Bang the Drums: New York City Fetish Tribe is Upon Us

So, another successful Fetish season comes to an end, with a fantastic finish provided in no small part by San Francisco’s Von Gutenberg Fetish Ball during the weekend of September 24th – 26th. If early reports are any indication, the SFVG Ball is going to be a “staple” on the party circuit for years to come. The timing probably couldn’t be better, for the West Coast “Fetish Mecca”. The perception has been, in recent years that the West Coast Fetish scene has been dying an unrelenting, agonizing death. There can be little question (and it has been noticed by many others) that Eric Von Gutenberg is slowly, and successfully, re-introducing and bringing back the old, ecstatic latex, leather and PVC party atmosphere that the Bay Area used to be so eponymous with. The image that San Francisco itself is a world-class fetish party town is certainly being polished.

Perhaps in part, the success of large-scale events in Tampa, Chicago, Toronto and Montreal, have been responsible for re-energizing the public’s interest in larger fetish parties on the West Coast. As another successful summer season of revelry comes to a close, it is time to turn our focus back once again to the East Coast, and the anticipation of the autumn events. This was a good, if not great summer, and hopefully the various party planners from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and all parts in-between, will find a way to keep that momentum rolling.

Tis is the season, after all, and in late September that can only mean one thing: Hallowe’en! The penultimate reason for letting loose and dressing up! Let the fall decadence thusly commence!

Naturally, whether you live in Denver, Des Moines or Dover, there are bound to be larger several excellent, scale events within your area to patron, and enthusiastically even become a part of (as a performer or organizer). Regardless of how tired a fetish practitioner may claim to be after any number of events this summer, if you happen to be anywhere near the East Coast of the United States between October 6th and October 11th, you certainly should seriously consider taking in a bit of the NYC Fetish Tribe Weekend Experience. Even the seasoned latex and leather veteran should take in a breath of “fresh air”; experience the exciting atmosphere of something exciting, and quite new.

For New York City is a very special place. There is just something about that city in autumn that sets it apart from all others. A more perfect location for a fetish event, at this time of year doesn’t exist. The weather is near perfect: those wanting to proudly parade about for their peers in leather, latex or PVC will find the elements (barring the dampness should there be any) most conducive to having a damn fine time. The boot lovers especially – of which Your Humble Narrator counts amongst that passionate legion – are going to find NYC in Autumn to be akin to being granted the keys to their own private adult theme park.

The organizers of NYC Fetish Tribe – Kelley Dane and Mike B. – are no strangers to the Fetish Scene, in NYC and across the United States. They are responsible for organizing the New York “delegation” for The Burning Man festival that takes place every year at Black Rock, Nevada and they are also the movers and shakers behind the Las Vegas Ultimate After-Party, a gargantuan gathering of deviants representing all walks of alternative life from Sadomasochists to Swingers. While Kelley and Mike most certainly are the main “movers and shakers” behind these efforts, both are quite quick (and emphatically) point out that “nothing would have been accomplished without the aid of a lot of very good and dedicated people.”

As strange as this may sound, that makes their events somewhat unique: most of the larger-scale Fetish events are organized and implemented by a very small central core of those who shoulder responsibility for the event’s overall success – and survival. NYC Fetish Tribe is slightly different, and slightly more revolutionary. “Fetish Tribe is NOT an organization or entity per say. It is a movement within the fetish community that has resonated strongly with thousands of people,” Kelley said. “Collectively those who feel the Tribe Vibe live by it and it is contagious. I first introduce the concept to (local Fetish personality) Nikki the Kink Queen over burgers in NYC, and with her resounding support Mike B. and I took off with it with the help of many supporters.”

Whether by design or circumstance, the “Tribe” is a somewhat of a throwback to the tight SM Community that existed in San Francisco in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Many urban centers have attempted similar undertakings – a collective truly of the people, by the people and for the people – but few have come close to establishing and maintaining the “familial” atmosphere that seems to permeate and define them. “The Tribe is a movement within the Fetish community that has resonated strongly with thousands of people,” Kelley and Mike said. “Although we’ve been referred to as “the Godfathers” of the movement, neither of us are really the acknowledged ‘leader’, ‘owner’, or even ‘President.’”

They refer to it as “The Tribe Vibe”. The New York City Fetish Tribe Experience is the culmination of many favorable factors and has been made a reality “only through the positive support of the New York City community at large.” On several occasions, Kelley and Mike insisted on mentioning the efforts of behind-the-scenes volunteers that are giving their free time, their particular expertise and talents, and their enthusiasm in the drive to really create something special.  “We’re very confident that those who haven’t experienced “The Tribe Vibe” – whether they’re coming from within New York or visiting – will both impress, and ‘infect’, all newcomers.

“The moment people walk through the door, they feel welcome. We don’t host a party to entertain you, necessarily, but instead our aim was to create a space in which people can meet, perform, be completely open, express and feel freedom. Upon entering a Tribe event you quickly feel included, and encouraged to share. It’s all about community and collective collaboration.”

The New York City Fetish Tribe experience promises to be unique in several different ways. For one, they have resisted the temptation to have “formalized” stage performances that can interrupt the flow of those wishing to engage in some “play” – and stage shows do tend to be immediate conversation killers. “The entire experience is a circus, and anyone can ‘perform’ at anytime,” Kelley and Mike said. “Our guest designers and our models parade on the floor and intermingle with all the people. Think more ‘Theatre in the Round’.” Another aspect that, to a great many attendees, is going to be a positive factor is the distinct absence of thumping, blaring loud music in any of the venues and play spaces. “We believe strongly that the best play comes only from first stimulating the mind and to do so you need to be able to talk.  It is a very simple concept that remains a corner stone of all Tribe events.

The Fetish Tribe will also actively encourage interaction amongst the guests. It’s one of the “trademarks” of their particular brand: they make a concerted effort, through the assistance of several enthusiastic, appropriately-clad and personable “Fetish Ambassadors”, to try and introduce all attendees to each other. Kelley and Mike firmly believe this “mingling” helps to strengthen the sense of family within the greater “Tribe” itself. They believe that everyone has value, no-one should feel intimidated, and in this reporter’s experience, no event has gone to such lengths to make people feel accommodated, welcome and “connected”. The entire experience is purposely designed to encourage people, from the Greater New York City area assuredly but also for visitors to the Big Apple alike, to meet and make new friends and truly feel connected with, and strengthen, those new relationships in the long-term.

Another extremely unique aspect of the Fetish Tribe Experience is the “Day Excursions” they have planned. While other event organizers have attempted (and utterly failed) to include their attendees in some “daylight” events, the Fetish Tribe Experience has offered a number of “New York Experiences” that are designed to not only help foster the aforementioned bonds of friendship during the evening festivities, but continue building those foundations during the day – and all with prominent New York landmarks as an inviting and awe-inspiring backdrop. Some of those “Day Tripper” events include a Croquet Tournament on Governor’s Island (with a twist: it’s an Undergarment Tournament); an excursion to the top of the Empire State Building (those that have never been before simply cannot miss this – it’s awe-inspiring), and a Sunrise Bondage and Bagel Breakfast on the Brooklyn Bridge.

“Those that decide to join us (whether they’re in New York City or not) will not be disappointed”, Kelley and Mike said. “This is an ‘experience’ to be had like never before!” Even the seasoned New Yorker, strolling in fetish wear alongside the New York City first-time visitor, is sure to experience something very unique and memorable: this kind of gathering of like minds, and the dedicated encouragement of those like minds to interact and “get to know” one another, has never happened before: especially in a town the size of New York. Compared to other large-scale events, the price of a ticket is ludicrously reasonable: total event VIP tickets are only $75.00 if you purchase your ticket in advance (through the Fet Life website events listings) or by going straight to the New York City Fetish Tribe website itself. Those that wish to purchase their VIP tickets “at the door” may do so at a cost of $85.00.

“It will be a good sized event. We already have confirmations from ‘Tribesmen’ in California, Toronto, Montreal, Florida, Las Vegas, Texas and Arizona,” Kelley and Mike said. “Everyone who attends is going to come away extremely pleased with the efforts of our army of New York Tribe volunteers. And, everyone who attends is sure to make a new, lasting friendship or two. That’s what the New York Fetish Tribe is all about: bringing people together, and forming life-long relationships.”

The New York City Fetish Experience runs from October 7th to 11th, 2010 (Columbus Day Weekend, Thanksgiving Day Weekend in Canada). The ‘experience’ is simply a weekend event that should be on every fetish enthusiast’s calendar, and for years to come. Those that live in the New York City area, and haven’t quite made up their minds whether they wish to join the Tribe that weekend, will probably be quite sorry they chose to skip it. For those that may still wish to travel to New York City for the Experience weekend, there is only this to be said: What are you waiting for? Your spot within the Tribe awaits.

The New York Fetish Tribe Experience Itinerary:

Thursday, October 7, at 9:00 pm:
NOctoberurne. Tribe mixer and Cabaret Show with Weimar punk band, Amour Obscur

The Chandelier Room Downstairs at 249 West 30th St. NYC

Friday, October 8, at 600 pm:
Organized Fetish Shopping (“I Just Love What You’re Not Wearing”)

Meet at Purple Passion, 211 West 20th St. New York City

Friday, October 8, at 9:00 pm:
Impact Play Party and Rubber/Latex Showcase

Club Rebel Upstairs at 251 West 30th St. New York City

Saturday, October 9, at 11:00 am:
Spa Break! You Deserve This!

Spa 88 at 88 Fulton St. New York City

Saturday, October 9, at 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm:
Croquet in Your Undergarments

Great Lawn of Central Park. Meet at 86th St. and Central Park West at 2:00 pm. New York City ~ Agents will be standing by. Hosted by NYC TNG.

Saturday, October 9, at 9:00 pm to 3:00 am:
Dress to {xcess Costume Ball

Element 225 East Houston St., New York City ~ This is an amazing venue in which you can express your individuality. Awesome!

