Jun 052016
 

By Bushido_Bard

      At the Dallas Eagle we were treated to a demonstration of one of Master TC’s favorite things; blood! “Blood is my thing!” he exclaimed to his audience. “I love to play with it, cause it to flow, watch it run, etc.” His excitement was palpable as he began setting up his play space. Like a kid in a candy store, he explained the various tools and safety equipment he would be using for his scene. While preparing his space, Master TC explained that he had been playing with cutting and fire for roughly 15 years, but blood play was still his favorite. When his co-presenter, slave Audra, entered the area he began his presentation in earnest.

Master TC carefully examined slave Audra’s back and legs for any cuts or bruises that could be a hindrance to play. “Safety first!” he exclaimed. To play safely, you must insure that your bottom will not have wounds reopen or injuries exacerbate because of new cutting or cupping. He checked that all hair was neatly braided or easily tied away from her back. Next he carefully inspected his cupping glasses for any imperfections that could cause minor cuts or breaking of the glass. With everything ready he began to play!

“I like to start with plastic cups and using this suction gun. It just sucks the air right out; it’s safer than fire and if there’s gonna be any problems we’ll see them now” Master TC began. He also explained that the cups can be cleaned and used on another person. After spending some time with the plastic, he broke out his wands and began soaking them in alcohol. Again, he checked in with slave Audra to make sure that she was ready to move on to fire. Master TC described his choice of alcohol as 70% as this allows for more streamlined results. He then checked his glass cups for scratches or chips. “I like to move the cups around and tap them, so if there are any imperfections it may cause the glass to break”, he said. Using cotton-ball fire wands he began to apply the cups and moving them around.

After removing the cups he retrieved from his collection a scalpel. With a devilish grin Master TC spoke, “Now we’ve come to my favorite part!” Cleaning off slave Audra’s back he again checked with her that she was still fine with proceeding to cutting. “Anytime you begin a scene that will involve blood,” he said “make sure the area is clean so we don’t cause infections.” Next he laid down sheets of cloth over the bench in case there was any leaks with the cutting. Carefully and methodically he began cutting into the skin…

Master TC finished a few incisions in the shape of an “X” before addressing the crowd, “I like to make small marks that will allow blood to flow, but not too much; easier to clean up too!” When the marks were complete but before the blood was really running he applied the fire cups to the wounds. Immediately the wounds bled quicker as the heated glass seemed to call the blood from the wound. Prudently and precisely, Master TC heated each glass and applied them to the cut areas. When the last cup was placed he stood back and admired his work. Every few seconds he would touch the glass cups as if testing them and relishing in the pooled blood. Every other movement was spent touching slave Audra to reassure her and reaffirm her status.

Master TC returned from his trance and he addressed the crowd, “We have reached the end of the presentation. I am TC, this is slave Audra, and I hope you enjoyed this demonstration.” He gave a short bow and as hands clapped he focused on slave Audra and ensured that she received proper aftercare. He explained that he preferred rubbing alcohol for cleaning the wounds and Iodine as well. If a cut is still bleeding slightly just use a band aid and unsure there are no open wounds when you are done.

He happily answered questions as he began packing and cleaning his tools. Most of the questions dealt with where he found his tools or how he constructed them. Safety questions soon followed and he clarified a few tips. “Amazon and Ebay are great for your first set of cups; glass or plastic. The vast majority of glassware is dishwasher safe and it’s not too expensive. Obviously if you use them for blood-play I’d get a different set for each person.” He explained that although there are methods for cleaning blood and other fluids off of the glass, it’s cheaper and easier to just use a different set. After cutting and cupping it is usually best to wait two weeks for everything to heal properly before participating in flogging or anything that may cause wounds to reopen.

Master TC has been active in the Dallas Leather scene for over 20 years and has visited many cities in the United States teaching others about his experiences. He has also volunteered for various conventions and taught classes including “Cut it, Suck it, and Set it on Fire”. If you would like to know more about Master TC and his demonstration he can be found on Fetlife.

