In the True North strong and free, Canada Day has triumphantly passed and given way to Our American Cousin’s spectacular Fourth of July preparations and (eventual) celebrations. The honoring of the birthdays of our two great nations always signals the beginnings of the most important events on our collective social calendars. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Gulf Coast to the Arctic Circle, we proud North Americans look forward to commencing festivities that pay reverent homage to our most beloved of pastimes.
No, I do not speak of the start of the Canadian or American football seasons. Neither do I deign to mention that baseball, that grand old “uniquely American” game (yes, my British cohorts, I am well aware that you used to call the game ‘Rounders’, you know), truly hits its stride after the grand Nationalistic drunk-fest and massive, impressive fireworks displays of July 1st and 4th, respectively.
The numbers of all those who have, to this point, hanged those cheap little nationalistic flags from their automobiles and rooftops, and fervently bellowed at the top of their lungs their patriotic devotions to their “homelands” (most of which have never even set foot in said “homeland”, I might add) have even been drastically reduced. This is due, naturally, to the sobering fact that “their country” being represented in soccer’s World Cup, currently being contested in South Africa, have been eliminated from the world’s greatest tournament. July 11th, 2010, the World Cup Final, is sure to be a spectacle not to be missed, to be sure: but unless your heritage originates from one of the two nations playing in that Final match, your interest level is sure to be marginal at best. So we’re not eagerly anticipating that quadrennial happenstance necessarily, either.
In point of fact, we’re not even enthusiastically discussing any sporting events at all. The onset of summer also ushers in the new round of most-desired Fetish Events. This year, in the appropriately named Year of the Tiger, features some July and August events that simply must be billed as “can’t miss”. For your information and edification, Your Humble Narrator has compiled (in his considered professional opinion) the “Cream of the Crop” of events that you, gentle reader, may wish to think about spending some time at. There is a lot happening this summer – and in a tremendous amount of places. I’ve therefore divided this Event Guide into distinct parts. This week, you’ll be reading about Fetish Bets for July 2010, with dates, pricing and locales noted as necessary:
Piscataway, New Jersey July 2nd – July 5th
Anyone who has been around the “scene” long enough knows exactly what “TES” stands for. The Eulenspiegal Society seems like they’ve been around forever and a day – and in a certain sense (at least in regards to the collective Fetish Community), they have. TES was started in 1971 by an individual named (appropriately enough) Pat Bond and a number of others in the greater New York City area who were appreciative of “outlandish costumes and strange behaviors” and felt it was high time to create a ‘society’ where everyone could express themselves in comfort and without fear of compromise. TES certainly wasn’t the first Fetish group to organize and start encouraging kinksters to come out and participate: but they most certainly were, by far, the most publicized. The Society, named in somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek reverence and in recognition of an old German folklore character known as Till Eulenspiegal (the fellow in which we are indebted for supplying us with the prototypical “Jester”; or for card playing devotees “Joker” imagery, and also for inspiring the phrase “he marches to the beat of his own drum”), has been conducting large-scale events off and on over the past nearly four decades. Their annual offering is known as TESFest and is held, generally, during the Fourth of July celebrations within the New York/New Jersey area. This year the event is being held at the Radisson Hotel in Piscataway, New Jersey and features a number of pursuits sure to satisfy the tastes of every fetish purist. Whether a visitor would prefer to take part in one of their excellent classes being offered for instruction, or indulge a bit in some nearly scandalous behavior during the Cloud 9 and Cloud 10, Kinky Ladies Afternoon Tea Party or the Latex Pool Party events, there is certain to be the heights of hedonism enjoyed by all who have decided to participate.
Unique Feature: There is a “Tops and Bottoms” Auction, a Wrestling Club Workshop as well as a Charity Kinky Casino taking place during the weekend-long festivities. Often copied but seldom equaled, TES usually and simply just “does it better” when it comes to unique, quirky and downright fun special events.
Toronto, Ontario July 1st – July 4th
The City of Toronto has been chosen as the host burg for the World Pride Event in 2014 – and rightfully so. With the notable and definite exception of San Francisco, it’s arguable that no other major world city has such visible support – from the Federal, Provincial and Municipal Governments to the “common” event visitor, no less. This year’s Pride events actually swung into full gear with an official opening on June 25th – but the weekend of July 2nd, 3rd and 4this really when the party really gets rocking. In addition to the usual Street Festivals and parades within Toronto’s legendary Rainbow District, there are a quite a few family and adult-only activities planned that are sure to please the discerning party palettes of everyone who ventures into Toronto’s downtown core. The ridiculousness and utter nonsensical violence of the whole G20 fiasco has been left behind: there’s a party in Toronto, and everyone’s invited! This (and the next two years, for that matter) is sure to be an exceptional “dress rehearsal” to the city hosting the LGBT world when 2014 finally rolls around.
Unique Feature: While there is always a selection of new performances to sample during Pride Week, this year Toronto’s Buddies in Bad Times Theatre Company is hosting an interesting ensemble entitled No Apologies. Many of Canada’s best young and rising musicians, actors, poets, dancers – hell, artists from all disciplines – will be performing non-stop from 2:00 pm to 10:00 pm on July 3rd, 2010, within the Theatre space itself and the Alexander St. Parkette located right outside. There is no question some of these performances should be worth a look. Northbound Leather, as is their custom, is hosting a Meet and Greet at their store location on Yonge St. Friday, July 2nd and is also facilitating a Kinky Boat Cruise on the evening of July 3rd (admirably and strategically coinciding with the beginning of a Tall Ships Festival along Toronto’s gloriously beautiful waterfront).