Sunday, October 10 from 5:00 am to 7:00 am
Sunrise Bondage and Bagels on da Brooklyn Bridge

Meet at the top of the Brooklyn Bridge. ~ Hosted by KinkyJews. Enter on Center Street adjacent to City Hall. Bring comfy shoes and sweater.

Sunday, October 10, at 1:00 pm:
Be on TOP of the Empire State Building

350 5th Ave, New York City at 34th St. See New York City like never before. Be Kink Kong! 

Sunday, October 10, at 4:30 pm:
Classes For Beginners and Experts

The Delancey, 168 Delancey St. New York City

Sunday, October, 10 at 9:00 pm to 3:00 am:
Suspension: ‘A Play Soiree’

 The Delancey, 168 Delancey St. New York City

VIP Ticket All-Inclusive Package: $75 advanced internet or $85 at the door.

Individual tickets per event purchased at the door only.

Please Note: There is an extra charge for ESP and Spa excursion paid directly to vendor

(Photo of Mistress Alex of New York courtesy Mike B. of Fetish Tribe)

The Book Review: How to Be Kinky – A Beginner's Guide to BDSM

It used to be, not all that long ago, that trying to purchase good resource books directly related to bondage, discipline and all things sadomasochistic was very nearly impossible. Unless you “knew a guy”, had some other kind of “connection”, or were fortunate enough to live in a large enough city where so-called underground publications were considered somewhat plentiful, in the days prior to Amazon trying to find reference materials relating to our lovely lifestyle could prove to be immensely problematic – and even potentially embarrassing. “Those kind” of books were usually only available at Adult shops (colloquially still referred to in some circles as “Adult Book Stores”) – and depending on what US state or Canadian province you lived in, tended to be made at hand to those who desired them only through an awkward and stammering specific under-the-counter request for product.

Thankfully, for those of us who revere our chosen alternative life expressions, the advent of the Internet has made it very easy to get our hands on virtually anything (within legality) we want. That has proven to be both an absolute blessing, by and large, and an abject curse in certain circles. For instance, in relation to the “curse”, some so-called expert materials have been published in the past whose content was either too dry and clinical, or nauseatingly ego centric (and we’ve all read those books, I’m quite sure) to be really only of value as a visible potential conversation piece on a bookshelf in someone’s dungeon or playroom.

For every Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns (which in the opinion of several fetishists and SM practitioners, Your Humble Narrator included, is one of the worst books related to BDSM ever foisted on us), there seemed to be at least a dozen more similar volumes that were considered only marginally better. In the past, folks used to purchase SM-related books, I suspect, mostly to make a very visible pseudo-credibility statement to their peers. Many of these really, really bad books were purchased by really good people – and I know for certain most of them were never even read, let alone had their spines cracked. As time has gone on, we’ve been far more fortunate: the demand for good, solid, experienced reference material hasn’t died at all – it has, it seems, only escalated – and the quality of materials available to us has also thankfully increased. Part of that may very well be a simple matter of numbers, as more and more books over the past decade have found their way onto more mainstream bookstore shelves.

One of those exceptional books – in my opinion an absolute “must have” for every serious BDSM enthusiast – is How to Be Kinky: A Beginner’s Guide to BDSM by noted Canadian lifestyle educator Lord Morpheous. Do yourselves a favour and buy this book. It won’t just sit and look impressive sitting on your bookshelf: you’ll actually learn a thing or two, and you won’t be able to simply put it down.

What separates this book from similar works? To start with, it’s damned fun to read. I don’t want to give anything away, really – but as an example, early on in the book there is a very well-written narrative, relating an early experience, of Lord Morpheous and his efforts to try and explain to his parents why his dishwasher was filled with sex toys after he’d had a gathering while they were away. Drawing on the anecdotes and vast experiences of his friends and colleagues throughout the book, Lord Morpheous has ingeniously managed to capture the true essence of sadomasochism (it’s grand fun, damnit!) all the while providing witty and expert advice along the way. It’s a clever format: the reader expects or assumes the book to be, perhaps, another somewhat vapid and plodding “connect the dots of BDSM” instruction manual, but in fact its structured very much like a collection of topical (and extremely entertaining) short stories about people and their gut-wrenchingly and often gut-bustingly honest experiences. Naturally, if you happen to learn a thing or two along the way – and you will – that’s an appreciated bonus. Lord Morpheous is regarded as one of the very best rope bondage artists and educators within our realm today, but How to Be Kinky is so very much more than a mere ‘bondage manual’. There is a taste of fetishes from “A” to “Z” within its pages: there’s is sure to be something that everyone can relate to. Other “how to” books have tended to generally disregard entire legions of particular kinks (Screw the Roses, Send me the Thorns for instance contains virtually nothing but a somewhat contemptuous and dismissive reference to cross-dressing), but Lord Morpheous has adeptly managed to give respect and creedence to (almost) every fashion of popular fetishy sensual expression – and he’s managed to do it in a concise but wildly amusing manner.

It’s a brilliant, effective and natural way to introduce anyone (with even so much as a passing interest in kink) to all the positive aspects of what it is we love to do. That makes this book unique – and truly a “must have” for excited newcomer and experienced hard player alike. The novice will learn, in their own vernacular and at their own “level” because the anecdotes are all written in a way to be so appealling and interesting, and the experienced will just love the collection of stories. In short, Lord Morpheous has managed to author the much-desired and nearly impossible-to-reproduce “win-win” scenario; the happy balance in which his efforts truly will appeal to anyone and everyone, from the rookie to the seasoned veteran.

It’s a formula that has found much success in other genres: more specifically, in sports books and even more specifically, in baseball books. I do not know if Lord Morpheous is much of a sports fan: but the man knows how to write, edit and convey tales so well, that I am confident in saying if he wanted to write the definitive work on playing water polo, it would be the world’s best and more informative seller on that topic in history.

Personally, I’d much prefer to wait for his sure-to-follow “Volume Two” efforts on How to Be Kinky. I’m sure Lord Morpheous could explain it perfectly – but I’d rather read about his experiences and lessons in BDSM than just how the hell those water polo guys manage to get snorkels and masks on their damned horses.

Dia-TRIBE: An Incredible Twenty Year Odyssey with Northbound Leather

5 - The Six - 1“Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.” ~ Ira Gershwin

The more things change in twenty years, the more they also (sometimes) remain the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Bear with me for a bit, Gentle Reader: this “diatribe” (pun intended, as you’ll see) does indeed have a point.

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane to twenty years ago. The year was 1989. It was a landmark year, full of world-shattering events that brought both tears or anguish and tears of sheer joy to several million across this globe.

The last remaining major world leader from the Second World War era, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, died in January that year. Solidarity, as a movement and a political entity, became legal in Poland as a result of the tireless efforts of a relatively unknown dock worker named Lech Walesa – a legal move that would have an unbelievable global impact before the end of the year.

1989 was the year that author Salmon Rushdie had a price put on his head for “deeply offending” one of the world’s largest religions. The man who angrily posted that bounty was dead himself within the year, the much-lionized Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. During a particularly warm Asian spring, a man (who may or may not have been known by the name of Wang Wei-Lin) defied the largest armed force on the planet by defiantly standing in front of an imposing row of oncoming tanks in one of the world’s largest public gathering places. The fate of that man is, twenty years on, unknown – but the image of him refusing to give up his ground in front of five very, very large Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square has been called the single most famous photograph of the entire 20th Century.

7 - The Spike Boys - 1Later that year, of course, the long-despised symbol of world-wide Communist dictatorship – the very concrete tumor that for nearly thirty years had separated and plagued one of Europe’s great ancient capitals into “Western” and “Eastern” Zones – came crashing down. A common, great but twice-vanquished people, separated by artificially-created ideological borders, collectively stood up, and in a singular voice cried, “No more!” Those of us who grew up in the 1970’s never thought we would see West and East Germany reunite in our lifetime – let alone the entire final rotting and disintegration of Eastern Europe’s totalitarian regimes.

If you’ve managed to read this far in our little trip down a two-decade old Memory Lane, you are probably wondering: “What the hell does any of this have to do with the Fetish world, anyhow?” Other than opening up shiploads of delicious German latex to the rest of the world (a given), what’s the message here?

1 - Iron Xena - 1It’s simple, really. The year Nineteen-Hundred-and-Eighty-Nine was a year of great turmoil to be sure – but it was also a year of great hope and unrequited optimism. There was a spirit of change in the air, and people were eager to embrace the coming end-of-millennium decade of the 1990’s with a renewed spirit of ambition and promise. From 1989 to 2009, countless fetish events have come and almost all of them have gone. Even some famous institutions of alternative lifestyle “expressions” that promised to “stand the test of time” in the 1970’s and 1980’s – ultimately disappeared from the fetish map. All, that is, except one.

In the past two weeks, Your Humble Narrator and Only True Friend had been attempting to locate and confirm the existence of a regular monthly fetish event that has been running, continuously or virtually continuously, for at least twenty years. I found one – right in my own backyard and right on the heels of what simply had to be this particular corporation’s best large-scale event, ever. I’m talking about Northbound Leather, of course. Twenty years ago, a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur took the heart of a small family business, started a small-scale series of Fetish Nights in order to partially promote his products but mostly just to have fun, and ran with it. He’s been doing it ever since.

4 - Spikehead - 1Your Humble Narrator has focused a lot of attention in the past few weeks on Northbound Leather and their various efforts – and quite deservedly so. In February 2010, right around the same time Canada is getting set to host the Winter World during the Vancouver 2010 Olympiad, George Giaouris and his staff at Northbound Leather will be celebrating the “official” 20th Anniversary of their monthly fetish event, all this time simply referred to as the “Northbound Fetish Night”, in downtown Toronto. There is no other event (that I could find, at least) that has been routinely scheduled and executed meticulously and faithfully, once a month, for 20 straight years. Sure, the venues for Northbound’s monthly gyrating shindig have changed – but the party remains the same and continues to roll ever stronger as it enters its third decade of existence. This is quite an accomplishment for a company that began as a small little leather shop, in Greece no less, over 40 years ago.

