Von Gutenberg Fetish Ball Night #1 TONIGHT – Suspension, Belly Dancing & Play

First Night for the VON GUTENBERG Fetish Ball Tonight; Meet, Greet & Play at 111 Minna Gallery.
 
A great night to dress up for Performances, Dance & Play with DJ Shatter and DJ Makita from Bondage a GoGo
 
Suspension Performance by Mike West
Belly Dancing with Black Hoody Grrl
Live Model Casting for the Von Gutenberg Magazine
Dance & Play all night long with DM Rubber Jeff
 
Door open at 9pm!
 
Location: 111 Minna Gallery, 111 Minna Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Dress Code Strictly Enforced
 
Tickets are available for purchase here and will be hold at WILL CALL:
 
Or simply buy tickets at the door at 111 Minna Gallery tonight! $35 at door!
 
For complete event updates and details about the program for the whole weekend visit www.vongutenbergblog.com/event-updates-vg-fetish-ball-march-2010

Perish Fetish Superstar at the VG Fetish Ball in San Francisco next weekend

Erik von Gutenberg announces PERISH, fetish superstar and performer! March 13 at the Glas Kat Club in San Francisco.

International Fetish Superstar Perish is an ever-evolving force unfolding multiple artistic expressions.  Well known Marquis and SkinTwo have featured him as one of the first male models to put a face to male fetish fashion and performance.  He’s both a working Industrial Designer and Engineer as well as a Fashion Architect who has developed his own latex clothing, stage props and even music that you will find captivating audiences around the globe.  Always eager to shoot with anyone who asks him for a photo his inspiration he says is within the community.  Perish is not perishing anytime soon… He ads  “Its all just good foreplay seducing a more desirable outlook on everyday life.”  Visit perish’s sites at http://www.perishfetish.com/

SHOW VON GUTENBERG FETISH WEEKEND:

Fire and Glitz, Powertool Instruments & Exploding giant phallus’s… yeah you guessed right!  Perish is on stage!  Make sure to get up close and join him and friends this weekend for the Von Gutenburg fetish Weekend!!!

Get your tickets here: http://www.vongutenberg.com/shop/Event-Tickets/

Perish Fetish Superstar at the VG Fetish Ball in San Francisco next weekend

Erik von Gutenberg announces PERISH, fetish superstar and performer! March 13 at the Glas Kat Club in San Francisco.

International Fetish Superstar Perish is an ever-evolving force unfolding multiple artistic expressions.  Well known Marquis and SkinTwo have featured him as one of the first male models to put a face to male fetish fashion and performance.  He’s both a working Industrial Designer and Engineer as well as a Fashion Architect who has developed his own latex clothing, stage props and even music that you will find captivating audiences around the globe.  Always eager to shoot with anyone who asks him for a photo his inspiration he says is within the community.  Perish is not perishing anytime soon… He ads  “Its all just good foreplay seducing a more desirable outlook on everyday life.”  Visit perish’s sites at http://www.perishfetish.com/

SHOW VON GUTENBERG FETISH WEEKEND:

Fire and Glitz, Powertool Instruments & Exploding giant phallus’s… yeah you guessed right!  Perish is on stage!  Make sure to get up close and join him and friends this weekend for the Von Gutenburg fetish Weekend!!!

Get your tickets here: http://www.vongutenberg.com/shop/Event-Tickets/

Valentine's Special VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL – buy one get one for your loved one free

Poster Mr S WebLimited Time Offer – buy one weekend pass ticket, get a second for free!
 
After the MARQUIS FETISH BALL last July and the VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL in December we are ready for 3 day of Fetish, Fantasy and Fun!
 
VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL WEEKEND March 11,12 and 13, 2010 in SF
 
50 tickets total only and only until Feb14, 2010  first come, first serve basiss – get one the the 50 tickets available NOW!
 
See the special offer in our category
 
 
We start Thursday Night at Mission Control, Meet, Greet & Play! 9pm
VON GUTENBERG magazine live modelcasting & Bondage performance with Mike West
 
Friday Night Burlesque & Fetish Night with Burlesque Superstar AVA GARTER at the DNA lounge, first time in San Francisco with VON GUTENBERG and HubbaHubba Revue!
 
Saturday Night Grande Fetish Night in the Glas Kat Club. Where Bondage a GoGo is always on Wednesday, we are there on Saturday March 13!
JEWELL MARCEAU, Fetish Superstar will do a performance as well as SIN FISTED. Sin Fisted is a world class strip pole dancer, fetishist and contortionist!
FASHION SHOW and Vending by Emilie Jerard from New Jersey! It will be sensational again.
 
For more Information go to: http://www.vongutenbergfetishball.com/ and Updates on event details, performers and Specials go to: http://www.vongutenbergblog.com/

Valentine's Special VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL – buy one get one for your loved one free

Poster Mr S WebLimited Time Offer – buy one weekend pass ticket, get a second for free!
 
After the MARQUIS FETISH BALL last July and the VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL in December we are ready for 3 day of Fetish, Fantasy and Fun!
 
VON GUTENBERG FETISH BALL WEEKEND March 11,12 and 13, 2010 in SF
 
50 tickets total only and only until Feb14, 2010  first come, first serve basiss – get one the the 50 tickets available NOW!
 
