Domming The Matrix

You knew there was a reason why costumes for The Matrix were so fetishy looking. Apparently co-director Larry Wachowski is rather intimately connected with the fetish community--or at least, with one member of it.

Wachowski is in the middle of a messy divorce from his wife, Thea Bloom, who in court documents stated, "[Wachowski] has been extremely dishonest with me in our personal life." Is she referring to Wachowski's alleged penchant for cross-dressing, and his relationship with California professional dominatrix and fetish video performer Ilsa Strix? According to the London Mail, Strix reportedly accompanied Wachowski to the premiere of The Matrix Reloaded, and naturally, the Hollywood gossip sheets are aflame with curiosity.

Fueling the fire is Strix's angry estranged husband, Jake Miller. Miller told the Mail that he had seen Wachowski and Strix engaging in kinky sex acts, that Wachowski was taking female hormone pills, and sniped, ''When Larry walked down the red carpet with my wife, he was probably wearing a bra and panties under his suit.'' Oh, that's nice--a guy who is himself a female-to-male transsexual outing a cross-dresser.

I don't know Ms. Strix well, but we've traded an e-mail or two over the years, and she comes across as an intelligent, sophisticated woman. She's respected in the industry, and she seems quite good at what she does. Frankly, being the object of this kind of media attention would drive me to drink, so I hope she'll be able to handle it. She has my complete sympathy in the matter of her pissy husband bitching to the press--I'm guessing she, too, will soon be in the California divorce courts, and not a minute too soon.

Wachowski is notoriously publicity shy, and he and Ms. Strix haven't made any statements about their relationship. In some ways, I hope they are madly in love, because that will make being given a public gynecological exam almost worthwhile. But I could also hope this is simply a shrewd career move for her, because she'll be less emotionally vulnerable to the inevitable nasty innuendos.

The bright spot in this mess is the refusal of Warner Brothers to comment on Wachowski's private life, saying in a statement that "[the Wachowski brothers] are uniquely gifted filmmakers. We support their extraordinary talent." Granted, it's based on their bottom line, not an ethical position, but still, it's nice to see them acknowledge that job performance is what counts. Long live the successful heir to Ed Wood.