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Review: The Killer Wore Leather

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With the advent of the 50 Shades of Grey movie looming, the interwebs are abuzz; once again calling attention to this deplorable trilogy. (Apparently, the movie isn’t any better than the books. Ya don’t say?) To counteract this virus real alt-culture folks are trying to direct our attention to books and authors that better represent life on the sexual fringe. Why, there’s even a ‘which book should you read instead’ meme springing up amongst those of us who care about good erotica and authentic power play. Here is my contribution.

Just so you know, I wrote this review for a print magazine awhile back, and I thought now would be an excellent time for me to share an updated version with you here.

The Killer Wore Leather is Laura Antoniou’s new murder mystery with a fictitious international leather competition, Mr. and Ms. Global Leather and Bootblack, as its backdrop. Think IML (International Mr. Leather)… no, don’t think IML. Oh forget it; go ahead and think that if you want, because this fictional competition is clearly a very thinly veiled replica of that alt-culture institution.

Full disclosure: Laura was a guest on The Erotic Mind Show. (Look to the Podcast Archive, right here on my site, to find these great shows. You’ll find Part 1 HERE and Part 2 HERE!

These interviews were a great way to get to know Laura and hear the delicious back-story dish on the novel. Laura is wickedly funny and astonishingly subversive. Interestingly enough, these are the very same characteristics that I liked most about her novel.

In Part 2 of our conversation we chat about:

  • James Lear’s quip on the back cover: “A murder mystery with a fresh, funny take on the fetish underground.”
  • I ask if The Killer Wore Leather is her first murder mystery.
  • I ask how she happened upon this genre?
  • We talk about her main character, a lesbian homicide detective, and two of her delightful supporting characters, the boys Jack. They’re adorable.
  • I ask if these characters are based on real people she knows.
  • We discuss the very unique slice of society that is the gay leather/kink subculture and her insider connection to it.
  • I ask if how she was able to add the refreshing comedic aspect to the otherwise hardboiled murder mystery.
  • And how she got away with making light of it all?

The Killer Wore Leather opens at the Grand Sterling Hotel, NYC. Thousands of people are arriving for the annual leather killer wore leather covercompetition and fetish ball. Anyone who has ever attended one of these fêtes in real life will feel right at home. Most of the main characters and all of the supporting characters are right out of (fetish) central casting. There is even an Antoniou-esque, rabblerousing gadfly who makes regular appearances throughout the novel just to stir the shit. So unlike Ms. Antoniou, don’t cha know.

Don’t think this will spoil the plot, but the reigning Mr. Global Leather, Mack Steel, who is also one of the contest judges, is soon-to-be deceased. He is—how shall I put this—a real dick, and not in a good way. Just about everyone hates him, which makes for loads and loads of suspects once he is found dead in his hotel room. Mr. Steel is stabbed to death with a trident-shaped weapon and left wearing only a pair of frilly knickers. Oh, the delicious scandal!

Enter Detective Rebecca Feldblum and her new partner, Dominick DeCosta. Rebecca is a lipstick lesbian, and Dominick is a hot, straight, black guy. Both detectives are way out of their comfort zone surrounded by all the freaks and perverts. The convention/contest promoters decide the show must go on, so despite the murder, Feldblum and DeCosta have to do their sleuthing amidst the fetish circus.

The Killer Wore Leather is a good, old-fashioned whodunit. And Antoniou lays on the detail; we are treated to a baffling array of characters from the sexual fringe and a barrage of alt-culture jargon. But don’t let this deter you. The two detectives and another surprising character, a savvy newspaper reporter, act as a Greek chorus of sorts. Through them we are treated to a delightful exposé of some of the more fascinating nooks and crannies of the fetish and kink underground. It’s all great fun.

Antoniou’s writing style is sharp, witty, and smart. She lovingly skewers everyone and everything. I hasten to emphasize the word “lovingly,” because there are no cheap shots here. There’s never any doubt that Laura loves this slice of life and those who inhabit it. Her portrayals are hilarious, but respectful. However, she makes no bones about the fact that some of the minorities within this minority are being marginalized, and sometimes that gets ugly. Discrimination is rife, even here.

