CORSET QUEEN FEELS THE PINCH: Kinky Community Unites to Help Fetish Fashion Elder

Dear Friends, Community, Press,

Our friend, Mistress Antoinette, needs some help so we are doing an online fundraiser. We are hoping you can help by getting the link to the fundraiser around by copying and pasting the link into your social networks, sending the press release below to press, and giving a few bucks if you are able. Notes of support are really lifting her spirits. Please read the really fabulous press release below for details. It’s sad, but funny too, with a great quote from Dita Von Teese.

Thanks so much!
–Annie Sprinkle & Veronica Vera

An online fundraiser is happening now at http://gofundme.com/6258ro for fetish fashion pioneer Mistress Antoinette.

“I only hope that when I grow old as disgracefully as Ms. Antoinette has, there will be people who appreciate what I did with my life as much as I appreciate her.”

So writes latex wear designer Polly Superstar, who is part of the campaign on GoFundMe.com to assist Jeanette Zinkan aka Mistress Antoinette, now in her 70’s, whom those in the know acknowledge as the person most responsible for bringing fetish dressing out of dark closets and into the light, sparking the public’s imagination.

The campaign was started by Ms. Zinkan’s daughter Tiffany and former porn stars Annie Sprinkle and Veronica Vera. Ms. Sprinkle, Ph.D., who is now an ecosexual artist and environmental activist, and Ms. Vera, author and founder of the world’s first transgender academy, are among those who acknowledge Mistress Antoinette as a muse.

Dr. Carol Queen, Good Vibrations Staff Sexologist and founding director of the Center for Sex and Culture, states, “There’s not necessarily a retirement plan for culture-changing community leaders who have helped make our world more sexually diverse and positive. When someone like Mistress Antoinette needs help, it’s only the community she helped create and people who enjoy the world she influenced who will step up to make a difference.”

In the 80’s, Ms. Zinkan and her husband Dr. Richard Zinkan, aka photographer Master Zorro, created Versatile Productions (Orange County, CA) which  published Reflections, “the magazine of the exotic lifestyle,” and made videotapes that shed light on BDSM and fetish themes.  They paid homage to people such as Bettie Page and recognized them for their contributions to modern culture, long before Hollywood jumped on the bandwagon. “I referred to their company as a kinky conglomerate” says Ms. Vera, “but Dick liked to call it ‘a mom and pop operation’.”

Ms. Zinkan began designing fashions for their readership and before long, Ms. Antoinette’s Versatile Fashion label became the focus of the company, which specialized in skintight pvc garments for women, men and transvestites. Their bullet bras and costumes influenced, and were worn by, rock stars, including Madonna. The company became famous for its line of authentic wasp waist corsets which crossed over into the mainstream and were the first of that kind sold by Victoria’s Secret. Ms. Antoinette created an annual Dress To Thrill Ball and fashion show weekend (DTTW) in California and later in Las Vegas. A video produced by Versatile Productions that is posted by the Leather Archives and Museum on youtube documents that 1997 Dress To Thrill Weekend.  The striptease artist Dita von Teese is featured, as are latex designer The Baroness and sex educator Ducky Doolittle. The video illustrates the high energy and uninhibited erotic style of the times. It concludes with Ms. Antoinette, at the top of her game, taking her bows before a cheering throng.

Says Ms. von Teese, “Mistress Antoinette and Versatile Fashions created my very first corsets and introduced me to the beauty of fetishism. She was among the first to inspire and encourage my career of creating retro-fetishistic pin-ups, and her events were some of my first burlesque performance stages, in the early 90’s. It is a pleasure for me to help give back to her for helping pave the way with her daring style for those of us that love retro-fetishistic glamour.”

In 2006, after a long illness, Richard Zinkan died, and medical expenses, plus a robbery, a flood and other business reversals decimated the Zinkan’s finances. Until recently, Jeanette  Zinkan lived with her daughter Tiffany and family in Mormon country near Salt Lake City, Utah. “My daughter and her family are not Mormons,” said Ms. Zinkan, “but almost everyone else in the town is, so I’ve kept a low profile.” Then Ms. Zinkan began to exhibit signs of Alzheimer’s that necessitated she move to an assisted living residence. The purpose of the GoFundMe campaign is to assist in paying for the medications and treatments that doctors say will slow the progress of Alzheimers, and, as stated on the site, “keep Ms. Antoinette’s beautiful memories alive.”

