Tuesday, December 06, 2005

how the dominatrix debacle got started

(see my first three posts on this story.)

miss ann is taking her story to the people, hoping to create a grassroots PR counterinitiative to combat the city's attempts to shut her down. she urges people to contact the mayor as well as the ICLU and media outlets such as WXNT's abdul in the morning. supposedly nuvo will have a story tomorrow.

she's also started an account at the IMN board and begun posting in the off-topic forum (no link; paid subscription req'd to view forum). here is an excerpt from a post of hers explaining the origins of her current legal troubles. i have annotated the excerpt by adding a few links.

THIS IS HOW IT GOT STARTED:
Everyone knows I am a Dominatrix. I don't hide that fact because I am not ashamed or afraid. I opened a shop downtown inside an arts/business studio building called The Chatham Center. It was a regular retail shop and its inventory was arranged in such a way that it could not be defined by zoning code as "adult". That meant only 24% of my inventory could be what the code defines as sexual. 24% of my inventory was made up of leather restraints, floggers, canes, and paddles.The rest of my inventory was apparel (corsets & stockings) and fine art. If anyone knows Lunar Event's, Gwynneth Hermann, she can tell you first hand I sold a LOT of her art. I even sold Tim Brickley CD's.

I had a big champagne grand opening with Lunar Event and my brother's band. Always thinking free, NUVO covered my boutique with a small story and I started advertising my new business. I am an agressive marketer (that's how the Erotic Arts Ball got produced). I knew without a store front, I had to drive every bit of traffic to my location myself. I did a pretty good job because people found me even though the building's location is obscure.

Anyway, in June the building owner leased the rooms in the front of the building (formerly LAMP Fine Art Gallery) to a theater group from Butler. They covered the front windows with black plastic to block the light; for a whole month. The day care director across the street saw the black plastic on the windows at the same time her people saw my ad in NUVO classifieds under adult.

Next thing you know she called the Chatham Arch Neighborhood Association. The president of the neighborhood association (Clay Miller) has long feuded with my landlord (who is super cool). He doesn't like my landlord's future plans for the property which will be to build a 4-story condo building with retail on the first level and underground parking. I became Clay Miller's easy pawn to get at my landlord. Clay Miller is an ass and also needs to be spanked.

Black plastic and adult classified listing could only mean the worse and the neighbhorhood association went after me like I am a witch. Really most people in the association were against action or neutral, but they managed to get a motion passed to send complaint to the Mayor's office.

Clay Miller has a good friend at Indiana Historic Preservation Counsel and used his connections to apply pressure on the Mayor's office. Someone decided that this could be spun into a political 'win' for the Mayor and they did a press conference. They probably thought this would scare me and I would go away for good. They didn't count on Miss Ann being a Libertarian, smart, informed, well networked, and a political activist. This surprised me because any boob could research all I've published and deduce that about me. Instead, they thought I would be an easy pawn to exploit.

So, that is how it happened. Since the Mayor started this crusade in the media, I thought it should be fought there. Ultimately, I want them to back off the ordinance violation and grandfather me in to continue to practice my art from my home. I want my government to respect and protect my freedom and to trust that I am a good citizen. My neighbors like me because I am good to them. My clients like me because I care about their personal growth.

so she just got stuck in the middle of a dispute between her landlord and the chatham arch neighborhood association? curious. this could also explain why the city has changed its tune regarding the legality of her private practice out of her home (which is in the meridian-kessler neighborhood): it would look pretty hypocritical if the city went after one of her businesses but not the other one. (of course, it also looks pretty damn hypocritical for the police to declare that her business was legal and then turn around & try to prosecute her two years later.)

miss ann has also updated her website thereformatory.com with links to news coverage of her legal woes. she also links to me, calling stAllio!'s way an "excellent blog" (and emailed me also)... to be fair, very few blogs seem to have picked up on this story, and many of the ones that have are from out of state. there's been a lot of chatter on message boards (see threads on punkrocknight.com and the nuvo forums), but for whatever reason, the prominent indiana blogs have been silent. and what few blogs i've found that are discussing the story have maybe one post on the subject; nothing close to the depth of coverage i've tried to institute here. i try, but my blog just doesn't have the reach that, say, TDW has.

i'll post again tomorrow once the nuvo story goes up (assuming i can find it on nuvo's horribly [re]designed site).

update: miss ann is now booked to appear on abdul in the morning this friday, 7-8am on 1430AM. sadly at that time i'll likely be too busy sleeping and showering to actually tune in, but at least abdul keeps show notes on the web. [originally i misidentified the show as being on WIBC, although i linked to the correct website, newstalk1430.com. the correct station is WXNT.]

update: i emailed chris3000, who is blogsitting at indiana blog review, and scored a a post there on the story.