See the special offer in our category
 
 
We start Thursday Night at Mission Control, Meet, Greet & Play! 9pm
VON GUTENBERG magazine live modelcasting & Bondage performance with Mike West
 
Friday Night Burlesque & Fetish Night with Burlesque Superstar AVA GARTER at the DNA lounge, first time in San Francisco with VON GUTENBERG and HubbaHubba Revue!
 
Saturday Night Grande Fetish Night in the Glas Kat Club. Where Bondage a GoGo is always on Wednesday, we are there on Saturday March 13!
JEWELL MARCEAU, Fetish Superstar will do a performance as well as SIN FISTED. Sin Fisted is a world class strip pole dancer, fetishist and contortionist!
FASHION SHOW and Vending by Emilie Jerard from New Jersey! It will be sensational again.
 
For more Information go to: http://www.vongutenbergfetishball.com/ and Updates on event details, performers and Specials go to: http://www.vongutenbergblog.com/

Journeys through Transition

111photoErik von Gutenberg recommends the article from Marissa Martinez, the winner of the Marquis Fetish Ball photo contest in July 09.

Marissa Martinez felt out of place most of her life because she was born in a man’s body. Her discomfort did not stem from some sexual attraction to males. Instead, she truly felt she was meant to be a woman. Growing up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, she first identified with femininity during puberty when the changes her body went through, as a boy, did not seem to fit. She had fantasies about being a woman, would wear her mom’s clothes, and shaved only her upper thighs so she would not get teased during gym class.

Despite the intensity of her need to be female, Martinez never told anyone. For almost thirty years, she naively held the common opinion that “whatever genitalia a person is born with determines their sex.”

The most misunderstood aspect of gender transition is the motivation, because the catalyst is not defined by want. On the contrary, the feeling, absent of casual desire, is a need to correct a mistake. “It’s something you can’t escape and no matter how hard you try to suppress it, it won’t go away,” explains Martinez, who completed her surgical transition from male to female three months ago.

Prior to transition, Martinez suppressed her femininity and assumed an “ultimate expression” of masculinity by immersing herself in the grindcore metal scene. “I loved how extreme it was. That it didn’t hold back and was like the ultimate in speed and aggression and over the top lyrics.” She had problems with other kids bullying her in school, until she became a “burly, death metal dude.”

“I would literally walk down the middle of the halls in my black leather jacket, with long black hair in my face, looking like the proverbial, Satan worshiping, metal maniac, and crowds of people would part to get out of my way. That was a big deal to me at the time. I was dedicated to the idea that I had to be a man.”

Martinez attended the Heald Institute of Technology, obtaining an Associate of Sciences in software technologies. “I went there because I really wanted to be able to provide for my girlfriend, who eventually became my wife.”

“She had a lot of strong opinions about how men and women were and some of them seemed stereotypical,” says John von Eichhorn, who has worked with Martinez in software development for ten years at Lucasfilm, producer of Star Wars. “We worked long hours together and were each other’s confidants about work and marriage.” But Martinez’ never discussed her gender identity issues. “There was just a general dissatisfaction with life that she had when she was a man. And that was something that fed into her music.”

Unlike Martinez, Dean Bonilla, never suppressed his male identity or assumed a generic gender role. As a child, he expected to endure male puberty, but became androgynous once he experienced feminine changes instead. “I felt really confused and didn’t know what to call myself. But I knew I did not like being called a girl. I was playing football in the mud and not brushing my hair.”

Bonilla could not relate to the female concern about body image or why his single mother thought she needed a man to raise him properly. Identifying with men was difficult because he could not understand the misogyny, emotional suppression or the concern over maintaining a tough persona that he saw in many of the men around him. “I always felt like I had to act tough to get any kind of respect, but eventually I decided this was dumb.” Bonilla has lived as a man for over three years and is comfortable expressing his emotions. “I’m okay with whatever feminine qualities I have because I am comfortable with my masculinity,” he says. “Why does there have to be some type of gender role?”

Bonilla grew up in the southern Baptist city of Jacksonville, Florida, where coming out, even as gay, was intimidating. He did not know about trans men until he met two at a queer youth center when he was sixteen. “I watched them both transition from female to male physically and it all just came together,” he remembers. Three years later he asked his grandmother if he could assume his middle name, Dean, simply to see how she would react. She had no qualms, so Bonilla explained everything in a letter. “She told me she always knew I’d come out to her.”

During this time, Bonilla was living with a lesbian couple. One of the women wished he could be a stronger female, but his transition had nothing to do with his sexual orientation or a dislike of women. “Just because I transitioned as male doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist,” he says. Bonilla’s mother is still trying to accept his male identity because she was not close to him when he first came out. “It seems like she’s trying to have a mother-daughter relationship that we never really had,” he says.

Martinez’ suppression of her true self made her road to transition much longer. For ten years she sought satisfaction in helping her wife pick out sexy outfits and attempted to incorporate her female identity into their sexual relations. But her partner was completely heterosexual and did not enjoy this approach, which Martinez would “explain away” as simply an unbridled fantasy she could forget.

“No matter how hard I tried to be like my father when I was younger, be a good husband or just a cool dude, I could never escape these feelings telling me, ‘This isn’t right. You should be a girl.'”

