The Avatar Club Los Angeles educational program for Wednesday, August 27 is Fire Play with Orpheus Black at MCC in the Valley, 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 starting at 8 PM.
Fire Play by Orpheus Black will include discussion on Basic Fire Safety: Preparing private or public fire play scenes, checking tools, fuel storage and transportation, safety equipment and measures, treating burns. Preparing the Sub: Easing fears, outlining safety protocols, negotiating safe words, phrases and gestures, cultivating the head space. Technique: Types of torches brushes and their differences, review of basic torching methods and basic cupping, tips and tricks Advanced Techniques Fire Painting Techniques:How to perform half body trails and full torso transfers Advanced Fire Cupping:Demonstration of horning, using cups as tie points and leads Torching Techniques: Safely combining rope bondage and fire play, safely increasing the heat and intensity of the flame.
Scene from Southwest Leather Conference 2017. Photo by Dave Rhodes
Southwest Leather Conference - Take the Plunge
Southwest Leather Conference 2018 - Take the Plunge will highlight the annual Southwest Master/slave Contest and Southwest Bootblack Contest in gorgeous Phoenix, Arizona. Southwest Leather Conference also includes Dance of Souls hook pull ceremony, keynote brunch, play parties, a large number of classes and workshops, Leather Tribe Revival and other socials. http://www.southwestleather.org/content/registration NOLA Leather to Geaux 2018 March 16 - 18, 2018 hosted by NOLA Leather to Geaux March 16-18 at 6 PM at the Phoenix, 941 Elysian Fields Ave, New Orleans, LA 70117-8535.
In 2014 the world's largest Leather/BDSM/Fetish event, the Folsom Street Fair, will take place on Sunday, September 21 from 11 AM to 6 PM. The Folsom Street Fair is usually held on the last Sunday of September.
Things get back to normal in 2015 with the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 27.
According to Jacob Richards, outgoing Board President, “The decision to move the fair date this year was not taken lightly. When we have a conflict with Sales Force or Oracle Open World, the entire inventory of hotel rooms for the city is sold out. To avoid conflicts with other important events that bring visitors and revenue into San Francisco, we must look at the last two weekends in September. We hope that this announcement will give everyone with plenty of advance notice."
Click here for more information on Folsom Street Events.
Michael "Nefarious" William Roache, born on May 24, 1967, passed away on Monday, December 30, 2013 in Spartanbug, SC. Michael is Mr. Southeast Leather 2009, was a handler and major assistant for the Southeast Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather contest, a well-liked bootblack and presenter at many Leather/BDSM/Fetish conventions.
A memorial service was held for Nefarious at the Green Lawn Heritage Chapel in Spartanburg.
By Boy Andy
Life is all too short. This has been brought to the forefront of our minds so much in recent days. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. We are not even guaranteed more than the moment we are currently living. My best friend died less than a week ago. It was sudden, it was unexpected, and it was devastating.
The Red Dragons Riding Club inducted their newest club, the Lagniappe Chapter based in Louisiana, with a Friday night, January 24 ceremony on the outdoor patio of the Crowne Plaza Hotel, host of the Southwest Leather Conference of which the Red Dragons are a sponsor of the Southwest Leather Conference Bootblack Lounge.
Approximately 40 members and many onlookers shared the ceremony which featured a Native American blessing.The Red Dragons Riding Club is a national BDSM/Leather motorcycle riding club dedicated to serving the BDSM and Leather communities..
There are five chapters with one in each in Southern California (the Mother chapter), as well as in Arizona (Centennial Chapter), Washington State (Evergreen Chapter), Canada and Louisiana (Lagniappe Chapter).
Take this survey even if you’ve never had a consent violation. The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) wants to know what are your power exchange and sexual identities. Are you “out” about being kinky? How often do you go to BDSM groups and online communities?
The NCSF will use these results to help perform its advocacy, such as helping law enforcement, prosecutors and health care professionals understand the experiences of kinky people and provide better quality service.
This survey is anonymous and your privacy is guaranteed by Survey Monkey, a secured survey hosting website. The NCSF does not have access to any identifying information about the participants.
GLLA 2017 Sir and boy contestants with auction baskets. Photo by Indy
By Christina Court
With a Mardi Gras theme Great Lakes Leather Alliance 2017 in Indianapolis, IN (September 28-October 1) was a weekend filled with parties, events and play that left all in attendance earning and tossing beads at one another and shouting, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!"
