Nov 262013
 

Artemis’ Memorial Summary

By: danika

On November 16, 2013, the Leather community came together to honor the life of Artemis Silverowl, one of the Dallas Leather community’s long term and much respected members.

The memorial, held at the Interfaith Chapel of the Cathedral of Hope and attended by over one hundred people, included an honor guard which presented the gay pride and Leather pride flags.  Artemis’ boots, vest and cover, along with a photograph of her, were displayed at the front of the chapel. The Honor Guard consisted of Sir Lacey, Terrie Anderson, Master Mack, Master Gator, Fred A., and Raven.

The service was officiated by koneko and paid tribute to Artemis’ Wiccan faith.  Artemis’ fiancee, La Lioness, as well as long time friends Jim Richards, Hardy Haberman and Master Lanie, remembered Artemis as a strong, courageous and loving woman.  They also celebrated her devotion to the Dallas and international Leather communities and her strong desire to keep people safe, which was expressed both in her career as a site safety manager and her work with the Domestic Violence Project.

A video tribute, produced by Ian Coleman and featuring pictures from Artemis’ life, was played, as was one of Artemis’ favorite songs, Winds Four Quaters.

After the conclusion of the service, a reception was hosted by the Knowlton family. Later that evening, a cigar memorial took place at the Dallas Eagle, organized by Fred Anderson.

The video tribute to Artemis mentioned above can be found on YouTube by searching “Artemis Silverowl”.

“I firmly believe that the future growth and survival of the Bd/Sm/Leather/fetish community depends upon coalition building, tolerance, integrity and service.  We must become adept at respecting our differences while building bridges for our common good.”  — Artemis Silverowl

Nov 012013
 

Author: griffin’s girl

This year I went to a place I’ve never been… in more ways than one. Beyond Vanilla (BV). Master and I have been out in the Dallas/Fort Worth community for almost two years now. Last year we were aware of BV, but had a scheduling conflict. This year, no scheduling conflict meant we could finally be BV virgins!

I’m not an event virgin by any stretch of the imagination, having attended many previous events… SPLF, SELF, local special events, and fresh from Master/slave Conference (MsC) in August. I plan domestic and international events as a part of my day job, and have been involved in putting together a few local events, including Bridging the Slash, subHaven’s annual educational relationship weekend. So I have some event experience attending, volunteering and planning, both vanilla and kink.

It took us a while to finally decide to register for BV. We waited patiently for the announcement of speakers and classes. While some definitely sounded interesting, we were still on the fence. Master finally decided we would go… mainly for the classes, and in support of our friends who would be competing in the Great Plains Olympus contest. We were too late to purchase dinner tickets, and did not plan to attend the play party, so we stuck with the basic weekend package with a discount thanks to our NLA Dallas membership. I signed up to volunteer as well.

I arrived on Friday around 1:30 PM (conveniently rode the DART rail into downtown to avoid State Fair parade traffic). Classes had already started, so I went to the registration room first to grab my wristband and run bag before heading to one of the classes I’d been looking forward to. Not sure if it was due to an onslaught of people earlier or what, but not a single person welcomed me to the event. Not a security person, not a staff member, not a volunteer. There were no signs indicating which line was for pre-registered attendees, on-site registration, etc. even though it was clear there were multiple lines. It was a little awkward, but after asking a couple of people I was able to grab my stuff, figure out where the room was and got ready to immerse myself in learning. (A side note here… I was very grateful for the large map at the entrance since the rooms had been renamed. While the room names added to the ambiance, the hotel’s maps and directional signs were useless as a result.)

The first class I attended was Master Todd & slave elizabeth’s class “A slave’s guide to screwing up with grace.” I LOVED this class! slave elizabeth is bubbly and entertaining, and Master Todd… well, when he pipes up, he has masterful insight to impart! I took away so much from this class that has helped me to grant myself the grace I need to accept that I don’t have to be the uber slave that I think I see in others, when the truth is, we all screw up… even the uber slaves!

Next on my agenda was the cigar play class with Master Konrad and slave jazz. This class was at the pool area, and apparently no one told the presenters, volunteers, or anyone else that there was a classroom area set up around the corner from the pool in a semi-private area. It actually worked out for the best, because we took over a couple of the cabanas and slave jazz was able to disrobe for part of the demo without being seen from the hotel windows. It was great to be able to have cigar smoking at a cigar class, and live, interactive demos instead of just a discussion when the class has to be indoors. Kudos to the organizers for having this available!