Much has already been written and said about Northbound Leather’s events over the years, some of it good, some of it … well, not quite so good. It’s all a matter of perspective and personal taste, after all – but by and large the words “Northbound Leather” have been synonymous with “quality”, if you’ll pardon a terribly over-used marketing euphemism – and that doesn’t just apply to their wide array of merchandise. You just can’t please everybody one-hundred percent of the time: but George and his staff have managed to come “oh-so-close.”

2 - Ballerina - Corset - 1Thirteen years ago, Northbound Leather made a decision to organize and host a Fetish party on a grand and unprecedented scale (at least for North America). Deciding from the outset to give each annual event a unique and somewhat unusual theme and name (“Thrust”, “Decadence”, Bento”, “X-Pose”, etc.), the annual event has become by far, and as previously reported, the single largest gathering of fetish folk under a single roof anywhere in the world. This year’s massive event, given the moniker and theme of TRIBE, simply had to be the ultimate, spectacular culmination of twenty years of unprecedented excellence provided to North America’s fetish populace in the way of both actual “product”, and “atmosphere”.

Allow me to describe the latter first: The atmosphere was, from start to finish, nothing short of scintillating and euphoric. Hosted in a two-level, gargantuan entertainment complex known as The Sound Academy (but previously and more well-known as “The Docks”), the large crowd had plenty of room to walk, talk, prance and dance to their twisted little heart’s content well into the dawn-breaking early hours of morning. My beloved Lady J, her devoted Handmaiden Angelically Depraved, and Your Humble Narrator were, in fact, three of the last half-dozen non-staff members to exit the premises around 5:30 am. The fashion show/stage performance was something this writer had never expected, let alone ever witnessed before (and in over 30 years as an ardent SM practitioner in several American and Canadian cities over the years, I’ve seen a lot), and there are simply no words to describe it. The only negative thing that can be said about the fashion show is that there were whisperings that the choreographer was being somewhat of a “slave-driver” and over-the-top “diva” – how apropos can you get though? – towards the performers, models and especially with the usually cool and accommodating DJ for the event, Toronto’s popular Jimi LaMort. This resulted in a few unpleasant grumbles from some patrons who apparently were curtly denied when trying to approach the DJ booth and attempt to request a tune or two. Jimi and all the performers obviously had had a very long day – but when it came time for the TRIBE stage show, everyone’s professionalism and showmanship clearly shone through. Our dear beloved friend Ms. Marina Black did an jaw-dropping “catwalk” down the stage in an eye-popping custom designed leather-and-chain ensemble that simply has to be seen in person to be believed. If that wasn’t enough, she topped off her moment under the stage lamps by doing a piercing demonstration – completely in character – with an array of bright, large feathers.

3 - Marina Black TRIBE 2009 - 1I say “in character”, because although the choreographer (whom I’ll spare naming) may have acted a little too much like a diva from some reports, this particular stage show had simply … everything. Astounding, one of a kind leather costumes and pieces, all made from Northbound Leather’s industrious facility (located onsite, by the way, in case you’re curious) and all from the minds of head designer Marty Rotman and the enthusiastic staff at Northbound, paraded in a mind-bending array of music, sight and sound; intricately woven into a storyline that followed a young man’s “Initiation Ritual” into the “Chosen TRIBE”. Lady Victoria Windsor, another one of the exceptional Dominas who calls Toronto home, held court as only she could do – and the overall effect was intoxicating. Videos from the stage show at TRIBE that are sure to pop up on various video server websites are sure to be destined as “classics” for, perhaps, another twenty years to come. There’s more than enough “product” examples from the videos and photos – if you take the time to look, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

6 - Priestess - 1There was a huge Dungeon playspace set up on the second floor of the establishment, and another directly below it on the main floor. Lady Viktoria (not to be confused with the aforementioned Lady Victoria Windsor), another well-known Toronto Domina, and her staff – especially Master Jack and Sir Thomas from Toronto – are to be commended, admired and appreciated for keeping a huge amount of eager SM participants enthralled, satiated and indeed, respectful for several hours.

There simply wasn’t a single thing to grouse about during the entire evening’s myriad of activities. Perhaps other event organizers in other cities may wish to learn a thing or two about how to effectively run a large-scale event that features an amazing stage show, a scintillating dance party, and not one but two large, exceptionally equipped and managed play spaces.

8 - Head Gear - 1Thus marks the “end” of Northbound Leather’s twenty-year odyssey in staging and hosting what truly is the biggest, the baddest, and without a doubt the best massive fetish lifestyle event on the planet. TRIBE was a triumph and an emotionally crippling, satisfying and truly magical experience. It was the perfect epilogue to the story of Northbound Leather’s first twenty years of excellence in event hosting – and a titillating prologue to the next twenty years.

Entire political systems came and went within the last twenty years. Gigantic walls came down, the world stumbled and shook a bit, lost a little of collective ‘smugness’ and conceit, and in short, we live in a very different environment today than we did twenty years ago.

It’s a comfort to know that we can rely on some things remaining the same, though. Lady J and I are really looking forward to Northbound Leather’s next twenty years. They did the first two decades just fine – and TRIBE was the best stop on that journey. Thanks, and our love and best wishes for Decade Three to George, Anna, Enza, Marty  and all of the people that make Northbound Leather … undeniably … the absolute epitome of the word “perfection”.

(All Photos courtesy of Kevin LeClair and Northbound Leather. May not use without permission.)

Dia-TRIBE: An Incredible Twenty Year Odyssey with Northbound Leather

5 - The Six - 1“Deep, unspeakable suffering may well be called a baptism, a regeneration, the initiation into a new state.” ~ Ira Gershwin

The more things change in twenty years, the more they also (sometimes) remain the same. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Bear with me for a bit, Gentle Reader: this “diatribe” (pun intended, as you’ll see) does indeed have a point.

Let’s take a little stroll down memory lane to twenty years ago. The year was 1989. It was a landmark year, full of world-shattering events that brought both tears or anguish and tears of sheer joy to several million across this globe.

The last remaining major world leader from the Second World War era, Japan’s Emperor Hirohito, died in January that year. Solidarity, as a movement and a political entity, became legal in Poland as a result of the tireless efforts of a relatively unknown dock worker named Lech Walesa – a legal move that would have an unbelievable global impact before the end of the year.

1989 was the year that author Salmon Rushdie had a price put on his head for “deeply offending” one of the world’s largest religions. The man who angrily posted that bounty was dead himself within the year, the much-lionized Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. During a particularly warm Asian spring, a man (who may or may not have been known by the name of Wang Wei-Lin) defied the largest armed force on the planet by defiantly standing in front of an imposing row of oncoming tanks in one of the world’s largest public gathering places. The fate of that man is, twenty years on, unknown – but the image of him refusing to give up his ground in front of five very, very large Chinese tanks at Tiananmen Square has been called the single most famous photograph of the entire 20th Century.

7 - The Spike Boys - 1Later that year, of course, the long-despised symbol of world-wide Communist dictatorship – the very concrete tumor that for nearly thirty years had separated and plagued one of Europe’s great ancient capitals into “Western” and “Eastern” Zones – came crashing down. A common, great but twice-vanquished people, separated by artificially-created ideological borders, collectively stood up, and in a singular voice cried, “No more!” Those of us who grew up in the 1970’s never thought we would see West and East Germany reunite in our lifetime – let alone the entire final rotting and disintegration of Eastern Europe’s totalitarian regimes.

If you’ve managed to read this far in our little trip down a two-decade old Memory Lane, you are probably wondering: “What the hell does any of this have to do with the Fetish world, anyhow?” Other than opening up shiploads of delicious German latex to the rest of the world (a given), what’s the message here?

1 - Iron Xena - 1It’s simple, really. The year Nineteen-Hundred-and-Eighty-Nine was a year of great turmoil to be sure – but it was also a year of great hope and unrequited optimism. There was a spirit of change in the air, and people were eager to embrace the coming end-of-millennium decade of the 1990’s with a renewed spirit of ambition and promise. From 1989 to 2009, countless fetish events have come and almost all of them have gone. Even some famous institutions of alternative lifestyle “expressions” that promised to “stand the test of time” in the 1970’s and 1980’s – ultimately disappeared from the fetish map. All, that is, except one.

In the past two weeks, Your Humble Narrator and Only True Friend had been attempting to locate and confirm the existence of a regular monthly fetish event that has been running, continuously or virtually continuously, for at least twenty years. I found one – right in my own backyard and right on the heels of what simply had to be this particular corporation’s best large-scale event, ever. I’m talking about Northbound Leather, of course. Twenty years ago, a young and enthusiastic entrepreneur took the heart of a small family business, started a small-scale series of Fetish Nights in order to partially promote his products but mostly just to have fun, and ran with it. He’s been doing it ever since.

4 - Spikehead - 1Your Humble Narrator has focused a lot of attention in the past few weeks on Northbound Leather and their various efforts – and quite deservedly so. In February 2010, right around the same time Canada is getting set to host the Winter World during the Vancouver 2010 Olympiad, George Giaouris and his staff at Northbound Leather will be celebrating the “official” 20th Anniversary of their monthly fetish event, all this time simply referred to as the “Northbound Fetish Night”, in downtown Toronto. There is no other event (that I could find, at least) that has been routinely scheduled and executed meticulously and faithfully, once a month, for 20 straight years. Sure, the venues for Northbound’s monthly gyrating shindig have changed – but the party remains the same and continues to roll ever stronger as it enters its third decade of existence. This is quite an accomplishment for a company that began as a small little leather shop, in Greece no less, over 40 years ago.

Much has already been written and said about Northbound Leather’s events over the years, some of it good, some of it … well, not quite so good. It’s all a matter of perspective and personal taste, after all – but by and large the words “Northbound Leather” have been synonymous with “quality”, if you’ll pardon a terribly over-used marketing euphemism – and that doesn’t just apply to their wide array of merchandise. You just can’t please everybody one-hundred percent of the time: but George and his staff have managed to come “oh-so-close.”

