Nov 292013
 

Since I was honored with the nomination for the Male Co-Chair I wanted to give a brief introduction to the membership outlining my lifestyle experience and qualification for the position I have been nominated for. 

Master Neko:

I have been in the lifestyle for eighteen years. My travels and learning in the lifestyle began as a collared slave. After almost 2 years, my Mistress felt I was on the wrong end of the flogger and spent 3 years training me to provide the proper care and feeding for my own slaves in the future, as well as building upon the Leather history, traditions, and ideals of my previous training.

Through my training, I discovered a desire to educate others about our lifestyle – helping people to understand and find personal acceptance of the deep, dark parts of us that we keep locked away. To that end, I have given presentations on such topics as (in no particular order and not limited to) fear play, mind fucks, interrogation, sword/knife play, orgasm control, rough body, blood play, body mechanics, medical play, stapling, electricity, sensory deprivation, liquid latex, needles, mummification, humiliation, rope 101, predicament bondage, and shibari/kinbaku.  I enjoy dishing out a variety of sadism when I play as well as being an active part of the community.

Prior to Texas, I was a part of the New York scene where I presented, played, and did fetish and rave photography. In 2008, I led the local bondage SIG group: DFWBound2 and I am happy to return with koneko to lead the group again in 2014. I have also been on the administrative team for the Dallas Mentoring Program. I am a Mentor in the Dallas Mentors Program and ran the Bound Rose Society for four years with my slave, koneko.  Currently, I volunteer in the Dallas community at the dungeon Sanctuary and Head up the Security Team for Beyond Vanilla.  I have presented in places such as New York, Dallas, Austin, Colorado, and Temple.  I continue to find presenting and helping educate our community a fulfilling and rewarding endeavor.  

I have had as many as four slaves at one time, (which makes me certifiably insane) though currently, I own one slave, koneko, who has been with me since 2002 in a 24/7 relationship.

In my professional life I have managed a number of committees and leadership roles that merged complex environments and project teams to successful and efficient outcomes.  I am trained and certified as a Project Manager, both in  Agile Management and Risk Mitigation and Management. 

believe that transparency and accountability are of paramount importance in a leadership role, and in support of the NLA bylaws and P&P. It is important for me to disclose that  I am involved in a power exchange dynamic with koneko who is current the Programs chair for the Executive Committee as well as in a Leather House with Malcolm whom is the Communications/Newsletter chair. 

I look forward to the opportunity to further serve my community as your Male Co-Chair for the duration of this term. 
 
With Respect, 
 
Master Neko
Nov 292013
 

I’m JLubeJack, a covered Master, throwing my hat into the ring for male co-chair of NLA-Dallas. I’ve been in Leather for 25 years now, coming up on the gay side. I started a Leather Family that has successfully raised money for several Leather projects, is dedicated to education (I’ve presented more than 130 seminars across the US), and which nurtures young Leather leaders. I personally mentor many. I can bring unique skills to the table in helping Miss Debi and the rest of our talented and dedicated EC/Board raise NLA-D to new heights. My entire career was in non-profits, as a paid director on staff and as a volunteer leader for many organizations including the presidency of an international group with a $4M budget — and I’ve been president of two Leather clubs, Leather United Chicago and the Chicago Leather Club. Both remain close to my heart because they, too, had members whose talents and dedication were as exemplary as our Board’s. I’ve worked in NLA-D in many capacities, most recently as Marketing Director, but was also NLA-I Representative I cherish the thought of continuing to work with the Board — and all of you — as we move into the future, working on issues like NLA-I and Fresh (New) Leather. I humbly ask for your vote. (In the interest of transparency two of my family members are involved with NLA-D currently; wanton-maya, Secretary and Mistress Malicia, Member-At-Large. Because I needed to resign Marketing Chair to run for Co-Chair, I am currently not on the Board. None of us are members of DFW Leather Corps.)

JLJ200

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 252013
 

Happy Holidays all Y’all! Do ya need something fun to do? Well there is plenty here to keep you busy! All you have to do is get out and get involved in your community because doing so will make it more fun for all of us!

