Friday, February 3, 2012

At the Circus (Part 2): The Dachshund Perspective

(The sponge contest. Pandora and Jane put on a hard fight.)

After having visited the SM Circus Sands for the first time for their anniversary show in 2010, I was back together with Ludwig in August last year. Pandora Blake had come to Germany for a shoot with the Circus and an interview at the BDSM Tag (BDSM Day) hosted by the German non-profit organisation Bundesvereinigung Sadomasochismus e.V. BVSM (Federal Association Sadomasochism). Ludwig was Pandora's interviewer (you can watch the interview here), and we both accompanied her to the shoot as well.

Pandora was not the only petgirl for the show, though. Her partner in crime was Petgirl Jane, the creative, tough and naughty spirit whom I already introduced in my post about the anniversary show. I expected to be sitting somewhere in the background and watching the shoot in silence for most of the time, except for maybe a little cameo.

(Petgirl Jane doing the limbo.)

I was wrong. Before we started, Direktor Sands suddenly asked me whether I would like to operate one of the cameras. And I'm not talking about one of these small camcorders which Ludwig and I use for our private shoots. This was a big professional camera! I told him that I would love to do it but that I wasn't sure whether I was good enough because I'm not a trained camerawoman. Direktor Sands told me not to worry, my camera was just an extra one in addition to the two static cameras which had already been put up and the camera that was operated by their professional cameraman.

I got a short introduction to the handling of the camera and was told in which area I could move freely without getting into the shots of the other cameras. And so "Camera Kid Kaelah" was born! We have a childrens' quiz show in Germany called "1, 2 oder 3" (1, 2 or 3). In every show a kid is allowed to run one of the cameras. If pictures from that camera are shown they are highlighted with a coloured frame and the name of the indeed so called "camera kid" shows up. That's exactly how I felt, even though I doubted that the footage from my camera would be highlighted, should some of it become part of the final clips.

(Pandora reading aloud - in German!)

And so I watched the whole action through the camera. I tried to find interesting angles, to work with the zoom and with smooth movements and to avoid any shaking of the camera. The latter proved to be quite difficult after a while. The first game Jane and Pandora engaged in was the sponge contest. It was a hard fight and the scene lasted for about twenty minutes. Towards the end I suddenly realised that my arms started shaking. The camera was quite heavy and I surely was a bit too tense for the fear of shaking it or moving it too abruptly.

I had to find a solution for my problem and so I did. I went on my knees, stabilized the camera with them and started filming the scene at eye level with the pets. During the pause between the scenes I managed to recover a bit, but a few minutes into the next scene my arms started shaking again. And so I decided that the best thing to do was to go into the dachshund perspective like I did before. It proved to be an interesting perspective, at least from my point of view. The other two cameras were set up about hip high and the professional cameraman often shot close-ups from above. So my perspective definitely added a different angle. I followed Jane and Pandora at eye level as they did the limbo, read texts in foreign languages, were fed (which they used to make a big mess and lick each other clean afterwards) and of course spanked for their misdeeds.

(Pandora being spanked on the hands by Direktor Sands.)

One scene which was psychologically very intense stuck in my mind. During the limbo session the number of boxes which hold the stick are constantly reduced, until there is only very little space left under the stick. Except for someone who is extremely slim and has a rather small bosom, it is physically not possible to crawl from one side to the other without throwing the stick from the boxes. Both petgirls tried it once and of course failed. I'm not sure whether they had already tried it a second time when I felt that Pandora was getting reluctant when Herr Direktor Sands told them to do it again and try harder this time. She informed him: "This is not about how hard we try."

I could relate to Pandora's frustration and was curious how Direktor Sands was going to solve that situation. It was clear that Pandora's complaint was serious and not just in character. Herr Direktor convinced her to try it one more time. Reluctantly, Pandora did as she was told. It made me smile when I realised what Direktor Sands was doing. He put one foot on the stick, so that it simply couldn't fall down. That way both, Pandora and Jane, passed the test and were rewarded afterwards.

(Jane and Pandora being fed.)

