Whipping Boys And Girls.

Nine Things We Learned From This Weekend’s Dallas Fetish Ball at The Church.

In no particular order.

1. Clowns can be scary and sexy all at the same time! Whether clad in flatteringly-cut day-glo vinyl whose topography reveals every private piercing or wearing what looked like 800 rolls of formerly wet toilet paper, Calgary-based contortionist clown Visha Loo’s mission seemed to be to create a pleasant little cognitive dissonance in the minds of every attendee. It might’ve created a happy discomfort in people’s underwear too (although, unless they were wearing it as outerwear, we’re pretty sure nobody was wearing any undergarments).

2. You can watch the same magic show two nights in a row, taking very close pictures with a camera, and still not know how the hell they did those damned [channel Copperfield voice] illusions. Vegas horror-goth magician Dan Sperry kept pulling white doves (or maybe albino pigeons; they didn’t have microphones to self-identify) out of… somewhere during his set at the Ball. He did it on Friday and then again on Saturday. Remember: This was a fetish show, so he really could have been concealing them anywhere.

3. Seeing a person tied up with about 37 linear miles of rope two nights in a row is still be completely (but differently) mesmerizing the second time around. Portuguese Shibari performing artists Pedro and Fuoco built transfixed crowds during both nights of this year’s Fetish Ball as they used experience, talent and a shitload of trust to fight gravity in a way that becomes almost spiritual with the right soundtrack. You could’ve learned all about it if you’d gone to one of their Intermediate or Advanced Rope Bondage classes this weekend at the Bondage Expo Dallas happening concurrently.

4. Everyone likes their rope a little different. Rope bondage expert Cat Nawashi — who, along with her husband James, was operating a booth selling rope and other accessories — explained that there’s a lot of expensive rope out there, but often enough people end up “finishing” it differently, anyway. Cat, easily identified by her kitty pasties, prefers to be tied using the unfinished rope for maximum painful pleasure. She and James sell their ropes unfinished so that they’re affordable and so that their customers can finish them to taste.

5. Be careful when you hug someone with latex on! The shinier it is, the more likely it is to be covered in something that looks a lot like baby oil. In fact, there was an entire “station” dedicated to lubing latex at this year’s event. From what we saw, it looked like a rather pleasant experience.

6. People will line up to be spanked. Along with the lubing station, there were also stations for spanking and for something called “The Wheel Of Pain,” both of which had long lines for the entirety of both nights of the 2016 Fetish Ball. Just like voting, the conscientious sub gets in line early and often to be spanked, caned, whipped or otherwise humiliated.

7. Sex is everywhere — if you know where to look. On the surface, the Fetish Ball kinda just looks like a lot of the other themed parties that happen at The Church/Lizard Lounge on a given week, with plenty of people changing clothes in the parking lot as they arrive. (Hey, you try driving in all the way from Bedford with a corset on.) But, from what we could tell, all this fetish-y foreplay was really working for people, some of whom could barely contain themselves until they got home or even to the parking lot before getting intimate.

8. Whips can cut things. Maybe this is obvious to some of you, but we were surprised to see consenting adults have objects — everything from carrots or carnations — stuck in their butts in public and then sliced in half by someone yielding a whip. Professional whip-wielding experts like Justin F. Credible are able to do this with terrifying precision — and a great deal of style — while leaving nary a scratch on their beautiful models. The dominatrices can probably be precise, too, although they take some pleasure in occasionally “missing” the object and hitting the, um, receptacle. We’re pretty sure the amateur subs we saw were perfectly happy with them “missing,” too.

9. Fetish-wear can mean just about anything. But if you’re not wearing it to the Fetish Ball, you’re probably not getting in. Normally, on Fridays and Saturdays, the Lizard Lounge is welcoming to one and all, regardless of what people are wearing. On these nights, however, we saw a few people get turned away from the door for this, the biggest event of the fetish/goth aficionado social season. Fortunately for us, having cameras strapped all over our bodies appeared to be enough to qualify us as voyeurs. So we were golden!

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