24 comments:

stAllio! said...

here is every other blog post i have found on this story:

revere report: bart, bart, bart
downonmyknees: prodomme vs indianapolis
gloria brame: prodommes in the news
constantstate: getting away with it
amorous propensities: house of sexual torture
mama montezz: on tying one's self up on st andrew's cross
and one more at some site called the "home business review", which i will not link to because i'm pretty sure it's splog.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone brought up the fact that Melyssa was told several times (once by a lawyer on the Mayor's City Counsel) that she was in violation of an Indianapolis zoning ordinance? Or that she chose to ignore these notices....?

stAllio! said...

can you cite a source for that allegation? i believe i've read everything that's been published on the story, and i don't think i've heard that.

stAllio! said...

p.s. i deleted anonymous's double-post. so if you see "this comment was deleted", rest assured that i'm not censoring anyone; i'm just cleaning up.

Melyssa said...

For the record, I was not told about a zoning violation by a lawyer or member of the Mayor's Counsel. It is interesting that the alledged lawyer's name, the date, and place of this alledged meeting are not mentioned. I believe it is cowardly to make public accusations while maintaining anonymity.

I did attend the July neighborhood association meeting where I was accused of a zoning violation, when in fact no one quoted the zoning code, nor did they distribute copies of the code I alledgedly violated. To my knowledge at the July neighborhood association meeting, I was the only person who knew the city zoning code.

The polite and professional zoning official, Kevin Tamosaitis 317-327-5019, who subsequently inspected my shop and took dozens of photos told me on his second visit that the city attorneys determined my boutique was not classified adult. (This is visit was documented in my on line group.)Teri Kendrick, city attorney, confirmed the shop was not classified as adult again at the press conference.

Had I not attended the Mayor's Press Conference and tipped off the press about the zoning code, would the media have known to specifically ask Ms. Kendrick if The Reformatory was classified as 'adult'? Thank God someone in the media spoke up, for this might be how the truth of the matter comes to public light.


Journalists keep politics in check and I, for one, am grateful they do.

Zoning official, Mr. Tamosaitis, went on to say that the city might determine that a retail zoning variance for The Chatham Center only allowed for retail in the suite formerly occupied by LAMP Fine Art Gallery. He said my landlord might have to apply for new variance to permit retail from the specific suite THE REFORMATORY occupied or for the whole building.

Mr. Tamosaitis said that as long as I kept my inventory mix exactly as it was, I could locate my shop anywhere, including Masschusetts Avenue. He cautioned that I should first make sure I see the actual paperwork proving the space was zoned for a retail boutique and art gallery.


Shortly thereafter I did look into subletting basement space on Mass Avenue, however, decided I did not want to renovate new space, spend the money to move, and continue to work for no more than I was making at the small boutique.

If the city made a decision to split hairs over which suites inside The Chatham Center could or could not be used for retail, our local artists could also be found in violation for retailing their art from any space except where the former LAMP gallery was.

Was anyone thinking about Art?

Did anyone consider that the artists I paid, would lose their side income?

I decided on October 14, to close my shop on the anniversary of The Erotic Arts Ball (10/29/05). I decided instead to focus on my growing private practice consulting with couples' looking for help in navigating a healthy D/s relationship dynamic and my well documented work promoting chastity and foundation building work of establishing and maintaining trust in personal relationships.

Calli said...

