South City BDSM Club Faces More Obstacles to Opening

photo by Melissa Meinzer
Joe Kriegesmann: "Satan's Master" in his office at The Faciliy
Joe Kriegesmann, a genial fellow despite his nom-de-scene, "Satan's Master," says he just wants to follow the rules. He says he's been trying -- trying to figure out which rules apply to him and how to follow them.

Kriegesmann been working for months to legally open "The Facility," a space in south city for practitioners of BDSM to safely learn and practice techniques. (BDSM refers to bondage, discipline, sadism and masochism or submission and dominance -- it's the consensual, erotic exchange of power and may include restraint, physical discipline or any number of other practices along these lines.)

As we reported back in May, Kriegesmann had hoped to fulfill all his legal obligations to the city in order to have a fully legal and above-board club. He wanted to demystify BDSM.

He'd sought occupancy and business permits. He told us that the club would have strict rules: no sex, no alcohol, no minors, and discretion and consent were to be of maximum importance. At the time, mayoral spokeswoman Kara Bowlin told us that as far as she knew, Kriegesmann was operating lawfully.

Earlier this month, Kriegesmann was optimistic, telling us that "the city is starting to encourage me." He said he'd gotten permits from the city for three events in July.

Yesterday, he testified before a city panel who had questions about his space. The Post-Dispatch reports that Alderman Craig Schmid, who oversees the district the club is in, said "Ostensibly, the application is for educational seminars. But I cannot reasonably ignore what is the actual use of the facilities."

Back in May, Schmid told us his concerns weren't related to kink, but public safety. "I don't deal in speculation," he said back then. "The issue we always have to deal with is health, safety and welfare."

Yesterday's hearing didn't yield any concrete results, but the panel should make a decision in the next week or so. We'll keep you posted.

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