[scarabic] Gomez aka Bill Lemieux (and a batch of others akas that I can't reveal) is a mad scientist, and a writer of both erotic/S/M/etc fiction and bargain basement technology non-fiction. He's active in the BDSM, science fiction, and gothic scenes, has long been a member of the Denver Area Mad Scientists Club, and possesses his own lighting company. He's constructed machines and bizarre gadgets for anything from haunted houses to stage productions, and committed many nefarious acts that I probably shouldn't get into.
(SNIP through welcomes, pfffting heads, perverts, waxing melodramatically, and breached latex shorts.)
[scarabic] Ah! Which angles of the BDSM/fetishistic/whateveristic scenes do you find most appealing?
[Gomez] Personally I'm less into the S/M (ie, pain play) portion as I am into the Bondage part of the Bondage & Discipline angles, even though I've gotten pretty good at pain play just because I felt I ought to as a favor to the partners I've played with who desired that. I am really more of a fetishist than a "true" D/s player, whatever "true" is, since I'm not as interested (or competent at) the psychological aspects of BDSM. I like to tie people up, I like being tied up. I like sensory deprivation (both pitch and catch), sensory overload (no pain play for me, please), total immobilization, total enclosure (ie, rubber suits, hoods, masks), body control (catheters, gags, dildos, plugs, vibrators, enemas, etc), and the like. What's funny is that, to a lot of people in the scene, some of this stuff is considered Heavy or Advanced Play. But this is the stuff I grew up with, as early as puberty, so to me it's as natural and comfortable as swimming. Perhaps more so.
(SNIP through definitions of "extreme", fear rises, the origins of Gomez' perversions, gutters, and pre-vert/mad scientist parallels.)
[genexs] Have you done any more temporary piercing demos?
[Gomez] I've not done any demonstrations per se, although I've done at least one minor (three needles) temp piercing for a friend at a private play party. Afterward, she went out to the nightclub with the needles and floss lacing showing plain as day on her breast bone! I wouldn't mind doing another piercing demo, but I don't have a venue or group to do it for since someone I hate just did a demo for PEP and I think it might be a bit much for Uncommon Ground -- even if it wasn't, I've kind of become disillusioned with them. We could certainly do another one for the next Death Equinox, although St. Jude might or might not be up for one as elaborate as the last one since her pain threshold has almost undoubtedly lowered since the surgery. Her hip is pretty much healed, now, but I may need a new victim.
(SNIP through scarabic and genexs volunteering for piercing, needle sizes, St. Jude's dominating preferences, vinegaroons, deadly giant centipedes, tarantula S/M scenes, starting BDSM clubs, some New Palz commentary, The Vault in NYC, and tales of pyrophilia.)
[genexs] Did you go to the thing at Rock Island last night?
[Gomez] No, and I note with no surprise that Westword didn't print my letter to the editor about that travesty either. I'm assuming you are talking about the "Whip It!" party, although where you heard about it I don't know. Some guy named Kelly Lemieux (no, I am not making this up) writes for the Westweird, and wrote an "editorial" (read: long promotional piece) that made it sound like Rock Island was some kind of cutting edge club for hosting a Fabulous Fetish Party. So I wrote a rebuttal saying that the whole thing was ridicklemust, and that Whip It! wasn't about expanding people's horizons, but about making money, and that no self-respecting fetishist or BDSM scene-person would be found within 1000 yards of the place. There was a lot more to it than that, but there's no point in my echoing the entire letter here.
[scarabic] Was it whipping booths? Chris mentioned something of the sort.
[Gomez] I don't know what they had planned for this year, nor do I care. I went to the first one, and my reaction alternated between mildly amused and really pissed off. They had invited not one of the well-known local scene people (well-known to people in the scene that is, but then the promotor didn't bother to contact any of us in the first place) to help out. Instead they got some stripper-chick calling herself a professional dominatrix to do "demos" on stage, and some (actually rather decent) fashion shows by local fetish shops like Uzi and CJ's Leather (both run by friends of mine). The "demos" consisted of two blonde bimbo types rubbing themselves against an obvious male stripper / model-type who was tied (loosely, with cheap metal handcuffs of all things) to an x-frame. Oh, they dangled and draped some floggers over him too. Real hot scene, oh yeah. :-/ And then there was the way they promoted it. Did they put up posters in the local fetish shops? They did not. Did they put the word out in the newsletters of the various local BDSM & fetish groups? They did not. Did they put ordinary, full-page, run-of-the-mill "nightclub theme night" advertisements in the local free paper -- inviting all and sundry to (in essence) come down and enjoy a wild night of drunken not-quite-sex and an opportunity to ogle the underground freaks? You bet your sweet bippy, they did! I nearly got in a fight with some inebriated yupster who stumbled against me in the stair going to the basement. He stumbled against me, took one look at my rubber outfit, makeup, ear-rings, etc., his brain shut down, put his bollocks in charge, his eyes crossed, and steam started to come out of his nostrils. I beat a hasty retreat and advised the bouncer.
