M: Hi Leigh.
L: Hi Megan. What are you doing to take care of yourself this week?
M: This week, it’s been a rough week for self-care, let me think. I’ve been taking vitamins.
M: And I’ve been taking my med.
M: Yeah. I think, I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it but I have a new psychiatrist and everything since moving. I finally got that squared away and that feels really good. And I got my blood taken. She requested that I do that to check how the meds are affecting me. Or I don’t know what it was really all about. But I found out that I have really, really low Vitamin D.
L: So lots of people have low Vitamin D.
L: (laughs) Let me tell you the stuff I take if you want. I’ll send you a picture later of what I take because I take like, a liquid supplement every day.
L: It’s just one drop a day and it has something like 400 servings. Like, it will last forever.
M: That’s amazing. I need that.
L: But yeah, most humans are Vitamin D deficient.
M: Yeah, so she just said mine was like super low and then that could be bad for my depression and everything.
M: So she’s putting me on some, these pills that you take for six weeks.
M: And it’s supposed to do like a really big boost.
M: And then after that she wants me to take vitamins or something. So it would be perfect for me to take whatever you have.
L: Yep. That was a big like, thing. This was a suggestion from my acupuncturist who’s my best doctor so, yeah. Cool cool.
M: So she said I should I notice that I feel better after that so I can’t wait.
L: That’s awesome.
L: Oh good. I’m glad she did that. I like a holistic doctor.
M: And what are you doing to take care of yourself this week?
L: What am I doing?
M: This is a hard question, huh?
L: It is a hard question ’cause I feel like my self-care has not been like, as awesome as I would like it to be because I’m like eating a whole lot of food, which is not bad. But that just feels like the thing I’m doing the most. I’ve still been in a lot of pain. So it’s a lot of like, weed for the pain, food for the weed, go to sleep (laughs)
L: So that’s not my answer. What have I been doing to care of myself? You know, I mean, I saw my family for Thanksgiving because, as I feel like I always have to mention, they are in my pod.
L: So I just had like a really kind of nice, not stressful Thanksgiving meal. So, you know, problem with Thanksgiving notwithstanding
L: because Thanksgiving is fucked.
L: It was nice to just have some like, not stressful family time. That felt like good self-care and still something I’m getting used to.
M: That’s so good. I had that tonight. We did our Thanksgiving tonight, which is a Saturday.
M: And it was awesome. I’m still so full. And I think I already told you before but I fell up the stairs on the way into recording.
L: That’s right. (laughs)
M: And everyone heard and everyone was like, “Are you okay?”
M: Like, “Yeah. This is typical for me.” (laughs)
L: Amazing. Awesome. Well, today we have a guest. Finally. We are bringing back guests, bringing guests for the first time
L: to Queers Next Door. So, Megan, want to tell us a little about who’s coming on today?
: Yes. Justine Cross is a femme queer BDSM consultant and dungeon owner, quarantined in Los Angeles. She owns Dungeon East and Dungeon West, two premiere BDSM studios. Justine is an educator, a provocateur, and all around badass bitch who also runs BDSFemme, an all women’s play party, and co-hosts Deviant, an all genderqueer play party. In a state of rainbow panic and glitter, she organized and hosted the first LA Kink Pride, a series or events and classes conducted entirely online. Her favorite things to do in quarantine include going to virtual strip clubs, having craft cocktails delivered weekly, and any kind of drive thru. Please visit her website, losangelesdominatrix.com
, follow her on Insta @thejustinecross, Twitter @justineplays, and TikTok @thejustinecross.
M: Hi Mistress Justine. So the way we like to start with guests, although you’re pretty much our first one,
M: is a little thing we made called Queer and A, where we’re gonna ask you some questions. We actually just answered them all in our first episode of season three. So it’s pretty fun.
L: Yeah. We’ll do that and, you know, we’ll just chat as we go through the questions and if any of the questions are like, not your jam, feel free to skip over ’em or say pass or whatever. The first one we like to ask folks is what does the word queer mean to you?
MJC: Okay, yeah. Queer, you know, is just a deviation from the norm. So even though I use gay or lesbian interchangably describing my sexuality, I normally and most clearly identify with queer, because I think that it also bleeds into being politically active and more conscious and awareness rather than just like, you know, what kind of sex I like to have. I think it also, even though sexuality and BDSM is different, you know, being queer doesn’t mean you’re into BDSM and being into BDSM doesn’t mean you’re queer. For me, I think a lot of queerness does have to do with being into BDSM.
L: Oh, right. I think that’s very similar to Megan and I as well, is that we kind of use the words interchangably but really like that queer has that extra, kind of, politilcal, fuck you edge to it. Yeah.
M: Okay, this is our favorite question that we ask every week to each other. What are you doing to take care of yourself this week?
MJC: This week, well I’m gonna get real personal and say I finally started taking antibiotics for a UTI I’ve been ignoring for a while. You know, antibiotics, really, thank you. But you know, also I’ve been trying to schedule things with friends more to do social distance safe hangs or virtual hangs ’cause I’m very very social (laughs) and I miss everyone so I really, really need to have a lot of social time.
M: Yeah. It’s been so rough with everything going on.
MJC: Yeah. What part of the country are you both in? I don’t actually know.
L: I’m in LA. And then-
MJC: Oh, you’re in LA too?
L: Yeah. And then, Megan?
M: I’m near Baltimore.
MJC: Oh. Okay.
M: Yeah. I was living in LA and me and Leigh started this podcast together. We ued to record in person. It was always just us. But since I moved we had to learn how to do it virtually and then we were like, “Hey. Now we can have guests.” So here we are.
