Apr 172010
 

At the recent Leather Leadership Conference I got to give a presentation on “Managing Your Web Presence” that was well-received. While I consider it a prime candidate for my “CONSIDER THE SOURCE” t-shirt, I put out ideas that seemed to resonate – in fact, I was asked to consult for Stephen Lenius’ upcoming book, Life, Leather, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

I was also asked by one of the curriculum organizers to provide my slides for both that presentation and also the GRUE presentation I gave. That’s coming; you’ll get a link to it in a bit, along with the whole presentation in my “Handouts” link over there to the right.

In the meantime, though, here’s one of the slides, where I mention some successful kinky podcasts that I know of and admire. Since I’m making the list for her anyway, I thought I’d share it here, too. Got one I missed? Put it in the comments; I’ll be updating the list quite frequently I suspect.

Note: this is a list of extant podcasts – in other words, ones that are currently going on. I miss the SexGeeks, TWIK, and Jack Rinella’s podcast a lot. Their archives are worth listening to.

Apr 022010
 

We aren’t. In fact, we’re dangerously close to becoming mainstream. When movies like Avatar actually have decent rope bondage, and movies that could but don’t (ahem, Ninja Assassin, anyone?) flop, it’s becoming pretty evident.

And two of my friend from Mexico, Munsterprince and Gatita, recently posted some more links to what I will loosely call “Rope in the Media” (with a nod to Polyweekly). First, there’s the cover to the new album by Susana Zabaleta:

amarrados

Not great ropework, no, but it’s hot, and shows more thought and inspiration than, say, a Dudley Do-Right cartoon.

For some really good ropework, check out the corset at about 1:45 in this Kelis video. Methinks someone got hold of Shibari You Can Use, you think?

And just as a teaser, a few weeks ago I got an unexpected call out of the blue from a friend who’s come to some of my workshops and gotten to know me via the web. Seems he was on the set of a soon-to-be-released major motion picture, where he’d been asked to bind a Major Celebrity. Yes, major, and no, he’s not a professional – seems they had been trying to do the rope, it hadn’t been looking right, and so they contacted the local kinksters and as the resident Rope Guy he got the gig.

I’ll be interviewing him soon on the Ropecast. But the fact is, if you’re in this game because it’s transgressive and taboo…you might need to find a new hobby. Because it’s becoming more and more accepted and enjoyed by, well, everybody.

Me, I think it’s a good thing. I like being one of the cool kids for a change….

Mar 312010
 

I couldn’t sleep this morning – awake before 4am, and finally gave up about 5 and just got the fuck up. It was actually kind of nice – for a change I didn’t feel rushed as I sorted through posts, emails, tweets, etc, letting myself just wander the webs.

I found two items of interest to rope bondage afficionadoes: documentaries that attempt to show some of the reality of what it is we do, whether in Japan or on the American continent (where Toronto seems to be vying with Madison for the title of Bondage Capitol of the World, damn you Lord Morpheous and Troismarteaux!).

KINBAKU

The longer of the two is a beautiful and amazingly-shot piece by Hakalax Productions. Kinbaku: the Art of Bondage is a textured, atmospheric piece profiling riggers and models and others involved in the s/m world of Japan. Told through first-person narration by people such as Asagi Ageha, Osada Steve, Haruki Yukimura and others, it is an insightful and sometimes disturbing look into what goes on in the mind of those who share this strange passion with rope.

I want this DVD just for the imagery: as a video artist myself, I am immensely envious and inspired by the way the editors, cinematographers, and directors put this together. Watch the whole 1/2 hour piece, then watch it again (in fact, I wish they would put out a “music only” version so that it could be put on for ambience). The soundtrack is also (mostly) exceptional, though I personally found a couple of the classical pieces a little overdone.

There will be a high-res showing at the London Festival of the Art of Japanese Bondage, and Esinem also has distribution rights – and I’m telling you, it’s worth it. You can also watch it online by clicking the image above.

Second was a familiar face – er, mask, that is. My buddy Lord Morpheous, who invited me to be part of his first show at Nuit Blanche, has had a documentary made about his second “Morpheous Bondage Extravaganza.” Shot in the summer of 2009, this short format documentary follows Dylan Ryan, Morpheous and other rope bondage performers in the week leading up to the event, and based on the trailer below, looks to be both hot to watch and enjoyable in that special way that watching people enjoy themselves can be.

Comfortable? I Can Fix That – Trailer from Raj Ramnauth on Vimeo.

Cleveland GRUE

Oh, and as promised: the CLEVELAND GRUE GALLERY is live! If you were there and would like your images included, please email them to me!

Mar 212010
 

The View Outside the GRUE

Not that I want to make you feel bad; there were plenty of great things happening all over the country this weekend, from BoundInBoston to the NCSF General Meeting in CA. But here at the GRUE , it was another day chock-full of classes that people were passionate about, connected with, and invested in as they created their own curriculum on the spot.

Here’s what we covered:

  • Rope basics: one rope, two knots, three ties.
  • Taboo play: what’s NOT OK, and why we do it anyway
  • Herpes & Cell Popping (some surprising and important stuff in that one)
  • How to deal with “That” Guy (and how not to be him)
  • Making a Rope Dildo (with kudos to Eiskoenigin)
  • Knife Play
  • Cock &all Bondage
  • Rope for Decor (on the body)
  • Kinkbusters! (a la Mythbusters)
  • Kinky & Monogamous: a round-table discussion
  • Using your Bottom as a Swing
  • Face Up Suspension
  • Discussing Gender & Sexuality
  • Face Slapping
  • Suspension for Sex
  • Brainstorming Games for Kinko de Mayo
  • Foot bondage
  • Performing for & with you partner (performance & roleplay in BDSM)
  • Cheap Pervertibles
  • Using Stories to Shape a Scene
  • Needle Play
  • Fire Play
  • Graydancer’s Fishbowl
  • Mother Superior DEMANDS an Audience!

