Defying Gravity in the Temple of Flesh

What some feared would be a casualty — based on Scout Bar’s recent closing — turned out to be a smashing success, christening a brand new party space with a spank on the bottom. Thrown by Temple of Flesh, Uniform Fetish (the latest incarnation of the San Antonio Fetish Ball) lured ambisexual revelers to a strip mall in the no man’s land between Castle Hills and Churchill High School.

Formerly Starlight Room, briefly Bud Lounge, Retox’s next door neighbor is now officially called Gravity Bar, a live music venue managed by Scout Bar’s Michelle Wilder. On Saturday (just two weeks after opening its doors), Gravity looked fully equipped for a rager. In one corner, a woman dressed as a sailor whipped a man in a bunny suit. On the stage, go-go dancers wore next to nothing (one accessorized his camouflage hot pants with combat boots and a gas mask) and writhed to dark industrial music. Posted signs warned that anyone caught exposing naughty parts would be asked to either “re-clothe or exit the club.” Those bent on maximum exposure waited patiently in line to be adorned with liquid latex body paint (free!), which, once strategically applied, constituted ample coverage. Highly specialized vendors (including Molly’s “bitch-tested” and “slut-approved” floggers, collars, restraints, and chainmail) had set up shop along one wall.

All ranks of military personnel co-mingled with sexy cops, bellhops, delivery boys, Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders, and others who weren’t in uniform but in artful, imaginative costumes. At one point, a shamanistic waif, who goes by “Antlers of Gold,” begged a towering cross-dresser to hoist him up for a photo. “This picture is fulfilling a lifelong dream,” he joked while the masochistic bunny (evidently a close friend) licked his bare feet.

Some, it seemed, weren’t locals, but traveling fetishists in town specifically for the event. Such was the case with the ball’s host, Dana DeArmond, a figure skater turned award-winning porn star (DeArmond’s performance in 2009’s Rico the Destroyer won her an Urban X Award for Best Anal Sex Scene). From Gravity, DeArmond twittered, “at the San Antonio Temple of Flesh fetish party and there are a bunch of partially clothed kinksters getting their freak on.” (Later tweets: “I’m at the Taco Cabana!” “I fed myself after midnight. I am definitely going to turn into a gremlin,” and “I feel fat. Texas made me fat :( ”)

While there was no shortage of “kinksters getting their freak on,” Uniform Fetish also attracted a bevy of club kids, goths, misfits, and ordinary folks who didn’t seem to have sex on their minds but weren’t about to miss one of the wildest parties of 2010. At once, the ball conjured the spirits of bygone raves, outlaw parties, and even the Clinton years, when dressing outrageously and paying $20 covers somehow felt easier.

What’s on the horizon for Temple of Flesh? Why, Exotic Easter 11 (as in there have already been 10 such fêtes), of course. If you’re 18 or over, stay tuned to for updates about the April 23 event. You won’t have to wait that long to see the inside of Gravity, though. The venue’s open for business, and looking forward to hosting Alien Ant Farm on November 19.

Gravity Bar
1031 Patricia #105
(210) 525-1341

VIBE: Through an unassuming doorway lies a wide-open space where anything goes.

BEST USE: National and local live music Tuesday-Sunday, 8pm-2am (open Mondays for touring acts)

PRICES: Wells: $3; Domestics: $3; Imports: $3.75; Premiums: $4.75; Top Shelf: $6

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