Archive | November 2014

Paris is Burning!

Tonight I am heading out to Macomb’s Bridge branch of the NYPL (New York Public Library) to watch Paris is Burning. I’d never heard of the movie until about a month ago when a group of friends were talking about great movies, documentaries, and recording community history. All I truly remember was hearing the title and saying I had never heard of it, being told I must to see it, and that it was going to be shown at a local library branch in Harlem. Until a few minutes ago, I managed to control myself and not do a search on the movie to see what it was all about. I had been intrigued enough to want to go see it based on the credibility of the source telling me I must see it and the flashiness of the title. Finally though, mainly because of fatigue, I decided to look up what this movie was about to see if I truly needed to drag my ass off this couch and see this movie. It turns out I do.

PIBParis is Burning is a film made by a NYU film student documenting the late 1980’s and 90’s Golden Age of New York City’s drag balls. From what I read in the cliff notes about this movie it explores how its subjects deal with racism, poverty, AIDS, sex workers, sexual reassignment,  and intentional families social groups, performance teams, plus more. This sounds like a large body of work and Jennie Livingston, the NYU student who under took this project, spent seven years interviewing her subjects to learn how they dealt with their adversities.

I can see why my friend told me I must go see this movie, since I am a firm believer in the idea that we must explore the past to understand the present and shape the future. Also my friend just loves drag queen to pieces! Also, I was thinking about why it feels important to me to go see this and this thought came across my mind,”When someone you respect and view as an elder and Leather Daddy of that community says, ‘Go’, you do.” Something else in my thoughts is a curiosity about what type of cross section from the vanilla and the kink/BDSM community coms out to see this picture tonight.   I’m not sure if this movie is available for check out from public library systems, but you can find Paris is Burning sold on Amazon. As a final note before I bath and dress to head out the door I like to suggest this as a super excellent stocking stuffer for those who celebrate the holidays in that way 😀

Munch Munch Munch

One thing that has not changed over the years is that it is still very common to hear as a first suggestion to a new person in the BDSM scene that they attend a munch, but what are these munches and what happens there? Munches are gatherings of kinky folks in a neutral environments, usually a restaurant. It gives people a chance to meet face-to-face, ask questions in a non-threatening space, and socialize with new or old friends outside of a dungeon or party setting.  It’s a nice safe way to meet people over a meal   where no type of play happens and usually the appropriate dress attire is street casual. This morning I was thinking about my experiences at the various munches I’ve attended over the years.

cookiesAs I was baking chocolate chip cookies this morning for a friend, I started to think about the very first munch I attended in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. I was something around 29 and having had a small taste of “BDSM” in my private life I wanted to find and meet more people like me face-to-face. I researched a bit on the internet and found something called a “munch” that met in a restaurant and also a “slave auction” at a place called “Club Kink”. The munch met monthly at a local restaurant in a back room and we had a long buffet style table that fit everyone. I attended with my husband who was 35 at the time.  There were probably around 15-20 people and most of them appeared to be a lot older than we were.  We learned that a lot of people at the munch attended “Club Kink” and some people also went to a party called “The Fetish Factory”, both were local to the Ft. Lauderdale area. The one person I still am able to remember from that first munch was Mistress Elizabeth. Over the years I never really got to know or be friends with Mistress Elizabeth, but she is someone who always stood out in a crowd where ever she went. She was quite beautiful, graceful, and classy. I have to say that over all though my husband and I were not at all impressed with the munch and never went back. Looking back I think we suffered the term that is used now-a-days in the TNG era known as  C.O.P. (Creepy Old People) syndrome. Everyone seemed a lot older than us and somehow it felt a bit awkward and creepy.  We did end up going to Club Kink and The Fetish Factory parties and meeting some people that are still my close friends to this day.

Fast forward, some years later I found myself single again and after some time away from the public scene I went back to try to find my leather friends. I found a new women’s group called WOLF (Women of Leather Florida) had formed in the south Florida area. An incredible coincidence happened when I joined the women’s group. I discovered that the partner of the group’s owner was a former co-worker of mine that I had introduced to the “scene” just before I took my hiatus. We reignited our friendship and these two women, Miss Rea and her pet chris, became my anchor within the community. I am introverted, so I truly dread going places alone without some type of human shield. They were my shields and I was invited to attend with them the South Florida Munch. It was run by a fantastic woman named Ally who made everyone feel warmly welcomed. I loved this munch and over the years I found myself attending whenever I was able. Eventually this munch grew to be so large it was averaging something like 60-75 people and I believe near the time Ally stopped organizing the event it was at 100+ people. This munch was truly the epitome of community. All were welcome and it was the picture of inclusivity and diversity. Some of my favorite memories were when Ally and carol were gifted leather vests at the munch for their community service. When I recall these memories at the South Florida Munch it is really easy to miss being there and it also bring to the forefront of my mind what leather really is and means to me. I love my south Florida leather family.

