October 8, 2017 Uncategorized
This has been a busy and successful week, and one that marked a couple of anniversaries for me.
Last weekend, we went to Indianapolis for Great Lakes Leather Alliance. This was the 15th of them I have attended, of the 16 that have been held. Fourteen years ago, I won for the title of Great Lakes Master and slave, along with slave drew. I also joined the Board of Directors for Great Lakes that same year.
This year, by the time the first night of the contest began on Friday, I had already been to a contestant meeting, and a producer meeting, taught two classes and talked to approximately one million people.
It’s a very packed contest when you have as many contestants as we did – two Sirs, four boys, three Ms contestants, three Master and slave couples, a bootblack, three puppies and three trainers, as well as a triad competing for the Power Exchange title. It’s a lot of contestants to get through fantasies and speeches and pop questions, but the show went well both nights.
This year, I brought four contestants to represent the Bluegrass state. All the contestants did well, and our Bluegrass Leather Pride titleholders did exceptionally well, both individually and as a group. I had a number of people compliment me on how well the Kentucky representatives had done, how ready for the competition they always are.
Ms Bluegrass Leather Pride, Jami, had tough competition from both Ohio and Illinois, but still did a great job in every area. I believe she accomplished everything she went to do at Great Lakes to do, and did it with grace and intelligence.
Bluegrass Leather Pride Puppy, Pup Alice, came in First Runner Up, exceptional placing for our first year bringing a pup to Great Lakes. The Great Lakes Pup and Trainer contest is getting tougher every year and this was no exception.
Bluegrass Leather Pride boy, boy Steve, delivered a speech that had the crowd on their feet, cheering, and also delivered a hot and sweaty fantasy, too. The boy competition was another tough one, but I’m thrilled that he won the Great Lakes title, and I’m excited to see what he and Sir Ray, the Sir winner from Michigan, are able to do at ILSb/ICBB.
We had only one bootblack this year, but that doesn’t mean it was an easy contest. It was a tough panel and contestants still have to make points. Ray did very well both in the interviews and on the stage portion. He delivered his speech wearing a blue and white checked pinafore and ruby slippers, with a message of positivity, another popular speech.
Ray brought a spectacular hankie quilt along with his contestant basket, which brought in a record bid of $5,000. Special thanks to those who have always been generous sponsors of both Great Lakes and Bluegrass Leather Pride.
On Sunday, I was honored to present Sir Charles his Master’s cover, with his slave and his community watching. He has been an integral part of my Leather family for the last decade, and he has lent countless hours of help to countless people over that time. The tradition we follow has meaning to us, and it was a moving moment for both he and I.
Last night also marks a special anniversary to me. I began the Louisville Munch 20 years ago this weekend, the first Saturday in October of 1997. That means that I have now officially given 20 years to the kink and Leather community. In that time, I have never gone more than a few months at most without attending a contest, an event, or a munch. I’ve traveled literally thousands of miles to present or judge. I have a partial list of events I’ve attended and it’s close to 150.
I’ve produced 21 titleholders. I’ve taken 17 to Great Lakes, and now eight of them have brought back Great Lakes titles. I’ve produced two International titleholders. (For those playing the home game, I swear I can count. I’ll be glad to give details if you’re interested.)
I have produced more events than I can remember, from Derby City Fetish Balls, to Fringe Parties, to Bluegrass Leather Pride. I’ve gotten drunk “for the children,” I’ve auctioned off jockstraps and pimped out nude lube wrestling, slave drew and I did a fundraiser years ago, called Feel my Boobs for a Buck, Feel Drew’s Dick for a Dollar. I have sacrificed my dignity on the altar of “the children” more often than I can count, and I’ve raised, I would guess, well over $100,000 for travel funds, and a few thousand for charities, and enough food donations to be remembered by the guys who come to pick it up.