Due to other commitments we were unable to stay for the burlesque show on Friday night, but I heard it was fabulous! 🙂

Saturday morning started bright and early with Miss Amy’s erotic tea service class. After covering a brief overview of place settings and etiquette, Miss Amy used volunteers to demonstrate the use of human furniture for tea parties. My favorite was the lamp! Very creative! The remaining three quarters of the class time was used for question and answers, and general discussion with the class attendees.

I thoroughly enjoyed Master Jim and slave marsha’s class on “The Calling: Ritual, Ceremony and Spirituality in Master/slave Relationships.” They gave a unique perspective to the spiritual aspect of the M/s dynamic and how it has affected their journey that really resonated with me.

My first volunteer assignment was Sir Dart’s class about fucking up. It wasn’t my first choice (sorry, Sir!), but I’m glad I got “stuck” with it! I mean, face it, everybody fucks up… yes, everybody, even you. The important thing is admitting it and moving forward. After sharing lots, and lots, and lots of ways we all have fucked up, including his own stories, Sir Dart shared tools for overcoming your fuck ups. Not only was the class material top notch, I made a couple of new friends in Sir Dart and his boy.

I’m going to go ahead and address the volunteer experience here. It wasn’t great, for me. I’ll leave it at that. Despite it, I highly recommend that everyone take the opportunity to volunteer at least once at big events. You learn a lot and it’s a great opportunity to give back to the community. I’ll continue to volunteer at the events I attend because it’s a rewarding experience most of the time.

Rounding out the day was the Japanese Tea Ceremony with Tatu. All I have to say is, wow! This was an amazing experience and I appreciate the presenter and volunteers who made this possible. It was something that I won’t forget for many reasons.

We did not purchase tickets to the dinner and keynote speech. However one of the highlights of our weekend was the Great Plains Olympus Leather contest. While I was disappointed in the lack of attendance, the contestants did fantastic and were very entertaining. Lillith Grey was a fantastic hostess/MC. If you missed the contest fantasies and pop questions, don’t miss it next year. Good luck to TC and shy who were crowned Mr. and Ms. Great Plains Olympus Leather.

On Sunday, I was very much looking forward to “Danger, Keep Out” with Master Obsidian and slave namaste. I’ve loved every class that I’ve ever attended from them and this class was no different. Much of what they said really impacted me and where I am in my journey with my Master and our involvement in the community. I appreciate their openness, honesty and candor.

I loved the social lounge and puppy mosh pit. The pups were so much fun to watch and interact with during the weekend, and I know that has really fueled the dialogue about pet play in our community. That is very refreshing to see and hear! The vendor area had a wide variety of goods and services available. I took advantage and bought Master a last minute birthday gift while I was there!

Overall, the weekend was filled with great moments, great memories and great experiences. I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone who is interested in furthering their journey and expanding their horizons. Next year promises to be another full weekend of opportunities, and, with a few tweaks, can be even better than ever! As with everything else, this is a reflection of my experience. I encourage you to talk to others who attended and get their perspectives as well. However the only way you’ll know what it’s like for sure, is to make sure you attend in 2014! I hope to see you there!

Jun 102013
 

Authored By: robin

The first weekend of June, four of the Leather Heart Clan attended Tournament, the annual run of the Knights of Leather of Minneapolis.

The Knights of Leather has been organizing this event for 25 years. The club itself is ~30 years old. It started as a lesbian leather club, but the members gradually migrated to the major GLBT centers on the coasts until the club got down to two members. They decided to open it up, first to gays, then to hets. Ever since, they’ve been one of the oldest pansexual leather clubs between the coasts. Their brother club is the Atons, a gay leather club that started out with a MC focus, and has since added many non-rider members.

Tournament has always been held at a state park two hours north of Minneapolis. There are 5 clusters of primitive cabins (no electricity, plumbing or fireplaces) each surrounding a meeting cabin (equipped as dungeons) and a shower/bathroom cabin. Central support buildings include the main dining hall, staff cabins, infirmary, central bath house, etc. They take over the whole campground, which has a capacity a bit over 100. With a 25-year history at the camp ground, the rangers trust the group and leave them alone for the weekend. Every year they have a waiting list.

The weather is completely unpredictable. This year had a late spring, so everything was in bloom and the overnight temps fell to 40. It rained Friday late afternoon (we drove through a hail storm on our way!), but the rest of the weekend was fine. The cool temps kept the mosquitoes down a bit, but ticks were everywhere.

It’s an extremely well organized event: professional catering for the formal dinner Saturday night, good and healthy food for all meals and snacks, well equipped dungeons in the meeting cabins, which are in use continuously. Jack and Mistress did 3 presentations (JJ was demo bottom for two, and robin also was demo bottom for one) on Saturday, so we didn’t get to see any of the other presentations. Topics sounded good, though.

