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Seattle, WA – Folsom was a challenge this year. It was a full working week, plus. Between flying in on Monday and then out again the following Monday, we shot three scenes for the Rough line, attended several Folsom related parties, had brunch with Brian Mills who heads Titan's production department, dinner with the studio executives, performed at Magnitude, appeared at the Titan booth at the Folsom Street Fair and conducted a series of meetings relating to the Rough line. In the middle of all of this, Folsom Maneuvers was released and, as I mentioned in my previous entry, my local boy here in Seattle was rushed to the hospital with a serious infection. While at times it may have felt a little overwhelming, I was in good company the entire time. Our Titan crew for Folsom included (pictured from left to right): Will Parker, JR Matthews, Chris Yosef, myself, Derek da Silva and Francois Sagat.
Production on the three scenes we shot for the Rough line exceeded my expectations. I'm not going to go into the content other than to say we focused on a particular type of play that I really enjoy and to let you know that the cast was comprised of some truly amazing players including Will Parker and my boy Derek da Silva among others. We shot in the studio and the crew was incredibly smooth, so the action flowed almost seamlessly as it was caught by the cameras. The scene I topped engulfed me completely and what I saw behind the monitors of the other two scenes was an exquisite example of documentation so I'm certain these scenes will continue to help establish the Rough line's reputation as a documentary series of contemporary fetish/Sm play in the men's community. I don't think I could be more proud of the work we are doing toward that end or of the contributions being made by those players who are sharing their fetishes and talents with us.
Sidebar: Are you Rough enough? If you’re a heavy player who considers himself a sexual athlete and want to help us bring responsible fetish/Sm to the screen as a performer, submit an application for the Rough line today.
Friday night, just about the entire crew went to the Powerhouse for the official release party for Folsom Maneuvers. Francois Sagat, Will Parker, JR Matthews, my boys Derek da Silva, Chris Yosef, Rico, our pup Element, my fellow directors Paul Wilde, Brian Mills and our production coordinator Patrick were all on hand to launch the weekend. Afterward, Derek, Will and I went with Element to Chi Chi LaRue's Pop Goes the Zipper party where they danced and I performed some rigging. The best part of Chi Chi's party wasn't the rigging though; it was getting the opportunity to catch up with so many of our friends in the industry, like Mr Pam (photo left courtesy of TBall).
Saturday evening before we preformed at Magnitude, I took Derek to the exclusives dinner with the studio executives. Derek and I sat next to Francois during the dinner (photo right). This was fatuitous since it was really my first opportunity to catch up with my colleague since Folsom the year before. It was a welcome distraction from the busyness of week. We talked about travel, Francois' work in fashion modeling and our work on the BDSM presenters' circuit among many other things. The realization of just how much had happen over the course of the past year kind of came to me while trying to recap it over dinner conversation... a twenty-thousand foot view of a forty-thousand square-foot canvas.
Later that night I helped lead the troop of performers we had from Titan at Magnitude, the official dance party for Folsom Street Events during Folsom weekend. JR Matthews opened the show with some sport cracking with his eight-foot bull whip. It was a beautiful sight. I followed delivering a flogging to my boy Derek da Silva that brought gasps from the audience. JR reclaimed the stage with Will Parker for some oral copulation and play with a double dildo that made the crowd go wild. Then I had the honor of closing the performance with my boy Chris Yosef and a live fisting scene broadcast through the venue to the two to three-thousand in attendance. It was both exhilarating and exhausting. That did not, however, stop several of us from engaging in a good old-fashion circle-jerk after we got back to the studio apartment. With four, and I'm not telling you which four, seasoned performers getting off by getting each other off, it was a scene worthy of a Joe Gage feature.
The following day it was all hands on deck to man the Titan booth at the Folsom Street Fair. While the conversation at dinner might have brought the realization of just how busy the past year has been, the impact and consequence of that effort came crashing in like the throngs of people converging upon the booth and around me. From shortly after we arrived at 11:00 until the close of the street fair, we were inundated with barely a moment of recognition or connection between autographs and photographs. I was grabbed, jostled, screamed at, handed a photograph of myself covered in jizz and at one point rescued from the mob when Titan staff and event security had to pull me back over the tables and into the relative safety of the booth. I was asked to sign cocks, asses and tits but also pulled aside at a few points to be told how much people appreciate what we're doing with the Rough line. The whole thing was nearly overwhelming. My world had definitely changed in the course of the past two years.
Several years ago during one of the many trips I made to Vancouver BC while serving as Washington State Mr Leather 2002, JoanE, a performer and community activist, turned to me over brunch and asked, "so, darling, what's it like being a minor local celebrity?" Without missing a beat, I responded, "a major pain in the ass." It's true. Sometimes I feel like celebrity is the price some of us have to pay for our activism... well, celebrity and notoriety. Taking a stand as an advocate for responsible play and safer sex doesn't make you popular in some circles. One thing is perfectly clear from my experience over Folsom: my celebrity and notoriety have grown to an international level and well beyond the core community of players I've come to know.
Luckily, there were also moments of clarity that helped remind me why it's all worth the price. The new players that came up and said our work had helped them embrace their fetish; the seasoned players that thanked me for authentically capturing the kind of play they engage in; the young kid that came up to say he wasn't very kinky but heard he could get a checked hanky from me; and the three individuals I respect as leaders in my own community of family and friends who came by to say how proud they were of the work Derek, Chris and I were doing, all helped me center my energy and ground my presence... at least enough to get through the day.
Chris returned to Seattle with me the Monday after the street fair. Timmy was waiting for us at home having been released from the hospital that afternoon. I wasn't prepared for wait I saw. Although he lit up a bit when he saw us, Timmy was wasted from the infection, sunken and lethargic. That first week back I cleared my travel schedule for the month and settled into the tasks at hand. There is nothing quite like a family emergency to help us reestablish priorities.
As I finish writing this, I can hear my boy Timmy in the background talking to a member of his bio family. I can tell he's flustered. His voice is rapid, elevated and betrays his frustration as he explains, "Don't focus on the negative. Why do you have to be that way? Be thankful I'm not dead. Hell, be thankful you're not dead. Be thankful I'm going through the treatment and focus on the fact I'm doing well!"
I will take that as an apt reminder as I bring this to a conclusion, not by listing off the challenges that we've had to face, but by focusing on the fact that we have met those challenges and overcome them. Timmy is feeling strong, we are back on track with his treatment plan and I am optimistic of a full and speedy recovery. And, I am thankful to be home providing some stability to the situation.