Category Archives: Bluegrass Leather Pride
It was a busy, albeit fun, weekend.
On Friday night we were in the Gay Pride Parade, on our Leather Pride “float.”
Our Leather Pride float was the truck belonging to my current Master and slave couple, Steve and kim, with their car trailer attached.
We used bungee cords to secure camp folding chairs back to back down the middle, about a dozen of them. People rode in the back of the truck, too. We had a Fringe Elements banner, and signs for Bluegrass Leather Pride, and a Leather Pride flag.
We also had scented bubbles and cans of silly string.
We met in a lot behind one of the local gay bars, and waited for a bit, then moved into the sort of pre-staging area, which worked out really well for us because it was a very sunny day and could have been unpleasantly hot, but we were under an overpass, so it was quite pleasant. It was a lovely day, clear and dry, plenty warm but by the time the parade was actually starting it had cooled down and the sun wasn’t so bright.
We had quite a few people who were on our float – Steve and Kim, Charles and jacki, Karen, Meg, Christie, Russ, Caile and Ms. Tammy and Ms. Tammy’s goldendoodle, Honey, and Kim’s 20 year old daughter and her friend.
In the truck we had Kody and Jessie and another couple of friends of theirs.
Walking beside we had Daddy Donald and Chris, slave drew, Bootblack Bella and Bootblack Astro, and Jay walking beside, along with Sir Charles part of the time, and his son, Nick, and Kenny drove the car.
All together, it was a pretty good turnout, nearly 25 people.
And, again, I assume because we were near the front, we were also what a couple of local stations lead off with in covering the pride parade.
As the newscaster says, “And it was the Gay Pride Parade in Kentuckiana today…”. you see Nick walking by the camera, then you see Ms, Tammy, and jacki and me and Charles and Kim and Steve. Then the coverage moves on, but you can see us quite clearly.
I look incredibly domme-ly. I have a can of Silly String I am apparently trying to understand how to use.
Not much earlier, they’d been playing with the silly string a bit, making sure that they were all open and caught the attention of a kid, mostly by spraying him accidentally and kind of scaring him, so we had to give him a can after that.
The first thing he did was spray us back, rightfully so, and I got a spotty sort of mist of green Silly String particles all over myself, face and vest both. Poor Charles and jacki were nearly beside themselves trying to get it all off me, saying things like, “I’m sorry I’m touching your boob, Ma’am, I am just wiping off your vest.”
I saw an old lover at the parade, someone who was covering it for one of the local media. I haven’t seen him in a long time, it was a pleasant enough encounter. He still looks fabulous.
The parade had a few protesters, though the only ones I actually saw were a pair of men who looked like Mormon missionaries – short sleeved “dress” shirt, tie, conservative haircuts and dress slacks – with signs.
The signs were great, one had signs that said something like, “Don’t be pitching a tent around my cub scout,” and “FALSE Preachers + Teachers, There is a Hell, You’re on the HIGHWay!!”
The other had a sign that said, “Celebrating STRAIGHT NORMAL PRIDE 365 DAYS A YEAR.” Actually, neither of them looked a bit like they were celebrating anything at all.
There were a couple other ones at the end of the parade, which was the Gay Pride celebration, but I didn’t get out there. I stayed on the back with a few other people as we rode around a few city blocks to get back to the gay bar.
There was a Mary J. Blige concert downtown last night, so between them, us, and the drag queens, there were a lot of high heels than normal on the street last night.
I am SO freaking happy to announce that I finally have my blog up on my own domain, something that has been on my agenda for a couple of months.
If you’re reading this on MsConstanceExplains at WordPress, well, I’m still very glad to have you.
However, if you’re reading this on my own domain, at MsConstanceExplains.com, well then, I’m even more glad to have you.
To give credit where credit is more than due, I had little to do with this.
My good friend Charles did the migration for me. I had tried and played at it a few times, but just never got it to work. I was worried I’d lose everything because I’m not that much of a tech person. I had spent a couple of hours trying to figure it out, and a month kind of playing at it.
I gave Charles the information last night, and he had it done before noon today.
Now THAT’S a geek.