1) Wednesday Nov 27 from 7:30-10:30 is UCLSE Club Night at the Hidden Door

2) Sunday Dec 1 TGRA-Dallas, Chapter Meeting from 1:30 to 3:30 at The Round Up

3) Tuesday Dec 3 from 7-9 is the NLA General Meeting at the John Thomas Center

4) Wednesday Dec 4 from 7-10 is the T-Bears Club Night at the Hidden Door

5) Friday Dec 6 from 10-12 is Discipline Corps Bar Night at the Eagle

6) Sunday Dec 8 from 12-6 is Discipline Corps Christmas Play Party (see a member at the monthly bar night for details on play party guests)

** Trinity River Bears Lunch at Shaw’s on Magnolia at 12:30, then at 2:30 their club meeting followed at 4pm by a BBQ to raise funds for the club all at Reflections in FW

***UCLSE-EC Meeting from 1:30-3 at Youth First Texas followed by their General Membership meeting from 3-5

7) Monday Dec 9 Leather Knights Member Meeting 7:30-9:30 @ Youth First Texas

8) Saturday Dec 14 TGRA-Dallas presents: Hard Candy Christmas 8-10 at the Eagle

9) Sunday Dec 15 NLA Holiday Party from 2-8 at Sanc. Ask a member for info

10) Wednesday Dec 18 from 8-10 is SLUTS Club night at the Hidden Door

*Trinity River Bears: Rhonda Mae’s Wall of Food Show from 9-11 at Club Changes in Ft Worth

11) Saturday Dec 21 is the Leather Knights “Leather Night” from 10-12 at the Eagle

As always the NTXCC Community Calendar is up and ready to help you plan your fun.

http://www.ntxcc.org/cms/community-calendar#year=2013&month=12&day=1&view=month

Just click that link to see the calendar. If you want more info just click on the entry and get the details. If you have anything that should be added to the community calendar drop a line with the details to me at leo@nladallas.org and I will send them along to be listed.

Go, support, and be a part of your community! Hope to see you!

Boy Leo

Nov 252013
 

Artemis-Altar-4

Memorial for Artemis Silverowl
April 5, 1957 – October 3, 2013
Service held on November 16, 2013

She Carries Me by Jennifer Berezan {played as attendees entered)

Honor Guard

Sir Lacey Henager – Artemis’ Boots
Terrie Anderson – Artemis’ Leather Vest
Master Mack – Artemis’ Cover
Master Gator – Leather Flag
Fred Anderson – Gay Pride Flag
Raven – Artemis’ Ashes

Charge of the Goddess

from Jennifer Berezan’s She Who Hears the Cries of the World, vocals by Olympia Dukakis

Greeting and Welcome – koneko

Cynthia Babbitt was born in Worcester, Massachusetts on April 5, 1957 and passed through the Veil on October 3, 2013. She is survived by her fiancé, Denice, her parents, and a world of friends. From her own description of herself, she was a Dyke leather witch called Artemis Silverowl in formal occasions but most often, she preferred Artemis and when in doubt, call her “Sir”. She was a decidedly a butch woman and an alpha slave who identified as a boy, a switch, and a pansexual player. She was in service to La Lioness. She was out of her Dyke closet since 1975 and an out Leatherwomoon since 1976. She survived the vanilla hate wars in the 1980’s and entered the Dallas leather community in 1991. She was a member of National Leather Association – Dallas, serving as female co-chair and on the Beyond Vanilla Committee from 1992 – 1994. She also served on the National Leather Association-International’s Living in Leather committee in 1993 and again in 1998. She held the titles of Ms. National Leather Association – International 1994 and Ms. Texas Leather Pride – 1993. Most importantly, for many of us, she carried the titles of teacher, sister, and friend. Welcome as we honor her.

Elemental Speakers

Air – Jim Richards

{Jim lights the yellow candle.}

Artemis is a child of Air.

I had the pleasure of knowing Artemis and being able to call her a friend for many year. During that time I learned that Artemis was a wonderful complicated woman with many facets to her life.

