Sunday, October 3, 2010

Of Rosemund and Nuit Blanche

Rosemund, being worn by me in the Toronto subway system.

Last night was Nuit Blanche in Toronto, and Katie, Rhonda and I went out accompanied by Rosemund, a fabulous mini-top hat made by Love Charlie.  I bought this hat with Drew in Charlottetown and this was the first time I had worn it.  Katie encouraged me, as this was not part of my original ensemble.  I'm really glad she did because it turned out to be a hilarious touch to our night.

First of all, the hat is hand made of felted wool, with a crinoline swirl of blue, an ostrich feather curling around from the side, and peacock and other feathers forming a plume at the side behind the crinoline.  Here are some shots of it: 

Rosemund stays on with an elastic band which goes around the back of the head and which I fastened for added security with two bobby pins, all hidden by my hair.  It was a windy night, but there was never a moment when I was worried Rosemund would fall off.  She was so much fun to wear, in part because so many people commented on her!  I expected that to some extent, because this is clearly not the kind of hat that you just wear to the store, but I didn't think she would get as much attention as she did, especially in Toronto, and especially on Nuit Blanche, when everyone is out in crazy outfits and there are thousands of people in the streets.

The first people to comment on Rosemund were at the end of my block, not a ten minute walk away.  Then there were some people in the subway, some people when we got out of the subway, some random people walking, the waitress at the Liberty Bistro where we had dinner and listened to live jazz, and so on and so on.  Everyone, men, women, even teenage guys, were commenting that they liked Rosie - and none of them were being sarcastic as far as Katie and I could tell.  Every time someone said something Katie laughed, and at one point Rhonda suggested that we should have been counting.  

Rhonda and I had planned before-hand to check out a few of 'Les Rues des Refuses' exhibits - a play on Le Salon des Refuses of Paris, for those art exhibits and other activities that didn't make it onto the 'official' Nuit Blanche program.  In my view, they're more interesting and more fun because they're a little unconventional and at least far less densely attended - no lines and no covers.  Thus, our second N.B. stop of the evening (after the bistro) was La Belle Epoque design competition, to see Amber's new designs.  They were *great*.  Below is a photo of her five models and a mannikin wearing her designs, which unfortunately are not very clear since the photo was taken on a phone.

Amber's romantic picnic
We wandered around the show of clothes and jewellery for a while, and Rosemund fit in really well there.  She was barely getting any second looks since there were full-fledged models in amazing outfits wandering in the crowd and posing on platforms occasionally.  The models had to be there from two in the afternoon to at least one in the morning posing and wandering the crowd. The girls in this beautiful tableau would switch their positions occasionally as one's feet started to bug her, and one's back or wrist got sore from sitting a particular way.  Modeling is *not* easy, it turns out.  Even in the midst of all the frills, feathers, and lace there was one woman who decided that she wanted to take a picture of Rosie.  So, I stood awkwardly by as the woman took a few photos of that little stunner.

The funniest compliment of the night came a couple of stops later, at a bondage show in a tatoo parlour for "Morpheous' Bondage Extravaganza" where people were just allowed in to see people getting tied up - men and women both.  As Rhonda, Katie, and I stood in the crowd between five people tying up six other people - two riggers to our right and three to our left (one who wasn't technically rigging since he was binding two women to a pole with a huge roll of saran wrap) - we observed the interesting techniques and outfits of the people in front of us.  The men and women getting tied up had at least their tops off (breasts could be covered or not, as desired) and the riggers were mostly wearing medieval blacksmith-type get-ups.  The man right in front of us tying up a mid-twenties girl, who looked very much like a Betty Page pin-up, was wearing a gas mask with his skull-and-bones black t-shirt and heavy boots.  He tied a rope around the girl's ribs and hips, and began to string her to the ceiling from ribs, hips, knees, and ankles.  Before she was attached to the ceiling though, while she was still standing, and I was watching closely, the man in the gas-mask suddenly looked up and cried "HEY, I LIKE YOUR HAT!!" Six or seven people close by immediately looked at me, including the girl, who from her restricted vantage point yelled just after "Yeah!  It's so cute!"  Katie and I almost died of laugher.  It was such a strange contrast, a Victorian-inspired cocktail hat at a Medieval-inspired bondage art show. 