bento boxLast week I went to the NYC Munch in Manhattan sponsored by Dom Sub Friends (DSF) that is owned and operated by Sir Viktor and Mistress Lin. I have been to a couple other munches in the city, but this one is the one I like the best. Sir Viktor is very much a social butterfly and makes sure to greet all his guests. Mistress Linn leaves it to him, but she can be counted on to chat up a new person sitting near her and this night was no different. Somehow it seems whenever I do get a chance to go to this munch I always end up sitting next to Sir Viktor and Mistress Linn’s slave. I enjoy her company tremendously, so this is a good deal for me 😀  The attendance at this munch is probably around 20-25ish and it is in the upstairs room separated from the rest of the restaurant. It’s held at the Potluck Restaurant and I have to admit a part of why I like the munch is because it is my excuse to treat myself to a bento box. The restaurant staff is accustomed to the monthly ritual and always does a good job of serving the group. The table is seating is one long row like a buffet and reminds me of that very first munch I attended in south Florida in this way, except there is no C.O.P. factor… unless it is that I have aged and now I am the C.O.P.! ha! Nah, I don’t think so. As usual, I had a fantastic time meeting new friends and catching up with old friends. One of my leather sisters, Stacy, just moved back to NYC and I had a date with her to meet here. Neither Stacy nor I are new to the scene, but we are both single and are trying to be a little more social in the local scene. I got there a bit late (damn train delays!), so there was no seat by Stacy. I got lucky and found and empty seat, you guessed it, next to Sir Viktor and Mistress Lin’s slave!  Great conversation ensued and afterwards stacy and I ventured across the road to Paddles, NYC’s last BDSM club, to enjoy DSF hosting Santos on a educational demo about Medical Play. The class was AWESOME! (They host a different presenter each time.) If you ever make it to NYC on the first weekend of the month I highly recommend coming out to this munch and following the crowd across the street for the demo and play party that follows.

There are an enormous amount of munches in NYC’s five boroughs. You can find a munch anywhere from Brooklyn to the Bronx. There are TNG (The Next Generation), Queer, Pansexual, Novice. Midnight, and more types of munches. NYC is home to mucho munches. I’ve never come across any that are large like the one I used to attend in south Florida, but the NYC community is nothing like the south Florida community. This is a city that runs 24 hours 7 days a week, so there must be something for everyone and different hours and days.  Sometimes I feel it is not diversity that happens here in the city, but instead it is more of water seeking its own level. If you are new to BDSM or been doing it for a NY minute I feel munches can be fantastic experience and help bring people together is a good way. I have pretty much found my munch home with DSF in Manhattan and I encourage new folks and veterans to the scene to reach out on occasion and attend a munch to reconnect with people in a quieter face-to-face setting where you can really just get to talk and get to know people outside of play settings.

Hope to see you out at a munch soon!

In Leather and Steel,

karida

What is Leather?

Reposted from Leatherati. Hardy Haberman’s GLUE Keynote Speech.

HardyOnI have a confession to make.

I never expected to speak in Houston for the GLUE (Gear, Leather, Uniforms, Etc.) weekend. I never expected to travel to cities across our country and in a few weeks, around the globe speaking. I never expected anyone would give a damn about anything I said, and quite frankly it still baffles me.

When I first started exploring leather, I was looking for the kind of hyper-masculinity Touko Laaksonen portrayed in his artwork. He was better known as Tom of Finland, and between him and the motorcycle gang movies of the 1950’s the image of masculinity I wanted to associate with wore leather jackets and liked their sex as rough as they were.

Well, I found those guys, and they indeed did like rough sex, though most were equally comfortable cooking a gourmet meal or carrying on a fascinating conversation over cocktails. Many of them looked every bit as sexy as the illustrations, albeit with realistic sized genitalia.

Since that time I have come to identify with them and often refer to my sexual orientation as “Leather”.
Since the time I first timidly walked into a leather bar back in the 1970’s the idea of that kind of sex has always been something I sought out.

It has taken on new meanings to me and I suspect it will always be something that will continue to change in subtle ways, but the underlying energy and erotic power of leather will always be at it’s heart, and in my heart.

