Friday, July 20, 2012

July 20 - 22

7/20/12 - 7/22/12 : Coaching Weekend, Seattle, WA

The Northwest Leather Sir/boy/bootblack family Jim Drew, boy dan and Ruin were getting ready and prepping for their run at the International titles. They were in between producers, and so Greg (McG) had been appointed as their liason. He was going to run them all through their paces, with the kind assistance of some local talent. Unfortunately, Greg was not able to make it, but I had still been invited to help them out.

Often found without his pants.
Chester Chopps
I came up on Friday and was hosted by the wonderful Paul and cooked for by his delightful boy Cole. They have truly been a blessing whenever I am in Seattle, and am really glad I got to spend some more time with them as well. Cole made the most amazing scones I've ever and I would be surprised if he doesn't own his own restaurant someday. We went out drinking and ended up visiting not only The Cuff, but also a newer bear bar called Diesel, which was cosy. Not too big, not too small, but just right.

The next day we subjected the title holders to interviews, mock questions, primping and fluffing techniques, and listened to their speeches - giving them feedback about all of it. This was my first time really judging other people, and it was fun to help them improve themselves and their presentation. I spent some time watching Ruin with her mock technical boots, and offered what advice I could. By the end of the day, they seemed more confidant and ready for their contest.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Thunder In The Mountains

7/13/12 - 7/15/12 : Thunder In The Mountains @ Denver, CO

I had ran into the event producers, Brian and Rich at IML while I was speed shopping, and they had generously offered to let me attend. As this was an event I had wanted to get to while I lived in Texas, I jumped at the chance. It was an opportunity for me to do boots, and maybe play too.

I got in on Friday, and of course immediately I ran into some kinky people on the shuttle ride to the event - one of them heavily tattooed and sporting vampire teeth - you had me at hello. We chatted about San Fransisco, tattoos and the event itself, and then went our separate ways.

Raisin Toast!
As an aside here, when I lived in a poly house with C & V, V and I had a fever for raisin bread, but specifically for raisin toast. We bonded over it most mornings, and so we came to call each other Raisinbro. Imagine my delight to find that my Raisinbro was also coming to the event, and we were able to share a room together. It was just like old times (but without the toast).

He was already there, so after a quick room check-in, we walked down the street to a Steakhouse to enjoy our first meal together. It was great to catch up with him, and to have a good meal to start the weekend. It was pretty hot out though, so we ended up calling a shuttle from the hotel to pick us up.

I attended a meet and greet wherein hobnobbing and pea-cocking took place, and then did a quick change for the play party. I had barely got in the door when I was invited to a multi-boy beat down, which I was eager to jump into. My knee had been bothering me, so I stayed supportive close to the outside, but then jumped in when I forgot about it. I think there were at least 8 people involved in beating up 3 boys? It was a lot of fun.

Then I got to play with Boss Bondage, where he tied me up with rope, and then beat the crap out of me. He was careful to make my bad knee less attractive to play with and keep it out of the way, but totally made up for it on my other side. Note to self - if I'm bootblacking anytime after, make sure to negotiate out my hands. I may need them the next day. I got some painful carpet burns out of the date, and I cried hard, which was very much needed. I was so drained afterwards that I barely even noticed until the next day that my knee issue was non existant. Hurray!

I had breakfast with my Raisinbro, and then we parted ways for most of the day going to various classes or doing boot shining. Saturday saw me getting a lot of time in at the boot stands. As is typical for a lot of hotel events, they had risers set up draped in black tarp to protect the floors, but this was the first time I had a milk crate as a seat. It left some fun impressions on my bum when I stood up.

I was able to make it to a few classes as well when not doing boots - of note was Chuck Renslows one on SM in the 21st Century, more of a history pathway leading up to today, very fascinating. I now know how the Leather Archives & Museum started. Also went to a class on the Theater of Cruelty by Sir Hugh, and was pretty blown away with how slick his presentation was, and his use of the space in the room. If you can ever get to a class he is presenting, do it.

The evenings play party came very quickly, and I was able to share my love of needle dreamcatchers with Levi and Brad - simultaneously I might add. We couldn't take photos inside the play area, so here is one I made for a family member. Levi and Brad helped each other with their breathing, and I threaded them both separately. After capping the ends, they both ran manically around the dungeon while I calmed down. They chose to take each others needles out later, which left me with a free slot to play in.

Jim had been wanting to play with me after the multi-boy beat down, so we headed to the men only space. I got to play in a vacuum cube and then we got to the beating, but there was less crying this time. Afterwards we flopped into chairs in the lobby, ate cookies, and talked about how great our respective days were.