(SNIP through anti freak show wrap-off and topic change.)
[scarabic] Is that the one you mentioned wanting to bring for Sexual Mechanics at Death Equinox '98?
[Gomez] Yeah. Haven't actually done much work on it since I mentioned it, although I have talked a friend into making the bench/bed part for it... The hard part would have been the reciprocating motion part but, fortunately, that is the part that fell into my lap as it were. Description: Okay... what I have envisioned is a bed/recliner that you can get comfy on (or be restrained into, if that's your preference), which has the ability to simulate copulation; in either or both holes available, depending on the gender of the user. Ideally it would feature automatic lubrication, using a large reservoir and a small (very small) piston pump attached to one of the reciprocating arms. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the motor in the gadget I've got, the speed will not be adjustable unless someone throws a small variable-frequency AC motor drive at me (expensive). However, the force applied will be (needs to be) adjustable, through current limiting, which shouldn't be hard at all. There will be two dildos, probably attached with socket and plug affairs to make variations and cleaning easy (although condoms are your friends, when it comes to cleaning toys), and, eventually, there will also be two suction cups with alternating or synchronized pulsations for breasts or nipples -- preferably with changeable cups / tubes to accommodate varying sizes of breasts or male nipples. Although I've fantasized about building an elaborate sex machine for years, the whole thing came to me in a flash when this odd contraption fell into my hands. It was a butt-massager, part of that class of silly machines you used to be able to find in weight-loss / beauty clinics... like those vibrating belts and the roller-thing you sat on. I note with interest that none of these widgets have been proven effective at disbursing cellulite, they all just happen to feel pretty good which keeps the customers (invariably female) coming (ahem) back. So anyway I found this thing sitting on the sidewalk of Colfax in front of an abandoned-animal-benefit thrift store, with a price of $20, and once I realized what it was I sez to myself "Gomez old man, the fates are conspiring to force you to put your labors where your imagination is." So I bought the thing, lugged it home, and started thinking. But there is yet much work to be done. (Gomez chuckles while everyone struggles to absorb his core dump.)
(SNIP through further sex-gadget building, college jokes, and the origins of Gomez' interest in mad science.)
[scarabic] What types of gadgets have you found the most interesting to build/work with in the past?
[Gomez] Geez, it depends on my mood. Being cursed with Attention Deficit/ Hyperactivity Disorder I flit from interest to interest and, even on my good days, I can't usually concentrate on anything except sex and fetishes for more than an hour. If only I could figure out how to redirect that particular focus to things that need to get done... My interests range from all kinds of high-energy phenomena like explosives, high energy pulse-discharge electrical machines (you can shrink quarters to the size of a dime, or generate steam explosions that'll put a ball bearing into low earth orbit, or maybe even create ball lightning), to sex machines of all sorts (practical and impractical), elaborate bondage devices and human bondage sculpture, um, computers & other machines for "connectivity" with other humans and their creations... almost any gadgetry at one time or another.
(SNIP through Gomez' early Tesla coil building experiences, DiabolicCo's 3 immense sizes of coils, and Jacob's Ladders, and the Castle of Fear haunted house.)
[stevj] Forgive my ignorance, but would you describe a Tesla coil? Is it similar to those globes w/the electric fingers floating around inside them?
