Thursday, January 5, 2012

BootWeekend-SEATTLE 2012

BootWeekend was a success in Portland and Seattle has asked to join in the fun, this time not for charity.
The cost will be low, $25 for the weekend and the emphasis on BOOTBLACKING will be increased.
Though there is no Wesco factory in Seattle, they will show us what they have to offer...
Including a great leather bar, their Sex Positive Community Center, and lots of boot lovers!
ALL the details can be found at:
BootWeekend-SEA 2012

Calls for presenters are open until January 15th and you get in for free!
Hope to see you there in some capacity.
In boots,
Dylan

Wrap up

I have not forgotten about this blog and the work I do carries on every day. I will post a summary of everything I did during my title year, but for now I am just taking some time to focus on my life and my partner's health. I'm so grateful for everyone I have met and for the work ahead.

My Stepdown Speech as NW Community Bootblack 2011

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Internationals!

Send off at the bar-check
Send off at my home with the bootblacks-check
Asking my community to participate in the PAIR-A-Day Challenge --check
Kit torn apart and re-assembled 3 times---check
Handler(s) obtained ---check
Handlers created beautiful schedule and plan for food domination ---check
All of my leathers cared for---check
Research and Interview Questions Printed
Applications printed
Passport copied
Blog Updated--check!
Well wishes received along with 6 stitches in my left palm---check!
Leave tonight and so excited!!!

Titleholder support in the end times...

Helping Mr. and Ms. Oregon State Leather out with their final fundraiser--Leather Family garage sale I realized the look on their faces. It reflected the look on mine and it clicked. I needed to again write about supporting your titleholders and what that really looks like.

Sure lots of people hang around in the middle of our title years---at parties, at conferences, they ask us amazing questions that allow us to learn and teach and hopefully this is the part of the year where we still have the energy to play and possibly..gasp...get laid. But the end of the year comes around and it seems the party has moved on, the intensity of the board meetings has stepped up and our fun quotient has dropped harder that the housing market. This is the time of year when I know to step up. Having helped many a family member through title I now know the time to be present is after the garage sale and the 20th fundraiser for the Food Pantry to help haul stuff away. They made the event, they advertised the events, they often hosted the events, gathered the donations and raised the money---and now no one wants to haul the junk off to the thrift. I plan for these times as someone who values service behind the scenes and step up--even if I am that same end to my year.

Helping eachother be honest with someone in a confidential manner is also huge. This is something as one titleholder to another I was able to do but found it hard to share my challenges with others out of fear of things entering the gossip circles. I have learned a few things form grassroots organizing and these may sound like "in" words or concepts but they are relevant. Mutual Aid. Respect. Solidarity. Commitment. All of these words come to mind when helping eachother out. Confidentiality and discretion would seem to be strong points in this community so concerned with being "outed" but when sharing the nitty gritty details or challenges these are paramount to being a good listener and friend-and believe me we need those in our lives.

Did you know you too can throw a fundraiser for a titleholder? Did you know you too can donate your bootblack funds to our charities? Did you know that the connection you have to that leather store that could result in an auction item for our ump-teenth fundraiser can be obtained by--yourself. We talk about business burnout, charity burnout, fundraiser burnout. But if we really shared these responsibilities and focused on giving back to each person who contributes as a whole community --and didn't just leave it for the titleholder to do perhaps we would all feel a little less burnt out-including the businesses giving. The more faces seen in these establishments supporting their business and local titleholders the more it shows the owners their generosity is paying off. There are so many ways non-titleholders can help out and it really doesn't look like being up on stage--it is behind the scenes. But if you ask us, please make sure to follow through, and know that we will be grateful for the hand up behind stage and hopefully show that while on stage. Thank you's go a long way.

Long overdue--Small places big pieces

Sometimes I work like I'm still in college and that is like me saving up all these big ideas that I want to write on and then exploding on the page. That was the plan here since I got swept away with the last few months but now I am working with an injured hand but let's begin the writing down of the backlog with the story of Alaska.