The thing that struck me most about the book is, as I mentioned earlier, Laura’s brilliantly seditious streak. She’s well known for her biting essays on alt-culture, sexual roles, and gender politics. And I am delighted to say that her keen observations bleed—you should pardon the pun—into her narrative. I loved it! And I know that you will too.

Buy The Killer Wore Leather for the mystery story; stay with it for the subversion.

I want to say another special thanks to Cleis Press, the publisher of Laura Antoniou’s The Killer Wore Leather, who sent me a copy of this book to review.

PS: This book would make a fantastic Valentine’s Day gift for any adventurous reader.

Turning Pro

Name: Kevin
Gender: Male
Age: 22
Location: Toronto
I’m just out of college and have a ton of bills and no real job prospects at the moment. A friend suggested I do some escorting to make ends meet. Guys tell me that I’m hot and I like sex, but I don’t know if I could pull it off. Suggestions?

You betcha I have suggestions…a lot of ‘em, don’t ‘cha know.

Being hot and liking sex are great assets if you decide to turn pro, but you’ll need way more than that. Being a sex worker is not like having sex for love or even having recreational sex. You will be exchanging sex for money and that makes it a business proposition. Therefore you’d be wise to approach this with as much forethought as you would any other career move. It is, after all, the world’s oldest profession.

abs.jpgIf you do decide to set up shop, so to speak, you’ll need the capacity to have sex with a much wider range of people than if you were looking for a date. And probably just as important, when there’s an exchange of money, the john becomes your customer. And you know what they say about the customer always being right. The truth of the matter is that all pro sex is client directed. It’s not about you even when it looks like it’s all about you.

So let’s say you’re a really great fuck, fun to be with too. You’ll also need the emotional distance and psychological resilience to cope with the intimacy issues this line of work creates. This is precisely the point where most fledgling sex workers flounder. They either give too much or not enough. Some actually resent their clients for renting them. I know, this is totally absurd, but it happens all the time. This lack of clarity will cause you to have trouble establishing healthy boundaries between you and your john.

Regardless if you are a cheap street hustler turning tricks to support a drug habit or an expensive rent-boy who is servicing the rich and famous, the pitfalls are the same. A lot of sex workers are self-destructive or have huge unresolved sex issues that they try to compensate for by making people pay them for what they usually give away.

If you still think this is a line of work for you, Kevin, be aware that your mind and body are your greatest business assets. Take care of them. Nurture them. Keep them clean, fit and toned. Hygiene, both physical and mental, is a must. Body awareness, not the narcissistic type, and safe-sex practices are your frontline defense against STIs (sexually transmitted infections). Make it your business to be tested for HIV and the other common STIs on a regular (every 3-6 months) basis.

Stay clean and sober while on the job. More sex workers get busted for drugs rather than hustling. Know how to handle a drugged out client. You’ll probably see a lot of those. Know that they can take forever to get off, and can sometimes be paranoid and dangerous.

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Speaking of getting busted; you know this line of work is against the law, don’t you. That of course doesn’t stop lots of people from plying their trade. But the successful ones will have their wits about them, particularly in terms of how they market themselves. Never suggest, in any forum — written or spoken, that you are offering sexual favors for money.

Be fiscally responsibility. Plan for the lean times…and there are always lean times. You’ll probably be a hot property at first; ya know the whole “new meat” phenomenon. Don’t let this go to your head. Count on there being cuter, younger, hotter competitors getting off the bus tomorrow. Try to cultivate a number of regular clients. Have a thought to how and where you will market yourself. And I fully encourage you not to do this full-time, at least not at first. If you find it difficult to meet your financial goals, you’ll be tempted to do more and more risky things just to make ends meet.

Sex work is often more about being psychologically present than a sexual performance. Your clients will often be more lonely and isolated then they are horny. Treat them with respect. Improve your mind. Make yourself interesting. Stay abreast on current affairs and the popular culture. Develop other skills like massage and bodywork.

You should have at least one trusted friend who knows your whereabouts at all times, or who has access to your appointment book. Protect yourself: use a pager or cell phone and never make a date with anyone who won’t share his/her phone number with you. Always make a call back before you head out. Keep an appointment book, in code if you must.

