Sunday, February 23, 2014

Didn’t Do It for Love

A film by Monika Treut 

Starring Eva Norvind
(a.k.a. Ava Taurel) 

First Run Features


Length: 80 minutes

Those who read the book “The FemDom Experience” might recall the intriguing life of Eva Norvind. Eva was one of the Pro Dommes that Elise Sutton featured in her chapter dedicated to the professional Dominatrix. Other than a brief mention of the name Ava Taurel when the gals of Predominant had dinner together in 2005, I had never heard of Eva Norvind until I read "The FemDom Experience". However, prior to meeting me, my husband was a regular reader of Femdom and Fetish magazines. When I asked James about Ava Taurel, he was well aware of her and her establishment in New York City. He had seen her picture and her ads in the magazines.


But he was not aware of this woman’s fascinating life. And what a life it was. According to “The FemDom Experience” she was born Eva Johanne Chegodayeva Sakonskaya in Trondheim, Norway in 1944. Having moved to France at age fifteen with her family, she entered and won second prize in a beauty contest held at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival. Her prize was a minor role as a German tourist in Marcel Moussy's “Saint Tropez Blues”. Shortly thereafter Eva changed her name to Eva Norvind when she began acting at the Comedie Francaise. Eva also became a showgirl at the Follies Bergere.
In 1962, Eva moved to Canada and then to New York City, where she worked as a showgirl and Can-Can dancer in cabarets. Upon finishing high school in 1964, Eva took a bus to Mexico City to study Spanish over the summer and was recruited by a television producer to act in a TV variety show. Because of her Nordic beauty, voluptuous figure, and daring attitude, Eva rapidly became a film actress and a sex symbol in the Mexican media. Some called her the Marilyn Monroe of Mexican cinema.
Eva Norvind acted in a dozen films from 1964 to 1967. In 1968, the gifted and intelligent Eva became a freelance photographer covering fashion and celebrity news in Paris and New York. She also worked as a journalist specializing in film. Eva covered international film festivals and got Latin American exclusives with major Hollywood talent from Paramount and Universal Pictures.
In 1980, Eva returned to New York to study film production at NYU. While she was at NYU, Eva ran into an old girlfriend she had known from her days as a showgirl. When she asked her friend if she was still acting and dancing, Eva was shocked to learn that her friend was performing in an S&M show at a club called “Show World”. Eva went to see her friend perform and that night forever changed her life. That is when Eva decided to become a Dominatrix.
Since it wasn’t appropriate for a Mistress to give her real name to her clients, Eva created the BDSM scene name Ava Taurel based on her Zodiac sign Taurus. Eva traveled to Europe visiting some of the most popular Mistresses in London, Paris and Hamburg, seeking advice and honing her skills. She eventually contacted the infamous Monique von Cleef and Monique agreed to teach Eva some of the tricks of her trade. What Eva found to be most educational was the mental aspects and the psychodrama scenarios of the Mistress/slave relationship.
Female Domination became an obsession with Eva and when a close friend encouraged her to capitalize on her obsession, Eva decided to open her own playground in New York City where people could come to explore their fantasies and where they could find guidance. In 1987, Eva founded “Ava Taurel and Associates” where independent Mistresses and Lady Disciplinarians would feel comfortable and could work on their own terms. Some of New York’s most famous and popular Pro Doms worked for Ava Taurel. Her rates were the highest ever charged for professional Domination.


