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Wednesday, Jan. 28, 2009

Erotic Milwaukee – Not an Oxymoron

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It's no secret that Milwaukee has an inferiority complex. People seem to think that in order to see or do something unique and creative, you have to go to Chicago. This is true for sex-themed events as much as it is for others - our fair citizens in search of a swingers' party, BDSM club, or sexy show often head south.

Donny of Expressions Mass Media is trying to change this mindset with his new weekly event, Erotic Milwaukee, which takes place every Monday night at the Miramar Theater. At the first show on January 19, performers Charmaine, Keasha, Desire, Madame Amanda, and Emma and Jessie ofMiss Poleenthusiastically kicked off the series with the help of eager audience members, some of whom got up on stage for an impromptu lap dance lesson or a spanking.

I was impressed with the crowd, which was very diverse in age, race and gender - not something that you always see in town. Says Donny, "I wanted to create a venue where people of all sexual orientations can be comfortable, a place where people can come out together and feel accepted."

Madame Amanda, an experienced dominatrix who looked wickedly cute in her red sequined devil horns, got involved in the show because she believes that people in Milwaukee who are interested in kink can feel isolated. "There are so many people who are confused and don't realize the beautiful, romantic side of BDSM [which typically stands for Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, Sadism, and Masochism]," she says. "It's a shame that people are afraid to expose their needs and wants. I want to open the city up and bring out the freaks in Milwaukee!"

Emma and Jessie brought a new perspective to the typical pole dancing that one might see at a show like this. They took the stage dressed in their Miss Pole tank tops and yoga pants and encouraged women in attendance to come up and learn a few basic moves. According to Jessie, "People of all ages and backgrounds can do this. It's a great way to feel good about yourself and very empowering."

People coming in and out of the theater during the performances often had an amazed expression on their faces and could be heard muttering things like, "I can't believe this is happening in Milwaukee. I thought you could only see things like this in San Francisco!" Donny asked me if I would come up on stage and answer some spontaneous anonymous questions from the audience, which was a lot of fun - people in the crowd had no qualms about yelling out their own advice in response to the questions. The most poignant one I got was, "Will there ever be a time that I can explore myself freely and sexually, beyond everything?" I believe that events like Erotic Milwaukee help people answer that question with a resounding "yes," and I encourage anyone who has the same concern to take a chance, go to the Miramar, and support the performers and producers who are working to make our city a little more open.

I'm sure that Donny will be tweaking the format of the show as it progresses, and there are some things that could be changed. I agree with one attendee who asked, "Where are the male performers?" There was an all-female lineup last Monday, which reflects the fact that in our society, it's still more acceptable for women's bodies to be on public display than it is for men's. Surely there are some male submissives in Milwaukee who would be eager to accept a little public punishment from the curvaceous Madame Amanda? Come out, come out wherever you are, and fly your freak flag proudly during the next Erotic Milwaukee.

Laura Anne Stuart owns the Tool Shed, an erotic boutique on Milwaukee's East Side. She has a master's degree in public health and has worked as a sexuality educator for more than a decade. Want Laura to answer your questions in SEXpress? Send them to laura@shepex.com. Not all questions received will be answered in the column, and Laura cannot provide personal answers to questions that do not appear here. Questions sent to this address may be reproduced in this column, both in print and online, and may be edited for clarity and content.

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