I didn't know who she was untill I saw her on the news. I kept thinking "Oh my gosh, this is not a young woman" If I had seen some 25 year old I would have though "Oh no, another hooker" but she didn't seem like that at all.
I guess when you think of dominatrix who charge money you think of young, slim and sexy. So when you see the oposite, you have to sit up and take notice. Is she really trying to educate? I really think she is. I don't think she is having sex with anyone and I happen to believe her.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone ever been to the 41st block of Central? For those of us with family who choose to live in a more desirable area, We know to avoid this area. This to me, is the perfect place to do whatever it is she is doing. I sure don't want it in my own area and if they keep complaining, who knows where she will move. I somehow doubt she is having sex with any of these men. They pay her to get them off through domination and there is nothing wrong with that. Just keep it on her side of the street. I know I don't want stuff like this going on here on the South side and would prefer it stay on her side of town. Anyway, since when is this illegal? It has been going on for years and all of a sudden people care? It's going to happen anyway so as long as these type of people stay on their side, why bother them? It keeps them away from the rest of us.

stAllio! said...

um... i grew up about two blocks from 41st and central. you do realize it's at most a half a mile from the governor's mansion, right? hardly a ghetto, though i understand how southsiders could get confused by northside geography.

i suspect that anonymous has no idea what he/she/it is talking about. and the idea that the south side (of all places!) is somehow... what? cleaner? more wholesome? than meridian kessler. it's a laugh riot.

Lady Katherine said...

Unlike the Governor's mansion, most of us don't have the resources of the State Police for protection. I'm sure that most of the high-crime areas of the city were at one time quite
comfortable, desirable places to live. But things change, and they keep changing. Areas that are upscale today will not be so in several years. While we all regret what has happened to formerly-wonderful areas, denial is foolish, as is ignoring what common sense tells you.

stAllio! said...

you do realize there's a police station right around the corner at 42nd & college, yes?

seeing as how i grew up in that area and still live near there today, you'll have to forgive me for having a more nuanced view of its demographics. meridian-kessler is a complex neighborhood and the economic and class situations shift from block to block. go a few blocks west or north and you get to some of the most affluent homes in indy. go a few blocks south or east, and things get more poor and black.

but this is how it's been in the area for decades. and if anything, the whole neighborhood is getting safer and more affluent, not the other way around. the construction on 38th street (if it ever gets finished!) will only add to this gentrification.

in other words, don't try to tell me what my neighborhood is like. i live there; i think i have a better idea than you do.

Erehwon said...

The very term "gentrification" is an indication of the "demographics." They don't normally (gentrify )"your spelling, not mine..amused smile"
upscale neighborhoods. I'm sure you have a more (nuanced)
view than I, or anyone else who doesn't live there. But I have the type of opinion about your neighborhood that most people have--based on what I see when I drive through it. Outsiders form opinions based upon external appearances. You can't expect anyone to form an opinion based upon what is close by or what is promised for the future. Nor can you expect a non-resident not to be negatively influenced by unfavorable conditions that are apparent.

stAllio! said...

okay, now i'm totally confused. you say you're basing your opinion on 41st & central on "external appearances" and not on "what is close by". but what the hell is wrong with the external appearance of 41st & central (other than construction at the church)?

41st and central big houses with driveways, big yards, streets and sidewalks in good condition, and a beautiful 75-year-old church. what's not to love? hell, i couldn't even afford one of those houses at 41st and central. those are $200-$300k houses!

what this is really about is the black folks who live on and east of college ave, as well as south of 38th. i already granted that the people who live in those parts of the neighborhood are poorer, but those areas have always been poorer, and have improved significantly in the past decade. (clearly this is the part of the neighborhood that's being gentrified; central ave at 40th st and parts west have been thoroughly middle and upper-to-middle class for as long as i've been alive.)

but 42nd and college, where those black people live, is where the police station is (the police station that you say does not affect your opinion of neighborhood conditions). in fact, that intersection is much improved, with a brand new fire station and a wonderful new library.

...and yet you say your opinion isn't affected by "what is close by". which suggests to me that you don't have a very good idea of how this neighborhood is laid out at all.

so i challenge you: please, tell me about these unfavorable conditions at 41st & central that are so apparent. i want concrete examples. and don't tell me about things that are a few blocks away, like over on college, because you "can't expect anyone to form an opinion based upon what is close by or what is promised for the future."

Eric said...

