Friday, March 27, 2009

Sleepyness and college friends

By Sunday morning I was toast. Traveling across the country always results in me being exhausted. I'm in a fun place. I'm running around soaking up the atmosphere, meeting new people, talking about work, learning new things. And sleep inevitably gets the short end. So, by Sunday I was mainlining lattes.

In the afternoon, the vending area closed. I boxed my stuff up (in boxes thoughtfully provided by the Vanilla Cuffs and Collars folks), dragged it up to my room, poked my head around the dungeon and watched a few scenes and then communed with my bed.

At around 5:30, I got directions from some nice folks and headed off to meet some folks for dinner. I went to St. Olaf College and while I was there, a wonderful man headed up OLGA (the St. Olaf Lesbian, Bisexual and Gay Alliance). His name is Jeffrey. And now he lives in San Francisco with his husband James. Dinner was lovely. We caught up. I tasted Retsina for the first time. And chose to drink something else with dinner. I can see the appeal of the piney fresh taste. And I think it might be good while sitting on a terrace in the sun in Mykonos snacking on something delicious. But, well, i just wasn't ready.

On my way to dinner I walked past the ESBIAN GAY BISEXUAL TRANSGENDER Center. I was wondering where Esbians were for at least two minutes when I realized that, indeed, Esbians were not some ethnic group with which I was unfamiliar. But, instead, the L was missing. I felt really smart.

After catching the bus back to the hotel, I stopped by the after party, said hi to a few folks and headed back to bed. Bed was good. Very, very good.

in which i play with a meat tenderizer

Saturday flew by. Sold some stuff. Drank some coffee. Realised that i was going to be underdressed for the evening festivities. Sulked for a minute.

You see, Saturday night is the night of the big competition. I'd never been to a leather competition before. I'd heard about them, but never been. And, it turns out that it is an opportunity to wear fantastic outfits. Which I really should have thought of. By the time I realised this, I had already worn my best outfit for vending. So, it was jeans, a t-shirt and cute shoes.

The event was super fun. Essentially, it's a pageant. Like Miss America. But for leather. And with hotter folks. There are two categories. International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack.

The competitors for each participate in interviews. The bootblacks spend a lot of time boot blacking. Then the IMsL competitors compete in "hot wear", on stage question and a performance (that apparently they avoid calling "talent"). It was fun. A state senator came and read a proclamation. S. Bear Bergman MCd. The competition seemed fierce. The outgoing title holders made speeches. And then the winners were announced. It was really exciting! Lamilani and Pony won! With the amazing Sarah Sloane coming in as first runner up.

After that, I wandered upstairs to the Cigar and Boots party. Cigars, boot blacking, cocktails. Seriously? Good stuff. I got to see one of my friends get boot blacked from head to toe. Leather jacket, leather pants, boots - rubbed massaged and buffed with a scotch in one hand and a cigar in the other. Lovely!

A group of us then wandered down the dungeon and gathered up some pervertables (sold at The Inverted Eye) and began to play with them, discovering what kind of sensations they make. We rolled a meat tenderizer back and forth across chests and arms. Smacked a frat paddle on bottoms and thighs. My favorite was an old wire whisk. Whisks used to be made of a much heavier metal, resulting in an object that provides light thud and almost no sting. After a bit I started to crash. It was approaching three am. I crawled up to my room and passed out.

the suitcase appears

Friday morning my suit case showed up. which was good because i think i was starting to smell. and not in a good way.

and i discovered the starbucks which was in stumbling distance from the front door of the hotel. the odd thing was that it was in a bank, like literally in the WaMu. so i was caffeinated, clean and wearing clean clothes. a good start on the day.

then, all of the product that i had shipped showed up. the table got set up and the vending area opened.

IMsL certainly isn't the biggest event I've worked. But it's definitely one of the warmest. before i was exposed to the BDSM community, i think i pictured a bunch of very serious, dark people huddled in a dank basement stretching someone on a rack. While rats ran over their boot clod feet.

well, i was right about the boots.

but, most of the other stuff. well, maybe it was just my fantasy. BDSM conventions tend to have some of the happiest people on the planet. you hear laughter (and screams) in the dungeon. there are a lot of folks wearing black leather. and others wearing colorful outfits. and some dressed like your mother. most folks do use the opportunity to wear outfits they may not get to wear in the "real world". and a lot of the time they are grinning. big, huge, broad happy smiles. and greeting each other with big hugs.

which makes me grin.

my booth was right next to
Vanilla Collars and Cuffs - super nice people with some really lovely sterling silver hand made jewelry. they even brought me boxes and tape to ship my stuff back on Sunday (my original boxes were destroyed in transit). next to them was Ms Martha's Corsets with lovely and affordable corsets (including plus sizes). a new corset may or may not have followed me home...

IMsL part 2

checked in, found my room, called and found out where my luggage was (phillie), checked to make sure that there was black gaffers tape around (perfect pasties in a pinch - say that three times fast) and toddled down the the dressing area for the show.

where i found Manny Nuff, formerly from DC. and Peggy Sue, still from DC. and Felice, from New York. more familiar faces. shyness was dissipating.

eyelashes on. gaffer tape on. glitter applied. set list reviewed. everything was good.

the show was called Seduction. and it included an amazing cross section of performers - including a group called Butch Tap. Which was exactly that. a bunch of butches tap dancing. god, that made me happy! search for em on youtube. Felice and Venae totally outdid themselves. the show ran on time, the audience had a blast. and we raised some cash for the NCSF. all of the tips went to the NCSF. including the tips from the lap dances.

yep, i lap danced. which frankly isn't easy. when i'm on stage i figure people can watch me or not. but lap dancing - you're sticking your face (and other things) in front of folks and making them pay you for it. thank god felice saw me flailing around and threw me up on top of a table. then a friend started paying for dances. shwooo.

after that i wandered up to the welcome reception. which was super fun. i met some really nice people. at about 2 am i determined that i should go to bed, since i'd been up for more than 24 hours...

IMsL Part 1

So, last Thursday morning i got on a plane and went to San Francisco to go to IMsL.

What the hell is IMsL?

It's a weekend long event for and about leather women (and those who love them). There are workshops, open dungeons, a dance, parties, performances, vending and the International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack competitions.

Wednesday, Owen and I sent off all the stuff. I finished packing. Wrote a novel for the women who would be walking the girls while S was at work. Took a nap. And then, missed my plane.

Apparently, you know how they say that you need to check in 45 minutes before departure? That's a hard limit. 40 minutes before departure doesn't count. They rerouted me on a different flights that would get me into San Francisco at 7. Which would have been fine, except that my call for the performance that evening was 7:30.

So, I paid my $15 to check my bag, went thru security, got a coffee and whipped out the iPhone, found a different set of flights, begged and got set up to show up in San Fran at 3:30. Plenty of time.

God bless the iPhone.

Then I flew to Phillie. Then to Denver. Where they have what must be the world's largest retail display of Crocs. I'm not kidding. It spread across three monstrous kiosks. Under a skylight. I think to make sure that the beauty of the croc's was set off in natural light. I was pretty sure that I had entered the seventh level of hell. Luckily, the lay over was short. And I was off to San Francisco.

Where of course my bag wasn't. They had managed to get me to San Fran on time, but my bag apparently didn't ever leave Phillie. Which was annoying, but since I've been separated from my bags in the past, my costume for the evening was in my carry on. I filed the report and went off to the hotel.

I've never been so happy to see a Holiday Inn in my life.