On Sunday, I attended the the graduation of the cadets of the 2008 Journeyman III Academy of California, held at the San Francisco Citadel (the local dungeon). From what I can tell as an outsider, the academy is a pretty amazing institution, and graduation from it is a big deal. The audience that showed up included many prominent members of the BDSM community, and the guest speaker list was impressive, including Master Mike Aylett, Master Skip Chasey, and VG Smith & Sarah Auberon.
The academy serves a valuable role in preserving Leather culture. In their words, it is a “forum for advanced training in Leather traditions and history, D/s relationship issues, advanced S/m play, and Leather spirituality.” The program is a serious undertaking. It lasts 18 months, and requires a commitment of at least a full weekend a month, in addition to outside readings and homework assignments. It is intended to be difficult and grueling.
Ever had one of those “did I just hear that?” situations? One afternoon, a vanilla friend of mine and I were discussing our respective plans for the following evening. He said, “I’m headed up to the city for a suspension clinic.” My mind immediately started racing in all different directions (“Did I mishear him?” “Did he just come out to me?” “That’s totally not a beginner class, and besides I don’t know of any suspension clinics this weekend.”). I’m out to him, but not in his face about it, so I really wasn’t sure what to do. In a fit of brilliance, I said something non-committal like “that’s nice”, and promptly changed the subject. Later in the conversation, after I felt up to it, I asked him to clarify what his clinic was about… and discovered it was about motorcycle suspension.
I told him (and the two others who were there) what I had thought, and it has been a mutual source of amusement ever since.
This summer, I had to break a date with one person I’m seeing in order to accommodate another. Here’s the email I sent her:
So, now that we’ve figured out a July date and everything … it would be cool if we could reschedule. Sorry. Renee’s gone for a month, in town for only a couple days in the middle there. Would you be up for the evening of July 11th, either at the Citadel or Edges? Or we could figure out my place if neither of those work out. That’s the best, but alternatives are the 12th, the 19th, or a weeknight around then. Any of that sound doable?
She responded, and used my email as an example of all the proper things to say when breaking a poly date.
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to a special taping of blood-related kinky activities for Dave Navarro, for his upcoming show on the Independent Film Channel. Phil and August of the San Francisco Citadel had arranged for a variety of scenes to be performed in his presence, and since the shoot was allegedly showing a class with demos, they needed an audience of “students”, which is where I came in.
Folsom Street Fair, the high holy day for pervs, leatherfolk, kinksters, whatever we’re called. Everyone in town (and most try to be in town) drags themselves to the fair, no matter how they’re feeling that day. Excited, tired, sick, or healthy, it’s a chance to see and be seen, to show one’s leather pride, to fundraise, to do outreach, to play, to photograph and be photographed. This year, for me, the fair was about connecting and reconnecting with people.