Spirits flowed in the hospitality suite, the Littles held a talent show; Pups held a meet and greet, a mosh pit, and hosted the cookout during the GLLA auction; and Bootblack Alley had a host of guest Bootblacks.
After hours parties included A Masked Affair, a masked lip sync and karaoke party; Friday night Ash Bash cigar, boots, and bourbon party; and a Saturday Victory disco party with Chicago’s DJ Milty that capped off the contest and left all the dancing Leatherfolk deliciously sweaty and ripe.
Beyond Vanilla will be held September 26-28 in Dallas, Texas, celebrating almost a quarter of a century on fun in the Lone Star State. Hotel Rooms are going fast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Dallas. Reserve yours in the Beyond Vanilla block to get the lowest rate. In addition to discounts in overnight parking.
The fun begins Thursday evening at 6 PM at The Dallas Eagle for the Beyond Vanilla Kick-Off. A complimentary shuttle bus will be running to and from the Crowne Plaza and The Dallas Eagle from 5:30 PM to 2 AM. Early Check-In will be available at The Eagle so you can avoid the lines on Friday.
Friday registration opens at 10 AM, with Vending, and Silent Auction opening at 12:30 PM. Workshops run from 1-6:30 PM. The night's entertainment starts at 7 PM.
Saturday will pry eyes open at at 8:30 AM when Vending, and Silent Auction opens. Workshops start at 9 AM and run all day with a break for lunch.
1. For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself & what your titles are.
First the easy part: As far as titles are concerned, all mine have been given to me as honorary titles.
1999 Man of the Year from National Leather Association International
2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from National Leather Association International
2010 Recipient of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leather Leadership Award
2012 Presidents Award - Pantheon of Leather
Now the hard part: I am a native Texan and have been active in the LGBT community since the early 1970's. I became fascinated with Leather in the late 1970's and stepped into my first Leather bar sometime around 1978. Since that fateful day I have continued on my Leather journey and am a former member of the Dallas Motorcycle Club, Leather Rose Society, National Leather Association, Discipline Corps and a founding member of Inquisition Dallas.
I have written many articles on Leather/BDSM topics and am the author of four books currently in circulation including "Family Jewels, a Guide to Male Genitortureand Torment "and” Soul of a Second Skin-Memoirs of a Gay Christian Leatherman."
I have also directed a few films on Leather/BDSM subjects including "Leather" a short film-poem about the gay male Leather experience and "Out of the Darkness, the Reality of SM" a documentary on the critical difference between SM and abuse.
Professionally I am a Marketing Specialist and I live in Dallas with my boy/partner of 18 years Patrick and our feline mistress, Elvira.
2. What or who got you started in the leather community and for how long?
What drew me to Leather was the hyper-masculinity of it. I never considered myself feminine; nor was I attracted to feminine men. Leather just pushed all the right buttons for me and once I got involved I fund that I really liked rough sex and SM.
The community, as such, didn't really exist when I came in, but the subsequent AIDS crisis pulled us together and gave us a real sense of purpose. We, in Dallas, started educating our community to the many ways sex could be hot and kinky and still be safer-sex.
3. Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?
Currently I am a member of NLA: Dallas and Discipline Corps. NLA: Dallas is a pan-sexual organization with a mission to educate and network Leather/Fetish/BDSM folk of all sexual orientations and genders.
Discipline Corps is a men-only social and play group whose primary focus is monthly dungeon parties and having a good time!
When I go to a bar it is the Dallas Eagle, our local Leather bar, though I am not officially affiliated with it the owners, Mark Frasier and Jeffery Payne are close friends of mine.
4. How did you enjoy being one of the judges at IML XXX5 and what were your favorite moments?
Judging at IML was an amazing experience. I was worn out form the long days, but energized by the great men I met during the experience. I knew most of the judges before the contest, though I did make new friends since a couple of the judges were new faces to me. We all bonded immediately and the contestants were all outstanding. The final choice was very hard, since any of the Top 20 could have easily been a wonderful IML.
My favorite moments were getting to meet so many folks from outside the US, and the South African delegation was a particular joy!
5. Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.
