Every love affair -- no matter how torrid, tempestuous, or twisted it might be -- will probably come to an end sooner or later. In the case of the fiends behind Horns & Halos, the promoters of most of the Valley's major fetish events over the last 10 years, they're bringing their longtime relationship with the local kink scene to a close after more than a decade of blood, sweat, tears... and a few other bodily fluids.
Before the company bids farewell to local fetish fans, however, it will present one last blast on Saturday night at the Venue Scottsdale, the aptly titled Horns & Halos Final Ball.
According to co-founder James Bound, who helped launch Horns & Halos in the group in 2004 along with famed Arizona body-mod guru Steve Haworth and others, the event will celebrate the company's 10 years of promoting fetish balls while simultaneously serving as its swan song.
"Ten years is a long time to do anything at this level," Bound says. "It seemed like the final event of our 10-year anniversary was the most appropriate time to retire [Horns & Halos]."
Bound says that both he and Haworth are "stepping away" from promoting fetish events, like the notorious proms and balls that H&H put on four times a year, due to a desire to pursue other endeavors and projects.
"It has been really tough on me putting in the final effort on this," Bound says. "H&H has been a huge part of all of our lives, and we want to give it a proper finale rather than see it fade."
The company has been one of the Valley's most prominent promoters of fetish parties and events in the last decade. Every year, local practitioners of such lifestyles as BDSM and other fringe pursuits (or those who were a little curious) have donned corsets, lingerie, pleather, and similarly sexy apparel and attended one of Horns & Halos' signature yearly events, including Fetish Revolution in February or the annual Fetish Prom every May.
While Bound will still be involved in the local fetish scene in some capacity, he doesn't have any plans to organize or promote events in the foreseeable future.
"[Fetish parties] have been my world for the last 10 years. No matter what else I was doing, fetish was part of nearly every day. These events take months to put together, so I was always working on the next two," Bound says. "That has been a really good thing, but I am glad that I can finally relax and just think a bit about today. I'll miss the events themselves and the artists I've met."
And artists have been a big part of Horns & Halos colorful and quirky cavalcade, ranging from the body suspension gurus of Life Suspended, burlesque troupes like Scandalesque, the bondage fiends of the Flaming Queens, sideshow acts like the Strange Family Circus, or such performance artists as Midori or The Infamous Boom Boom.
Horns & Halos parties have also provided as an outlet for self-expression for those of a fetishistic bent over the years.
"Everyone who has ever spanked, clawed, scratched, whipped, stripped, and strutted has made history in the past 10 years. Anyone who has ever been chained down and suspended in mid-air has been a spectacle for the ages. Horns & Halos has been bringing [people] the most virulent of carnal catharses time and time again, four times a year."
He hopes that its final event this Saturday will be much the same. True to form, it will feature racy activities and sexy spectacles alike, including eye-catching stunts by Life Suspended, exotic dancing and performance art from Jane Jett and Katrina Rainsong, live art and body painting demonstrations from Skin Wars artist Gear Duran, and a fashion show by Vital Vein Latex, as well as the usual vendors and play areas. Pop artist Miss Krystle and electro-industrial act Assemblage 23 will also perform, while Ministry/Revolting Cocks guitarist Sin Quirin will provide a special DJ session.
As with any Horns & Halos event, Bound urges attendees on the event's Facebook page to "dress to impress, caress, and show flesh."
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"This is your one-way ticket to a sinful fairytale, and you're the star. Amidst the whips, chains, and latex are the most playful rejects from the fringes of society," Bound says. "All of the atrocities at this autumn masquerade are in the names of pleasure and pain, with no gods or saviors to cleanse the debauchery."
It sounds like its probably going to be a bit kinky, to say the least.
Horns & Halos Final Ball takes place at 8 p.m. on Saturday, October 11, at The Venue Scottsdale. General admission is $30, VIP access is $60.