Website: PRIDE Toronto
Hollywood, California July 3rd – July 4th
For whatever reason, Southern California doesn’t get a whole lot of enthusiastic attention within the confines of the Fetish world event scene. Perhaps the organizers of Hollywood’s Bondage Ball during the Fourth of July weekend can rectify that. Greater Los Angeles has always been somewhat of a “well kept secret” amongst Fetish and SM practitioners. Quietly – very quietly – some of the best performance acts, educators and facilitators have made their way out of the City of Angels and are gaining popular notoriety in more traditional Fetish event locales. Internationally-known latex model Masuimi Max is your Hostess for the evening – but there are a number of jaw-dropping acts scheduled to perform. Some of these acts include well-known artists Julie Simoneand RubberNecro, aerial performances by up-and comer Bound Lotus and a veritable pantheon of extremely popular Los Angeles-based DJ’s. By all accounts, it’s taken some time for Bondage Ball in Hollywood to gain some traction, but with the quality of people represented that are responsible in part of its continued success, here’s hoping it will not only continue to entrench in Southern California: it will evolve into one of the truly “Can’t Miss” events on the international social Fetish calendar.
Unique Feature: It’s Southern California! It’s Hollywood! Sure, their overall formula may appear to be derivative – but it’s Hollywood, for cryin’ out loud! No-one throws a bad party in Hollywood! If that wasn’t enough, take a look at their website and try and grasp the true sense of just how many “name” folk within our realm will be in attendance. The best part of it is … it’s only going to cost those who go $25.00!
Website: Bondage Ball
4). Vancouver Dungeon
Vancouver, B.C. July 3rd – July 4th
Okay: all of you who happened to see that incredibly reprehensible first season of Showcase’s Canadian-based ‘reality series’ KINK can relax. Vancouver really isn’t all that freakishly dysfunctional. A much better representation of what Vancouver’s scene is truly like might be found in Metro Vancouver Kink’s simplistically, straightforwardly named Dungeon Party. In a town where the Fetish and SM scene is about as respected as those who “ply their trade” along Vancouver’s embarrassing East Side, it certainly seems like someone got their stuff together. The Vancouver Dungeon Party is somewhat secretive, to be sure – but all the necessary information needed to become a participant is available: as long as you don’t mind directness, and “to the point” information. According to those I have spoken to in Vancouver, the MVK and their Dungeon Party has given rise to some real hope in a town where, beforehand, very little existed when it came to “Community Fetish Events”.
Unique Feature: There really isn’t anything overtly remarkable about the Vancouver Dungeon Party that is readily available online that would distinguish it from any number of other “run of the mill” nightclub gatherings. What does distinguish it, however, is the simple fact that there’s long-term hope for a solid, re-occurring SM/Fetish night amongst good, solid people in Vancouver for the first time in what seems like an eternity – and that in itself just has to be “good news” for kinky inhabitants of the West Coast’s truly most beautiful city.
Website: Vancouver Dungeon Party
Long Island, N.Y. July 11th – July 12th
Billed as Long Island’s “Premiere Fetish Party”, Vendetta generally is scheduled to take place every second Saturday in Bethpage, Long Island. This iteration, however, is a little bit different: there is going to be an attempt made to break a “World Record” by a gentleman who calls himself The Human Floor and has been featured as a performer on a number of US-based talk shows. What’s the record being broken, you ask? You should certainly be able to figure it out based on the man’s name – but suffice to say there will probably be at least 20 women in high-heeled shoes and boots just … “standing around” … The play areas have all received a “first class thumbs up” from certain close friends who have attended Vendetta in the past, and their DJ of choice (Xris Smack) is regarded as simply one of the best in the business. For July 2010’s itinerary, they are also featuring a unique latex Fashion Show as a part of the evening’s festivities – and there is always “Gourmet Food” included with the price of your entrance ticket. All in all, Vendetta not only covers all the bases desired and demanded by their guests: it covers those bases extremely well and provides just that little “extra” that keeps everyone coming back for more.
Unique Feature: One of the things that separate Vendetta from other major New York City area Fetish nights is their in-event promotions. For instance, in the past there has been a “competition” designed to award the wearer of “the sexiest shoes” for the evening: this alone was certain to bring every shoe and boot fetishist for miles around through their doors (and let’s face it, who amongst us isn’treally a slathering, salivating shoe or boot fetishist, anyway?). A somewhat interesting twist: Vendetta offers a substantial reduction in ticket prices to those who can prove they traveled from New York City to Bethpage via commuter train. What makes this feature really of value to party attendees, however, is the fact that the proprietor of Vendetta (by all accounts an engaging individual known as Mister Anthony) takes it upon himself to arrange transportation from the Bethpage train station to the event venue (The Long Island Manor). That’s unique – and one of the reasons why Vendetta is a clearly a step above some of the more stolid, stereotypical Fetish nights in the New York City area.
Next Week: We take a look at Kinky Camping in Southern Ontario and Northern Alberta; large-scale Fetish Flea Markets in Massachusetts); one of the best-known large-scale events in Colorado; and “The Fifth Element” and what that means to folks in Texas.