I first met Artemis when she moved here from Arkansas. I was immediately attracted to her vitality, her amazing way of communicating and her love of the Leather Community.

I first saw Artemis as a leather woman, who was comfortable combining her feminist beliefs with her belief in consensual BDSM. We talked many time of the challenges she had faced trying to reconcile the two beliefs and some of the hostility she encountered within the feminist community.

I saw Artemis as a healer. I had an accident a few years ago and the little finger of my left hand was amputated and had to be re-attached. I had problems with the re-attachment including a lot of pain from the nerve damage and from the operations involved in the re-attachment. Artemis came over to my house and brought a package of herbs. She unwrapped my hand not flinching at the sight but putting my hand in warm water with the herbs. She told me to soak the hand 2-3 times a day. Within a week I could tell the difference and how much better my Hand felt when I applied the soak.

I saw Artemis as a title holder as MS NLA as she and Mark Frazier worked in the Dallas Fort Worth community as well as the national community. I remember Artemis coming over and just talking about some of the issues especially within the national BDSM community. She was always trying to find compromise in situations.

I watched Artemis when she became co-chair on NLA Dallas and put her energy into making the Dallas Chapter the best in the country.

I saw Artemis as an activist against Domestic Violence believing as I do that the only way to stop Domestic Violence is to talk about it and educate our community. I was on quite a few panels with Artemis where she again demonstrated her passion and commitment to insuring people understood the difference between safe sane and consensual BDSM and Domestic Violence.

I saw Artemis as a friend who came to my house to share Holiday dinners.

I also saw her as Cynthia Babbitt as a “sight safety manager” who loved her work and was glad she was in a position where people listened to her advice.

In hind sight, a lot of Artemis’s life involved insuring people were safe. In her job she insured people were safe at work. Her involvement in Domestic Violence attempted to insure we were safe in our relationships and her workshops and involvement in play parties made sure we were safe in a play area.

A few weeks ago none of us would have thought we would be here for this reason. We had just finished a great Beyond Vanilla, in which Artemis was very involved. She was with a woman that she loved. What happened was a shock to all of us. Some of us knew that Artemis suffered from depression, but she kept it hidden from most people. If you’ve been feeling guilty or questioning what you could have done to help Artemis or what sign you missed, that’s quite normal. When something like this happens we look for the answers, until finally we have to accept that there may not be an answer we will understand. Artemis did not die because of something one of us missed, something that could have been done. Artemis died because sometimes depression is a fatal illness. It can be as painful and debilitating as any physical illness. If Artemis death can teach us one thing it is to understand that depression is an illness and like any illness if it goes untreated can be fatal.
I believe if Artemis could speak to us she would tell us not to in any way blame ourselves. At that particular time she made a choice. It probably felt like the only choice she had at the time, but she would not want anyone to feel responsible.

I sometimes think of our community as a huge tapestry. Each of us has our own thread and design running through it. When one of our community is no longer with us, there is a hole in the tapestry. But I also believe that by remembering that person, continuing to work on what they believed in, honoring them at meetings and gatherings, we begin to repair the hole in the tapestry. In time it becomes stronger and the memory of that person is preserved.

My memories of Artemis will be of the things I talked about in the beginning. The way she gave herself to the community. I will remember her laugh (and that little wicked laugh she could give also when she was in a devilish mood.) Her warmth, the habit she had of reaching out and touching someone’s arm when she was talking to them. The look in those beautiful eyes that said I care!! Those are my memories of Artemis and I will miss her.

Fire – Hardy Haberman

{Hardy lights the red candle.}

Artemis is a child of Fire.

Blazing, bright, hot, passionate, intense. All words that can describe fire. All words that can describe my friend Artemis. Like the embers of a fire, Artemis could sometimes look cool, even aloof, but once stirred up she would burst into flame with a passion that only can be described as fiery.

If you didn’t know her well, she could seem almost shy or cold. Once you earned her trust, she opened up and became the Artemis I know. Like fire, she was warm. She could be surprisingly tender and gentle, and even though she frightened me when we first met, I grew close to her warmth and we became good friends.

