The Leather Archives and Museum did an interview with Chuck Renslow who was a major organizer of the gay male Leather Scene going back to 60s.
My apologies for addressing the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey so late. I obtained one copy of the film through admittedly dubious means (let’s just say the text messages are in Spanish), and another in which the subtitles were in originally in, I think, Thai, then covered up by another layer of subtitles in Spanish, and all the explicit sex was cut.
Beyond all that, I could only watch about five minutes at a time. Somebody asked me how I got through the film and I joked, “I kept a fifth of Scotch handy.”
After about 163 queries to literary agents over four months, 40 of which resulted in rejections, one finally said he wanted to represent my book. We had a couple of phone conversations in which we talked about background and changing my proposal, and he sent me a copy of his agreement.
Unlike the previous agent, this included provisions for breaking off the agreement if I wasn’t satisfied. My friends who know about the writing business looked the agreement over for me, and were okay with it. After my usual anxious waffling, I put the printed, signed agreement in the mail. It should reach the agent in Toronto by the end of this week.
I have no idea what’s going to happen next. The agent says he will start showing my current draft of of the manuscript and a new version of the proposal to American publishers in July. I definitely want to keep revising the manuscript, as I’m running the chapters through my writer’s workshop. I have yet to look at certain research elements, such as Robert Bienvenu’s thesis.
I will continue blogging on this site.
One of the first academics to study the San Francisco gay leather culture, Gayle Rubin, gave a two-part interview at the San Francisco Leathermen’s Discussion Group back in 2012. In particular, she references her classic essays “Elegy for The Valley of the Kings” and “Thinking Sex”.
It’s been a while since I posted anything here, though I’ve been posting to my Pinterest board and have a queue of daily posts set up on my Tumblr. Most of my work on this project has gone into trying to get a literary agent for the book, via cold emails of my query or proposal.
I thought I had an agent for a while, attached to a major NYC firm who wanted to see my complete manuscript within hours of receiving my proposal. After a while, she said she wanted to start showing it to Canadian publishers. While this was exciting, I wasn’t sure how this procedure went. I asked her if this constituted her being “my agent”, and later asked for some kind of formal agreement. She sent me a one-page agreement which included words like “irrevocable” and did not include anything about getting out of the agreement. The sample agent agreements I had read all had some kind of escape clause. When I asked about this, she said that was their standard agreement, and they never had problems releasing a client. After wavering a bit, I pressed ahead and asked for some kind of addition to the agreement. In case something happened like no publisher deal after a year, and I could be released. Instead, she said she would “step aside” and let somebody else handle my book, as I obviously didn’t trust her at this early stage.
This was baffling. I didn’t expect a major NYC firm to operate on a handshake deal or refuse to include an escape clause. I’ve worked on and off in creative fields for many years, and it is important to make clear the ownership of material, and for the creator to retain as many rights as possible. Getting dumped by this agent is probably for the best, but it does put the project back to the beginning.
An assortment of podcast episodes on the history or society and culture of consensual sadomasochism.
An interview with a veteran professional female dominant, Tara Indiana, who talks about the changes in the New York prodomme scene since the 1990s.
A two-part documentary on the idea of consenting to bodily harm, and the ramifications in BDSM as well as in sports and other realms. Includes an interview with Andrea Zanin of Sexgeek.
A short cultural history of professional female dominants.
The second half of this episode is about the mobilization of the kink community in response to the Fifty Shades of Grey phenomenon.
I will be one of the presenters at Kink Talks Back to Fifty Shades of Grey, an interview and Q&A gathering of kink-community people talking about the mass media phenomenon.
Time: 6pm-9pm, Thursday, April 9th, 2015.
Place: Room 1600, SFU at Harbour Centre, 515 West Hastings, downtown Vancouver BC
Sponsored by SFU’s Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies
After literally ten years of work in writing, researching, and ordering obscure books via inter-library loan that have probably put me on some kind of watch list, I now have an actual complete first draft that is ready to show to potential publishers and agents. It weighs in at about 112,000 words. Likely I will have to trim that down for publication.
It feels good to be done, and weird to move onto the next phase of this project, which is trying to sell it to somebody. On Wednesday, I sent a proposal to an agent I’ve contacted before. I sent more cold proposals to agents I researched on the net. This is a whole new realm with new challenges, and I have no idea how this will work. Self-publishing is an option, but I would like to try conventional publishing first.
“Done” needs a certain qualification. I would like to cover Japanese sadomasochism, but I have yet to find good resource material in English. There’s also a gap like the early 20th century, but there may not be any research available. The current draft is intact, but certainly can be expanded upon.
I will continue updating this blog with interesting finds, ongoing research, and progress on acquiring an editor or publisher.
As of this writing, Fifty Shades of Grey holds a 32% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a 47 on MetaCritic, and a 3.1 on IMDB. Suffice to say, it won’t sweep the Oscars next year. I do predict it will do well at the Golden Raspberries. Its loyal fanbase will probably guarantee a commercially successful opening weekend and a lot of DVD sales, but I suspect it will do poorly in the long run.
I am a little disappointed we won’t see little CGI chibi versions of Dakota Johnson’s subconscious and inner goddess hopping around.