As far as charity work I have several. My contributions to my church, Cathedral of Hope are an ongoing passion of mine. We even have a full pew of Leather folk wearing their colors every Sunday. I also work with Kiva, a micro loan organization that funds small businesses and individuals across the world.
I serve as Chairman of the Board for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance in Washington, DC and work raising funds to support it and its many programs.
6. Tell us about your leather family.
My leather family is small, just me and my boy/partner. My extended Leather family is larger. About 8-10 close friends who I think of as family. Beyond that I have a large circle of friends who I have met at events and contests all over the continent and they too, are like family. I consider them my Leather cousins.
7. Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
I have to say my father. He taught me a lot as far as values and how to treat other people. He was authentic and honest and I try to emulate that. He loved his work and his family. He was intellectually curious and being a scientist, he never stopped learning, and that is something I think I got from him.
8. In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?
The biggest misconception I see about the Leather community is that we are some sort of homogenous group with a written code of conduct and values. No such thing. We are as varied as the general population, except for our love of kink and Leather. As a whole I have found our community does communicate more than the average vanilla folk, and I attribute that to the fellowship of our organizations and to the need for communication when we play.
9. What would you say are the most important strengths to have as a Leather man?
Honesty, authenticity and a good bull-shit detector.
10. What does leather mean to you?
I could prattle on about this topic forever but I would sound like I was doing a canned speech for a title contest. In reality leather means as many different things as there are people involved in it. Some simply are drawn to the fetish. Leather clothes and gear are sensual, organic and arousing. Some are drawn to the BDSM aspect of it. That was part of my attraction.
Leather folk, the energetic and intense encounters that SM play offers. I went into it thinking I would be a "grey Hankie" guy. Only into bondage and light SM but quickly realized that bondage was really not very interesting to me and more hard-core SM was my thing. Changed my hankie to black and never looked back.
11. What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?
It is in a state of flux. Leather always changes, as sexual pioneers we are on the edges of what is possible physically and sexually and so there will always be something different and new. I see a disturbing trend to try to turn back the clock and relive the glory days of Leather in the 1970's, but surprisingly the people who are trying to do that are predominately straight. They have adopted the Leatherman look as though it was a codified uniform and remind me of " Renfair" folks, donning period costumes and role playing at Leather.
12. What does sexual freedom mean to you?
As someone who came of age I the late 1960's sexual freedom means being able to define my sexuality on my own terms Being able to enjoy consensual activities with other adults and not have to conform to any rigid rules. I have begin to think of myself more as "Queer" than gay, not because I do not have an affectional orientation toward men, but because I enjoy playing with anyone so long as we click and our goals are the same. Sexual freedom is a basic human right, it is up to us to define it and express it and celebrate it.
13. Whats your view on the huge anti-gay wave that is happening in certain states in America? What do you think people can do to protect their rights and help others retain it?
What you mentioned as the "anti-gay wave" sweeping parts of the country is not a massive display of anti-gay sentiment in my opinion. It is the last gasp of the hard core bigoted right. Their attitudes are dying out. Public opinion polls show most Americans believe in equality for LGBT citizens. What these anti-gay laws are is an attempt by the right to change the framing of the issue from "equality" to "religious freedom" or as I call it the freedom to hate.
All of these attempt have failed and even in far-right leaning states like Arizona. Even there the Governor recognized it's not a religious freedom issue it is equal rights. The laws are clumsily crafted and over reaching to begin with and would not withstand judicial scrutiny, so I have o believe its just politics and its not working.
14. We all have so many issues we want to highlight, please tell us what cause is close to your heart right now and how are you involved?
The issue closest to my heart is the cause of sexual freedom. I believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and as such it needs to be protected and nourished. To that end, I work with the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, a human rights group with the focus on sexual freedom. In fact I am chairperson of the board. That's how involved I am and how important it is.
We work to affect policy concerning sex education, freedom of speech, sex workers and gender and sexual inequality. It's a great organization that has made a real difference for our country. Woodhull holds the gender and sexuality seat on the US Human Rights Network, the group which monitors our country's adherence to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.
15. What advice can you give a future title holder?
Be authentic, approachable and honest. Bull-shitters stick out like sore thumbs. The title holders I know and admire are all down to earth folks who try to use their titles to benefit the community not themselves.
