The stage erupted furiously throughout the night. Controlling the crowd was the master of ceremonies, the inimitable Polly Superstar, dressed in a shimmering gold sequin gown and tiny gold top hat. The sounds were engineered by our own Baby Magick, who crafted the sound for the stage and set it alight with her glorious music set. As the sunset set on the PROUD & Kinky stage, we had these incredible demos and a fashion show. The kinky fashion show by Liquid Red Design and Wig Craft Vegas was a stand-out highlight. As well as performer after performer who wowed and rocked the crowd. Some literally lit up the night with fire, such luminaries as Michelle Bell, Ivizia Dakini, Z Innerstar, Neon, Messha, and Miss Brawlin’ Beauty.
However, in Dungeon Erotica, we created our own heat and fire with our expert Doms and Subs from the sensational Sanctuary Studios. We set up spanking benches and Saint Andrew’s crosses in perfect symmetry with the entrance to showcase the possibilities of BDSM play. The expert Doms and Subs of the Sanctuary Studios are well-versed in using individuals as instruments and making them sing and shine in a symphony of experience. Mistress Cyan “controlled” her team effortlessly, and they all performed exquisitely, showcasing her matchless whip skills, using fire as an erotic aphrodisiac, and expertly undertaking piquerism again and again.
Most of our attendees, with whom I spoke at the table in front of the dungeon, acting as a reception desk, were intrigued, fascinated, and excited to view the dungeon. Many brave folks entered! Experts introduced all who entered to the glorifying release of a controlled BDSM experience, the spanking, the flogging, and for the brave, the electric wand. We very carefully stimulated the few expertly with this magical device, which soothes and shocks simultaneously. We were careful at Dungeon Erotica 2022 to create a comfortable setting in the ‘Kink Kiosk’ as the team began dubbing it. As the queue grew and the interest blossomed, we had many attendees experiencing it for the first time, eyes wide and interest piqued.
We were proud at Dungeon Erotica to create an atmosphere of real nonjudgment, encapsulated by the entire PROUD & Kinky area. As one who stayed around the brilliant stage and Dungeon Erotica the whole time, I watched the crowd swell with the kinky and curious. It was the perfect place to hold intentional space at the PRIDE Festival, which was an incredible experience.
The park was the personification of beauty, full of life, color, artistry, harmony, and the sounds, sights, and smells of true unity, and it was such a rush to see and experience. We at PROUD & Kinky feel our section was the personification of this life.
Kink is still a “dirty” word that isn’t accepted in polite society, and Torture Garden and Sanctuary Studios have certainly felt at the forefront of this fight. I know our name, TG, gets us into trouble across the board with venues and magazines to the point that, in some places, we are banned. I know this is also the case with anyone using the word Fetish. It does feel like there is a whole section of human sexuality that is being ignored and marginalized, and we in the LGBTQIA+ community certainly know a little something about that. We at TG and Sanctuary Studios feel strongly that kink is a legitimate art form and a human right. It’s the right to express sexualities, feelings, emotions, and desires that do not fit into the norm and have not been accepted by mainstream culture.
There is a kinship here with all sorts of LGBTQIA+ rights, and that is why representations at PRIDE, such as the PROUD & Kinky section, should be maintained, financed, and supported. We who portray ourselves as “kinky” should not be marginalized, homogenized, and repressed but celebrated, exalted, and included as part of the incredible lexicon of human sexuality. We felt that the PROUD & Kinky section was a beacon of light, a beacon of protest as PRIDE was initially intended to be, a raised fist of defiance that makes the world know that we’re here, we’re kinky, and we’re not going anywhere.
I had a conversation with a trans person who had traveled from Los Angeles to come to Dungeon Erotica. They specifically wanted to be flogged by Mistress Cyan, who was in such demand all day, right up to the close of the PROUD & Kinky area at 10 pm. I watched this amazing person wait patiently and watch Mistress Cyan flog her followers, using a blade and fire expertly to excite. Finally, Mistress Cyan led this young person to the cross and expertly performed her magic on them. I watched, and at the end, I spoke to this young attendee whose face was ablaze, eyes filled with tears, literally beaming, and I asked them, “What was it like?” “It was worth driving all the way from Los Angeles and waiting for; I feel fully alive now. I’ll see you all back in LA,” the young attendee responded, and I felt, for the first time that day, the satisfaction of what we had done, what we had created, and what we do it for.
We’re changing lives for those who came to the PROUD & Kinky section and Dungeon Erotica and were shy, scared, or worried. We got them to come in and experience whatever they wanted from the realm of BDSM and feel comfortable, safe, loved, and respected. This is the end of kink shame, and PROUD & Kinky and TG and Sanctuary Studios are helping to make it so. Until we see you all again at Las Vegas PRIDE 2023, which we know we will make bigger, better, louder, kinkier, and more fun, as we do every year. It just remains for us to say stay proud, stay kinky, and stay safe. We love you all!