Explaining this to her wife was unnerving. “I knew this was going to put the nail in the coffin of our relationship.” But to Martinez’ surprise her wife wanted to maintain the relationship because she believed the core person with whom she fell in love would always remain the same. She tried to adjust to having a wife and Martinez began cross dressing, but these efforts remained futile in that they only allowed Martinez to skim the surface of who she truly needed to be. While sharing a cigarette after a game of pool one night, her wife admitted she had to leave her, because otherwise Martinez would always hold back.

Within the next year they sold their town house in Pacifica, her ex-wife found a new boyfriend, and Martinez moved to the city and began hormone replacement therapy. She would use her half of the money from the house to pay for various surgeries that would finally give her a body that matched her mentality.

Some transgender people do not need or want Gender Confirmation Surgery, explains Martinez, because they are comfortable with genitals that do not match their gender identity. Bonilla would like to have his breast tissue removed, but he does not need bottom surgery to be comfortable as a male. “I don’t feel like I have any dysphoria,” he says.

He has no problem with the surgery, understands the feeling of “missing something,” and admits he may want it some day, but he thinks many people – gay, straight, and transgender – wrongly categorize people based solely on their genitals. Bonilla has dated women and is also attracted to gay men, but fears he will never have the opportunity to date a man “because there is so much emphasis on having a penis to be a man in the first place.” He thinks surgery is pushed on trans women for the same reason and disagrees with the law requiring “bottom” GCS for a legal change of gender. “Gender and sex are totally different from each other and if you’re intersex -why does that matter?”

In Jacksonville, Bonilla was concerned about conforming to a masculine role because he dealt with constant harassment from his peers. He wore his hair short and often made a point of looking angry so people would not approach him. “I know it sounds crazy, but everyday I got stared down mostly by jock guys,” he says. “Seeing this female-bodied person being masculine messed with their whole world.”

Bonilla immersed himself in activism to compensate for the harassment. In high school, he lead class discussions about safe sex and sexual and gender orientation issues, lobbied for anti-bullying laws, and worked at the LGBT center while studying sociology at the University of Northern Florida.

Depressed by the prevalent harassment, he realized he needed to help himself before he could continue to help others. “Out of desperation,” Bonilla moved to San Francisco in January, one month after his best friend, Charles Thomy, who is also transgendered. “I just decided to pack two bags and leave everything because I knew this would be the best for me and it has been so far.” He left with little money, but he saw no career opportunities in Jacksonville aside from the LGBT center. “It made me annoyed to know that was the only option and that any other place would look down on me just for being me.”

After living with friends for a few months he obtained an apartment through the Castro Youth Housing Initiative, which aids low-income or unemployed youth. He is still trying to get settled financially, but hopes to return to college and work for a nonprofit.

Since he began taking testosterone four months ago, his voice has lowered and he has more facial hair, but he does not notice any significant changes in his mood, because he says he always felt masculine. Making documentaries, learning how to skateboard, and watching films are some favorite pastimes that he shares with Thomy. He always wanted to skate, but gave it up at a young age, because the pubescent boys he wanted to skate with were unwilling to play with a girl. Bonilla considers his relationship with Thomy a “‘bromance’ – we can be emotional with each other, but not have to be in a relationship,” he says, noting that, unlike other guys, their relationship has no tension related to proving their masculinity to each other.

Martinez understands Bonilla’s viewpoint on gender confirmation surgery, but she knew she could never feel comfortable with her male genitalia or the odd looks and comments such as, “That’s a dude,” from insolent passersby. “I never wanted to be a Tranny. I always needed to be a girl.”

After eight months of transitioning, Martinez was androgynous in her daily life and spending weekends as a woman. After one such weekend she was hanging out with a friend from work. “He said, ‘It’s going to be really weird not seeing you at work like this tomorrow.’ And it just sorta hit me,” she remembers. “I went to work the next day and saw my reflection in the glass (as a man) and said, ‘Oh my god, I can’t do this!'” She explained her situation to human relations and began living as a woman full time. Everyone has been completely supportive, including her coworkers, parents, and the members of her metal band, Cretin.

Martinez is currently working on the second album and says she sings the same as she did prior to her transition – in a loud, growling voice filled with angst. “You can’t change the vocalist. It kills the band,” she says, while eating lamb chops, using her fork and knife to gracefully remove the last slivers of meat from the bones.

Aside from these vocals, her demeanor is feminine. She taught herself how to walk, talk, and eat like a woman and even changed her handwriting. The estrogen injections softened her skin and made her more emotional, but to truly feel like a woman she needed surgery.

First, she underwent eleven hours of Facial Feminization Surgery, performed by world-renowned craniofacial surgeon Doctor Douglas Ousterhout. “For women, no matter the size of our bone structure, we still have certain curvature that indicates a female face,” explains Mira Coluccio, Dr. Ousterhout’s office manager who has extensive knowledge of his surgical procedures. Compared to females the male skull is much larger with deep-set eyes and bossing above the socket, a flat forehead and a square jaw. To make a face female Dr. Ousterhout removes and reshapes portions of the skull.

Prior to surgery, both Martinez’ friends and people she had just met would tell her she was already beautiful and did not need the procedure. “We are not talking about beauty. It’s the bone structure,” says Coluccio, pointing to numerous before and after photos on her computer. “As an outsider looking in (at these pictures) you see a brother and sister.” Coluccio says surgery gives people confidence, but transition involves self-exploration, which consumes many genetic women for most of their lives. “Every girl I know is still learning how to be a girl.”