L: Yeah. And the pandemic kind of coincided with us switching to doing it from a distance anyway.
L: So it’s good that we figured it out.
MJC: Cool. How come we haven’t met yet then before until now in the virtual realm?
L: Justine, I have met you.
MJC: We have?
L: But it’s totally 100% okay that you don’t know that. (laughs)
MJC: I might have met you but I didn’t know that you were like,
L: Yeah, exactly. Yes, that is what I was gonna say. I have been to – and we can totally talk about this – I’ve been to Deviant once a long time ago and then BDSFemme maybe the last one that you did before all of the pandemic. I have no sense of time anymore.
MJC: Well, it was my birthday one and
MJC: it had unicorn cake. Okay, great.
MJC: So how awesome was that cake? Am I right?
L: It was wonderful. It was amazing. I don’t eat gluten or dairy and I still had like three pieces of that cake
L: ’cause it was so fuckin’ good.
MJC: It was so fuckin’ good.
L: So yes. And also because I like to be everyone’s resident mom, if you’re taking your antibiotics, are you also taking a probiotic?
MJC: Fuck yes I am. What kind of queer do you think I am that I don’t know about probiotics?
MJC: I also know about antibiotics. But I just was in deep, deep denial about my UTI.
L: Of course.
MJC: I was like, no I’m fine. No, maybe I’m not. My girlfriend’s like, “You’ve been really cranky for three weeks.” And I’m like, “Whaat?”
MJC: Yeah, no. I’m really happy that I’m on my antibiotics. I feel like a new man already, you know.
L: That’s awesome.
MJC: She’s like, “Stop drinking.” It’s for your liver, you know?
L: That is for your liver. It’s totally different. No, the number of people I talk to that have just dealt with so much back and forth with like UTI, yeast infection, bacterial infection, kind of, trifecta.
MJC: Mmhm. Oh yeah.
L: Those forget those probiotics sometimes.
MJC: Yeah. Nope, I got to get back on the- I’m taking the cranberry pills that have like, the billion probiotic stuff things in them.
MJC: So I’m getting back into that ’cause there just will be no problem. So, you know.
M: So, are we supposed to take those every day? The cranberry pills.
L: No, cranberry pills you can take as needed. You don’t have to take ’em every day. I mean, but ya can.
MJC: Yeah. It won’t hurt you though because you don’t’ drink cranberry juice every day ’cause that’s just like, sugar so it’s not gonna, you know, plus it will just stain your teeth. Drink red wine every day. That’s a far better way to stain your teeth.
MJC: But the cranberry pills, they just have a lot of Vitamin C, probiotic, and cranberry in them. So it’s like if you just take it every day, it won’t hurt anything, it’ll probably just prevent you from getting like, yeast infection or UTI ever. ‘Cause then like, once you have it, you’re like, “Aw, I’m fucked.”
M: Yeah. ‘Cause I was taking them every day. I just found them in my apartment and I was like, “Why not? I’ll just take ’em.” But I need to get some again because I don’t have any.
M: Well, that’s fun. Our conversation, where it’s going. (laughs) I love that. UTI. Cranberry filled probiotics. All important stuff.
L: I haven’t even talked about boric acid yet but we’ll move on.
L: What are you most looking forward to doing when the pandemic is over?
MJC: Well, I’m obviously just looking forward to getting back to BDSFemme and Deviant
MJC: and having in person play parties again. Yeah, I really miss fisting my friends. Or not my friends. No, you have to be my friend if that’s gonna happen. But yeah, definitely missing that. And I really miss travelling too, I usually am on the road like 30% of the time
MJC: doing lots of international travels. So those two things.
M: Awesome. What have you been watching, reading, and listening to?
MJC: Right. Wow. I gave you a really long answer. Let me see what I can remember. Okay, well, in terms of watching, I’ve entered the Charlize Theron phase of quarantine. So I finally watched The Old Guard, which was excellent. And honestly, anything that she’s in is amazing. I don’t care what Rotten Tomatoes says. I also watched Queen’s Gambit, which I loved. Reading, the last few books that I’ve had are White Fragility, If I Had Your Face by Frances Cha, and I just started reading Grace Paley’s short stories. And then in terms of things I’ve been listening to, well I listen to podcasts that I’m on.
MJC: No, I listen to NPR, like whatever, Morning Becomes Eclectic every single morning. So that’s, and, you know, of course,
“Wet Ass Pussy” every day on repeat, until I’m like, “Don’t get tired of this.” But I don’t think I will ever ’cause every time I’m like, “God, that lyrics is genius!”
L: Have you heard the mash up with “Wet Ass Pussy” and “All I Want for Christmas?”
MJC: No, I have not. But now I need to.
M: I have not heard that either.
MJC: That is like, “All I Want for Christmas” like, with Mariah Carey or…?
L: Mariah Carey. Yeah. Oh, absolutely.
MJC: (inhales excitedly) That’s the best one! Okay, that’s good. I’ll have to send- ‘Cause it’s like after Thanksgiving so we can almost celebrate Christmas. I’ll send you a really funny video by a drag queen that happened in my dungeon that is genius. That’s like my Christmas song/mantra. That’s like, just called, “Ho Ho Ho,” or something. I don’t know. It’s very good.
L: love it. Have either of you seen the terrible lesbian Christmas rom com yet? Happiest Season.
MJC: Please don’t tell me it’s terrible. I have a date to watch it with someone next week.
L: Oh my god.
MJC: Oh, I’m scared. I just want to drink some cocktails.