2 - Ballerina - Corset - 1Thirteen years ago, Northbound Leather made a decision to organize and host a Fetish party on a grand and unprecedented scale (at least for North America). Deciding from the outset to give each annual event a unique and somewhat unusual theme and name (“Thrust”, “Decadence”, Bento”, “X-Pose”, etc.), the annual event has become by far, and as previously reported, the single largest gathering of fetish folk under a single roof anywhere in the world. This year’s massive event, given the moniker and theme of TRIBE, simply had to be the ultimate, spectacular culmination of twenty years of unprecedented excellence provided to North America’s fetish populace in the way of both actual “product”, and “atmosphere”.

Allow me to describe the latter first: The atmosphere was, from start to finish, nothing short of scintillating and euphoric. Hosted in a two-level, gargantuan entertainment complex known as The Sound Academy (but previously and more well-known as “The Docks”), the large crowd had plenty of room to walk, talk, prance and dance to their twisted little heart’s content well into the dawn-breaking early hours of morning. My beloved Lady J, her devoted Handmaiden Angelically Depraved, and Your Humble Narrator were, in fact, three of the last half-dozen non-staff members to exit the premises around 5:30 am. The fashion show/stage performance was something this writer had never expected, let alone ever witnessed before (and in over 30 years as an ardent SM practitioner in several American and Canadian cities over the years, I’ve seen a lot), and there are simply no words to describe it. The only negative thing that can be said about the fashion show is that there were whisperings that the choreographer was being somewhat of a “slave-driver” and over-the-top “diva” – how apropos can you get though? – towards the performers, models and especially with the usually cool and accommodating DJ for the event, Toronto’s popular Jimi LaMort. This resulted in a few unpleasant grumbles from some patrons who apparently were curtly denied when trying to approach the DJ booth and attempt to request a tune or two. Jimi and all the performers obviously had had a very long day – but when it came time for the TRIBE stage show, everyone’s professionalism and showmanship clearly shone through. Our dear beloved friend Ms. Marina Black did an jaw-dropping “catwalk” down the stage in an eye-popping custom designed leather-and-chain ensemble that simply has to be seen in person to be believed. If that wasn’t enough, she topped off her moment under the stage lamps by doing a piercing demonstration – completely in character – with an array of bright, large feathers.

3 - Marina Black TRIBE 2009 - 1I say “in character”, because although the choreographer (whom I’ll spare naming) may have acted a little too much like a diva from some reports, this particular stage show had simply … everything. Astounding, one of a kind leather costumes and pieces, all made from Northbound Leather’s industrious facility (located onsite, by the way, in case you’re curious) and all from the minds of head designer Marty Rotman and the enthusiastic staff at Northbound, paraded in a mind-bending array of music, sight and sound; intricately woven into a storyline that followed a young man’s “Initiation Ritual” into the “Chosen TRIBE”. Lady Victoria Windsor, another one of the exceptional Dominas who calls Toronto home, held court as only she could do – and the overall effect was intoxicating. Videos from the stage show at TRIBE that are sure to pop up on various video server websites are sure to be destined as “classics” for, perhaps, another twenty years to come. There’s more than enough “product” examples from the videos and photos – if you take the time to look, I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

6 - Priestess - 1There was a huge Dungeon playspace set up on the second floor of the establishment, and another directly below it on the main floor. Lady Viktoria (not to be confused with the aforementioned Lady Victoria Windsor), another well-known Toronto Domina, and her staff – especially Master Jack and Sir Thomas from Toronto – are to be commended, admired and appreciated for keeping a huge amount of eager SM participants enthralled, satiated and indeed, respectful for several hours.

There simply wasn’t a single thing to grouse about during the entire evening’s myriad of activities. Perhaps other event organizers in other cities may wish to learn a thing or two about how to effectively run a large-scale event that features an amazing stage show, a scintillating dance party, and not one but two large, exceptionally equipped and managed play spaces.

8 - Head Gear - 1Thus marks the “end” of Northbound Leather’s twenty-year odyssey in staging and hosting what truly is the biggest, the baddest, and without a doubt the best massive fetish lifestyle event on the planet. TRIBE was a triumph and an emotionally crippling, satisfying and truly magical experience. It was the perfect epilogue to the story of Northbound Leather’s first twenty years of excellence in event hosting – and a titillating prologue to the next twenty years.

Entire political systems came and went within the last twenty years. Gigantic walls came down, the world stumbled and shook a bit, lost a little of collective ‘smugness’ and conceit, and in short, we live in a very different environment today than we did twenty years ago.

It’s a comfort to know that we can rely on some things remaining the same, though. Lady J and I are really looking forward to Northbound Leather’s next twenty years. They did the first two decades just fine – and TRIBE was the best stop on that journey. Thanks, and our love and best wishes for Decade Three to George, Anna, Enza, Marty  and all of the people that make Northbound Leather … undeniably … the absolute epitome of the word “perfection”.

(All Photos courtesy of Kevin LeClair and Northbound Leather. May not use without permission.)

Darkly Sensuous is the Night in the Lair of Ms. Marina Black

Marina_Selects -19

Marquis America is pleased to bring you this personal insight into one of North America’s premiere Dominas, Ms. Marina Black of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

She is, amongst her peers, regarded as the consummate professional. She is also a true SM lifestyle practitioner – and those fortunate enough to be invited into her presence are quick to note that in her world – there is simply “no nonsense”. She is discerning … articulate to a fault … experienced beyond measure … and thorough in all aspects (from initial introduction to eventual encounter) in all things fetish and sadomasochistic. When she walks into a room, whether adorned in the finest, custom-designed latex couture or comfortably ensconced in a pair of “sensible” leather boots, black jeans and classic silken blouse, there can be no doubt that she is forever and always in complete … control.

The lady has been an integral and visible part of Canada’s SM scene for a number of years, as a facilitator, educator, occasional film subject and, of course, as one of the most respected practising Dominas in the country. She is Ms. Marina Black, fetishist, visual artist and epitome of female power – and empowerment. This Montreal-born one-of-a-kind beauty has made Toronto, Ontario, her chosen home since an early age: but she is known as one of the premier latex enthusiasts throughout North America.

She grew up in Toronto, and describes her formative years as “living in a typically strict Portuguese household” (she speaks the language fluently), where expectations to excel were placed on her from both family and school teachers alike. “I never really fit in, though, with any identifiable group. Excelling at school was frowned upon by my peers”, she said. “I would have to say that High School was my ‘coming out’ party. Up until that point, my best friends were books.” She poured over text after text, for all intents and purposes teaching herself how to read, write and speak perfect English. She had a special interest and passion for Greek mythology and Egyptian history, and many a night was spent in fascination and appreciation of the ancient tales and lessons.  By the age of seven, she was deeply attracted to the aesthetic of the woman of power (Hatshepsut, the only female Pharaoh, for instance) she was learning about, and equally realized her proficiency and ability to absorb and maintain knowledge was far beyond those of an equal age. By the time she reached her teenage years, she knew she had to embark on a path set of her own choosing. Her parents chastised her for her chosen attire while attending school (she was drawn to the “punk” and Goth” alternative fashion culture), and she did extremely well in school despite what others may have thought of her “trappings”.

Marina_Selects -31The attraction to being empowered as a woman began to manifest itself during this “teenage rebellious” time. After experimenting with both submissive and dominant roles with boyfriends, she quickly realized that “bottoming was not (my) thing”. She was fortunate enough to have a long-term boyfriend whon was quite fine always taking the submissive role – and her education and experience as a Domina started to increase exponentially. She started to educate herself in everything to do with SM with the same passion and drive in which she lovingly worshipped the Greek goddesses of her literary childhood. She recalls with a smile the first time someone ever approached her, asking her “if she was a Dominatrix.” She knew then exactly what path she wanted to take in this life.

“By the time I reached my 20’s, I was beyond experimenting,” she said. “I learned very early on that being an ‘evil bitch’ and a ‘girly-girl’ were not mutually exclusive. To this day I can proudly say I remain extremely wicked but exquisitely soft and feminine.”

She had already started boldly into the professional SM world by the time she entered University – during that era, a most uncertain but incredibly courageous step for most to take at such a formative age – but not for her. She has, therefore, been a recognizable force within the Toronto and Eastern Canadian SM communities for well over two decades.

Her chosen style of Dominance is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart: she offers a complete and totally immersive experience in all forms of the art of female domination – but she does not open her doors (or even a dialogue) with just anyone or everyone that approaches her. She has an extensive and intensive screening process for potential supplicants and makes no apologies for being so selective. “I’m not the most ‘popular’ professional by choice,” she said. “I am quite specific in what I do.” She points out with crystal clarity that she is “not a menu item Domina” and the clientele that is fortunate enough to pass through the initial screening process can be assured of a very heavy, exacting and completely enveloping scene.

Marina_Selects -10“I was a leather girl when I started, growing up in a leather town,” she said. “At one time, Northbound Leather was the only supplier in town and, naturally, everyone involved in the scene relied on them for their clothes and toys – me included.” Latex was not on her radar – and was extremely limited in supply, and even then what was available was not quite of the standard one would find in large European centers. By the early 1990’s, though, she started noticing and taking a great interest in “some really beautiful latex pieces” she would see in various magazines and online. She describes herself as a “very physical Domina” and realized very quickly that latex wear allowed her to move more freely and expertly when involved in a session. Latex didn’t curb her range of motion: “Latex loves your body when you’re engaged in a physical and heavy scene. What’s more, my own collared pet further exposed me to a fresh perspective on latex used in tandem with heavy and sensual play. He has most definitely been my muse.”

She has been a featured participant in several of the largest latex-focused fetish events (the annual Northbound Leather event in Toronto, for instance, and most recently turned heads and gained a new following from the younger fetish crowd for her performance at the famous New York-based Rubber Ball as an invited participant). There are few in North America with the dedication and knowledge of the latex aesthetic – and few can wear it with such a combination of femininity and sensuality combined with absolute power and control.