Before facial feminization surgery, von Eichhorn continued to slip up on Martinez’ name and the proper pronouns, but the surgery removed the remnants of her formal self and he no longer saw her as a man. Martinez still had insecurities about “passing,” but her female face and the breast augmentation that followed energized her self-esteem and social life. She even entertained her dream to become a latex fetish model and won a casting call for a photo shoot with Marquis Magazine after they hosted a fetish ball in July. “It’s my opinion that latex is to clothing as chocolate is to food – pure decadent sex!”

“I’m way more social and outgoing than I used to be. Plus, I think differently because of the hormones,” she says. “Man or woman we’re all made out of the same goop, so if you swap the hormones we produce naturally then you’re going to get similar results.” Martinez was never attracted to men, until she began taking female hormones, which made her feel vulnerable – an emotion that she says is well served by men who innately have a protective disposition.

As a woman she is bisexual, but dating a guy requires less thought. “When I am with a woman I am very concerned about what my role is because that can either validate or invalidate my confidence in being a woman. Whereas when I am with a guy, it is very validating that I am his girl. That said I’m more attracted to women.”

One month after the fetish ball, Martinez travelled to New Hope, Pennsylvania, where her genitals would be transformed from male to female, through a surgical technique known as penile inversion. When she awoke after surgery, she thought the procedure was not complete. Once the doctors assured her the operation was finished, she began feeling the area with her mind. “I started crying because I was really happy. It felt very correct.” Initially, she thought her penis was still there, but then realized it was now inside her, aside from a small portion of the head used to form the clitoris.

Two months later she was still sore, but back to work, going out and having fun. Dilation is a big part of her day – every three hours she must insert a stint into her vagina and apply constant pressure for thirty minutes to increase its width and depth, and to avoid atrophy. She began this maintenance process immediately after surgery when she was still too swollen to walk. The tenderness remains three months later, but being content with her body was worth all the pain.

A noticeable weight has been lifted from her shoulders, says von Eichhorn. Martinez as a guy was “quiet and shy – in a lot of ways introspective and subdued. Now she’ll just strike up a conversation with strangers and puts herself at the epicenter of attention.” Prior to her transition, Martinez and von Eichhorn discussed the protective roles they assumed in their relationships with women. Now that dynamic is present between them, says von Eichhorn, who worries about Martinez walking home alone at night in attractive outfits. “I see her as my little sister at this point.”

Martinez has only lived as a woman for two years and even after the surgery does not consider her transition complete. “Honestly, one part of me is like “Phew! OK! The big scary unknown is over with.” But, there’s still a huge amount of healing and rediscovery left to go,” she says. “I think my big stuff to deal with is reconciling that I didn’t have a girl’s upbringing, and finding peace with the past I did live.”

She overcame several uncertainties throughout her transition, including doubting she was transgendered in any sense and worrying that her friends and family would not love her if she transitioned. Now her main concerns are passing as a woman and exploring her roles in relationships. “Even now, after all of the therapy, surgery, and retraining of my movements, mannerisms, and voice, I constantly think that people are recognizing me as something other than a natural woman.” She continues to tell people she is transsexual when they appear interested in dating her and, as a “realist,” concludes this discussion will always be necessary due to her male upbringing.

“Despite the challenges having a vagina feels amazing. I can’t really explain it, but it has really calmed some big anxieties that I’ve had. It just makes sense to me – to look down and not see a penis there. There’s no other way to put it.”

Bonilla also sees transition as an ongoing process. “There may be a point when I know I can completely pass as male, but I do not think there is going to be an end to (my transition) because I will constantly have to take testosterone in order to stay male-bodied.”

He no longer worries about passing, but hopes the public will become more educated on transgender issues. “If I wasn’t trans, instead of staring them down or making up my own ideas about how they are, I’d want to ask questions and make friends with them.”

Source:  http://xpress.sfsu.edu/archives/news/014063.html 

by Linsay Barber

The Summer of (Some) Discontent … is Over. Welcome Autumn!!

tn-0124The incomparable Lady J and I are taking the rest of September to recharge the batteries. We are heading out this evening to Toronto’s long-running Fetish Masquerade in celebration, however: It is our dear friend Mistress Katina’s birthday, and we simply could not say “no” to our closest friend Ms. Marina Black for insisting that we help the lovely Katina usher in a new chapter into the wonderful tapestry that is her life. They are both amazing women and we would encourage everyone to pay them proper respects and admirations should you happen to cross their paths.

Tonight also marks the Grand Opening of Fetish Masquerade’s new location in Toronto, and by all “sneak peeks” provided to Your Humble Narrator and Only True Friend, the venue, atmosphere and ambience is truly just that: “Grand”. Lady J and I, while exhausted beyond any measure of quantifiable belief, are really looking forward to just spending a relaxing evening with those that we truly love, admire, respect and cherish this evening. We are both hoping that we’ll have the chance to see Mistress Patricia Marsh this evening as well – we both miss her company and her sage guidance, and short of a fleeting moment spent in joyous watchfulness in Montréal a couple of weekends ago, we’ve not had much of a chance to share time with her, either. Mistress Patricia, you’ve been an inspiration and a good friend to us both: we’d really love to see you tonight if you happen to be venturing out …

This Fall, Lady J and I are both looking forward to a new slate of exceptional events. First and foremost on that list is, of course, Northbound Leather’s Tribe – the latest iteration of the largest Fetish/SM single-evening venue event in the world. George and Anna, the owners of Northbound Leather, have yet to fail to deliver a first class and top-tier event to the fetish affectionistas across this lovely globe – and we expect October 24th, 2009, to be no exception. There are several events in Canada and the United States to choose from, naturally, when considering traveling to and spending hard-earned cash at any number of fair-to-great events: but Northbound Leather’s annual shindig continues to be the standard by which every other large-scale gathering of fetish folk is duly judged.