16. Tell us what your favorite piece of Leather is and why?
Other than my hat, my favorite piece of Leather is my flogger. It was made by Janet Hartwood and designed to fit me perfectly. The falls are longer than most folks like, but they balance perfectly with the handle and the flogger becomes an extension of my body when I play. I have several floggers and all were custom made for me. I believe if you invest in quality your toys will live as long as you do.
17. In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?
Hard to say. I used to think of them as the same, but apparently there are folk who see a big distinction. Leather does not imply SM, it can simply be a fetish. It is also a different kind of community and that is what sets it apart nowadays. To some folks Leather can only be gay men and BDSM is pan-sexual. There is another word that is loaded with nuance. Pan-sexual was a word coined by the Leather community to describe its inclusion of all sexual orientations, but has been co-opted by the straight community to mean "heterosexual" sexual orientation with some lesbians thrown in for spice. If I sound cynical, that's because I have seen this in practice. Play space where two women playing together was acceptable if they were playing in ways that the men enjoyed, but men playing together got stares and snide comments.
Personally I don't have problems playing in the newly defined "pan-sexual" spaces, I think a Leather person can define their own Leather-space and create a scene wherever it works.
18. Please tell us exactly what is beyond vanilla & what are your favorite activities you indulge in?
I would think anything that goes beyond plain sex would qualify as beyond vanilla. Spankings, role play, bondage, SM all of it moves beyond vanilla for me. My favorite activities are floggings and clothespins and CBT, but most often these are woven into some kind of erotic experience. I think all SM is better with an element of Eros. It doesn't have to be penetrative sex, but without a sexual aspect it has less appeal for me.
19. What’s the funniest safe word that you have heard?
Then comes the safe word. I have heard lots of strange ones from "aardvark" to "Pontiac". Personally, I like this system. I tell my bottom or sub to call me "Sir" as long as he or she is having fun, and to call me "Hardy" if they need to talk. It keeps the communication going and has never failed me.
20. What’s your favorite drink? And if you could invent a cocktail for the Leather community and what would you call it?
Well I stopped drinking in 1986 so my favorite drink is sparkling mineral water. My drink for the community would be just that, mineral water with a chaser of mouthwash, cause I love kissing and detest bad breath!
18. We would love to have you visit South Africa in the future, what classes do you think we could benefit from?
I do a lot of classes, but my favorites are a workshop I call "Putting Sex Back in SM." The pan-sexual dungeons in the US are notoriously tepid when it comes to palpable eroticism. Many do not allow sexual activities for legal reasons and some just are uncomfortable with sex. This workshop is intended to put that spark of the erotic back into the play in the dungeon and discusses and demonstrates how scenes can become erotic encounters with no "traditional sex" happening.
My "Family Jewels" workshop is always fun. Concentrating on CBT and how it can become part of a scene. I explain the use of toys, safety and exploration of various aspects of genitorture.
I have a complete list of classes I present I can provide you.
19. In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the Leather community of South Africa?
I would add that the Leather community in South Africa seems to be vibrant and growing and I encourage you to continue to explore, share what you learn and nurture the next generation of Leatherfolk. To them you will become the "Old Guard" and with that is the heavy responsibility of knowing you are setting an example for future generations. Play hard, play safe, have fun!
Capitalizing on the momentum generated at Great Lakes Leather Alliance where two Minnesotans won regional titles, Minnesota Leather Pride announced the first Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest. The new contest will be part of Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, which also features the first Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy contests, to be held April 3-5, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“When we began planning for Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we started with Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy with the expectation additional contests would be added over time,” said Tim Holden, chair of the Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend committee and member of the Minnesota Leather Pride board. “When Tim Hotchkin won Great Lakes Leather boy and Riches won Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride, the board agreed the timing was right to add the Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride contest to what is already shaping up to be an exciting weekend!”
The winner of the Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest, along with the winners of Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy, will go on to compete at Great Lakes Leather Alliance held Oct 1-4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Contestants for Ms Minnesota Leather Pride must be 21 years old and identify as a woman in the Leather/Kink/BDSM community.
“With the addition of Ms Minnesota Leather Pride to Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we feel this event will have something for everyone,” said Holden.
On November 2 The Threshold Society will present its annual Bizarre Bazaar. In addition to numerous vendors, there will be sampler booths, food, and entertainment.
