is a North Carolina native who was a dance accompaniest at the University
of North Carolina at Greensboro for fourteen years. He has composed for
local filmmakers and dance companies, formed the F-ART Ensemble, and has
performed with Eugene Chadbourne and other North Carolina musicians. He
was recently laid off from his long-time position with the Dance Department
at UNC-G, a victim of state-level budget-cutting, and now works on the
grounds crew at the university.
material (c) 1995, CCD. All rights reserved.
- Could you tell me about some of the performances you've done with the
club? How do they relate to your feelings about Leather? Are they "performance
- To a degree, they're self parody and parody of the Leather scene as
I know it or particular people in the club, depending. Especially when
I pull out the accordian, many people regard it as an instrument of torture,
and so when I squeeze that box and get people saying, "Oh no, not the
accordian. Shut that goddamn thing up. Put it away. Take the ax to it,"
then I feel like I'm accomplishing a little bit of purpose of teasing
people, making fun of things, getting people to be able to laugh. Supposedly,
Leatherpeople are so stern and in self-control, which is really not the
case a lot of times. ... But, when you're entertaining or you're getting
people to have fun and you're at a bar night, you don't want to be so
rigidly and sternly in control. So, part of it's to have fun, to make
fun of the scene, also social and political commentary, sometimes satire
on people's cultural and religious notions, because much of Judeo-Christianity
is SM oriented -- the cruxificition is an SM fantasy, as far as I'm concerned,
always has been. You don't even need to look at "A Clockwork Orange" to
have Alex's fantasies going through his head about being one of the Roman
Legions whipping Christians, it's in the Bible itself.
- What do you think of staged fantasies? Are they a kind of "performance
- Staged fantasies almost invariable look stagey and are a performance,
and sometimes can be a very nice commentary on some of the things that
people are actually looking for rather than what actually goes on, but
they serve that function of sometimes being idealized or not so idealized.
Some fantasies, if they were actually scenes, I'd say, "Hey, man, this
- Let's talk about the piercing you had done in DC during the March on
Washington weekend. What were some of the reasons that you picked that
particular time to have it done?
- Piercing for me was one of the most... it is a very personal thing...
it symbolized, for me, a next step up into commitment, to practicing in
Leather and actually practicing as a Fairy. It was important to me to
have the right event, and I felt that the March on Washington was an event
that was of significance where I had learned something, I had learned
an enormous amount, not only from the Leatherpeople, but a whole lot from
the Fairies I met there, too. There were significant connections I made
with people there. Also to affirm myself in the Club and as a member of
TLC, that I had come far enough to... you know, the ring symbolizes sort
of a "marriage" in the club, that I had made a stage passed the noviciate
into the next level up. Certainly, it was a very emotional commitment
on my part. Commitment's a word I like to think of and it's certainly,
when you get your body altered in that significant a way, it is a commitment
because it's going to stay with you for quite some time.
- Have you gotten any unusual reactions since you got the piercing?
- Oh, I've had people be freaked out or usually people just being curious
and saying, "Did that hurt?" and "Not all that much." Of course, for the
nipple piercing, well tit piercing -- I don't think I have to censor my
language that much -- but for the nipple piercing, supposedly it's the
most painful and yes, it did bleed for a while and I was very gleefully
gory about it to other Leathermen, and it's interesting, the other Leatherpeople
usually flinched more than the Fairies who would say, "Oh, that looks
nice and raw." That's always a curious thing. Of course, given that Stuart
is my mentor in the club, and that I'm almost as much a Fairie as I am
a Leatherperson, that made sense to have him be my piercer.
- What is a Fairie?
- A Fairie is an anarchist who defines his or her anarchy however that
person wants to. Frequently, it has to do with radical sexuality and openess
in practice of being Gay, into country living, into political activism
or polticial anarchy of whatever sort. Definitely eccentric, one's own
person within a social construct, frequently communal in orientation.
Certainly people in the communes like Short Mountain or, I understand,
in the California communes, who are Fairies, are very concerned about
community living and the farm, sharing things, cooperative business. Others
are extreme individualists, and I probably fit in that category if there
is such a category. I'm making this up and I know it may be bullshit to
many other Fairies, but that's what I think. Whether I'm right or not,
I'm going to find out on my own terms. And I'm very much a definer of
terms as I go and I sometimes fit into certain social subsets, such as
"musician", "theater person", or "Leatherperson", "faggot in general",
"Calvinist", but I have rough edges, very pointed sharp edges that frequently
break that circle and I'm the polyhedrinal peg that won't quite fit in
that circular hole.
- How do you connect your spirituality with Leather/SM?
- First aspect, I guess, spiritually that I find in Leather/SM is that
it's helped me connect back with a physical identity that I used to deny.
I had a very Byzantine notion of what spirituality was when I was younger,
where I tried to deny, as much as possible, my physicality. So, it's helping
me reintegrate, psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, into accepting
myself as a person; it's helped me come out. But, the whole sense of animal
that is Leather. To a certain degree, you take on the identities -- it
isn't merely shaministic, for some people it's something of a shade of
identity with the animals you wear -- the cow, the bull, the wolf, the
bear -- whatever the fur or whatever you adopt is that part of the fetish.
Becoming more attuned to one's animal nature through nature itself and
learning how to deal physically with pain and integrating it as a source,
an actual source, a normal source of pleasure. That takes a certain discipline
and many kinds of discipline depending on what kind of play you find,
that with other people, with yourself, by the way, I'm very much an advocate
of auto-erotic SM. I'm interested in self-flagelation, various kinds of
play, even masturbation with hand-cuffs on and things like that are significant
ways of playing that you can do by yourself. But, it's learning to find
one's limits, in the physical and using one's body as a means of discovering
emotional, psychological, spirtitual boundaries, but going beyond those
boundaries in one's self.