Sultry Nights, Hot Bottoms

2012 (1)

That’s the Russian singer Philip Kirkorov with a dancer over his knee. It’s part of a live show based on his album DruGoy, which was released in October 2011; the show opened the following month and toured internationally until 2015, with a little interesting variation across the run.

The number is ‘Sultry Nights’, a song about jealousy and the fireworks of love, and Kirkorov performs it as an Apache dance with a lover in a loose dress and navy blue bloomers.

In the course of it, she finds herself across his knee.

At first, he seems a little bored by the situation,

whereas for her, boring is clearly not the word that best describes the prospect of a good spanking:

He gets to work, albeit briefly and symbolically: a representation of a spanking that’s more choreographic than literal, and very much ‘sold’ by the girl’s performance.

Then he roughly but gracefully shoves her off his lap, and the dance continues.

You’ll have noticed that the girl went through a number of changes in the course of the run, though it seems always to have been the same performer. She started out looking like this:

Then she restyled her hair, and wound up looking seriously cute,

until they gave her a little more fire with a red wig:

Finally, from 2013, they settled on a blonde wig:

There are many recordings of different performances, which I’ve included below as links. Every performance is different, if only sometimes subtly: sometimes he actually spanks her, sometimes helps himself to a feel instead, sometimes just gives her bum the bum’s rush; and the girl’s reaction is interestingly varied, too. It’s worth looking at several of them, though I don’t recommend watching them all in one go, as a sense of repetition will soon set in!

The Videos

The early performances in 2011 were filmed on these dates: November 7, November 8 and December 11.

There’s a hefty crop from 2012: April 22 (and from another angle), May 1 (and another angle), May 29, August 8, August 10, October 15 (and from another angle), October 21 (and again, another angle); plus exact date unknown (but before June 6) and another unknown date (before October 4).

There are a lot from 2013, too: March 26, April 12, April 13, April 20, April 29, August 10, September 9, November 22, November 24, November 28 and November 29.

From 2014: September 22, October 9, October 12, October 14 (and also from a different angle, and yet another), October 20 and exact date unknown.

Finally, from 2015 we have the following: March 17, March 21, April 29, April 30 and May 17.

Lolita

It is probably fair to say that Vladimir Nabokov’s 1955 masterpiece, Lolita, doesn’t take us anywhere we would wish to go, unless we’re interested in a serious study of a disturbing and destructive relationship between a middle-aged man and an under-aged girl. Fortunately the closest we’re going to get to it is the operatic adaptation by Russian composer Rodion Shchedrin, which was commissioned in 1992 with a view to a production in Paris that never happened. It ended up premiering at the Royal Swedish Opera in Stockholm in December 1994, with a translated libretto.

The virtue of an operatic version, as compared with more naturalistic media, is that there’s no way the leading soprano role of Lolita herself can possibly be sung by a performer of the character’s own age. At Stockholm, she was played by Lisa Gustafsson,

who was indeed relatively young, but not that young: she had made her professional debut in 1992 as the maid Lucia in Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia – yes, the opera that Kitty Carlisle chose to do rather than be spanked in the original Broadway Kiss Me Kateand by the time of Lolita she was an experienced singer moving towards the big time. But she did have to get over something first: she had to get over baritone Per-Arne Wahlgren’s knee!

Without actually seeing the opera, there’s no knowing for sure whether this is OTK or faux-TK, though obviously it’s at least partly symbolic, powerfully expressing her sexual temptation and his discomfort with that. But whether or not anything comparable happens in the actual opera, two things are certain: it’s a very nice image, and neither participant is under age!

Photographer of the Week: Evgeny Yurtaev

00

Moscow photographer Evgeny Yurtaev calls himself a ‘digital designer’, which gives you some idea of his range and ambitions.

He’s drawn to what he calls ‘dark beauty’,

or almost any kind of beauty,

not always in black lingerie.

He’s also fond of odd juxtapositions,

often in domestic settings,

which sometimes reflects another of his interests, food.

One striking feature of his work is the curious, subdued quality to the light that gives the pictures a gently faded ‘vintage’ look: they aren’t photos that press themselves assertively into your eyes – they expect you to come to them.

The photo we’re going to be coming to with especial enthusiasm was part of a 2009 shoot with Irin Yurkova (seated) and Ekaterina Zagudaeva (not seated, now or in the immediate future).

