Oct 162018

Divine Deviance panel, 28 September 2018. L-R: Peter Tupper, Carol Queen, Gayle Rubin, Mufasa Ali, Dr. Robert Bienvenu, and Rostum Mesli.

One of the best things about subcultures is that it is possible to meet all of the major people involved in them. In the case of the micro-field of sadomasochism history studies, it’s possible to get the leading people sitting around a single table.

I was deeply honored to be sitting at the same table as the people whose work I had read and built on for many years: sexologist & Center for Sex & Culture ED Carol Queen, academic & activist Gayle Rubin, ONYX founder & Mr World Leather 2006-07 Mufasa Ali, anthropologist & historian Dr. Robert Bienvenu, and academic & author Rostum Mesli. The shoot was at the Catalyst playspace in San Francisco.

The shoot took about seven hours, including lunch breaks, but all of it was fascinating. A lot of the discussion revolved around what exactly BDSM was, and what wasn’t BDSM, and whether certain activities and cultures grouped together really had anything to do with each other. This also raised the question of, when we looked into the past to find antecedents of modern BDSM (whatever that is), do we find anything, or do we see something else that only superficially resembles modern BDSM but isn’t actually. A lot of my thinking on the subject was put to the test, in a dialog that refined everybody’s thoughts.

It was also just a pleasure hanging out with people who have lived through some of what I have been studying. Not only did I meet Carol Queen and Gayle Rubin, one of the producers was Race Bannon.

L-R: Carol Queen, Peter Tupper, and Race Bannon

My thanks to Race Bannon, Jörg Fockele and the other producers.  I look forward to further developments in the Divine Deviance documentary series. Donations would be greatly appreciated.

Feb 082017

I will be one of the guest speakers at a colloquium on the new Fifty Shades Darker film, set to debut on Valentine’s day, 2017. This should be a great discussion on how BDSM and the mainstream interact.

Time: Thursday, 23 February, 2017. 7:30 – 9:00 PM

Location: SFU-Vancouver, 515 West Hastings Street, Vancouver, Room 7000.

Mar 192015


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

Admission: Free.

Fetlife Event , Facebook Event

Sep 162013

Once again, I spent Labour Day weekend at the Masters And slaves Together conference.

Though the hotel was about an hour’s drive from the Washington Beltway, it was surrounded by a bleak post-modern landscape of hotels, office parks and strip malls. The closest thing to a landmark I saw was a Krispy Kreme in which the doughnut assembly line was located next to a large window and you could see the entire process of the dough being formed, pre-baked, deep fried and then carried on a conveyor belt through a waterfall of sugar frosting that would give you Type 2 diabetes just by looking at it.

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Sep 022012

Day 3 of the Master-Slave Conference, 2012, was been great. I’ve had the chance to meet so many people I’ve only read or heard about: Guy Baldwin, Laura Antoniou, Vi Johnson, Raven Kaldera, Master Skip Chasey, the list goes on.

I’m in the land of the black t-shirts again. The fashion mavericks wear navy blue or charcoal grey t-shirts. This isn’t a cruisy kind of event. Everybody seems to be in relationships already or just too busy to flirt. Another thing I didn’t expect is that there is almost no panel events for how-to instruction. It’s all discussion groups about M/s. I’m also surprised at just how friendly people are, mostly Americans.

Definitely the high point has been seeing the Carter/Johnson Leather Library (or at least 70 per cent of it) on exhibit. “Mama” Vi Johnson took me by the hand and showed me around. I’ve seen and touched (through white gloves) copies of London Life, John Willie’s Bizarre, and Englishwoman’s Domestic Magazine. Then there are German collections of erotic art (which I can’t read), and a century worth of books, magazines, newspapers, posters, movies and videos. Pics to come. Ms. Johnson was most inspirational in talking about the importance of saving our leather/kink/altsex/whatever from landfills and incinerators.

My presentation on Sunday afternoon went quite well. I was revising up to the last minute, and developed my initiation-ritual theory a bit more. One thing I’ve come to realize about the Master-slave subset of BDSM, is that they put a lot of emphasis on the relational and service aspects, and the sadism and masochism is secondary, and sometimes entirely absent. Fortunately, the Munby-Cullwick relationship is strongly service-oriented, with no overt sadomasochism (whether Cullwick was masochistic is a topic for another post). I managed to make the transition between the suffering-sensibility theme of abolitionist media and the service theme of the Munby-Cullwick relationship. The only real flaw was that I ended the presentation before even an hour, and the presentation was for 90 minutes. I filled in the time with Q&A and a guided tour of some of the images I collected.

No recording of the presentation. The event organizers made the privacy policy pretty clear, and while I could have asked for an exception, and possibly put up a sign warning people, I decided it wasn’t worth the effort.

I’ve also had some productive meetings towards a project I will reveal at a later date, once everything is locked in.

I should also put out thanks to the people who’ve helped me along the way, including the board at Master Taino’s Training Academy, and David Stein.

More pics and event notes to follow.