Friday, December 28, 2012

What if Kate Spade designed a dungeon?

I was shopping for a wallet the other day. I'm one of those people who consider gray a color and the majority of my wardrobe is black with the occasional splash of color and that color is usually red. However, these days I keep leaning towards yellow. Bright, blinding, sunshiny yellow.

Cute right? I think my subconscious is rebelling against the overwhelming use of black and red in all things sexy and kinky. One of the reasons why I started blogging about this stuff was because I was frustrated with the seemingly limited visual vocabulary used in dungeons, clothes, websites, book covers... anything related to BDSM. If it was kinky, it was in black and red. I get it completely, both colors signify an after-hours sultriness. Black is sexy and dangerous, the color of leather. Red is bold and visceral, the color of blood.

Color is a tool for communication and one important aspect of branding is being able to "own" a color: Hermés orange, UPS brown, Tiffany blue. Halloween has orange and black. Christmas owns green and red. Sex seems to be red and black. But is that it? Is there room for a color palette that represents the vast spectrum that is human sexuality? The hanky code is a great example but seems to be limited to the bandana in the back pocket. I'm not personally into Littles, but at least they wear bright colors!

I always find it interesting that in most clubs if you are not in fetish wear the minimum requirement is to be in all black. What if my fetish is for tweedy English professors or jockeys? I've had this vision in my head of a dungeon that was on the top floor of a building, with huge floor to ceiling windows with sunlight streaming in and billowy white curtains flowing through open windows, and all my play parties would be on a Sunday afternoon, after brunch, and there would be Kir Royals and fresh flowers... but I digress.

Is someone wearing all pink automatically assumed to be channeling a little girl? Would a sadistic dominant wearing all bright green seem as authoritarian?

Writer Sarah Vowell told a story on This American Life about getting a "goth makeover". Part of the process was choosing a "goth name". Vowell chose Becky. Her stylists said that she had transitioned so past the obvious and went right into the heart of darkness. They called this being "in the pink".

I was once at a kink event and walking around the dungeon was a young man dressed completely in white. He seemed so much more transgressive and subversive than everyone around him. I also bet he could find his clothes in the dark faster than anyone else.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

K+C Holiday Gift Guide

One of my favorite part of the holidays (sadly) is the abundance of "gift guides". Here are some suggestions for the freak in your life. Or me.

This isn't kinky or anything. I just really like LCD Soundsystem and I think everyone should see this.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

American Horror Story

The first season of American Horror Story, tells the story of a contemporary, California family who happens to move into a house haunted by the ghosts of decades of gruesome murders. Throughout the series, a mysterious man in a black latex body suit appears as an ominous figure. Depending on who (or what) is wearing the suit, the Rubber Man goes back and forth from being kinky but innocent to dangerous and evil. Then there's the sexy temptress (or is she?) of a house keeper in your classic, sexy French maids uniform who bends over at every opportunity and masturbates in front of her employer.

Now in season two, American Horror Story: Asylum, the season starts with a couple who get off on fucking in haunted locations, this particular location being an asylum for the criminally insane. Taking place in the asylum's heyday in the 60s, it's run by a domineering nun with a mighty impressive collection of canes and a psychotic doctor with a bondage fetish.

While definitely creepy (the title sequence is really, really freaky), it's also wonderfully campy. American Horror Story is practically an encyclopedia of sexual fetishism. It's creators seem hell bent on slipping in a kink in every episode: latex, rape, bondage, sexy maid, slutty nuns, mad doctors, nymphomaniacs, chronic masturbators, and lots and lots of caning. The combination of sex and scary movies isn't anything new. How many horror movies start with the sexy, college kids sneaking off to screw? But it may not be just a "sex sells" approach to movie making. Studies have shown a link between anxiety-provoking situations (i.e. scary movies) and increased sexual arousal.

So the next time you want to get into the mood, maybe nix The Notebook for The Shining.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

This came out last year, but I'm just now seeing it (thank you Netflix). For all the somnophiliacs out there, in Sleeping Beauty (21011), a beautiful young student, a bit behind in the rent, is recruited for a rather specialized kind of sex work in which clients have their way with her (sorry, no penetration allowed) while she is in a deep sleep.

Allen Jones for Daffy's?

Homage (?) to Allen Jones.

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Brother's Quay

  The Brother's Quay, Institute Benjamenta, 1995

One lesson repeated over and over: later in life we will all be something small and subordinate

On now at MoMA is a retrospective of the works of  The Brother's Quay. I first came across their work in college and I fell in love with their dark, strange animated world. I saw the Institute Benjamenta back in 1995 when it first came out and I just recently got it on DVD. The film (their first feature-length) takes place in a school for the training of servants. Run by a cool, surrealist Nurse Ratchett, the school seems to be some sort of purgatory where men go to give up hope. You get the feeling no one there is ever going to be a servant. Just endlessly in training to be submissive.

Sunday, September 9, 2012


Harper's Bazzar September 2012

I must admit I look forward to the September issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazzar a little too much. I know it makes no sense, 80% of it is advertising, but they're just SO big (916 pages). It's very satisfying. This year, like every year, there's a nod to the leather boot and every year the heels get a bit higher and the length a big longer.

