Fri, Dec 01, 2006 - Page 13 News List

Some like it rough

The English philosopher Edmund Burke said the pleasure derived from pain was sublime. Find out for yourself at an SM performance this weekend.

By Jules Quartly  /  STAFF REPORTER

Scenes from last year's Tie Me Up Tonight performance by BDSM Company.


"Sir Distic" worked efficiently, quickly binding his pliant subject until she was caught up like a fly in a web, legs spread and arms tied behind her back. He fastened a rope around her neck and then drew her up on a pulley suspended from the ceiling, where she rotated with an ecstatic look on her face.

Last year's first public bondage/domination and sadomasochism (BDSM) show Tie Me Up Tonight barely registered on Taipei's dramatic radar as it played to just 50 people a night, but the video evidence suggests it was one of the sexiest and most groundbreaking performances of the year.

Organized by BDSM Company (皮繩愉虐邦) and the avant-garde Critical Point Theater Phenomenon (臨界點劇象錄劇團) at its former venue in Taipei's Wanhua district, it introduced stars from the Japanese fetish scene, in addition to a young, local model called Maya (舞真夜) who tied herself up in knots. Literally.

Back by popular demand, Maya has added some new tricks to her repertoire and she will be joined tonight at Huashan Culture Park (華山文化園區) by two other practitioners of the dark and erotic arts.

Chiaki Kano has her own SM bar in Japan and is a famed nawashi, which involves being bound by ropes so tight the cords bite into the flesh. Mira Kuruni's performance involves magic, theater, agony and sex. In previous shows he made young women swallow razor blades, poured candle wax onto their private parts and staple gunned them.

According to reviews of Kurumi's DVD Hyper AbnormaliSM Exhibition he nailed labia to planks of wood, pierced breasts with barbecue skewers and carved his name in accomplices' legs, while they were "on the brink of hysteria, but look[ing] at their master with doe-eyed expressions of devotion" (Bizarre Magazine).

Iinda (not her real name) is the producer of Tie Me Up Tonight. She is an eloquent spokesperson for BDSM, which is not surprising since it is the subject of her master's thesis.

"BDSM is a different kind of sexuality. We use power to invoke a sexual feeling and provide sexual pleasure. It can be about dressing up or performance. The point of all this [the show] is law and rights. We are being mildly provoking because we are fighting for our rights as BDSMers," Iinda said.

She has a point. As Grace Zhan (詹慧玲) of Critical Point Theater argued at a gathering of BDSM adherents last weekend, "In Japan, Europe and elsewhere these kind of activities are seen as natural. Here it is more complicated and because people don't understand it they don't like it."

It is not a question of legal restraints. There is nothing to prevent consenting adults doing pretty much what they want in private; though Article 234 of the Criminal Code (刑法) states that a person who publicly commits an indecent act shall be punished with detention or a fine.

Epicure (not his real name) said Taiwan is "intolerant of difference" and that is why there has not been a BDSM scene here. In fact, the activity has been so marginalized up to this point that it is sometimes, almost unbelievably, confused with Buddhism (bdsm).

BDSM is in much the same position that homosexuality was 10 years ago, Epicure said. But with international exchanges, the Internet and translations of "sensation play" literature this is changing. Two years ago BDSM joined the ranks of other sexual minority groups in the annual Taiwan Pride Parade.

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