Can Dance, Will Dance! (Might Spank…)

When a dancer enjoys full mobility but her dance partner is confined to a wheelchair, how can she interact with him? Quite easily, actually, once you think outside the usual choreographic constraints and apply your mind to the developing art of paradancing. There are lots of possible moves:

But one option isn’t seen so often in work by ‘inclusive dance’ companies, perhaps because some unfortunate people have hangups about what it implies, or at least resembles.

Resembles, because of course most of it is only Faux-TK.

Paradancers rehearse rigorously,

and the work they produce is as elegant and graceful as anything an able-bodied dancer does. For an example, here’s a nice moment from the show Shared Mysteries | Love, choreographed by Douglas Scott:

(Video here.)

And maybe, just maybe, once in a blue moon, this particular move is just a little more than Faux-TK, and something closer to allusion. Here’s a piece of work by the internationally acclaimed Turkish wheelchair dancer Mehmet Arik, dancing with Ece Tunca:

If you watch the video (here), you won’t see any spanking; but you will see him put her across his knee, and you will see her legs kicking in the air with graceful helplessness as the chair turns with her in that position. If it isn’t OTK, it’s surely the very next best thing!

Applause for all these great dancers!

Photographer of the Week: Stefan Poscharnig

Stefan Poscharnig is a passionate Austrian photographer with an eye for detail, who has been running the HD Foto Studio in Klagenfurt since 2009.

If there’s one word that most characterizes his work, it is dark, in palette though not necessarily in tone. His subjects, expertly lit against a pitch-black background, emerge with beautiful clarity and definition.

And now we’re coming to the point: a Krampus shoot from 2017, with two models as well as various permutations of the monster himself.

And that inevitably raises a question: which one? Or will it be both? (Since they’re here, you can be sure it ain’t neither!)

No, it’s not her. It’s her:

If you are interested in Stefan Poscharnig’s work, please visit the HD Foto website.

London Life

Meet the Three Belles: left to right, Gail, played by Sally Taylor; Betty, played by Anneka Wass; and Dorothy, played by Isabelle Moore.

Founded in 2011, the Belles are a close-harmony trio modeled on the Andrews Sisters: they specialize in shows that evoke the upbeat side of the mood and atmosphere of the Second World War years.

One day they found a pile of 1940s magazines in a Portsmouth antique shop: London Life. Good background material for a show about the period? Certainly… depending on what kind of show it was! For London Life wasn’t some kind of metropolitan equivalent to Country Life: it was a fetish magazine.

After the Belles had gotten their eyebrows down from the ceiling, they saw the potential for a comedy revue about the world of alternative sexualities in the 1940s – and so their own version of London Life was born.

The show begins with a chance encounter between the three girls and the editor of London Life, who takes them one by one through peculiar ‘fads’ covered by his mag, from rubber to high boots to women’s underwear, illustrated with songs and sketches and extracts from authentic London Life letters. Of particular interest to readers of this site, of course, is Fad Number 3: Discipline. The sketch deals with a WREN training course in Morse Code, which one trainee keeps failing. The consequence is what might be called a percussive Morse revision session, as also enacted by Betty and Gail in a publicity photograph for the show:

All together now: dit-dit-dit dit-dah-dah-dit dit-dah dah-dit dah-dit-dah!

London Life premiered in London in July 2014 and went to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in August. It’s a happy, humane, positive show, and by great good fortune, a preview performance was audio-recorded; the recording may be heard here.

Not Amused

00

That’s not a misprint – but, as we shall see, it is certainly a pun.

Dum Dum in Bengal was the site of a British Indian Army arsenal whose superintendent, in 1896, developed the soft-pointed ‘dum dum’ bullet, which expanded inside the human body on impact, and so gave rifle-fire more ‘stopping power’. Internationally, they were widely condemned as a barbarous weapon; even the British initially restricted them to use against non-white colonial enemies, then considered to be nothing but worthless ‘fuzzie-wuzzies’. Eventually they were banned by the Hague Convention of 1899, in the face of dissent from both Britain and the USA. Britain did eventually ratify the prohibition (the US did not), but that set the country up for trouble later in the year when the Boer War broke out and rumors began to circulate that the army had been issued with dum dums, to be used for the first time against a European enemy, the Dutch Boers of the South African Republic. And that brings us to the controversial cartoon from which a detail appears at the head of the article.

