Above: snapped in Asbury Park, New Jersey, at a leather block party three of my brothers and I attended this Summer. A scary drag queen taking a painful crap into a golden throne? You betcha. And she picked that bitch up over her shoulder and carried it off after her number.
This evening I put together a small group to see a play at the Fringe Festival. The show was called Top and Bottom and was billed as being about an extremely submissive bottom and a socially awkward top. I'm not sure where I first read about it, but it sounded like it would have all the elements of an interesting show. Plus I had the impression that the Fringe Festival was very edgy, interesting theater.
I was disappointed. There were certainly some funny lines and situations, as when the bottom was babbling on about a really hot bondage scene he had in the woods while the poor top was slaving away tying him up very intricately, but without any passion. But for the most part, as Densemore observed afterwards, it was pretty clear that the writer/director was not writing about what he knew. They hit pretty much every kink/leather cliche in the book, without putting any new spin on them.
Once we finally got to the sappy meat of the story, the bottom became very emotional while recounting a scene which had gone bad and ventured into non-consensual territory. But when ultimately he had not been seriously hurt, and clearly the experience was not keeping him from seeking out kinky sex, the story lost all of its bite.
Likewise, when the top proceeded to recount a lifetime of hiding his kink and then being rejected when finally revealing it to a date, thus sending him scurrying back to his shameful hermit hole, I was unconvinced. It's 2007, after all, and these guys were supposed to be from Los Angeles. The man had more gear and knowledge of technique than he was likely to acquire without encountering many guys comfortable enough with their kinky sexuality to set him at ease, at least a little.
I could have forgiven the naive writing, however, if the actors had simply sold their roles. I've seen many simplistic portrayals of the kink world that were nonetheless compelling because the characters were imbued with believable sincerity. Instead, during much of the show, I found myself daydreaming of my theater fag days back in high school and trying out my own delivery of the lines in my head.
Most disappointing, however, was not the sub-par production, but the fact that my first foray into the Fringe Festival couldn't even push an envelope across my desk. I wanted edgy, but I got safe. I wanted experimental, but I got by-the-book.
I wanted to go home thinking, "Wow, only in New York!" Instead I left wanting to pull the writer and actors aside to say, "Seriously guys, this is New York."
I'm nobody, least of all a creative type, but a week and a half ago I was in a friend's show at the leather bar, where he put me in a donkey mask and had me humping and bootsexing a punk tranny boy onstage. It was a Wednesday night, we did it for shits and giggles, and we still had a bigger and happier audience.
I'm just sayin'.