Frank Zappa on the Steve Allen Show

Wanna know something? When you search “Frank Zappa on Miami Vice,” You Tube starts showing you some weird-ass shit.  Here is a young Mr. Zappa on the Steve Allen Show in 1963, playing music on a bicycle. No, not “playing music while riding a bicycle,” but actually playing music on a bicycle. The way Einstürzende Neubauten would later play music on the side of a bridge, etc. Or the way John Cage played music on prepared piano. Zappa’s is weirder.

I should probably warn you that it’s also excruciatingly boring, as the Steve Allen Show tended to be. Watching variety TV from those days is a little like spending time with an assortment of your dullest friends and some interesting ones who have been drugged into a stupor.

Interestingly, both the announcer and Steve pronounce Frank Zappa’s name “Zoppa,” rhymes with “Papa.”

I guess that in 1963, being of Sicilian descent probably meant you got your name mispronounced all the time. (I’m looking at you, Michael Corleone.)

Perhaps this contributed to the title of Zappa’s legendary unreleased four-disc set for Warner Bros, “Läther” (pronounced “leather”). Yeah… or not.

Frank Zappa Deals “Weasel Dust” on Miami Vice

Here is Frank Zappa dealing “weasel dust” on Miami Vice. He looks roughly as high as Henry Hill toward the end of “Goodfellas,” but way less stressed-out. And why should he be stressed out? He’s Frank Zappa.

Herein, Mr. Zappa attempts to settle accounts with “Burnett, a two-bit player trying to get into the weasel dust industry.” Hilarity ensues, and naturally, things end as all Miami Vice scenes should. No, that’s not a spoiler… they ALL end that way, as I recall.

Zappa, by the way, did not do drugs, and did not really approve of them, but strenuously opposed the War on Drugs on political grounds.

From this clip, however, I’d say he must have been a method actor. This guy has definitely been snorting “weasel dust.”

Thanks to Dangerous Minds for conjuring this strange echo from my misspent youth.

Blog Tour: Stories of O from Cleis Press, Edited by Alex Algren

Stories of O

Please note: Some links in this post are not safe for work.

Hello! I’m Thomas Roche, and you probably know me as a fiction writer. I’m posting here as part of the “blog tour” for Stories of O: Orgasmic Erotica edited by Alex Algren. It came out this month in ebook format from Cleis Press, long one of my favorite publishers to work with — and one of my favorite publishers to read, too. They’ve published more books I’ve loved than I can count. The Cleis catalog is not limited to their stellar erotica and sex guide offerings, but includes many works I have loved in such genres as history, human rights, sex work, memoir, impossibly clever teen detectives, homicidal lesbian terrorism, and more.

Stories of O includes one of my favorite stories I’ve ever written, “Butterfly’s Kiss.” The tale originally appeared in another Cleis Press anthology, Rubber Sex, edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (also known as 2013′s Lust in Latex) and was a finalist for the John Preston Award in Short Fiction from the National Leather Association. I’m extremely proud of it.

There’s kind of a complicated story about this story and how I came to write it. Writing fiction is often about linguistic texture for me. For the opening of “Butterfly’s Kiss,” I indulged in one of those techniques that often gets writers like me called “difficult.” The opening paragraphs are written in second person narration as the reader is led through entry to an underground fetish club:

 

Over the open doorway, red curtain shrouding the inside, there’s a sign but no words, just a stylized spider… Under that there’s a cat in a derby, always a derby, impeccable, his mug impassive underneath, eyes watching as you approach. His name is Regentine, or more commonly Reg, but don’t call him that unless he introduces himself, which he’s not going to…

Walk up to Reg and say your name, either first and last or scene name. He’ll give you a look like he just scraped you off his shoe. He’ll fish in the pocket of his waistcoat, pull out a reporter’s notebook.

He’ll find your name, because you won’t be there if you’re not on the list.

He’ll check your ID, maybe pat you down, take your double saw, jerk his thumb at the red curtain. At that point you’ll either come to your senses and go home, watch made-for-Skinemax softcore and relax with your thoughts, or you’ll hit the darkness like a lush hitting bottom. If you’ve gotten this far, like I did, you’re going to hit bottom anyway, and the only question is if you’re going to get up again. So walk, my friend, and let me tell you what happens, if you’re me and this is last night, Walpurgisnacht, the day the music died.

Why did I do that? No reason at all. And every reason. It felt right, probably because I was describing an intensely personal experience.

No, it didn’t happen like it does in the story. How could it? Real life is not anywhere near as tidy as fiction, and you never get to write it in second person. But the story grew from a very real experience and very intense experience I once had.

The encounter was indeed with more than one person, and for the record it was considerably more than two. It was also with a piece of bondage equipment I’d never seen before. Known as a vacuum bed, it essentially consisted of a person-sized latex envelope and an airtight frame attached to a vacuum cleaner. A naked person gets in the envelope and all the air is sucked out of it. In the model I used, I breathed through a gag with a tube in it and found myself completely enclosed in latex in a way that feels completely bizarre and thoroughly unforgettable (to me, at least). The gag permitted me to breathe regularly, but it felt a little like breathing with a diving mask, so it took some getting used to. The device in the picture below (from www.Stockroom.com) and at the link (which is NSFW, by the way) does not have the same gag/breathing tube attachment as the model that I used, but it’s functionally very similar.

This thing was seriously amazing. It looked like some device set up to produce a cool photo-op for Marquis magazine or Secret. And, yes, if you’re into latex, naked humans do look pretty cool when turned into, visually speaking, rubber dolls. But this isn’t just a latex-fetishist’s dream. I did originally write the story for Rachel’s Rubber Sex, but the experience from within is far more intense than indulging the obsession with latex or rubber. It’s total encasement, total immobilization. It feels like you’re being crushed from every direction, with a virtually uniform pressure. I would not recommend it for someone prone to claustrophobia.

Stockroom Vac Bed
Photo from Stockroom.com.

While one is thus immobilized, other people in your immediate vicinity have pretty much unlimited access to one’s latex-sheathed body. Fingers feel somewhat different than they would on naked flesh, but not as different as you might think. Sensation generated by physical motion — vibration for instance — seem largely unaltered. Except that you can’t really move. As with many forms of bondage, the lack of the usual somatic feedback (perspective, balance, unimpeded movement) seems to accentuate all other sensations. It was seriously cool, and remains one of the most interesting and intense experiences of my life.

You can purchase a piece of equipment like the one I experienced at JT’s Stockroom and Extreme Restraints (those links are NSFW). Alternately, read my story in Stories of O: Orgasmic Erotica. Or both. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Here’s a bit more about Stories of O:

Think back to the first time you came so hard you cried out. The first time you surrendered fully and spiraled into euphoria, every inch of your body consumed by pleasure. You didn’t care who heard your gasping, open-mouthed cries of passion—all you could focus on was the ecstasy. That’s what you’ll find in this collection—tale after tale of characters lost in the bliss of orgasmic perfection your mind (and especially your body) won’t soon forget.

The other writers in the book are some of those I’ve read for years… Saskia Walker, Kristina Wright, Donna George Storey, Sinclair Sexsmith, and A.D.R. Forte (whom I have not yet read, but I look forward to it).

Also, the book’s only $3.99. Even if you hate my stylistic tics, that’s a serious bargain price for what promises to be some seriously hot power-exchange and fetish erotica.

Related posts in the Story of O Blog tour: Ella Dawson

Crime, Horror, Erotica, Science Fiction, Fantasy and Commentary. Or Else.