Ivan Kralj, of organisers Mala performerska scena, says he did not set out to move the Zagreb date from early July — a wonderful time to visit this lovely city, as I discovered when attending Bestiarum-3 last year.
Rather, he tells me, the date change was an unavoidable consequence of the desire to secure a better venue for the party this year.
“The ‘perfect one’ we had in mind was ‘playing’ with us too long,” Ivan explains, “and all other appropriate venues didn’t have the right dates for us.
“So, to cut the story short, we had to do the best thing possible, and that was to return to our original venue from two or three years ago. We were not that free to pick dates, as we really wanted it to be on a Saturday.”
So the fourth edition of “the Balkans’ foremost fetish feast” will return to Zagreb’s Industrial Complex Jedinstvo on Saturday November 14.
This date pitches it into the high season where many other European fetish parties are competing for kinksters’ cash, and specifically into a direct clash with the next Dominatrix weekend.
This may limit the appeal of this year’s Bestiarum to kinksters outside the Balkans region. But I’m sure it will prove to be just as big an attraction for those in the Balkans region, who don’t have the choice of fetish partying available elsewhere in Europe.
And there is the added attraction of this year’s Bestiarum being preceded on Friday November 13 by the same promoter’s Freaky Friday sideshow event. So visitors to Zagreb that weekend have the potential to experience two of Mala prsa’s most edgy events, one after the other.
Ivan has once again donated three pairs of Bestiarum tickets for a Fetishistas giveaway. Closing date for entries is Monday September 21 — see the panel below for details of how to win!
Bestiarum 2015 looks set to keep its guests well entertained, with performances by Miss Crash (Las Vegas), Vladimir Jezic (Croatia), Spazam Orgazam/House of Flamingo (Croatia), Andrea Ropes (Italy), Clea Cutthroat (Berlin) and Roxanne.
The music will be spun this year by DJs DJRW (Netherlands), Rydel (Slovenia) and Zarkoff (Croatia).
This year’s artists are shown in the first gallery below.
And for anyone travelling into Zagreb from further afield, I’m sure it will still be worthwhile extending the visit so as to take in the other pleasures of this delightful location — even if the weather won’t be as nice as when I visited in July 2014.
For that first visit to Zagreb I had two most excellent travelling companions: Marnie Scarlet and her partner Max Deviant.
Marnie was one of several international acts booked to perform at 2014’s event, which was staged at Dramatic Club at Glavni kolodvor.
Our hotel, the Arcotel — just five minutes’ walk from Dramatic — is one I would certainly recommend to Zagreb first-timers. Although not quite as close to this year’s party venue, it’s very central and great for access to all the historic parts of the city centre.
The Arcotel offers four-star ‘lifestyle’ accommodation at more like two-star prices. At the time of writing, a standard room over the weekend of this year’s event would cost you less than €60 a night.
But be warned: while Croatia is now a member of the EU, it hasn’t yet joined the euro. So while some Zagreb establishments display guide prices in euros, the currency you’ll need for cash purchases is the kuna.
Our euros were obligingly changed to kunas at the casino next to our hotel by a charming female cashier who spoke perfect English.
We subsequently found that pretty much everyone else we encountered in Zagreb also spoke good English. People I talked to at the party attributed this to the population’s enthusiastic consumption of American movies and TV shows.
I soon discovered that Marnie and Max, who travel a lot for gigs outside the UK, like to take full advantage of any time off they have in foreign cities to go exploring.
And so we set off together on Friday afternoon to uncover some of Zagreb’s secrets.
The first objective of our walk was to locate the party venue. We soon encountered some very imposing buildings including the palatial Art Pavilion and the Esplanade Hotel.
The Dramatic Club, however, was surprisingly easy to miss, being in outward appearance the exact opposite of what its name suggested.
Initially, we walked right past its low-key, black glass frontage, located right next to the entrance to a shopping centre car park.
The former, with its government buildings, imposing 18th and 19th century Austro-Hungarian architecture and modern shops, contrasts markedly with the latter, with its narrow medieval streets, leading to the Gothic Zagreb Cathedral and 13th century St Mark’s Church.
Between the two areas runs the pedestrianised Tkalčićeva Street, where almost every door leads to a café, bar or restaurant and most have large covered outdoor dining areas facing their frontages.
Our walkabouts gave us healthy appetites and we were able to try out several different eateries that all offered great value when compared to London or even Berlin prices — on average about a third cheaper than equivalent offerings back home.