L: Okay, here’s the thing. Is it terrible? Yes. Is it fun terrible with plenty of hot people? Yes. So there’s that.
MJC: Well, yeah. I mean, yeah. I’m not expecting it to be like, you know, like our long awaited anthem.
L: No no no.
MJC: You know? I, you know, I’m regularly disappointed with purposely lesbian films
MJC: ’cause they all tend to be period romances of long, listful looks across, you know, furniture.
MJC: You know, like every single one, it’s like Portrait of Lady on Fire, like, the Virginia Woolf.
: I don’t know. I just gave up ’cause I’m just like, this is not sexy. I’m just go watch kink.com
and, you know, have a time.
MJC: and, you know, not like, a film.
L: So this isn’t sexy either.
L: Because it’s PG-13. So it has a kind of, there are things you will find enjoyable. But I watched it with my girlfriend last night.
L: I did a lot of yelling at the screen but that’s a thing I enjoy so, you know, it’s- I also don’t like rom coms. So it’s okay. Megan, I think you might love it. (laughs)
M: I was just gonna say. I love rom coms and I’m probably gonna be like, “This is the best thing ever.” (laughs) I haven’t watched it yet but I will, for sure.
MJC: I feel like movies are better when they’re almost better when we read them as being very queer or gay but they’re not especailly.
MJC: Like I just watched The Old Guard finally last night and- Have either of you seen it?
L: I haven’t seen it.
M: I haven’t either.
MJC: Oh really? Okay. It’s really good. I mean, there are two openly gay characters in it and there’s this like, really beauftiful scene between them that’s like, all of 30 seconds. But the writer was like, you must, no matter what, have this scene in there. But like, Charlize Theron is like, obviously this goddex, really, you know, she doesn’t have any like, overtly like female, like lesbian kind of relationship. But the whole thing just like, reads as very queer ’cause she has this like, super short haircut and it wearing like super tight like, black like leather clothing. You’re just like, oh my god. She’s such a badass queer. And it’s like, you know, they’re immortals, which is- I’m like, “This is queer anyway. Living forever! That’s not like, normal!” You know. But yeah, I mean, I guess that’s like, me reading it as queer, you know, like, the, what’s the novel by Jeanette Winterson in that like the protagonist isn’t named but it’s like queer, you know.
L: Oh, yes. I do know. It’s- Now I’m blanking. (laughs)
MJC: Right. C’mon, everyone knows it. You all know it. You know what we’re talking about.
L: It’s not Secrets and Lies. It’s the- fuck what is that one called.
MJC: It’s like, her main one. It’s like-
L: Yeah. It’s not- Orange is Not the Only Fruit is like, one of the more popular but it’s the other one. What the fuck it is called? I’m gonna look it up while we talk. You talk. (laughs)
MJC: Okay, but we all know what we’re talking about. So it’s like in that, you know, where the protagonist isn’t, you know, naming themself. We all know it’s a woman. But when straight people read it… You know, I’ve had friends who are college professors and they like, have this book and they’re like, “Oh. It’s clearly a man writing about a woman.” And everyone’s like, “Noooo.” But it is so clearly a woman writing about another woman. And like, you know, they don’t understand that you know, she’s a lesbian.
L: Yes. It’s called Written on the Body.
MJC: Mmm. Mmhm. Yeah. It’s Written on the Body. Exactly. Lesbians.
L: Awesome. Well, I’ll need to watch The Old Guard. I like Charlize Theron but I don’t think I’ve seen any of her movies lately.
MJC: Really? No, this is really super hot and it’s exciting because they’re already going to do a sequel and she’s just fucking hot in it and it’s great and yeah, she has literally an ax and I think you’ll enjoy.
M: I’m writing it down ’cause I’m gonna watch it now. And also the mash up of “All I Want for Christmas.”
M: I’m writing it down.
M: What are you grateful for today?
MJC: You know, I’m grateful for my girlfriend. (laughs) I just really am, like every day. She’s set this up for me and is a very supportive, wonderful person and so I’m just continually happy that she’s in my life.
L: That’s awesome. How long have y’all been together?
MJC: God. I’ve known her for like five or six years and we’ve been living together for like, three years now. So yeah. I met her actually at BDSFemme,
M: at my dungeon. But we didn’t get together then. But that’s when we met. So yeah, it’s been a really wonderful journey of different things in our relationship and yeah, just really do thankful. No one I’d rather be quarantined with, you know. It’s pretty good.
L: That’s awesome. Okay. And what are you proud of yourself for?
MJC: You know, honestly, everything. (laughs) Even the stuff that I fuck up on or make mistake, I’m like, “Oh, okay. Well, I know I made a mistake or I fucked up.” And hopefully I can find space and room to fix it or at least know that I’ve done that. You know, it’s been a really weird, you know, year, obviously for all of us and I’m just, I’m really proud of myself for being able to pivot and, you know, make some hard business decisions that I wasn’t overly fond of doing, like closing Dungeon West. But I knew it was the right decision, and you know, to propel me forward and to keep going and yeah, this has really forced me to work harder at my business and meet lots of new people or, you know, auditorily.
MJC: Soon to be again in the future in real-time, in real life, in person.
M: Okay. What made you smile today?
MJC: Definitely being able to hang out with my friends on the rooftop and showing them my space ’cause I’ve only had like, three people over at different times to see my new space. So that is really lovely, you know, being up on my rooftop and hanging out and drinking champagne. And I feel like a person.
M: That’s amazing. And sorry ’cause I know you said you were doing that right before this so hopefully we didn’t cut you too short on that.