If you are interested in Evgeny’s work, please visit his website.

Ra, Ra

Rasputin

I don’t know whether to feel sorry for Rasputin, the disturbing Russian mystic who exerted a sinister influence on the Empress Alexandra, was assassinated by an aristocratic cabal in 1916, only to be memorably brought back to life in performances by Christopher Lee and Tom Baker, and who ended up irretrievably and inextricably associated with a truly terrible earworm of a 1970s song.

Or did he? Because look at the latest pop culture incarnation of the mad monk:

Has Rasputin returned to fight an epidemic of immorality in Mother Russia, armed only with his strong right arm and the sign of the cross?

Well, actually it’s not all that it seems. Mother Russia isn’t a comics group but a clothing company, and this is one of a series of sweatshirt designs that wittily present Russian history’s significant figures, from Catherine the Great to Boris Yeltsin via Lenin, in the style of American comic books of the last century. If you want to acquire one, go here. (It’s also available in red.)

Whether that’ll be enough to rescue Rasputin from his reputation as Russia’s greatest love machine is another matter…

There Isn’t a Spanking Scene in… Alcina

Handel’s 1735 opera Alcina, based on the Renaissance epic poem Orlando Furioso, tells of Alcina and Morgana, two witch sisters who live together on an island. It is Alcina’s custom first to seduce the men who are washed up on her shores, then magically change them into animals when she tires of them. The newest arrival is the young soldier Ricciardo, who by good fortune meets Morgana rather than her malign sister; she is so struck by him that she jilts her established lover, Oronte, in his favor. Slight snag: Ricciardo is actually a woman, Bradamante, come to the island in male guise in pursuit of her own young man, Ruggiero, who has in turn fallen for Alcina and she for him. Morgana learns that Alcina plans to show her love for Ruggiero by using her powers of transformation on ‘Ricciardo’; in an aria, ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’, she warns him to flee, and mistakes his reluctance to do so as an indication that her love for him is reciprocated. But all comes well in the end: Ruggiero frees himself from Alcina’s influence and he and Bradamante escape the island by destroying the source of her power; even the discarded, metamorphosed lovers are restored to human form.

So in short, it’s an opera that centers on a pair of promiscuous women. What brings it into our orbit is Katie Mitchell’s production for the 2015 Aix-en-Provence festival, with Katarina Bradic as Bradamante and Anna Prohaska as Morgana, whose sexuality was characterized in a particular way that may be inferred from this illustration of her and Bradamante:

The first thing she does upon meeting ‘Ricciardo’ is to take her clothes off, and she spends the rest of the scene in her underwear, a black silk slip over white bra and panties (though you’ll have to be eagle-eyed to spot the latter). Her second action is to have herself tied to the bed, hand and foot, and tickled with a feather duster. Yes, this Morgana is kinky. In their next scene alone together, the ‘Tornami a vagheggiar’ scene, she ups the ante and introduces a riding crop,

and poor Bradamante doesn’t really understand what she’s expected to do with it, though she gets the hang of it eventually:

Here’s the scene:

Later on, when she has accepted that her relationship with Bradamante is going nowhere (their shared gender being an insuperable barrier), she tries to reestablish her relationship with Oronte in a scene which, with this characterization, resembles Zerlina asking to be spanked in Don Giovanni. (It’s another role that Anna Prohaska has played, incidentally.) She takes off his belt and turns it into a pair of makeshift handcuffs; then out come the blindfold and riding crop, and a second aria is sung to the accompaniment of a sound whacking. It seems the relationship is restored.

You can watch the whole production here. One online reviewer summed up its defining pleasure as ‘Anna Prohaska getting her bottom smacked’. Well, you can’t say fairer than that!

Photographer of the Week: Zavala

Of all the places you might expect to find an avant-garde photography project called Z-Faktor Fotografie, it’s safe to say that Ventura County, California, is unlikely to be top of the list.

The artist with a creative approach to spelling who’s behind the project is sometimes known as Zavala, but also says he wants to remain anonymous, so we’ll stop calling him Zavala forthwith, and just admire his work.

He often places anarchic, quasi-steampunk human figures in a decaying, post-industrial landscape (another reason why you might not guess you’re in the 805), as if celebrating human survival in the grimmest of settings and circumstances. But at least there’s still time for a little fun, of our favorite kind. So get ready…

And here goes!

