Dexx: You both are board members of Threshold. Could you could tell me a bit of history about Threshold, how long its been around and how it got started?
Boogie: Threshold has been around since approximately 1982. We started as the Society of Janis that came from San Francisco. Then, I believe in 1988 we broke off from the society and changed our name to Threshold. We’ve been serving the community in the Los Angeles area ever since. That was our original history.
There’re a few different dungeons and fetish clubs around LA. What is it about Threshold that sets it apart from some of the other clubs?
Kathy: Threshold is a non-profit organization. Because of that we’re most interested in the education, safety and confidentiality of our members whereas other dungeons – not that there’s anything wrong with it and they certainly serve other portions of the community – they’re privately owned, are maybe professional dungeons where pro-subs and Doms work or they are actual pay dungeons. And as a result they have different goals than we do. Their priorities and goals are different. We are non-profit, we’re run solely by volunteers. We are run by the membership, we have an elected board. And although we do need to maintain a certain financial level, our priority is always going to be the education, the safety and confidentiality of our membership. And there are actually several organizations throughout the world that have similar agendas and goals and here a lot of us are affiliated, so that if I take my card and present if to one of our affiliates in say New Orleans, I can be welcomed as a member to create a family of affiliates. But non-profit educational organizations like us, we have a completely different set of goals than pro dungeons.
So how do you think that changes the experience for somebody that might come to the club as an attendee? Do you think it’s the same going to Threshold versus some of those other clubs or do you think there are some differences?
Boogie: There’s absolutely a difference. What we’ve found is strictly; and everyone here has been to a number of the other dungeons in our community so it’s not like we’ve only been to Threshold, the fact that we’re education based, non-profit, we have rules in place that protect our members. People tend to feel a lot safer here. People who are new tend to gravitate towards Threshold because it’s very well known that we have dungeon monitors and rules in place. You have to have a certain level of etiquette and social awareness to be able to stay in Threshold. So that makes people feel more comfortable playing and being vulnerable here. Once again, we’re not saying that edgier or hardcore or more swinger sexual based dungeons aren’t great, they are, but people tend to feel a lot safer playing here because there’s more of a community, family type of atmosphere here and they feel safer opening up and exploring that part of themselves here.
I gather the club is open to people of a wide variety of different orientations and roles and you have quite a variety of different types of events to reflect that. Are you able to talk about some of the type of events that you guys host there?
Boogie: Absolutely! We’re a pansexual organization and we do our best meet the needs of all orientations, genders, people who choose not to identify with a gender, and we try to have events that are geared towards each segment and community because there’re many communities. I mean there’s the transgender community, rope community, leather, community, gay community, there are many different types. So we really try to meet as many needs as we can and have events for those types of people who want to experience that.
How long have you personally been involved with Threshold either as board members or as members before that?
Kathy: I became a member in 2007. I started chairing here after that time. Threshold is really big on it as I said since Threshold is run by volunteers. Boogie and I both ran for the board for the first time this year. So I’ve been on the board for the past year and before that a member since 2007. I believe Boogie was in 2008.
Boogie: Yea for a little while and then hanging around, (laughs) we are here seven days a week.
Have you guys seen the crowd in terms of the type of people change over the eight years or so since you’ve been going there?
Boogie: Absolutely. We make a lot of jokes about Fifty Shades of Gray but everyone who is in this community understands that that movie opened up conversations in people who would not normally have conversations about kink and BDSM, and that has piqued so much curiosity, so many open conversations and a dialogue in the media that people are now literally flooding to find places where they can explore this type of activity- which of course once they get here they find out it’s ten times better than the movie. Except we don’t have a helicopter.
(laughs)One day, you might have to raise the membership dues a little bit
Boogie: And we’ll throw people off of the helicopter and we’ll call it a fetish.
As long as it’s consensual I’m sure its fine. Has Threshold as a club been through any challenges while you’ve been involved in the leadership?
Boogie: We’re very happy to report that in all the years that Threshold has been here, there has never been an external law enforcement or undercover investigation, or religious organization protest. We’re very well known because we’re non-profit, because we’re education based. Law enforcement has better things to do than go and harass people who are playing consensually and educating themselves. So we’ve actually been very very lucky.
And I understand that some of the members within threshold do some outreach to the local community and law enforcement to help educate them about what you do.