MJC: No! No no no no. We like, scheduled it. They knew I was doing a thing. That’s why I was asking you like, wait are we doing video for this ’cause then I’d have to do a different makeup thing.
MJC: And you know, whatever. So they’re very understanding. ‘Cause it’s actually a friend who- Well, they’re both in media and stuff so they’re like, “Wait. Do you need like, this?” And, “We don’t want to cut you off.” Or like, very understanding so.
L: That’s awesome. Alright, and our last question is, if you’re an astrology queer like us, what’s your sun, moon, and rising.
MJC: I am an astrology queer, but I have to look at my answers here ’cause I can’t remember them off the top of my head.
L: That is totally okay.
MJC: (laughs) Alright, here I am. Okay. My sun is in Aquarius, my moon is in Scorpio, and Cancer rising.
L: Oooh. Nice.
M: What’s your again Leigh?
L: I am a Cancer sun, Capricorn moon, Gemini rising.
M: Awesome. I just started to remember mine. So my sun is Leo, moon is Taurus, rising is Aquarius.
M: I love that shit. (laughs)
L: I do too. (laughs) Well, let’s go back a little bit because we mentioned BDSFemme and Deviant. Do you want to- Justine, do you want to tell us a little bit what those parties are and how they got started?
MJC: Yeah, definitely. So, I started BDSFemme, I think like, six years ago now. And I just was connected with another group in Los Angeles, La Femme Society and said, “You know, there aren’t a lot of women’s only events. Do you think people would want to do this?” And just decided to host an all women’s play party and hire- Well, actually it was more of like, a cocktail, first time we did it. And you know, just hired a couple of my friends to have designated positions to like, you know, we had like a spanker, someone doing electro, I should say someone doing impact play, bondage, and electro play. And it was super wild. It was only supposed to be like, a couple hours. Like Princess Donna showed up and I was like, making out with all my friends. And my friend texted me after. She was like, “I made out with Princess Donna. You’re a white witch!”
MJC: And I’m like, “Yes, I am!” So it was, she was, she’s wild. She’s super nice. Yeah, so it just went from there and I just started doing it, you knew, whenever people were in town and just people needed it. And so it’s an all women’s play party. So, you know, you don’t have to be gay or queer or lesbian to come. But we all know you’re going to be before you leave.
MJC: So, you know. But it’s just creating a safe space for cis and trans women to be. And then from there, you know, as things happen and in our, you know, the GLBTQ+ world, many of my friends no longer identified as being female. And they’re like, “I really want to come to your parties but I don’t identify that way. ” So I said, “Okay. Well, let’s make another party. ” So I gave BDSFemme, just gave birth to another party, Deviant, and that is an all genderqueer play party that I co-host with two other femmes, Goddess Lucy and sorry, I’m thinking of their real names and then they’re like, fake Domme names and Mx. Ruby.
L: Of course.
MJC: Okay. Sorry. I’m like trying to identify. It’s like, we haven’t seen each other and we haven’t done the party in a long time so… (laughs) Yes. Goddess Lucy and Mx. Ruby. And we co-host that party together but again, same concept, where we hire a couple of different people to be in stations. So you have guaranteed safe play but then, you know, the whole party, the whole dungeon rather is open and available to play. And people can have sex and be naked or you can just watch. Obviously, you know, no camera, videos, stuff like that. But yeah. So good. Well, you’ve been there. You tell me about your experience.
L: I have. It was, they were both really great. I have never gone, like really, enjoyed a lot of like, dungeon/kink parties. I worked as a professional submissive for like, six months or so.
L: And so, you know, I know a lot of people in the scene, like professionally and personally. But I think I just, especially after doing sex work for awhile, just was like, “I can’t be in these spaces with cis men.”
MJC: Mmhm. Mmhm.
L: And so I just never felt totally comfortable and just social anxiety-wise, I just don’t like a huge party. So I went to Deviant a few years ago
L: with my ex and like, had such a good time. And it was just, it was so nice to be in a place that was so consent focused without there having to be like, lectures. (laughs)
L: You know, like everyone that shows up, whether it’s their first party of their 100th party, has that level of like, “I know how to be sexy in a space with other people.” In a way that is like, relaxed and respectful. And so I really loved that. And then I went with, let’s see, I went to BDSFemme with two friends and that was another thing that was fun like, the few times I have been to parties I’ve gone like, with a partner. And I was single at the time and so were both of my friends. And so, just to have kind of a like, a buddy night out at a sex party. (laughs)
MJC: Mmhm. Yeah!
L: It was so much fun.
MJC: That’s fun. Yeah.
MJC: Well, great. That makes me really happy. ‘Cause that’s definitely what we’re going for. It’s like, we want to have like, a really sexy, fun time but we also want people to feel really safe and that consent is real and happening and that you know, you know who to come to if you need help or something like that. ‘Cause I’ve been to, you know, parties that, you know, I think you’ve seen like either end of that gamut, where it’s like, it’s like, too loosey goosey or too like, enmeshed in the weeds of like the rules that are important. But it’s like we gotta kinda have a good time too, so you know,
MJC: I totally understand and that’s definitely the look we’re going for.
L: Awesome. Megan, have you been- Did you go to, ever go to any play parties in LA?
M: No. I have never been in LA. I’ve been on the east coast to some.
M: But I have been to Dungeon West, I believe, for a class.
M: I don’t know. It was a Pegging class I think.
MJC: Oh, yeah. By Andre?
M: I don’t even remember. It was probably like, three years ago.
MJC: Oh, okay. Dungeon East is the all white one with the Yes, Mistress sign and then Dungeon West isn’t.