In the best sense of the word.
So, I am very pleased to have this done, to be able to check it off my large to do list.
On another note, I started sending out questions to my crew that are planning to run for Leather titles, and I plan to do that daily.
The thing about Leather Contests is that it’s not unlike a job interview. You are, in fact, interviewing for the job of a title holder.
International Mr. Leather, for instance, there are usually in the range of 50 contestants.
IML is a BIG deal. Participants are judged on stage presence and personality (Pecs and Personality), leather image, presentation skills, and physical appearance. To be named as one of the top twenty contestants is a big deal, to be named top three is extraordinary.
I hold a Leather title with slave drew. He and I are Great Lakes Master and slave 2003. We competed at GLLA, where we won, then went on to compete at the International Master and slave contest, where we did not win.
When we ran, there were no feeder contests for the regionals.
There are, for most of the major contests, three levels of competition.
You compete at the state level, then at the regional, then at the International.
I can produce five titles, if I have contestants. I can produce Bluegrass Leather Pride Master and slave, Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack, Bluegrass Leather Pride Sir, Bluegrass Leather Pride boy, and Ms Bluegrass Leather Pride. I produce a state contest.
All of my contestants then go on to Great Lakes Leather Alliance, which is the regional contest.
Some of the winners of GLLA will go to specific international contests.
The Great Lakes Master and slave, for instance, will go to South Plains Leatherfest, where they will compete for International Master and slave.
The Great Lakes Leather Sir and Leather boy will go to International Leather Sir and boy Contest.
The Great Lakes Bootblack can choose to compete at International Mr Bootblack, or in the case of a female, International Ms Bootblack, or International Community Bootblack, which is affiliated with the International Leather Sir and boy.
Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride can choose to go to compete for International Ms Leather, which is called IMsL for short – pronounced “im-sill” – or she can go to compete for the International Ms Olympus contest.
What the regional and state contests endeavor to do is create an experience as close to the international contests as is possible. We basically take the application from the International and use it for regional, and from regional and use it for state.
The more often a contestant going through the same contest, the better they do.
Virtually all contests have some of the same components – an interview, a speech, and a pop question. Some, like the Master and slave, also have a presentation.
M/s couples are also judged on their Master and slave dynamics; those qualities that make them a Master and slave as opposed to simply a dominant and submissive couple.
Some of the Leather contests also have an image or appearance component, but you shouldn’t interpret that as meaning that only traditionally perfect people compete and win. One of the good things about the Leather community is that we tend to have a broader view of what’s attractive, and often, it’s far more about being comfortable in your skin.
So, we are working on preparing people for interviews by asking questions. Next week we will work some on speeches, which is often one of the things the people find terrifying.
So, once again, I hope you visit my new home. I’m very happy to have gotten moved in finally.
We had one of the titleholder preps we do in Louisville tonight. We do preparations for people planning to run for titles and tonight we had five potential contestants and seven or eight of us who were working with them, asking questions, giving feedback on the questions that were being given and the way they were given.
We talked about why they wanted to hold the titles for which they were running, what they thought they brought to the table that other contestants might not, what part spirituality played in their Leather lives, why they were running for the title they were running for.
It’s always interesting to hear how people answer those questions, and I’m generally pleased with where we are. We have more work, but things are going well.
Then we had the Sunday munch after, and that was fun, but it’s nearly bedtime now. More tomorrow, I swear.
We had a Fringe Board meeting tonight, which takes both time and energy.
The good news is, however, that I finally took down the Christmas tree in preparation.
Now, to be fair, I hadn’t done a tone of decorating for Christmas. A small Christmas tree with Scottie ornaments, a few things set out, not a lot. I was not living in Santa’s workshop or anything, but it is the 22nd of January, it was time to take it all down and put it away.
I’ve got things to do on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which I will do some work on tomorrow and the day after.
I seriously need to respond to comments, and that’s on my agenda.
And after 20 minutes, this is all I have, so I think I should just accept that I haven’t much to say tonight.
Tomorrow I feel sure I’ll be more talkative.