Boogie: Yes, we reach out, we haven’t done a lot of law enforcement outreach in a while but in the past we absolutely have reached out and offered panels, discussions, any questions they may have because we want them to understand what we do so when they go into a situation, an emergency situation, and they see kink and BDSM, that they have an understanding of what they are seeing and it may not necessarily be an automatic rape or assault. But that its just people enjoying being their kinky selves and so we do our best to reach out as much as we can.
That’s great. And you mentioned before that Threshold is affiliated with some other clubs around the country. So as part of that, have you come across other areas of the country where they do face greater challenges from their local communities or law enforcement or local government in terms of doing what they want to do?
Kathy: I personally have heard some. No specific instances but depending on the area of the country that they’re in, certainly if you’re in a very conservative area, some of these clubs will have a much harder time getting their permits or licenses, getting whatever it is that they need but again I cant say specifically. I have heard a few mentions about how difficult it is in other parts of the country. Every country, every city, every state has its own political agenda and so I can’t speak for any of them but I consider us very lucky here in Los Angeles. Places in other parts of the country will have other obstacles.
LA does seem to be pretty kink friendly. I’ve heard that Vegas is not particularly friendly towards kinky activities.
Boogie: Surprisingly, yes. They do a lot of house parties in Vegas but yeah, they really don’t have an open community. They have Sin in the City which is a big kink event, they have events on the strip but as far as a 24/7 dungeon, they really, you’d be surprised. They want people to keep gambling. If you give them spankings they’re not gambling.
Is that what it is (laughs)… sub space beats gamblers high. Now the other thing that I know you guys have been doing is the Perverted Podcast.
Boogie: The worlds greatest BDSM humor podcast of insanity and mayhem.
I’ve had the pleasure of listening to a couple of your episodes. So can you tell me a little about how you guys came up with the idea and what lead you to staring it off?
Boogie: I’ve been in entertainment for decades, comedy, I have a history in major market radio, so of course I’ve always have desired to do a show, to do a podcast and it was just a matter of finding some crazy people that understood the same passion for education like we have at Threshold. That’s pretty much where I got Kathy as our host and originally Phi who of course writes for Kink Weekly. And we got together and said “hey lets do this,” lets put together a fun show that we maybe don’t do guests – a lot of podcasts will have a guest for two hours. And they’ll talk about one topic. Well we’re segment based so we talk about a number of things and each thing gets eight minutes and then we sing horrible songs and put things in peoples’ asses and give spankings on the show. So we try to mix education with fun and bad rap and then out comes a great show that people seem to get really dedicated to.
That’s great. So have you built up a bit of a loyal base of listeners?
Boogie: Our fans seems to be incredibly dedicated. They listen to every show, they secretly listen to it at work because we are not suitable for work. What’s been really exciting in all of the emails, we get a lot of emails from people saying that they just feel like they’re hanging out with us and that they’re having these discussions with us and they’re a part of a more of a hanging out situation and that’s really what our goal was. Not to be an official broadcast that we give the information and you listen and are amazed. But really try to incorporate our listeners and their ideas into the show.
Are there any particular shows that have been highlights that stand out from the ones you’ve done so far?
Boogie: Well we recently just attempted to call Bigfoot. We had some devices to call Bigfoot and we dedicated the show to how exciting it will be once Bigfoot shows up. Of course for whatever reason Bigfoot did not show up.
Kathy: He’s not showing up.
Boogie: He could have shown up.
Kathy: Oh lord. Can I talk about my favorite show?
Boogie: Sure, the anal human maraca?
Kathy: No, poetry show. It wasn’t that popular but that poetry show was awesome and I think we’ll be starting to regret ever having suggested it.
Boogie: Every few months we do a special poetry show which is all dirty poetry, haiku attack, and the kind of a whole street poet type of vibe to the show because I do a lot of poetry. And so we do that every few months and some people get it and some people don’t get it. Because they’re snobs and they just want Justin Bieber they don’t understand street poetry.
Haiku must be one of the two greatest things to come out of Japan, along with shibari.
Kathy: I love haiku. Haiku attack is my favorite. They’re easy to write, along with Boogie’s jingles. All of Boogies jingles are awesome.
Boogie: We have a lot of jingles
It must be a fair bit of work to produce a show every week then?