Here's a photo of the man in the gas-mask's almost-final work.  The girl's hands were tied around her back in the very end, and she was spun around in circles, and appeared to love it.

Rosie was a universal success at Nuit Blanche.  Everywhere we went after that, people commented on the hat.  It would not have been the same night without her!  I can't wait to wear her again sometime soon, and maybe even get a few more like her, though I'm not so sure that I'll be heading back to a bondage bar just as quickly.

I had originally called the people tying others at the bondage show 'tiers' because I wasn't sure how else to distinguish their role, but after reading the comments below I've changed the instances of 'tiers' to 'riggers' to reflect the preference of people who do it.  I also tried to clear up that there is no bondage bar in Toronto (which is a shame, because martinis would go very well with bondage art I think).  Morpheous' show was in a tatoo parlour.  So I guess if I ever want to head to a bondage bar again I'll just have to open one.


  1. The one that looked up and said "HEY, I LIKE YOUR HAT!!" was Morpheous himself and knowing him as I do that's absolutely what and how he would say that. Haha.

    I wish I saw the hat in person as well as it is a neat hat. Now that I think about it it's ironic that there are beautiful and half naked people literally hanging around and we in the rope/fetish/kink/BDSM community would choose to have such a visceral reaction to a neat hat. I guess our perspective are a bit skewed, but we do so love good costuming :D

    I was actually one of the riggers there that night. It was one of the most intensive tie session I've ever had. I lost count, but I think I personally did 15+ ties that night. Fabulous event, great energy and great vibes from the public. Well except those that took one look and ran away in horror, those were just hilarious.

    Any ways, very nice written blog. One exceptions though is that the word "tiers" is defined as a raised platform, the preference is "riggers" or "bondage artist" for the people doing the tying.

    And there isn't really a "bondage bar" per say in Toronto. this was just an art exhibit. Morpheous rents out a place to host this event every year and it's a great venue to show case the various local and international rope talent. Rope bondage at the level you saw last night isn't commonly practice even within the bondage community let alone the fetish community. Tying just to immobilize a person take far less work then what we do and mechanics of suspension work involves a lot of technical skill on par with mountain climbers and engineers to do safely. These are people that have dedicated themselves to a very obscure art form that can trace it's root historically to martial arts such as hojojutsu that is now taught as a branch of more establish marital arts such as jujutsu. The majority of us consider what we do as shibari or kinbaku. But enough of that, I'm getting caught up in the history of the art form which is a personal fascination. Still...while this video is an ad for one of the most remarkable English historical book written on the subject it still embodies a lot of the spirit of the art

    I won't get into the underlying psychology of why we do what we do as riggers or our tie partners. That's a subject outside of the scope of blog comment. But let's just say we're geeky, scary levels of intelligent and we have very good reasons for what we do. The easiest to understand I suppose is intimacy and connection.

    I'm glad you guys had fun though. Come out next year when we're going to be bigger and better. Or if you're curiosity is a bit stronger come seek us out. Toronto's community is a vibrant friendly one and on par with the world these days :)

  2. Hey I still like your hat! Ping me:

    Thanks for coming and for putting us on your blog. It was a pleasure to have you out for my event!


  3. Awesome to see this.. so cool...

    That event is the best at Nuit

  4. One of these days Scotiabank will come crawling to us...but I think for now we still scare them :)

  5. Scotiabank really should have come a knocking this year from what I hearing. Most seem to have found this year kind of dull and far too commercial compared to last. But hey we're getting more mainstream acceptance and positive exposure so it's not outside the realm of possibility :)

  6. Oh and crawl they will *weg*

  7. Morpheous's Nuit Blanche installment was a photographers dream.