May 292018
 



Aug 192018
 
  • Divine Deviance is a forthcoming documentary film series about the kink culture. I will be participating in a panel discussion affiliated with it, alongside Race Bannon and Gayle Rubin, on September 28th in San Francisco, a couple of days before the Folsom Street Fair.
  • Culture.pl has a profile of pre-WWII Polish writer and artist Bruno Schulz who did a lot of female-dominant, male-submissive images. Interesting to consider if there are links between Schulz and Sacher-Masoch.
  • Femdom-Resource considers the etymology of the word “dominatrix”. It goes back to the 16th century, but apparently the word used to refer to a sexually dominant woman only goes back to 1967.
  • Fakir Musafar, a major pioneer in the BDSM and modern primitive cultures, has passed on. RIP.
  • The Porno Cultures podcast has an interview with Lynn Comella, author of Vibrator Nation, about how feminist adult stores grew and changed in the USA. This indirectly ties to another angle of BDSM history I haven’t explored yet, the growth of kink business and their products, and their acceptability in middle-class contexts.
  • Buzzfeed has an interested feature on Orthodox Jews in kink.
  • Dangerous Minds profiles Michael’s Thing, a post-Stonewall, pre-Internet print guide to NYC’s queer life, often with leatherman imagery on the cover.
Jul 152018
 
  • The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual rules the mental health landscape in the USA, but in the rest of the world, the keystone reference is the ICD, administered by the World Health Organization. The WHO recently took consensual sexual minorities out of the ICD-11 revision, following the work of many Nordic countries.
  • The Japanese culture/tradition of BDSM is a separate thing from the European/American tradition that I haven’t delved into as much as I’d like. (Hopefully to be covered in future works.) I don’t understand any language other than English, which forces me to rely on secondary sources. Most of them are shallow or suspect. However, the Tokyo Bound blog has a couple of translated interviews with bondage grandmaster Akechi Denki, one from 1997 and another from circa 1976. They give an interesting glimpse of Akechi’s life in post-war Japan, his many brushes with death, and his involvement in the underground of SM performances and magazines.
  • Speaking of shibari, is it cultural appropriation?
  • Notches has an essay on the peculiar relationship between the early fascist movement in Germany and the nascent homosexuality movement of the same time. Ernst Röhm, the head of the SA stormtroopers, saw homosexuality, or a particular definition of it, as fully compatible with German fascism, and distinguished from the perceived effeminacy and decadence of other forms of homosexuality. “Röhm’s queer fascism was identical to the Nazi Party’s ideology in almost all respects, save on questions of male-male eroticism.” An anonymous stormtrooper wrote, “the hand of a Nazi militia man ‘can strike a blow but also caress.’ The blows being struck by those hands were against Jews, Social Democrats, Communists, and homosexuals.” I should emphasize that we should not fall into the “Nazis were gay” trope; Röhm was eliminated during the “night of the long knives” when Hitler decided he was no longer an asset.
  • Another review of Katharine Gates’ Deviant Desires.
  • An essay on the fetish classic Satan in High Heels (1962).
  • An essay on the original Hellraiser (1987) film, strongly influenced by the gay SM subculture and the industrial music subculture of the early 1980s.
Jun 182018
 

What are the sartorial origins of the black-clad dominatrix? I will skip the more familiar examples from recent years and try to find the earlier examples.

Certainly everyone will remember Diana Rigg as Mrs. Emma Peel (“Miss SM Appeal”) in the UK spy TV series The Avengers. Her most overtly kinky costumes were features in the episodes “A Touch of Brimstone” and “Death at Bargain Prices.”

Woman in black leather suit with zippers

Diana Rigg as Emma Peel in The Avengers, wearing the leather jumpsuit costume from “Death at Bargain Prices”

Continue reading »

Jun 172018
 

A Lover’s Pinch launches in late July, but I’ll really get into promoting in August. So far, I’ve booked four events.

Sneak preview launch: August 4, 2018

You can get an early signed copy in the lobby at the Maritime Labour Centre at 1880 Triumph St, Vancouver, BC V5L 1K3, from 8PM to 10PM, during the monthly Vancouver Dungeon play party, presented by Metro Vancouver Kink.