Mar 152016
 

 

 

LeatherPerspectives 03-26-2016

 

Join us for LEATHER PERSPECTIVES!

(Doors open at 1:30 PM)

$5 for non-members (Join for $25/year!)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

2:00 PM

The Dallas Eagle

FREE for members

In March we will have TC doing an Advanced Workshop Cut It! Suck It! and Set it on Fire!

For more information visit www.NLADallas.org

One Saturday each quarter NLA-Dallas invites a person walking a leather journey, to

present on leather related topic from his or her perspective (as there is no "one twue way”) or to teach an advanced play skill .

Doors will open at 1:30 pm and the class will start at 2 pm. The session will be held at our

local Leather &; Levi bar, The Dallas Eagle!

 This class is FREE to NLA Dallas members and $5 for non-members.

 Bring a friend with you who might be interested in the leather/fetish/SM lifestyle!

 Members, please be sure to bring your current NLA card.

 Non-members can join for $25/yr.

Attendees must be at least 21 years of age based on the location.

Leather Perspectives is a quarterly event sponsored by NLA-Dallas. NLA-Dallas is a DFW

based organization focused on the education of those interested in and/or living 
the

leather/SM/fetish lifestyle. As a gateway leather club, NLA-Dallas is open to people of all

walks of life regardless of orientation or identification. We invite you to join us for a General

Membership meeting on the first Monday of each month, a Leather Perspectives, or an Advanced Workshop each quarter.

Jul 072015
 

By Bushido Bard

“Does wearing leather make you Leather?” Ms. Boots asked the assembled crowd gathered at the Dallas Eagle. What is Leather and what is being “into leather”? Is there a difference? She asked these questions and waited to hear everyone’s responses. Everyone’s answer was similar but the idea was to gauge how the older and younger members of Leather replied. For the June Leather Perspectives we were treated to the wisdom and advice from Ms. Boots.

“There is a clear distinction between being Leather and ‘into leather’,” Ms. Boots continued. She continued to say that a person of Leather demonstrates with their actions that they are indeed Leather. Someone who is simply interested in leather or maybe is just “into” leather, does not commit to the culture or principals of Leather. There is nothing wrong between the two; it is important to know the difference and know who you are. One is a culture or a family, the other simply a fashion choice. Both are equally fine!

Ms. Boots received her introduction into Leather when she came into contact with a biker gang. During those days Leather folk wore denim but the family environment was still the same. Immediately she was struck by the sense of duty and honor that these people demonstrated to each other! “That’s when I learned that Leather looks out for each other”, she stated. She suffered some hard times and the Leather folk there helped her out as best they could; she was never abandoned. She eventually had to move herself and her family to a different area of the country but she knew she could seek out other Leather folk wherever she went.

Leather is more than just what we wear. Leather is something you are and you do not cease to be simply because of what you’re clothed in. “If I walk in here without wearing leathers am I still Leather?” she asked the assembled group. She continued, “If I put on my Master’s Cover, am I now Leather?” The questions received non-verbal answers as she further explained that what we wear does not define us so much as our attitude and actions. As a community, it does not matter what we wear but if we define ourselves as Leather, then we should hold ourselves to these standards regardless of where we are.

“Leather promotes the values of duty, honor, respect, and integrity; these are things that bind us together and make us a family.” This particular part of the presentation meant a great deal to her as she seemed to concentrate more and it was as if she wanted to stress these points. “Be true to yourself.” After this she paused and continued, “Leather is freedom. Leather is also family. Whatever brought you here, wherever you’re from, whatever called you to this point, you are now in a family.” This statement was received with grand approval from those listening to her this day. “We look out for each other because we all chose this path; we know hardships about a society that does not accept what we do. Although our world is slowly beginning to recognize and possibly accept BDSM, we are still not totally there.”

She also shed some light on the modern thought that BDSM and Leather are the same thing. While certainly BDSM culture follows very similar practices of Leather, the two were once separate. Even today, the two can still be separate; it is not required that you practice both. “Twenty or so years ago everything about Leather or BDSM was still very much underground; that was before the Internet happened,” she smirked. Not wanting to comment on the why’s and how’s the Internet has changed our lifestyle, she was quick to point out that BDSM, Power Exchanges, M/s relationships, and erotica in general is slowly becoming more accepted in vanilla society. She smiled and said, “We still have a ways to go folks!”

