Fetish Models, Sex Temples, and Snakes at Sanctum

Categories: Niki at Nite

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Photos by E. Groves
Burlesque dancer Kitty Victorian poses with her snake outside Sanctum.
Last night, I went to a local goth club expecting to make a bunch of bad Twilight jokes and watch people dance by themselves. Instead, I ran into some wild and crazy friends from "Niki at Nite" years past, met a "famous fetish model," learned about a new "sex temple," and petted an albino Burmese python.

The club's called Sanctum, and it's owned by the same guy who owns Club Palazzo, which hosts its long-running goth weekly, "Tranzylvania," on Fridays. Sanctum's located on Seventh Avenue, between two liquor stores (one of which is a triangular, hot pink drive-thru joint).

My girlfriend, Bootstrap, had been to Sanctum before, and referred to it alternately as Rectum, Sphincter, or Scrotum, because it's filled with homo-erotic paintings of devil-men frolicking amidst bare buttocks and clouds. There's also something Bootstrap calls a "Jackhammer Jesus" enshrined in glass in the wall, which is really a cross-shaped dildo lit up in red.

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From this elevated alcove, the DJ spun goth and darkwave dance tunes.
Most of the lights in the club were red, except on the dance floor, where rays of blue light and showers of green dots swarmed over a dozen people dancing to a Sisters of Mercy song. Seating at Sanctum consists of bar seats, cushioned bleachers overlooking the dance floor, and a couple sprawling, posh black leather booths. The place was packed for a Wednesday.

I hadn't been to this club since it was called Sanctum. The last time I was in this building was more than three years ago, when it was a lesbian bar called e Lounge. I was wreaking havoc with a bunch of squirt guns and two girlfriends named Cookie and the Pussy Posse Playa. That turned into a Niki at Nite column called "Ladies Night."

I'd kept in touch with Cookie via the Internet, but hadn't seen her or the Playa since a monsoon-slammed pool party at the Biltmore two years ago. I thought it'd be funny if we randomly ran into Cookie at Sanctum -- and she was the first person we saw.

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Cookie and Kumi Monster
After exchanging hugs and reminiscing about squirt gun panic on the dance floor, Cookie introduced us to her "houseguest," fetish model Kumi Monster. Kumi has been a fetish model for twenty years; she says her career got started with Mitchell Brothers in San Francisco. Wearing a green and gray latex dress, Kumi tells us she's "retiring" from fetish modeling this year and will only do contract shoots. She plans to become a flight attendant and travel more.

At the other end of the bar, I unexpectedly ran into the Pussy Posse Playa (more reminiscing!) before I was caught on the arm by David Ritual, one of the regulars at the old Rasputin's Equestrian Manor "speak easy" in Chandler. Through a mist-spray of blueberry Smirnoff (which, by the way, everybody was drinking), David told me that he and a friend are opening a "healing" and "sacred sexuality" temple called Our Sacred Temple. It's located in the same house that used to be Rasputin's.

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The so-called "Jackhammer Jesus" shrine at Sanctum
David was accompanied by Kitty Victorian, a burlesque dancer and instructor who had her albino Burmese python snake with her. She performs with him, and he also seemed to be social gold. She had him outside around a large group of smoking, smiling goths, and he just casually slid around her shoulders while a swarm of people stroked and ogled him.

That's how it is on the dark side. If you want to make friends that listen to pop music and have "normal" lives, take your dog to the park. If you want to make friends that wear gears in their ears and make jokes about cutting themselves to Nine Inch Nails, take your snake to the goth club.

Sanctum is located at 4343 N. Seventh Avenue. Call 602-264-1700 or visit clubsanctum.com for more information.
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The groovy goth dance floor at Sanctum


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