[Gomez] A Tesla coil is, unfortunately, the most well-known invention of the little-known inventor Nikola Tesla. He built them for the purpose of efficiently stepping up AC voltages to very high voltage for long distance power transmission. The problem with low voltages is that for a given amount of power, you need a lot of current. Power=volts X amps. But high current wastes power by heating up the wires. So Tesla hit upon the idea of transforming lower voltages at high current to very high voltages at low current, transmitting it over long distances then stepping it back down again for the end-user. It is a fairly simple device in terms of number of components or diagrams, but its physical construction and optimization are non-trivial. Nikola Tesla invented not just this concept, but the entire system of alternating current which we use today for almost all of our electrical needs... He also invented radio -- not Marconi! In fact Marconi got help and advice from Tesla, and his first public demonstrations used 14 of Tesla's patents. In the end there was a law suit on Tesla's behalf, and the patent courts agreed... but Marconi is still listed in children's textbooks as the inventor of radio, despite the fact that Tesla was running radio-controlled model boats around New York harbor several years before Marconi graduated from university! Tesla also invented fluorescent lighting, the AC motor and generator which made his AC system practical, several varieties of improved arc light, and a ton of other stuff I can't remember. The problem is that Tesla was not a practical man. He was an inventor, a tinkerer, and an experimenter, but he had no clue about bringing products to market or of making his ideas practical for other people -- that work he left to others. That's how Marconi and Edison got so much fame, as they understood the most important principle of science: "publish or perish". Their grandstanding got them in the papers.
(SNIP through the description of a Tesla coil, more DiaboliCo, bringing large coils to Death Equinox, electrical phobias at DE '97, the effects of being struck by coil arcs, plus Tesla, Reich, orgone energy, the non-actuality of electricity as a living force, and losing equipment to power surges.)
[scarabic] You were one of the originators of the critter crunches, right?
[Gomez] Yes. It was basically me, Bill Llewellyn, Bob Pfieffer, Mike Bakula, and Pat McGiveny. We were at a DASFA (Denver Area SF Association) "dead dog" party, about ten years ago. Now there are all sorts of copy-cats: sumo robot competitions, "dueling robot" competitions, and so on. Really the people who did this first were SRL (in terms of the combativeness, inventiveness, and weapons-on-robots schtick) and MIT, who had formal robot engineering competitions. Both topics came up at that party, and someone (people have said it was me, but I deny it) suggested that we convert our own traditional "Critter Crawl" competition into something with a little more ah, vigour. The Critter Crawl was a really fun, silly, laid-back, fannish, competition between wind-up toys or widgets that people brought in that they had made. We used to see some extraordinary things; especially the Japanese toys, like air-powered hoppers and robotic arthropods (aka rolly-pollies, aka pilbugs). Critters were judged on the creativity of their mode of travel, speed, appearance, and so on. It was all in good fun, and the awards were just ribbons. Once we transmuted this into The Critter Crunch, however, people started to really take it seriously. There's a travelling First Prize trophy by the famous junk-into-robots sculptor Rod Ford, fancier trophies, and a lot of spectator enthusiasm by the convention attendees. Two other cons now do this, by the way.
(SNIP through actual mechanism crossover into SF con scenes, show- n-tell sessions, the cyberpunk wave, interacting with dangerous machines, and interacting horror and erotica angles.)
[Gomez] And then there is the cyberpunk / extropian angle, where people are interested in incorporating technology into their lives or even their bodies in order to expand their capabilities past mere human limits or to enhance the experiences of daily living. We've already got the first primitive cyborgs and net-cowboys in the persons of those MIT kids who wear cameras and monitors and such 24-7, and who are hooked into the internet by cellular modem all the time. They are the first of The Augmented People... Oxymoron? Nah -- a lot of SF fans are quite boring and mundane, actually, despite how often they pat themselves on the back with how they've departed from "normal society". Most of them, if they attended a Death Equinox convention, would either be confused, offended, or would think it inferior or retrograde in some fashion and think themselves superior to such foolishness. Fortunately, there is that 10% or so that "get it" and who think along sufficiently divergent paths from the rest of fandom as to be genuinely interesting people.
(SNIP through offending or harpooning crowds, SRL, Burning Man, makeup, old-school goths, and several music performers.)
[scarabic] Go ahead and say whatever you want for closing thoughts.
[Gomez] Hummina... "I hate quotes" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson. Lemme think a moment here... Okay: some commandments: 1. Stay hungry (never be satisfied with the status quo), stay foolish (never think you're above it all, never "grow up"). 2. Be curious, especially if someone tells you that what you're interested in is dangerous -- or is something we were not meant to know. 3. And, god, how I hate to fall back on old Crowley but it seems appropriate at the moment: "So long as it harms no one, do whatever the fuck you wish." (ie, "Do what keepest thou from wilting, shall be the loop-hole in the law.") Cheers!
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