On the subject of change Ms. Boots was prolific in the telling of her personal experiences and to remember that everything changes. “Your life, your family, your Leather identity, and even your desires; all will change,” she solemnly intoned. Drawing from her own life she explained that she started with one goal in Leather and it changed; over and over. She began as a submissive but her mentor helped her realize that her calling was not submissive at all… After some time she became the social director for Beyond Vanilla and instituted changes that still reach us today. The most notable being the Friday Night Entertainment! She also held several officer positions within the National Leather Association Dallas Chapter including co-chair. In this way, she humbly said to us all, she fulfilled her sense of duty to the principles of Leather.

When Ms. Boots suffered some health issues, she had to cut back on her participation in Leather activities. “This comes back to when I said that things will always change,” she restated. With a heavy heart she continued, “I cannot commit myself like I used to; this hurts! Because of my health issues I do not know if I can attend or perform at events like I used to.” She further explained that this is when you learn how to support your local Leather community in different ways. Again, she reminded us of the inevitability of change.

Her dedication has never wavered away from her Leather path. Currently Ms. Boots still offers wisdom and advice, with great humility, to anyone who will ask. After she finished her presentation, to grateful and incredible applause, she entertained questions from the audience. Some of the members of the audience had known Ms. Boots for many years and shared some of their favorite memories of her. It was clear to anyone that knew her that she has been an influential member of the Dallas Leather community.

When asked what her fondest memory of her NLA Dallas experience was she was fast with her response, “the family and camaraderie! The knowledge that Leather is acceptance, friendship, and the family you choose.” However Ms. Boots chooses to spend her time within the Dallas Leather community from now on, she has already left a lasting legacy that will live on in many Leather folk. A wonderful woman who gave us a few hours of her time had these lasting words, “Your kink and your life will evolve, but never lose your Leather!”

Jun 172015
 

By Bushido_Bard

In a world…  Where people gather to sing…  One charity; eight songs…  Money flying everywhere…  Four motley fools shaking their asses and mouths!  Beyond Vanilla 25’s first launch party of 2015 was a screaming success.  The Dallas Eagle was proud to host the famous lip sync battle that followed the beginning of the Beyond Vanilla 25 season.  If you missed it, you…really…missed it.  Here’s why…

 

First, the four contestants were paraded before the crowd so the audience could glimpse the “fresh meat” that was to be displayed before them.  Mama Payne was on hand to emcee the event and she was in full swing with introductions and a running, witty commentary.  Soon the contest began with Malcolm, TC, Leo, and yours truly Bard, dancing and flaunting themselves along with their chosen song selections.

 

Our heroes were not just dancing and gyrating for the fun of it however…  Although it could be said that these four do not need much in the way of motivation to get up and act like fools.  Funds were being raised for the Sharon St. Cyr Fund and the HPOL/IPTC Travel Funds.  Audience members were encouraged to donate to these causes in the form of tipping the dancers/singers as they performed.  In some cases the entertainers offered their belts and hips in order for audience members to slip dollar bills inside.  Why use the money bucket in front when you can have a more personal experience?!

 

TC and Malcolm raised enough money to go on to the second round to determine first place, while Bard and Leo fought for third.  The songs became more personal and raunchy for the second rounds…  Two participants decided that more flesh must be flashed in order to achieve victory; Bard and TC.  While TC began his second song without his shirt, the Bard decided that losing the shirt during the song in an ode to 80’s music videos was the surest path to victory.  Alas, yours truly did not raise more money than TC and he was crowned the winner of the lip sync battle for 2015.