Now that word has begun to spread of their heroine’s predicament, members of the alternative lifestyle and fetish fashion communities are spreading the word and rallying support. Ms. Zinkan is receiving calls from colleagues and friends with whom she’d lost touch. Her spirits are lifted. “I feel humbled, grateful and overwhelmed, “ said Ms. Zinkan.

“Jeanette had begun to doubt her choices in life,” says Ms. Sprinkle. ‘She’d thought that because she was broke, her work had been of no use. The truth is, she brought many, many people lots of joy, sexy fun and liberation. The money will be a big help, but what is even more valuable is the rise in her own self esteem and human worth as Jeanette hears from fans and friends.” In her professional life Ms. Antoinette signed all her letters with the words, “I care,” says Ms. Vera. “Now she is learning that others do.”

The campaign has also changed the dynamic between mother and daughter. Until now, daughter Tiffany had only negative feelings about her mother’s career, seeing it as a hindrance to her own desire for a more traditional life. “I felt Versatile had  sucked my parents dry, and after my dad died and my mom was so alone and left to her own devices, I thought her career was a fantasy and a sham. Now, I am thankful.”  As contributions and heartfelt letters of gratitude arrive, Tiffany  has begun to appreciate Ms. Antoinette and to see the benefits of life in the public eye, even if that life was in a catsuit and  8 inch heels.

Also supporting the fundraiser are Urban Tantra‘s Barbara Carrellas, co-author of The Ethical Slut Janet Hardy, sex educator bondage artist Midori, former porn actress Veronica Hart, performance artist Sheree Rose, sexologist Dr. Carol Queen, sex worker activist Scarlot Harlot, Kinky Salon producer Polly Superstar  and many others.

Contacts for more info, interviews, more photos: Veronica Vera, veronicavera@me.com, Annie Sprinkle, annie@anniesprinkle.org

Annie says: please post, forward, print this article!

Tweet. (Copy/paste)
http://gofundme.com/6258ro
Urgent! Elder fetish fashion pioneer Mistress Antoinette needs Alzheimer meds. Give some love and $. Feels good! RT

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http://gofundme.com/6258ro
Mistress Antoinette, the fetish fashion pioneer of the 1970s-1990s, has recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and has had to move into assisted living. She urgently needs some $upport to get medicine to slow the onset of the disease. Friends, family and community are doing an online fundraiser. Please read the details, and if you aren’t able to give any money, please forward and post the link.  Antoinette brought a lot of sexy fun and love to many, let’s show her we appreciate her. Thanks.

Dr. Carol Queen

Carol Queen has a PhD in sexology; she calls herself a "cultural sexologist" because her earlier academic degree is in sociology: while she addresses individual issues and couple's sexual concerns, her overarching interest is in cultural issues (gender, shame, access to education, etc.). Queen has worked at Good Vibrations, the woman-founded sexuality company based in San Francisco that turned 35 years old in 2012, since 1990. Her current position is Staff Sexologist and Good Vibrations Historian; her roles include representing the company to the press and the public; overseeing educational programming for staff and others; and scripting/hosting a line of sex education videos, the Pleasure-Ed series, for GV’s sister company Good Releasing. She also curates the company's Antique Vibrator Museum. She is also the founding director of the Center for Sex & Culture, a non-profit sex ed and arts center San Francisco, and is a frequent lecturer at colleges, universities, and community-based organizations. Her dozen books include a Lambda Literary Award winner, PoMoSexuals, and Real Live Nude Girl: Chronicles of Sex-Positive Culture, which are used as texts in some college classes. She blogs at the Good Vibes Magazine and at SFGate's City Brights bloggers page and contributes to the Boston Dig. For more about her at carolqueen.com.

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