On the other end of the line was Mercury, lead singer for the glam drag band Vibralux. He and his cohorts had just played a show at the Hurricane, and he was drunk-dialing us to give us shit for not being there.
We stayed on the line with him because he was such a perfect narrator, recounting his Homerian odyssey through the drunken land of Westport. After he gave us a play-by-play on how some woman showed him her pierced nether region, which he dubbed Full Metal Vagina, we decided that we had to hang out with him or at the very least go see his band.
The chance came just a few days later, when he told us that Vibralux would be at Davey's Uptown Ramblers Club along with a fetish troupe. How could we resist that billing? We'd also heard that Davey's had just added some new drinks. Though Davey's is renowned for being one of the best places in town to see shows, we love the fact that this divey local institution also serves up incongruously froufrou girl drinks, such as the root-beer float, a lovely alcoholic concoction in a glass mug topped with a mound of whipped cream.
Long story short, we missed Vibralux, having spent the earlier part of the evening at the very proper Priests of Pallas Ball (see "Ballroom Blitz," October 27). After a quick post-ball costume change, we strolled into Davey's around 12:30 and realized that, had we still been clad in our flapper outfit, we wouldn't have been out of place at all at this gothfest. Glamazons strolled around in 5-inch heels, and many of the guys some clad in vinyl dresses resembled Robert Smith (the Cure lead singer, not the former Vikings running back).
Research Assistant Cece and the NR decided to sit at the bar, gather our bearings and continue the drinking. The new drinks turned out to be an $8 pomegranate martini (kind of cough-syrupy, with a strong alcohol taste) and an Absolut Swedish screwdriver ($7 and tasty). It had Midori melon sunk on the bottom of a fluted glass; above that were Absolut Citron and OJ, with a bit of Cointreau floating on top.
As we drank, some guy on the other side of Cece asked to bum a cigarette then shoved this weird assemblage toward her: a condom filled with some gelatinous substance atop one of those free stripper newspapers. He fled before we could ask him the significance of such a gift. (Apparently, the filled condoms had been thrown to the crowd by Vibralux.)
However, we turned our attention to something more interesting: At the back of the main bar area, a whipping station had been set up near the alcove that houses the thrones. A skinny, blue-haired boy in a black T-shirt and pants was kneeling on a box, facing a cross. A woman who looked like she was from a naughty fairy tale (she wore a long, poufy skirt and her hair was in two long ponytails tied with big ribbon bows) was thrashing a cat-o'-nine-tails across his back and ass.
After he was finished with his whipping, we ventured over to talk to the blue-haired guy. Chris, 23, has been with Nightshayd Productions (the fetish troupe) for just about a month. We asked whether just anyone could come up to the alcove and consent to be whipped. Apparently the answer was yes.
"I take pain easily," he told us. "I haven't whipped anyone yet. I'm afraid I'll hurt them. I'm timid. I let people whip me, mostly."
"Is it hotter to be whipped in front of a group?"
"I don't see how it matters."
Oh, it matters, all right. We're just sayin'.
The next person who attracted our eye was a guy in a black-and-white-checked coat and a big purple tie. Attached to his forehead were two flesh-colored horns.
Sparkle, 27, was really cool and talkative. He was dressed up because he'd spent the day shopping for a Halloween party. He said he was part of a pagan avant-garde theater group called the House of Ram. We talked about the joys of wearing costumes; he told us that he often liked to go out to, say, grocery stores in Overland Park while wearing "crazy-ass costumes" to shock people.
We asked what sort of reactions he'd provoked. To our surprise, he said that most people are pretty laid-back.
"In Kansas City, the social consciousness is bending," he said. "People just laugh. Old ladies think I'm fabulous. I like taking people's ideas and pushing them further."
Speaking of bending, we then wandered into the next room, where the fetish show was going on. We walked in on some sort of "applaud for the sexiest person" contest. Boooring less talk, more cock! Just as we thought that, a guy clad in a kilt flashed the audience, revealing his groundskeeper willie. All right, good enough.
When the beauty pageant contestants filtered off the stage, we noticed a carrying case onstage filled with ropes, paddles and metal-bristled hairbrushes. Not long afterward, the master of ceremonies announced the next set. He made sure we knew that only consenting adults were onstage, then made the suggestion that anyone who was squeamish at the sight of blood should leave the room.
Pounding techno music started, and a shirtless guy got onstage. As he bent over a table, another guy tied him up and started whipping him. In the meantime, a woman in a quasi-French-maid outfit and knee-high black fishnets climbed onstage, sat on a chair, and spread her legs. Another woman who was similarly dressed stood behind her and unbuttoned the first woman's top a bit to reveal a leopard-print bra. After the second woman teasingly caressed French Maid's exposed skin, she pulled out a razor blade and made two thin cuts on French Maid's shoulders, then bent down and started licking the blood.
They were soon joined by a lithe guy wearing a sleeveless, diaphanous dress with a silver, sequined spider-web pattern radiating from his crotch. (He wore black briefs underneath.) Mr. Spider Web (aka Asmo, the bassist for Vibralux) got on the other shoulder and started lapping up the blood, too.
We weren't too shocked or grossed out; the whole thing seemed surreal. Afterward, a DJ put on some music, and everyone danced.