By the early 1990’s, Ava Taurel became a world renowned Dominatrix and a respected expert in the field of human sexuality. She was invited to lecture at Sex Education conferences around the world, even in restricted societies such as Beijing and Moscow.
One of the more interesting nuggets about her life was that Eva was hired to coach Rene Russo in “The Thomas Crown Affair” starring Russo and Pierce Brosnan. I loved that movie and I considered that a possible movie for me to review because of Russo’s aggressive and dominant female character. That is why I was intrigued to learn that a Dominatrix had coached Rene Russo for that role. When I saw “The Thomas Crown Affair”, I was still getting my feet wet in the female domination lifestyle but I immediately recognized the Femdom imagery of her character. I now know that we can thank Eva Norvind (a.k.a. Ava Taurel) for that wonderful portrayal by Rene Russo.
Eva Norvind passed away in 2006 in a drowning accident off the coast of Mexico and her obituary revealed just what an extraordinary woman she was: well traveled, highly educated, multilingual, and quite the adventurer. 
When I learned that a documentary was made about Eva Norvind’s life, I immediately decided that I should get a copy and review it. It wasn’t an easy find but I finally tracked down “Didn’t Do It for Love” but could only find it in VHS tape.
I guess the word “disappointed” best describes how I felt about this documentary. When I was done watching this video, I wished I had never seen this film because it did not do justice to Ava or her life. Feminist Monika Treut produced and directed this film but I found it to have a gloomy and depressing tone. 
First of all, I was really surprised at Ava’s appearance. It is 1997 and only a few years removed from her years as one of the most beautiful and powerful Pro Dommes in New York City. Ava is overweight, wears no make-up, wears unflattering clothing and her hair looks as if she just doesn’t care. Toward the end of the film we find out that this is by design, as Ava is rebelling from her days as a sex-symbol and she now is seeking a more spiritual existence.
Perhaps Ms. Treut should have let us know this upfront because I kept thinking to myself as I watched this documentary, “what happened to her?”, as they showed pictures and movies of the attractive Ava from her youth to her days as a Dominatrix in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s.

Ava had a great body and she was a powerful presence as a Pro Domme with her athletic build. Ava was big-boned, as am I, but she was tall and well built. We later learn in the film how Ava had to work hard to keep the weight off. By the late 1990’s, Ava no longer cared and she had built such a reputation that men and women wanted to be dominated by her, regardless of her appearance.
Ava was so skilled in the psychological aspects of D&S that I can certainly understand why any submissive would consider himself most blessed to session with her. The film shows Ava dominating a submissive woman and we get a sense of how skilled Ava was at dominating someone. I hate to be this blunt but the submissive girl was very feminine yet Ava looks almost like a man during this scene with no make-up and her frazzled hair. Yet, the D&S session is rather erotic with Ava doing some knife play, teasing the woman, almost kissing her but pulling away.


Unfortunately, “Didn’t Do It for Love” does not cover very much about Ava the Dominatrix. Instead, it is more about Eva’s life journey looking for meaning. The movie spends a lot of time covering her years in Mexico and her relationships with the Mexican people that she obviously maintained clear up until her passing. The movie also takes us back to Scandinavia where Eva was born. We meet her mother, her brother and other members of her family. I found none of this to be particularly interesting.
Sandwiched between the Mexican shots and the Scandinavia shots, the film shares a little about her career as a Dominatrix. We get to see actual television interviews where Ava Taurel talks about her establishment and one of the shows takes us on a brief tour of “The Taurel Institute”. We get to see a brief scene where Ava is walking on a runway at the 1987 “Dressing for Pleasure Gala”, she is wearing a sexy leather outfit and dragging a male behind on a leash.  And we get to see some actual footage of Ava doing lectures where she educates people about BDSM. Ava is again wearing a leather outfit, complete with her trademark black and white corset.