My reward for being at the shoot wasn't a pet biscuit, it was the joy of being allowed to run such a fantastic camera. On that day I really wished I could change my profession and do that more often. I don't know whether any of the footage I shot was good enough to make it into the final clips. But operating that camera definitely made my day. And being behind the camera wasn't even all I did! I also participated in one scene together with Ludwig in front of the camera. That will be the story of the third and final part of my report, though.


Ursus Lewis said...

Ob ihr wirklich richtig steht, seht ihr wenn das Licht angeht...
Hehe, I'd like to see the Circus clips with the Camera Kid Kaelah frame.

Donpascual said...

I once had a subscription to the SM Circus. My favourite models were all there: Amelia, Niki, Pandora and many others.
I still wonder, why top models participate in this - careful now Don(!) - debasing and humiliating show (my strictly personal and firm point of view).
Just for the money? Or is there something challenging with it like "if I haven't tried this I am not part of the crowd"?
I cannot see why strong personalities like the above mentioned women are getting involved in this kind of play. It is not even creative; they were playing the same routines over and over (at least at that time).

Ludwig said...

@ Donpascual: Interesting perception you have there. To me, the petplay SM-Circus are doing never appeared "debasing and humiliating". On the contrary, I view it as something rather innocent and charming, almost childlike. It exudes this very basic, direct "Let's play something!" joy.

The motivation for doing it varies from model to model, but money is probably not a factor (you can make more money with other kinds of shoots). Curiosity about trying out something different from the usual "schoolgirls, secretaries, disciplined wives" spanko fare is certainly a factor. Niki emphatically liked "dehumanizing" play, and imagined herself as a kidnapped, brainwashed creature at SM-Circus. She found that exciting. For Pandora, on the other hand, the attraction of being a petgirl seems to be that it transports her into a headspace where she feels safe, proudly challenged and body-positive all at the same time.

Pandora wrote about herReturn to SM-Circus: "[I] immersed myself in how safe I felt adopting the familiar postures of obedience, proud of knowing what to do, of being quick to respond despite not knowing the language. I enjoy a scene-space where I dress up in skimpy leather outfits and ridiculous heels, am tested and challenged and have strict rules to follow."

Why do strong personalities like Niki, Pandora and others get involved in this kind of play? Well, you can ask that about any BDSM practice. Why do strong personalities get involved in spanking? I would say that it is obviously wrong, and rather literal-minded, to assume a contradiction there in the first place. There is no contradiction between being a strong personality and voluntarily exploring fantasies of submission, humiliation and the like. I would even say that one is a prerequisite of the other. And ultimately, the submission and humiliation result in positive feelings like relaxation, empowerment or something in that vein.

I am not sure that your criticism of SM-Circus being uncreative is justified, either. It is true that they have certain "games" which they repeat with every model, at every shoot. But they are always looking to try new stuff as well, and have introduced a number of new games over the years, like the "Wilhelm Tell" routine with the balloon. The scene Kaelah took part in was also a novelty - but she will write about that in due time, so I don't want to spoil anything.

Donpascual said...


after had posted that comment, I expected to be crucified remembering Kaelah's tongue lashing after my recent use of "unsuitable" verbiage, although that was much less hard. Thank you for treating my comment as an opinion to be discussed and not disqualified as politically not correct.

You see, it is very difficult to discuss any venture inside our kink from the insider's view and from the subscribers view.
Reading Niki's werwolves book and exchanging a few mails about it, my perception of Lupus changed somewhat. Although I collected all of their DVDs from the very beginning, I always felt a little bit uneasy e.g. about the harshness of their canings until Niki corrected my perception and you, Ludwig, added to it by your report about your own participation.

Coming back to the SM Circus:
You know a lot more about the feelings of the young women, working with Sands. I don't! That makes for quite a difference in evaluation of the videos.
I love the aesthetics of a nude body, female or male. But in my eyes, Sand's concept does not support aesthetics, it simply seems to cash in on the voyeuristic traits we all carry within us, more or less.

The contrast program clearly is the marvellous photography of Restrained Elegance. Nevertheless, Amelia takes part in both ventures. For me a contradiction.