Again after breakfast I was able to attend more classes and do more boots. I got to go to a class by Sandy 'Mama' Reinhardt, explaining all about her family. I'd heard of her in my travels, and of the family, but it hit home a lot more when hearing her perspective on it and where it all started. There was not a dry eye in the house.

I rushed around to other classes, first one on venipuncturing, and then another class on gay mentoring by Sir Hugh, which was again very worth the time. He talked about how a Daddys first act with a boy was to show him how to cruise. It was an very interactive class, with a lot of discussion of everyone involved. After that I just did boots until the event was shutting down.

I was finally able to get to have dinner with my title Dad, Jim Deuder, and we went back to the steakhouse where I had my first meal of the weekend. It was great to hang out with him and talk, and he passed on the mysterious black book of mystery, passed down the International Bootblack family tree since the dawn of time. It was a highly ritualised affair, which was interesting in a public setting, but eventually after several hours and several hair clippings, we were able to celebrate.

Overall a fantastic event, the classes were really varied, and the play spaces were full of amazing energy.

Friday, July 6, 2012

July 6 - 8

7/6/12 : Scotch and Cigar Social @ The Eagle, Portland

Despite this being a weekend at home with Sandra, there was clearly time to go by the Eagle, and shine some boots for the guys enjoying their cigars. It was a pretty low key affair, but I was able to do a few pairs of boots, and get a partial cigar in for myself. The rest of my weekend Sandra and I played games and just enjoyed not having any other plans at all!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Primal Pain

6/29/12 - 7/1/12 : Primal Pain, Edmonton, Canada

This is a smaller event in Canada that I had heard about by meeting Big Bad Jim in Alaska the year before. He had mentioned it casually, and we had discussed what went on. It took a whole year for me to go, but I was so ready. I'm my head this was an extreme challenge weekend, and mostly of the mind, but the body had to do it too.

After finding folks online to carpool with from the airport, and the car adventures along the way, we arrived and checked into the Queer room - a much smaller set of bunk beds, and getting to room with Tillie was an extra bonus. They run a mentor program at this event, so if you've never been before, someone will explain things, or hold your hand, or give you Mentos.

I'm a pretty social person and had no problems walking around talking and introducing myself to people, and immediately getting involved helping dig a thirty foot long fire pit. Before we actually got to walk it, it had to be lit and cool down, and the sun go down too. So, in the meantime I went off to go walking bare foot over a couple of feet of broken glass. No feet were harmed as a result.

Once the sun had actually gone down, it was time to go back and walk on the hot coals. There was a ceremony of sorts involved, and everything was done in a very respectful and consensual way. There was a short science lesson, and some time to be personal while the fire kept burning, and then it was time to walk. A trial by fire literally. It was pretty amazing to be involved in the construction and then the application. Needless to say, yes it was hot, and I got a couple of small blisters, but that was also because I didn't follow the instructions well - my brain got the better of my body and I curled my toes a couple of times. I got to flirt and talk to folks after, and also helped beat on a drum for a little while - it helped.

Before Hooks
 Saturday there were to be suspensions and an energy or hook pull. I was up early talking to people again (I think there's a theme here), and then I was found to go get hooked for a suspension. I was the first one for the day - which was both flattering and a little nervewracking. You can totally tell I was ready right?

About to go up
I didn't bring any music with me, so Elwood chose something country - which did not work for me at all. Instead, he chose an album by Tool, and of course the song Third Eye had to come on while it was happening. The hooks themselves were intense. I had done hooks before in my front, but I guess in order to hold your weight, hooks in your back have to go a little deeper, and also be a bigger gauge. Four hooks in and I'm starting to drift off into that other space.

After a carefully supervised walk outside, we got to a small meadow with a crane set up and Elwood went to work threading rope through a rig, and then to my hooks. He pulled the tension from the rope holding me to the rig, and just held on.
Starting out

I danced from one tip toe to another, slowly testing my weight, feeling the hooks, feeling my stomach. It was the same sensation as right before stepping out of an airplane with a parachute. Elwood was patient just letting me figure it out for myself. I put more weight into my shoulders, slowly leaning more and more forward, and less on my toes. At some point Elwood pointed out that I've not got weight in my toes anymore, and I should just pull them up - which I did. And then he pulled the rope up, removing any choice for me to put my feet back down.

My body had its own shock moment - I want to dry heave, I need water badly as my mouth is a desert. I fart really loud and fear that my body is letting everything go. But the fears are unfounded. I take some sips of water and all is ok. I am separated from my shadow.

Just cresting
Finally there
 I start to play, testing how I can turn myself around, or swing in a direction. The pain of the hooks is still there, but its cushioned now with the endorphin rush I'm experiencing. I look around at the people and the environment. There are more people watching and there than I remember, but going up it was just me and Elwood looking at each other.

