Last thursday, as a favor to MeganinMadison, my erstwhile occasional co-host, demo bunny, and play partner, I performed a number at the "Madonna Tribute Show" of Foxy Veronica & the Peach Pies. Megan hates Madonna, and so didn’t want to put forth any effort towards dancing or singing or anything Burlesquey (burlesquesque?). "How about we play "Hung Up",Â and you suspend me?" was her basic suggestion.
Of course, my artistic sensibilities being what they are, I couldn’t have just that – so I put in a few aesthetic touches, namely another couple of Peach Pies with safety shears to cut away her dress from under the takate-kote I was putting her in. My kohei, Lisa, was also assisting us for her first stage performance, wrapping some of the Macho Rose rope I got from Lomax back at the last Folsom Faire around Megan’s legs for a simple attachment point for the suspension.
We rehearsed it a couple times at my house the night before, and talked about how the audience might react. Megan was pretty sure that people would be confused, because the Burlesque audience is not the same as a Fetish audience; I was a bit worried that I might even get booed, because living in a town as liberally infused as Madison means that even the portrayal of perceived misogyny can be rather poorly received.
The thing was, neither of us really cared. She just had to fill some time with a Madonna song, and wasn’t ever going to do it again. I was just doing a simple favor for a friend. If they were confused, or booed, or even didn’t care, it wouldn’t have any bearing on the rest of our lives. And this attitude helped us the night of, since things went wrong from the moment we arrived. She’d forgotten the dress we were supposed to cut off of her with the safety shears that I’d forgotten (before you all boo and hiss at me, I had my safety hook on my belt) and besides that, the hard points that we’d thought was at the club had been taken down and literally plant hooks were hanging in their place. We saw a possible place that we could rig a sort-of-hard-point with rope around a central support beam…except that I’d traveled light, and only brought enough rope for our show.
Nyxx, my HBBBFF, remarked that I seemed remarkably calm as we faced these difficulties. I wasn’t calm, per se; I just really didn’t care. She, a veteran of many fetish performances from her past relationship, was vastly amused watching techilical diccifuddies that weren’t actually hers.
Megan found a dress; a colleague who was working at the club had his rope bag in his car, and so we got the pseudo-hard-point rigged and a couple of safety shears given to the other burlesque dancers who’d be helping out. Our act came 18th in the show, so we expected a thin crowd (this was a weeknight, you understand) and those that were left to be too drunk to care whether I was being a chauvinist bastard or not.
Then the "tick-tick-tock" of the song started playing, we went out on the stage…and from the first strand of rope I laid on her back, the audience was cheering. They loved it. They ate it up. By the time I carried her over to the hard point, I felt like we could have almost crowd-surfed there – people grinning, laughing, dancing to the music as they cheered us on as the ropes strung up through the loops and back down, and when she left the ground…the crowd roared.
Do you get what I’m saying? I was rushed; this was not a "sensual scene", I had to go from 0 to Takate-Kote Suspension in 4min30sec. It looked like it was rough on her, and it was. Meanwhile, the Fashion Piranhas were snipping away her dress and ripping it out from under the ropes, and people just ate it up. In fact, instead of being able to discreetly take her down as the next number (Foxy Veronica herself) came onstage, everyone just about ignored her and watched us. Consummate performer that she is, she simply shifted the focus of her song to sing to Megan, and it all worked out.
Afterwards, she said "That was one of the hottest things I’ve ever seen. I want that in all our shows, from now on. Deal?" This from a group whose edgiest act (that I’d seen) was some light spanking here and there, mocking and light. And now they’ve invited me into the troupe to do rope bondage, initially with Megan, but after last night’s show (in front of, believe it or not, Japanese businessmen who were visiting a small Wisconsin town thinking of investing in some production there) they’re saying things like "Graydancer, you should tie all of us up! And then, spank us!" ("Yes! Spanking! Spank me!! Spank me!!" as they jumped around backstage wearing very little. Yes, my life has become Monty Python and no, it’s not bad).
And the locals in that small town? Again: cheers the moment the rope came out. They loved it. The Japanese signed the deal.
My point is: if smalltown Wisconsin turns out to love rope bondage…are we anywhere near as edgy as we think we are?