Here is a Report Card of the major events that Lady J and I attended in person, Marquis America was instrumental in bringing you or at least had sponsorship concerns in, or even just ones where we got more than just a “tad” bit of feedback about:

marquisfetishballforwebMarquis America Fetish BallSan Francisco, California – July

Grade: A-

By all accounts, the inaugural Fetish Ball was a huge success. Our own Erik Von Gutenberg and the lovely Lady Suzanne Forbes did an amazing job organizing and pulling together an amazing event. This is quite hard to do in a town that has been literally saturated in years past with exceptional Fetish and SM-related events, but the Home Office Marquis American twosome pulled it off. The only reason this is an “A-” rather than an “A” is there were some folks that pointed out that the venue (The Supper Club) in San Francisco turned out to be a smidgen too small to accommodate the amount of people that wished to attend. This, as they say, is a “good problem” to have and bodes well for the future of the Fetish Ball going into a promising future. Well done, Erik and Suzanne: Lady J and I promise to try as hard as we can to join you both next year for Fetish Ball 2010 in the city that I love so very, very much!

Fetish Con 2009Fetish ConTampa Bay, Florida – August

Grade: A-

We have heard nothing but good things about the annual “Sizzlin’ Hot” Fetish gathering in central Florida this year. A few of our friends managed to make the trek to Tampa Bay in August (despite the heat), and came back with glowing reports. Everything from the parties to the iconic model participation was, from all accounts, first class and exceptional. The ever-present threat of dangerous weather in Florida did not manage to interrupt the party atmosphere of those in attendance – and Erik Von Gutenberg himself seemed to report back that it was an “incredible time” (if you haven’t had a chance to see his interview with Fetish Supermodel Jean Bardot on YouTube yet, it’s worth a look!). The only downside reported back to Yours Truly was the inordinate amount of “street clothed” participants wandering around and snapping unauthorized photos of some of the revelry – a common problem that faces each and every large-scale Fetish event. Apart from the lack of provided transportation (another common “problem theme”) and the gawkiness of hotel staff at the host hotel, though, everyone I spoke with that attended Fetish Con 2009 all had the same enthusiastic response: “We can’t wait for next year!”

Church Street FairChurch Street Fetish FairToronto, Ontario – August

Grade: B+

The day was long and the day was super-hot – even for August in Canada’s largest city. It made for an uncomfortable time for some of the street performers, vendors and volunteers. Apart from the heat, however, the Fetish Fair on Church Street this year was a very good event and, considering it was one of (if not the only) large scale event that didn’t charge an admission price, it was certainly well worth the visit to Toronto’s Rainbow Village. It was somewhat disappointing that the organizers somehow didn’t have the foresight to provide printed literature in the way of performance and show schedules, and some of the vendors did complain that the decibel level around where they were stationed (in an attempt to market their wares) sometimes reached eardrum breaking proportions. But the crowds were enthusiastic and the participants, from volunteers on down the line to performers and vendors alike all reported that they had an enjoyable day. What started as a small “craft fair” idea held in a small park-like setting has grown into one of the summer’s most eagerly anticipated events in Canada – and this year’s edition certainly didn’t disappoint. Perhaps for the 2010 event, the organizers may wish to pay a little more attention to having proper schedules for the myriad of events happening all day long. On the whole, however, the Church Street Fetish Fair is a fantastic and fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Toronto – and you certainly should have no complaints about the price.

Torture Garden Toronto PosterTorture Garden – Toronto, Ontario – August

Grade: A

Simply superb! There was no better event in Toronto – and I daresay on the East Coast – than Torture Garden Toronto. The event organizer, Random Craig, is an up-and coming-star promoter – and not only in Toronto. More established, large-scale Fetish event promoters (outside of Northbound Leather, who make an art of event organizing, in my opinion) should pay heed and perhaps learn a thing or two about catering to the desires and demands of their audience: and simply no-one does it better than Random Craig. Torture Garden was an ambitious gamble: the Montréal Fetish Weekend was to take place the following week, and Craig certainly had valid concerns about whether or not the event would be well attended. He needn’t have worried: scores of people showed up in some of the classiest, clever and exceptional Fetish wardrobes this writer has ever laid eyes on – and not a single soul Lady J and I spoke to had a negative thing to say about the event. Yes, it was really that good. The thing that separates Random Craig’s events – and especially Torture Garden – is that he actually listens to the wants and needs of those that attend his parties rather than plan everything around the glorification of his own ego. Simply put, people love attending his events because he works so very hard to try and make an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone that will be attending.