Official launch party: August 8, 2018

This will be at The Art of Loving at 369 W Broadway, Vancouver, BC V5Y 1P8, at 7:30 PM, August 8, 2018. This will feature a reading, books for sale, author Q&A and a prize draw, held at Vancouver’s premier adult store.

Book reading and signing: August 16, 2018

I’ll be holding a reading and signing at Little Sister’s LGBT bookstore (1238 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1N3) at 7PM on August 16, 2018. Little Sister’s is a Vancouver institution with a long history.

Book Signing: August 18, 2018

I’ll be signing books at Indigo Spirit at 810 Granville & Robson, downtown Vancouver, BC, 12 noon – 2pm.

Jun 172018
 
  • I had only known the Renaissance writer Pico dela Mirandola was the author of the first known discussion of masochistic flagellation is non-spiritual terms, but in fact his influence and accomplishments extended far beyond that. He was perhaps best known as the author of the early humanist Oration on the Dignity of Man, which contained 900 theses on religion, philosophy, natural philosophy, alchemy, astrology and magic. And he did this before he was 25 years old. The History Unplugged podcast has an in-depth exploration of his life, though it doesn’t touch on his writing on flagellation.
  • There’s an Indiegogo fundraiser for a documentary on the Sixty Nine Group, the oldest gay leatherman organization in Europe, founded in 1965.
  • Susan Wright of the NCSF talks to the New York Times about the boundary between BDSM and abuse. One of the few good things to come out of these recent cases of BDSM excused as abuse is that even mainstream publications are willing to explore the distinction.
  • The riding crop has become one of the most common symbols of kink. It has an odd and complicated history, according to this Kink Academy essay. Like other tools intended for handling animals, like buggy whips, it isn’t intended to inflict pain, just get the animal’s attention. The article suggests this steams from a confusion in Venus in Furs, as Wanda is often described as going riding, and then cracking a whip; creating a link between the equestrian woman and the dominant woman. It was also a common decorative element for rulers and military officers.
  • Psychology Today has an interview about a study of kinky people and how they form their kinky identities, comparing it to developing a homosexual identity. “Kinky people also reported much less of a desire to ‘come out’ that we see in gay and lesbian populations, likely because it is much easier to hide an interest in kink in a relationship than it is to hide a relationship with someone of the same gender.”
  • Messy Nessy Chic has a collection of John Coutts’ (aka John Willie) bondage and fetish photography from the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Has bondage, specifically Japanese-influenced rope bondage, become so popular that it has lost all sexuality? Ayzad asks the hard questions.
  • Alexis Lykiard’s essay claims the antebellum-slavery-themed erotic novel Memoirs of Dolly Morton was obscure French man of letters Georges Grassal, a literary author who fell on hard times and wrote prolifically in both French and English, under many pseudonyms. The author also wrote an introduction to another Victorian erotic classic, Man with a Maid, and a biography of another French author of flagellation erotica, Pierre Dumarchey, aka “Pierre Mac Orlan”.
  • CVLT Nation talks about the impact of SESTA/FOSTA on Fetlife and other segments of the kinky internet. “It’s puzzling that a bill that could shut down the search for a sugar daddy might make it across the desk of a man [I.e. Donald Trump] who is the sugar daddy to his own wife and couldn’t get laid by porn stars or otherwise if you took his bank account out of the equation. I suspect this has nothing to do with a moral witch hunt, and everything to do with money.”
  • Generations ago, the gay male leather scene was revolutionary, a post-WWII antidote to the effeminate, “nelly” stereotype, showing that gay men could be masculine. Now, masculinity is in deep crisis, with the excesses of the privileged revealed by the #MeToo movement, and the incel subculture spewing toxic misogyny and violence. Do gay leathermen need to re-evaluate what masculine means, and should they open their doors to a more diverse range of bodies, sexes, genders, and gender expressions? Slate has an essay.
Jun 152018
 

Nicholas Tanek interviewed me for the Your Kinky Friends video stream/podcast, where I got to talk about A Lover’s Pinch, BDSM history, and my personal journey through the kink world. There are a lot of other interesting interviews and essays, including a series on the heroes of the kink community. There’s even a video chat with Susan Wright of NCSF.