M: Okay, so that was. I think I went to the white one then.
MJC: Yeah. Okay, yeah. So that was- I was at that class too. Yes. So Andre Shakti, she’s actually in Baltimore now. Or that’s where she lives. So, you should check her out. She’s really rad and does awesome classes and was at that class. It was like, right before Pride. We were like kicking it off, to like, tell everyone how to use a dildo. (laughs)
M: Yeah! Okay, so I do know Andre. I met her at a conference as well.
L: Oh nice.
M: It’s been so long since I’ve done any of the stuff. You know, I miss all that. You know, I used to go to
M: Thunder in the Mountains and all these fun conferences and now there’s nothing to do. (laughs)
MJC: Oh. How was your experience at Thunder in the Mountains?
MJC: Oh really?
M: It was so much fun. Yeah.
L: I don’t know which one that is.
MJC: It’s in Colorado. It’s in Boulder, I think.
MJC: It’s in Colorado, right?
MJC: Yeah. I have not been to that one and I know, you know, I’m always, “Should I go teach at these things ’cause then I have something to do and then I can kind of take sessions and hang out with people.” And it’s like, I kind of put my feelers out and, you know, a couple of Dommes are like, “Eh, you know, it’s like very male, like het dominated and stuff.” So, I don’t know. But it’s like, everyone has this different experience of the same thing. It’s like, someone goes, “Ah! I hate Disneyland.” And other people are like,
MJC: “Oh my god! I’m a passholder!” You know, so.
M: Yeah. See and I think because I went with my friend and her partner
M: I was just only with them pretty much.
M: And I only played with them. I only did things with them and shared a hotel room with them. So I wasn’t even aware what else was going on. It was like me in this little bubble.
M: And it was, there was just the noises of like, the impact play and everything, just being in there because it was such a big space,
M: like the dungeon, the little party after, or the big party after. I was just in like sensory overload and it was just amazing to me. (laughs)
MJC: Have you ever gone to IMsL?
M: I have not.
MJC: Yeah. That’s the like, International Miss Leather and that’s usually in San Jose and it’s like, it’s just interesting. ‘Cause I usually go and I’m like, “Ah, I’m just gonna play, hang out, and you know, like, everyone.” It’s just interesting for me ’cause I feel like I’m like, so enmeshed in, you know, BDSM and leather culture so like, when I go out, I’m like, I’m not really gonna wear my leather. I’m just gonna wear a sundress and I always make a joke. I’m like, “I’m gonna be down at the pool all day, like, day drinking. I don’t know what you guys are doing, but I’m gonna be in the pool.” And like, I have like a floaty. It’s like, his name is Howard. He has like a ball gag.
MJC: And everyone knows that, you know, I’m just sitting there like, drinking, and you know, like trying to talk to people. But it’s like everyone’s so intense because, you know, it’s like, everyone has like, their lover and their play partners. And I’m like, “Here, do you want some like, you know, Jack Daniels?” And they’re like, “Oh. Let me go find my wife!” And I’m like, “Woah. Okay. Calm down lady. It’s just some Jack in a plastic cup, okay?”
L: That’s really funny. Well, and speaking of all of those things. Like, how are you managing kink and BDSM in the quarantine, both like for work and just like, in your personal life.
MJC: Yeah, well for my professional life, I just immediately moved everything online.
MJC: And I said, “We just have to do this all online now.” And then actually increased our classes. I wrote, I think, god, I think a dozen new classes. So we did that. I got my partner, who’s a hypnotherapist, to start teaching her classes regularly. She does, I mean it’s not really a class, but it’s something called BDSMeditation.
L: Oh nice.
MJC: So I got her going on doing that. And we also reached out to a lot of other people, instructors. I made an entire event called LA Kink Pride and I gotta tell you, I never ever ever want to throw an event for the first time in the middle of a global [pandemic and also during the middle of revolution that was much needed. But it was during like, protests and it was during Black Lives Matter.
MJC: Because that was that week.
MJC: And I’m really glad that we did it. But oh my, was that a stressful, interesting time. So we did that and just, you know, I did have to make the decision, again, to close Dungeon West.
MJC: And it was difficult but again, it was the right decision. And, you know, mixed feels of course. But I have this other dungeon and, you know, because of that, personally I moved. I’m in a brand new condo, (laughs) really beautiful three bedroom space, because my partner’s working from home 100% and she needs a confidential space. I need a confidential space. And now we have what we call the dungeonette.
MJC: And I have it in my house. And I’ve never had like, dungeon-like stuff in my house before because I’ve always had these two spaces. So that’s been interesting. And just trying to, you know, connect. Just really doing as much stuff. I mean, obviously, it’s all virtual right now.
MJC: Well, not obviously ’cause people are doing stuff in person and I’m here to tell you, 1000%, do not go to a play party in person. Do not do it. Don’t even eat out outside. Do not do it. I’m telling you. Domme- Mistress says so, you know. Anyway, so just trying to translate that stuff to online as much as possible and, you know, my business has moved to 100% online, which is a huge shift, so.
L: Do you feel like- It sounds like you’re doing well. Like are a lot of people interested in coming to classes and all of that?