If you are interested in Z-Faktor Fotografie, please visit its Instagram account.

Robo-Spanking!

Ever since the Czech playwright Karel Capek coined the word in 1920, humanity has dreamed about robots: perfect mechanical servants who never get tired, never get bored, never complain about the menial work that is their allotted function. Menial work like…

It’s not what it looks like! It’s Carrie from the British girlie magazine Mayfair, drawn by Mario Capaldi in an edition from January 1976, and this encounter with a mad professor’s robot servant are actually the first and last stages of a process whose main element is…

And the objective is to make her fresh and fragrant for the Prof’s bed!

But from time to time, robots do spank, like in this 2012 advertising campaign for the denim couturier Diesel by the photographers Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott:

But there are problems with that, problems we can begin to illustrate by turning the tables. In a 1933 run of the newspaper strip Tillie the Toiler, stenographer Tillie goes on a month’s vacation and her colleague Mac is so desperate to find a replacement that he literally makes one: Rosie Robot, the perfect stenographer.

OK, there are a few drawbacks. One of which is that she inadvertently hands over her own blueprints to a handsome professor who’s trying to buy her, which means Mac gives her something that many a daughter has received from her poppa:

But maybe that’s carrying anthropomorphism a little far: it hurts him more than it hurts her, especially since, as she’s a robot, it doesn’t hurt her at all!

Turn the tables back and the problem grows more acute: maybe a naughty girl never enjoys being spanked, but how about being spanked by a robot that never tires, and is made of metal…

The difficulty has to do with the Laws of Robotics postulated by Isaac Asimov. The Second Law states that a robot must always obey orders given to it by a human being, but it is overridden by the First Law, which states that a robot must never harm a human being. Asimov himself addressed the issue in his novel The Naked Sun (1956), which contains the observation that careful programming can enable a robot to administer a spanking when necessary. After all, it is for the bad girl’s own good, isn’t it?

The subject of reprogramming brings us to the sub-Star Wars animated feature Starchaser: The Legend of Orin (1985), which may not be the best illustration of how to do it, but is certainly the most relevant. The movie features a sub-Han Solo, Dagg Dibrimi, who is accompanied on his adventures by a sub-Luke Skywalker and a sub-C3PO named Silica, who fortunately happens to be a G2 fembot.

Silica

She’s voiced by Tyke Caravelli, who actually looked like this:

Unfortunately for Dagg, Silica is a nagging pain, so he duly attempts to reprogram her, with a good deal of protest and kicking as he tinkers about inside the inspection hatch on her back.

After a while, Arthur the shipboard computer helpfully points out that he’s poking around in the wrong place: the personality circuits are located a bit lower down.

‘You wouldn’t dare!’ growls Silica, whereupon Dagg silences any further protest with sticking plaster,

then uncovers the relevant area and gets to work,

whereupon Silica the fembot gets a good, sound reprogramming:

This makes her very much more agreeable, not to say seductive:

It’s a half-witty, half-contrived visual allusion that manages to be the best spanking scene in an American movie of the 1980s, even though there is no literal spanking whatsoever! (Of course, it is a decade that offers very little competition.)

But if that’s the only truly efficient way to spank a fembot’s metal bot, the obverse issue of enabling a robo-spanker remains a trickier one. We can’t all have the conceptual genius of Asimov, but ultimately what’s needed isn’t artificial intelligence but simple physical functionality, rather like this example being developed in Moscow:

But when it was perfected for a display at the city’s Robostation exhibition, it had lost all of its humanoid characteristics and become a unit much closer to R2D2:

It works like this. A visitor stands at whichever place best represents her height; obviously we won’t concern ourselves with anyone standing in the right-hand position. And in case you’re wondering, it really is mostly big girls who have a go.

The robot has a visual sensor that finds the target, though it probably helps if she makes it obvious.

Then a plastic ‘hand’ is deployed, with the Russian word for spank on it,

and, according to Robostation’s publicity, she ‘gets what she deserves’ – as graphically represented in the wall display.

But nothing’s perfect, and mechanization doesn’t always mean efficiency: the Moscow robo-smacker has been known to miss its target on occasion.

Hmm, maybe a bit of artificial intelligence is needed after all!