Kathy: The amount of work …I’ve started to feel very guilty about. It’s mostly on Boogie’s shoulders. He knows the equipment, he knows what to do. I basically show up.
Boogie: We do probably, 30-50 hours of production and promotion trying new ideas. I mean we’re still a new show so we’re still trying things and each one of those tings takes fivw hours. So we spend a lot of time, we’re really really dedicated and we don’t get paid so obviously we have to love it otherwise we’re just stupid.
Kathy: We got $30 from a patron.
Boogie: We’ve raised $30 and now we can buy Kathy underwear.
You’ll have a helicopter in no time. Boogie, I hear you have a bit of an interesting past before arriving in the fetish scene. Are you able to tell us a little bit about that?
Boogie: I did. One of things I love about having perverted podcast is it validates all of the drugs, abuse, pain, suffering, everything crappy that I did to myself or had done to me is validated when I do the show because I take those experiences from my past and talk openly about them on the show and then it helps somebody in the present.
Is it true that you were a minister at one point?
Boogie: Yes I was. I was a Christian preacher doing Christian comedy. And now I am an atheist activist.
That’s quite a turnaround
Boogie: You know what, if you’re going to do things do them in extremes. I touched both sides of the universe.
And what about you Kathy? How did you come to find your way into the kink scene?
Kathy: Basically I had a very boring past, nothing nearly exciting as Boogie and one year in 2007 I decided I would just started exploring this part of me that’s so huge and I’d never really given any thought to. Putting them in my fantasies and locking them tight in there. To me it was a revelation just to come into Threshold. And to see this family. It had a tremendous impact on my life. Suddenly I wasn’t alone. I was with this community of people who were just like me and they welcomed me and I felt, as corny as it sounds, alive for the first time. I try to give some of that back by volunteering at Threshold and making the same experience for others. And I consider the Perverted Podcast to be an extension of that. It might be more fun and even better we get to reach more people. The amount of fans we’ve gotten to write us and remind us which is something we forget that not everyone is living in a community like we have- the kind of freedom and this openness. I know what its like to live hiding a huge part of yourself so to know that I can have a great time on this show with Boogie and I can help people just feel a small amount of what I first felt when I first joined threshold in 2007. I couldn’t ask for anything better than that.
I think what you’re talking about in terms of people who kind of hide that part of themselves for a large part of their life before eventually having the courage to embrace it is something that I’ve heard from quite a few different people in the scene. Do you think that these days with the “Fifty Shades effect” and the internet, do you think there is an increasing acceptance of kink generally within society and that people are generally starting to become a but more willing to open up about it a bit earlier in their lives?
Kathy: That’s a tough one because its not like we can run our own study on it. I would say my opinion that having such a popular book come out like Fifty Shades of Gray it gives people permission to at least start looking at it. While in the past they would sit behind closed doors on their computer and never tell anybody that this is something they were looking into. So I’ll be honest, a lot of people in the community, we really don’t like that book because it is not representative of who we are but as Boogie said earlier, if it did anything, it brought kink into the mainstream. So I don’t think that it created kinky people I think it made it easy for people to venture out into an area they already wanted to venture out into.
Anything you’d like to close with?
Boogie: My final closing is pretty much one of the things we teach in orientation at Threshold. Whatever you’re personal desire is for yourself, whatever your limit is, whatever your curiosity is, that is the perfect limit for you and it doesn’t have to be for anybody else. We don’t want people to come in and tell you who you have to be. You get to decide who you have to be. if all you want to do is have a little spanking every now and again then that is amazing, please come and explore yourself at Threshold with that. You don’t have to be extreme, you don’t have to do anything scary or edgy and you don’t ever have to do things because somebody else is telling you to do it. Follow your own heart and be your own person
Kathy: I would say I would love to see our fans, the people who are listening to our show, contact us more and have more of a connection with us. We’re having a good time but this is really their show. If they don’t want to listen then we have no show then it’s just me and Boogie sitting alone and talking into a microphone. I would love the community to reach out more and tell us more about what they like what they don’t like what they want to learn about and the more we progress with the show. I’m seeing that more often, its making me happier. We’ve got the Perverted Podcast party coming up, we’ve got all kinds of things coming up. We love reaching out to our fans.
CountBoogie and Kathy are both members of the Threshold board of directors, a non-profit dungeon based in Los Angeles. You can also hear them weekly on their Perverted Podcast.