Thursday, May 29, 2008

New Skin

I watch my kingsnake rubbing its head against the grain of rough wood. It pushes its nose so hard against the surface, I can see its whole head shaking from the effort. It pushes again, and I see the muscles of its throat swallowing with the exertion. It's trying to break open its own too-tight, dull gray skin. Underneath, bright orange, black and cream scales are waiting.

I walk away to write this down. When I come back I see that it is done. The snake is tail to tail with its old inside-out coat, just about to pull apart from it after peeling it off its body. I make a mental note to stay put next time. I line up the shed skin next to a ruler, counting 27 inches.

I'm going to bring my snake in for a check-up, since it's been a couple years now that I've had him - or her. I'm also going to get it sexed, though it doesn't really matter to me. Friends bugged me to name it. I resisted, saying it would only be for our benefit and mean nothing to the animal. But as a joke I named it Psst, so that's what my friends call it.


I lost my second iphone. Why can't they be smaller and less expensive? I was going to give up on them, but then a friend gifted me with the money for a new one. It was karma that took them away from me. Both times, gone in a fit of anger. It's only a phone, but it could be something a lot more precious. I hope one day I learn the lesson.


I'm starting to wear dresses. For the first time in my life really. Jaded party people who've known me for years drop their jaws in amazement, never having seen me before like this. It's nice to know I can still pull off a new look. I like how easy it is to make an impression with my short hair and long, curvy dresses amidst a sea of long hair and pants.

Last time I had short hair, 7 years ago, it seemed like more women in pop culture were sporting the look: Madonna, Demi Moore, Linda Evangelista, to name a few. Remember Angelina Jolie in Hackers? Nowadays, everyone is going for the endless tresses. I think Victoria's Secret has got all the models vying to look ultra femme, though I miss that sleek, pulled-back look that Ms. Evangelista always wore so well.

I sometimes dismiss surface changes. Yet everything is connected, and it feels good to have these changes within be reflected on the outside as well.


Someone said I am trying something different with my blog. I guess I am. I no longer desire to be worshipped, simply heard. Somehow, the latter seems more incendiary. Yes, I am working on a longer-form piece. But let's not discount blogging. I think one day it will be recognized as a vehicle of expression as artistically legitimate as the rest.

Why am I still putting up pictures when I am no longer seeking sessions? Well, to that I would ask does everything have to be about the commercial? I feel more free to publish the results of my creative collaborations, now that I have more distance from my audience.

I am still kinky, though I know I post about it less. This blog is about me and whatever I feel like writing about, now more so than ever. And the best reply to that is a "Yes Mistress!"

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Badass Chanteuses

In my procrastinating for my very last final, I got caught up on a bit of pop culture and watched some recent videos from mainstream female pop artists. Two vids that stood out for me were Beyonce's "Irreplaceable" and her duet with badass Shakira "Beautiful Liar." Now I'm feeling their femme power sisterhood - fierce, sexy and on top!

And my my, aren't we in geek heaven -- there are so many comic book movies coming out! Just checked out some trailers on youtube. Hopefully most will be good adaptations. Love it!

Monday, May 19, 2008

More on the Culture Wars

What a fantastic heat wave we had here in San Francisco. I took advantage of the great weather to bicycle across the Golden Gate Bridge the other day. On the way back, my friend and I checked out Chestnut Street in the Marina. I hadn't been on that strip of shops in a long time, and I found it a refreshing change of pace to the Mission. True, there was shockingly little diversity in the faces that passed me - it seemed more like Walnut Creek in that way - but I enjoyed how so many women were wearing heels and cute sun dresses.

As we strolled down Chestnut, a group of ex-frat boy types were walking in the opposite direction. "Hipsters Suck" read the t-shirt of one of them in big bold letters. That's when I realized the silliness of all this cultural warfare. You've got the hipsters in the Mission versus the yuppies in the Marina. Like the socs and the greasers in The Outsiders. But in many ways they are two sides of the same coin because hardliners of both persuasions can be intolerant, uniform-wearing fascists.

