By James Allen Costable, Senior Editor

Senior Editor James Allen CostableNot a day goes by when I don’t hear a dozen cynics and naysayers lamenting the death of the scene. The legends are past their prime, they say, and the newcomers can’t match the artistry of their forebears. They say the mainstream has gone down the toilet, and the underground suffers from shoddy production values and third-rate talent. Some say the scene is dominated by fame-hungry hacks and sleazy promoters. Some say the magic is gone.

Pure flummery, says I. As a long-time connoisseur and critic of orgies, I maintain with the utmost confidence that 2005, despite its ups and downs, was a vintage year. Some tend to view the past through rose-colored glasses, ignoring the fact that orgies have always been hit-or-miss. For every truly amazing event, there were ten that were total busts. Events that by today’s standards would seem pedestrian have been exaggerated and mythologized by nostalgic orgy pundits. Perhaps those doom-and-gloom grouches have merely outgrown the scene, and can no longer appreciate the libidinous frenzy of a truly madcap orgy. I pity those who have lost their youthful zeal and must now disguise their waning appetite by pretending that it’s the fault of the orgy scene; perhaps these codgers should simply accept their middle age and move on to the ugly world of “swinger” events, where they can mingle with fat, nude married couples in lukewarm Santa Monica hot tubs.

I will happily admit that my libido has slowed down considerably in my nearly four decades of orgygoing. Although I don’t expect myself to perform at the level of a nineteen-year-old, I can still enjoy a good orgy on a purely artistic level. I have a deep appreciation for the endless detail and difficult logistics that go into crafting a truly transcendent orgy. Orgy promoters have a job that can be every bit as demanding as a movie producer or a concert pianist, and my respect for their craft grows every year.

While I must admit that I abhor the “year-end list” trend that seems to masquerade as criticism these days, I feel that a list of the best and worst orgies of 2005 would be an effective way to illustrate my contention that orgies offer the same highs and lows as they always have, from the days of Caligula to the Summer of Love.

The Best Orgies of 2005

Pete Vega’s Silhouettes - This event represented immense critical vindication for me. As many of my regular readers know, I have been championing Pete Vega’s artistic eye for orgies for years, but despite his grand productions, his events have been woefully underattended. This was certainly not the case with Silhouettes, his most grandiose orgy yet.

Some credit must go to entrepreneur Steve Jobs for recognizing Vega’s talent and underwriting the event; the hefty promotional budget gave Vega’s masterpiece the attention it deserved, and concerns of underpopulation vanished into a writhing snakepit. While some cynics claimed that Vega had “sold out,” this orgy was Vega’s show through and through, with his lavish art direction turning a disused Detroit tire factory into a lush erotic paradise. As with all Pete Vega orgies, safety was paramount, and hourly “time outs” were called to rotate the lowest layer of bodies back onto the top of the squirming heap.

Xanadu ’05 – I admit that I was initially taken aback by Hugo Rodney’s audacious announcement that he would attempt to recreate his legendary Xanadu 1989 orgy for the new millennium. All previous attempts at copying Xanadu had been dismal failures: Kublai Khan’s Paradise, hosted in 1992 by Jack Malti, was a disappointing copycat orgy with none of the satirical flair of the original. Anyone familiar with contemporary orgy history will grimace at the mention of Pleasuredome ’94, a garish, high-budget recreation aimed at teenagers, which was less of an orgy and more of a mean-spirited sex riot.

What those events lacked wasn’t simply the Xanadu name; without the artistic guidance of Hugo Rodney, they were doomed from the start. Rodney, with his distinctive Prince Valiant haircut and his owlish coke-bottle glasses, is one of the most recognizable faces in the orgy promoter industry, and the frustrating infrequency of his events is mitigated by their almost supernatural standard of quality. He truly has the Midas touch, and I should never have doubted his ability to put on a great sequel. This was one of the most fervent, exhilarating orgies of my long life. The smell alone was unbelievable. I felt like a kid again; after almost eighteen hours of hard-pounding participation, I slipped in a puddle of god-knows-what and sprained my ankle. You know you’ve been to a truly legendary orgy when you’re wheeled out on a stretcher.