 

When the dust had cleared and Mama Payne was handed the results, we had raised $600 for Sharon St. Cyr Fund and the HPOL/IPTC Travel Funds!!  A great thank you goes out to all the people who competed and for the Dallas Eagle for hosting.  The hard working folks of the Beyond Vanilla Committee put together a wonderful show that was enjoyed for all in attendance.  A few of us had to leave before the bar closed, but the manner in which people were talking about the show proved it was a night worthy of the Leather Gods!
A huge thank you to all that donated and signed up for Beyond Vanilla 25!!!

Feb 132015
 

Leather Perspectives – Past Present, and Future

An Afternoon with Master David Walker

By Bushido_Bard

Master David began his Leather journey in 1980 by being introduced into it from a friend. His friend happened to be gay and already in the lifestyle so Master David was introduced to his first Leather house. Although he identified as straight, he was still welcome in the house; albeit at the lowest rank. Only after years of service and dedication was he able to earn his leathers and grow within the culture of Leather. This afternoon he shared his thoughts and perspectives on Leather’s history; where we’ve been and where we’re going.

During the early 80’s there was a club in San Francisco called “Catacombs” and it was America’s first dungeon. It began as a gay men’s only club but soon included lesbians, bi, and hetero customers. This of course was not wholly accepted by the gay community, but it was a major transition for Leather at the time. Master David witnessed new terms; the Sexual Frontier and words were being adopted such as S/M standing for sensuality and mutuality. It meant to encompass everyone and to exclude none. Change was arriving and it would transform into what we may consider a beginning to our modern Leather.

Leather, as it began after World War 2, had a formal military structure that allowed no room for mistrust. What happened in Leather stayed in Leather; the ability to keep secrets was essential. Master David was quick to say, “Perhaps the most famous tradition to come from our past is the earning of leathers and the ranking system involved. Your earned leathers represented your level of trust and where you were in your journey.” Traditions are what keeps us connected to our past and provides for the future.

When speaking of Leather and its past, Master David promoted the idea that Leather is a tribal experience. By using this example he illustrated the way in which Leather folk interacted with each other as well as the protocols and traditions shared by all. A tribal structure allows for a more intimate gathering of people; it becomes like a family. Within a family there are certain rules and laws that are honored. Respect has to be earned and people are held to a certain standard. Ultimately you were not required to like everyone in the tribe, but you must render the respect that their behavior and dedication warranted.

During the 1980’s the AIDS crisis heavily impacted Leather and the gay community and eventually Leather became politically active. With the stigma that followed AIDS, many within the Leather community became inactive for reasons of health or fear. Many families were destroyed during this time… Due to the efforts of the supporters for AIDS awareness the World Health Organization recognized the first World AIDS Day and President Bush signed into law the Ryan White Care Act. Although the views concerning AIDS were changing, Leather was forever affected.

Master David smiled when he said, “The1990’s brought us the best and worst thing to happen to Leather…the Internet”. The Internet has allowed people to connect in more discreet ways and it is easier to locate groups and Leather families. Leather and BDSM education is also easier to access as well as “how to” videos. The biggest downside, according to Master David, unfortunately is that the anonymity of the internet permits “experts” to misrepresent Leather and distort information. What is the ultimate verdict? Time will tell if the ability to instantly communicate will be a boon or bane for Leather…

Where does that leave us for the new century? Master David offered this, “What we know as Leather is dying. The lifestyle is being watered down with political correctness”. It can also be said that anyone who speaks about real issues or concerns is immediately ridiculed by those who know nothing about the community or the speaker. Master David also commented that many in Leather are treating it like a cafeteria; taking what they want and leaving what they do not. Traditional Leather is changing, but is it dying or simply growing beyond its roots? With the inclusion of pansexual identities and a more democratic organization what do we see in the future?

Master David ended his presentation with a series of “what if” questions and they entailed some perspectives on the future of Leather. The first pondered if Leather is missing anything now that it had in its past. Is there a missing link between the beginning of Leather and its current iteration? What if we could change our trajectory? Perhaps more importantly, should we adopt a military style again but with slight modifications? Has Leather overall become too lax in its execution?