Up until the 1960s the high heeled leather boot was reserved for prostitutes and perverts. They were signs of degeneracy and immorality. Super high heels could only be ordered from specialized costume shops advertising in underground fetish magazines. In fact, the anti-obscenity laws instigated by the U.S. Post Office stipulated that images of women wearing heels above 3" was illegal.*

John Willie for Bizarre Magazine

It wasn't until the 60's when legal restrictions were lifted and leather clothing became easier and less expensive to manufacture that fetishistic clothing began to appear in mass consumer fashion. High-end designers like Christian Dior and Anne Klein began using leather in their collections. Then Emma Peel arrived and a staple was born.*

As someone who has as much grace in high heels as a rhinoceros in, well... high heels, I was pretty happy when the ballet flat came back. But on those rare occasions when I break out the big boots, I have to admit I do feel like taking names and kicking ass. As long as I don't have to walk more than two blocks to do it.

* The Development of Sadomasochism as a Cultural Style in the Twentieth-Century United States, Robert V. Bienvenu II, Ph.D.

Monday, August 27, 2012


In Seedbed, performed by Vito Acconci in 1972, the artist lay hidden underneath the floor of Sonnabend Gallery in New York, masturbating 8 hours a day over 3 weeks. Through loudspeakers placed in the gallery, visitors could hear Acconci describe his fantasies about the people walking above him: "You're pushing your cunt down on my mouth", "You're ramming your cock down into my ass."

In 2010 Eva and Franco Mattes recreated Seedbed in Second Life.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The first and last thing you will hear from me about "50 Shades of Grey"

I was signing in at the dermatologist and the receptionists were talking about it.  "I don't know what all the fuss is about with this "50 Shades" book. It's not that great!"

Thank you receptionists of Dr. Weinberg. You give me hope.

I'm not going to write about how horribly, horribly offensive it is to kinky people, women and lovers of literature everywhere or how Christian Grey is just a sociopath. I actually read all three of these things (I don't really know why. They just made me angry) and my friends I could not stop talking about it. Not because we loved it, but because we hated it and couldn't understand why so many people loved it. That's what I'm really curious about. How and why did this repurposed Twilight fan-fiction e-book sell 20 million copies. It's not like it's the first "erotic" / BDSM-ish book ever made. 

At brunch the other day, we were debating the various unfathomable reasons why this thing is so popular. One theory was because it was sort of a bastard child between romance novels and porn. A friend who's a science fiction junkie intersected, "It's not a romance novel, it's fantasy."

She's right. I was amazed at how incredibly unrealistic it is. SPOILER ALERT IF YOU CARE: the main character Ana (or Anastasia if you're nasty) is 22, the only job she's ever had has been in a hardware store and within months she's an editor at a publishing house. If you're a 27 year old billionaire business owner you aren't Christian Grey. You're Mark Zuckerberg. She also has the magical ability to orgasm every time they have sex without so much as mentioning  a clitoris. She is pretty much devoid of personality. There's nothing particularly extraordinary about her at all. She's pretty, but not stunning. She's smart, but not a genius. She comes from a happy, loving family, but they've had their share of issues. In short, there is nothing to latch on to, there's nothing to doubt or question about her. She's a blank slate. The reason why she's so lame, is that she must be lame. Any woman, of any background, anywhere has to be able to put herself in Ana's borrowed plum dress. She has to be everyone. She has to be so young and inexperienced because she's a jumping off point, she's the starter of a fantasy that anyone can finish in anyway they want. The character of Ana is a template that can be transferred on to anyone.

For example, my biggest pet peeve (aside from the notion that you must be damaged to be kinky and only the love of a innocent girl can save you from your desire to perform mediocre BDSM-101 acts on equally emotionally damaged women) is the tea thing. In an attempt to give Ana some kind of character, she's always bringing up her favorite tea and is so grateful and impressed when he remembers her favorite tea. You know what it is? Twinings Earl Grey. Only available at every god damn grocery store in America. For God's sake the author is British! She couldn't even say PG Tips!


In a good book, the reader looses themselves in a character, they imagine themselves as that person, to live vicariously in someone elses shoes. In 50 Shades Ana is there to become whatever the reader wants her to be.

My one comment to anyone who asks me about it is that it's like it was written by a 14 year old. She writes about sex and relationships like someone who has never has sex or been in a relationship. Once you know something, you can't un-know it. The author is a former t.v. executive, married with two teenage kids. She's not a 21 year old virgin who's never had a boyfriend. You can be a bad writer, but this is a bit beyond the beyond.

So this is what I think. I think E.L. James is a fucking genius. Not because she wrote a brilliant book, but because she wrote an extraordinarily bad one. I think that she dumbed it down just right to fit her audience so perfectly that it's destiny as a block-buster cultural phenomenon was inevitable.

Oh and don't give me the argument that it doesn't have to be well written, it's just fun! It's not Shakespeare. Bullshit! There are people who write fun, hot, sexy, romantic, smart, kinky stories out there and they are the one's who should raking in $50 fucking million instead of this crappy pablum churner.

Done. (slams mike down and walks off stage)

addendum: after further discussion (and drinking) we decided that she's probably just a bad writer. But what's interesting is that the source material (Twilight) is written for a young adult audience. Let's say 14-17-ish. I'm totally guessing. Ana's inexperience, in almost everything, is not that of a bookish-22 year old who seems to not have internet access. It's the inexperience of a 14 year old. A 14 year old from about 1978... in Amish country. Which makes sense. It's the fantasy of a 48 year old woman, remembering what is was like to fantasize about being a 22 year old when she was 14!

Then my friend quoted something from Roland Barthes and I mentioned something about Walter Benjamin and we decided it was time to shut this thing down and order another cocktail.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Fellini's Satyricon

One man into her after another, fuck-fuck.

Fellini's Satyricon I was exposed to a lot of Fellini at a very young age (thanks dad). The "nymphomaniac in the wagon" scene has been printed on my brain ever since.


Dilemma by Project COALA