Marina_Selects -15In addition to being recognized as one of the latex world’s primary champions (especially in Toronto), Ms. Black is passionate about her art. “I’m totally addicted to bondage,” she said. “Everything to do with it, from rope work to fully inflatable body bags and sleep sacks, I’m in love with it!” She admits metal restraints are employed as a part of her repertoire – but she prefers the ambiance, anticipation and even delicious apprehension that occurs when engaging in wrapping a submissive up completely in ropes. “By the time they’re completely immobilized, I’ve taken the time to make sure they are comfortable with what is about to happen to them, building up the suspense and the sensuality of it all. They know they’re safe in my hands – even though they’re not going anywhere until I decide to release them and let them know they’re allowed to leave.” She loves being able to create what she describes as a “sensation overload” in her play – each client that comes for an SM experience in her chambers (Note: she is one of the very few professionals to boast both access to one of the most infamous establishments in the world, the Patricia Marsh House of Domination, as well as her own extremely well-equipped private studios) is guaranteed to appreciate her efforts, her time, and attention to detail. She is truly a “throwback”: she has a good base of dedicated clients and followers whom she considers to be “good friends” as well as exceptional devotees. This is rare: she isn’t seduced necessarily by the power of the almighty dollar, but by ensuring that each person that spends quality time with her will wish to be welcome back because of her insistence on a high degree of realism – and dedication to providing that authentic atmosphere and experience.

To that end, she describes herself as “much more of a physical Domina than a psychological one”. The implication is obvious: the bondage and discipline experience is far more tenable; far less fantasy; and easily more memorable. Her clients never leave her presence with the notion (or confusion) that she is “simply a professional doing her job.” This attention to detail and the care that she takes to treat each client with a high degree of genuine respect and authenticity, indeed, separates her from most of her peers. “It doesn’t matter what vocation you decide to practice,” she said. “To be exceptional at what you do, you have to love what you do – and I only do what I love.

Marina_Selects -34Ms. Marina Black also has a vocation outside of her professional domination practice. Since the year 1992, she has been trained in and is a much sought-after practitioner as a professional piercing artist. She also is proficient and popular as an Aromatherapist, and has even developed some of her own mixtures and cremes that have helped a myriad of people with a myriad of maladies. Both of these talents and skills blend well and help to compliment her as a Domina – and she is quite capable of combining all of her worlds, when needed, for those individuals who can appreciate her attentions.

Whether she is delivering an expert whipping or caning, planning and executing an extended bondage situation or delivering an abject lesson using one of her beloved electro-stimulation devices, there are none whom are permitted within her inner circle who would disagree that she definitely ranks among the world’s best as a direct, stern and dedicated Domina. “Just because someone chooses to spend quality time with a professional, it doesn’t make the experience any less real,” she said. “That is simply the way it has to be: Real!

Those interested in knowing more about Ms. Marina Black are invited to peruse her website: Serve Marina Black.

(All photos of Ms. Marina Black  are supplied courtesy of NTB Creative)

Darkly Sensuous is the Night in the Lair of Ms. Marina Black

Marina_Selects -19

Marquis America is pleased to bring you this personal insight into one of North America’s premiere Dominas, Ms. Marina Black of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

She is, amongst her peers, regarded as the consummate professional. She is also a true SM lifestyle practitioner – and those fortunate enough to be invited into her presence are quick to note that in her world – there is simply “no nonsense”. She is discerning … articulate to a fault … experienced beyond measure … and thorough in all aspects (from initial introduction to eventual encounter) in all things fetish and sadomasochistic. When she walks into a room, whether adorned in the finest, custom-designed latex couture or comfortably ensconced in a pair of “sensible” leather boots, black jeans and classic silken blouse, there can be no doubt that she is forever and always in complete … control.

The lady has been an integral and visible part of Canada’s SM scene for a number of years, as a facilitator, educator, occasional film subject and, of course, as one of the most respected practising Dominas in the country. She is Ms. Marina Black, fetishist, visual artist and epitome of female power – and empowerment. This Montreal-born one-of-a-kind beauty has made Toronto, Ontario, her chosen home since an early age: but she is known as one of the premier latex enthusiasts throughout North America.

She grew up in Toronto, and describes her formative years as “living in a typically strict Portuguese household” (she speaks the language fluently), where expectations to excel were placed on her from both family and school teachers alike. “I never really fit in, though, with any identifiable group. Excelling at school was frowned upon by my peers”, she said. “I would have to say that High School was my ‘coming out’ party. Up until that point, my best friends were books.” She poured over text after text, for all intents and purposes teaching herself how to read, write and speak perfect English. She had a special interest and passion for Greek mythology and Egyptian history, and many a night was spent in fascination and appreciation of the ancient tales and lessons.  By the age of seven, she was deeply attracted to the aesthetic of the woman of power (Hatshepsut, the only female Pharaoh, for instance) she was learning about, and equally realized her proficiency and ability to absorb and maintain knowledge was far beyond those of an equal age. By the time she reached her teenage years, she knew she had to embark on a path set of her own choosing. Her parents chastised her for her chosen attire while attending school (she was drawn to the “punk” and Goth” alternative fashion culture), and she did extremely well in school despite what others may have thought of her “trappings”.

Marina_Selects -31The attraction to being empowered as a woman began to manifest itself during this “teenage rebellious” time. After experimenting with both submissive and dominant roles with boyfriends, she quickly realized that “bottoming was not (my) thing”. She was fortunate enough to have a long-term boyfriend whon was quite fine always taking the submissive role – and her education and experience as a Domina started to increase exponentially. She started to educate herself in everything to do with SM with the same passion and drive in which she lovingly worshipped the Greek goddesses of her literary childhood. She recalls with a smile the first time someone ever approached her, asking her “if she was a Dominatrix.” She knew then exactly what path she wanted to take in this life.

“By the time I reached my 20’s, I was beyond experimenting,” she said. “I learned very early on that being an ‘evil bitch’ and a ‘girly-girl’ were not mutually exclusive. To this day I can proudly say I remain extremely wicked but exquisitely soft and feminine.”

She had already started boldly into the professional SM world by the time she entered University – during that era, a most uncertain but incredibly courageous step for most to take at such a formative age – but not for her. She has, therefore, been a recognizable force within the Toronto and Eastern Canadian SM communities for well over two decades.

Her chosen style of Dominance is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint of heart: she offers a complete and totally immersive experience in all forms of the art of female domination – but she does not open her doors (or even a dialogue) with just anyone or everyone that approaches her. She has an extensive and intensive screening process for potential supplicants and makes no apologies for being so selective. “I’m not the most ‘popular’ professional by choice,” she said. “I am quite specific in what I do.” She points out with crystal clarity that she is “not a menu item Domina” and the clientele that is fortunate enough to pass through the initial screening process can be assured of a very heavy, exacting and completely enveloping scene.

Marina_Selects -10“I was a leather girl when I started, growing up in a leather town,” she said. “At one time, Northbound Leather was the only supplier in town and, naturally, everyone involved in the scene relied on them for their clothes and toys – me included.” Latex was not on her radar – and was extremely limited in supply, and even then what was available was not quite of the standard one would find in large European centers. By the early 1990’s, though, she started noticing and taking a great interest in “some really beautiful latex pieces” she would see in various magazines and online. She describes herself as a “very physical Domina” and realized very quickly that latex wear allowed her to move more freely and expertly when involved in a session. Latex didn’t curb her range of motion: “Latex loves your body when you’re engaged in a physical and heavy scene. What’s more, my own collared pet further exposed me to a fresh perspective on latex used in tandem with heavy and sensual play. He has most definitely been my muse.”

She has been a featured participant in several of the largest latex-focused fetish events (the annual Northbound Leather event in Toronto, for instance, and most recently turned heads and gained a new following from the younger fetish crowd for her performance at the famous New York-based Rubber Ball as an invited participant). There are few in North America with the dedication and knowledge of the latex aesthetic – and few can wear it with such a combination of femininity and sensuality combined with absolute power and control.

Marina_Selects -15In addition to being recognized as one of the latex world’s primary champions (especially in Toronto), Ms. Black is passionate about her art. “I’m totally addicted to bondage,” she said. “Everything to do with it, from rope work to fully inflatable body bags and sleep sacks, I’m in love with it!” She admits metal restraints are employed as a part of her repertoire – but she prefers the ambiance, anticipation and even delicious apprehension that occurs when engaging in wrapping a submissive up completely in ropes. “By the time they’re completely immobilized, I’ve taken the time to make sure they are comfortable with what is about to happen to them, building up the suspense and the sensuality of it all. They know they’re safe in my hands – even though they’re not going anywhere until I decide to release them and let them know they’re allowed to leave.” She loves being able to create what she describes as a “sensation overload” in her play – each client that comes for an SM experience in her chambers (Note: she is one of the very few professionals to boast both access to one of the most infamous establishments in the world, the Patricia Marsh House of Domination, as well as her own extremely well-equipped private studios) is guaranteed to appreciate her efforts, her time, and attention to detail. She is truly a “throwback”: she has a good base of dedicated clients and followers whom she considers to be “good friends” as well as exceptional devotees. This is rare: she isn’t seduced necessarily by the power of the almighty dollar, but by ensuring that each person that spends quality time with her will wish to be welcome back because of her insistence on a high degree of realism – and dedication to providing that authentic atmosphere and experience.

To that end, she describes herself as “much more of a physical Domina than a psychological one”. The implication is obvious: the bondage and discipline experience is far more tenable; far less fantasy; and easily more memorable. Her clients never leave her presence with the notion (or confusion) that she is “simply a professional doing her job.” This attention to detail and the care that she takes to treat each client with a high degree of genuine respect and authenticity, indeed, separates her from most of her peers. “It doesn’t matter what vocation you decide to practice,” she said. “To be exceptional at what you do, you have to love what you do – and I only do what I love.