Play was amazing. On Friday night, robin wound up strapped to a tilting frame/table thing, while Mistress and a switch we met co-topped me, concentrating on nipple torture, CBT, and the TENS unit applied to the cock and prostate 🙂 Meanwhile, in another corner of the dungeon cabin, there was some rope bondage going on (first time rope virgin got her arms and one leg tied together, then partially suspended, then extensively diddled and dildoed…. Saturday at breakfast, there were lots of bruises and marks on display …

In the dining hall was a message board, which included notes such as, “gang bang in Cabin A tonight at 11” etc. etc.

It was particularly cold Saturday night, and us thin-blooded Dallas types chickened out on play. But it didn’t slow down the natives! Lots of stories heard Sunday morning!

Competition for Pig of the Run was fierce! Everyone got a 4×6 card to be signed by all your play/sex partners, with extra points allocated for play with one of the full-patch Knights. The top three competitors had BOTH sides of their cards completely filled with signatures!

The most remarkable thing about the Knights and their friends is the great, friendly, sex-positive leather culture of the group. That’s why we love them so much, and why we’ve given them our colors, and why we’ve been back so many times. The full range of ages and gender definitions were attending. A remarkable run!

Jun 052013
 

Over the weekend of May 31 – June 2, 2013 the Knights of Leather held their silver anniversary run, Tournament 25. Nestled within the forests in Minnesota Leathermen and Leatherwomen – as well as new comers to the scene – converged upon a campground with as rich of a history as the Knights themselves, albeit in very different ways.  ­

The area in which Tournament is held has a legacy of tragedy, shame, and rebirth. However, it is a beautifully treed area with sweet air found only in serene wooded areas up north, untainted by pollution and over-crowding of metropolitan cities.

During the summer of 1894 Minnesota was suffering from a significant drought and high temperatures. Because of the dryness and heat fires were common in the woods. Debris left behind from loggers gave any small fire fuel to grow. On September 1, 1894 started out as another excruciatingly hot day with small fires all around and two major fires burning. The two fires met up to create a one huge fire. In all over 200,000 acres were burned and more than 400 lives lost that day.

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, during World War II, Americans’ fears and prejudices ran rampant, especially against those of Japanese descent. There was an overwhelming concern that Japan was planning an invasion on United States’ soil. Americans with Japanese heritage living on the Pacific coastal area were rounded up and sent to “War Relocation Camps”, also known as internment camps. These camps were located all over the United States. One of which was located at the campgrounds that now host Tournament each year. This was not one of the government’s finest hour and it wasn’t until more than 40 years later before our government apologized for actions based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership” and restitutions were given.

In more recent years the area in which Tournament is held has also had to contend with more forest fires and tornadoes that threaten to destroy the tranquil campground that has become so beloved by the Twin Cities Leather and Kink Community – not to mention those from other areas. Each time though, the campground perseveres and overcomes the obstacles thrown at it.  It isn’t a far stretch to see the history of the area and that of the Knights of Leather have the same sense of perseverance through hard times and the ability to adapt and thrive.

The idea of the Knights of Leather was formed in a hospital room by the five founding members. It officially begin in 1984 as a women only Leather club. This was the only Leatherwomen only club in the Midwest at the time.

Though relations with the local Leathermen clubs started out cool at best the Knights were determined to be accepted. This was a dark time in Leather as AIDS was decimating Leathermen at an alarming rate. The Knights rallied alongside of their brothers, becoming a driving force in the Minnesota Leather Community, hosting AIDS fundraisers, going to homes of those affected with AIDS, etc. The presence of women in dungeons made the gay Leathermen uncomfortable but the Knights kept going, just respected the space. Over time their contribution towards the AIDS epidemic and their respect for their brothers gained them more acceptance in the Leather community. In the late 80’s they hosted their first run, Tournament, for their Leather sisters. This quickly became a popular event with their games, camaraderie, formal dinner, and of course decadence.

Sadly though, over time the membership became to dwindle as people moved out of the area or their lives took new routes. Eventually only two members, PJ Knight and her wife, Vicki, remained. After much reflection they approached their long time gay brothers for guidance, and in 2000 it was decided to make the club pansexual, open to all genders and orientations. Since then the club has grown and flourished.

This year marked the 25th Anniversary of Tournament. The Knights spared no expense at making this a most memorable, enjoyable, and sex-positive run. At the heart of the campground lies the Lodge, where meals were served and people congregated to socialize. The Knights, as well as volunteers, prepared most tasty meals on Friday night, Saturday morning, and Sunday morning. Saturday lunch and Saturday’s formal dinner were prepared by a wonderful catering couple and volunteers. Cabins were spread around the lodge where attendees stayed. There were also 5 different dungeon areas spread about the campgrounds that were available for use the entire time at camp. Giving enough space and options to accommodate everyone. The dungeons were equipped with the typical cleaning supplies and first aid kits, as well as condoms, in addition to the various pieces of furniture.