It was published on the front cover of the French satirical paper La Caricature, and quickly provoked an extreme reaction: it was said to be ‘indecent’, ‘grossly obscene’, ‘an illustrated abomination’. ‘It is impossible even to hint in decent language at its more revolting details,’ declared the Pall Mall Gazette in London. And that wasn’t simply because of the nudity. Look who’s in the cartoon – and in particular, who’s being spanked!

Giving: the Boer leader President Paul Kruger. Receiving: Queen Victoria!

(The caption reads, in French, ‘And to think she calls herself Victoria!’)

Queen Victoria

The Queen-Empress was unpopular in France at the time, partly because she had recently decided to cancel her customary spring visit to the Riviera and go to Italy instead next year, and partly just because French public opinion was more on the side of the Boers. Several other insulting caricatures of her had appeared in the French ‘yellow press’ that fall, but this one was so far beyond the pale that the British Embassy immediately lodged an official protest and the authorities felt they had no choice but to take action.

The magazine caused a sensation when it appeared on Parisian newsstands on the morning of November 25: men gawped and women blushed. By the end of the day, the police had seized the copies and what would have cost you 40 centimes at 9 a.m. was, by dusk, retailing for 10 francs on the black market. Moreover, orders were given for the printer’s plates to be destroyed, but that didn’t stop the repercussions and scandal.

Four days later, on November 29, the British Cabinet minister Joseph Chamberlain alluded to the affair in a speech, with a bombastic hint that Britain would be going to war with France once the Boers were defeated. In December, an Irish soldier named Captain O’Neill Murphy challenged the editor of La Caricature, M. Marcel, to a duel and shot him in the shoulder; he received the thanks of a grateful Prince of Wales for so chivalrously defending his mother. The Prince also canceled his plans to open the Paris Exhibition the following May.

The scandal caused significant problems for one exiled Frenchman, too. Philippe, Duke of Orleans, was a claimant to the French throne whose lifetime (1869-1926) was almost entirely during the Third Republic, making it impossible for him to be resident in France; in 1899, he was living in England. But after he injudiciously wrote a letter of congratulation to the artist, and it became public, he was blackballed by his London clubs and ultimately had to find a new adoptive home in Belgium.

One contributory factor in his downfall may have been the fact that he stupidly sent his compliments to Adolphe Willette, the celebrated cartoonist, even though both the heading and the signature clearly identify the artist as Crispim do Amaral (1858-1911). Though he was then resident in Paris, Amaral was Brazilian, so his first language was Portuguese, in which a colloquial term for the bottom is bumbum – hence the punning ‘dum dum’ on Her Majesty’s bumbum.

Amaral and the injured Marcel eventually appeared in court on January 10, 1900, to answer charges of offending public decency. The prosecution obviously thought it was itself being jolly decent in asking that the tribunal should not punish them too severely. The tribunal thought otherwise: it ruled that political satire did not come under the scope of the decency laws and awarded an acquittal. Balked at law, the government then deployed an alternative reprisal and had Amaral deported.

There was also a grimmer sequel. On November 28, three days after the cartoon was published and suppressed, the war saw the toughest engagement so far, the Battle of Modder River. The British were defeated with heavy casualties (444 killed or wounded, as against 75 on the Boer side), and the propaganda afterwards featured claim and counter-claim that each side had been armed with the illegal dum dums. In Amsterdam, a picture postcard was issued purporting to depict the battle:

02

The Anglo-French efforts to censor the cartoon into oblivion evidently didn’t succeed!

Damage Limitation

There’s a striking moment in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service (1969), a great James Bond film with a disappointing Bond, during one of the big set-piece ski chases. The villains are pursuing Bond and his fetching lady with machine guns across the white Alpine landscape, when one of them attempts a daring leap over an automated snowplow, but fails to clear it and lands inside, whereupon the plowed snow shooting out of the top of the machine turns red.

If you think about that too hard, it’s horrific. But in context, it comes across as blackly funny, capped off with a characteristic macabre quip from Bond: ‘He had lots of guts.’

That’s not dissimilar to the way mainstream spanking material handles the sensitive issue of the physical effects of spanking, which could easily, if represented with dour literalness, tip over into off-putting sadism.

