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All words and photos: Mark Zimin

I’ve been a tourist for years. Meaning, I’ve been to BOUND before, at different times, in different places.  I have a hard time putting the experience into words for the public, because I think its personal for each person that attends. I had a had time putting it into pictures, because BOUND respects personal privacy and cameras typically are not allowed. In a conversation with one of the current organizers of the event, she described it succinctly: “BOUND is a dance party with a fetish theme. For many it serves as a gateway.” A window, at least.

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Friday’s experience included a performance by SuspenDC which allowed very up close and personal look at flesh hook suspension. While changing a camera lens I got into a conversation with a young 20-something about suspension. She was fascinated by it, and came to BOUND for the first time specifically to catch the performances. We talked about our mutually low pain threshold, but she really wanted to explore the idea of suspension for herself. I told her to talk to the girl that had just been suspended because it was her first time. This is not a cruel group of people, its really a group built around mutual trust and generosity. People are nice here, you can ask them questions, they’ll kindly give you answers. BOUND gives people that moment to be themselves, or that version of themselves they may rarely show otherwise. There aren’t many places where can you mingle so freely with people who have so many mutual or tangential interests in real life. A married couple I talked to met there and years later were engaged there. There’s a reason BOUND has survived successfully for the past 17 years: it serves a community and has been cared by the same.

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There’s usually a theme for the night,  this month’s was “Angels and Demons.”  You don’t have to participate, but for many patrons it gives them something to plan for, and it adds to the visual candy that is BOUND.  Its been in the same warehouse space at 411 New York Ave., NE for the past 3 years, which has suited it’s character.  It’s private.  You don’t accidentally stumble upon it, you go to it.  It’s a 10 minute cab ride from the H-street corridor and U-street corridor or a 10 minute stroll from NY Ave Metro station, so there’s no excuse not to go.  If you’re either curious or brave you’ll be rewarded by the experience. Do your homework and visit their page.

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