Case in point: One of the few complaints that Craig had heard about his massively-popular Subspace events in Toronto was that the “play area” was hard to access and far too small to be of any real use for the amount of people that wished to utilize it. He listened: the Dungeon area for Torture Garden Toronto was out of the way from the rest of the revellers, easily accessible – and just fun. In order to accommodate those that wished to use the large pieces of equipment, Craig and his staff took on the laborious task of hauling crosses, benches and posts up not one, but two sets of ridiculously old stairs and into an appropriately large enough room to house each and every piece. It goes without saying that not every event organizer would be caught dead struggling with large Dungeon equipment pieces (and working for hours on end getting his own hands dirty) – just in an effort to make sure his paying audience was happy. His efforts paid off, and clearly showed: Torture Garden Toronto is assuredly going to be a “can’t miss” event on every one’s calenders on the East Coast for years to come. It truly was just that good.

Montreal Fetish WeekendMontréal Fetish Weekend - Montréal, Quebec – September

Grade: D-

I hate to end this missive on a somewhat down note – but it really can’t be avoided. I have few very nice things to say about the Montréal Fetish Weekend. Drawing from the chorus of complaints I have heard since our return from the event in early September, it actually sounds like Lady J and I had a better time than a good portion of those who also made the journey to that beautiful, amazing French Canadian bastion that is the fantastic city of  Montréal. That is about where the superlatives end, however.

After five years of “maturing”, the event organizers, all two of them, should be ashamed of themselves.

One of the biggest complaints about the Montréal Fetish Weekend in years past has been that it’s really been a very expensive sojourn to a very wonderful city – for the abject benefit of a very select few people with egos that continuously need to be assuaged and massaged. While the posturing that has been reported in years past was somewhat less in evidence this year, overall the event was really nothing more than three packed-to-the rafters nightclub events that had but one purpose: turning a profit. Some of the usual Fetish icons were there, of course (we saw Jean Bardot in attendance on Friday evening, for instance). The first evening was held at a club location that was so inept and inadequately prepared to host such a large contingent of people – and the “event staff” seemed to have no issues with allowing a large throng of “street clothed” folk in without much of a second glance. This was to become a major source of contention for “veteran” Fetish Weekend party goers throughout the weekend. The lack of proper and adequately provided transportation (or available information about transportation) was also seen to be a major failing, and some of the “stage shows” presented were laughable at best and purely and simply obnoxious and objectionable at worst.

Yes, the Fetish Weekend – as expected – had a huge number of amazing costumes, fetish assemblages and uniforms to feast your eyes upon. This, however, simply isn’t enough of a reason to make the investment in attending all of the weekend’s events. There was very little that was “new” and “exciting” about this year’s efforts and a tremendous number of things that just seemed to be a poor rehash of previously-attempted activities. The amount of politics and hostility that seems to surround the event itself from the local professional community (!) was alarming, and certainly would tend to indicate why there is a competing “Fetish Weekend” event in Montréal being held in October that features almost all of the businesses and personalities within Le Belle Ville that noticeably stayed away from September’s annual, more “established” event. Of any event this summer, the Montréal Fetish Weekend was the one gathering I was personally looking so very forward to attending the most – and it was the one gathering that clearly disappointed. I wouldn’t accept another press junket to attend this event – nor would I certainly pay for an over-priced VIP Pass to attend this event  – anytime in the near future. If there is a next time, we’ll pay for the nights and events we want to see – and undoubtedly save a lot of money in the process.

As good as the previous events listed above honestly and truly were, the Montréal Fetish Weekend was clearly and just as truly that bad. I duly hope the organizing committee, both of them, learn from this year’s shortcomings – or at least take a lesson or two in “good event management” and “catering to your public rather than your own ego” from both Random Craig and Northbound Leather.

May the falling leaves bring us an amazing Autumn season of good friends, good times and greater prosperity!

Kardynyl SynysTyr

The Summer of (Some) Discontent … is Over. Welcome Autumn!!

tn-0124The incomparable Lady J and I are taking the rest of September to recharge the batteries. We are heading out this evening to Toronto’s long-running Fetish Masquerade in celebration, however: It is our dear friend Mistress Katina’s birthday, and we simply could not say “no” to our closest friend Ms. Marina Black for insisting that we help the lovely Katina usher in a new chapter into the wonderful tapestry that is her life. They are both amazing women and we would encourage everyone to pay them proper respects and admirations should you happen to cross their paths.

Tonight also marks the Grand Opening of Fetish Masquerade’s new location in Toronto, and by all “sneak peeks” provided to Your Humble Narrator and Only True Friend, the venue, atmosphere and ambience is truly just that: “Grand”. Lady J and I, while exhausted beyond any measure of quantifiable belief, are really looking forward to just spending a relaxing evening with those that we truly love, admire, respect and cherish this evening. We are both hoping that we’ll have the chance to see Mistress Patricia Marsh this evening as well – we both miss her company and her sage guidance, and short of a fleeting moment spent in joyous watchfulness in Montréal a couple of weekends ago, we’ve not had much of a chance to share time with her, either. Mistress Patricia, you’ve been an inspiration and a good friend to us both: we’d really love to see you tonight if you happen to be venturing out …

This Fall, Lady J and I are both looking forward to a new slate of exceptional events. First and foremost on that list is, of course, Northbound Leather’s Tribe – the latest iteration of the largest Fetish/SM single-evening venue event in the world. George and Anna, the owners of Northbound Leather, have yet to fail to deliver a first class and top-tier event to the fetish affectionistas across this lovely globe – and we expect October 24th, 2009, to be no exception. There are several events in Canada and the United States to choose from, naturally, when considering traveling to and spending hard-earned cash at any number of fair-to-great events: but Northbound Leather’s annual shindig continues to be the standard by which every other large-scale gathering of fetish folk is duly judged.

