Best Of 2005

Best Place to Shed Your Inhibitions: Organ Grinders Ball/Fetish Playland

Ever been to a sex shop full of rubber ball-gags, gimp suits, and studded male thongs, and wondered, "Who actually buys this stuff?" Well, here's your answer. For beginners, start with the Organ Grinders Ball, held each spring, usually at the Metropolis in the Flats, which welcomes observers who aren't yet ready to don nipple clamps. The ball features a fashion show in which models show off the latest fetish attire, then enjoy a massive simulated orgy onstage. It all culminates with people being suspended from the ceiling by fishhooks in their skin. When that gets passé, graduate to Fetish Playland, held at various nightclubs several times a year. The party features a strict dress code that could be summed up as: Nothing you would wear in daylight. If you're feeling saucy, climb into the "human birdcage," take a ride on the "spinning rack of torture," or preside from the "foot-worship throne." It's like Savage Love, but up close and way personal.