Perhaps that clarifies why I - as an outsider - do not comprehend what's driving your friends to go that far.

Again: even seeing tattoos somewhat weary in a given context, or judging excessive nudity to be debatable, I don't judge the characters, personalities, or motives of these young women, I am simply asking WHY?

From the leverage of your insider knowledge and conversations with the models, you have given some answers, thank you for that.

Perhaps, other readers will add to the discussion.

Kaelah said...

@ Ursus:
One never forgets some catchphrases, right? I would be curious to know whether some of my footage made it into the final clip, I guess most of the viewers would find the Camera Kid Kaelah frame quite confusing, though... ;-)

@ Donpascual:
I think I have some additional explanations why models decide to work for the SM Circus.

First of all, like Ludwig already mentioned, petplay can be considered as a rather innocent type of spanking play. I think every kind of BDSM play can be perceived as humiliating if one isn't into it. I'm not much into petplay myself, but I have to admit that I still consider it to be less humiliating than some of the common schoolgirl scenes in which adult women are depicted as impertinent, childish girls who need to be set straight by a wise, elderly teacher – with a spanking and some corner time with their bare bottom on display. Compared to that scenario I find the idea of playing pranks and being told off as an innocent pet less bad. As you see, it all comes down to personal preferences and the way one looks at certain scenarios.

Secondly, I think that for many models the way they are treated behind the scenes is a very important factor when it comes to making the decision for whom they would like to work and for whom not. And at the SM Circus the atmosphere is a very friendly and relaxed, almost family-like one. The crew (and the models) are enthusiasts who run the site out of passion, not in order to earn as much money with it as possible. Furthermore, Director Sands is also an active member of the BVSM, the Federal Association Sadomasochism, which defends the rights of people who have a sexual preference for BDSM. That also shows that he is really interested in TTWD.

Another factor is the level of participation that the models have when it comes to creating the scenes. You are right in that several games appear frequently on the site. I think it is the same with all sites that focus on a special form of kink, though. For example I wouldn't consider the scenarios on most of the schoolgirl themed sites to be much more diverse. What is special, though, is that there is a lot of room for spontaneity at the Circus. The models can come up with little unexpected pranks (like the one I wrote about in the first part of my report). Ideas for new storylines are very welcome, too, as you will see when you read the third and final part of my little post series. And of course the models' limits are respected as well. As far as I know, Pandora for example didn't want to participate in a game in which Director Sands shoots at a balloon that is held up high by one of the pets. So they simply chose other contests instead.

Hope these thoughts help a bit!

Donpascual said...


as I wrote already, yours and Ludwig's insights and behind the scene knowledge explain a lot about models and their motivation in general. Thank you for that.

Director Sands said...

Donpascual has written... "But in my eyes, Sand's concept does not support aesthetics, it simply seems to cash in on the voyeuristic traits we all carry within us, more or less."

This could be true *lol* However there was the question why models decide to work with us? Because we asked and they like it. I hope :-) Of course money would help too. But as Ludwig has written there are many other productions that pay more. He and Kaelah have also written about the perspective of models they better know than I. And I think this is often the reason for many models we have worked with. But let me explain from our point too. Please have in mind that our Circus Sands is _much_more_ than the small part you can find at the website. It is what my wife and I like to do. It is our political engagement to fight for the rights of kinky people. No Cologne pride ( in our hometown without our sulky... It is also the fun to do things the right way depending on the situation we found. Perhaps you have seen some pictures/movies where I use the bullwhip on live events. The same "cowboy" that can cut the skin of a man or woman that like it was also often the highlight on some birthday parties. The kids like "Indiana Jones"! :-) This is a part of my life - this is part of our Circus Sands - this is not part of the SM-Circus website. Perhaps some models are open minded as we and like this kind we live too?

Kaelah said...

@ Donpascual:
You're welcome! :-)

@ Director Sands:
Thanks a lot for sharing even more information about what happens at Circus Sands when the cameras are not running. I didn't know that you sometimes play Indiana Jones at birthday parties! :-)