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Bizarre Treasure Trove

Fantasies of sadomasochism, bondage, dominance, submission, kink and fetishes are far from new.  Fakir told me that as early as 1950 he secretly devoured stories of masochistic turn-on. He also contributed his own body modification experiences with corseting, piercing and solo bondage in John Wille’s “Bizarre” magazines.

Perfect Gentelman

Perfect Gentleman ©Fakir 1959

An underground publication then, now a collector’s treasure, Bizarre was filled with the illustrations and stories of maverick pioneer John Willie, fetish illustrator and photographer. Fakir calls him  “the father of modern fetishism.”

img399 “Perverts” using pen names searched for kindred spirits in the personal ads and correspondence pages of this first of the small self-published magazines.

Later In the 70s, kinky porno ‘zines borrowed heavily on John Willie’s ideas and art. Amongst the hundreds of books in our private library, including a complete set of all the Bizarre magazines neatly boxed, live many of these publications.  With names like “Fetish Time,” “Beauties in Bondage,” “Hot Knots,” “Bizarre Life,” “Bondage Classics” & “TV Encounters,”  they are more than a step or two down from the original.  Themes are all about harsh punishment, slave training, degradation and rape scenarios. The gags were rubber balls, the leather hand made and the ropes simple laundry line restraining women in pretty crude ways.  Shibari had not make it to the West yet and the TwoKnottyBoys were just two little boys!

img387 img392img390Kink was still highly pathologised, but a shift in sensibility took place in the baby boom generation.  Sex is good, talking about it is a good idea, and how hot do you like it?  Maybe a spanking?  Can I tie you up?   By 1974, the Eulenspiegel Society in New York City and the Society of Janus in San Francisco were creating a container of education for the budding  community of outliers practicing consensual radical sexuality.

My own journey started just a few years later…when my “vanilla” boyfriend Bob took me to a lecture at the “Gorilla Grotto.”  Like the Threshold party at Mission Control that I am going to tonight, Gary Warne’s visionary store front cafe, bookstore and adult play environment in SF featured different themes complete with experts sharing their art and ideas.

That very night, Kat Sunlove, the SM presenter clearly stated that sadomasochism was OK  between consenting partners.  Her demonstration of female dominance over her partner, “mouse,” really turned me on!  I immediately joined The Society of Janus.  And that’s where I first met K.


My Burlesque Persona 1981
©Cléo Dubois

At the time, I was a burlesque dancer.  One evening K. arrived at my workplace, the Sutter Theatre, with her slave, collared and on a leash.  I was highly intrigued!  I knew she was the star of “The Story of K,” a hot consensual SM adventure.  I had the magazine!

I soon met the folks who wrote and filmed the story…More show and tell next week!

In kink with heart,

Cléo Dubois

Want to dive deeper into your fantasies?  I love to mentor couples interested in the eroticism of mutually satisfying BDSM play in the privacy of my dungeon, as well as in the small groups I teach at weekend Intensives in San Francisco. Visit both and for video clips, podcasts, articles, resources and more. Let’s talk!

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