Here it is, folks. The long-awaited conference report. Wheee!
Of course I’m shamefully biased because I’m an organizer, but I gotta say, by all accounts – not just mine – it went reeeeally well. I’ve received a number of gleeful Facebook messages since the weekend; Jacqueline and I were awarded some very yummy thank-you gifts from the conference attendees when we gave our impromptu closing words (yaaay chocolate!); and one very thoughtful individual was so generous as to give me a rather unique kinky toy to express her appreciation. Seriously, folks. How many times in your life will you get a fully adjustable labia clamp as a thank-you gift for organizing a conference? It was a first for me, I must say.
Let’s see if I can give a quick rundown:
– Registration hit our cap of 60, and people seemed to be having a great time.
– The workshops went super well, with excellent facilitation and lots of hot moments (anyone care for a bootshine performed using a pair of panties… while they’re still on the wearer?). Every workshop leader showed up on time and did their thing, except for a couple who had compelling reasons that prevented them from doing so, in which case other people stepped up to the plate and facilitated instead – which was just SO awesome, and in fact produced a couple of the weekend’s most talked-about sessions.
– All the volunteers showed up, did their work and did it well, and lots of people pitched in without even attending the conference or being officially designated volunteers. Wow. Talk about great support.
– Our sponsors were absolutely fantastic and super-supportive with everything from last-minute supplies (shit! we need a whackload of condoms, pronto!) to unexpected requests (is it OK to do a smudge ceremony in your conference room?) to random helpfulness (mind if we park in your office and use your Internet connection? Three times in the next hour?).
– Miss Jenn and Breathless, the main venue, were wonderful. Miss Jenn is one devoted lady when it comes to kinky community – she put in as many hours as Jacqueline and I did, and remained cheerful and energetic even when she’d had barely any sleep. Not to mention her vast array of hottiehot outfits (that cop uniform? Rrroowwr!).
– Nothing broke, nobody got injured, and best of all, there was minimal drama.
– The play parties were awesome, with tons of intriguing and sexy play. Of course I can only personally vouch for two out of three, because I was so tuckered out by the end of the weekend (that’s what ya get for running a conference all day, supervising a party all night and then going home to play after hours) that I spent the bulk of the Sunday-night party flung out on the couch and completely dead to the world. I sincerely hope I wasn’t snoring or drooling. When I was awake, though, I must say it was pretty exciting to check out the scenes that were going on…
I recall, over the course of the weekend, watching someone get her very first flogging (having auctioned off her “virgin ass” on the Friday night), someone else lazily flick a single-tail at a delightfully flinching back, another person getting paddled with a plastic hockey stick and occasionally wailing “I love hockey!”, a person kicking her feet as hot wax was dripped on her skin, another person getting fisted in the sling, someone standing blissfully still while several hundred feet of purple rope was knotted in a beautiful shell pattern all over her body, someone else putting on a mouthwatering fashion show for a small audience including scads of gorgeous vintage lingerie… really, it was pretty damn sexy to just stand there and drink it all in. Never mind my own participation (heh).
I have to say that one of the best moments of the entire weekend, for me, was the two hours I spent on Saturday night just watching the party unfold – seeing people pair off or group together and get up to all sorts of debauchery, many of them playing together for the first time with people they’d just met. It was just so fantastic to witness those connections happening right in front of me. Amazing.
That last point segues quite nicely into a conclusion to this post.
When I was coming up with my words of welcome to include in the conference programme, I thought of conversations that Jacqueline and I had had about the idea of cross-pollination. We’re two kinky dykes with organizational tendencies, and both of us love to travel and see what the scene is like in other cities. So we’ve both checked out what’s available for leatherdykes in other places than our hometowns – sometimes in the States, sometimes in Canada, not further afield (yet). But so far, speaking for myself, I’ve met very few other dykes who move around like that and make connections with others outside their home territory. Certainly it’s not unheard-of, but it doesn’t happen nearly enough, in my opinion. So we were really enthused that we would be bringing people together from different cities and watching them make friends with one another. (Sounds so sweet and innocent, doesn’t it…) With that in mind, I wrote the following:
When Jacqueline St-Urbain told me about her idea for a leatherdyke weekend months ago, I knew right away I wanted to be a part of making it happen. Now, that idea has become reality. From October 5 to 7, 2007 in Ottawa, we’re welcoming 60 sexy women and trans people to Canada’s first event of its kind in almost 15 years. I’m thrilled to be bringing kinky queers together from Montreal, Toronto, Ottawa, Halifax and other cities to learn from and play with each other… and I hope that years from now, An Unholy Harvest will be seen as the first chapter in a long and lusty story of pan-Canadian connection and community-building.
And I can now say that the cross-pollination we were hoping for did in fact occur… and what a thrill it was to watch it all take place. I am so, so glad that I could have a hand in creating that opportunity.
Is this a first chapter in something larger? That remains to be seen… Jacqueline and I are scheduling a post-mortem soon and we’ll take it from there. In the meantime, I’m just going to sit here and glow. And catch up on my sleep.