Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Adventures in the Palace of Porn, part two

Many links in the kink.com posts will be unsafe for work. Click at your own risk.


I was picked up at the airport by official kink.com driver, Guido, who told me about his younger days living in a Mission district squat and spending time breaking the windows at The Armory. D'oh! I'm sure he feels sort of bad about that now. He drove right into the building itself, into the massive Drill Court at the center. Hung about with giant leather, gay and bear pride flags, it had a sepia, rustic feel, as though some kinky state fair was going to move in at any moment. The Armory is so huge and so interesting to wander through and so lacking an elevator that I doubt I saw half of it during my stay. I did, however, meet the dungeon cats, who were kind enough to make me feel at home by sleeping on my clothes.

The staff couldn't have been nicer. I was handed a cold soda, introduced around to a whole bunch of really cool people whose names I promptly forgot, and ushered to a guest room where I face planted for a while to recover from my flight. Then like any good guest I got up and went prowling through their bathroom cabinets. OK, they didn't have bathroom cabinets, so I just went wandering. I heard a suspicious noise!

OK, not very suspicious. It was a woman moaning. I followed the sound down to a room where James Mogul was filming what looked like a girl/girl/girl/guy scene. Not wanting to disturb them, I just watched. Through a crack in the double doors. Respecting their space, you know.

Now one of the things I have always liked about kink.com is that they broke through the ancient taboo about combining fucking with SM play. There was a myth which said anyone who did so would suffer the full wrath of the post-Meese anti-porn police. Since to me, SM=sex and sex=SM, the division of activities in visual porn made it especially dull, like a cooking show that never showed you the final product.

I did not stay to see how the human lasagna came out. Instead I continued to wander until it was time to hook up with Ackworth for cocktails and chat about his vision.

There was and still is one burning question about the plans for The Upper Floor. How do you combine SM play and realistic service dynamics in a 24/7 space and keep the core audience interested? I remain skeptical - service, to me, has very little to do with sucking cock and much to do with potentially stupefying activities which no amount of costuming will render interesting to watch. (See: The Marketplace, chapter 7.)

On the other hand, as I do fetishize complex hierarchies and service in great houses, could there be a way to create a sort of Upstairs Downstairswith sex in it? Or, as I put it to Ackworth, wouldn't the British reality show The Manor Househave been MUCH better if the master of the house was buggering the hallboy and the mistress was caning the footmen? Or if the scullery maid could work her way out of the worst job in the house by sexually pleasing the family?

Well, I certainly think so. The question remains, though, whether anyone else would. Ideas and notes flowed between us for that first evening and almost all of the following day and evening as well. And speaking of notes, will someone get James Mogul a Levenger index card note keeping system?

In between sharing fantasies and theories, I was also introduced to the script for the formal dinner we were filming and streaming live on Friday night, and met the two models who had been "trained" via the TTOO site, and were competing to see if they could earn the right to serve The Upper Floor. The script was ambitious; the girls cute as puppies. There was much laughing and bonding over sashimi and whiskey. There was a scary moment, however, when I found myself explaining the concept of flagging and listing some colors of the hankie code.

What am I doing here? I thought. I'm a middle aged leatherdyke who has to be prodded to add details to my own sex scenes. I'm short and fat and don't look good on camera, surrounded by people who make their living looking good on camera - NAKED. Why *would* anyone care about my ideas on service when there would be lots of bondage and cocksucking?

And then I reflected that at least there'd be bondage and cocksucking, I'd meet some interesting people, and after all, they were paying me. Hopefully, I would not spend the entire shoot sitting on the side grumbling about "back in the day."

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