Let’s start with an example from a genre where it’s difficult to take anything literally because of its inherent stylization: Japanese manga comics.

In Hikaru Yuzuki’s romantic series Boku No Konyakusha (My Fiancé; 1983), the beautiful but spoilt Shiina suffers the traditional fate of the beautiful and spoilt in romantic fiction:

We can see one of the consequences here:

Shiina is moved to further investigation, and finds:

Now, that’s not what a spanked bottom actually looks like. What we are shown instead is a gesture towards the physical effects, wittily underlining the causal connection by the recognizable shape of the mark that has been left on her. It’s not an uncommon theme in graphic art, like this one from Coco Selena Reyne:

The same visual trope is also often attempted in other media, though the orientation of the handprint is often inconsistent with an OTK spanking:

In case you need empirical proof of that, here it is:

Then there’s this statuesque iteration of the newborn, fully grown goddess Venus, after Botticelli but with a lot more botty, who appears to have been smacked into life by a midget rather than a midwife:

This is obviously not an approach that works in all mainstream contexts. The more family-friendly world of newspaper strips and comic books needs other ways to show that a girl has just been spanked. Let’s take a very basic example from a 1968 episode of the Italian comic book epic Storia del West (1967-80), in which Pat MacDonald is escorting the thieving Cheyenne girl Nettle Flower back to her tribe, against her will, while she keeps playing tricks on him.

Eventually she almost gets them both killed, and her reward is:

The odd thing about this is what isn’t there in the second picture. During the spanking itself, the graphical ‘explosion’ indicates that the artist, Renzo Calegari, is happy with non-literal visual devices to convey sound and movement, but he avoids using anything similar to show how her bottom feels in the aftermath. You know the sort of thing I mean:

It’s a frequently used, easily understood shorthand:

leads to…

Repeat for emphasis:

leads to…

And it remains legible to this day, as in this cute modern take on Bettie Page by the cartoonist Pat Lewis:

But for the strangest example of the lot, we go to Al Capp’s hillbilly strip Li’l Abner (1934-77), in which the hero’s girlfriend Daisy Mae was spanked no less than three times in the space of a year, July 1943 to July 1944

(but also, so far as is known, was not spanked at all in the rest of the series, although others were). Here’s the latest of the three:

And the one before won’t surprise anyone with its visual convention for a spanked bottom:

The same convention also appears in the earliest of the three, in which she uses knockout methods in an effort to get Abner to agree to marry her,

only to be spanked when he comes to. Regrettably, this one’s off-panel, but never mind, what we need to look at is the outcome:

What is for us a graphical device that shows how it feels, seems for those inside the strip to be literal, observable reality, something that ‘any fool can plainly see’.

Another, quite different technique also entails making the invisible visible. A handy initial example appears in a 1973 issue of Archie, in which the eponymous teen hero claims proficiency in tennis and joins with his spoilt (and occasionally spanked) girlfriend Veronica Lodge for a game of mixed doubles. This entails the exposure not only of Veronica’s pretty pink panties but also Archie’s complete lack of prowess, as seen in a serious failure of aim:

It’s not technically a spanking, in even the most imprecise usage of the word, just an unfortunate accident, but once again, it’s the after-effects we’re here to see:

It probably doesn’t do to try to think about that too hard: it’s not just a shadow where none should naturally fall,

nor do wholly non-translucent garments suddenly somehow reveal what’s going on underneath.

It’s not even clear whether it’s meant to convey a red bottom, a sore bottom or a hot bottom. All three distinct possibilities are available in this splendid 1976 piece by the Spanish cartoonist Iñigo:

‘When I said I would punish you very severely if you failed this exam, I meant it!’

And the combination of connotations is far richer and more powerful than any literal representation could possibly be:

Now, all of this can work very well when you’re dealing with spanking rendered in a non-literal medium,

but what about a literal one?

When photography gets involved, does it restrict the artist to simple denotation, meaning there’s nothing available between the stark alternatives of covered-up mainstream reticence and naked porn explicitness?

