4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Bondage, bitches, and Divine talk at Queen Bee’s in North Park

Dark Euphoria leads to dim melancholy

Dark Euphoria: a fever dream at Queen Bee’s.
Dark Euphoria: a fever dream at Queen Bee’s.

Alma Rodriguez, owner of Queen Bee’s, escorts me into the North Park venue for “Dark Euphoria.” Before the end of this July 23 night, the pulse of gothic electronica will have carried me through lessons in BDSM, speed bonding with a fellow John Waters fan, a man showing off his handmade “bitch,” and — when the music stops — an unexpected emotional crash.

Place

Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center

3925 Ohio Street, San Diego

The volume of said music makes it impossible to have a casual conversation, but no one is talking anyway. There’s a light show that pulsates with the undercurrent of layered rhythms, and we’re allegedly entertained by two go-go dancers in cages, except no one bats an eye in their direction because they’re all lost in their own go-gos. I see Jason, a professional sort from Texas who recently built a giant spider for a gaming company at Comic Con, transformed from the person I just met outside into a writhing mass of go-going energy. I know it’s him, because he’s the only other person besides me who’s wearing white.

After I assure the stationary attendee who spearheaded the event that I’m not a cop, Alex Gonzales, singer for headliner Matte Blvck, is gracious enough to chat with me amidst the chaos of putting on a show. I remark that the scene has changed a lot since the subdivisions of the early days, when goths, punks, and metalheads rarely mingled without punches being thrown. “Everyone is welcome here,” he assures. “You’ll see 21 year-olds that are more well-versed in the [musical] history than most people. Pretty much anyone that doesn’t fit in gets to feel comfortable here.”

When I ask about the connection between goth culture and BDSM, Alex doesn’t answer directly — until I point out that the show was promoted with the promise of “submission demonstrations,” and attendees have embraced that theme with fetish clothing, bondage gear, and lots of chains. He tells me that the creative minds behind the event thought it would be a good visual, and that some patrons like to indulge their voyeurism. He then introduces me to Matt Johnston, a practitioner of shibari, a rope bondage art form that he learned in Japan, where it originated. Just thirty minutes earlier, I’d seen Matt expertly tying and manipulating the limbs of a tall, thin woman named Muse, putting her into a suspended position. A little nervous-making, maybe, but the kiss he gave her in the midst of the exhibitionistic session radiated pure trust between the couple. Johnston notes that he manufactures his own rope in order to avoid contributing to the production of petroleum used in most commercially available rope. Also that until his retirement five years ago, he was in the closet about his lifestyle, because of the (understandably unnamed) conservative corporation that employed him.

A man in line for drinks is pulling hair from atop a faceless and only vaguely human doll that he has apparently brought as his date, then spreading the tufts ritualistically while mouthing something. He tells me it’s his bitch, and I ask if that’s why he’s pulling her hair out. “One of the reasons,” he responds, dismissively. After he tells me the ‘do was made of masking tape and Korean hair, I’m relieved when he clarifies that the hair came from the salon floor of a Korean beautician, and not from a reenactment of the grindhouse film Maniac. (The title character in that one scalps his victims and dresses his mannequin collection with their hair and clothes.) He takes his hat off, and shows me how the doll doubles as a headdress, but my attention is drawn to a woman named Camilla who’s reading (in a nightclub?!) a copy of Role Models by John Waters that she fished out of the library trash. We share our joy over the fact that Waters’ seminal film Pink Flamingos finally received the Criterion Blu-ray treatment, ensuring that star Divine’s dog shit-eating triumph will be preserved for future generations.

I leave after several attempts to get the perfect picture for this article. Eventually, I accept that it’s beyond my skill and walk to my car, but at least my photo seems to mirror the fever dream atmosphere. The further I get from the event, the more the fever fades, and the less magic seems to pervade the air. There’s music, but it all muddles together as I pass eateries and clubs. There are people, but no one seems to be doing anything or being anything different from a typical Saturday night. The inebriated posturing, the complaining about not being drunk enough to go home, it all seems so fucking pedestrian.

Though I’m unlikely to go to another such event for pleasure instead of on assignment, I have experienced Dark Euphoria, and now the night is not dark enough.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

Pumpkin Patch, Beer, and Photo Ops, Sunset Scripps Pier Walk Tours

Events October 2-October 5, 2022
Next Article

A Home for the Homeless

California solves crisis by offering “a different kind of asylum.”
Dark Euphoria: a fever dream at Queen Bee’s.
Dark Euphoria: a fever dream at Queen Bee’s.