I ran into someone who worked at The Gates with me outside a coffee shop in the Mission. She's in Cal now, writing papers on her BDSM experience and adjusting to the socioeconomic climate change from Oakland to Berkeley, as well as anti-white scapegoating by some of her classmates (not the first time I've heard that!). She describes what I'm talking about as class warfare. But it really isn't. Most of us are in the same class. It's more like consumer choice. Like fighting over whether you like Pepsi or Coke.

Like when I was in LA eating at that trendy seafood restaurant in Hollywood, which wasn't exactly cheap. The people seated next to us, who we struck up a conversation with, were a long-haired guy in a t-shirt that said "grow revolution" and a heavily tattooed Amy Winehouse lookalike. When I told her I grew up in Echo Park, she enthusiastically expressed her love of the neighborhood because it didn't have that "corporate, mainstream" feel (I held back from putting them on the spot by joking about how much better Echo Park is now that the bohemian white people have moved in! Seriously, I'll take yummy vegan cafes over gun-toting cholos any day). In fact, she confided, she owned two properties there. No this isn't about class, but about seemingly competing worldviews that in relatively peaceful times co-exist well enough. It's when everyone feels their back is up against the wall like these turbulent times we live in now, that people think they need to choose sides.

Take Burning Man. When I first went in '96, my clubber friends were bemused that I would want to camp out in the desert for a week. Back then, generators were banished to a far corner of Black Rock City, electronic music was banished a mile away, and just about anyone could shoot guns or blow things up without a second glance. Now those same clubbers who didn't get it back then all go, albeit in RVs like so many folks now. So of course a culture war has ensued over who really is an authentic Burner. I remember being out on the playa one year and there were these cute furry-dressed people gathered around a fire, having just witnessed the histrionic euphoria of an Extra Action Marching Band performance. Some members of the band came up to the fire and proceeded drunkenly berate these poor people, with some harangue about "yuppies go home, get off our playa with your stupid fur." Even though I'm a veteran of The Burn, I still get attitude from people who think they were there first, because I don't wear the "right" uniform. How fragile our egos must be that we have to hold onto such high school-level tactics of superiority.

I am all too aware of the subtle signals which people project and pick up to base their judgments and decide whether you are an "us" or a "them." Sometimes I wish I could turn it off, this ultra-sensitivity I have. At the end of the day, I think it's incredibly simplistic to make assumptions about someone based on what they are wearing - or even what kind of car they have. Like I've had a hand-me-down SUV for a number of years. It was such a mark of shame for me when I first started driving it, because all of sudden I was one of those people and I could no longer give that holier-than-thou scowl to SUV drivers. I remember I drove it to Rainbow, a health food grocery coop, and a woman with a baby threw me the look of death as I parked next to her. I felt hatred there, and I couldn't imagine how that would help, or be a good lesson for her child. But it also made me angry, how polarized and unreasonable we all seem to have become. [Speaking of going green, current issue of Wired magazine has a great article addressing environmentalism, with a lot of ideas that jibe with my own personal philosophy.]

It's a lonely road, not caving into convention on any side - be it hipster vs. yuppie, kinky vs. vanilla, altered vs. natural, pc vs. mac, organic vs. genetically modified, old Burning Man vs. new Burning Man... so many of these are false dichotomies. By not towing some party line by dressing and acting a certain way, you end up getting it from every direction. I'd rather endure the disdain, dismissals and misunderstanding. To me, this cultural extremism is frustrating, idiotic and downright scary. Whatever happened to free thinking and "no enemy?"

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Tale of Two Cities

I'm positively bubbling with energy and enthusiasm, having just returned from the second day of Robert McKee's Story Seminar. This is the writing workshop that was dramatized in the movie Adaptation. Great stuff! I'm looking forward to tomorrow.