This event is open to the entire community, with the doors opening at 1 PM and the fun winding down at 7 PM. Admission is $10. There will be vendors from around the country and locally who will be selling some of the finest and most interesting wares in town. Here is an opportunity to handle and size those "special" items for which one has been looking.
The sampler booths will give Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Gearfolk a chance to try some activities they may only have been fantasizing about. Try out the violet wand, or a flogger, or a needle or two. What does a cane feel like? Here is a chance to get a small taste in a safe and fun atmosphere.
Join Threshold on the night of November 1 for the club's version of Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, play party. It is the night the "spirits," so get closest to the land of the living and celebrate the night away. This party is open to the community and admission is $20.
The Southern California Leather Gathering (SCLG) 2014 will be held on Saturday, June 21 at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte, CA, from 11 AM - 4 PM.
SCLG is an annual outdoor picnic gathering that is open to all Leather/BDSM/Fetish, kink, motorcycle and bear individuals and/or groups of all genders and orientations. The aim of the Southern California Leather Gathering is to provide an opportunity for these various folk to interact in a relaxed atmosphere, have fun and raise awareness about the size and diversity of the Leather/BDSM groups within Southern California. There will be games and prizes. Several clubs and groups bring tents or umbrellas.
Bring your own food and beverages (non-alcoholic only). Feel free to bring extra food to share. There will be grills heated up and available for anyone that wants to grill food.
Financial and health difficulties have contributed to the planned closing of the first and only dungeon to be open in the Inland Empire (Redlands, CA). It was announced by the management of the club that the official closing will be the end of September, 2013. However, there is the possibility of the club staying open if there is an interest by an organization or individual to take it over. The owners of the club are hoping that someone will come forward that can provide the financial backing needed to keep a club such as Le Fleur de Lis open and operating.
Rounding out multiple days of screenings and parties in its eleventh anniversary appearance, organizers for CineKink NYC/2014 announced the recipients of awards in a range of categories during the film festival's closing celebrations held on Sunday, March 2.
Audience Choice Awards for CineKink 2014 were given to Broken Side of Time (Gorman Bechard) for Best Narrative Feature, with The Sarnos: A Life in Dirty Movies (Wiktor Ericsson) winning for Best Documentary Feature. The CineKink Choice awards were determined by audience ballot just following each eligible film's screening during the festival.
In the shorts competition, juried festival awards went to "Humain Chaleur" (Christophe Predari) for Best Dramatic Short, Another Happy Anniversary (Miranda Bailey) for Best Comedy Short, Dear Jiz (Ms. Naughty) and Trains (Paul Deeb) tied for Best Experimental Short, and Black Folk Don’t: Do BDSM (Angela Tucker) for Best Documentary Short. Honorable Best Mention awards were presented to Music Box (Anna Brownfield), Tom's Gift (Todd Verow and Charles Lum) and Un Bisous Americain (JM Darling).
Amazon Video Direct is banning Robert Dante's bullwhip instructional video Bullwhip - Art of the Single Tail Whip. Amazon.com has been selling the hour and seven-minute long single tail instructional video for $19.99 for 8 years. They continue to sell the DVD released through Amazon in February of 2008, and at least 6 other similar titles, while simultaneously banning it on the re-seller giant's own digital services.
Dante applied to have the video streamed on Amazon Video Direct. It was rejected. They refused to give any reason - perhaps it was because it is about consensual BDSM, but whatever their reasons, this video scared them. Want to see the video? Well lucky for you Dante quickly found another, friendlier provider, to www.bullwhip.xxx and see what the hullabaloo is all about (or just a topless chick getting her titties bullwhipped cause...Dante's work is hawt!!!).
The interesting thing is that Amazon has been selling Dante's video for 14 years with no problems. It was vetted by the Ontario Film Board in 1995 and approved. The instructional video received only positive reviews, including in Adult Video News.
"I must assume it is being rejected not for its content, but for what it actually is: a factual, educational DVD about consensual BDSM, with no sex, no nudity, no injury, no humiliation, no degradation. This is from the same company that brings the execrable "Fifty Shades of Grey" and "The Secretary" to its audiences." Dante ruminated in his letter to us.
Dante sent TLJ the full Orwellian exchange, in chronological order, after it had been rejected at lower executive levels: