January Slut of the Month: The Reverend Mother Flash

We’re ecstatic to open 2015 by showcasing a witchy woman equally at home covered in blood at an avant-garde burlesque show as she is touring the world with the renowned post-industrial band Cult of Youth. There’s even more to The Reverend Mother Flash, of, course, from her religious background to her pagan present and her years as a practicing domme – and did we mention she will be gracing the stage at Legacy of the Witch: A Slutist Feminist Festival? Dig in for more from our January Slut of the Month:

As a burlesque performer and dancer, you’ve worked in the mainstream industry and the queer, alternative side of things. What have been your experiences in each and how did you feel you were viewed differently from one world to the next?

Believe it or not I felt the most ostracized from the underground group – that is not the same as the queer group, who loves the shit out of being entertained – but rather anything that was underground, DIY, the opposite of aboveground, seemed to need a disclaimer as to why they should like whatever I was doing before they could invest in it. This usually required some name dropping of a similar artist that had broken through such as Klaus Nomi, Frank Tovey, etc. In the mainstream I have felt a similar cliquish sentiment but this time it revolved around who you knew and how closely related to the bonds formed between each other that garnered more bookings and respect. I actually can respect the mainstream clique much more than the underground one because it seems a little more honest and less fleeting and flaky to me. Ultimately I do have a wonderful wealth of experience between all three, and that comes from the fact that when the audience understands what you are doing/saying it transverses any clique or scene or whatever. Then you are just an artist and your work transcends all nomenclature.

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Who are your slut icons?

My Grandmother, Tori Amos, Grace Jones and Brooke Candy

What’s in your purse right now?

Pheasant feathers, construction paper, a tuner, Mac matte red and a paycheck

How did you first get into domme work?

When I lived in Oakland I began meeting a lot of strong, beautiful, interesting women from many different scenes out there and they all had this one thing in common: they were dommes, whether full-time or part time. The trend has continued. It seems safe to say that there is a correlation between creative and artistic-minded females and the desire to do that sort of work. Firstly, it really is living an independent life because it frees you up to explore artistic endeavors without compromising your behavior. When you are a domme, or at least the sex positive version of such, you are very much in control of everything, from your schedule to the type of clients you take. The extremely important factor in my career as a domme were my mentors. The women who taught me to respect my boundaries and how to do so. It is actually very much a life lesson because every part of your life you will encounter people who will push your boundaries. Having a strong knowledge of what your boundaries are makes them impenetrable. I started at a place called The Gates in Oakland. It is a communal dungeon that was big on the community aspect. We would all hang out in the common room, skill-sharing and having highly intelligent conversations about sex and sexuality. It was a highly motivating atmosphere although I consider my mentors to really be my friends who were dommes who were also a part of my artistic community. There were and still are many of them.

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We love the mix of religious iconography and female power in your name. What’s the history behind it?

Well firstly I should mention that I grew up very religious. I was a Jehovah’s Witness until the age of 18, although I was never baptized. Thankfully, in that religion the only person who can say you are ready for a baptism is yourself, your parents can’t force you… and I was never ready. Being a Jehovah’s Witness was a very hard milestone I had to bear at a young age because deep down I always knew I was pagan. Paganism, which is a broad spectrum, was constantly being bashed in that religion. Treated like a word you can’t speak out loud and I was all like, “Hey, that sounds fun, or that makes more sense?!” But I still had to go to the Kingdom Hall three times a week and that doesn’t include Field Service… you know, walking around knocking on people’s doors… in the crazy hot Miami heat or climbing those Jamaican hills. When sitting in service I always escaped into my own head. I wrote a lot of short stories and poetry during those two hours. Reverend Mother Flash is a personal power. It is a take back of all that time spent living someone else’s life. It is deeply rooted in living in my own head and then translating that into a form of expression.

Do you identify as a feminist?

Yes! I am the type of feminist that fully champions being whatever type of person you want to be, fully

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How would you describe your performance aesthetic?

Reverend Mother Flash as a moniker in nature is very sarcastic. And quite frankly, it’s a lot to live up to. You don’t intro that name and then watch a classic burlesque piece, no no!! The number one thing I try to do is keep it different enough so as to never pigeonhole the type of performance you will see. One act I will be fucking a dildo, the next one I’m singing baroque arias while bathing in blood, the next I’m dancing around Stevie Nicks-style while dry ice ignites in the audience, the next I’m in blackface screaming “Let me out!” The one thing that drives me is keeping it performance art. I may perform to pre-recorded music or it may be to a track I made myself. And if I’m booked in a different realm or style other than burlesque then I adapt the inherent concept to the new style or structure. I guess you could say that my aesthetic is conceptual.