In conclusion, Master David insisted that fresh blood is needed for Leather to survive but there seems to be too many groups that separate us rather than unite us. Tribes and clubs are small, intimate, and familial. As we get larger we lose the intimacy that’s needed for more traditional Leather. Master David said, “I wanna find younger people to teach leadership to. This doesn’t mean that you immediately make them rulers.” Master David was fond of saying throughout the afternoon, “Leather is a ride, but not always an upward ride.”

Where do you see Leather going? What will you do to see it get there?

Aug 142014
 

Walking the path of Spirituality within BDSM,

an afternoon with Master Z

By: Bushido Bard

Spirituality and religion are often spoken of together as if the two are inseparable. Master Z suggests that your spirituality can be separate from your religion or fully integrated with it. Although he officially joined Leather in 2000 Master Z says he has been following his spiritual path ever since he can remember. Growing up he was raised Catholic and attended Catholic schools for education; headed on the track to become a priest in his family’s tradition. Things were going great but there was something missing in his life.

After joining the NLA he began another journey finding his spirituality. Exploring the various aspects of this lifestyle he determined he was a service Top. He enjoyed giving back to others and the community. In part this is why he travels all over the United States giving presentations on various BDSM topics. In all discussions he stressed that this lifestyle is a journey and that as soon as one ends, another begins.

Master Z began speaking about various points in his life that were significant to his journey; both spiritual and Leather. Although he would say that the two are not mutually exclusive! A wonderful example he gave was from the children’s book named The Velveteen Rabbit. Characters were discussing the concept of what is real and it spoke to Master Z in a meaningful way. It made him focus on his path and come to a certain realization. This truth was that you cannot make yourself something you are not. You cannot decide to become a slave; you either are a slave or you are not. Forcing yourself to become one only harms you and your journey.

What is our calling? Master Z stressed this question greatly because it is something that drives him. “In different points in my life I have had a drive that called to me,” he said. “If I ignored the calling or the passion then I felt empty.” Once that call has been sounded do you have the courage to live it with integrity? Master Z pointed out many times in the presentation that answering your call takes a commitment, but that also you will be the better for it. Learning to hear that calling is the first step.

There are three types of energy or thoughts that permeate who you are according to Master Z. There are physical, intellectual, and spiritual modes that are at work. Your physical is the simplest to explain. It is who you are on the outside and how you choose to present yourself. Your intellectual energies are spent learning new things and experiences. There is always something new to learn and eventually master. Your spiritual energy is who you really are; your authentic self. With regards to your spiritual energy you cannot deny what it is because it is your truest self. It is important to know yourself so you can grow on your journey. By recognizing and harnessing these three energies you can begin to reach your personal truth.

When comparing your spiritual journey to the M/s relationship, Master Z says the two paths share a unique quality; the role of Master. “We all have a Master,” he said. No matter how you see yourself or what path you tread everyone has a Master they must serve in order to proceed. This Master can be physical, mental, or spiritual. In the simplest terms you can see this relationship when you consider that regardless of which side of the slash a Christian is on, their Master is still Jesus. Sometimes the student becomes the Master and this just means the next path has opened before you.

Obviously not one path fits all. What’s most important is the integrity we live with our calling when we travel along our truth. In his final words Master Z imparted this bit of wisdom: “You will succeed whenever you obey your Master; whatever you decide that Master is.”

Jul 192014
 

Generation Leather

Raising children and growing up in Leather

By Bushido_Bard

You may already be familiar with Leather families but on June 28th we were introduced to the concept of children growing up in a Leather family. What is the experience like for them? What is it like to raise your children to walk the Leather path? Fyrehold is Leather family that resides in central Texas and has raised two children who have now grown into adults. One has chosen to begin her Leather journey while the other has not; both are still loved and valued. Perhaps more importantly both have grown into well-adjusted adults.

The presenters included, House Fyrehold; MizLilly, Zap, and their daughter Becca. They were joined by Ms. Cenna and members of her house to teach us their experiences in raising children in Leather. All those presenting wanted to make the point of saying that in their cases they simply offered the information on the Leather lifestyle to their children and if they were interested they would show them. If any of their children were not interested, they would not push this upon them.