That was our curriculum, and the only thing we didn’t get done was the class on Pressure Points and the class on Pony Play. By the end of the day – well, before – people were falling asleep, happily exhausted from so much FUN! Plus, we raised $155 for Midori’s LifeCycle Fundraiser!

More on all this later…gotta go make some of my World-Famous Cheap-Ass Pancakes!

Mar 192010
 

It’s very exciting, to be off to meet another bunch of GRUE-vy people to share the ropetastic goodness. The whole idea of the Unconference seems to be taking off – KinkForAll, and the upcoming May SEX 2.0 in Seattle (which I’m booked for, hurrah!).

In case you’re wondering what happens at a GRUE…so is everyone else. That’s one of the great things about it. There are some things that tend to be common – like my Fishbowl Discussion – but even that is always a different experience. Because the GRUE forms around the ideas and passions and experiences and connections of the people who attend, they are always different.

So what should you bring to a GRUE? Whatever you want. What should you wear? Whatever you want. What should you be prepared for? Anything. Anything at all.

Yeah. It’s exciting.

Mar 162010
 

This video, shot on March 11, 2010 at the Inferno Nightclub, gives you an idea of what burlesque is like here in the Bondage Capitol of the World. It shows the mad rope skillz of Ms. Behavin’ as she ties, teases, titillates, and tears off the shirt of Foxy Veronica (leader of Foxy Veronica’s Peach Pies).

There’s a couple of interesting things about this video. First, those of you familiar with my performances may find this to be…well, familiar. That’s right, this is the same number that I’ve been performing for years – in fact, the same music is used as when I used to do this act with Ms. Behavin’ when I performed with the group.

Am I mad that they’re using my act? Are you kidding?!? Just watch the video! They are, conservatively, 3654% hotter than I ever was performing this routine. Yet it’s still mine. I look at it the way a playwright might watch his writing brought to life by talented actors – I created it and gave it to people who could express my vision better than I could.

However, YouTube, in its infinite wisdom, decided it was far too hot for general consumption, taking it down just a day after it went up, and sending me a stern slap on the digital wrist:

Most nudity is not allowed, particularly if it is in a sexual context. Generally if a video is intended to be sexually provocative, it is less likely to be acceptable for YouTube. There are exceptions for some educational, documentary and scientific content, but only if that is the sole purpose of the video and it is not gratuitously graphic.

To which I give a thoughtful “uh-HUH…” and go ahead and post it here, complete with a direct download link to the video. And since I pay for unlimited bandwidth from this fine company, I invite you all to put the link up on your sites, as well.

Meanwhile, I’ll be over here watching some of YouTube’s “educational, documentary and scientific content.”

Now, I like all those videos. Really. I just find YouTube’s policies capricious, arbitrary, hypocritical, and ultimately ineffectual.

That’s ok. From Apple to Wikipedia, it’s been a rough few weeks for the Ropecast. I’ll just keep putting out the content, and trust that the people who want it will find it, support it, and spread the knotty word.

Feb 222010
 

If you’ve listened to the latest Ropecast (and if you haven’t, why not? I’m hurt, really, I am) you know that in response to Lord Drachenblut’s request for free rope kits for listeners,

Twisted Monk and I will be giving away $50 gift certificates each month for the next four months.

That’s right, giving them away. Use it to buy a couple of lengths of your favorite, or towards a bigger kit, whatever. It’s yours. All you have to do is come up with a creative entry.

What do you mean, “creative”?

Exactly that. A picture. A poem. A story. A limerick. A drawing. An interpretive dance. Now, of course, I have to get it, and usually that involves either email or calling the Ropecast Hotline (608-432-KNOT). But I’m going to be at events, so I suppose hand-delivery is possible too.

But I’m not creative!

I would argue that, but Seth Godin does it better in his book Linchpin. Instead, I’ll make it easier for you:

  • Write a pithy comment here, or phone it in to the Hotline, it counts as an entry.
  • Everyone who has registered for a GRUE in the upcoming months (such as the Cleveland GRUE) will get an entry.
  • If any of my sponsors – such as Twisted Monk (obviously) or Bound in Boston – tells me you frequented their business because of the ropecast, that counts as an entry.
  • If you’re a “Graydancer’s Cuppa” member (see the upper right) you automatically get an entry.
  • Pimp the Ropecast (www.ropecast.net) on your social media platform (or join the Facebook Fan Club) and you’ll get an entry!

How long do I have to try and be creative?

Every month’s “Theme” (and I’ll tell you this month’s theme for free: BIRTHDAY) lasts for four weeks. The first was launched Sunday the 21st of February, and the winner will be drawn at the Pancake Brunch at the Cleveland GRUE on March 21. That will also be when the next theme is announced, and the new gift certificate is up for grabs.

There’s gotta be a catch…

Yep! There is. The details above are all you’re gonna get in online form. The next theme, and more importantly, the winner of the gift certificate, will ONLY be announced on the Ropecast – and then it’s up to that individual to contact me and claim their prize.

In other words, if you don’t listen, you won’t know you won. Or how to win the next one.

Any other prizes?

What, $50 of  rope isn’t enough? Greedy…you must be a switch. OK, yes, there will be random awards for those entries which are deemed by my completely partial and biased panel of judges to be worthy of note. But that is incidental; the big prize is the $50 certificate, every month.

I’ll be posting the entries in my Gallery (or here, or wherever’s appropriate) as the contest goes on.

So go out there, and Ropeth!