Laurence Fernando’s Apocalypse - A great piece of art can make even a stubborn old coot like me rethink his fundamental prejudices. In the past, I’ve been highly critical of orgies in which the theme overpowered the action; I’ve frequently accused Laurence Fernando of missing the point by focusing too highly on image. In 1998, I gave his Matador Nights orgy a scathing review, even by my standards: “Utterly ridiculous in its pretense,” I said. “Not so much an orgy as a dirty costume party.”

While I stand by my words about his previous work, Apocalypse has shown me that concept orgies have the potential to be every bit as sensually fulfilling as traditional orgies. Laurence Fernando has grown considerably as an artist, and what once came off as egotism and pretense is now visible as an earnest attempt to advance the art of orgy promotion to new heights. Not everything about this orgy was perfect; the “cyberpunk” theme occasionally led to some rather uncomfortably pointy costumes, and although the jets of fire were painstakingly designed so as to be completely safe, they tended to make the room uncomfortably hot, causing many revelers to pass out or suffer irregular heartbeats. Despite these minor gripes, Apocalypse was a daring artistic statement with the potential to change how future generations look at orgy promotion.

Marilyn Conrad’s Candlelight - Marilyn Conrad has been called the “Queen of Softcore Orgies,” but that title tends to underplay the frenzied finales of her events. A piece like Candlelight is not for the impatient; Conrad tends to favor a gradual build, which can be frustrating to those with only a few hours to spend at the orgy. If one sticks around for the long haul, however, her orgies are anything but “Softcore.”

Candlelight was not nearly her best event, but Conrad deserves recognition for almost twenty years of workmanlike orgy design. While many have shied away from her events since the tragic deaths and injuries which resulted from 2000’s Pillowfight, Marilyn Conrad could not have foreseen the horrific events, and she deserves a second chance. I myself lost two fingers in the fracas, but all was forgiven after the mellow sensuality of Candlelight.

Boston Breakneck 5 – OrgyLife gets continual flak for our sparse coverage of the breakout Boston independent orgy scene. Like many OrgyLife writers, my first instinct is to roll my eyes; Boston’s scene has historically never been able to compete with the production values of mainstream orgies, and many Boston indie events I’ve been to have been grimy, poorly lit, and even somewhat frightening. OrgyLife has a strict policy not to publicize “rough” orgies, and many of Boston’s young hipster promoters have been blacklisted from our pages due to reports of “moshing” and assaults at their events.

I had some trepidation about attending Breakneck 5, because I’ve heard that Boston orgygoers are often hostile toward mainstream types like myself. I figured I’d be grilled about the trivia of Boston indie orgy history, or denied access due to my age, or even beaten up. All of fears were allayed when I arrived at the venue, a historic, classy restaurant with gorgeous wood molding and antique chandeliers. Despite the population of hip twenty-somethings, I never felt the sting of ageism. I spent many a happy hour wiggling like a worm after a fresh spring rain, and after the event I was invited to IHOP with a group of fresh-faced young people with whom I conversed ‘til the wee hours about all things orgiastic.

With a name like Breakneck, I never would have expected such a nurturing, welcoming orgy. I must commend the young people of Boston for moving past snooty indie-exclusivity and cultivating a true class-act orgy scene.

The Worst Orgies of 2005

Sexfest! – An attempted throwback to the cocaine-dusted arena orgies of the late 80s, Sexfest! (what a truly gauche title!) was an unmitigated disaster. The arena orgy scene practically killed orgies for good by appealing to the lowest common denominator of society, the beer-swilling monster truck crowd; typical arena orgies would have sixty men to every woman, resulting in extreme awkwardness and occasional rioting. Held at Cincinnati’s Paul Brown Stadium, Sexfest! was anything but the advertised “sextravaganza.” It was more of a “boregy” than an orgy.

Arena orgies died out for many, many good reasons, and Sexfest!’s attempted revival was as poorly realized as it was poorly conceived. For all their faults, at least 80s arena orgies drew big crowds; Sexfest! was a truly pathetic spectacle, with less than 400 people in attendance. Couples sparsely dotted the field like stains on a rug, and from the bleachers one would be hard pressed to tell that anything resembling an orgy was supposed to be going on below. From a participant’s standpoint, the polyethylene FieldTurf surface of the play area was itchy, abrasive, and entirely unerotic.

Jack Panther’s Lolita – Jack Panther has always been the “bad boy” of orgy promotion, and his keen eye for satire and his tendency to flout social mores has made him a veritable counterculture celebrity. His theme orgies are often shocking- 1992’s Holocaust created a media feeding-frenzy, and 1995’s Daddy, No practically got Panther crucified by right-wing pundits. Through all the controversy, however, his orgies have held up a high standard of artistic credibility; I would even go so far as to place his 1979 masterpiece Rapeism among the best, funniest, most thought-provoking orgies of all time.

However, Lolita was nothing but a filthy, prurient, and exploitative mess. It was a ham-fisted attempt to shock, with no trace of Panther’s trademarks: droll wit, biting satire, and plenty of uninhibited hedonism. Most attendees were too shocked by the imagery of the event to engage fully in the action. The rest, it seemed, were a bit too excited by the themes of pedophilia, which made most of us uncomfortable; nothing is worse than going to an orgy and feeling like you’re surrounded by perverts.

Febreze Presents Love House! – While corporate orgies are generally an insult to the art, Febreeze’s recent foray into orgy promotion was a true outrage. It is the unspoken rule of orgygoers, orgy promoters, and orgy critics everywhere that the “L” word is not to be mentioned as a euphemism for the activities that go on at an orgy. Apparently the Febreze company was too caught up in trying to create a flashy, expensive, air-freshener-drenched spectacle to do even the most basic research into orgy culture.

They may have picked up a few new customers by appealing to the banal sexual curiosities of Middle America, but they have permanently alienated the orgy elite with their insensitivity. Aside from the faux pas of the event’s name, Love House was little more than a corporate seminar with occasional acts of copulation and no artistry or soul. Happily, OrgyLife’s proposed boycott of Febreze air freshener products cut into their bottom line so dramatically that they wrote us a grudging letter of apology. Don’t let it happen again, Procter and Gamble.

Keith Lightman’s Minimus – Keith Lightman, a convert from the tedious “performance art” scene of the 70s, has been throwing dull, pretentious “intellectual” orgies for ten years now. His latest lazy and misguided work was Minimus, which was based on a simple concept: Lightman constructed a large, windowless concrete room with nothing but a system of sprinklers and fluorescent light fixtures on the ceiling and a system of drains on the floor. Less than one hundred people showed up, and I suspected that at least a dozen of them were paid “ringers.”

Before the orgy commenced, Lightman bored his participants to tears with an hour-long speech on the orgy’s concept, a tiresome and trite commentary on the prison-industrial complex. The action was stilted and tentative due to the uncomfortable concrete, and more than half of the attendees left after the sprinklers were turned on for the first time, showering them with icy water. While not quite as nauseating as his horrific 2003 spectacle Meat Guts, Lightman’s latest was an insult to the spirit of the orgy.

Bareback Rodeo – When OrgyLife got wind of an up-and-coming promoter named Morris Pleasant throwing an expensive orgy called Bareback Rodeo in Arkansas, they booked my flight immediately. Reading the PR literature, I was looking forward to a classy, high-budget, action-packed spectacle by a hot new talent of the emerging Southern orgy scene.

And it certainly was that. However, nowhere in the literature or description of the Bareback Rodeo was it stated or even implied that it was a gay orgy. I had to awkwardly stand in the wings with little to do except admire the workmanlike set design and occasionally fend off an amorous advance. I have no prejudice against homosexuals, but I hope promoters will be more cautious in the future, and send all gay orgy press releases to our sister publication, Bacchanal.

Thanks for once again indulging the ramblings of an aging orgy fanatic, my dear readers. Be sure to pick up the next issue of OrgyLife for the sizzling 2006 Orgy Preview. It’s going to be another great year for our lifestyle!

As always, stay slippery!

– Dr. David Thorpe (@Arr)

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