So my trip down to LA was an awesome mini vacation. I was there four days during a four-day heat wave and each day was hotter than the last. "You heated up the town. It cooled down as soon as you left," my sister told me over the phone.

It was a homecoming, in an odd sort of way. I feel like I've finally figured that town out and learned how to enjoy it, after all the pain it delivered to me in the past. Before, I was a big-eyed little mongrel from the wrong side of the tracks, and any time someone said "boo!" I'd jump.

With the wrong attitude, LA is the perfect launch pad for one's self-destruction, and because of bad memories I had been bashing it ever since I left. Early in my adulthood, I whithered in the unrelenting Southland sun, finding the nurturing shelter I needed in the sweet sensitivity of the Bay Area. But now, it's like I've grown my desert spines, and for the first time since leaving I'm receptive to its crazy, sexy, flashy, driven energy.

LA can be a blast if you don't take it all so seriously (it doesn't hurt that I can jump on a plane when it gets to be too much). It's a serious con game down there, and I mean that in the full sense of the phrase -- confidence game. It seems like everyone is trying to throw you off your game, spook you into flinching. I used to cringe at it all and get psyched out, my shy self hating all the showboating and posturing that seemed necessary to get ahead.

But I've changed enough to not see it that way anymore. I believe in myself so strongly now, I understand you don't need to perform, you just need to be yourself and hold steady. And what's really cool is that like attracts like, so when you're in a good space down there, you meet others who are too. Yes, there are some lovely souls who do not adhere to the prevailing "let's be assholes to each other" attitude. And in a way it's even easier to find the real good people when you put out that laid-back San Francisco vibe, since admittedly they are more rare!

Here's a pic from the trip. Faces blurred to protect the not-so-innocent! This is at a trendy seafood place in Hollywood where we saw the fat kid from Superbad - he was very sweet when I ran into him coming out of the loo. I actually saw tons of celebrities down there, pointed out to me courtesy of a friend who accompanied me. I don't think I would have noticed otherwise. But it was fun to realize they were there -- they made for great wallpaper to my own my little adventures.

Going out with a couple of my girlfriends down there at another posh eatery (the kind where the waitstaff are all obnoxious wannabe actors), we noticed how many women - as beautifully dressed as they were - looked uncomfortable in their own skin. We just ignored them and had a great time amongst ourselves. So I say if you don't buy into that insecure, competitive bullshit, you've already got a headstart. But I do think it's harder to get centered in LA. Of course it is - because LA has no center! At least not geographically, as for the rest you can decide for yourself.

So my change of heart about LA has come as a pretty big surprise to my loved ones. I mean, I've been talking shit about my hometown for 12 years straight! "What?!" was my soft-spoken sister's reaction when I told her I kind of missed it down there. "Are you feeling well?" is what my best friend asked. What gives? In two words: The Mission.

I knew that moving into the tragically hip Mission five years ago would eventually arouse a backlash within me. All those heroin-chic, thrift shop fashionistas with their "you're either with us or against us" extremism, self-righteous tattooed smugness and hypocritical "we're against the dominant paradigm" alternative uniformity is starting to get to me. I am not lookist, don't care about all the pot bellies or plumber's cracks. I don't even mind the scabby look so much. But when these same denizens of Valencia Street try to make me feel like I don't belong here because I haven't raked my appearance over in the mirror to erase any signs of the dreaded Establishment, then I've just about had it.

What one of my friends who is African-American says about the South is that she doesn't mind it there, because at least the racism is out in the open. That's how I feel about LA when it comes to appearance. The superficiality is out in the open. Not hidden in holier-than-thou tripe.

Here in the City, I used to feel like I had to bend over backwards to prove myself as a diplomat of the conventionally attractive. Places like Burning Man parties, where when I'm lost in the sensual embrace of one of my girlfriends on the dancefloor, a frumpy girl will try to butt in and get grabby -- without even a smile on her face -- because she feels oppressed by our display and wants to put us on the spot for her discomfort. I've learned that you can never please the deeply insecure, who usually end up projecting their own feelings of inferiority onto you by blaming you for perceived slights. I find people like this to be the most self-centered of them all.