Carry a travel bag or backpack with you to all your “dates”. This should contain the basics: condoms, lube, massage oil, handi-wipes, toys, etc. But you should also have an extra shirt and mace (or other protective equipment). Keep all your belongings — clothing, phone, watch, and wallet — together and near your bag. Know where that bag is at all times and be ready to pick up and leave if there’s trouble.

I also suggest that you connect with other sex workers in your area. There is strength in numbers. Other rent-boys will provide you with essential information about troublesome clients and help you get the lay of the land, so to speak.

Finally, here’s a few of great resource for all sex workers — The Sex Workers Outreach Project, BAYSWAN, and St James Infirmary.

Brit Babes

Brit Babes

 

Yours truly makes an appearance on the Brit Babes website to talk about The Erotic Mind series.

I am so honored to be featured on this site because I’ve had the pleasure of welcoming the cream of British smut to my show (both Brit Babes and Brit Dudes).  Among them — Kay Jaybee, James Lear, Ashley Lister, KD Grace, Lucy Felthouse, Mike’s Bliss, Bootbrush, Stan Keetley, Alexander, and most recently, Stan Cole.

Thank you all for acknowledging my work as I celebrate yours.

Look for the article HERE!

Book Signing News

We have this “thing” here in the Emerald City called Art Walk.  Actually a number of our neighborhoods have an Art Walk, but the granddaddy of ’em all is the Pioneer Square Art Walk.  It happens the first Thursday of every month rain or shine.  (And you can pretty much guess what happens most.)  All the hoity-toity fine art galleries in the area throw open their doors to us, the hoi polloi, and invite us in to sniff around the art, like if we knew what we were doing.  You know what they say; you can lead a horticulture, but ya can’t make us think. (Pardon me stepping all over your lovely quote, Ms Parker!)

Anywho, this coming Thursday, 11/07/13, on Art Walk evening, one of the most prestigious galleries in the whole freakin’ city, The James Harris Gallery, is gonna host me for a book signing.  Me, with all that art!  Holy cow; can ya stand it?

My friend, James Harris, so liked my book, Longfellow And The Deep Hidden Woods, that he offered to share my most recent children’s story with his patrons.  I hope all my friends, in and around Seattle, will mozie on down and check it out.  Say hello, and buy a book and don’t be surprised if you come away from it all covered in stinkin’ culture.

 

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More of The Erotic Mind of Matthew Stillman — Podcast #396 — 10/28/13

Hey sex fans, welcome back.matthew stillman03

The incomparable Matthew Stillman is back with us today for Part 2 of his appearance on this The Erotic Mind show. As you probably recall from last week, Matthew is the author of Genesis Deflowered, in which he reworked the first book of the bible by adding all the missing sex scenes and he did so while keeping his addition faithful to the literary style of the King James Version.

This week I hope to prevail upon Matthew to read from his work. Of course, we’re all goin’ to hell for even contemplatin’ this blasphemy. But what the heck, we already know we’re headed in that direction anyway, huh?

But wait, you didn’t miss Part 1 of our chat, did you? Well not to worry if ya did, because you can find it and all my podcasts in the Podcast Archive right here on my site. All ya gotta do is use the search function in the header; type in Podcast #395 and PRESTO! But don’t forget the #sign when you do your search.

Matthew and I discuss:

  • Being called out as a blasphemer;
  • Getting reacquainted with the story of Cain and Abel;
  • The expression of desire;
  • Horrific violence and tender love;
  • God sets up boundaries;
  • The appearance of other humans besides Adam, Eve and their boys;
  • The first biblical 3-way;
  • Biblical euphemisms for different kinds of sex and orgasm;
  • The upcoming Exodus Deflowered;
  • The discontent of the literalists and fundamentalists;
  • Biblical sexual mythology and controlling human sexual appetites;
  • The Alphabet vs The Goddess;
  • Women and men both lose, but women lose the most.

Look for Matthew’s Twitter feed HERE!

(Click on the cover art below to buy Matthew’s amazing book.)

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BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!

Look for all my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll find me in the podcast section, obviously. Just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice. And don’t forget to subscribe. I wouldn’t want you to miss even one episode.

Today’s Podcast is bought to you by: DR DICK’S — HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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