Good Wholesome Fun With Bondage

Holy fucking shit!

I suppose this story really begins a couple years back.  A young, starry eyed Ben Alton was looking to find himself a nice leather trench coat and some combat boots to go stomping around in over at Neo and some upcoming concerts.  Anyhow, I went looking over at The Alley but found mostly crappy overpriced merchandise that looked like it would fall apart if I looked at it too hard.  So Susan volunteered a different place that she’d passed driving to work.  It was called Mephisto, and supposedly a “leather store.”  So we decided to give it a shot since it wasn’t too far away from us.  Upon entering the store I immediately knew what I’d walked into.  I saw my combat boots (an excellent pair by the way) next to an array of ass-less chaps, ball gags, whips, and the like.

The woman who ran the shop was very helpful.  She had me pretty much pegged right away, figuring I was a dude who was looking for some gear to go stomping around at a show and did her best to make us comfortable.  She helped me pick a great Australian duster that I ultimately opted for instead of a leather coat.  However, I left my wallet at home so had to drive back to get it while Susan stayed to hold my jacket while I was gone.  She talked with the lady for a bit and found that they make all their own leather (good stuff too) and have a bondage troupe that performs around Chicago.  I came back with my wallet, and paid for my boots and coat next to a multi-colored display of cock rings.  Anyhow, we’ve recommended Mephisto to a few people looking for leather as the quality is good and the staff is great, but we hadn’t been back since and I’d almost forgotten about the place until recently.

Fast forward to 2009.  I’ve been dying to get Fabrice to the Doubledoor while he’s still in Chicago as it remains one of my all time favorite venues.  Unfortunately a whole lot of crap seemed to be playing between now and when he went home.  Last minute though, we see a supposed “Industrial/Electronica/Black Metal” act called Defcon is going to be playing, so Fabrice suggested we go.  Now a quick note about Defcon, listening to their Myspace I was not really that impressed aside from the first song.  However, they really brought it to the Doubledoor, and sounded great.

Nothing really prepared me for the show by SS-TripleX.  As I had originally understood it, they were a female bondage fashion group, and I what I saw at first fit with my expectations.  They got on stage and modeled an array of bondage/industrial outfits including full leather suits and gas masks.  However, after they had gone on and done the whole catwalk deal, things got really different.  They start this campy silent skit to music, with two girls in latex dresses sitting on stools at a table , having a picnic and drinking champagne while acting sickly sweet to each other.  After being playful for a little while, three other girls come on in leather wearing gas masks and holding a sign for the troupe behind the skit.  The music starts getting dark and heavy.  The picnic girls keep doing their scene ignorant of the post-apocalyptic scene behind them until apocalypse leather girl #2 comes over and pretends to administer ether to both picnic girls to knock them out.  She then fixes some drink, wakes each  of the picnic girls up and has them drink it.

Then it really gets dark.  The music changes to a new heavy beat, and the apocalypse leather girls strip the top off the one picnic girl at the table, then face her naked back toward the audience while she leans on the table.  Two of the leather girls move back and forth in a mechanized fashion to this medical tray retrieving needles, then piercing skin on either side of the topless girl’s spine all the way down her back.  After a moment when it’s all complete, they repeat the process removing each needle.  A little blood starts coming from the piercings which each apocalypse girl collects in a champagne glass and drinks.  The picnic girl who was pierced then takes the fake gun from one of the leather girls and shoots one of the girls in the head, then does the same to the other girl.  She gives the gun to the third leather girl to shoot herself in the head, then sits down to finish her picnic.

Whoa.  The whole show was mesmerizing in a disturbing way, as I’d never seen a performance like it before.  The DJ was awesome too, adding some real dark industrial sounds to the performance.  Anyhow they had another skit later in the evening which was also shocking and weird but I’d recommend checking it out rather than having me describe it.  Anyhow, I thought I recognized the lady who was managing the girls and sure enough she was the lady from Mephisto who sold me my boots and coat.  She told me the name has changed now to Leather 6410, but they’re still doing their thing over there, so if you need some combat boots or a pair of ass-less chaps, give them a try.

Local Boob Contracts Swine Flu

Dammit.