It seems to be an obsession today to define this mysterious thing I call “leather”.

When I first discovered it, I was more concerned with participating in it than defining it.

I am often reminded of the old adage that

“those who can, do,
and those who can’t , teach.”

Well, as someone who teaches a lot, I can tell you that old saw is not always correct. I still “do”!
As often as I can.

That obsession with defining “leather” comes up almost on a daily basis.
At conferences, parties, events, online and even in a university setting I get the question “What is leather?” a lot. Sometimes it is even by an eager newcomer with a pad and pencil waiting to jot down my every word like a scribe.

Again, it baffles me!

But since the question comes up so often I thought this would be perhaps as good an opportunity as any to give you my definition, once and for all.

So here goes.

When you are pushing your way through a crowded dark bar, and the musk of a hundred half-naked men blends with the scent of their leather vests and harnesses.
When you feel a dozen hands “accidentally” brush up against your crotch or butt.
When you feel the arms of a big muscular man wrap around you as he whispers in your ear, “what are you into?”
When you slam that hot boy up against your car in the parking lot and invade his mouth with your tongue and his pants with your hand.

That’s leather.

When you find yourself facing a naked man, his feet in the stirrups of a sling as you grease your hand with Crisco.
When you see his eyes burn with erotic desire as you slowly invade his body.
When you hear the deep guttural primal growl as his body opens to your hand.
When you pant like an animal, every breath matching his as you move in and out of his ass.

That’s leather.

When you share a cigar with your buddies on a patio and laugh at the tales of their misadventures.
When you burn the chest hairs off that big bear one at a time using the glowing tip of your stogie.
When you carefully nurse your cigar ash until it seems to be defying gravity and then reward that hot guy on his knees with a mouthful of burned tobacco and he savors it like a fine wine.
When your cock gets hard just watching him do it.

That’s leather.

When you spend an hour carefully wrapping a man old enough to be your grandfather in plastic and duct tape creating a cocoon around his body.
When you stand watch over him as he experiences the out-of-body floating that mummification induces.
When you tease and taunt his nipples and cock through the covering, controlling the sensations that you deprived him of.
When you cut open the covering around his hardening dick and after suitable torture, stroke him to an earthshaking orgasm.
When you cut him out of the tape and plastic and hold his still shaking body close as he returns from that magical place he was in.

That’s leather.

When you sit through the hundredth drag show and carry dollars up to the glittered performers like bringing an offering to the queen…and you are.
When you pimp your friends for raffle tickets to raise funds for those brothers and sisters medications and health care.
When you stand on stage and endure the taunts and cat calls as you raffle yourself off for a charity.

That’s leather.

When you answer the late night phone call from a friend who needs to talk.
When they bend your ear about a relationship that has soured and they just don’t know what to do.
When you listen patiently because you know that simple act is exactly what they are really seeking, and you refrain from giving advice.
Just listen.
When they thank you and apologize for waking you at 3:00am and before they hang up, say “thanks for being there for me”.

That’s leather.

When you help your friends clean out the house of a leatherman who died before his family arrives and discovers his personal dungeon.
When you pack up years of memorabilia and move it to storage and unkink an apartment before relatives who never really knew him throw it all away.
When you attend a memorial service and sit with a leatherman’s extended family, and endure the nervous stares of his blood relatives to pay your last respects.

That’s leather.

When you take in a timid newcomer and show her the proper way to tie a person’s wrists so the circulation still flows to their hands.
When you explain how to hold a flogger and use it like an instrument to elicit moans and whimpers from a willing bottom.
When you guide her through a scene step by step and then watch her grow and bloom on her own.

That’s leather.

When you are approached respectfully by a man with a shy smile and bright eyes.
When he asks you if the flippant remark you made in your speech about “not having a date” was true.
When he follows you to a late night cafe riding his Harley and you both spend the rest of the evening talking and laughing.
When you end up taking him home and end up sleeping together, actually sleeping together and don’t get to sex or SM until the morning.
When you end up spending the next 19 years together and he still calls you Sir.

That’s leather.

When you think you have done it all and still find something new and exciting to try.
When you find that you still have something to offer even if you never looked like a Tom of Finland illustration and you will never fit into those sexy chaps again.
When you find yourself being asked to speak at events, month after month and though you say you are going to finally say “no” you say “yes” instead.
When you feel so much gratitude to your brothers and sisters in leather that it almost brings you to tears.

That my friends, is leather.