Eventually though, we had to stop being tourists and focus on preparing for Saturday night’s party. The day had been gloriously sunny, and it was still light when we set off on our walk to the venue.
Once inside the club’s entrance, it soon became clear that the internal layout closely followed the levels of the underground car park to which it was attached.
Spiralling down through three mineshaft-like levels, it has obvious appeal for those who like to do their clubbing in a dungeon-like space.
Unfortunately though, the layout of the two lower levels was not ideal for Bestiarum’s performance requirements, hence no great surprise that the event has moved this year.
All the performers had to do their shows on a small stage that took up most of the floorspace of the venue’s minimal mezzanine level, leaving very little room to accommodate an audience.
DJs — including Torture Garden’s Allen TG — worked in a booth sticking out from the opposite wall, midway between the basement (with its dungeon /play space set-up) and mezzanine floors.
Still, all the acts — entertainingly MC’d by Berlin-based American Scotty the Blue Bunny — delivered their performances in the true spirit of show business, a fact appreciated by the friendly and enthusiastic crowd.
After opening turn Andreas Ropes from Italy had finished tying up his shy-but-game female subject, Scotty took the spotlight to chat for a while before introducing Marnie, doing the first of two shows.
Clad in yellow latex with, as usual, various inflatables secreted about her person, she quickly proved with her first show that she had a lot of heart: three times as much as normal, in fact.
Hailing from New Mexico, Apollo Garcia took the stage to deliver what at first seemed to be some kind of hellfire bible-bashing sermon. But by the time he’d stripped down to his undies, he may have brought a whole new meaning to the term ‘lay preacher’.
Marnie’s second show was an old favourite of mine from her substantial repertoire, involving an all-white latex outfit, a vigorous bout of self-stapling and copious quantities of fake blood.
Final act Sado Opera describe themselves on Facebook as a “Russian-German music and show band”, but this hardly does justice to their brand of hi-energy, disco-fuelled stage antics.
Though rather long by fetish performance standards, their show delivered real crowd-pleasing value, putting big smiles on the faces of everyone who was watching and sparking levels of audience participation akin to Torture Garden’s legendary New Year’s Eve countdown shows.
Brilliant fun, and an act that could surely brighten up many more fetish events.
But what of the clubbers themselves? I chatted to, and photographed, a number of them, mainly in the upstairs bar area. They were a young crowd, and as with the folk I’d met around Zagreb’s streets in the past couple of days, they were friendly, and for the most part happy to engage in conversation and posing.
A few nervously avoided the camera, but most seemed happy to have their looks recorded for posterity.
With less choice of fetish designers in the region, I wasn’t expecting to see too many latex outfits, but still there was leather, corsets and shiny fabrics aplenty.
And there were those two latex bunnies in their complementary black and white outfits, who unsurprisingly crop up in quite a few of my gallery pix in this article, and in the main banner above.
Beneath the two bunny hoods, I discovered, were Absinthia Stacy (black bunny) and Iris Thespider (white bunny) — the latter better known to me now as Iris of House of Harlot, who made both costumes. To say they made a cute pair would be the understatement of the year.
To conclude: although I won’t be able to join in the fun at Bestiarum this November, I really hope it builds on the promising — and, I have to say, most welcoming — vibe of last year’s event.
Of course Zagreb in November will be cooler and damper than in glorious July. But I’d be willing to bet the party atmosphere will be every bit as warm as during my brief summer visit last year.
WIN THREE PAIRS OF TICKETS FOR BESTIARUM-4, NOVEMBER 14 2015
The Fetishistas has three sets of tickets to give away for Bestiarum-4 in Zagreb on November 14 2015. That means each of our three winners can attend the party with a guest, free — a prize worth €42 (320 kunas) per couple (door price).
Winners will be the first three entrants drawn on September 22 from all submissions received by the specified deadline. Winners will be notified by us immediately, via e-mail.
In your e-mail entry, please provide the name you wish to use for admission to the event, along with your town/city and country of residence. We may publish the names of winners so please provide an alternative “publication name” if you don’t want your “admission name” to be published.
Prizes will be sent in the form of e-tickets, which will be e-mailed to you direct from the event
IMPORTANT – COMPETITION RULES: The prizes in this competition are limited to admission tickets for the Bestiarum-4 party in Zagreb.
Prizes do not include entry to other events, accommodation, air fares or other travel costs or associated expenses, which are the responsibility of individual winners.
To be admitted to the Bestiarum-4 party, winners must abide by the dresscode specified on the Bestiarum website (below), where you can also find other useful info about the event and location. The editor’s decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.