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Merry XXX-mas

And a slappy new year

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Cover up those genitals! It's a rule that applies to all of the places I've ever gone shopping. Until last Saturday, however, it's not a rule I'd ever seen posted on the front door. Perhaps that's because until last Saturday, I'd never done any shopping at the Atlanta Fetish Flea Market.

Before you "cover your own genitals" and get in the car to go find the place, you should note that the AFFM isn't really a place. It was an event held at Tucker's own "fully equipped dungeon," 1763. It's located in a nondescript industrial building near Northlake Mall, and 1763's glossy brochure, which I picked up at the front door, describes it as "a deviant place of decadence." On Saturday afternoon, the decadent activity of choice was shopping. Scattered around the building -- I mean, dungeon -- were vendors selling a variety of fetish-related knickknacks.

Among the items for sale were leather clothing (unlike vinyl, it breathes), paddles, whips, lingerie, canes (buy two and save!), restraints, gags, floggers (a bargain at $22), blindfolds, and, oddly enough, a big pile of cozy-looking quilts. Perhaps they're for post-spanking cuddles.

Selling a variety of candles was a friendly man whose name tag read "Tenderdom." He explained that he sells two types of candles. On his left were the candles that "smell good." On his right, the candles that "feel good." It turns out that aficionados of "waxplay" often use candles that are formulated to burn slightly cooler than regular candles. It's easier on the skin. One of Tenderdom's more popular items were black, leather-scented candles. "It's a popular scent around here," he explained.

At Tenderdom's candle table, I spotted a flyer advertising an event called Atlanta Regional Munch. Tenderdom explained that a Munch is a social meeting of people who are into bondage, domination and submission, and/or S&M. They sit around, eat, drink and chat. "It's an opportunity to get to know the man and the woman, instead of just the dominant and submissive," Tenderdom said.

By the way, a woman standing next to Tenderdom the whole time I spoke with him was wearing a T-shirt that read, "Vegetables and spankings: Two things I hated as I child that I love as an adult."

Other than fetish, of course, the flea market's theme was Christmas. The main dungeon room's centerpiece was a large, black "bondage gazebo" decorated with garlands and ornaments. At around 5:30 p.m., market-goers gathered to decorate the Human Christmas Tree. The Human Christmas Tree was a partially clothed woman who stood still as people attached Christmas ornaments to her flesh with clothespins. When the decorating was done, a bald man with excellent aim used a small whip to remove the ornaments. Accompanying the whipping was the gentle sound of Nat King Cole's "The Christmas Song."

Silent night, violent night: Last Wednesday, Santa Monica, Calif.'s best Welsh singer/songwriter/pianist, Judith Owen, stopped by Eddie's Attic to play some songs from her new CD, Christmas In July. Accompanying her on bass guitar was her husband, actor/ satirist/radio host/filmmaker Harry Shearer. Shearer is the voice of several characters on "The Simpsons," including Montgomery Burns, Smithers, Ned Flanders and Principal Skinner, to name a few. You might also remember him as bassist Derek Smalls, mock rocker from the band/film Spinal Tap who got stopped by airport security with a foil-wrapped cucumber in his pants. Talented household, eh?

Though Shearer is the more famous of the two, Owen was the star Wednesday. The show consisted of Owen's melancholic, jazzy pop ballads, each introduced by long, rambling, often hilarious stories. To the delight of the 30 or so in attendance, she spent a lot of time mocking the Pink Pig ride at Lenox Square (which she rode earlier in the day), and then -- worried that she may have offended someone -- just as much time insincerely apologizing for her earlier mocking. My favorite songs were "Dancing Tree," an Owen original that is now tied with Joni Mitchell's "River" as my favorite depressing Christmas song, and "Christmas with the Devil," a Satanic oldie-but-goodie by her hubby's old group, Spinal Tap. Considering the song begins, "The elves are dressed in leather and the angels are in chains," I'm surprised I didn't hear it at the fetish flea market.The Right Stuff: On Saturday, the Georgia Center for the Book brought Tom Wolfe to a packed Carter Center auditorium where he talked about, read about and signed his latest novel, the college-life-centered I Am Charlotte Simmons. Wolfe is a charming man and an engaging speaker, but I can't honestly say that he sold me on the idea of sitting down to his new book. After hearing him read a chapter aloud, I'm not sure that I need 688 pages just to find out that college is full of casual sex, binge drinking and cliquishness. I figured that out after a single weekend in my freshman dorm.

Also, I think that age has dulled the septuagenarian author's legendary powers of observation. His assertion that college students courted one another 10 years ago with the Lambada (aka the Forbidden Dance) is just ludicrous. I hope he was kidding, but I don't think he was.

Plaster bastard: On Thursday evening, I stopped by the Atlanta College of Art's sculpture studio for a casual open house being held in honor of the end of the semester. The most audacious and gawked-at piece was definitely "1624 Beats Per Minute" by Audrey Ward. It consisted of a couple of internally lit, beating plaster hearts connected to a ticking electronic box. My favorite piece was Justin Slattery's "Artifact," a spectacular tangle of jagged steel that kind of looked like industrial tumbleweed. If not for fear of impaling myself, I'd love to have it in my house. Slattery isn't even a sculpture major. He's a painting major who, by his admission, had never done any metal sculpture prior to that piece. Hey, Justin, if you have no intention of using your talent for sculpting, can I have it?

andisheh@creativeloafing.com


For more beatings, whippings and waxplay, visit www.andy2000.org.

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