I checked out ACAL. (Alaska Center for Alternative Lifestyles) It was more a walk through than a visit to a play space because while I was there the woman who runs the space was there and setting up but she says local players don’t show up until later. I was not feeling physically up to waiting a few hours for folks so I stayed about an hour and looked around then I left.
First: the equipment and the art are absolutely top notch. I’ve seen some shitty bdsm equipment over the years where you are taking your life in your hands to use it. This place had quality gear. The art was 100% done by local folks (she said) and it was really good. Even the art that was consciously copying the Tom of Finland style was localized and fabulous.
I’ve seen a lot of art here in Alaska. The use of color and bold statements are amazing. Now that I’ve gone to museums and galleries this house seems… more like a product of its place than an aberrant freakishly impossible art compendium. I still think this house is amazing… but all of the art in Alaska is amazing.
The lady who runs the play space is definitely connected to the wider world of bdsm. She could talk a really good game. She can rattle off all the big name presenters and talk about different play styles and the fads that come and go. She gets out to big conferences all over the place and she brings a lot of teachers up here. She has a great patter.
I hear that she’s really shitty at paying people and that she threatens to out people who don’t comply with her demands. So she had a fantastic first impression… but I’d be wary if I seriously had to deal with her.
She’s definitely charming, I’ll give her that.
The space reminded me of the last Castlebar space. It was cold. The roof drips so there are puddles of water all over the place. It was a huge warehouse kind of feel and it was cold and kind of spooky. I thought it seemed like the kind of place I’d love to get tied up and hit. The dirty/industrial look is very much part of my kink milieu.
Their rules were unusually flexible and tolerant. They permit types of play that many play spaces won’t like water sports and messy blood scenes. The only serious no’s on the list: guns, scat, and inverted self suspensions while you are alone.
Err, that’s all legit. Sure.
She says she can’t allow scat because like someone bringing fish into the office break room and microwaving it… that’s a smell that doesn’t go away and it’s not fair to force other people to smell it. I thought that was incredibly civilized of her.
And on a slightly different note: I have recently learned that a bdsm group in Canada has to include carefully differentiating between puppy play and bestiality in 101 classes because bestiality is legal in at least some parts of Canada and there is a local K-9 sex group and they want to make sure the newbies understand the difference. I FIND THIS DISTURBING.
Shit dude, tell me your friends fuck dead people and I’ll shrug. Not my thing but whatever. You aren’t impacting a living creature who can’t consent. Kinda gross… but whatever. DOGS ARE NOT CAPABLE OF MEANINGFUL CONSENT AND THAT’S JUST COMPLETELY FUCKED UP.
We all have our weird little lines.