Whipping good time
By RACHEL SCOLLAY
BYRON BAY performance artist Suzy Leigh was surprised at how many takers she had for a whipping at Splendour in the Grass over the weekend.
Wearing a short skirt and boots and wielding a stock whip, Suzy warned every punter that 'this was for real and it would hurt'.
But that didn't stop more than a dozen men from stepping up to the challenge on Saturday.
"They seemed to feel the welts were a bit of a trophy to take away with them", she said.
"I reckon I'm in the wrong profession."
But what of the public liability implications?
"They are coming up and begging for it in front of an audience," she said.
"I reckon that's a waiver."
Suzy, who does a cabaret show on Saturdays at the Buddha Bar, was just one of the dedicated local performance artists who entertained the Splendour crowd for 10 hours straight on both days of the festival.
Under the banner of the Church of Two Hands And A Chicken, they performed weddings, confessions and exorcisms for those brave enough to step up on stage.
There was also a website where photos were being constantly uploaded and people could confess online.
The show, called Taboo-boo, was the brainchild of Byron Bay artist Andy Forbes, who was dressed Fidel Castro-style in full camouflage gear with a chestful of medals and a fake beard. Other characters were alter -boys wearing rubber masks and a nun playing the organ.
Aside from the whippings, Suzy was also busy in the peep show confession booth and doing hula hoop weddings as her alter ego, Ms Tina Trash, a new-age celebrant.
"I got them to hula hoop as they exchanged wedding rings," she said.
"It gives them an idea of what they're up for on their wedding nights."
Andy said the show, with its religious fervour and zeal, was a parody of the world-wide situation at the moment.
Meanwhile, Suzy and co weren't the only ones getting into character for the Splendour occasion.
By day he's mild-mannered Des Grace from Lismore, but come Splendour in the Grass he turns into super-hero SMILE MAN! ably assisted by his beautiful side-kick SMILE GIRL.
Wearing his home-made 'Smile Stimulation Suit', Des attracted plenty of attention and said his alterego was a party habit he'd first started at the festival last year.
"I'm an attention-seeker," he said, posing for photo after photo with delighted punters who were attracted by his bright, fluffy attire.
"And I love sharing smiles and meeting lots of people. It's bringing us all together."