Spankings and Suspension

The state's fetish community is getting set to take over Hotel Congress

Lots of people in the Tucson fetish community will tell you they feel a bit undernourished. Kink is almost too underground, they say.

That's why fetish folks really thrive off of events like Saturday's Tucson Fetish Heat, the 11th in a series of parties started three years ago by Horns 'n Halos, a fetish production company up in Phoenix.

"Tucson has a much larger fetish community than is currently being serviced by any existing BDSM organizations we have in town," said Viola Sanderlin, who is just getting into the local fetish scene. "I'm definitely going, I might get to meet some really cool people who share the same interests as myself. I might even get to buy a whip or something."

A big draw for this year's event will be a tug-and-pull suspension act by Life Suspended, in which one male member of the group with meat hooks in his back will latch on to a rope run through a pulley in the ceiling. He will then pull a female member of the group, who will also have hooks embedded in her flesh, into the air.

It's a huge party for people who have nowhere else to go, said Mitch Palmer, of Horns 'n Halos. He said there's a difference between BDSM and fetish, and it's usually between those two communities where people slip between the cracks--a gap Horns 'n Halos wants to bridge.

"You might be into wearing latex and vinyl and being goth," Palmer said. "That could be a fetish, but that doesn't mean you're ready to jump into a dungeon. And you might have fun in a dungeon, but that doesn't mean you're into wearing an $800 latex outfit, either."

The party will also feature lots of goth and industrial music by Blessed Be thy Name, Sin Machine, Ikonoklast and DJ Spyder. That--plus performances including industrial belllydancing by local troupe Midriff Crisis and burlesque by The Pussy Posse, whose mission is to take over the world one pussy at a time--is expected to bring Tucson's fetish and BDSM scene together for a wild night out.

"If you're not into hanging out at the, 'I'm drunk and stupid; kiss me, I'm Irish' bar, you can come to our event and hang out with the more goth, industrial, alternative crowd," said Palmer. "We're a very eclectic crowd; we're not a fighting crowd, not a drug crowd. We're definitely a drinking crowd, though."

Which is good, because Fetish Heat is being held at Hotel Congress. Hopefully, the four bars at Congress will be able to handle the 21-and-over crowd.

The event will also serve as a good introduction for folks who might just be curious, Palmer said, since there will be tons of vendors at the Fetish Bazaar, hawking sex toys, corsets, leather, latex and more. It's a party for everyone--from the BDSM crowd to guys who just like to wear nurse's outfits, Palmer said.

The idea to start a production company to serve the kink-starved fetish community came after Palmer and other like-minded friends up in Phoenix decided to work to create events that would bring fetishists across the state together.

He said they realized that Tucson and other parts of the state were untapped and underserved. Horns 'n Halos now holds several parties around the state each year, including a Fetish Prom in May, Spank Me I'm Irish for St. Patrick's Day and a Zombie Ball for Easter. This offers several chances for folks as far as Flagstaff and Nogales to get together and compare notes.

The dress code for the event is strict, if slightly vague: Just about anything eclectic is acceptable, Palmer said, as long as it's sexy--no sneakers and jeans are allowed. Well, almost no jeans are allowed.

"I'm not saying you can't wear jeans," Palmer said. "I'm just saying: Rip your jeans before you come."