Marina_Selects -34Ms. Marina Black also has a vocation outside of her professional domination practice. Since the year 1992, she has been trained in and is a much sought-after practitioner as a professional piercing artist. She also is proficient and popular as an Aromatherapist, and has even developed some of her own mixtures and cremes that have helped a myriad of people with a myriad of maladies. Both of these talents and skills blend well and help to compliment her as a Domina – and she is quite capable of combining all of her worlds, when needed, for those individuals who can appreciate her attentions.

Whether she is delivering an expert whipping or caning, planning and executing an extended bondage situation or delivering an abject lesson using one of her beloved electro-stimulation devices, there are none whom are permitted within her inner circle who would disagree that she definitely ranks among the world’s best as a direct, stern and dedicated Domina. “Just because someone chooses to spend quality time with a professional, it doesn’t make the experience any less real,” she said. “That is simply the way it has to be: Real!

Those interested in knowing more about Ms. Marina Black are invited to peruse her website: Serve Marina Black.

(All photos of Ms. Marina Black  are supplied courtesy of NTB Creative)

The Partnership of Grand Illusion and Stark Reality

tn-01242SM used to be considered the crème de la crème of sensual expression. When, and why, did SM turn into just another internet peepshow?

Are there really women out there who just can’t get enough of men sending them a shot of their genitals? Are there really men out there who can’t get enough of women sending them a shot of their breasts? Are these people so incredibly facially deformed that they feel they need to make up for it by sending total strangers (in most cases) incredibly detailed photographs of their gonads and bust lines? How utterly pedantic, and how diametrically opposed to everything SM was supposed to be about. Nudity is a privilege earned by both the Dominant and the submissive. It appears, judging by the amount of mostly-naked “professional SM” adverts out there on the world wide web, that blatant exposing of one’s self is considered somehow “normal” and “appropriate”. Whatever happened to the old adage that it’s more sensual, and sexy, to “leave something to the imagination?

In the years prior to the advent of mass communication via desktop computers, truly trained and experienced Dominas would be dressed from neck to toe in something that made them feel powerful: showing any bare flesh was a right their boy or girl had to earn. It isn’t the nudity of the male or female body that instantly appeals to us, per se, and it is absolutely true that there are some dedicated naturists in our world who prefer to be clad in nothing but the very air they breathe, even when engaging in a sadomasochistic activity.

But for the vast majority of people involved in our peculiar little institution, and as has always been the case, fetishism is an integral part of the illusion of consensual slavery. It is an absolute truth that unless both the dominant and submissive invest and believe in the illusion of ownership they are mutually creating, the reality can and will quickly crumble. Fetish wear, gloves, shoes, boots, lingerie, etc. are all a standard part of the illusion that is a consensual power exchange to be sure – but it’s the actions and attitudes of both the Dominant and submissive partners who sustain the reality.

lady-j-latex-catsuit-two1It is said, and with some factual basis, that it must have been a man who invented the high heeled shoes and boots that even the most basic businesswoman will don as a part of her day to day uniform. Leather attire has always been viewed as a symbol of sensual confidence, for men and women both. There are man-made materials today, some resembling even the shiniest latex or the supplest of leathers that are affordable for even the most casual of SM practitioners.

Through observation and through experience, I can confidently declare that the Domina who advertises herself through an online profile or in a contact magazine and who dresses the part (and thereby creates the aura of initial illusion) will win the majority of responses from men and women who seek them out, whether they’re “professional” or not. At least, that was certainly true in the days before instant accessibility. The era of the internet has succeeded in destroying forever the art of approach, and has reduced the usual rules of courtship into something rapid, vapid and vulgar.

Today, anyone with a fairly reliable camera, a computer, a nice pair of boots and a cheap dime-store whip, dressed only in a bra and panties or (in some men’s cases), tight fitting briefs and bare-chested for all the world to see, somehow assumes it is “acceptable” and “tasteful” to demand to be referred to as ‘Mistress’ or ‘Master’ and taken seriously as some kind of experienced SM practitioner.

The advertisements that do catch the eye of the most dedicated submissive though still tend to be those which show a well dressed, elegant and sensual Dominant. Leather, latex and PVC garments can be elegant as well as sensual. At the very least, being fully dressed on a contact advertisement shows infinitely more class than one that leaves little to the imagination – or nothing to imagine at all.

lady-j-latex-catsuit-onePublications such as Marquis America, at least, are dedicated to (and bringing back) the esteemed “look” and feel of the dedicated Domina and SM practitioner of old. There is an elegance, for instance, in seeing the visage of someone such as Marquis Adult Toy Reviewer and writer Mistress Darkniis finely attired in her chosen latex wear – and covered completely from head to toe. Mistress Darkniis is a Domina who truly understands the allure – and power – of the completely-clad female form. She uses that powerful imagery to maximum effect: She is developing quite a following “Down East” amongst latex fetishists especially. Lady J (formerly of Halifax, Nova Scotia, but is as of this writing en route to a new life in Toronto, Ontario), pictured in a gorgeous full-length latex catsuit, full mask, red latex belt and red boots to the right, can be at times somewhat more liberal with the amount of skin she will show to a play partner – but it’s usually reliant on how much that particular partner has earned that privilege. It isn’t a “right” to see her bare shoulders if they haven’t earned the honor of such a reward during a Dominance encounter. Other contributors to this site, and to Marquis America itself, assuredly have similar, “old school” attitudes and sophistocated tastes in what they wear and how they choose to wear it. All of them have one thing in common, however:

It’s all about the “class”. It’s all about the “elegance”. It’s all about bringing back the illusion of absolute power in feminine form by dressing the part in a haunting, sensual and yet suggestive, realistic fashion. There’s a reason why such things are referred to as a Fetish, after all.

(Photos courtesy of Lady J and Big D of Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The Kinkdom of the Atlantic: A Region to Behold as an Example

peggys-cove-village-small1When one usually thinks of “Fetish Balls”, “Fetish Nights”, “Kinky Craft Fairs”, or “SM Related Business”, the usual first thought will invariably gravitate towards larger, more populated centers.

New York City, Chicago,  Toronto, Montreal and even Los Angeles are usually considered (to most) a version of Mecca in North American SM intended destinations. Those massive cities do indeed, as has been well documented, long-established and thriving communities, and are well known for their various events and offerings.

Across North America, there are growing communites in cities from Wilmington, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington. The communities in the Alberta cities of Calgary and Edmonton, as examples, have been around a long, long time, and as those two boomtowns continue to mushroom in population, their respective societies and groups are sure to forever welcome new seekers and practitioners along the way. Even Denver, Colorado and Winnipeg, Manitoba, have dedicated, loyal artisians and afficiandos who are most welcoming of new blood amongst their midst. It goes without saying, naturally, that San Francisco and Vancouver along the West Coast could be considered the respective “Birthplaces” of SM Culture (the fomer much more than the latter, to be sure), and enthusiasts flock to the shores of the Pacific Northwest without fail for almost every event. The Marquis Fetish Night in San Francisco on July 18th at The Supper Club, for instance,  is guaranteed to attract a well-represented mix of “old school” and “new guard” SM lifestylers.

Alright: So we all know that the mega-cities in their own unique way have established various and near-legendary histories within their respective communities. But what about some of those smaller cities? Do we just dismiss them as “inferior” in the quality of sadomasochistic expression (amongst their community leaders and membership especially), just because they don’t (at first) appear to have a population base to support immersive and passionate fetishists and dedicated, educated SM facilitators?

thigh-high-boots-twoRecently, Your Humble Narrator and Only True friend had the distinct honor and privilege of participating in a rare, large community “first time” event. In point of fact, and with all bravado and self-gratification sent asunder for evermore, I was surprisingly requested not only to author, but to conduct and preside over a full Claiming Ceremony (or a “collaring”, if you’d prefer that term). The Claimant was an auburn-haired beauty (a near legend in Atlantic SM circles) known by all from Prince Edward Island to Alberta in Canada and in the United States from Maine to Pennsylvania. Her name is, simply, Lady J. Her Supplicant, no shrinking violet herself and truly the epitome and personification of the very word servant, is a striking young lady known throughout the region (by an approprietly chosen adjective rather than a proper noun) as Angelically Depraved.

lady-j-and-ad-fire-cupping-one-smallThe Ceremony went off with little a hitch, and was attended by most of the more recognizable personalities in the region. While the evenings festivities were tempered somewhat with the (earth-shattering and dismaying) news to the gathered throng that Lady J would be leaving their community to embark on a career in Toronto, one could not help but get caught up in the pageantry, the ritual, the aura, and the emotion of the proceedings. Lady J has been the very glue that has held this entire region together, as a community, for the better part of a decade – albeit and by her own emphatic word, ‘reluctantly’. While it is unmistakeable that she is considered by almost all fetish and SM enthusiasts in the region as their “Matriarch”, it is a phantom title that she has never been comfortable with, nor has she entirely embraced it in a self-serving standpoint. Everything that she has done – opening up a private SM club; coordinating events and evenings; relied up to be constantly objective and mete out communal justice when necessary; etc. – has been a tireless and selfless service to the entire community, and it is without question that the region is going to miss her teaching, her guidance … and her Love … when the fateful day arrives towards the end of June when she embarks on her new career, and life, in Toronto.

