSM is a contact sport. While it doesn’t always have to hurt or involve some sort of hitting or methods of torture, it most often does. “I don’t think I’m exaggerating here when I say: your partner’s life is in your hands,” he writes. And while the chances that you’ll actually kill someone with BDSM (the blanket term for bondage, discipline and sadomasochism, where the middle “DS” part also stands for dominance and submission) play are unlikely, they’re still there. Continue reading

What’s in a Name?

Have you ever blacklisted a name because of a bad experience you had with someone by that name? I know I have. But it’s probably not particularly reasonable when it comes to common names like John, Mike or Bob, right? Cause then you’d basically be eliminating half of the (English-speaking) male population.

Afterthoughts on the House of Yes Raid

I know I’m a month late, and several bucks short, on this one, but I wanted to share some thoughts on the House of Yes raid last month. The House of Yes, as many of you know, was that popular underground performance and event space in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick that was home to aerialists, burlesque shows, sideshow performers, clowns and many a dance party. The space was already slated to close at the end of last month, as the landlord had doubled the rent on the performers that were living there and they, not being able to afford it, opted to pack their bags and seek another such space elsewhere.

But a strange thing happened a few days in advance of the venue’s clothing. The space got raided on August 16, when a plain-clothed police officer had entered the very popular Vitamin B party there on a Friday night and saw alcohol being sold without a license, among other transgressions. A few of my friends got taken to jail and spent anywhere from a few hours to a day there. Not fun, I imagine. Continue reading

Cognitive Resonance

Speaking of psychology, I’ve been reading more about cognitive dissonance lately. You know, that uncomfortable feeling you get when you experience or witness something that conflicts with the beliefs and values you’ve always held to be true. I’m sure we’ve all experienced this at some point. It’s part of living and discovering new things.

But something occurred to me the other day: what about cognitive resonance? Is this a term that’s out there or would that just refer to your normal day-to-day state, where what you experience matches up with what you believe, so there is no need to call it anything?

What I’m thinking about here, specifically, is that state of feeling somewhat “high” or lightheaded when looking at a painting, or a piece or architecture, or the description of its history, or a piece of literature, that seem to really resonate with what you think/believe/hope for; with some kind of universal truth, if such a thing exists. It happens to me all the time, when I’m reading or in a museum. Does this happen to anyone else? Or am I imagining things here?

p.s. I’ve Googled “cognitive resonance,” of course. Nothing much turns up except for a band called that.

Are men really from Mars?

What is it that, seemingly, makes women more open minded about gender and sexuality (and many other things) than men?

When I was dating a trans woman, I told my mom and not my dad. I didn’t think he would understand or approve. K, who’s the subject of my latest profile and a trans sex worker, also told her mom about both things, but not her dad for the same reason as me.

In general, the women in my life seem to be more understanding and supportive of the alternative things in my life than are my male friends (at least when it comes to the straight, non-alternative lifestyle people).

So what is it? Some sort of gene or chromosome that women have and men don’t? Or is it just social conditioning: the fact that men have been culturally set up to act macho and maintain the status quo.

I’m sure there is some research on this somewhere in psychology. Related: I need to read/learn more psychology.

Playing with Fire

rock climbing, maui, mountains, crater

K had long blue hair and was, seemingly, presenting as a girl when we first met. That’s been replaced by a crop of short bright red hair since K began transitioning towards male territory. I say “towards” because K is not going all the way there. K doesn’t fully identify as female or male anymore. As such, she now prefers to use the neutral pronoun “they.”

And they look gorgeous in either incarnation.

I can’t include photos of K’s actual face (or name) with this article due to the legal issues here, so you’ll have to just trust me on this. Chances are, if you’ve ever met them, you already do. For one thing: they once got mistaken for Ariel, from Disney’s Little Mermaid by a young girl at the airport.

Ariel, The Little Mermaid, Disney

Ariel and K: separated at birth?

K says that they never felt comfortable fully identifying as female, so they decided to start transitioning this year by taking injections of testosterone. K says they want to look androgynous, not masculine. They are taking a lower dose of testosterone than trans men who want to go all the way usually do and are planning to stop eventually.  “The problem is that you can’t pick and choose the changes that happen,” K says. When I talked to K, I mentioned that the trans men I’ve met previously had acquired Adam’s Apples. K didn’t know about this, but they say the lower dose of Testosterone should work.

“Gender is a spectrum,” K says. “You can identify as female or male or both or neither and most people don’t know that there is anything in between.” Personally, I know that gender is a spectrum. I often find masculine traits in myself. My last serious relationship was with a trans woman (i.e. someone who was born a man, but transitioned to a woman) who had retained a penchant for activities I’d consider masculine, such as engineering, construction and technology. I’ve met drag queens who like to dress up as women to parties, but are regular professional straight men in their daily lives. And while gender may indeed be a spectrum, the choice to actually transition is a bold one. And in K’s case, it’s even bolder, as they are still working as a female escort while transitioning.

Continue reading