I remember sitting on a panel with her many years ago at a Beyond Vanilla talking about spirituality and leather. Though she was Wiccan and I am Christian, it surprised people how much we agreed. She and I understood that all spiritual practices reflect our struggle with understanding the divine.

Like fire, Artemis was strong. She had a stamina that impressed me and like a force of nature, she could focus on a project and push it forward. Working with her on the Domestic Violence Project showed me that. She was a constant source of energy when we got bogged down, she had pushed this initiative since it first began and her energy and fire will continue to push it forward to its successful conclusion.

Now, being the son of a scientist, I know what fire really is. It is the rapid oxidation of a material, and exothermic reaction that releases heat and light. It is that moment when a mass of matter transforms

into a mass of energy but the truth is that mass cannot be created or destroyed. That is a comforting thought, because like the reaction that we call fire, Artemis has not gone. She has merely changed her state, and like fire she will burn in our hearts forever.

Water – La Lioness

{La Lioness lights the blue candle.}

Artemis is a child of Water.

Artemis I look for you everywhere and in everything I do. Your stay was so short and my love for you so long.

Artemis your wisdom and soul were like the rivers and oceans that flow.
Your emotions were as deep and long as the Nile River. No one truly understood the depths of your emotions and the storms in your life

Your soul was so pure and clear in spite of all the wounds that were buried at the core of your ocean of life.

In spite of all the individuals that deposited unclean water upon you,
You were always a flowing spring for anyone you met.
Always seeing the best in everyone in spite of all the turmoil in your mind.

Although I know that it would be impossible for you to
Return to me in this realm I will continue to hold on to your essence and love.

I have pondered on what that infectious laughter that you willingly shared reminded me of and now I know that it was the echo of your soul.

I’ll never resign myself to having lost you. I know that we shall meet again and continue with a new chapter in our book of life.

Artemis I know you loved me and that you never meant to hurt me, Your absence makes it difficult to breathe

I understand now the significance of your final destination. The river from which you came has reclaimed you to heal you emptiness, loneliness and brokenness .I now know that you had to go because this was not a place for a soul a like yours.

The life and love that we shared flows to be depths of our souls. I am a better person because of the unconditional love that we shared and the spirit of forgiveness that blossomed within our relationship.

I’d like to share with you Artemis’ words that she shared with her parents and they shared with me:

Since everything and every thought is interrelated
The vastness of our universe
is related to the myriads
of universes, which in their turn
constitute the multiverse
that in its turn composes a verse
in an infinite symphony
We can observe this infinite symphony and enjoy it
We can feel its awesome wonder

Since everything is interrelated,
and effected by the totality of creation
Even our daily concerns
are part of this vastness

To live in the awareness of the limitless nature of our lives
Gives us the courage to unlock the treasure chest of life and discover
we are always at the beginning.

Earth – Master Lanie

{Master Lanie lights the green candle.}

Artemis is a child of Earth.

Once upon a time I did a presentation with Master David Henry at NLA. Later on during dinner at La Madeline a woman in a very dapper fedora came up to me to say she liked something I said. She handed me her card and that she looked forward to our paths crossing again.
The southerner in me remembers the hat. The leather woman in me remembers the woman under it.

Vividly.

Vivid isn’t a word that I use to describe very many people. Not many people live their lives in such a way as to make so many lasting impressions. Artemis is not a person about whom you speak in hushed tones or mild descriptors.

Generous. Passionate. Funny. Rigorous. Kind. Committed. Raunchy. Loving. Clever. Ethical. Steadfast. Unflinching.

Early on in our friendship, Artemis was in a pretty serious auto crash that tore her truck up, broke her wrist, and tore the tendons in her left knee. What some of you may not know is that the reason she broke her wrist is because her hand was on the wheel trying to avoid the crash. Her passenger was my son. When I saw the photograph of where the SUV hit I knew that the extra inches she got that truck turned in the few crucial seconds before the crash she likely saved his life. For that she has my eternal gratitude.

One measure of a friendship is just how much you can accommodate your mutual eccentricities while you enjoy the ways you complement each other. Ultimately friendship is the place of acceptance. The place of no judgment. The place where you can say anything. I called her a Yankee bluestocking, east coast liberal once when she was on a mild rant about politics. She blessed my heart right then and there and we laughed. It was one of the best moments.

She was my “go to” call for sick animals. I was her “go to” call for sick people.

In our day, we have cried out bits and chunks of our disappointments with people and jobs on each other’s shoulders before we muttered something acidic about the hazards of leading with your heart. One of the things I’ll remember most is her ability so sum up whatever the problem of the moment was with two words: “Well shit.” The longer the space between the words, the bigger the problem was.

When Arthur and I got wild bird feeders, Artemis came over not long after and told me what the birds hanging out in the back yard were- genus, species, migratory range, egg color, mating habits, and favorite food. The next visit, she brought her bird book just in case there was some detail she didn’t already know. I looked through it and bought one because I like details, too.

Wild flower book in hand, she talked me into going to Ennis this past spring to look at the flowers. It was a day of conversation and companionable silence deep in the country traveling down whatever road looked interesting. The day was mostly unremarkable and yet it was the best day.

I hope that those of you that are here today have had a best day or best moment with Artemis Silverowl. Child and citizen of the earth. Resting in the Summerlands. I look forward to crossing paths again.

Spirit – koneko
{koneko lights the white candle.}

Artemis is a child of Spirit.

I think Artemis spirit is best understood in poem and song. First, her favorite poem, a gifted to her by her friend, Cecelia, in 1982.

Moonlight Huntress

Red Mars rises at twilight.
Dark Artemis stands astride –
Behind her, the woods of her daylight.
Before her, the hot evening’s ride.

A satyr had stolen her handmaid,
Her dearest young nymph of the wood,
Naomi; the beast in his foul lust
Had seized the poor maid where she stood.

But what Artemis hunts, she captures
And what Artemis seeks she finds.
She bends to the trail before her,
Then springs to the hart at her side.

Swift as the hooves before her,
The white deer slices the night,
Leaps over where crooked legs tore through,
Til a flickering red comes in sight.

“Slow, my love, soft. We’re nearing.”
Artemis slips to the ground,
But a burst of wild laughter and singing
And a high winging flute drownds the sound.

Artemis shakes with laughter.
Rescued – nymphs dancing entwined?
The satyr lolls in the tree roots,
While her quick-footed maids drink his wine.

And now, one of her favorite songs that spoke to her heart.

Winds Four Quarters by Heather Alexander

Video of Artemis Pictures by Ian Coleman

Artemis, daughter of the Goddess, has been released back to the elements.
In her honor, I share a creation myth from our Dianic tradition.
For once created, we eventually cycle back to the mother, and start the dance once again.

Dianic Creation Myth
by Morgan McFarland

In the infinite moment before all time
the Goddess arose from chaos
and gave birth to Herself.

This was before anything else had been born
… not even Herself.
And when She separated the skies from the waters
She danced upon them.

As She danced, so did Her ecstasy increase.
In Her ecstasy She created everything that is.

Her movements made the wind and the element
Air was born and did breathe.
And the Goddess named Herself:
Arianrhod, Cardea, Astarte

And sparks were struck from Her dancing feet
so that She shone forth as the Sun,
and the stars were caught in Her hair.
Comets raced about Her,
and the element Fire was born.
And the Goddess named Herself:
Sunna, Vesta, Pelé

About her feet swirled the waters in tidal wave and river,
and flowing stream.
The element Water did move.
And She named Herself:
Binah, Mari Morgaine, Lakshmi

And She sought to rest her feet from their dance,
and She brought forth the Earth
so that the shores were Her footstool,
the fertile lands Her womb,
the mountains Her full breasts,
and Her streaming hair the growing things.

And the Goddess named Herself:
Cerridwen, Demeter, the Corn Mother

She saw that which was and is and will be,
born of Her sacred dance and cosmic delight,
and infinite joy.

She laughed, and the Goddess created Woman in Her own image,
to be the Priestess of the Great Mother.

From Her Elements; Earth, Air, Fire and Water,
the Goddess created for Herself a Consort-
for love, pleasure, companionship and sharing.

The Goddess then spoke to Her daughters, saying:
“I am the Moon to light your path
and to speak to your rhythms.

I am the Dancer and the Dance.
I whirl without motion.

I am the Sun who gives you warmth
in which to stretch and grow.
I am All that will Be.

I am the Wind to blow at your call
and the sparkling Waters that offer joy.

I am the Fire of the Dance of Life,
and I am the Earth beneath your dancing feet.

I give to all my priestesses three aspects that are Mine:
I am Artemis, the Maiden of the Animals,
the Virgin of the Hunt.
I am Isis, the Great Mother.
I am Ngame, the Ancient One who winds the shroud.

I shall be called a million names.

Call unto me, daughters, and know that I am Nemesis.”
We are Virgins, Mothers, Old Ones- All.

We offer our created energy:
to the Spirit of Women Past,
to the Spirit of Women yet to Come,
to Woman Spirit Present and Growing.
Behold, we move forward together.
And it is Good.

Closing – koneko

Artemis offered her Goddess energy – to our community and to our journeys. She also left us words
to carry into the future. She said:

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.

She was a firm believer in us working not as separate parts but as a greater whole to accomplish a greater good. As each of us seeks solace and understanding in her passing, may we each carry forward and become a part of this hope that was Artemis’ for ourselves and our future.

Thank you for being here today. There is a short reception downstairs that has been put together by the Knowlton Leather Family.

Tonight, there is also a Cigar Remembrance at the Dallas Eagle and DFW Alt’s party this evening at Sanctuary is in honor of Artemis. Thank you for your presence and your energy here today.

{Extinguish candles.}

Blessed Be.

Artemis-Altar-3Artemis-Altar-2Artemis-Altar-1

Nov 072013
 

Hello NLA Members:

Last night’s general membership meeting was filled with great information and some tears. We are reminded of so many of the wonderful Leather people who have come before us. What an amazing path we all walk, we are truly blessed.
On the business side, I am sad to report that James, the male co-chair has resigned his position effective immediately. Every one please keep him in your thoughts and prayers, with the recent loss of his Mother, his Sir’s boy, starting a new job, and settling his Mom’s estate life is definitely handing him a lot to deal with. He will be missed. I am thankful for the time he was my Co-Chair, he taught me a great deal.

With that being said, the male Co-Chair position is open for special election. The special election will be held during the December 2nd meeting. If you or any one you know is interested please contact me as soon as possible at debi@nladallas.org. The person must meet our PnP guidelines, be a member in good standing with a minimum of one year as a member of NLA-D.

On a happier note, programs has put a poll out for feedback on what you want to see next year in our classes. We will be starting up our advanced workshops again in 2014.

Fall Frolick is November 22nd through the 24th, come see me in our hat. If you are creative and want to help create it, contact Sir Lacey at lacey@nladallas.org. You can sign up for Fall Frolick at www.FallFrolick.com

Santa and Mrs. Claus will be at the December meeting, come see what they are up to. I hear there is a special treat in store for everyone.

Our Holiday Party is right around the corner. I look forward to seeing everyone. Details will be up on the website shortly.

Thank you to TC and MizLilly for the razor sharp blood play demo in honor of Artemis.

A special thank you to La Lioness for joining us at Tuesday’s NLA meeting sharing with us some very important information regarding the potential legal ramifications of what we do when a loved one is taken from us suddenly.
Respects in Leather,
Miss Debi
NLA – Dallas Co – Chair

Nov 042013
 

Greetings!

NLA Dallas is forming the Beyond Vanilla XXIV Committee, and we need your help!

We are looking for a group of committed volunteers to organize and put on this annual educational conference and charity fundraiser. Beyond Vanilla XXIV will be September 26-28, 2014.

We are looking to fill the committee, which will consist of Department Chairs and their assistants. If you were on the committee last year and want to volunteer again, you must let me know! If you’ve never volunteered before, here’s your chance! Please let me know!

We need your talent and creativity!

Please email me directly at beth@nladallas.org to let me know your talents and interests. The positions fill up quickly, and we don’t want to overlook your skills, so if there are multiple areas that your abilities fit, and you would be willing to commit your time to any one of them, please list those. We would like to have the committee formed by January, so we can hit the ground running in February, so please email me as soon as possible!

Departments include:

*Marketing, which includes social media, website building, graphics design, and sponsorship sales;
*Programming, which includes presenter recruitment, scheduling and logistics;
*Vending, which is responsible for vendor recruitment, organizing and logistics;
*Registration, which requires organizational skills, basic excel skills, and communication skills;
*Volunteer coordination, which requires organizational and communications skills to recruit, schedule, organize and meets the needs of those who volunteer during the event;
*Social activities and Play Party Coordination, which requires organizational and communication skills, and working with outside groups; assisting with Team Dungeon and other social activities in set-up, dismantling and oversight of activities.
*Entertainment, which requires the ability to produce a major stage production and coordinate with the producers of the International Puppy & Trainer Contest and the Great Plains Olympus Leather Contest.
*Secretary, who is responsible for attending every BV Committee meeting, and producing, maintaining, and posting the meeting minutes.
*Silent Auction, which is responsible for acquiring, cataloging and displaying items to be auctioned for charity; and oversight of the silent auction.
*Security, which is responsible for managing a dedicated team of volunteers, including scheduling and protocols, as well as coordinating with the venue in regard to security-related matters.
*Assistant to the Co-Directors, which is a three year commitment. The Assistant to the Co-Directors is in training to become one of the next Co-Directors, and must be able to take on a leadership role with the BV committee. We try to maintain gender parity/neutrality when we can, so this year we are looking for a male-gender-identified assistant. While not necessary, it is preferred that the Assistant is an individual who has previously served on the BV Committee in a different role.

The time and energy commitment is significant–the committee will meet the third Thursday of the month February through July, then twice a month in August, and every week in September until BV weekend. You must also be prepared to commit your time to help during the BV event.

I can attest to what an incredibly rewarding experience it is to work behind the scenes of NLA’s Beyond Vanilla. It is so amazing to meet leaders, title-holders, speakers, and craftspeople from all over who also value education, fun, kink and Leather; and to participate in an event that means so much in terms of providing an entertaining and meaningful experience in the journeys of so many people.

Sincerely,
beth

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!

Nov 012013
 

Posted on date: 11/1/2013

Eligibility

  • Adult, aged 18 or over
  • have ever been in a Leather/BDSM/kink relationship in which you experienced intimate partner abuse, and
  • sought help from publicly available domestic violence/intimate partner abuse services, or
  • wanted to seek help from publicly available domestic violence/intimate partner abuse services, but did not do so.

The interview will take no more than 2 hours to complete.

Please respond no later than January 10, 2014.

Your participation is voluntary. All responses are confidential. However, there is potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all email, downloading and internet transactions. The final results of this study will be used for research and may also be published in a summary format in a peer-reviewed journal.

The purpose of this interview is to gather information regarding the quality of experiences had by those who sought help from domestic violence/intimate partner abuse service providers, or those who wanted to seek help, but did not do so. The overall goal is to help service providers and outreach educators improve the quality of information, responses and interventions regarding the unique needs and experiences of individuals who live a BDSM, Leather or kinky lifestyle.

Would you be interested in participating in an in-depth face-to-face or telephone interview (to last no more than 2 hours) about your experiences? If so, please contact Dr. Elizabeth Fawcett at efawcett@mail.twu.edu or call 972-742-7717 to set up an interview.

If you have any questions about the interview, please contact Elizabeth Fawcett, Ph.D., M.P.H., at efawcett@mail.twu.edu. This study has been reviewed according to accepted Institutional Review Board (IRB) procedures for research involving human subjects, and approved. If you have questions about the rights of research participants or the way this study is being conducted, you may contact Texas Woman’s University Office of Research and Sponsored Programs at 940-898-3378 or via email at IRB@twu.edu.

There is potential risk of loss of confidentiality in all email, downloading and internet transactions.