These scenes are interesting but way too brief. During the “Dressing For Pleasure” scene one of Eva’s close friends, the woman who actually gave Eva her start in journalism, is talking about how one of Ava’s submissive males was into smothering. She recalls how he was driving the two of them around in a car when Ava began to strangle him, the car weaving around the road to the absolute horror of her close friend, who by the way was not into the lifestyle.
Through interviewing some of Eva’s New York friends, we learn that Eva was famous for throwing great parties. She would invite high-society types, politicians and celebrities but there would also be prostitutes and professional Mistresses present, which made for an interesting evening. Eva’s parties were also known for having no food or music. People would just sit around and talk.
Throughout the documentary we get glimpses of Eva’s dominant nature, such as the tidbit how she once sessioned with a young woman in Mexico and Eva’s sadistic nature came forth and expanded the woman’s limits to the place that the scene came very close to going beyond “consensual”. Eva explains that although she always lectures others to incorporate a “safe word” within all D&S sessions, Eva never allowed her submissives a safe word because it took away from Eva’s pleasure. Eva liked to take a submissive to his or her limit and then a little beyond that. That is when Eva experienced great arousal.
Eva was bi-sexual and she had many lovers over the course of her life, both male and female. Toward the end of the documentary we learn about her current relationship in 1997 where she answered a man’s personal ad. He is African-American and very shy around women. Imagine his surprise that the famous Ava Taurel answered his ad and asked him on a date. Eva is the dominant partner and he is submissive to her but they do not have a sexual relationship or even a D&S relationship. Eva is dating him for friendship and companionship, nothing more.
Those are the highlights of this film. There are far too many scenes that are slow and tedious and plain uninteresting. As I said, the film has a gloomy tone and I believe Ms. Treut was trying to make a feminist point about Eva’s life, portraying Eva as lonely and sad.
In 2005, when the gals of “Predominant” were gathered in Vegas, we all went to dinner one night and Elise was sharing stories about her own femdom past and the husbands were asking about some of the legendary Mistresses of the 80’s and 90’s. Eva’s name came up and Elise said they were friends in the early 90's. She described Eva as a woman who embraced life and loved adventure. That seems to fit with Eva's life story far more than this documentary.
In my opinion, “Didn’t Do It for Love” is a film that should have waited. I found a picture of Eva from 2003, six years after the documentary. She had lost weight and looked great again. Perhaps she was going through a downtime in her life when “Didn’t Do It for Love” was made. It would appear from her work on "The Thomas Crown Affair" and some of her later endeavors that Eva was back on top from the late 90's until her death.

Eva Norvind is one of the most interesting women the Femdom and Fetish worlds have known. Perhaps someone will do another movie about her life, a movie that celebrates her. I hope “Didn’t Do It for Love” fades away (it looks like it pretty much has). This film is not a fitting tribute to Eva Norvind.