Here is a Report Card of the major events that Lady J and I attended in person, Marquis America was instrumental in bringing you or at least had sponsorship concerns in, or even just ones where we got more than just a “tad” bit of feedback about:

marquisfetishballforwebMarquis America Fetish BallSan Francisco, California – July

Grade: A-

By all accounts, the inaugural Fetish Ball was a huge success. Our own Erik Von Gutenberg and the lovely Lady Suzanne Forbes did an amazing job organizing and pulling together an amazing event. This is quite hard to do in a town that has been literally saturated in years past with exceptional Fetish and SM-related events, but the Home Office Marquis American twosome pulled it off. The only reason this is an “A-” rather than an “A” is there were some folks that pointed out that the venue (The Supper Club) in San Francisco turned out to be a smidgen too small to accommodate the amount of people that wished to attend. This, as they say, is a “good problem” to have and bodes well for the future of the Fetish Ball going into a promising future. Well done, Erik and Suzanne: Lady J and I promise to try as hard as we can to join you both next year for Fetish Ball 2010 in the city that I love so very, very much!

Fetish Con 2009Fetish ConTampa Bay, Florida – August

Grade: A-

We have heard nothing but good things about the annual “Sizzlin’ Hot” Fetish gathering in central Florida this year. A few of our friends managed to make the trek to Tampa Bay in August (despite the heat), and came back with glowing reports. Everything from the parties to the iconic model participation was, from all accounts, first class and exceptional. The ever-present threat of dangerous weather in Florida did not manage to interrupt the party atmosphere of those in attendance – and Erik Von Gutenberg himself seemed to report back that it was an “incredible time” (if you haven’t had a chance to see his interview with Fetish Supermodel Jean Bardot on YouTube yet, it’s worth a look!). The only downside reported back to Yours Truly was the inordinate amount of “street clothed” participants wandering around and snapping unauthorized photos of some of the revelry – a common problem that faces each and every large-scale Fetish event. Apart from the lack of provided transportation (another common “problem theme”) and the gawkiness of hotel staff at the host hotel, though, everyone I spoke with that attended Fetish Con 2009 all had the same enthusiastic response: “We can’t wait for next year!”

Church Street FairChurch Street Fetish FairToronto, Ontario – August

Grade: B+

The day was long and the day was super-hot – even for August in Canada’s largest city. It made for an uncomfortable time for some of the street performers, vendors and volunteers. Apart from the heat, however, the Fetish Fair on Church Street this year was a very good event and, considering it was one of (if not the only) large scale event that didn’t charge an admission price, it was certainly well worth the visit to Toronto’s Rainbow Village. It was somewhat disappointing that the organizers somehow didn’t have the foresight to provide printed literature in the way of performance and show schedules, and some of the vendors did complain that the decibel level around where they were stationed (in an attempt to market their wares) sometimes reached eardrum breaking proportions. But the crowds were enthusiastic and the participants, from volunteers on down the line to performers and vendors alike all reported that they had an enjoyable day. What started as a small “craft fair” idea held in a small park-like setting has grown into one of the summer’s most eagerly anticipated events in Canada – and this year’s edition certainly didn’t disappoint. Perhaps for the 2010 event, the organizers may wish to pay a little more attention to having proper schedules for the myriad of events happening all day long. On the whole, however, the Church Street Fetish Fair is a fantastic and fun way to spend a Sunday afternoon in Toronto – and you certainly should have no complaints about the price.

Torture Garden Toronto PosterTorture Garden – Toronto, Ontario – August

Grade: A

Simply superb! There was no better event in Toronto – and I daresay on the East Coast – than Torture Garden Toronto. The event organizer, Random Craig, is an up-and coming-star promoter – and not only in Toronto. More established, large-scale Fetish event promoters (outside of Northbound Leather, who make an art of event organizing, in my opinion) should pay heed and perhaps learn a thing or two about catering to the desires and demands of their audience: and simply no-one does it better than Random Craig. Torture Garden was an ambitious gamble: the Montréal Fetish Weekend was to take place the following week, and Craig certainly had valid concerns about whether or not the event would be well attended. He needn’t have worried: scores of people showed up in some of the classiest, clever and exceptional Fetish wardrobes this writer has ever laid eyes on – and not a single soul Lady J and I spoke to had a negative thing to say about the event. Yes, it was really that good. The thing that separates Random Craig’s events – and especially Torture Garden – is that he actually listens to the wants and needs of those that attend his parties rather than plan everything around the glorification of his own ego. Simply put, people love attending his events because he works so very hard to try and make an enjoyable atmosphere for everyone that will be attending.

Case in point: One of the few complaints that Craig had heard about his massively-popular Subspace events in Toronto was that the “play area” was hard to access and far too small to be of any real use for the amount of people that wished to utilize it. He listened: the Dungeon area for Torture Garden Toronto was out of the way from the rest of the revellers, easily accessible – and just fun. In order to accommodate those that wished to use the large pieces of equipment, Craig and his staff took on the laborious task of hauling crosses, benches and posts up not one, but two sets of ridiculously old stairs and into an appropriately large enough room to house each and every piece. It goes without saying that not every event organizer would be caught dead struggling with large Dungeon equipment pieces (and working for hours on end getting his own hands dirty) – just in an effort to make sure his paying audience was happy. His efforts paid off, and clearly showed: Torture Garden Toronto is assuredly going to be a “can’t miss” event on every one’s calenders on the East Coast for years to come. It truly was just that good.