MJC: Yeah! A lot of people are. I mean, just doing, you know, sort of our accidental experiment with LA Kink Pride, it really forced me to be much better at business. And I did a lot of things there that I really should have done years ago, like have a media kit, have a press kit, you know. I have a ton, a fuckton of things and people just hire more for stuff. But this was actually, you know, getting sponsorships and things like that. So I’m finding tons of people want to go to classes because even if you’re in LA, it’s like, “Oh god. I gotta drive across town.” Or, “I don’t have a car.” Or, “I don’t want to be around people.” Even before you couldn’t be around people. (laughs)
MJC: And for so many people in the country, even the world, classes aren’t offered about kink of BDSM in person wherever they are so we had a lot of people from a more rural part of the country or just again, different places internationally. So I’m finding tons of people wanting to do classes and there also isn’t a limit. So before we had to limit it to 20 people ’cause that’s how many we could fit even in this large dungeon space, how many we could fit reasonably for a class in this manner. And now the sky’s the limit. So I’m getting like, 50, 75 people for my class, well for my classes that are lecture, not the practical ones where we’re doing knots and stuff, ’cause we couldn’t do.
MJC: We couldn’t do 75 people (laughs) in there. So I’m finding it really good and it’s also, just, you know, you’re able to make a lot more money on the internet
MJC: because there isn’t a cap. So that’s really helpful.
M: That’s incredible that so many people are, like you said, there’s people in other areas who can’t go in person anyways. So now they have these opportunities so that’s awesome.
MJC: Yeah. And also because it’s online and I know some people’s money has been affected, I’ve made, just all of the classes sliding scale, pay what you can. We recommend, you know, basically about $15 per person. But we’ve made it all sliding scale, so it’s made it really accessible for everyone to come. Because I want people to get this education, connect, and, especially I’ve done a couple of classes for sex workers too. So I’ve made that rally accessible for people. We also have done, for the first time this year, speaking of accessibility, we’ve had some ASL interpreters
MJC: for some of the classes.
MJC: We haven’t done it for all the classes. I need to kind of figure out what works best for this. I’m a very fast talker. I talk with my hands. So I haven’t had an ASL interpreter for mine. But there’s a lot of kinky ASL people out there.
L: Yeah. I think the idea of things being, I think the nice thing about all of this is we’re realizing how to make a lot of stuff more accessible. For awhile, I was running a polyamory meetup for queer folks
L: at Cuties, which, you know, is no longer. But we did the meetup
MJC: Oh. Polyqule?
MJC: Oh okay. Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. I post all your stuff all the time. (laughs)
L: Oh nice.
L: I don’t run it anymore. But I did for a long time or I helped run it
L: for a long time
L: But we started, when quarantine started, we started doing them virtually, and there was something really neat about people who either didn’t live in town or who were like, “Oh, I’ve always wanted to go.”
L: “But I’m way too shy to go in person.” Or, “I don’t have a car.”
L: Like, just realizing how many, even though there’s something missing from, you know, not being in person in community, how many people felt like community all of a sudden became more accessible.
MJC: Yeah, and you know, I think it’s also a possibility for people to be anonymous in like, what can be a good way.
MJC: Like, I’ve thought about going to certain meetings, nothing in terms of like addiction.
MJC: But like, I’m well known and it’s like, I couldn’t, I’m so famous guys, you know.
MJC: No, but you know, the things that I think through of like, wait, what can I talk about being there.
MJC: Or, what can I disclose, knowing that some people are going to be coming to my parties or my dungeon. It’s a very real thing that like, most, walking into most queer and or kink/queer spaces, many people know who I am and I know many of the people there.
MJC: So I remember for a time when I was having like, issues in my poly life, where I’m like, “Okay, I want to go but people don’t, they can’t know why, you know, what’s going on, or you know, the thing,” or even my partners, like if they started saying my name, you know, they couldn’t say like, “This very specific problem.” But it’s, you know, anyway.
L: Yeah. It can be a lot harder to get support and even just community if you’re visible.
Person 1: On a night like another other night, we were on vacation from Christmas, so the week between Christmas and New Year’s.
Person 2: My parents were followers of the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, who is- was then known as the Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, currently known as Osho even though he’s been dead since the `80s.
Megan: And then I heard the noises again and I looked again but this time I could hear footsteps, like someone was definitely coming in.
Person 1: And when I walked into the bedroom I noticed that Andre’s side of the bedsheets were pulled down, but he wasn’t in the bed.
Person 2: I wouldn’t say we were a doomsday cult per se.
Megan: But when the door opened, it opened like, like from a horror movie. It was like slooow and creaky and then she held the knife over her head.
Person 2: I think when you get to certain point where you’re either putting a tinfoil hat on
Person 1 (overlapping): Each time it got a little bit worse because I stayed and he made me feel like
Dick: Welcome to Being There, the podcast devoted to exploring the extraordinary aspects of everyday people’s lives. I’m Dick.
Kelly: And I’m Kelly, and you can find us on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, and all other major podcast apps. You can also follow us on our social media; Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter at BeingTherePod
(various overlapping voices telling stories)
L: Justine, do you want to tell us a little bit like, about your backstory and how you got into all of this, both being a Pro Domme and buying the dungeons.
MJC: Yeah. Well, clearly, you know, I’m a product of a liberal arts education. I have degrees in literature and psychology. And I grew up on the east coast. I went to school in New York and abroad. And then I moved out here after college and just, you know, Googled Los Angeles dungeon and said, “Okay, I’m gonna start working here.” ‘Cause I, you know, LA’s expensive and you need four jobs.
MJC: And it was before the slashed economy really happened and, you know, I couldn’t be an influencer yet. Instagram hadn’t been invented yet. So yeah, I just started working at a commercial dungeon for about a year and a half. And then I became- So a commercial dungeon would be like, you’re on a shift, kind of like, you’re supposed to be an independent contractor, but that’s not really how they treat you. So I wanted to be completely independent. You probably worked at the same place I did, (laughs)
MJC: which we will not mention. But I bet they’re really looking at me now and being like, “Whoops.”