I have personally seen more than one community fall to pieces in an unending cascade of bitterness, recrimination, ego and in some cases down-right ill-will, when a highly respected and revered community leader has fallen, or departs. Truly, the Atlantic Region can be held up as a shining example of the right way in which a community can continue to evolve and develop when they have lost their lynchpin and figurehead personality.

rubber-waterfallOf course, the Atlantic Region (like all communities) has their share of challenges and exasperations, egos that need to be assauged and disagreements that must be addressed. However, dear friends, I must confess: I have traveled and been witness to dozens of communities in a myriad of North American centers, on two oceans and everywhere in between, and never have I encountered a large community that was as close-knit, respectful of each other and shared (dare I say it) such a feeling of … Love. There is no question that it is the undying efforts of Lady J and her uncompromising insistance on providing that community a “home”, as well as instilling a healthy respect and desire for continued education and awareness, that is the largest single factor in shaping the very healthy future of SM along the East Coast. Before you start to think this missive is all about the “hero worship” of a single woman, allow me to introduce even more positive influences that have also contributed to the cohesion of their SM society, particularly in Halifax but also including the other Atlantic provinces and states.

bigd-fishing-net-smallThe Atlantic Region has some very, very gifted people: The pages of the electronic version of Marquis have featured, on one occasion, an extremely dedicated and personable gentleman who goes by the name of Big D. There are few in the area who have such a complete understanding and knowledge of rope bondage, and his flagellation skills are truly second to none. He is also the local authority on Zentai and latex full enclosure, and has a collection of gas masks and “implements of persuasion” that would put almost every “professional” Dungeon to shame. His collection of electrical apparatus and accoutrements truly is second to none. He is approachable and personable – and simply does not have as great an ego to satisfy as some of his peers may have in the larger cities. Halifax also boasts an entire plethora and highly exceptional contingent of Dominent women: Lady Lynn (who acted as the Sergeant-At-Arms for the Claiming Ceremony) is a no-nonsense, extremely engaging and highly respected Domina who has collaborated on several occasions with Lady J to help “serve” the communities needs (I am still trying to figure out exactly just what the hell an  SM Ladies Special is, but apparantly that’s somewhat of a local secret). A younger but no less determined lady who goes by the name Miss Jaded, together with her talented and passionate partner Ranger, are starting to take more of a leading role in community affairs – and while their efforts have encountered some (justified) resistance, no-one amongst their collective could fault their passion or their commitment to the community at large in helping to take over the reigns of leadership from Lady J.

halifax-communityIt was a shock and somewhat of a complete surprise to realize that good, decent people – with unassuming names such as Sailor, seaside, Dom “B” and his lovely mate, known simply to all as “Wifey of B”, Master Vadim, Lord Trystan, Krizlee and Stegral are all considered vital and integral voices within their family – and it is a family. I name but a few of the personalities I so lovingly encountered during the celebratory weekend, but all are valued, respected, cherished … and heard … when they have a voice to raise for the good of them all. I mention but a tiny contingent of the many voices that have come together to make the Atlantic Community so very strong and so very tight. In an electronic age when decorum and decency seems to fly out the metaphorical window faster than a trapped and angry hornet, it is a true joy, privilege – and I admit a surprise – to know that at least one smaller community could be held as an exalted example of just how a large community can, in fact, work – when all the talents and experiences of personalities are joined together as that single voice.

blue-zentaiIn addition to the SM Community at large, one of the best design and “cottage industry” implement manufacturers is a company simply called Halfway Creations. The company is staffed by two engaging and popular, talented women (Kate and Jeanne), and they have become reknown and their products prized and in heavy demand everywhere in the Region for their various collections. A selection of their incredible quality products can be found in virtually every SM enthusiast’s home in Atlantic Canada: their chrome-handled whips and floggers are in short supply and high demand in particular. They offer a variety of restraints and accoutrements in any number of color combinations, and the quality of their work most assuredly compares with any available in the industry. Your Humble Narrator himself has covetted a pair of leather “Shoe Locks” (in red and black leather) of a quality I’ve never encountered before. In addition to their excellent leather products, the pair are also proud to be able to offer the finest quality “Vegan Bondage” gear, crafted from durable latex rubber and extremely solid and reliable. Few SM artisians – even the larger companies – can offer such a wide selection of equipment, in different materials and in a myriad of color combinations.

car-wash-zentaiWe all know them, these people. We know that they sail our ships, drive our trucks, manage our stores. We say hello to them passing down opposite sides of the street and we wave good-night to them at the end of the day. They are our neighbors, our friends – and even in some cases our family. It is a common “bond”, you’ll pardon the pun, that all of us who have elected to pursue this peculiar proclivity, warmly share. When a community icon departs, or tragically falls, it is left to the other members of the family to pick up the teachings and the wisdom that they left them – and to do honor to that icon, and their wishes and desires, by steadfastly following in their bootsteps. In that way, they can perhaps collectively think “What would our beloved leader have done?” and act accordingly.

And in that regard, I believe there to be no finer example to be set – in this day and at this time – but the growth and evolution that is about to take place in the Atlantic Region. I firmly believe they will come together as a Family and find a way to resolve any challenges they face, together, and mutually – out of sheer respect for the wishes of their departing Matriach.

What shall be done, shall be done … for Love.

Kardynyl SynysTyr

(All photos Copyright and courtesy of Big D and Lady J of Halifax, Nova Scotia)

The Kinkdom of the Atlantic: A Region to Behold as an Example

peggys-cove-village-small1When one usually thinks of “Fetish Balls”, “Fetish Nights”, “Kinky Craft Fairs”, or “SM Related Business”, the usual first thought will invariably gravitate towards larger, more populated centers.

New York City, Chicago,  Toronto, Montreal and even Los Angeles are usually considered (to most) a version of Mecca in North American SM intended destinations. Those massive cities do indeed, as has been well documented, long-established and thriving communities, and are well known for their various events and offerings.

Across North America, there are growing communites in cities from Wilmington, North Carolina to Seattle, Washington. The communities in the Alberta cities of Calgary and Edmonton, as examples, have been around a long, long time, and as those two boomtowns continue to mushroom in population, their respective societies and groups are sure to forever welcome new seekers and practitioners along the way. Even Denver, Colorado and Winnipeg, Manitoba, have dedicated, loyal artisians and afficiandos who are most welcoming of new blood amongst their midst. It goes without saying, naturally, that San Francisco and Vancouver along the West Coast could be considered the respective “Birthplaces” of SM Culture (the fomer much more than the latter, to be sure), and enthusiasts flock to the shores of the Pacific Northwest without fail for almost every event. The Marquis Fetish Night in San Francisco on July 18th at The Supper Club, for instance,  is guaranteed to attract a well-represented mix of “old school” and “new guard” SM lifestylers.

Alright: So we all know that the mega-cities in their own unique way have established various and near-legendary histories within their respective communities. But what about some of those smaller cities? Do we just dismiss them as “inferior” in the quality of sadomasochistic expression (amongst their community leaders and membership especially), just because they don’t (at first) appear to have a population base to support immersive and passionate fetishists and dedicated, educated SM facilitators?

thigh-high-boots-twoRecently, Your Humble Narrator and Only True friend had the distinct honor and privilege of participating in a rare, large community “first time” event. In point of fact, and with all bravado and self-gratification sent asunder for evermore, I was surprisingly requested not only to author, but to conduct and preside over a full Claiming Ceremony (or a “collaring”, if you’d prefer that term). The Claimant was an auburn-haired beauty (a near legend in Atlantic SM circles) known by all from Prince Edward Island to Alberta in Canada and in the United States from Maine to Pennsylvania. Her name is, simply, Lady J. Her Supplicant, no shrinking violet herself and truly the epitome and personification of the very word servant, is a striking young lady known throughout the region (by an approprietly chosen adjective rather than a proper noun) as Angelically Depraved.

lady-j-and-ad-fire-cupping-one-smallThe Ceremony went off with little a hitch, and was attended by most of the more recognizable personalities in the region. While the evenings festivities were tempered somewhat with the (earth-shattering and dismaying) news to the gathered throng that Lady J would be leaving their community to embark on a career in Toronto, one could not help but get caught up in the pageantry, the ritual, the aura, and the emotion of the proceedings. Lady J has been the very glue that has held this entire region together, as a community, for the better part of a decade – albeit and by her own emphatic word, ‘reluctantly’. While it is unmistakeable that she is considered by almost all fetish and SM enthusiasts in the region as their “Matriarch”, it is a phantom title that she has never been comfortable with, nor has she entirely embraced it in a self-serving standpoint. Everything that she has done – opening up a private SM club; coordinating events and evenings; relied up to be constantly objective and mete out communal justice when necessary; etc. – has been a tireless and selfless service to the entire community, and it is without question that the region is going to miss her teaching, her guidance … and her Love … when the fateful day arrives towards the end of June when she embarks on her new career, and life, in Toronto.

I have personally seen more than one community fall to pieces in an unending cascade of bitterness, recrimination, ego and in some cases down-right ill-will, when a highly respected and revered community leader has fallen, or departs. Truly, the Atlantic Region can be held up as a shining example of the right way in which a community can continue to evolve and develop when they have lost their lynchpin and figurehead personality.

rubber-waterfallOf course, the Atlantic Region (like all communities) has their share of challenges and exasperations, egos that need to be assauged and disagreements that must be addressed. However, dear friends, I must confess: I have traveled and been witness to dozens of communities in a myriad of North American centers, on two oceans and everywhere in between, and never have I encountered a large community that was as close-knit, respectful of each other and shared (dare I say it) such a feeling of … Love. There is no question that it is the undying efforts of Lady J and her uncompromising insistance on providing that community a “home”, as well as instilling a healthy respect and desire for continued education and awareness, that is the largest single factor in shaping the very healthy future of SM along the East Coast. Before you start to think this missive is all about the “hero worship” of a single woman, allow me to introduce even more positive influences that have also contributed to the cohesion of their SM society, particularly in Halifax but also including the other Atlantic provinces and states.

bigd-fishing-net-smallThe Atlantic Region has some very, very gifted people: The pages of the electronic version of Marquis have featured, on one occasion, an extremely dedicated and personable gentleman who goes by the name of Big D. There are few in the area who have such a complete understanding and knowledge of rope bondage, and his flagellation skills are truly second to none. He is also the local authority on Zentai and latex full enclosure, and has a collection of gas masks and “implements of persuasion” that would put almost every “professional” Dungeon to shame. His collection of electrical apparatus and accoutrements truly is second to none. He is approachable and personable – and simply does not have as great an ego to satisfy as some of his peers may have in the larger cities. Halifax also boasts an entire plethora and highly exceptional contingent of Dominent women: Lady Lynn (who acted as the Sergeant-At-Arms for the Claiming Ceremony) is a no-nonsense, extremely engaging and highly respected Domina who has collaborated on several occasions with Lady J to help “serve” the communities needs (I am still trying to figure out exactly just what the hell an  SM Ladies Special is, but apparantly that’s somewhat of a local secret). A younger but no less determined lady who goes by the name Miss Jaded, together with her talented and passionate partner Ranger, are starting to take more of a leading role in community affairs – and while their efforts have encountered some (justified) resistance, no-one amongst their collective could fault their passion or their commitment to the community at large in helping to take over the reigns of leadership from Lady J.