There’s a reason why I chose Blue Hawaii (1961) for my visual example, over and above the transition the two images effect from ink and paper to celluloid. Most movies and plays with spanking scenes (with the exception of the small minority that actually end with the spanking itself in progress) have to handle the aftermath. This means not only acknowledging that the bad girl has been spanked (with direct consequences that might include difficulty sitting down) but also, and ideally in the same scene, moving the action on from that climax to wherever it is going next. And this is something that is done with impressive expertise by the director of Blue Hawaii, Norman Taurog, and his veteran cinematographer, Charles Lang, who was also the director of photography for the spanking scenes in Ritzy (1927) and Cross My Heart (1946).

One objective of the immediately post-spanking scene is to show how Ellie (Jenny Maxwell) has now been effortlessly accepted by her peers, who eventually take her off to have fun together: that is the scene’s direction of travel. But it also acknowledges its point of departure in the way Jenny keeps casually signaling discomfort in her gluteal area without ever pulling focus or otherwise distracting from the primary purpose of the scene.

Many a movie has the spanked actress gingerly attending to her tender area afterwards, but in Blue Hawaii that’s the least of it. Hal Kanter’s screenplay also contributes a glorious exchange between Ellie and Miss Prentice, the teacher in charge of the teens on the Hawaiian trip. Ellie was spanked by Chad (Elvis Presley) after throwing herself into the sea in an effort to kill herself, so perhaps it’s to be expected that she has a sneeze or two to let out the following morning. Cue general concern, articulated by Miss Prentice in terms that elicit a coyly suggestive response from Ellie:

MISS PRENTICE: Ellie, I hope you didn’t catch a head cold last night.
ELLIE: No, ma’am, just the opposite.

And in case anyone doesn’t get that the opposite of a head cold is a hot bottom, Jenny Maxwell accompanies the line with a carefully timed rub of her rear.

Most remarkable of all is how Taurog and Lang go into the scene, with a fade from the ongoing spanking to a close-up of Ellie’s bottom, previously upturned but now planted on pillows two deep, which is obviously the only way she can join her fellow teens in sitting down to a communal breakfast. So the action moves from scene to scene with a visual underscoring of the principle of cause…

and effect:

And capping it all in suggestiveness are those red shorts supplied by costume designer Edith Head (who also did the wardrobe for so many other Hollywood spanking scenes that it would be tedious to list them all). It’s a clever way of showing that spanked Ellie has a bright red bottom, without the distasteful crudity of actually showing her bright red bottom.

And hurrah for that!

Keeping Up With Pippin

The musical Pippin isn’t the most rewarding of shows for a spanking enthusiast to follow, and not only because searches tend to return results where the relevant has to be disentangled from a welter of cute pets and hobbits. The original 1972 version of the ‘orgy scene’ included a spanking, but in recent times it is often staged without, perhaps to appease the poor phobic dears who just can’t abide spanking and don’t want anyone else to have the pleasure, but also perhaps to allow a director or choreographer to do their own thing. The latter is legitimate artistic flexibility (all the scene requires is some form of unorthodox sexual practice, which doesn’t have to be spanking), and while the former is regrettable, let’s never forget that we do have to live in the world alongside these people, which necessarily means we end up with an ongoing ‘win some, lose some‘ situation. So let’s look at a few Pippin productions where we won.

Here’s one in Connecticut in 2009:

In the summer of 2011, a production at the Carnegie Theatre, Cincinnati, featured this actress and dancer:

pippin-carnegie-1pippin-carnegie-2

And she featured in our scene:

pippin-carnegie

(The video is here.)

Also from 2011, here’s a high school production from Maryland. The spanking, at 52m50s, is washed out through overlighting, but features some attractive leg-work from the recipient:

But it’s a little sad that I haven’t found a single example more recent than my original article on the musical. I try to keep up with Pippin, but does Pippin want to keep up with us?

Photographer of the Week: Andrew Parker

Andrew Parker shoots superior alternative photography for Radiant Inc., the firm he co-runs in Las Vegas.

Of course, he gets the best out of his models, even though some of them find it hard to keep out of trouble. Take pink-haired Annalee Belle, seen here with Jasmin Keith:

And there’s more to come for her, courtesy of LouLou D’vil, whom we have previously met administering a spanking in Finland for Jirina Alanko, and who came to Vegas to give Annalee a whacking:

Now let’s meet Lisa Marie and Shannon, and, as you can see, Christmas is coming.

And that means that, even without Santa, something else is coming too..

If you are interested in Andrew’s work, please visit the Radiant Inc website.