Montreal Fetish WeekendMontréal Fetish Weekend - Montréal, Quebec – September

Grade: D-

I hate to end this missive on a somewhat down note – but it really can’t be avoided. I have few very nice things to say about the Montréal Fetish Weekend. Drawing from the chorus of complaints I have heard since our return from the event in early September, it actually sounds like Lady J and I had a better time than a good portion of those who also made the journey to that beautiful, amazing French Canadian bastion that is the fantastic city of  Montréal. That is about where the superlatives end, however.

After five years of “maturing”, the event organizers, all two of them, should be ashamed of themselves.

One of the biggest complaints about the Montréal Fetish Weekend in years past has been that it’s really been a very expensive sojourn to a very wonderful city – for the abject benefit of a very select few people with egos that continuously need to be assuaged and massaged. While the posturing that has been reported in years past was somewhat less in evidence this year, overall the event was really nothing more than three packed-to-the rafters nightclub events that had but one purpose: turning a profit. Some of the usual Fetish icons were there, of course (we saw Jean Bardot in attendance on Friday evening, for instance). The first evening was held at a club location that was so inept and inadequately prepared to host such a large contingent of people – and the “event staff” seemed to have no issues with allowing a large throng of “street clothed” folk in without much of a second glance. This was to become a major source of contention for “veteran” Fetish Weekend party goers throughout the weekend. The lack of proper and adequately provided transportation (or available information about transportation) was also seen to be a major failing, and some of the “stage shows” presented were laughable at best and purely and simply obnoxious and objectionable at worst.

Yes, the Fetish Weekend – as expected – had a huge number of amazing costumes, fetish assemblages and uniforms to feast your eyes upon. This, however, simply isn’t enough of a reason to make the investment in attending all of the weekend’s events. There was very little that was “new” and “exciting” about this year’s efforts and a tremendous number of things that just seemed to be a poor rehash of previously-attempted activities. The amount of politics and hostility that seems to surround the event itself from the local professional community (!) was alarming, and certainly would tend to indicate why there is a competing “Fetish Weekend” event in Montréal being held in October that features almost all of the businesses and personalities within Le Belle Ville that noticeably stayed away from September’s annual, more “established” event. Of any event this summer, the Montréal Fetish Weekend was the one gathering I was personally looking so very forward to attending the most – and it was the one gathering that clearly disappointed. I wouldn’t accept another press junket to attend this event – nor would I certainly pay for an over-priced VIP Pass to attend this event  – anytime in the near future. If there is a next time, we’ll pay for the nights and events we want to see – and undoubtedly save a lot of money in the process.

As good as the previous events listed above honestly and truly were, the Montréal Fetish Weekend was clearly and just as truly that bad. I duly hope the organizing committee, both of them, learn from this year’s shortcomings – or at least take a lesson or two in “good event management” and “catering to your public rather than your own ego” from both Random Craig and Northbound Leather.

May the falling leaves bring us an amazing Autumn season of good friends, good times and greater prosperity!

Kardynyl SynysTyr

MARQUIS FETISH BALL winner of the photo shoot

MarissaWeb1Erik von Gutenberg announces the winner from the photo shoot during the last MARQUIS FETISH BALL July 18 in San Francsico!

Marissa won with 3.99 points average with the highest score!

Thanks to all participants and all were fabulous and all went in front of the camera and showed beauty and inspiration! It was such a fabulous night and that only due to you participating at the photo shoot, dancing, chatting, playing and much more!

Marissa, thank you and please mail us at press@marquisamerica.com

The next fetish Ball will come and will happen on December 5 at the same venue in San Francisco for naughty Christmas! Come to dress to Impress again! San Francisco the center of the fetish world and alternative  lifestyle, which you will be able to witness as well during the FOLSOM STREET FAIR coming up this September.

Fetish Greetings to all and especially Marissa and see you all again December 5 at the supperclub at 9pm in San Francisco with Rubberdoll and many more Fetish Vixens.

www.vongutenbergfetishball.com

MARQUIS FETISH BALL winner of the photo shoot

MarissaWeb1Erik von Gutenberg announces the winner from the photo shoot during the last MARQUIS FETISH BALL July 18 in San Francsico!

Marissa won with 3.99 points average with the highest score!

Thanks to all participants and all were fabulous and all went in front of the camera and showed beauty and inspiration! It was such a fabulous night and that only due to you participating at the photo shoot, dancing, chatting, playing and much more!

Marissa, thank you and please mail us at press@marquisamerica.com

The next fetish Ball will come and will happen on December 5 at the same venue in San Francisco for naughty Christmas! Come to dress to Impress again! San Francisco the center of the fetish world and alternative  lifestyle, which you will be able to witness as well during the FOLSOM STREET FAIR coming up this September.

Fetish Greetings to all and especially Marissa and see you all again December 5 at the supperclub at 9pm in San Francisco with Rubberdoll and many more Fetish Vixens.

www.vongutenbergfetishball.com