So we had our SIG meeting this afternoon and the topic, which had been requested in our topic listing, was Leather History.
I did a bit of prep for the meeting, which included going through the Leather Archives and Museum Leather History Timeline. If you’re interested you can find that here.
I pulled out items that I thought were particularly interesting from that time line:
1954: Satyrs MC founded in Los Angeles, the first gay motorcycle club.
1955, Sept. 21: The Daughters of Bilitis, the first Lesbian organization in America, is formed in San Francisco.
1958: Oedipus MC founded in Los Angeles, the second gay motorcycle club.
1958, June: Chuck Renslow becomes manager of The Gold Coast in Chicago and creates the first Leather Bar.
1960, March 16: The Gold Coast, Chicago’s first leather bar, (opened June 1958) is purchased by Chuck Renslow and Associates.
1960: Warlocks MC, and California Motor Club formed in southern California and San Francisco respectively.
1963, Sept. 15: Second City Motorcycle Club founded in Chicago.
1964, June 26: Life magazine features “Homosexuality in America,” an article by Paul Welch that includes a two page spread on the Tool Box, San Francisco’s premier leather bar, and sparks a migration of eager leathermen to “Baghdad by the Bay.”
1964: Empire City MC founded in NYC and holds first Empire City Christmas Party and Toys for Tots.
1964: Recon MC founded in San Francisco.
1965, Apr.: Second City MC founded in Chicago. The first such club in the Midwest.
1969: Time magazine declares 1969 “The Year of the Newly Militant Homosexual”
1969, June 28: New York City Police raid the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher St. near 7th Ave. triggering riots that last several nights, and becoming the seminal event in public awareness of the fight for gay rights.
1969, June 29: “Four Policemen Hurt in Village Raid” reported the New York Times, on page 33.
1969, July: Reporting on the Stonewall riots, Time magazine says, “The love that once dared not speak its name now can’t seem to keep its mouth shut.”
1969, July: The Gay Liberation Front is formed in New York City.
1970, June: Celebrating the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades/marches/rallies are held in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Cycle MC marches in the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade in NYC.
1971, Jan. 3: First lesbian center in the US opens in New York City, sponsored by the NY Chapter of the Daughters of Bilitis.
1971, Feb.: The Eulenspiegel Society is founded in New York City as North America’s first SM organization. It is open to all sexes and orientations.
1971, Apr.: Bob Ross begins publishing the Bay Area Reporter, aka the B.A.R., in San Francisco. Mr. Marcus begins his leather column in this newspaper in August of 1971. As of this writing in Jan,. 1999, both the paper and the column are still going strong after 28 years!
1971, Aug.: In Chicago: Thirteen men decide to organize a group specifically to hold gay male SM play parties and the Chicago Hellfire Club is created…
1972, April: The (San Francisco) Bay Area Reporter newspaper begins publishing a column devoted to leather related news, gossip and information written by “Mr. Marcus,” (Marcus Hernandez.) The first, and longest running, column of its type, in 1999 it is still going strong!
1972, Oct.: In a contest held at the Chicago Leather bar, the Gold Coast, John Lunning becomes Mr. Gold Coast. The FIRST leather title holder.
1974: Bella Abzug and Edward Koch become the first members of the US House of Representatives to introduce legislation prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation.
1974: The Society of Janus is started in the San Francisco Bay area by Cynthia Slater. It is an SM interest group open to all genders and orientations.
1974, Apr. 8: Members of the American Psychiatric Association agree with its trustees to stop listing homosexuality as a mental disorder.
1976, Oct. 26: The Mineshaft in New York City opens. This after-hours club allowed and encouraged virtually all forms of sexual activity among its hot male patrons. It was a Mecca for leather/SM types in the Eastern US and Canada. Closed in Nov. 1985.
1977, Feb. 7: US State Dept. announces it will no longer automatically bar gays and lesbians from employment.
1978, Nov 27: Harvey Milk, openly gay San Francisco Supervisor, assassinated, along with mayor George Moscone, by former Supervisor Dan White.
1989, May 28: Tony DeBlase presents his design for a leather pride flag to the audience at International Mr. Leather, the first time the flag is presented to the public.