Friday morning and afternoon found the Knights and volunteers busily preparing the campgrounds for the weekend’s festivities, all the while braving the rain and chilly temperatures. Attendees – gay, lesbian, het, pansexual, etc. – started arriving around 3pm and onward into the evening. Run bags were handed out and special “dance cards” were given so that participants could get their weekend “conquests” to sign the cards, all so the Knights could tally up and determine who “Pig of the Run” was. Associates of the Knights hosted a cocktail party Friday night, whetting everyone’s pallets, which was followed by a tasty Mexican themed dinner prepared by the Knights.

The opening ceremonies consisted of congratulating the club for its 25th run and explaining the weekend, this was followed by a fireside Remembrance Ceremony. During the Remembrance Ceremony everyone was given flash paper to write the name(s) of those they wished to remember, then had the opportunity to tell everyone a bit about the person and why they are being remembered before tossing the papers into the fire. The Ceremony gave everyone the chance to remember those that had impacted our lives that could not be there to celebrate with us due to either death, distance, or any number of other reasons. Many tears were shed, but it brought everyone a bit closer to open up with those we trusted and felt a kinship with. Afterwards several people stayed around the fire sharing their stories while others wandered off to various dungeons and cabins to engage in debauchery. Screams, moans, giggles and all sorts of other sounds could be heard throughout the night.

Saturday morning everyone awoke to warmer temperatures and slowly started making their way to the lodge. Lifesaving coffee, hot water, milk, juices, fruits, cereals, and several homemade granolas options were spread out for everyone while the hot breakfast was being cooked. Classes began shortly after breakfast. There were 3 time slots with two different options each time to choose from. An array of classes that included Masterful Mindfucks, Thunder in the Dungeon: Tops Playing with Tops, and Sounds were offered by Master JLubeJack and the Leather Heart Clan, Blood Art: Beyond Temp Piercing was presented by Gav the Hunter, Master Michael and slave angie taught Slave Positions, Cait taught Rope Scenes for All, Kitty and croga presented Pet Play, while several seasoned members of the Twin City Leather community lead a round-table on their local community.

That night everyone met in the Lodge for the formal dinner. Before dinner the ATONS hosted another cocktail party. Attendees decked out in their best leathers, formal wear, or a combination of the two. There was a Parade of Colors beforehand where the Knights of Leather marched the Leather Pride Flag and their colors and other clubs such as Min-KY, Chicago Leather Club, ATONS, Leather Heart Clan, and MAsT – to name a few – proudly marched their colors around the lodge. The catered dinner was by far one of the best with salad, bread, green beans cooked to perfection, beef bourguignon, mashed potatoes, and a squash ravioli for the vegetarians, followed by a wonderfully decorated cake.

After dinner special announcements were made, including the ATONS officially making Tournament their required yearly run and presenting the Knights with their Club Colors, solidifying a long standing friendship and brother/sisterhood between the two clubs. The Knights of Leather, along with help from other members of the community were able to surprise David, aka. Jazz Thomas, International Mr. Olympus Leather 2002, by awarding him his Master’s Cover for his long time devotion and service to the community. For all that attended it was truly an honor to be able to share in such an auspicious occasion. People then went their separate ways to enjoy the evening. One Knight announced she was hosting a gangbang in one of the dungeon, further illuminating the sex-positive view the Knights take of the run. A little later a sexy Leatherman walked into the Lodge with various floggers draped over his shoulders saying “Tick, tock, tick, tock, who’s next? Tick, tock, tick, tock, I need to be in bed by 8!”.It was about 10:30pm at the time! A very eager and happy boy jumped up to take his turn and the two departed to get up to some mischief!

Sunday brunch was bittersweet as all knew the end of a wonderful weekend was approaching. Many conversations went on in the Lodge while people enjoyed another wonderful breakfast. In addition to coffee, hot water, milk, juices, fruits, cereals, and several homemade granolas options the Knights also prepared decadently delicious stuffed French toast with a berry sauce and breakfast casseroles. Finally words and awards were given out, including a most deserving Pig of the Run, final thanks and parting words. And before long it was time to pack up and leave, each attendee taking with them memories that’ll last a lifetime. The play, sex, and classes were incredible, but the most heartening part of the weekend was the people, the camaraderie. No matter one’s gender or sexual persuasion, everyone got along and truly enjoyed each other’s company, be it in conversation, or more decedent ways.

In Leather,

jj

Leather Heart Clan