halifax-communityIt was a shock and somewhat of a complete surprise to realize that good, decent people – with unassuming names such as Sailor, seaside, Dom “B” and his lovely mate, known simply to all as “Wifey of B”, Master Vadim, Lord Trystan, Krizlee and Stegral are all considered vital and integral voices within their family – and it is a family. I name but a few of the personalities I so lovingly encountered during the celebratory weekend, but all are valued, respected, cherished … and heard … when they have a voice to raise for the good of them all. I mention but a tiny contingent of the many voices that have come together to make the Atlantic Community so very strong and so very tight. In an electronic age when decorum and decency seems to fly out the metaphorical window faster than a trapped and angry hornet, it is a true joy, privilege – and I admit a surprise – to know that at least one smaller community could be held as an exalted example of just how a large community can, in fact, work – when all the talents and experiences of personalities are joined together as that single voice.

blue-zentaiIn addition to the SM Community at large, one of the best design and “cottage industry” implement manufacturers is a company simply called Halfway Creations. The company is staffed by two engaging and popular, talented women (Kate and Jeanne), and they have become reknown and their products prized and in heavy demand everywhere in the Region for their various collections. A selection of their incredible quality products can be found in virtually every SM enthusiast’s home in Atlantic Canada: their chrome-handled whips and floggers are in short supply and high demand in particular. They offer a variety of restraints and accoutrements in any number of color combinations, and the quality of their work most assuredly compares with any available in the industry. Your Humble Narrator himself has covetted a pair of leather “Shoe Locks” (in red and black leather) of a quality I’ve never encountered before. In addition to their excellent leather products, the pair are also proud to be able to offer the finest quality “Vegan Bondage” gear, crafted from durable latex rubber and extremely solid and reliable. Few SM artisians – even the larger companies – can offer such a wide selection of equipment, in different materials and in a myriad of color combinations.

car-wash-zentaiWe all know them, these people. We know that they sail our ships, drive our trucks, manage our stores. We say hello to them passing down opposite sides of the street and we wave good-night to them at the end of the day. They are our neighbors, our friends – and even in some cases our family. It is a common “bond”, you’ll pardon the pun, that all of us who have elected to pursue this peculiar proclivity, warmly share. When a community icon departs, or tragically falls, it is left to the other members of the family to pick up the teachings and the wisdom that they left them – and to do honor to that icon, and their wishes and desires, by steadfastly following in their bootsteps. In that way, they can perhaps collectively think “What would our beloved leader have done?” and act accordingly.

And in that regard, I believe there to be no finer example to be set – in this day and at this time – but the growth and evolution that is about to take place in the Atlantic Region. I firmly believe they will come together as a Family and find a way to resolve any challenges they face, together, and mutually – out of sheer respect for the wishes of their departing Matriach.

What shall be done, shall be done … for Love.

Kardynyl SynysTyr

(All photos Copyright and courtesy of Big D and Lady J of Halifax, Nova Scotia)

Chose Your Honorifics Carefully

Marquis America brings you an excerpt from Mistress Butterfly, currently in development, by T.Q Swann, the Kardynyl SynysTyr. Enjoy this topical passage and feel free to comment!

We’re going to go outside the “comfort zones” of the play parties and social gatherings this week, antn-01242a small effort to bring the “heady” back down a little closer to “reality.” There is always an emotional let-down at the end of any number of these events: once the dance lights are packed away, the plastic drink cups are crushed and tossed into the refuse bins, and the last perfectly-dressed fetish dolly has managed to teeter her way home, somehow, in her 8″ stiletto heeled boots (and not managing to snap an ankle, I might add).

And the reminiscing and return to the “real world’ begins. People begin to network with each other, clinging fiercely to their self-imposed honorifics and titles – and strangely seeming out of sorts when not immediately recognized, or immediately respected, by a fellow reveller that had met scant hours before. In my estimation, the illusion of entitlement was dispelled said evening came to a close. Some, however, seem to think it appropriate to carry their artificial titles forward and with them throughout the next – and truly following – light of days. Some of you, I am quite certain, are going to take serious umbrage with my dissertation below: but I welcome the challenge to learn alternative thoughts all the same!

I have a very hard time believing that someone who is between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five could seriously refer to themselves as Master or Mistress. It is amazing, and alarming, how often people seem to assume that a self-imposed crown should bestow upon them instant respect from their peers. Even when people across the European Continent were trying to reach out to each other in the first fledgling modern alternative communities, the simple titles Dom and Domina were designations that had to be earned by deed and proficiency. I have no issues with Dominants asking to be referred to as Sir and Miss/Ma’am/Madam/Madame as an immediate sign of respect. Even the somewhat more modern terms Lord and Lady, pretentious as they may be, can be adopted by those within a community whom have shown leadership and educational abilities. The designation of ‘Master’ and ‘Mistress’, though, I will forever hold the conviction that those over-used pretentious prefixes must be earned, through experience, deed and accomplishment, and not merely appropriated – even though the criteria for earning that respect admittedly has drastically changed over the decades.

dominatrixIn truth, the connotation of the titles ‘Master’ and ‘Mistress’ also tend to indicate wealth, privilege and ownership. The obvious and negative association with the word ‘Master’ harkins to times when human beings actually bought, sold, owned and worked other human beings as nothing more than property – no different in mindset, for those times, than buying a horse. Naturally, the trade and institution of human slavery effectively ended with the end of the American Civil War in 1865: and yet the honorifics of the time have been somewhat modified, sanitized and been deemed as acceptable usage among those who venture into the SM realm.

In keeping with that thought, it is an extreme pretense to mantle one’s self as a ‘Master’ or ‘Mistress’ if said individual really has no resources to undertake the complete care of a man or woman they have indentured. It just makes common sense: if you’re blessed enough to be able to actually have the finances to completely control every aspect of a consenting ‘slave’s’ life, then by definition perhaps the titles are appropriate. The truth is, however, that the vast majority of SM practitioners simply cannot afford to support and sustain another human being in such a manner, though there are some counted amongst the financial fortunate who can, and do. It has always been my contention that unless you can afford to actually keep someone in a state of consensual servitude for twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (and thereby by default could be considered a ‘Master’ or ‘Mistress’), then those who insist on claiming the title had at least best be very well liked within their own community, perhaps even considered a leader within that community, and most definitely respected by all of their peers.

Speaking of pretentiousness and taking the appellation debate one ludicrous step further, I firmly believe women who refer to themselves as “Goddess This” or “Goddess That” should really do something about their obvious inferiority complex. Strangely, you never see a man advertise himself as “The God This” or “The God That”. If it’s blasphemous for a man to refer to himself as a God (not to mention precipitously tempting fate), then why in the mass accessibility of our New Age can’t certain women realize that to refer to themselves as a Goddess is equally as blasphemous? Does the Greek myth of Cassiopeia happen to come to mind?

For that matter, how can there possibly be so many “Princesses” out there? What country are these “Princesses” from? Which Old World Royalty are they fortunate enough to be born into? It becomes especially insufferable when you discover the living conditions of some of these eidolon autocrats. It is hard to reconcile a “Princess” living in anything other than a castle – and most assuredly not a grim mobile home in some backwoods kingdom. In some cultures, impersonating Royalty is a crime and taken very seriously. How is it that you take someone seriously when they insist on being referred to as “Princess” and their “palace” may consist of one bedroom, a kitchen, a living room and maybe – just maybe – a linen closet in some inner city apartment block? Sure, the illusion of Royalty is romantic to most of us: but cold, hard fact has a way of dousing our romanticism with the cold waters of cynicism.

sorayama-3If you’re a “Goddess” or a “Princess” the moment you stop behaving like a “Goddess” or a “Princess” you have lost all your credibility. These women should stop setting themselves up on so high a pedestal, because as the saying goes, that can only lead to a single inevitability: a very long, hard and unpleasant fall from casuistic grace.

There is one more designation that simply must be mentioned, because it is a word that has become part of the sadomasochistic vernacular and has gained wide acceptance. Thanks to the burgeoning amount of would-be dominatrices who seem to believe everything they ever need to know about being an “expert” sensual dominant can be obtained via the World Wide Web, the word Domme has mysteriously and almost universally replaced the words Dominatrix or Domina as an acceptable adjective. It is a nice word, and the only problem with it – is that is really isn’t a word at all. For whatever reason, during the latter part of the 1990’s, someone with an empowered sense of feminist ideals took great offense to the word Domina and decided that another adjective was needed that was less feminine, and somehow conveyed equality to Dominant men.

This word, “Domme”, was put to good use by the rougher lesbian dominants (“butch”) and, naturally, once the word started to appear on personal web sites, it was quickly adopted as the standard adjective to describe all women of a dominant nature. To the purists, though, trying to gain equality by changing definitions to suit your own agenda tends to indicate a state of inferiority existed in the first place. There are many examples of non-existent words in use today, and in fairness it must be pointed out that until 1902 the word ‘aeroplane’ didn’t exist, either. The times do change and as a byproduct of technology terminology changes as well. However, it is one thing to adopt a new term for something that heretofore didn’t exist in our natural world: it is quite another to just “make one up” when the current, correct title or term doesn’t happen to suit your own haughty and narcissistic ego.

The simple truth is, no matter how people choose to identify and/or categorize themselves, men and women both should chose their honorifics carefully, and be prepared for contempt and derision should they fail to live up to their own artificially-induced expectations. Titles of respect are earned, remember, not merely assumed or expected.