Yes, I had Swine Flu.  I’d say that 99 times out of 100 when I mock a hyped up super-flu that’s going around, I’ll get away with tempting fate.  However, every so often I suppose I’ll have to put my foot in my mouth and I guess this is one of those times.  This story begins the weekend before last on my girlfriend’s birthday bar crawl.  It’s worth going into detail about the places visited and alcohol imbibed as it provides a nice counterpoint to the following week’s worth of fluids, rest and Battlestar Gallactica.

Our buddy from France, Fabrice, crashed over from the previous night so we kicked off the day with Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas and The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, followed by a healthy dose of Bill Hick’s Sane Man.  Around 7:00 we made for Hama Matsu in Andersonville to load up on sushi for some bizarre reason.

Afterwards, we headed out to Hopleaf to kickstart the evening with some strong belgium beer.  Hopleaf is your one-stop shop for primo beer in Chicago.  Look at the beer menu and prepare to be intimidated.  Fortunately your bartender should be more than knowledgeable, and prepared to be your Sherpa through the wide variety of belgiums and microbrews they have available.  We started rallying the troops over there in the upstairs room and getting a serious buzz going on.  Around 9:30 we decided to hop on out to Delilah’s.

Delilah’s is a hidden away little psychobilly bar on Lincoln.  I’m relatively new to it but it’s quickly becoming one of my go-to bars in the area.  It’s got a good mix of cheap beers and quality beers, and a seriously impressive selection of different bourbons.  The atmosphere is gritty and slightly retro.  Punk rock meets Elvis (Elvis, happens to have a bust in the bar, BTW).  Anyhow, we chilled there for a while, and ordered a shot of Malort for a few souls who prior to that fateful night had been untainted by its terrible influence.  (By the way, if you’ve never tried Malort before, give it a try.  Preferably in front of an audience of some kind who can keep the memory alive.)  The beauty of Malort is its lingering presence.  Long after you’ve put that shot away it will haunt your tastebuds with its foul taste of nail polish and horse piss.  Here’s a little quote from the makers of Malort:

“Most first-time drinkers of Jeppson Malort reject our liquor. Its strong, sharp taste is not for everyone. Our liquor is rugged and unrelenting (even brutal) to the palate. During almost 60 years of American distribution, we found only 1 out of 49 men will drink Jeppson Malort. During the lifetime of our founder, Carl Jeppson was apt to say, ‘My Malort is produced for that unique group of drinkers who disdain light flavor or neutral spirits.’

It is not possible to forget our two-fisted liquor. The taste just lingers and lasts – seemingly forever. The first shot is hard to swallow! PERSERVERE [sic]. Make it past two ‘shock-glasses’ and with the third you could be ours…forever

Anyhow, a few beers later we lose half our caravan.  Our next stop is Uberstein, which proves to be a controversial choice for our crowd.  Uberstein is a perfect example of how Americans see Germany.  They go through the motions, beer benches, giant beer steins, German beer (Hofbrau), German food, however still manage to create an commercial Americanized copy of a German bar, complete with a million big screen TVs to keep it competitive in Wrigleyville with the million other sports bars there.  Hofbrau is so-so German beer, but at least isn’t the swill served at half the other bars around the area, so its a fine choice by me.  The fact that I get to drink it in a gigantic beer stein helps.  We stay there for a while and begin drinking seriously.

Now my sense of time and duty as the leader of the caravan begins to fall by the wayside.  At some point though our group decides to move on to The Exit our final destination for the evening.  The Exit is an old school punk bar in Chicago, probably THE punk/fetish bar of Chicago.  Immediately after entering the door there’s a motorcycle inside.  Gas masks line the wall behind the bar downstairs.  The upstairs used to have a caged dance floor.  Yes, its cool.  After going upstairs and drinking more than I should have we left around 4:00 AM and grabbed some breakfast, then headed home.

Enter swine flu.  Around 8:30 in the morning I started shivering uncontrollably and get a 102 degree temp.  Then the rest of the flu symptoms follow.  Nasal congestion, chest congestion, cough, headache, body aches, etc.  I try to ride it out, but same song the next night, so I go to the doctor the next day.  He tells me his guess is pneumonia or flu.  Turns out its flu and I’m under quarantine for a week.  Good news is I got meds to kick my symptoms fast, and avoided hospital time.  Bad news is I had tell people I had swine flu, and go through the party list to let people know.  To those of you who don’t know that particular pleasure, it’s about as awkward as an STD call.