We talked, too, about some of the “rules” of the Old Guard leather, which I also find quite interesting. Let me say that there are those who disagree that there ever even was an Old Guard, but regardless, I still find the list an interesting one:
Always wear boots, butch ones, and preferably black.
Always wear a wide black leather belt plain, not fancy.
Never mix brown leather with black leather.
Never mix chrome or silver trim with gold or brass trim.
Long pants only, Levi’s or leather, and no shorts.
Chaps indicate more commitment than Levi’s, and leather pants more commitment than chaps, especially when worn consistently.
Leather Jackets must have epaulets (bike riders excepted).
Head gear is reserved for Tops or experienced or heavy bottoms only.
Bottoms may not own collars unless a particular Top has allowed that bottom to be the custodian of the Top’s collar. A bottom wearing a collar is a slave, and belongs to the owner of the collar who, presumably, has the keys. Other Tops are not to engage a collared bottom in conversation, but other bottoms may do so. Should such a relationship end, the collar must be returned to the Top.
Never touch the bill of a bike cap, including your own.
Never touch another man’s cap (or head gear) unless you are very intimate friends or lovers.
Keep studs and other decorations to a tasteful minimum unless they happen to be club insignia.
Never wear another man’s leather unless he puts it on you.
Leather, other than boots and belt, must be ‘earned’ through the achievement of successively challenging ‘scenes.’
Wearing gloves is reserved for heavy players, glove fetishists or bike riders.
Always indicate SM preference, only with keys left or right.
If you are cruising seriously, wear the keys out; if not seriously, tuck them in a back pocket.
Always indicate strictly leather sex or ‘rough sex’ interest by wearing no keys at all.
Those who ‘switch’ are second class players and not to be taken as seriously because they haven’t made their minds up. If you must switch, do so in another town.
‘Full’ leather is reserved for after 10:00 P.M. only and only with ‘our own kind’.
Respect the public by wearing less of it during the day–don’t frighten old ladies (l did once by accident), or anyone else for that matter.
About Socializing and Cruising:
Experience in the Scene determines social seniority (Top or bottom), not age, not size, not amount of leather worn, and not offices held in organizations, awards received or titles won.
Tops and experienced bottoms should be accorded higher respect and deference unless and until they behave rudely–all are expected to observe rules of social courtesy-bad manners are inexcusable and can lower one’s status in the Scene (thereby reducing access to the Knowledgeable People for information or play),
Real Leathermen keep their word: they do not borrow or lend money; they conduct their affairs with honor and integrity-they don’t lie.
Preliminary social contact should be on the formal side.
‘Senior Persons’ (Top or bottom) are not to be interrupted when in conversation.
Experience being equal, Tops lead the conversation.
Junior Tops defer to Senior Tops and Senior bottoms in social situations.
Junior bottoms defer to all others in the Scene but not to outsiders.
When walking together, bottoms walk half-a-step behind and to the left of Tops with whom they are involved or playing.
It is up to the Top or the experienced bottom to extend a hand to invite a handshake. (All touching is highly restricted during initial contact between strangers.) NEVER over-indulge in drugs or alcohol in public, or otherwise attract scornful attention to one’s self–to do so brings dishonor on the men in the Scene,
Tops should always have the first two opportunities to make verbal or physical contact.
The more submissive one is, the less direct eye contact one makes-glance frequently at or stare at His boots only when cruising; less so in non-sexual conversation. The more dominant one is, the more direct the eye contact is unless there is no erotic interest (cruising only).
Men in the Scene do not discuss (or write about the Scene with outsiders. All men in the Scene must be able to spot outsiders with the ‘right stuff’ and be ready to facilitate them into the Scene after they indicate sincere interest.
None of these rules are taught or explained to anyone except by innuendo, inference, or example.
Erotic technical information is only shared among peers.
We talked about why people thought Leather history was important, and discussed the positives and negatives of both inclusion and exclusion within the community.
We spent some time specifically talking about Stonewall, an incident I find quite moving. If you don’t know a lot about Stonewall, the Wikipedia entry here is well-written and interesting.