The first point to be made is that children growing up in a family that follows Leather receive as much or more love and attention than any other child in another household. MizLilly was the first to say that any children in this lifestyle will be brought up to develop an open mind and an independently thinking brain. These children will understand unconditional love and pass it on to other generations. Being open and honest builds a strong bond that the children will remember and it establishes a mode of trust between child and parent.

According to MizLilly and Zap no subjects were ever taboo when growing up. Some explanations were obviously tailored so that the child could understand. Children will react to what they see and observe. In Ms. Cenna’s case for example, she had a man in service to her doing chores and other things around the house on a weekly basis. When her young boy asked, “Why does that man keep coming over?” She thought about it and simply replied, “Bill? He is helping me getting some work done around the house.” Completely satisfied with that answer he walked off and went back to doing what kids do best.

Becca spoke of her experiences growing up in a Leather family as a child and then as an adult. When asked what was the weirdest thing you ever saw she replied that it wasn’t until she was 13 and she walked in on a rope scene. She was old enough to understand what was going on and decided to turn away. “After that” she remarked, “I remembered to be careful when walking into a room.” “As I steadily grew older,” she continued, “I would ask questions and my parents would explain things in ways I would understand. As a child I remembered there being various people staying or visiting the house and this was normal to me. These people were not strangers; rather they actively tried to spend time with me. As I grew older I realized that my parents were poly and it was important to them that their partners recognize me and my role within the family.”

Many questions were asked about when you tell your children about the lifestyle because they will attend school or other activities and see that things are different. All presenters again agreed that the best time to tell them is when they ask. Don’t be in a rush to explain everything to them. When they have a question they will ask it, and it is important to explain it in a way they will understand. Something that was also mentioned often that mirrors the Leather lifestyle; integrity. They will quickly discover that other kids don’t have the same life. Discretion is important in these situations but never lie! Explain to them that every household is different and that the other kids will have traditions or experiences that are unique to their families.

In closing all presenters wanted to state again that the most important facet of this experience is being open and honest with your kids. There’s no need to ever look at them when they ask a question and say, “No!” They’re your children. Tell them that discretion is needed while they grow up but that always they are loved and valued. If they decide to walk a Leather path, wonderful! If they decide the vanilla path, just as wonderful! Whatever path they choose they will know that they have loving parents who never lied to them and taught them to be honest and honorable adults.

Jun 042014
 

What does it mean to be a Majordomo for a Leather House?
By Bushido_Bard

The National Leather Association presented their latest Leather Perspectives and I had the pleasure to listen to slave raven discuss her experiences being a Majordomo for a Leather House. The title Majordomo carries with it many different connotations, but the one that slave raven liked most was this: a person who speaks, makes arrangements, or takes charge for another. She liked to stress that she had the authority to organize and direct servants within the house but not to punish; this was reserved for Master McGeorge. Every day it was her duty to see that the house ran smoothly and the other servants tended properly to their chores.

Initially slave raven was alone in her duty to the house before other servants came to the house. Upkeep and timely meals were all hers to plan so she became meticulous in her attention to details and when reminders were needed. She arranged all pertinent information into sheets or books that she could call upon when needed. Information such as when and what bills were due, titles and ownership papers regarding vehicles, and even when medications needed to be refilled.

Slave raven kept a private book, popular culture sometimes calls them butler’s books that covered details such as what drinks guests preferred or what dinners were served in the past to certain visitors. In this way slave raven could ensure that people felt at ease and it was never the “same old dinner” being served. How Master McGeorge took his coffee and other details on how food was to be prepared should be remembered. In the event that she could not be there in person, slave raven would even have detailed instructions so that anyone could follow along in her duties to the letter.

As more slaves entered under the ownership of Master McGeorge, slave raven would delineate duties based upon ability in order to ensure that tasks were still completed. Although there were some chores that were not her favorite, she still completed them because she was the best person for the job. If you were the cook for the house then the Majordomo had the authority to allow the cook to reorganize the kitchen for maximum efficiency. Although slave raven did not have the power to punish the others slaves for misbehavior or failure of duty, she certainly reported to Master McGeorge.

