This year the Halloween weekend in Leeds had a unique addition to it’s fiendish frivolities – October saw the first Erotica Festival spanning four days in venues throughout the city. Cinemas held showings of erotic film, workshops offered classes in dancing, body painting and rope bondage and bars displayed sensuous artworks for an art trail with a difference!
To balance the self indulgent debauchery, erotic fiction teamed up with local burlesque acts to raise money, quite aptly, for a breast cancer charity. The highlight for many was the Erotica Ball held on Halloween night – a masquerade party complete with twisted acts and devilish performers.
Held in The Loft, the masquerade ball was the ultimate fetish event of the weekend and with tickets at £30 expectations were high. Although it was billed as a ‘fetish’ ball there was no ‘playroom’ or dungeon as often found at these kind of nights and the dress code was more of a fetish ‘theme’ rather than a strict condition of entry. Attendees’ outfits ranged from fancy dress costume to rubber cat suits, tuxedos to wedding dresses all with masks to suit. The promotional press for the ball was ambitious, promising ‘a sumptuous ball room’ as well as ‘a further, more intimate room’ for the performances. Unfortunately on the night there was only one room that hosted both the DJs and the show girls (and boys) making it a little crowded at times.
The first act were a duo comprising of an opera-style singer and a ukulele player, who were joined, after a few songs, by Ruby Honeycut Corset playing the cello who added her own unique dark comedy to the proceedings. It was a pity that there only appeared to be one speaker on stage, with the only other speakers halfway down the room giving poor sound definition to those standing towards the front making it difficult to understand what was being said at times.
Elyssia and Jewels provided a darker piece with their gorelesque show which included angle grinding, fire breathing, bondage, fake blood and full frontal nudity which many members of the audience had genuinely never seen on stage before – their reactions’ a mixture of shock and fascination.
Keeping with the fetish theme, Anna Fur Laxis performed her Pony Girl act, dressed in a latex cat suit, bridle, blinkers, bit and hoofed gloves. Her outfit was completed by hoofed, heelless boots with horseshoes on the bottom. Her finale, as she pranced around the stage, was to reveal rosette ribbons in the place of pasties.
Traditional Japanese rope bondage was incorporated into a sub-dom sketch by RodM and his subjects Anna Fur Laxis and Pixie, as they showed torso and leg bondage, inspiring some members of the crowd to ask about the bondage workshop running the next day.
Leeds’ first Erotic Masquerade Ball wowed everyone who attended and, apart from a few set backs, all agreed it was the best thing to happen to the Leeds alternative scene in a long time – hopefully next year it will be bigger, better and even more kinky!