All in all, I think it was a worthwhile discussion and one that people enjoyed. That’s always my hope, anyway.
On another topic, my website is up and running and it’s now possible to get yourself registered for Bluegrass Leather Pride and the Kinky Bloggers convention by going here. I look forward to seeing at least some of you there.
We did our first Titleholder Preparation for the new year tonight.
We met at the local pizza joint where we’ve been doing munches for 15 years. They give the basement over to us, and generally let us do pretty much whatever we want to do.
We had four people who are planning to run for my titles, and a couple that are preparing for international contests.
We talked about what good reasons are to run for a title, because you think you have something to say, because you want a platform, because you want to serve your community.
We talked about issues to consider like, can you afford to run for a title financially, can you afford it in terms of the time you have available, can your relationships afford it?
We talked about recognizing that running for a title almost always leads to at least some outing. You may not necessarily have your name on the front page of the paper, but it’s entirely possible that people will learn about your kinks.
The story we talked about was a couple of years ago when we had a Leather Pride float in the Gay Pride Parade. As it turned out, we happened to be the first float in the parade because we were where we were supposed to be. We were using a truck, with titleholders just standing in the bed.
As it happened, the Master and slave couple, Charles and jacki, were in the front and, because we were the first float, we were on most of the local and regional news feeds.
Meaning Charles, who is, while not narrow, very straight, was on the opening footage of the Gay Pride Parade.
He got some calls, he got some questions from friends and family, and it was a situation one couldn’t have anticipated, either.
We talked about what to expect if you win, what happens to your life. We talked about the components of contests, and what matters about those components.
We talked about the kinds of questions you should absolutely know the answer to, including, what are your best qualities, what are your worst, what will you do if you win, what will you do if you lose, and why are you running.
We talked about how to answer a question, how to prepare for the actual contest, what to do – get rest, be on time, make sure you are organized, and what not to do – don’t drink, don’t hide in your room, and, the standing joke, don’t sleep with any of the judges.
We’ll do more preparation, but it was nice to get that started.
I also spent my day working on my Bluegrass Leather Pride website and registration, and I have that nearly ready to go live. I expect it will be up tomorrow. Hurray for me.
I’m also going to talk about Kinky Bloggers tomorrow, I believe. Stay tuned!
My day has been pleasantly quiet, generally.
I had a late breakfast with a submissive male who is a friend, too, and is always interesting. We chatted about art, about the current political debates, and compartmentalization in our respective lives.
After that, I came home and spent the rest of the afternoon going through email, answering emails in my normal account and my Fetlife account, making some reservations for upcoming events, and working on my Bluegrass Leather Pride contest.
Then I joined a group of friends to celebrate a birthday, which was fun.
Working on Bluegrass Leather and some on Great Lakes Leather Alliance is going to be my day tomorrow, too, and I hope to have many of the details ironed out tomorrow.
This is, then, going to be short and not that exciting, because I need to pop back to that.
I also want to thank everyone for the nice comments regarding the passing of my half brother, they have meant a great deal to me. I’ll have some time over the next few days to catch up on comments, too, so I’ll respond individually, but I did see them, and thank you all for them.
Ever have one of those days?
It began with a LARGE dog mess that had to be cleaned up. A mess that spanned two rooms. First thing.
I’ve worked on laundry all day, which I honestly don’t mind, but it’s been a lot of steps up and down stairs, since the laundry is in the basement. There has also been moving the clean clothes up to the upstairs, another flight.
I feel as though I’ve been doing a stair master all day, and while that’s not bad, my joints are beginning to protest.
I had another mess to clean up when the big plastic container of liquid laundry detergent somehow fell off the dryer, breaking the screw top, and spewing a certain amount of soap over the dryer, the washer, and some of the clean clothes.
Then there was the large pool of detergent on the floor.
I got it cleaned up, and now I have washcloths that are going to function as laundry drop-ins, since they are saturated with soap.
It has rained. ALL DAY. I know, I know, we’re getting rain and I should shut the fuck up and be grateful, but it’s rained ALL day. Drizzled. Steady, drippy, boring rain. Gray day, not a ray of sunshine to be seen.
