Saturday night Sheree Rose’s performance of “100 Reasons” at Coagula Curatorial blurred the lines between performance and participation. With Grace Hansmeyer reading Mike Kelley’s poem “100 Reasons” and David Arnson accompanying them on the pipa, Sheree administered 100 spankings to David Lucien Matheke with a leather paddle, then added one more for his birthday. The spanking was a re-enactment of a performance presented with Bob Flanagan in 1990, not an actual fetish scene. In spite of this, Dave’s ass still turned a nice shade of scarlett. When you think about it, there is always an element of performance in any fetish scene so long as there is an audience. Maybe there is an element of performance in everything we do, and an element of participation in every performance.
It was nice to see Sheree Rose, a well-known and experienced dominant, model the right way to treat a submissive. She made certain that her “spankee” was participating of his own free will and had not been coerced in any way. She asked for his safe word (banana), gave him clear and specific instructions, and checked in with him a number of times during the performance. When the spanking was over she provided aftercare.
Although S&M can be a serious business, the reading of “100 Reasons” kept the performance lighthearted. The 100 names for paddles, read with proper inflection and comic timing by Grace Hansmeyer, included such audience-pleasers as “Rebel Yell” and “Daddy’s Little Helper.” The audience was positive and supportive, applauding when the spanking was complete.
Photographs after the jump NSFW
David Lucien Matheke, who cut a fine figure clothed in tattoos and bunny ears, met Sheree at her performance piece, “24 Hours” and was fascinated. The Beat asked if he had ever been spanked before either publicly or privately, and he replied that this was the first time since he was a child.
100 photographs of spanked bottoms filled the walls, ranging from the mild (Oh, you just got to the party) to the brutal (Let’s forget the whip and just run your ass over with a car). When asked how common that level of intensity was, Sheree said it was more common for them because of the exclusivity of the private parties she and Bob Flanagan attended. She also stressed that she herself always chose her gear carefully to avoid breaking the skin.
As Coagula’s website had described it, some of the whip marks were rather painterly, with the ass acting as a canvas. Many of the asses did not conform to society’s standard of beauty, often wrinkled, sagging or hairy. These people’s worth is not judged by looks, but by their devotion to their dominant. Yes, occasionally it is just masochism as Sheree explained to us, but personally, I like to see the marks as a testament of trust and affection. The photographs demonstrate the pure symbiosis of a dominant/submissive relationship, the need to own or be owned, and the knowledge that someone is willing to either mark you as “theirs” or to carry your marks proudly.
Also on The Beat: Photo Essay: 100 Reasons at Coagula Curatorial