Establishing the direct authority and powers delegated to the Majordomo are paramount in successively managing a Leather House. Many times slave raven said that if the powers are not clearly defined between Master and the Majordomo then confusion sets in and the House fails to function properly. Personal data sheets were kept by slave raven on each and every person so that in cases of emergency help could be administered or in worse cases legal authority was granted to wrap up their affairs. These personal sheets had very important and private information and it was up to the Majordomo to keep them all updated and carefully protected.

When uniforms were required in the house the colors and materials were chosen by Master George, but they were later changed because of the issues brought up by slave raven. As the Majordomo, she petitioned for the colors to change because the brightness of the shirts easily showed dirt or sweat from daily work. Not just any slave in the house could complain or suggest this; but the Majordomo could, in the name of the good of the House, make suggestions. This obviously is an exception in what someone may consider a standard M/s relationship, but a useful if not necessary one.

After her presentation there were various questions and answers but in most of the answers slave raven repeated that the powers of the Majordomo must be clearly defined. Whether Master McGeorge was ill, or away on business it was up to slave raven to manage the house and its affairs. This sometimes included dealing with members of Master George’s biological family. After Master McGeorge passed away the Leather House peacefully disbanded and everyone continued their journeys separately. When asked how she managed to keep such details and supervise so much she smiled and commented that it’s the duty of the Majordomo and it had to be done; I was happy to do it!

Apr 082014
 

Our first experience at SPLF…wow were to begin. It was an intense weekend filled with protocols, fun, and spiritual energy for us. We knew going into the conference that we might not be attending many classes, but we knew we wanted to experience everything we possibly could both during and after the classes.

From the moment we entered the conference, we were greeted with familiar energy and faces. Just as we were told by everyone that SPLF was like coming home, being with family, and other like minded people. This was definitely not an exaggeration since even unfamiliar faces has familiar energy. The registration process was seamlessly orchestrated, getting folks checked in for the weekend with ease like a well tuned engine. With so many presenters and awesome classes it was hard to choose just one at a time. If only I could clone myself…oh well, maybe next time. The first day ended with a good cigar and great conversation thanks to subHaven and DgOL offering excellent cigar service at the cigar social Friday night.

The next day was just a great continuation from the day before with more great classes and contest pageantry. During the morning on Saturday, I was asked to join my mentor and my slave and a few others in the smoking area. As we entered, I was ordered front and center. Then I was advised by Sir TC, my mentor, that I was currently out of uniform and told to take off my shirt. I was then presented my vest which was certainly one of the greatest moments of the weekend. It is a memory that will be relived each and every SPLF in my future.

Who could forget the silent action and the vendor area? What a great selection of toys and toy makers. There is nothing like someone telling you about why they made a toy and explaining why you should buy their product. We have certainly enjoyed all our purchases and auction winnings.

At the end of the day, we were well worn out from all the activities going on and decided to sit back and observe. Being a part of the setup crew for the Dungeon (Go Team Dungeon!), I decided to walk through the play space and observe the energy. I made my way to the first area which had a really good even energy. I stand there with my slave for a moment watching others relish in each other. After observing a few scenes, I start to wander to the other end but was blocked by an overwhelming urge to remove myself from that area. I quickly exited. Once outside, my slave asked me if I had felt the wall of energy and I responded that I had and it was overwhelming. I could not identify the energy as good or bad, but rather just as overwhelming like too much energy trapped in a small space.

As we leaned over the balcony gathering ourselves and processing the day, I asked my slave what she saw as we gazed at the crowd below. She observed three distinct sections of energy and I concurred. In the first area close to the front entry there was dancing and music. The energy there was bright, fluid, and free. In the middle, the energy was flowing but with a slight hesitation and somewhat demurred. The last segment was more or less closed, reserved, dark and dense. As people passed between the segments the energy would swirl and mingle, but then settle back into the segments once again.