Tell us about the Vagina Dentata competition. What earned you the win this year?

Ha ha! So Vagina Dentata comes from the brilliant minds of producer and performer heavyweights Darlinda Just Darlinda and Scary Ben. This is their second year running this pageant and it is sort of a pageant to poke fun of pageants, which is why it’s all about the vagina with teeth. It’s all very tongue in cheek with hilariously messed up performances and judge’s commentary. I loved the concept because it forces the extraordinary and that’s what I’m all about, right? I was in the first annual one actually where, remember I talked about blackface? Well I did my blackface piece last year which is called “The Box” and I was doing a very surreal take on the tooth box. My box was the world and my teeth were me in blackface screaming “let me out.” Anyway, I didn’t win last year. So this year I decided I wanted to stay surreal but be more in line with an actual vagina concept…but then I guess the real genius came when I decided that I didn’t want to do anything relating to a vagina actually because the real horror is not the vagina itself. So I went on as a man and got my dick chopped off. I rigged my first special effects for it and everything, so there was blood gushing Kill Bill-style and everything. I did it while doing an interpretive dance to Madonna’s “Live To Tell.” I really think it was the beautiful horror of the male perspective that got me the win.

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When you’re not engaged in performance art or burlesque you’re playing music, how do those creative outlets connect for you?

They’ve always been connected. I started doing performance art with my first band The Laundry Room Squelchers. They are a noise band and when I first toured with them I just couldn’t sit still. Rat Bastard, the band founder, literally sat me down and said, “Look, you don’t have to run around and do the cliche stunts, just sonically fuck them up!” And I really did try to do that for about 2 minutes, and then I just couldn’t help myself. I wanted run around and do the cliche stunts, I embraced it and it became me. I started piecing together some more conceptual ideas when I joined up with Cock ESP but burlesque didn’t really start fleshing out for me until I started working at this place called Jumbo’s Clown Room in LA. It’s heralded as a strip club but it was oh so much more. I think New York City had a similar equivalent in a place called The Blue Angel. We pieced together performances and people came to see our performances… in fact, there weren’t really any lap dances or at least I never did them. The more of a performance that you put on garnered you more money. It was a very powerful moment for me because it was probably the first time I could truly say that my livelihood rested on my creativity and how much energy and emotion I put out there. It also taught me just how much the audience gets, how much they understand the thoughts you intend to portray. The audience understand quite a lot!

As for the actual playing of music… well, I was a band geek. I started at age 10 on the bells which quickly moved up to xylophone with four mallets. I wanted to play baritone saxophone at age 13, but the class only had one and it had been taken. I refused to play any other saxophone because I didn’t like their sound and I also wanted an instrument no one else had so I decided to pick the tuba, ha! I actually got really good at it and won scholastic awards for solo and quartet. I’ve always wanted to play the cello and I was always intimidated by the technicality of that instrument. I wouldn’t even try it until a series of life and mentally-changing events happened to me in my mid-twenties. I went out and bought a cello, dragged it home one day and started playing. Turns out this instrument fit me better than any of the previous ones. Sometimes as a musician you can try an instrument and struggle with it, never really get it. Well the cello was my home. I picked it up really fast and although I’m not the greatest cellist in comparison to whoever, I love it! It is my main instrument, I write pretty much all my music on it. I think both performance and music are interconnected with me because they both relate to my thesis as a person. I use them as a vehicle to express my inner world to the outer world.

Where can we see you perform next? 

Well, right now I have two performance shows set up with the Church of Titillation for January 11th and February 8th at Time Scare (669 8th Avenue in Manhattan). Then I very well may be in a town near you as I will be touring the USA with Cult of Youth, Jan. 15th – Feb. 3rd, and then Europe Feb. 19th – March 21st whewh!! I also have close ties with Badass Burlesque and with The House of Screwball where I’m sure to be seen in their line-ups soon! You can always head to my blog revmotherflash.blogspot.com to find out my next bookings under the “In The Air” section.

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I am: Paige A. Flash

By Day: An Eagle

By Night: A Phoenix

My Vices: All of them

My Virtues: Talent is honesty

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The Present: Treat your life as it is right now as the ideal situation because it is. When you see it that way the more easily and flexible you will become in moving through and manipulating it.

The Future: It isn’t the first impression that you make that is of importance but rather your last.

Favorite Flavor: Cum

Favorite Feeling: Not truly loving something as passionately as you should when you have it but wanting to so desperately when it’s gone

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Favorite Fabric: Lace

Substance is: Whatever makes your heart physically ache

Style is: Confidence

Slut: is My Nature

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Cult of Youth

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