So of the last few months have been spent traveling-no surprise to those of you who have crossed my path.
One of the final highlights of this year being my trip to Alaska for Northern Exposure 2.0. I was invited to bootblack the conference, teach a few classes on my own and with my mentor, Coral Mallow: Ms. Oregon State Leather 2007 and to help out with some fundraising for the event. I got to invite my Daddy and my mentor along with a dear friend and big  brother type with me on this wild adventure. I hope to write more eloquently about it later but will summarize with how important it is to harder to reach regions to have titleholders visit and to have leather people in general visit. We were able to help the event by sharing our input of what makes events good/bad/ugly, our DM experience and knowledge, and about our traditions. Some places get most of their information year round from books and the internet and don't have much room for discourse or exchange of challenging viewpoints. To go there as the radical bunch of people my family is along with other outstanding and completely different people such as Big Bad Jim and Elwood out of Canada, Dr. Robert Rubel from the "lower 48" as they call us, Jim Duvall, and Daddy Wendell and Hobitt from Seattle for example. Out styles all had one thing in common-they were heavy, often on differing but extreme edges and almost all of us enjoyed a good laugh in our dungeon. I commend Sarha in picking such a line-up to bring in and for working her tail off to make this educational event happen.

As presenters we were forced to put our egos aside and to really learned to be a part of the production team-from buying toilet paper to cooking food for eachother to making sure we had enough smores for our closing night campout. We learned to laugh our asses off at getting directions in Alaska--take a left is all I will say for now and that little moose means big moose is nearby. Bear is tasty and the hospitality can't be beat. When asked to come back next year I immediately accepted despite the mishaps we did encounter--why?

Because they needed us there. They appreciated us there. Because the amount of fun we were allowed to have and the freedom we were allowed  was only outsized by the terrain and maybe the hospitality. Did I mention the hospitality?! These people picked us up, dropped us off, gave us a vehicle (an Audi) to use for the week, fed us the most amazing game they killed themselves, took us on tours, and shared anything we asked for without batting an eyelash. Smaller regions really do a lot to show us titleholders their areas and what makes them special and worth visiting and when we put aside our pretenses and ideas of convenience for two seconds we can see how much we can give and how much we really do have in places like Seattle and Portland. Alaska does not have monthly educational events let alone weekly events. Alaska does not have a public dungeon nor public play parties. Boise did not have a bootblack--and Alaska still does not. These are just a few examples of what we take for granted in the big cities of the NW and why I am glad i chose to travel far and wide this year to reach all of the NW--Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana.

Now if only someone would have a chat with Montana about how a Munch is not a play party is not a "community" but merely a small gathering of kinky like minded people in a vanilla setting--it was all they could seem to offer in terms of an invitation and I had to politely decline a visit to Montana for a munch--unless I just happened to be passing through. Perhaps an offer of lodging, a tour and some food and I could have made the trip--we do wonder about our leather brethren there-we know you are out there--somewhere.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

When I get fucked on bathroom floors...

I love filth-or at least the illusion of it. I fantasize of jerking off on bathhouse floors, lapping up strangers' piss off of shower floors-you know any take on the Dark Back Alley type fantasies. I will never forget the first time I was pressed up against the Tire Center's trash bin in a dark alley in my neighborhood by my first dominant-It made me feel so dirty--and so hot! But before recently shooting a similar take of filth and piss on a bathhouse floor-I cleaned it thoroughly-no really. I have had MRSA, know about what can live on surfaces and didn't want any of that in my fresh cutting---nevermind the hot piss-it was sterile.

So why am I telling you about some of my dirtier fantasies?---to give myself "filth" credit before ripping into some things I experienced this weekend that were just not okay for me---me--a filthy pig. Yet people who would cringe at my fantasies likely didn't even notice-or applauded what I found abhorrent and unacceptable for an International Leather event. For all the reputation leather carries for having Protocol-I would assume Sexual Safety Protocol would be high on that list-especially with our ongoing legacy/nightmare of the HIV epidemic and the devastation it has unleashed on our community. It is a trauma to our community-all too fresh for most I speak to about their histories in Leather-and it often goes hand in hand with the statement "WE had no idea how it was spread then--thank God we do now." My issue is time and time again I am not seeing us acting like we know.