After watching the energy ebb and flow from above, we decided to adjourn to the middle section were a circle had formed. There were old friends and new friends. Then there was Vanilla Vodka, and the circle grew as the offers of a drink were made to each passerby. Then the circle shrank again. Suddenly, two partial sheet cakes arrived and as the invitation to all who crossed within ear shot became “We have vodka…we have cake!” the circle grew. Sitting in this area with good conversation and drinks was quite an experience. Stories of phenomenal play sessions and life stories were plentiful. I even got the rare opportunity to witness the connection of two people from introduction through the negotiation of a sharing the hotel room that night. The circle grew and shrank a few more times before it finally dissipated in the wee hours of the morning.

The last day was exciting as the first day. Saying goodbye is never fun because tomorrow is never promised, so we must enjoy what we have today. We ended the event and the night with a quick trip to the Sanctuary after party before heading home.

All in all, it was one of the best weekends I have had in a long time and I look forward to the next one especially another cake and vodka fueled circle. My thanks to all the folks that took the time out of their schedule to host such an awesome conference and to all the presenters willing share their knowledge.

Apr 032014
 

Leather Perspectives with Master Lady Faye Summary
By: Bushido_Bard

One Saturday afternoon in March I had the pleasure of listening to a wonderful woman explain her experiences in Leather and how it has impacted her and the community. Everyone in Leather has their own experiences and come to the Community by their own paths. Lady Faye began her journey while in her forties and has not looked back since. Despite the barriers she encountered there were some great teachers that enabled her to grow and learn in her journey. Attending play parties for several months she learned what she could and eventually began her identity as a Dom.

Lady Faye discussed her experiences with Leather at the March Leather Perspectives event hosted by the National Leather Association Dallas at The Eagle. When she began her leather journey, it was still a new idea that women could be dominants or even tops. Although she began her journey identifying as a sub she quickly determined that this was not to last. When approached by Doms attempting to top her with promises or threats, she would often sardonically whisper, “interesting…” She also began her journey when being heterosexual still carried a stigma with some in the Leather community.

In 2005, Lady Faye became South Central Leather Woman of the Year and in 2006 became the International Ms. Leather; these events helped her become a model for change. “With a title comes a certain sense of duty”, she said. She decided that as a title-holder, she wanted to be an example that would bring honor, respect and show responsibility for the office of International Ms. Leather. Attending as many conventions as she could, she admitted that it can become a strain on your relationships but she is not at all sorry she did it. When she returned from one particular event an organizer sent her a letter thanking her for the respect and honor she displayed. Truly, she felt this was one of her greatest accomplishments.

Lady Faye’s Leather journey began amidst a time of change for the overall Leather community but her travels have brought her a perspective of strengthening the community. A strong leadership is required for the survival and growth of those following the path. “Good leaders need to be in the proper places; Sub or Dom is irrelevant.” Lady Faye stressed that people remember that this is a path, not a destination. What’s important, she said more than once is, “Find your cause and your passion then work towards it!”

When questioned about the role or challenges facing women in Leather she gave powerful statement. “There is no line anymore; women can do anything that men can do.” She also commented the greatest challenge women may face is, “Getting their voices heard.” In order to illustrate this point it was noted that there were few if any women’s leather groups in Dallas. Like a professor in a classroom, she smiled assertively and agreed. She encouraged any woman to begin plans for the creation of a new women’s Leather group. She restated her earlier encouragement by saying, “We must be a welcoming Community.” There is a need for groups that allow for a safe environment and sometimes these begin as ‘X-only’ groups. Still, Lady Faye insisted that the Community must be welcoming and that these groups should be spring-board gatherings into the Leather Community as a whole.

As the Q & A session was drawing to a close a peculiar question was asked. Lady Faye was asked what three things she would like to be remembered for. Betraying a soft smile she thought about it before responding. When she answered she prefaced it by saying that these things could apply to life as well as Leather. “There are three things I want folks to remember: Be yourself, be honorable, and have fun. Otherwise, why are you here?” Encouraging words from a Leather Woman who wants to see a strong Leather Community with a strong sense of honor moving into the future.