There may be a tyranny of the beautiful people in LA, but in the City it's like that communist ideal where we are all supposed to be the same and not make anyone feel bad by standing out. But what if I stand out naturally? I used to go to efforts to try to ugly myself down before going to certain social events in the City, because I knew that people wouldn't talk to me otherwise. Enough with the pc double standard - why is it only trannies that get to look hot here?

I was even accused of being an interloper at one private polysexual play party I attended, which of course the accusers knew was ridiculous. It was simply their way of making me feel unwelcome. OK I'll stop, I don't feel sorry for myself - I'm not going to cry "don't hate me because I'm beautiful!" - I'm just pointing out how the Bay Area has its own brand of lookism and snobbery. But I still love it up here. Every place has its trade-offs.

One little snippet of a conversation I overhead sitting outside a bar and grill on the Sunset strip encapsulated LA nicely for me. These two women were talking animatedly over beers about a mutual acquaintance who had just published a book.

"It's fucken awesome, don't you see? She wrote a book! Who cares what it's about. It doesn't even matter what it's about. The fact is she wrote a book and got it published."

That's LA for you. Super into achievement, but a bit short on content - LOL! San Francisco has its intellectualism, though we sometimes get lost in all that processing. I am learning that there is room in my heart to love both cities, flaws and all.


Modern Hero by Roger Woods

Sunday, May 4, 2008

No one is immune...

I was distressed to hear of the police raid and bust of the New York house of domination Rebecca's Hidden Chamber last month. Six women who worked as Mistresses were arrested for prostitution, their legal names made public record and published in the New York Post, New York Daily News, and USA Today, among others.

The New York Post article quoted a former client who wished to remain anonymous. He said it was widely known that the ladies of the Hidden Chamber would do sexual services along with the typical BDSM fare.

I'm quite skeptical of this information from an unnamed source, and find it interesting how others in the community have used it as a shield to deny the arbitrary and hypocritical nature of contemporary American law enforcement. They were doing something wrong, so they got what they deserved. But we don't do that, so we'll be okay. Dream on!

In The Tickling Forum, a Mistress KC from the Hidden Chamber responded to other poster's tsk tsks with the following:

"A pity!? Come on and use your head. Do you think a girl would waste her time sitting in a dom house and spending her money buying dom gear to charge $220 in exchange for sexual intercourse? Give us some more credit.

I'm very close with the women involved, being one of the 30+ mistresses who weren't arrested and call the HC home. We love each other like a family there.

They are our dear friends and I know I hate seeing their names slandered, I can only imagine what it's like for them and what they had to deal with while being held in custody. I hate it. The other 30 or so of us happened not to be working that day... it could have been any of us."

Worst case scenario - that they were engaging in prostitution - we are still dealing with an essentially victimless crime. Consensual activity between two adults. The same activity which is legal in brothels in the state of Nevada, which is given the blind eye at places like Mitchell Brothers here in San Francisco, and which is totally above board if recorded for pornographic distribution. Does this make any sense?

What it comes down to, once again, is society not being OK with women taking full control of their sexuality. When there are structures of establishment power in place that mediate women's individual control (i.e. where men can run things e.g. porn, brothels), then there seems to be more leeway. And women in these mediated situations are also given more of a break in that they are often portrayed as victim rather than brazen hussy.

But women who unapologetically engage in sex for financial gain, with their eyes wide open and without any inducement from men, are still being vilified today. Like a modern-day witch-hunt, they are castigated for their boldness and their intransigence. The intensity of the reactions they provoke speaks volumes about how deeply held the taboo remains. It is a form of discrimination which I hope one day will seem quaintly old-fashioned.