16th Annual Bettie Page Look-alike Contest at SF's Bondage A Go Go

By on April 3, 2009

At Midnight on March 18th 2009, “BETTIE PAGE IMMORTAL,” Bondage A Go Go’s 16th Annual Bettie Page Look-alike Contest took place in San Francisco.

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Fetish icon and 50’s pin-up queen Bettie Page passed away on December 11, 2008. From her obituary:

Bettie Page, sweet-smiling legendary 1950s pin-up queen with the killer curves and coal-black bangs, died today of pneumonia at a Los Angeles area hospital. She was 85 years old. She suffered a heart attack one week ago and never regained consciousness. Her popularity as an underground, guilty pleasures phenomenon has continued to soar despite the fact that the reclusive Page disappeared almost a half century ago, leading many to believe that one of the most photographed individuals of the 20th century was already dead.

As the model who many have argued raised cheesecake to an art, Page combined exuberant, wide-eyed innocence with confident, sometimes aggressive sexuality. VANITY FAIR praised the playfully seductive Page as “our Uber-pin-up.” The NEW YORK TIMES has declared that today “her star shines more brightly than it did in her brief heyday from 1950 to 1957.” PLAYBOY immortalized Page as one of its inaugural centerfolds and recently named her “the model of the century, yet she remains one of its best kept secrets.” In a recent TVGuide.com poll, Bettie Page was voted the “ultimate sex goddess,” outscoring others such as Marilyn Monroe.

Bettie Page, through the bondage and spanking images she modelled for, often featuring her in lingerie, stockings, and high heels, helped an uncountable number of perverts and fetishists to accept their desires. Although she herself was not into such things, she had an open attitude, and her blue-gray-eyed mischievousness always shone through in all her pictures.

It was those qualities and history that the contestants were trying to emulate – not an easy job, but one look at the be-banged and bullet-bra ladies and you could see they had all put in a good deal of effort to pay homage to “the action hero of pin-up.”

Competition was fierce but friendly. The Betties chatted and laughed with each other while they waited for the first part of the contest, which was meeting the judges and showing off their looks.

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One of the judges was local “Purveyor of Perversion” and dungeon master, Stefanos. He comments;

“The Bettie Page contest has been part of Bondage-a-Go-Go for 16 years and each year people have been pouring into BaGG to be part of it. I am always fascinated to see how many people have been influenced by Bettie Page and since 2005 when I started at BaGG the number of women and men has seemed to have grown.

The interesting part about being a judge at BaGG is that no matter what contest it is George, our promoter, is interested in finding people that are impartial and able to represent the ideals of the contest for the night. So judging Bettie Page was a matter of putting the judge’s ideals into alignment of what we thought was the best image and attitude of Bettie Page.

I remember that we saw the ladies sitting waiting for the judges and we looked them over for the best attitude when they weren’t ready for it. Then we looked for image in clothing and props. We asked a few questions, like, ‘How long has Bettie been a part of your life?’ ‘Can you show us your favorite Bettie Page pose?’ ‘Can you give us Bettie Page attitude?’ We were looking for that sexy woman that sent men into hormonal heresy and women into generous jealousy.”

Once on-stage, it was clear that despite the encouragement they gave their fellow Bettie Page doppelgangers, each gal was out there to win the $200 (or $300 gift certificate to Stormy Leather) first prize and the hearts of the crowd.

Stefanos adds, “The Judges don’t pick the winner; we pick the top ladies and then George goes through our scores and picks the top three for the audience to judge.”

betpage040Everyone coming into the club that evening was given a token. This was for use later in the evening, when, in a very Greek way, the club-goers chose the winner by putting their tokens down in front of the lady they felt was the sexiest Bettie Page.

The winner was Miss Maggie Mayhem, a local sex/BDSM/fetish/spanking blogger, performer and model. Of all the girls out there, Miss Mayhem best captured the Bettie spirit with flashing eyes, playful grin, and a very well-fitted bullet bra and opera-length black leather gloves. She was loudly cheered by the usual rowdy and exuberant BaGG crowd.

Stefanos points out: “Maggie Mayhem, the ultimate winner was in the top three. But why? She was an image of Bettie that made us wobble at the knees. Her outfit was vintage not just “vintage looking.” She embodied the spirit of what Bettie showed us, a powerful sexy woman ready to take on any man. We were moved by Maggie’s ability to be Bettie – not just look like her. Any woman can wear sexy underwear to a night club. Any woman can feel confident in the same outfit. But can these women be sophisticated, vulnerable, or “traditionally feminine” and carry off a primal urge to dominate without being bitchy or ditsy? Presentation is more then looks, and art requires passion to give deep resonance. Maggie gave it all to us that night.”

Bondage A Go Go (A Sadistic Disco) is at 520 4th Street, in San Francisco. You can find more information on their website, or their Fetlife group, or their Twitter.

Article by Zille Defeu, pictures by Sleek Images

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