Rating: 1 out of 5 stars

Sunday, February 16, 2014

B&D Valentine’s weekend

I woke up Friday morning to find a lovely card and a small gift-wrapped box sitting next to the answering machine. James had to head out to work extra early on Friday so he decided to surprise me by not making me wait until Friday night for my Valentine’s Day gift. I opened the box and it was a lovely diamond pendant with the words “I love you” inscribed on the back. The card was handwritten on the inside with James sharing words of his devotion to me. It was very lovely.
I had gotten James a card and my plan was to have a B&D session with him as his Valentine’s gift. I say B&D because bondage and domination is a combination that James absolutely loves.  The problem with a quality B&D session is that it takes a lot of thought and work from the Domme. I usually don’t have the time or the energy to construct an elaborate B&D session. Why do you think professional Dommes charge $300 and up for a B&D session? The outfit, the equipment, the time and the skill.
So that was my plan but there was no way I was going to be able to pull this off Friday night. Like most the east coast, we got dumped on Thursday with over a foot of snow. The roads were so bad that James didn’t make it in to work. Therefore he had to go in early on Friday and stay late. Plus we were both tired from shoveling snow (yes, I helped). So James had to take a rain check (or snow check) as I decided to delay his “gift” until Saturday. Friday night we went to dinner (actually had a reservation this year) and returned home and watched a movie.
Yesterday I gave James his gift. After lunch, he was out clearing the walkways and driveway from the additional 3 inches of snow we got Friday night while I got things ready. I told James to shower and meet me in the room where we keep the massage table. I told him there was no need for him to get dressed. The only thing I wanted on his body was the CB6000 with the DL2000.
When James came into the room he saw me in my custom leather pants, knee high leather boots, leather bra, and leather opera gloves. He saw the massage table covered with a sheet and towels with his ankle and wrist cuffs attached with rope to the top of the table legs. Hanging from a hook in the ceiling above the table was the black pumpkin enema bag. On the desk next to the table was my flogger, my short handle riding crop, a rubber mouth gag, rubber tubing, a plastic funnel, a pitcher, the DL 2000 remote, an egg timer and a roll of saran wrap.
I ordered James to lick my boots to help set the proper mood and after 10 minutes or so I had him lay face up on the table. I had him roll on his side and I lubed the aluminum butt-plug shaped enema nozzle and slowly inserted it deep inside of him, then I had him roll back over so he was on his back. I fastened the leather cuffs to his wrists and ankles and locked them in place. I took the saran wrap and mummified him, running the wrap under the table and across his body for several layers. The only part of his body that wasn’t covered was his face, his balls and his chastity device. He was in complete bondage.
I took the rubber mouth gag and inserted it in his mouth and fastened the buckle around the back of his head. I told James that since he would be unable to say his safe word or use hand signals, that if he needed me to stop at any time, he was to give out three short grunts, kind of like Morse code. Once the gag was in place, I had him practice our signal just make sure he could do it and I could hear it clearly.
I cut a very short piece of the rubber tubing and pushed it through the hole in the gag and took the other end and attached it to the funnel. I was able to push the funnel down tightly into the hole of his gag so it stayed in place on its own. Next, I took the pitcher and went across the hall into the bathroom and filled the pitcher with lukewarm water. I returned and poured 90% of the water into the top of the enema bag. With James eyeing my every move (he was able to raise his head just enough to see) I undid the belt on my pants and slid them down. I squatted and deposited a golden shower into the pitcher, which was now 10% water, 90% me. I sat the pitcher on the desk and pulled up my pants and buckled the belt.
I took my gloved hands and ran them over James’s wrapped body, flicking his swollen balls with my fingers as if I were flicking a fly off the wall. James cringed in pain. I moved my hand to the clasp on the enema tubing and moved it to the first position, releasing the warm water and slowly filling my bound hubby. I took the pitcher and poured a small amount into the funnel which ran through the gag and filled his mouth.
“Wait until I give you permission.”
I took the DL2000 remote and sent an intense love pulse to his caged cock. I took the riding crop and began to smack his balls.
“Swallow it, James!”
He gulped down what was in his mouth. I took the pitcher and poured him another mouthful. I moved the clasp on the enema bag to the second position, filling him faster.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, Sweetheart!”
I gave him another love pulse with the DL200 remote. I smacked his balls some more.
“Swallow it, James!”
Another love pulse, a few more smacks to his balls. Then I grabbed my flogger and began to whip his chest and thighs. It made an incredible sound slapping against the saran wrap. I whipped his caged cock and balls, he whimpered, then I moved back to whipping his chest and thighs some more.
“Is everything okay? Nod your head if you want me to continue?”
He nodded his head.
I poured a little more from the pitcher into the mouth gag and I opened the clasp on the enema bag all the way. I squeezed the bag, forcing the rest of the water inside my bound hubby.
I smacked his caged cock and his balls with the flogger.
“Swallow it, James!”
I grabbed the remote and gave him another intense love pulse. I was getting very excited by now. I would have loved to have sat on his face and had him lick me while I continued to torment his genitals but I didn’t trust the table to hold that much weight.
I pulled the desk chair up to the table and sat down, placing my boots up on his stomach.
“Does hubby feel bloated?”
I pressed on his stomach with my boots.
“Let’s set this timer to 5 minutes. When it goes off, I’ll set you free.”
As the timer ticked, I took the riding crop and slapped his body, my boots still resting on his stomach as I sat in the chair. I smacked his wrapped nipples, his chest, his thighs, the bottoms of his feet and of course his balls. By now his balls were purple with a little bruising. I took the remote and gave him a few more love pulses, going from moderate to severe back to moderate. James jerked a little each time but the saran wrap made it difficult to move.
“Are you in discomfort from the enema?”
James shook his head, “Yes”.
“Just another 90 seconds. Suffer for your Goddess.”
I gave him another severe love pulse.
Finally, the timer went off. I took scissors and cut the saran wrap from the table and un-wrapped his body. I took the gag out of his mouth and unlocked the restraints. I helped James up as he held a towel against himself so he wouldn’t leak. I handed him the empty enema bag and he made his wall across the hall to the bathroom.
I commanded him to dispel the enema, shower off, rinse out his mouth and brush his teeth, drink two full glasses of water (so he wouldn’t be dehydrated) and meet me in my bedroom.
I took off my leather clothes and waited in bed, reading a book until James arrived. I had him orally pleasure me until I was satisfied. I thought about unlocking him and giving him a Valentine’s Day orgasm but I decided against it. I want him to wait until March.
And so went our B&D Valentine’s Day session. I know it doesn't sound like a long session but trust me, it was over an hour, about 85 minutes from the time he worshipped my boots to when the timer went off and I cut him free. I know he appreciates me and all I went through to put that “scene” together, and he’d better. Anyone can buy a gift and a card. My gift took lots of thought, energy and love.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Exit to Eden