If you don't mind my take on this, there are some really nice houses. I think the problem is that even with these nice homes, the area just has a really bad rep and I am sure that is because it is in the basic vicinity of other undesirable areas. Like 38th street. The area you are talking about is not the hood or anything but it is too close to the hood for my own comfort. So I can see both points of views. According to the other ladies profile she is in Geist Reservoir and we all know there are nothing but rich snobs there so I think her opinion would be colored anyway.

stAllio! said...

eric, i think we're pretty much in agreement there. MKNA is for the most part a very nice, well-to-do neighborhood, but it does border on some sketchier areas, namely the parts south of 38th or over by the fairgrounds. people who have a bad impression of the area are basing it on those areas, not on the area where miss ann actually lives, and definitely not on the areas north or west of her.

Bill said...

Now to look at the picture of miss anns home it does not look very upscale. It seems to be one of the not so nice homes. I do think there are some nice houses in that area but there are some really nice houses near 16th and college that has been renovated and look very nice but I would not want to live there. It's the same with the area you all are talking about. There are some good and bad houses but a street or so over there are some really nasty homes and dangerous people. It's not a place I would want to live.
I guess everyone has their own opinion and I respect this.

Morty said...

does anyone here like cucumbers?

Morty said...

I had the most exciting encounter but I am also afraid she might not want to see me again. I met this great looking domina. She had these big juicy titties and was dressed in thigh high boots. Well she made me bend over and inserted this fucking huge cucumber. This thing almost ripped me open and just would not go in. It was bigger round than my fucking arm!
Well I told her it was really hurting and she wouldn't stop so I kinda forgot myself and got up off my hands and knees and held her down and rammed it up her hole and got up and left. But then I got to feeling bad the way she was screaming as I left so I tried to call her but she won't answer the phone. Do you think she will forgive me? Should I send her flowers?

sis said...

so sorry I have been a slacker and missed all this fun....typical of someone in Geist or the southside to have no clue...I don't know what is is like there and certianly would not dare to assume they are snobs...

Miss Ann said...

The old argument that I am a sex business and my presence brings down property values is wrong on two points.

First, I do not engage in sex with clients, therefore I am not a sex business. I engage in roleplay as an artist.

Second, my home has increased 2.5 times in value in the 7 years I've owned it. How many can say that? It looks far better now than it did when I bought it. Most of the dramatic improvements are on the inside. It takes a lot to maintain and improve an 80 year old home on one income.

My home sat on the market unwanted for nearly a year before I purchased it in 1998.

Anonymous said...

Uh yeah and why do you think it SAT ON THE MARKET for so long? Uh Duh!

Anonymous said...

"Has anyone brought up the fact that Melyssa was told several times (once by a lawyer on the Mayor's City Counsel" Can we have that lawyers name and buisness phone? To check and also all can we see that document all that is supposed to have a paper trail.
Also Bart should have answered her questions technically she is a member of the press by having her own website.

Anonymous said...

I respect stallio so I will mind my manners. But THIS:
Miss Ann said in her own group:
I've broken down privately more than once. I cry almost every day. On Wednesday I was suicidal. I kept thinking why do I want to live in such an evil world full of liars and hypocrites. Why do I want to live in a city where my own Mayor could care less about protecting ALL of his citizens. Why live in a world where my own Mayor I supported would steal the meaning from my life because he need a photo op. Please know this thinking is not who I am. On Wednesday I had to admit that I need serious intervention or the anger will destroy me. Fortunately both my boyfriend and subJason intervened and temporarily were able to pull me out of that state. I saw a therapist yesterday and am going to get some short term help. I will go on a low dose anti-depressant for a few months to give my brain a break while I cope with putting my life back together. People become suicidal when their pain is greater than their coping skills. I have to admit, that I cannot cope right now without help.

THIS IS WHAT I AM TALKING ABOUT. ANGER, DEPRESSION, SUICIDE, NOT NORMAL BEHAVIOR AND NO COPING MECHAMISM AND I HAVE DOUBT SHE IS GOING TO LOSE. THE FACT IS, SHE HAS ALREADY LOST IT. I THINK SHE NEEDS TO GET A REAL JOB AND CONSIDER A LIFE WITHOUT SO MUCH CONTROVERSY. I DO AT LEAST ADMIRE SHE IS GETTING SOME PROFESSIONAL HELP.

unoboober said...

quit fuckinfg shouting.

melyssa i love you.

Anonymous said...

The really sad part is, she is not getting the help she needs. Remember...go up the street, not across the road.