Alma Rodriguez, owner of Queen Bee’s, escorts me into the North Park venue for “Dark Euphoria.” Before the end of this July 23 night, the pulse of gothic electronica will have carried me through lessons in BDSM, speed bonding with a fellow John Waters fan, a man showing off his handmade “bitch,” and — when the music stops — an unexpected emotional crash.

Place

Queen Bee's Art & Cultural Center

3925 Ohio Street, San Diego

The volume of said music makes it impossible to have a casual conversation, but no one is talking anyway. There’s a light show that pulsates with the undercurrent of layered rhythms, and we’re allegedly entertained by two go-go dancers in cages, except no one bats an eye in their direction because they’re all lost in their own go-gos. I see Jason, a professional sort from Texas who recently built a giant spider for a gaming company at Comic Con, transformed from the person I just met outside into a writhing mass of go-going energy. I know it’s him, because he’s the only other person besides me who’s wearing white.

After I assure the stationary attendee who spearheaded the event that I’m not a cop, Alex Gonzales, singer for headliner Matte Blvck, is gracious enough to chat with me amidst the chaos of putting on a show. I remark that the scene has changed a lot since the subdivisions of the early days, when goths, punks, and metalheads rarely mingled without punches being thrown. “Everyone is welcome here,” he assures. “You’ll see 21 year-olds that are more well-versed in the [musical] history than most people. Pretty much anyone that doesn’t fit in gets to feel comfortable here.”

When I ask about the connection between goth culture and BDSM, Alex doesn’t answer directly — until I point out that the show was promoted with the promise of “submission demonstrations,” and attendees have embraced that theme with fetish clothing, bondage gear, and lots of chains. He tells me that the creative minds behind the event thought it would be a good visual, and that some patrons like to indulge their voyeurism. He then introduces me to Matt Johnston, a practitioner of shibari, a rope bondage art form that he learned in Japan, where it originated. Just thirty minutes earlier, I’d seen Matt expertly tying and manipulating the limbs of a tall, thin woman named Muse, putting her into a suspended position. A little nervous-making, maybe, but the kiss he gave her in the midst of the exhibitionistic session radiated pure trust between the couple. Johnston notes that he manufactures his own rope in order to avoid contributing to the production of petroleum used in most commercially available rope. Also that until his retirement five years ago, he was in the closet about his lifestyle, because of the (understandably unnamed) conservative corporation that employed him.

A man in line for drinks is pulling hair from atop a faceless and only vaguely human doll that he has apparently brought as his date, then spreading the tufts ritualistically while mouthing something. He tells me it’s his bitch, and I ask if that’s why he’s pulling her hair out. “One of the reasons,” he responds, dismissively. After he tells me the ‘do was made of masking tape and Korean hair, I’m relieved when he clarifies that the hair came from the salon floor of a Korean beautician, and not from a reenactment of the grindhouse film Maniac. (The title character in that one scalps his victims and dresses his mannequin collection with their hair and clothes.) He takes his hat off, and shows me how the doll doubles as a headdress, but my attention is drawn to a woman named Camilla who’s reading (in a nightclub?!) a copy of Role Models by John Waters that she fished out of the library trash. We share our joy over the fact that Waters’ seminal film Pink Flamingos finally received the Criterion Blu-ray treatment, ensuring that star Divine’s dog shit-eating triumph will be preserved for future generations.

I leave after several attempts to get the perfect picture for this article. Eventually, I accept that it’s beyond my skill and walk to my car, but at least my photo seems to mirror the fever dream atmosphere. The further I get from the event, the more the fever fades, and the less magic seems to pervade the air. There’s music, but it all muddles together as I pass eateries and clubs. There are people, but no one seems to be doing anything or being anything different from a typical Saturday night. The inebriated posturing, the complaining about not being drunk enough to go home, it all seems so fucking pedestrian.

Though I’m unlikely to go to another such event for pleasure instead of on assignment, I have experienced Dark Euphoria, and now the night is not dark enough.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Coastal SageScrub Stays Alive and Migrant Birds Return

Smoggy days are likely to occur
Next Article

Flogging Molly plays, Pierce the Veil returns, Switchfoot carols, Tom Brosseau notes, and Billy Gibbons marries Dani & Tim

Christmas, covers, concerts, and a ZZ Top wedding
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close