By Joseph Golfen
If the streets of Downtown Scottsdale are suddenly overrun by men in fishnet shirts and tattooed girls wearing red platforms and vinyl corsets, it must be time for the annual Fetish Prom at the Venue of Scottsdale. Every year, hundreds of leather-clad fetish enthusiasts deck out in their best S&M costumes for a night among like-minded companions.
See more of the prom in our slide show Arizona Fetish Prom at The Venue of Scottsdale
“It’s such a wonderful environment,” says Jessica “Bunny” Thomas, a cross-dressing graphic designer who hopes to become a fetish model. “One of the hardest things about being into a fetish of some kind is that it’s very hard to know where to go to meet other people and be yourself.”
But people seemed to have no problem finding the place Saturday night, as the New Orleans-themed venue quickly filled with people dressed in everything from latex bodysuits to almost nothing at all.
Wendy Fast arrived at the party wearing only glued-on sequins that formed a skimpy bikini, which she said took eight hours to create.
“I usually go to raves and that’s why I dress so revealing, but my ex-boyfriend suggested we got to a fetish party one time, and this is my second time at the prom,” says Fast.
Party-goers spent the evening dancing to an array of Goth and industrial rock acts, smoking hookah or browsing for new toys among the many whips, chains, gags and handcuffs offered by vendors.
“It’s everyday people that do this and come to these events,” says Solis of the organization The Next Generation in Kink in Arizona, who co-sponsor the event with Halos and Horns Productions. “It's not just freaks like some people think.”
That’s not to say that things didn’t get freaky.
Performance group Club Mistress performed a show in which a Catholic priest gets caught spanking a schoolgirl, only to be crucified at the end of 10 whip-filled minutes.
Cory, one of the actors in the show, says Club Mistress is made up of individuals with different fetish specialties, who all get together and show them off. And it’s not all whips and ropes. Group member Kitty Berlin specializes in glamorous, burlesque-type performances.
“There’s lots of pretty fetishes out there, like lace, lingerie and shoes,” smiles Berlin. “I try to show those things off, because everyone likes pretty things.”
Local sex shop Fascinations encouraged people to show them some "pretty things" by stepping inside their “O-Booth,” which videotapes the faces of people having their best orgasm. People can also submit home videos on the company’s website for a chance to win some sexy prizes.
“Because this event is so based around exhibitionism, we have a screen set up so that people can play their tape for an audience,” says Sean Rogers, director of marketing for Fascinations. “We’ve had a couple volunteers tonight.”
After a ceremony in which a prom king and queen were chosen, the crowd filled with glow sticks as the headlining act, European future-pop group VNV Nation, took the stage. Saturday's performance was VNV Nation's only scheduled U.S. show this year.
The whole place cheered when frontman Ronan Harris stepped up to the mic and summed up the whole evening.
“This night’s about diversity, and the freedom to do and say whatever we want,” Harris shouted.
And for all the stage shows and sex toys, the Fetish Prom is really a celebration of all the things polite society doesn’t talk about; all the things the party-goers couldn’t get enough of.