A slightly random collection of bits and pieces for you today: Amsterdam part 2 and some cool upcoming stuff in Toronto.
First, part 2 of the Amsterdam post. I didn’t intend for there to be a part 2, but when you post while half-asleep at 4 in the morning, you miss things… and some of those misses need to be rectified. So here we go.
I should note that several different friends on this side of the pond put me in touch with several different leatherdykes in and around Amsterdam, so leatherdykes do definitely exist there. Amsterdam in fact has a leatherdyke group called WildSide, and is home to Europe’s only leatherdyke conference, WALP (Women at Amsterdam Leather Pride), whose last-ever edition takes place in the fall of 2009 – now that’s a reason to go back! However, due to a combination of my own last-minute attempts at contact, the general busy-ness of said leatherdykes, and the unfortunate timing of our visit (we arrived and left a week before WildSide’s monthly munch), we did not encounter any of these wonderful gals in person. So I’m not saying there are no leatherdykes there, or that there are no dykes in general. They’re just, y’know, like Snufalupagus dykes. Better luck next time, I hope.
Now, while the dykes were invisible, the sex workers were quite noticeable. It feels important to mention the red-light district, because everyone seems to make a really big deal of it, but in all honesty it was pretty anticlimactic. I’ve seen lots of girls in underwear before, whether in person or (like most of us) in ads, porn, art, burlesque shows, strip clubs and so forth. Really – walking down a street and seeing girls in underwear hanging out in their doorways wasn’t all that terribly exciting. They were lovely, of course, but – meh. No biggie. It was interesting to note that the district is in fact demarcated from the rest of the city by literal red lights, as in, a post parked in the middle of the sidewalk with red lights shining all around it so you can’t possibly miss what you’re walking into.
A more striking difference between sex work in Amsterdam and here is that in Amsterdam, live sex shows are par for the course. We must have walked by at least half a dozen different clubs with billboards announcing live sex on stage. I kept wondering whether it would be an enjoyable show or if it would just really gross me out. I tend to find porn boring, but I tend to find watching real live people have sex compelling. The difference is that with the sorts of people I’m most likely to find myself watching in person, what intrigues me about the experience is seeing the way they connect with one another, the intimacy and energy and hotness they share. Those people are generally members of my community in one fashion or another – lovers, former lovers, potential lovers, friends; queers, trans folk, kinksters and so forth.
But what would it be like to watch (presumably) straight, gender-normative strangers fuck for a paying audience? I imagine that if the people had a good connection with one another, such a live show could have been really hot. If, on the other hand, it had felt like the equivalent of porn performed on stage, I’d probably have been just as bored as I am with the mechanical quality of most X-rated films, plus possibly extra grossed-out for seeing it and feeling it up close and personal. In the end, we didn’t find out. It just didn’t feel important enough to make a point of going, and we had fun dungeon equipment waiting for us at the Black Tulip so we went home instead.
And speaking of dungeon equipment… how could I forget to mention one of the bestest pieces of all? Our first room came equipped with a bootblacking chair! Yum, yum, yum. Boi L has been taking care of her own footwear for years, and even more so since joining the army. She even did my boots once while I was busy doing something else once a few months back. But Amsterdam marked the first time she’d ever knelt for me (or anyone else) and provided a shine while I actually had my feet in the shoes in question. She took a pair of my oldest, comfiest, most falling-apart walking shoes and brought them from “these should probably get tossed out” to downright natty. The operation provided the Black Tulip owners with yet another opportunity to prove how cool they were; Boi L had brought a full kit with her, but somehow managed to leave the brush at home. The guys were more than happy to lend us theirs. When we asked, the response was a smile and, “Black or brown?” Ahh. Again, can I say how much I enjoyed this hotel?
And speaking of bootblacking… I’ve been invited to be a judge for the Great Lakes Leather Alliance Bootblack Contest later this summer, August 22-24 to be precise. How frickin’ cool is that? Really. I’m already looking forward to it now. I can only imagine the eye candy… and of course, as a judge, I get to experience each contestant first-hand. I mean experience their bootblacking skills. Ahem.
And now, Toronto.
Midori asked if I could do a bit of local promo for her classes. Most particularly she wants to get a good-sized group out to the one she’s teaching for DevianToronto on Saturday, as in tomorrow. It happens to be one of my favourite of her classes, and it’s good one for the brainy/conceptual folks, who might be overrepresented in this particular readership… so I encourage you to attend. She’s also teaching at Come As You Are. Feel free to pass the word; I’ve posted the info below.
Saturday, June 21st, 2008 – 12:00 – 2:00
for DevianToronto – register here
“Beyond Twisted: Kink Outside the Box”
Ever feel boxed in by the definition and expectations of kinky sex? Find your self dissatisfied with scenes or frustrated at not having your desire accepted? Want to figure out how to create a multi person scene and with everyone happy? You’re not alone! Ever notice the expectation that sadist must of course be a dominant and a submissive must of course be a masochist? Is this right? Wrong! Come along as Midori explodes the standard definitions of kink roles and expands the idea of what kink is all about. In “Beyond Twisted,” she maps out a fine-tuned and flexible framework that anyone can use to help describe their deviant desires. And as we all know, that’s the first step to fulfilling them!
This is a class for those who don’t quite fit into the standard boxes… and for anyone who’s curious about their own possibly untapped potential!
Come As You Are workshops (register here)
– Sunday, June 22, 5:30pm: How to Eat a Peach (Cunnilingus – she gave it at IMsL and the dykes gave it rave reviews, which is a good sign!)
– Monday, June 23, 7:30pm: Hands-On Rope Bondage
– Tuesday, June 24, 7:30pm: Joystick Secrets
– Wednesday, June 25, 7:30pm: Improve Your Flogging Skills (This is a particularly good one, it’s very hands-on and her exercises work really well.)
Beyond kink workshops, it’s Pride time! Whee! I am very, very disappointed to note that Fight for Pride, an all-women’s boxing event that was supposed to take place on Wednesday of next week, has been cancelled due to lack of funding and issues with strict commission regulations. Argh. What a bummer! I have resolved to drown my sorrows in the CPATH conference – the Canadian Professional Association for Transgender Health, which takes place on Friday the 27 and Saturday the 28. Okay, so I know most people don’t get all excited about 9 a.m. keynote lectures on Pride weekend, but seriously, they have some excellent speakers lined up, including Aaron Devor of UBC, who, under his former name, authored the enormous book “FTM.” They’ve also got a cross-Canada review of the status of trans health in each province. Really, I’m pretty excited.
It also appears that everybody and their dog wants to hold a sex party for Pride. Boi M and I took in the Women and Trans Bathhouse night on Wednesday; this Saturday, one of Ishwar’s famed Ghandarva Creations parties is taking place (this one will be my first); the Saturday of Pride we’ve been invited to a private party and Goodhandy’s is having one of their I Love Sex parties, so we’ve got to hit two in one night. Jeezis. So many outfits! So much lube! How’s a girl to keep up? Well, by blogging I imagine…