Ever wondered what it feels like to wear a full-body coating of latex paint? Need practice at the fine art of flagellation? Well, here's your chance: Desert Dominion, a local BDSM/alt-lifestyle group, is hosting its fifth annual fetish ball this weekend at Hotel Congress.
"It's a celebration of alternative-lifestyle practices for people who aren't just interested in going to church and going out to dinner--people interested in exploring sexuality and viewing intense, out-of-the-mainstream things," says publicity coordinator Mary Flores. Desert Dominion welcomes anyone regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation, age (18 or older) or "kinky interest." Flores encourages those not in the BDSM lifestyle to attend: "It's not going to be so different from a typical Club Congress night ... music, (and) people will be able to drink, laugh, talk, dance, have a good time."
But how will it be different?
"The costuming and the intensity of the acts," she says. People not attending in fetish gear will be subjected to a $5 "pooper fee" and public humiliation. And how intense are those acts? Most performances are sexually themed, though there will be no full nudity. Flores notes that Arizona law allows women to go topless in public if wearing latex body paint. Needless to say, she adds, "There will be painted bodies."
But the activities will go beyond painted nipples: The Phoenix-based flesh-suspension group Life Suspended will suspend themselves--midair--with metal hooks placed through the skin, all for your voyeuristic enjoyment. "It's not for the faint of heart," Flores admits.
The entire hotel is reserved for the ball. Entertainment will include live bands, burlesque shows, vendors and more. Tickets are $25, and hotel packages--including room, valet parking and breakfast--are $160. --A.M.
Joe Romero spent 14 years walking Fourth Avenue as a Tucson police officer. Now, Romero strolls the avenue watching as motorcycle parts change hands under the tents that line Fourth Avenue during the annual Tucson Law Enforcement Motorcycle Festival and Swap Meet, which is celebrating its third year this Sunday.
Romero left the beat about five years ago, and later retired in July 2007. But he didn't lose the connections he made while patrolling. Romero maintained his relationships with business owners there, and after retiring, he put his experience in fundraising to use and helped bring the large-scale motorcycle event to Tucson.
The proceeds from the $20 it costs to rent out a 10-foot-by-10-foot tent are going to the Tucson Police Officers Association and the Special Olympics. In these tents, used motorcycle parts will be sold or swapped to motorcycle enthusiasts. "It's kind of like a mean street fair," says Kurt Tallis, of the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association.
Aside from the bike-part swap, a custom motorcycle show will take place throughout the day, and Tucson police will demonstrate their mastery of their motorcycles during a precision-drills demonstration. "It blows you away how cool it is," Tallis says regarding the demonstration.
Representatives of major bike manufacturers will appear at the event, and Harley-Davidson, All American Motorcycles and Musselman Honda will have bikes on display.
Even if these names don't jump out at you, it may be fun to see the crowd that they do excite. --M.K.
For most people, the Civil War doesn't conjure images of saguaros and arroyos, but the war did come to Southern Arizona.
On April 15, 1862, a detachment of Union troops heading from California to the Eastern battlefields caught a Confederate scouting party by surprise near Picacho Peak. Three Union soldiers died during the 1 1/2-hour battle. It's no Gettysburg, but it is part of our Arizona heritage.
Every year, 200 men and women now gather at Picacho Peak State Park to re-enact the battle.
"Picacho Pass is considered to be the most significant Civil War battle this far west," says Rob Young, the park manager of Picacho Peak State Park. "It's part of the park's history, and we put on the re-enactment to educate people."
Ed Van Ness, the Union commander for the last 20 years, says the re-enactments are educational and entertaining. For him, it's a family hobby: His wife, Stella, plays an encampment seamstress; his daughter and son were once re-enactors; and his grandson, Dylan, got an early start when he was just 6 weeks old. "We had a wooden cradle for him, an authentic touch in period clothing," recalls Ed. Dylan is 15 now--and an infantry man in the re-enactment. "He's really growing up in the hobby and loves it."
There will also be re-enactments of two Civil War battles that took place in New Mexico; several military demonstrations; and an encampment with vendors selling time-appropriate merchandise, beverages and food. A special-event vehicle-entrance fee of $8 for up to four people, and $2 for each additional person, will be charged. The individual entrance fee (walk-in/bicycle only) is $2. There is no charge for children 13 and younger. --A.M.
Considering Lord Shiva's physical characteristics (three eyes and four arms, to start), one should expect a large amount of components for an event celebrating the Hindu god--and Govinda's Natural Foods Buffet is doing just that.
Set up throughout the restaurant will be numerous happenings. Outside, a small stage will display the Urvasi dance troupe and a dramatic re-creation of traditional Hindu stories.
As for the well-being portion of the night, purifying fires will be lit later in the evening. The lighting of the fires is an interesting process: A priest begins building the fire while chanting mantras. The flames build, and those who are willing can come forth and breathe in the smoke for the purpose of purification.
Following these events is a vegetarian feast, in line with the restaurant's menu. The restaurant will serve the traditional Indian food buffet-style.
The event is free. Tracy Dunbar offers this explanation as to how the restaurant can orchestrate the event for no cost: "We have a philosophy that giving and sharing in abundance will attract donations and other things that will support this type of festival."
This type of optimism is seen in the philosophy of the event itself as well. "Our hope is to have an event centered on peace that is open for all those who honor the day, or are looking for a fun night," says Dunbar. --M.K.