Based on a book by Anne Rice 

Directed by: Garry Marshall 

Starring: Dana Delany,
Paul Mercurio,
Rosie O'Donnell,
Dan Aykroyd,
Hector Elizondo,
Stuart Wilson 

Released: 1995

Running time: 113 minutes


In 1985, Anne Rice took a break from writing her Vampire Chronicles series to pen “Exit To Eden” under the pen name Anne Rampling. The novel explores the subject of BDSM in romance novel form. 
The novel features two main characters, Mistress Lisa Kelly and Elliot Slater. Kelly manages an isolated BDSM resort called Eden that offers its high-end clients an exclusive setting in which they can experience the life of a Master or Mistress. Prospective sex slaves are presented at slave auctions by the most respected Trainers from across the world. Slater is a new slave at Eden and Kelly is the Head Female Trainer, and partial founder. Kelly gets first pick of the new slaves, and chooses Slater. Their chemistry is undeniable from the start and intensifies throughout their time together.  
The best scene in the novel, in my opinion, is when Mistress Lisa trains Slater by taking him to her bedroom and teaching him to bathe her, brush her hair and to be her personal slave. She binds Slater, blindfolds him and administers a whipping to him. Then she takes him with a strap-on prior to him orally servicing her. As the story unfolds, they fall in love with each other and must come to terms with the power dynamics of how Mistress and slave can become mutual lovers.  
In 1994, following the success of Anne Rice’s “Interview of the Vampire”, Hollywood decided to bring “Exit to Eden” to the big screen. However, most of the major studios were worried about the sadomasochism content (even though the material was more sensual and erotic than hardcore). Savory Pictures took on the project and hired Deborah Amelon to write the screenplay and Garry Marshall to direct it. They decided to lighten up the material by making “Exit to Eden” into a comedy. 
Marshall authored a new comedic detective story line by creating several new characters, including Dan Aykroyd and Rosie O'Donnell as police officers pursuing diamond thieves to the Eden resort (It was released in Europe with the title “Under Cover Cops”).
The result was a mix bag, mostly negative. The film was savaged by critics and even with the comedy element, the movie was banned in some places, like parts of Canada, due to the film’s sadomasochism themes.  
My take on the film is that while it is not a good movie, and in fact there are parts that are just plain horrible, there is enough in this film that it could be a vehicle for a man to introduce the concept of Femdom to his wife or girlfriend. A movie like this can open the door for a couple to have an honest discussion about their sexual fantasies, and that is always a good thing. 
The Dan Aykroyd character is a prude, a man who does not like sex and claims he hasn’t liked sex since he was a teenager. He finds sex to be embarrassing and dirty. The Rosie O’Donnell character is constantly teasing him and pushing his buttons by describing her female cycles in graphic detail, which causes him to recoil in disgust. 
O’Donnell is single, a little overweight (she looks good in this movie) and she obviously lacks romance in her life. Both Aykroyd and O’Donnell are married to their jobs as detectives. Their pursuit of evidence in a diamond smuggling ring takes them to Eden where Aykroyd works undercover as a maintenance man and O’Donnell pretends to be a wealthy guest who is seeking to dominate the male slaves at the resort.  
The other plot line in the movie tries to follow Rice’s novel. It is all about a submissive male named Elliot Slater who goes to Eden at the advice of his Psychologist so he can better understand his sexuality. The movie opens with a scene showing Slater as a little boy who knocks over a bowl in the kitchen and is spanked by his attractive housekeeper. From his facial expression, it is obvious that the boy likes it and perhaps he knocked the bowl over on purpose just so he could be punished by the housekeeper. The movie jumps ahead twenty years where Slater is a successful photographer who still has the desire to be spanked and dominated by women. 
