Mar 202019
 

High Anxiety (1977) (IMDB) is a comedy film, directed by Mel Brooks, written and directed by Mel Brooks and Ron Clark.

High Anxiety is Mel Brooks’ parody of Alfred Hitchcock’s thrillers, which often had some psychosexual weirdness driving their plots. E.g. voyeurism in Rear Window, gender confusion in Psycho, fetishism in Vertigo. In this case, it’s female sadism and male masochism.

Nurse Charlotte Diesel, played by Cloris Leachman
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Mar 162019
 
  • Cleo Dubois has been involved in the BDSM community going back to the 1980s, and also a major player in the body modification/modern primitive community, not to mention married to the late Fakir Musafar. The Mike Mantell Show podcast has an in depth interview with her.
  • The Advocate has a set of rare photos from a 1962 gay motorcycle club event.
  • Iceland’s entry for the 2019 Eurovision song contest is Hatari, a self-described “anti-capitalist techno BDSM band”. They had retired for failing to destroy capitalism. Now, they’re back, and they’ve challenged the Prime Minister of Israel to an Icelandic wrestling match for the right to found “the first ever Hatari sponsored liberal BDSM colony” on Israeli soil. From Pink News.
  • The Imaginary Worlds podcast has a profile of Margaret Brundage, 1930s pulp magazine cover artist, many of which had sadomasochistic themes.
  • They say every generation has its sexual awakening movie. According to this Indiewire article, Millennials were taught sex positivity by Cruel Intentions (1999). “Millennials may be having less sex than previous generations, but we are talking about and embracing kink, BDSM, role play, and queerness with an openness and lack of judgment that is irreversibly influencing media and culture for the next generation.”
  • More changes in San Francisco’s landscape could squeeze out the city’s leather district, which was and still is the major incubator of the greater BDSM culture. The Catalyst will have to find new space by the end of 2019. This comes after designating the leather district and setting aside a leather pride mini-park. I fear that in a decade all that will be left will be the monuments and memorials, while the living heart will be gone.
  • In NYC, Charlotte Taillor’s kink collective and residence has run afoul of objections from her neighbors in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. New York Times, Gothamist, New York Daily News.
Mar 162019
 

Cruising (1980) is a thriller directed and written by William Friedkin, based on a novel by Gerald Walker.

William Friedkin, well known for directing The French Connection and The Exorcist, already had history (not necessarily the good kind) with LGBTQ topics when he directed The Boys in the Band (1970), released only a year after Stonewall. Even before it was made, Cruising was controversial, and gay activists repeatedly interfered with the filming. However, the film also included many patrons of gay leather clubs in the club scenes.

Steve (Pacino) slips into the New York leather scene.
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Mar 072019
 

Richard Pérez Seves has written a thorough and visually engrossing study of fetish artist Eric Stanton and the world he lived in. Stanton was one of the major artists to define the post-WWII American style of fetish and BDSM art, when this genre was very much underground. Seves managed to get access to impressive quantities of ephemera of the artist’s life and interviews with his friends and families.

Photo of young Stanton, Pg.24
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Mar 052019
 

8MM (1999) (IMDB) is a mystery/thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Andrew Kevin Walker.

Tom Welles (Nicolas Cage) is a private investigator for upper crust clients. An elderly widow, Mrs. Christian, says she found a roll of 8mm film in her late husband’s safe, which appears to document the murder of a young white woman. Wells is skeptical, saying it’s probably fake, but the widow hires him to find the girl.

Welles (Cage) watches the film apparently showing the murder of an unknown girl (Jenny Powell).
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Feb 182019
 

Not all of the works I plan on exploring in The Celluloid Dungeon will have BDSM as a primary or even secondary theme. Some will have BDSM in a single scene or even a single moment.

Kinjite: Forbidden Subjects, a 1989 crime thriller starring Charles Bronson, is not a good film, by most standards. It’s mainly about an older racist cop, Lt. Crowe (Bronson), harassing and brutalizing non-white people in Los Angeles in pursuit of an exploitative pimp, Duke. That story is awkwardly spliced with another story about a Japanese salaryman, Hada, who moves with his wife and two daughters to Los Angeles. Hada’s elder daughter, Fumiko, somewhere in her early teens, is kidnapped, raped multiple times (offscreen, thankfully) and pimped out, before Crowe rescues her.

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Feb 162019
 
  • I’m old enough to remember how different and exciting the Internet was in the 1990s. So does Violet Blue, who lays out just much has changed for the worse since then, especially with the censoring of Tumblr last year. “I can tell you for a fact that Tumblr helped a generation of frightened, isolated kids trying to figure out their sexual identity.” Her essay on Engadget.
  • David Wraith has an overview of how terrible the SESTA/FOSTA laws are, stifling freedom of expression on sexual matters while subjecting sex workers to greater danger.
  • On the brighter side, England has reviewed its obscenity laws and a number of kinks, including spanking, BDSM, and female ejaculation, are now okay in porn, as long as they are shown as consensual.
  • Kink Guidelines is a project “to explore what constitutes clinical best practices in working with those who are interested and/or involved in kink, BDSM, and/or fetish eroticism.
  • The city leaders of San Francisco have approved the construction of Eagle Plaza, a small park commemorating the Eagle bar’s contribution to the LGBTQ and leather/kink cultures.
  • Lupercalia, the ancient Roman festival that loosely corresponds to Valentine’s Day, was known for men playfully whipping women “believing that the pregnant will thus be helped in delivery, and the barren to pregnancy”, according to Plutarch. Today, whipping rituals are a part of fertility festivals in parts of Europe, Mexico and Asia. From Vice.
  • Even though Walmart, regular drugstores and other mainstream retailers now stock vibrators and other sex toys, sex products are still caught up in controversy. Producers risk rejection from retailers, payment processors, crowdsourcing platforms, and advertising venues. Sex toys have to toe the line of being for “health and wellness”, not for pleasure, which would be prurient. The Verge has more.
  • Puppyplay for gay kinksters seems to be on the rise lately, and Slate has a profile of a San Francisco polyamorous pack.
  • Kerrang has a list of BDSM-themed songs, including the classic “Venus in Furs” by Velvet Underground.
Feb 072019
 

Payback (IMDB) is a 1999 neo-noir crime thriller, starring Mel Gibson.

In The Celluloid Closet, Vito Russo talked about the phase of American movies in which queer film characters existed mainly as dramatic or comedic foils to the straight characters. Whether they were swishy nellies or twisted sadists, they were a simple object lesson in proper and improper gender roles. That extends to the present day, though perhaps a little less overt: heroes are associated with heterosexuality, monogamy, vanilla sex, and other normative sexualities, while villains tend towards bisexuality, non-monogamy, and fetishes and kinks.

Pearl (Lucy Liu) stomps on Val, while Porter (Mel Gibson) watches
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