Friday, April 24, 2009

Fire play

Lots of things to talk about, starting with the verdict in the Zapata murder trial - the defendant was found guilty of first-degree murder and that it was a hate crime. It's one of the first times that a hate-crimes law was applied to the death of a transgender person. I'm just glad the deception argument (or what I call "The Crying Game defense") was unsuccessful.

Here's a photo of me talking with my bisexual women's group at Sylvia's Restaurant last Sunday, that was just posted on our group Web site:

Sylvia's Restaurant

Last night we had our first official planning meeting of Open Love NY at my friend Kyle's apartment, the first time I'd been there. I'm always astonished at the quirks of New York living spaces, not the least of which is how little you get for your money in the city. Kyle and I pay about the same amount in rent, but his entire apartment (which he shares with a roommate) is probably less than a third the square footage as mine, and without air conditioning, parking, washer/dryer, window views or a lot of the amenities I take for granted. But the weird thing is that his sink and shower are inside his front door, but the private toilet is in a separate space with its own door a few steps down the hallway, so he has to use a key to get into his own toilet.

We met for about two-and-a-half hours before Kyle had to go to work, and then Simon, Buck, Lyndell and I walked 10 blocks to a club called Dtox where a friend of ours was throwing a party for open-minded people of all stripes. Her name is Mina, and I met her the same night I met Simon and Lyndell, at the Supermassive Cuddle Party in 2007. Although we have only seen each other infrequently since then at PolyNYC meetings, she belongs to a pretty small group of individuals (seven and counting, six in my adult life) who have kissed me on the lips with romantic intent. If it seems like a lot, then you need to get out more.

Anyway, Mina was performing what she calls fire play on volunteers at the back of the bar, where a padded bench was situated in the middle of a small dance floor. This involved the subjects (Lyndell took a turn) disrobing from the waist up and laying facedown on the bench. Mina would then take two rods about the size of chopsticks with gauze wrapped at each end, soaked in alcohol and light them on fire. She would tap the person's back with the flaming tips, transferring some of the burning alcohol to the skin, where it would burn for a fraction of a second before Mina put it out with her hand. Then she would go one step further and draw curves with a non-flaming alcohol swab, then light it, creating arcs of flame for an instant at a time before snuffing them out. She also used an alcohol sprayer with a flame in front of it to spray flame at the skin, but it never caught fire (although it seems like it could if the person was hairy). I was talking to Lyndell while she was doing this last bit and the flame spray got really close to my face, but Mina was very careful.

It's the first time I'd seen fire play, so I was asking a lot of questions about it - was it performance art or some kind of fetish play? Mina says it's just fun, and other people commented that it's also a display of trust for the bottom (the person it's being performed on). For me, it was just a fascinating example of the diversity of human play that I've never been exposed to before.

Speaking of play, since the weather is so nice today, maybe Tara and I will go out and have a nice, ordinary game of tennis.