There is a scene in an airport where Slater bumps into the diamond thieves, one of them played by the attractive model, Iman, and he takes their picture thus possessing valuable evidence and providing the gateway for Marshall to interweave his new plot line with Rice’s material. Aykroyd and O’Donnell will have to go to Eden to find Slater and take possession of his film before the diamond thieves can get to him first. 
Slater goes to the island aboard a ship dedicated to the slaves of Eden. These are people who pay money to be treated as slaves for anywhere from a month to a year. Eden is a tropical island off the coast of Mexico, privately owned by Slater’s Psychologist. Eden was his vision to provide a place where people can explore their sexual fantasies in a safe and sane environment. Eden is a much watered down version of the now defunct Other World Kingdom, kind of a merger of the OWK and Kink on the Caribbean.
There are slave games, slave auctions, slave competitions where the guards are beautiful women on horseback with very soft looking floggers. The whips look as if they would be more practical to dust your living room than inflict discipline on a slave. Any paying Mistress or Master can request any slave to play with. O’Donnell and Iman are constantly requesting Slater, O’Donnell so she can question him about his film and Iman so she can kill him. Iman wears a very sexy red and black PVC outfit, complete with mask. O’Donnell wears a one-piece leather outfit with sexy stockings and garters.  
The problem for them is that Slater has become the personal slave of Mistress Lisa, the Head Mistress of Eden. When Slater interacts with Mistress Lisa, the script follows Rice’s novel. Unfortunately that only takes place in a couple of scenes. They do try to recreate the bedroom scene where Lisa trains Slater to bathe her, brush her hair, and she binds him and spanks him. Dana Delany is good in this scene as she tries to get Slater to admit that he likes to be spanked. He refuses but she finally breaks him down. This is Femdom-light, a sensual, soft spanking instead of the more intense session that occurred in Rice’s novel.
Many critics complained that Delany was horribly cast as Mistress Lisa. One reviewer said that they should have cast Iman as Mistress Lisa because she has that dominant, aggressive aura about her. To me, it didn’t really matter who played Mistress Lisa. The material is what hurt this film, not the acting. Had they done Rice’s book instead of trying to make it into a comedy, I believe Delany would have risen to the role.
O’Donnell is funny in this movie. She has some wonderful lines that made me smile but the problem is that I didn’t want to laugh at this movie. I wanted to see Rice’s novel on the screen. I wanted to feel the sexual tension between Mistress Lisa and the handsome Slater. Every time they began to establish some chemistry, the mood was broken by the comedy.  
The movie is predictable, the cops capture the bad guys, Mistress Lisa runs off with Slater and everyone lives happily after. I did like how the Aykroyd character was changed by witnessing the sexual activities on the island. He goes home and reconciles with his ex-wife, he is once again interested in sex, now armed with some new ideas to spice up the bedroom. And the O’Donnell character admits that she is horny as she walks around the island. She is constantly defending the D&S practices they are witnessing by telling Aykroyd that these people are simply being true to themselves. In the end, O’Donnell falls for the handsome slave who is her personal servant on the island. She sees him boarding the plane to return home and she finds out he is a successful CEO who comes to Eden to express his submissive sexuality. They exchange phone numbers. 
“Exit to Eden” is not a good movie and I wouldn’t recommend watching it alone for entertainment value or even femdom value. However, it has just enough of Rice’s original vision that if you watch it with your partner, it could serve as a way to open the door for a conversation about D&S and Female Domination. You want to experience femdom with your partner? Offer to give her a bubble bath after you watch this film. It's worth a try.
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars