Dexx: Kane thank you for taking some time to talk with me. So you’ve been in the lifestyle for a long time and also a leader of the Los Angeles kink community and owner of the dungeon Lair de Sade. I understand you attended USC on an athletic scholarship so no doubt you had many career options so how did you first get drawn into BDSM?
Kane: When I was a kid me and my best friend we would ditch school everyday, go to his house, we’d drink his father’s beer and under his father’s bed there was a porn collection and the little paperback books. And all the books were either BDSM or rough sex related. We’d sit at home and drink beer and read stories and then one day his older sister decided to ditch school with us and a few days into ditching school with us, I was sitting on the couch reading and drinking beer and she just laid on my lap and asked me to spank her. (Laughs) And I spanked her and we went in the bathroom and had sex. So I’ve been doing that, spanking ass, kinky sex since I was thirteen.
Great, sounds like a nice intro into it. And when did you connect with other people and enter the BDSM community?
It wasn’t until I was at the University of Southern California. One of my teammates was dating a teacher and he was telling me about these parties he was going to. Kinky sex parties. So he asked me if I wanted to go along with him. The night of the event he backed out so I went with her. We went to a party, it was mostly older people, you know thirty-five and up. I was just twenty one. It was a nice house it had a cross and a horse and a bunch of beds and mattresses. And I was the only one there interested in the horse and cross and because I had been tying my girlfriends up in high school and doing some spanking I kind of knew my way around the geography of all this. I got to spank a woman and have sex with her and then I got invited to more parties and more and I just started circulating and meeting a bunch of friends and at that point I didn’t know it was called a swing party. I didn’t know, these were just kinky friends to me. So I didn’t consider it part of a community, it was just a group of friends who had parties. That went on for a few years.
Back in the day when you had to get LA Express or some other kinky magazines from the newsstand and pay 75 cents or whatever it had all these kinky ads in the back and you had to go get a post office box. That was the only way you could contact each other. And it grew into where you had your personal telephone where you can leave a message and I started doing that. But then I started hearing about Threshold and I started hearing about Cinematic, things of that nature. But I was basically meeting up with people one on one and enjoying myself and then I met Careena, my wife who I’ve been with for twenty years. She’s kinky, she’s a porn star known as Careena Collins. We started renting the Chateau and having our own private fun and then she was a member of Threshold and one night she told me they were having party and she wanted me to come check it out and that’s when I say I really got introduced to the community because there it was 300 people. It was huge and these people were just like me, kinky and wild and really good people. I’d say that was the first time I really say I stepped out in a community.
I was at your class about some of the history of BDSM in Southern California and so I understand that BDSM is not a recent development in human society.
No not at all. You can go back and you can see BDSM hieroglyphics and cave drawings in ancient civilizations, Egypt, Rome, Greece-they all have specific houses of BDSM. I think the Catholics or first century Christians, they went into flagellation. Some of the other religions the preachers with the flagellation would beat themselves, they got into what we would call subspace. So aspects of BDSM in different forms has been around for a very long time.
What about in modern America and Southern California?
I’d say that BDSM community started to form and codify around the 1950s with the leathermen. After the end of World War II you got a lot of closet gay men that got out of the service and wanted to meet and they liked the esprit de corps of the service and missed that and started forming riding groups and motorcycle clubs. That’s where you get the leather from, because you’re riding. And then on the weekends they’d tell their wives and families we’re going out riding with the boys. They’d go out to the middle of the desert in privacy, get their groove on come back and no one would be the wiser. Then after a period of time they started forming groups in certain areas and groups had similarities and associations with other groups and pretty soon they had built a kinky little community.
My understanding is that in the gay leather societies it was quite a hierarchy and the D/s kind of grew out of the military aspects.
I guess so because different colors and badges means things. You see a lot like it in the military, you see metals. In the gay community you see badges and stick pins and they mean different things. Some of them just identify with clubs and some identify what they’re into and other different things. They come up with a good code system to codify what they’re into. And were able to identify each other.
In those societies generally you had to, before you could become a Dominant or a Master you had to first serve as a submissive?
Well, in some places that’s what they say. Some of the older gay men say that. But that wasn’t necessarily the case all of the time. In some places they just didn’t have enough bottoms so it wasn’t like what you were supposed to do? It was like hey man you want to play we need a bottom we got a lot of tops.
In Los Angeles tell me about Janis. What was that?
Well Janis started out in San Francisco. They were so successful in San Francisco they moved and started a chapter down here. It was basically gay, leather, transgender, it was a little bit of everything. And then they evolved into Threshold and then Threshold basically kept the same thing that they have, open and welcome to everybody. Whatever kink that was out there, Threshold supported it.
And from Threshold, its sort of spawned these other groups and dungeons around Los Angeles?
Yes, a lot of the major groups that started; it started from threshold. We were influenced because when I was at the Threshold party I saw what was going on and I met all of these great people and I was wondering why we were having a party in a place like this. I mean there was urine flowing, it stank, it was nasty. And it was professional people, doctors, lawyers all kinds of cool people. And I was thinking why are they having a party here. And it was because no one would rent out for these types of parties. And at that point I had been in the club business before and I was going to find a place, I thought there’s got to be a place. And it took me about two years. They were right. People didn’t want to rent to you at all.
And that was what lead to you to create the Lair de Sade?
What happened was I’d been looking at numerous places and this one place called Knob Hill ballroom in Van Nuys, I went down there and met the owner George and I told him what I was interested in and he said he wasn’t interested in having a party. I come back maybe three months later and chit chat with him. And this went on for maybe a year and a half, two years. Finally he said ok you guys can have a party here. He let us have a party and half way through the party he walked up and said we like your clientele, they’re good people. You can have a party any time you want here. Because what he had envisioned in his head, we were going to be the punk rockers tearing up his property and we were the exact opposite. We took good care of it because there weren’t many other places where we could do this. It was a beautiful ballroom upstairs and downstairs. We did a lot of business with him for a lot of years. But the problem with that it wasn’t our space and sometimes we had to break it down if he rented out to another event, so that got to be a pain in the ass. I’d been looking for a building and I finally got one so once we got our membership up we just transferred it over to Lair de Sade, our bulding in 1999.
And you’ve been there ever since?
Yes, we started at Knob Hill in November of 1997 and then we’ve been over at Lair de Sade since 1999.
You must have seen a lot of kinky groups and businesses come and go in California since that time?
Oh yea, groups start up and fall apart but the ones that have seemed to last are the ones that exist right now. We all come from or have been influenced at the main root in Southern California.
I’m sure you must have faced challenges over the years at your facility?
Yes, we had a fire one Halloween but other than that its pretty much been smooth sailing.
So financially the membership level has sustained?
Yes, you’re not going to get rich at this. We make enough money to pay the lease, buy some new stuff here and there. We’re not making a living off of it. We’re just a club. Where some places do other things other than being a club. Some of them do pay for play in the daytime to generate revenue or shoot videos and parties. We rent out to do some videos here and there but we’re basically just parties.
What kind of events do you host at the Lair?
Our oldest party, the one we started out with, was Conquest. It’s a mail Dom, female sub only themed party and we were that for about two years over at Knob Hill. That’s on the first Friday then on the third Friday we do the opposite. Femdom night, male or female sub. We’ve been doing that for at least ten years now. Now our Saturday parties are open to every orientation. Then on Wednesday nights we have a rope dojo and do classes, teaching people how to do different types of bondage and then also it’s an open night for our platinum members, the ones who pay monthly dues.
Yes and I saw your new dojo space and its beautiful. Did you have a designer come in to create it?
Our designer is Dragon, my right hand man. He had been kind of been wanting me to do that for a few years and I said ok if you want to do it you’re going to have to build it because I don’t know how to do any of that. He’s a Taoist and into the Asian arts and so it was a good fit and came out beautifully. He had some help from other members too. All of it was done by basically Dragon, Brutal Master and Henry.
It must be quite a draw for rope people in particular to come to the lair.
Yes it is they enjoy it.
Do you think there’s a particular style or atmosphere that the lair has compared to some of the other clubs around town?
Yea, I think every club has its uniqueness. I think what’s unique about us is we’re primarily D,ominant male submissive female, sprinkling in a few transgender. Very few gay people show up because they have their own parties and their parties are way better than ours. (Luaghs) Over the years we’ve hosted maybe 50-60 gay parties and man, if I was gay I’d never try to step into a regular club again! It’s like sex going on all over the place and all night long. They don’t mess around. And what I like about the gay groups when they come in, they rearrange the furniture. They set it up different. If a plug doesn’t work they fix it, if something needs to be painted they do it. So we’ve really benefited form the gay groups that come in.
So you’re one of the leaders of the Knights of the Lair de Sade, tell me about this group.
The Knights of the Lair are basically a group of dominant men from the Lair de Sade. Our purpose is, we’ll call it revelry, merriment and a little mischief. We’re just about having a good time. Its unique and its good because in this lifestyle, the male Dom/ fem sub genre of our lifestyle is a cesspool of BDSM because if you meet a guy he tells you he’s a sub, he’s pretty much a sub. If you meet a guy at a gay party and he says he’s a gay leather Top, he’s a leather Top. You come into our group and he says he’s a Dom, well he could be anything because they’re is no particular qualification. You couldn’t tell a vanilla guy from a dominant guy. And that’s what happens. There’re a lot of vanilla guys coming into our lifestyle and its just another place to hunt for pussy. So they put on the Dom and they say “I’m a Dom” and you go tell these girls what you do and they have a good time. So we have a brotherhood of guys who do this authentically and are real about it. We learn from each other, grow from each other and have a lot of fun.
I noticed you had a quote from Ayn Rand on your Fetlife profile. She’s often considered to be a champion of free market capitalism, do you think her philosophy can also be applied to BDSM in some way?
You know, you talk about free flow of ideas and expressions, that’s commerce and business. That’s the same as our BDSM lifestyle. Unrestricted unhindered pursuit of our personal pleasures. Ok! That can be applied.
I’m interested to talk about your own D/s relationships. Can you describe the dynamic that you have with Careena?
Well, I’m an owner and she’s property. We’ve been together twenty years. She’s the love of my life and I’m the love of her life fortunately so it kind of works out that way. (Laughs)
In terms of the D/s or M/s spectrum you’re pretty firmly at one end of that. Did it evolve to that point over time?
No it started out that way. We started out as, I don’t like to get into Master/slave I prefer property and Owner. That’s how our relationship started out. Its been going good ever since. Because it’s clear. We know our roles in the relationship. It’s clear. When you have someone like her, her number one goal in everything in life is to make me happy. And when you have someone that does that for you, you want to make sure they’re happy too. I’m telling you, I live a very good life. I don’t need anybody for anything. When I go home I’m happy to be home. It just works out.
Have either of you ever had any challenges in adhering to the chosen roles?
It was a pretty natural fit it seems. You’re also poly right? And how has that been? Has it been like that since the start?
For me, I’ve always been poly. We were together twelve years and she was just with me and I’ve always had other subs and people I’ve played with. One day she came to me and asked me, hey I got this guy online that’s interested in meeting me and playing with me, what do you think about it? I said you two have a good time and she’s been with him for eight years. As a matter of fact we’re all good friends. Its been really good for her because there was a point where we’d come to the club but because I have other girls there she’d go to the office and go to bed by midnight and then it got to the point where she just stayed at home. So there was a period of about two years where she didn’t even come to the club. So I saw this as an opportunity to get her out back to the club and have fun. Now she has her nights and has a good time and it really makes my life a lot easier because she’s a lot happier. I couldn’t imagine things going any smoother. I was poly myself but could never imagine her playing with another guy initially. But it’s been really good for her and us.
Do you see any particular challenges that the BDSM community faces currently?
Its internal stuff; being very clear when you get involved with someone, being very clear with the boundaries and expectations. Making sure you get consent. If you’re going to be involved with people that when its over no one is going to say you violated their boundaries or things of that nature. I think right now BDSM is more socially acceptable than at any other time. You see it in movies, commercials, art, fashion. So its becoming not mainstream but a little more acceptable. Its not like you guys are just psychotic because you’re doing this.
And do you think that the law is keeping up with that or do you think there are areas where that needs to evolve as well?
I think in Southern California because legally jurisdictions all have their own flavors, Southern California has been very good to our community from what I’ve seen. They know the difference between BDSM and abuse. Matter of fact one of our members he came out here form Washington DC and his job was to go around to train different police departments about the difference between BDSM and abuse. It’s pretty clear because you can tell where the marks are. I’ve never seen a woman walk away from a scene with two black eyes, it just doesn’t work that way.
Southern California is pretty good place to be if you’re into BDSM.
It is! Some places aren’t. So far so good here. We’re fortunate so far in California especially Southern California, BDSM isn’t categorized as adult entertainment so that really puts us in a good position. It frees us up from being hampered by a lot of adult entertainment restriction laws. I like that people can be who they are. That’s why I like it here.
If you’re ever in Los Angeles, make sure to stop by Lair de Sade for their parties or classes.
The club in the 90’s was called Sinamatic. Not Cinematic. It was on Santa Monica Blvd in West Hollywood at Peanuts.
Great interview with Sire Kane. But he forgot two things:
1. Sire Kane sponsored the greatest BDSM social ever. It was at Sportsman’s Lodge in the Valley and I never missed one. I am posting this so this legendary event is not lost to history. It was very important in promoting BDSM in Socal.
2. The first Nob Hill Conquest event was held upstairs and there was a Hispanic Wedding downstairs. I did not know this, wandered in and was baffled that the BDSM community was Hispanic and dressed like it was a wedding. Cosplay? They offered me champagne, food and cake. I thought, “This Cali BDSM community sure is strange…and very generous!”
Thanks, Sire Kane for all you have done for the BDSM community!