Mandatory condom use is it's own stand alone essay but I will mention-I am not one who thinks making a rule mandating condom/barrier use in a space is appropriate. I am a firm resident in camp R.A.C.K (Risk Aware Consensual Kink) and a social Libertarian to boot-meaning I don't want my personal life to be policed and I do not think laws or rules fix problems-EDUCATED and PRO-ACTIVE PEOPLE fix problems. So when you are done reading my rant about the dismal dungeon scene at IMsL please folllow up by reading this:
 http://www.actoronto.org/home.nsf/pages/bdsm
*The AIDS Committee of Toronto was recently awarded an International Leather Emerald Award from Tony Buff for all of the work they are doing for our communities and the greater populations of people affected by HIV and other STIs. They do the single most comprehensive BDSM and Safer Sex Booklet I have seen-and though it is even a little behind-it is the most accurate out there-it is more accurate than the CDC to give you an idea. *

So back to the dungeon at hand-IMsL's dungeon. I reported for duty to DM the Men's Dungeon on the first night of IMsL. I prepared thoroughly for this task-as my experience had been at smaller events and venues and I wanted to make sure to be at my best when DM'ing for an International Event. I have been playing publicly for 8 years now and have a good idea of what to expect and what to prepare for and I had never seen so much lacking in my life-even at the Fetish bar nights I used to attend. I will list the safety deficiencies I witnessed:

No DM Armbands/vests/indicators of any kind
*we cut up a red hanky and tied it around our left arms the first night---which as most of you may know=fisting top-NOT DM but I hoped tying my emergency sheers to another piece of it might help indicate I was there to help. 

No real sugar was provided

The glasses used for water were---GLASS

No FIRST AID Kits --hell I couldn't even find duct tape and I borrowed some sheers

No Medical staff and no protocol for whom to call if there was a medical emergency was in sight

The surface cleaner for the furniture was unlabeled--I had to smell it to verify it was indeed Rubbing Alcohol
*RUBBING ALCOHOL KILLS NOTHING --It is a prep for skin but does not kill Hep C, HIV, Herpes Etc.

No towels or sheets were provided and MOST did not have them

The floors were filthy--the hotel only vacuumed them in the morning -before the classes were held in the same space and before the dungeon was set up that day

and LAST BUT NOT LEAST--THERE WERE NO CONDOMS---ANYWHERE---ANYWHERE!
*I put my emergency 3 I keep in my vest in my pocket in case someone asked
*The opening night of IMsL was the only night there were no condoms-fortunately- but completely UNACCEPTABLE!

When I tried to address these concerns with the DM coordinator, Security, and a Logistics Head-the attitude wavered between excuse making(like the person who was in charge quit) to indifference. Most attendees didn't seem to notice any problem with the things I mentioned and some even said that was normal for their region---do I live in a bubble in the Northwest? I find that hard to believe--yes we recycle and shit here but Safe and Clean dungeons are also apparently a local delicacy--ow ow ow.

DM'ing the space pushed every shred of boundaries and standards I had and I felt it was better to have a body than nothing and thanked my stars for my extensive wilderness First Aid and CPR/First AID backgrounds. But it felt downright irresponsible to even call myself a DM-when I had none of the tools I needed to do my job had something happened. SAFEWORD!

I dread sounding like Jay Wiseman and can't stress enough I am not a safety Nazi-I am an EDGE player--I and I was APPALLED. I only played once in the space this entire weekend due to not feeling it met my standards and due to being overworked but you can read more about the overworked volunteer staff at events and other interesting thoughts on what we put in and get out of these events anymore over at Leland Carina's Blog with Hobitt's (IMsL 2008) take on fundraising in the leather community:
http://lelandcarina.com/updates/?p=346 (There are 3 parts-this is PART 1).