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35,000 FT – By the time I get this posted, I will have already arrived back home in Seattle, but as it is, I'm writing this post on the last leg of my trip inbound at about thirty-five thousand feet above somewhere in Texas (and yes, Fuck Texas!). As you can probably guess, I'm back on the road again, traveling the United States and Canada, exploring the fetish/Sm scenes across the continent and contributing what I can to a broader sense of community. Two weeks ago I was in Vancouver, BC for the Mr Leatherman Vancouver 2010 contest. This past weekend I was in Tampa, FL for Leather Ball 3. I'll be in Seattle, WA this coming weekend for M4MKink.com's Gear Night at the Cuff Complex and a gig at the local bath house. And shortly after that, I'll be ringing in the New Year at Steam Portland, with quite a contingent of boys in tow, I might add. Yes, it looks like we're getting busy again. Here's a recap of the events in Vancouver and Tampa the past couple weeks as well as more details on what to expect as 2009 comes to a close.
Not too long ago, I was asked to participate in the 2010 Mr Leatherman Vancouver contest weekend as both a member of the judging panel and as a presenter. Now, I've still got some pretty mixed feelings regarding the whole leather title thing... I still question the relevance of leather titles and the efficacy of title contests and the benefits they bring to (or suck from) the community. But there is no doubt, that when produced successfully, leather title contests can serve to unite a community, identify new leadership and provide a gateway to this thing of ours... cathartic experience and sacred knowledge.
The fact is, until this past weekend, the last time Vancouver had a leather title contest was over three years ago. What happen? I'm not really privy to the details but I'm told, diplomatically, there was a falling out of factions. More likely, given the relatively small size and scope of Vancouver's fetish/Sm community, there was a conflict of personalities that resulted in fractured coalitions, feelings of disassociation and apathy. Or perhaps it was just burn out, i.e. the same few individuals growing fatigued of doing all the work. I imagine the truth lies in the middle ground that is a combination of both.
Whatever the case, under the strong leadership of my dear friend and Mr International Rubber 2009, Stéphane, along with sponsorship by Priape and the Knights of Malta - Vancouver, the Mr Leatherman title has returned to Vancouver... and in a big way. Five contestants representing local businesses and organizations including Vancouver Men in Leather, the Pumpjack, Steamworks Vancouver, Numbers and Junction Public House vied for the city-wide title. In addition to the expected contest events like the Meet & Greet and contest, there were workshops, demos, cocktail party, leather dinner and two play parties and various locations throughout the city. It was the strongest showing of leather and fetish I've witnessed in Vancouver in years and an impressive display of community.
I extend my thanks to everyone involved in making this past event a wonderful success for Vancouver’s Leather community. I was proud to be a part of this rekindling of tradition and honored to be among the panel of judges that selected Doug Mitchell (pictured on the right) as Mr Leatherman Vancouver 2010. I am confident his service will be a benefit to the community. Clearly, all of the contestants are making important contributions that I hope continue through the upcoming year. I was particularly impressed by and have great expectations of the young man who placed as the first runner-up. Paul (pictured on the left) had a powerful presence and could very well become a strong leader in the local community.
Thanks to photographer Barry Piersdorff, I've posted galleries of images from both the Mr Leatherman Vancouver 2010 Meet & Greet (where we were able to raise over $1200 auctioning off items donated by Priape while stripping me bare) and the Mr Leatherman Vancouver 2010 Contest.
Less than a week after Vancouver I was on the other corner of the continent visiting what has become my favorite getaway in Florida. My first visit to Tampa and gaYbor came over this past Labor Day weekend and I immediately fell in love with the city and many of the individuals that are a part of its local community. I was thrilled the learn that the folks from the Ybor Eagle had invited me back for Leather Ball 3, but felt even more honored when I was welcomed back as though I was a valued member of that community.
In recent interviews and public comments I've talked about a renaissance of sorts in the leather/fetish community throughout the US and Canada. Ybor is an excellent example of the kind of activity that suggests this revitalization. The gaYbor District association, the opening of the Ybor Eagle, the support of venues like Gbar and the Honey Pot, the leadership of individuals like Stephen Moss, and the contributions of individuals in the local community ranging from bar staff, drag queens and patrons through the Tampa Bay Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence and local Leather leaders all contribute to a growing sense of community for the region. Leathermen, dykes, Rubbermen, gear enthusiasts, fetishists and other queer kinksters now have a place to congregate in the Ybor Eagle. Events like the contest for the bar title, Leather Balls and the upcoming Tampa Bay Leather Sir/boy weekend create a regional draw. And a new vitalization is expressed by the people I've met from the area.
Titan Media's Flux.
As I finish up this post, I've been back in Seattle for a couple days. I've pretty much been heads-down working with clients, caring for my local boy Timmy as we move through to his final round of chemotherapy in his treatment plan to fight Burkett's lymphoma and dealing with the administrivia that is the close of the year.
This Saturday, however, I will be doing a local electro demo at the Cuff Complex as part of M4MKink.com's Gear Night. The demo goes off at 21:00h and will go on until DJ MattStands starts spinning at 22:00h. I'll be demonstrating play with the Violet Wand featured in the second scene of Shock Treatment and will be happy to answer any questions you might have about electrical play during the demo. Remember, Gear Night is a regular occurrence on the third Saturday of each month. M4MKink.com and Cuff Complex have created a VIP Card for the event. If you are dressed in leather/fetish gear and you have this card you can get in for free and use the "exit" door to enter the club. No lines! Check out M4MKink.com to get the current VIP graphic and print it out. You can then use it and your valid ID to enter as a VIP and you will not have to pay a cover.
Later this Saturday night, well early Sunday morning actually, I will be playing Naughty Santa at Steamworks Seattle from 01:00h to 03:00h.
Then at the end of the month I'll be on-hand for Steam Portland’s 2010 New Year’s Eve celebration with my boys Derek Da Silva & Chris Yosef... and our puppy, Element. We will be available for questions and autographs prior to the Champagne Toast at midnight in addition to starting the New Year off with a special performance that you can only see in a private men’s club & bath. Steam Portland is located at 2885 NE Sandy Blvd in Portland, OR. Don’t forget to check out Steam Portland’s site for important information about the club.