I’ve been at events that were protested, events that lost their space at the very last possible moment, events where the police inspected the dungeon while we were in it. While Fringe was going through zoning woes, I was part of a hearing that was so frightening the library staff called the police out of fear for our safety. We conducted a two-hour ordeal with uniformed police behind us and I had a police escort to my car.
Most of it has been worth it. Some of the harder parts have taken longer to get past than others. No one ever made me do it, obviously, I did it all because I wanted to, or at least believed that there was value or importance in doing it.
Last night I sat in a room of about 50 people. For almost all of them, I was either their first openly kinky contact, or who had been welcomed into the fold by those same ones that I watched walk in the door, nervous and scared. I felt a little like the oldest ancestor at the family reunion. And there were still people attending their first munch, and a few who were born, I suspect, after I began the first one.
I remember that first munch night, when I and a couple of friends had invited everyone local we knew, posted to Internet forums, made our plans and all there was to do now was see how it went. I remember being absolutely elated as I watched the headcount go from 10 to 15 to 25 to 40 to finally 55 people. I remember flitting from table to table, saying, “Oh, my God, can you believe it?! There are 25/40/55 people here!!!”
I knew we had to keep doing it. And so we did.
And then, a month later, a guy who, so far as I know, never ever attended a munch, wrote me and said, “You should have a Sunday Munch!” And so we did.
I’m genuinely not aware of a group anywhere else, anywhere at all, that has held meetings continuously, every single month, without missing a single one, without a single month’s hiatus. There have been munches on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, on Mother’s Day and Easter, and there was never a one that someone didn’t come to, someone who might not have had as pleasant of a holiday memory without it. I believe we hold the record.
I think I’ve done well, and I’m proud of what I’ve had a hand in shaping. I know that there is a community here that wouldn’t look the way it does now had I not been here. I’m sure it would exist and might be just as diverse and strong as it is now, but it wouldn’t be exactly the same. Someone would have filled in the spaces, but they didn’t.
I had a conversation this weekend with one of my titleholders and we talked about the questions he had gotten during an interview being very much about politics and “groups” of people. I’ve seen more than one of my titleholders not have a wonderful answer to the question, how will you reach out to insert group here? I have thought, you will reach out to them across your dinner table, or the local bar table, or when they need a hand, because they are already in your community. You don’t think of them as an us, so you can’t figure out the answer.
I’m not blind to issues, and I most certainly do not wear rose-colored glasses more than is good for the soul, but I do know that the different groups in this community have seemed to interact more smoothly and get along more generally than any other I’ve seen, and I’ve been a lot of places and seen a lot of communities.
Those things that weren’t rosy were more personality-based rather than demographic based, I think. Meaning it wasn’t Group A not getting along with Group B, it was more than Master A and I disagreed as to whether or not I was a bitch. Some absolutely had valid claim to their opinion, but they disliked ME, not all red-headed female dominants.
Some likely wouldn’t believe it, but I’ve lost sleep over decisions I had to make, and the fallout from them once they’d been made. I’ve cried over unkindnesses, both done and done to me, and grieved more for Leather family lost than I did over my mother. I still remember the names when we call them out. I wouldn’t remember my blood family’s names so easily.
I’ve given people access to opportunities they might have missed otherwise, to chances to represent them they’d maybe have missed, otherwise. I’ve given them a stage and a patch, and a title that gave them access to bigger stages and prettier patches and more titles. I’ve watched them grow and mature, mostly.
I’ve encouraged people to present classes, had them present for me, or join a panel. I’ve been lucky enough to have some pretty amazing people come and present for me, or judge for me, just because I asked. I’ve done some truly inappropriate things with a wide variety of people, and sometimes made money for the titleholder’s out of it.
So now, after twenty years, I am thinking about what I want to do now, what I want to keep doing, what I don’t. I’ve got a couple of things to decide on in the next weeks, too, that will dictate some of what I’m doing a year from now, some things I’ve been thinking on for a while now.