MJC: But yeah, so then I became independent. So I was, you know, running all my own stuff and booking my own appointments and renting space. And I realized, and I had other jobs, I had a full-time job during this whole thing also and, you know, things like that. And I kept getting laid off from, you know, my real-time, my full-time jobs, you know, during various economic downfall/downturns. So I said, okay, I’m just gonna do this full time and see where it takes me. And well, here we are. So you know I became very popular doing this full-time. I needed my own space because I realized I was paying, you know, that place’s mortgage.
L: (laughs) Sure.
MJC: And I did not want to pay their mortgage.
MJC: So I got my own space. I got Dungeon West and then started running that as its own business, doing rentals and things like that. That space got very busy. I didn’t have a place to session. I needed another space. So I doubled down, got Dungeon East and ran those two spaces, Dungeon West for nine years and Dungeon East, it’s going on it’s like sixth or seventh yeah. It’s so hard to tell. There’s like no seasons in LA. I’m like,
L: I know.
MJC: I don’t know. It’s been awhile.
MJC: Yeah, and just, it really, you know, snowballed from there and I just kept, you know, just doing this and doing mainstream stuff and, you know, doing mainstream like television and, you know, lots of podcasts and stuff and education, getting more into that this year. And you know, also I just signed, or I did- they’re coming out now, like a bunch of educational videos with Yandy, a lingerie company.
L: Oh, nice.
MJC: So they’re eager to do things with me and supportive. So, yeah. It’s really nice seeing a lot of kink and BDSM stuff in like, mainstream avenues.
L: Yes. Absolutely. What are some of your favorite ways that kink has shown up in like, mainstream, either TV, movies, whatever? I know this is something we talk about.
MJC: Oh gosh. I mean, I think, it’s funny ’cause I think the ones that are like, the best are the ones that I haven’t seen. But I just go on like, Twitter for like, the shitposting of like, the terrible ones,
L: Uh huh. Sure.
MJC: like Bonding, or whatever.
M: Uh huh. (laughs)
MJC: Or like, 50 Shades of Grey or whatever, right? It’s like, yuuuck, you know? I hear Billions or Billionaire, that representation is really good. You know, obviously like, the art films and stuff like that are wonderful. You know, a lot of stuff comes out at Outfest that is really great but you just see it at Outfest and it doesn’t kind of go anywhere (laughs)
MJC: you know, unfortunately. There’s one I saw- Actually, you know, there wasn’t really any kink ones this year. But last year or two years ago there was a couple of series of short films or there were like kink nights and those were all great. But I mean they’re generally really great because they’re all foreign film submissions. And in foreign countries, they pay artists.
MJC: And you’re like, “Wow. These are all great. Wow. None of them were from America, huh? Cool.” Anyway, but there is one I think on like, YouTube or Vimeo that I always recommend to people and I think you would really enjoy this if you haven’t seen it, especially since you identify as kink and poly is S & M Sally. Have you seen that?
L: I haven’t.
MJC: Okay. It’s really, really great. And I actually did see it at Outfest. And I thought it was wonderful because it does a lot of making fun of BDSM in really bright and funny ways that you should.
MJC: And also like, gender roles and like, butch/femme stereotypes and poly stereotypes and kink stereotypes and I find it like, a really like, sweet film. So I would definitely check it out. I’m sure you can get it. I think it’s still on Vimeo or something. But you can get it. You can find it. It’s out there on the internet. So definitely watch that one.
L: Oh, that’s awesome
L: Yeah. I’ll check that out. Yeah, I can’t think of many shows that have done a really good job. I think Transparent did a surprisingly good job.
L: I mean there’s plenty to say about Transparent.
MJC: They rented my equipment. (laughs)
L: Did they?
M: They did?
MJC: Yeah! They did! They rented my stuff!
M: That’s so cool!
MJC: Yes! I was like, “Oh my god! Jiz Lee is on my spanking horse!” You know. I tried
L: I love that.
MJC: to cuff myself to the spanking horse to try to, usually I try to worm my way into all the things. But they would not let me worm my way in. Because the character is like, you know, that was getting the BDSM treatment is like, very femme and wanted it from like a butch or genderqueer character.
MJC: and wanted it from like a butch or genderqueer character. So that was not me. But I was definitely trying to like, claw my way in there. I have a lot of friends who worked on the show and who were in the show.
L: Uh huh.
MJC: But I’m like, “There’s my baby! There’s my spanking horse!”
L: Oh, that’s awesome. Yeah, I feel like that’s the first thing I’ve seen in a long time where it’s like, “Okay. This just looks real.
MJC: Mmhm. Mmhm.
M: I thought that was really good too. I was impressed by that. So before we started recording, I heard you talk to our podcast guy, Dick, about some clips that you’re doing.
M: So I was wondering, have you always done clips or is that something you’re doing now since the quarantine?
MJC: I have always done clips, very, very, very reluctantly. I cannot tell you how many times I’m sitting in the dungeon with my slave who does this with me and I’m like, “So could we just talk about like, nothing for three hours, film maybe a clip, and go to dinner?” And he’s like, “Okay.”