Dogs can’t go out, or when they do, they track in astonishing amounts of mud. There are puppy footprints on the floor where I swept up the puppy footprints yesterday from the rain yesterday.
I don’t know how much rain we’ve had over the last few days, but it’s been a lot. The pool that we’ve never gotten around to draining for the winter because we’ve barely HAD a winter is about to overflow.
And for those of you who know about sub drop, let me tell you, event drop is just as real.
One is on and being all charismatic and upbeat and everything and it went well, but there’s a price one pays, too, in terms of the internal batteries, as well as external.
I’ve not done some of the things I wanted to do, and that’s ok, there’s time, but I feel unproductive, and that is never a feeling I like. Bluegrass Leather Pride looms, GLLA is on the horizon, and Fringe Elements is always there.
I have had to do some bottoming for the community lately, and that’s not my favorite thing. Sometimes we do things we find repugnant because it’s what’s required for the better of the community, and those are never the things that anyone notices. One throws oneself on the sword at times.
I’m tired and probably hungry – dinner is bean soup I thankfully started this morning, and frozen biscuits. I’ll survive, it’s not anything serious, but I would be much happier if tomorrow were a sunny day and the dogs could stay out longer than five minutes without bringing in so much mess that it feels like mud wrestling preliminaries.
I hope your Sunday is more cheerful than mine.
Had I been smart, I would have written a blog post before heading out to the Fringe Elements Taster’s Choice party last night.
I thought of that about the same time I realized that I had forgotten the mascara. It was too late to go back and do it by then.
So the party went well. We had about 120 people, which is a good sized party. Our class lineup was Rope Bondage by Robyn, Boot Massage by Bootblack Bella, Therapeutic Massage by Kristin, Intro to Canes by Ms Constance – yours truly – Intro to Flogging by GypsyPony, Hot Safe Sex by Leather Queer, Intro to Electrical Play by Sir Russ, Intro to Knife Play by Sir Charles, Rough Body Play by Walter Sobchak, Intro to Needles by Ms Tammy, Intro to Littles Play by Johnnie and Maggie, and Massage for Doms by Shawna the Dead.
Most classes ran about a half hour – the theme was Taster’s Choice, a chance to give people a taste of a skill or activity, and introduction to it. A couple ran longer because there was too much to do in so short a time, but I was very pleased.
I actually did my cane class twice, and was surprised at the attendance both times. I probably had about 30 people all together.
I’m always surprised at how many people are interested in canes. I think it’s like anything else that people are afraid of, they’re also fascinated by.
I do a longer class on crops and canes both, and this was an abbreviated version. I also caned probably a half dozen people who were interested in the experiencing how canes feel, so that was fun, too.
It was a good event, but the end result of such things is always that I am fairly exhausted the next day. I actually didn’t stay as late as I usually do, because I wanted to check on slave drew, but I left for the party about about 5:00 or so and got home about 1:00am or so, so I was still gone about eight hours.
Now I need to really start focusing on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which will be my work this week.
If you were there, I hope you had a great time. If you were not, and could have been, then you missed out. If you couldn’t make it due to distance, I forgive you.
I am sitting in bed, with slave drew, watching television and generally hanging out, something we rarely do.
He is playing on his Kindle, surfing and at this moment translating a German phrase of some sort. He tells me it says, I am very cute, smart, clever, sympathetic, pretty and arrogant on top of it.
I think you have to be German for it to make sense.
We are watching Midsomer Murders, one of our BBC mysteries, about which it always strikes us that so many people could be murdered in these sleepy English villages and there still be enough to put on the next year’s church fete.
I am drinking a lovely tea, a black one made with rose petals and tiny buds. It would likely be too flowery for most people, but I’m quite fond of it. It smells like a bouquet of roses.
I spent some time today working on Bluegrass Leather Pride, which will be my focus for the next few weeks. I’m getting there.
I hope to have a bit more focused and structured time tomorrow to get some emails sent, some schedules created, a program drafted. We shall see.
In the meantime, though, it’s past my bedtime.