MJC: I have started doing it more seriously this year because well, you know, because of quarantine I’m not seeing clients in person. But there’s also just been this really, really wonderful thing that’s happened since quarantine. And I really always focus on positives and solutions. But so many sex works came out and said, “You know what? We’re gonna help people because holy shit balls, this has never happened before and let’s try to help people make content and have it do stuff virtually.” So I went to sooo many classes by sex workers and Alexandra Snow did a series on clips and for the first time I felt like, “Wow. Now I understand what to do and I can actually make more money doing this.” And it also inspired me to do- So now I understand better so I’m more into. But it’s also inspired me to do a class for sex workers about translating, you know, doing the in real life stuff to virtual. Because it’s not just like, “Okay, let me just sign up for OnlyFans.” It’s a completely different mindset. Some things are not allowed. And it’s really about the mindset. Because there’s a million YouTube videos of how to do OnlyFans. But trying to sort that and switch your brain in another way is very special. So yeah. You want to join my OnlyFans? I’ll send you some clips.
M: (laughs) I used to, before I got more vanilla job, I used to be a cam model and I had an OnlyFans and all that. And it was so much fun. But I never really got into clip making. I always thought it was hard and I felt silly doing it. Like I’m not a good actress (laughs) so it was hard for me to do. That’s why I was curious about, you know, how it’s been for you.
MJC: Yeah. I really love when people send me scripts and want they want something custom ’cause then I can get really into it and almost like, the weirder the better. Like I have someone who likes me to do this like, he likes me to do like a pay phone or like this special kind of phone he wants me to dial it and call people. I mean, not like, really prank but pretend.
MJC: And, you know, I had someone else who wanted me to do a clip where I was like, an ice princess and I was melting and I was like, on the floor and I’m just like, very theatrical. And it was just like, very fun ’cause you know, it’s something different to do. And I’m really big and animated. But it’s really hard to kind of- I find it much harder to do actually like, a ten minute clip of, “You’re gonna worship my feet. Mmmm. Very good.” I mean, it’s better than that.
MJC: But maybe not.
MJC: Lemme check my sales. Nope. Not good.
L: Do you want to let us know what your OnlyFans is so we can tell folks to check it out?
MJC:Oh, yeah! I guess I should promote that.
L: Yeah, do that.
:Yes! It is onlyjustinecross.com
. Yeah, you know, and it’s interesting ’cause I have a lot more women following me and stuff now. But it’s still just really geared toward men, you know, because they’re the ones buying content.
MJC:But you can always request custom content and, you know, you can always request just doing things. You know, I’m doing sessions via text, phone, and cam. So, you know, there’s that. But yeah. It’s been an interesting last eight months. (laughs)
MJC: Or however long this has been.
M: Yeah. I’ve had some of the most fun cam sessions with people. It can be so awesome. So I encourage everyone, if they’re curious to check out your OnlyFans and your cam sessions and all that because it can be so much fun.
MJC: It is. It’s totally genuine form of sessioning. It’s also very low, you know, like relatively low cost and low risk, you know, it’s like, “Oh. We’ll talk for a few minutes.” “Oh. That’s cool. Just keep going.” It’s not like, you’re in the dungeon, you’re stuck in there. (laughs) You know.
L: Yes. It seems like a good intro as well
L: for folks who are just maybe a little too nervous to go to a dungeon.
MJC: I’m nervous to go to a dungeon. If I didn’t own a dungeon, I’d be very- That’s like, that takes a lot of guts and it’s like, very strange, to go in this dungeon and you’re gonna have your fantasies happen and like, you’re gonna get off and it’s like, who’s this lady standing over you, kicking you
MJC: telling you to hurry the fuck up. No, it’s great.
MJC: That’s really intimidating, even if that’s the experience you want. It is a lot. It is a lot to do. And there’s a lot, you know, of safety in being in your own home and like, you know, or having aftercare and not having to travel, you know, spend a lot of time in the car, you know, something like that.
M: So on your questionnaire, we ask everyone to fill out before they want to be a guest, you mentioned that you want to talk about unicorns.
MJC: I did.
MJC: I feel like, I need a copy of these thing I’m like, saying. What do I want to say about unicorns? They’re amazing. I don’t know. I was probably feeling very fancy that day.
MJC: Yeah, you know. I really love unicorns ’cause I’m gay. Who doesn’t. I have like a unicorn like sort of persona in the pet play world.
MJC: I have a unicorn thing. It’s like, it’s a unicorn gas mask. So it’s like, if you see a white unicorn, you’re gay. No, it’s me.
MJC: It’s a very difficult costume to be in and wear because I can’t breathe very well and like, you can’t talk to me so it’s really great if I don’t want to talk to you. And I’m like, “Great. I’m a unicorn. Bye.” But I always win, you know, costume contests or, you know, ’cause no one’s dressing up like a white unicorn. So yeah, do you guys like unicorns?
L: I love unicorns.
M: I love unicorns.
M: On my desk right now I have a unicorn cup. I have, actually two unicorn cups, a coaster. (laughs)
MJC: There you go. I’m usually drinking from my unicorn glass but my cat like, stole it, like she’s getting to be like, I think she’s like 35 years old, and she’s getting to be finicky. So she only wants to drink from glasses now. So I’m giving her these like, glasses and filling it ’cause I think it’s like, maybe she’s just getting arthritis too much. So I give her these glasses and she just bitches at me. And I’m like, “Do you want this glass?” And finally she’s like, “Yes. Only this glass.” And like, but that’s my glass. And she’s like, “Ugh. I’m 35.” So, you know.
MJC: She has stolen my glass.
L: I love it. I got really into trying to get my daughter to watch My Little Pony because like, I love the new My Little Pony and I was like, “Yes! Unicorns! Ponies! Everything!” And then my daughter was just like, basically the kid version of like, not enough shit is blowing up on this TV show (laughs) so I don’t want to watch it.
MJC: I haven’t watched the new one. I remember the old one. Yeah.