I look back at him now and smile - and he sees that I get it. He pulls again on the rope so I'm higher and then I start to feel the other world calling. People around the crane are talking and having fun with each other, but I ask for quiet so I can experience this for myself.

On a quest
I now have one foot firmly in the other world, and I start to journey. I'm a large tiger, prowling the grasses next to the lake. I'm running and jumping, eventually pouncing on a bird. And then I'm the bird, flying up and over the lake - looking for my next meal. I dive bomb the lake and become a fish, swimming quickly to shore, only to climb out and start the journey all over again. I think I go through this story about twice more before I start to feel myself back in the real world more fully.

My body is finally done, and down I come. Of course I'm bratty about it, and keep my legs as high as I can so I don't touch down, and when I do, Elwood pulls the rope again so I go up. We laugh and I promise to bite his head later. My legs feel ridiculously heavy, and my shoulders still have a good feeling like I have wings there.

The rest of the day just drifted by. I sat with people, I participated in some drumming, I ate and had community all around - and through all of it, there was a pervasive sense of calm. It felt very comfortably like home. I felt very open - so I took the rest of the day as easily as I could. Another participant also had an opportunity to do a Kavadi ritual - lots of spears were placed in her using a large rig and limes were attached to the ends of the spears. It was awesome to watch, and walk around with her, and then later we sat and connected with each other.

A raptor?
Sunday was another calm feeling day, and it rained a good portion of the morning, but that didn't stop me connecting with people. I showered with a friend, gave an impromptu boot class, and crawled on top of Jim. Despite him trying to scrape me off by crawling under tables, I was able to successfully bite his head. I helped someone with their suspension, gave a mace a blow job, did some arrow bending with my neck, and finally with Elwood we got to be raptors and pack hunt someone down in the field. The time went so fast on Sunday, and then it was Monday and time to leave.

I'm so happy I went to this event. Not only did I get to connect with a lot of people, with good conversations and shared experiences - but I was made to feel at home and welcomed. The food and kitchen folks were amazing all weekend, making sure we had food. I pitched in and contributed my time and energy, and it was well received. Whatever definition of community you use, this felt like one to me. Ride the Pig!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

June 18 - 28

6/22/12 : L.U.R.E @ The Eagle, Portland, OR
This was my official congratulations party put on by Tarsus and the Eagle. I was thanked and talked to by lots of people, and finally started doing some boots too. Welcome back, now do my boots! I did a few pairs, was done for the night and did some celebrating instead.

6/23/12 : Seattle Pride @ Seattle, WA
Sandra had a work engagement for the next week and so was travelling to Seattle anyway - so we were able to road trip up together which was great. Also traffic going to Seattle at 7am in the morning was really light so we were able to get there and check into her hotel pretty quickly. Did I also mention it was literally 2 blocks from where I needed to be for the parade?

It was great catching up with various folks from the Seattle area while we waited to get going, and Wendell who had invited me, also then invited me to ride on the back of his car that was driving in the parade. Given how touchy my knee had been recently, I took him up on the offer, and after the two mile trek, was very glad I did. Afterwards we took a few snaps and then enjoyed the delights of the pride fair. Also - Unicorns!

6/24/12 : Seattle Erotic Arts Festival @ Seattle, WA
I had been asked by Lily to do a bootblacking demonstration for a demo booth they were running at the Arts festival. I would have two time slots to do some boots, and bring some sexy into it. While I waited there were lots of really cool art to look at, some for sale, and some not. They had lots of other tasting type events at the space too, so I was able to watch some violet wand and some rope demonstrations.

In the absence of people waiting around to get their boots done, I used Lily as my victim client and set about on her high shine boots. I was able to successfully figure out how to produce a high shine by humping the boots with my jockstrap. After that I had people asking if they could get their boots done.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

June 1 - 17

Getting back home was a little surreal, but after a whole bunch of laundry and starting back to work, I was beginning to feel the drop. Now I had to start looking at events to go to, places to contact, investigating various options, and trying to budget for all of it. Fortunately there were plenty of local events I had already committed to, to keep me occupied while I figured that out.

6/1/12 : Scotch and Cigar Social @ The Eagle, Portland
This was an unofficial welcome home. Lots of folks heard I was going to show up, and showed up themselves. Lots of congratulations and pride in me being able to bring the title back to the North West. I did not do a single pair of boots.

Also during this week thank to the magic of Don Hood and Tarsus, I was able to get my patch sewn onto my vest that I bought. It fit perfectly, and was very happy with how it looks. Someone recently pointed out to me though that with the image being made from boot material, I might try shining up the cap and heel of the boot.

6/8/12 : Beartown - Bearpocalypse @ The Jupiter Hotel, Portland
My first time blacking a pair of boots since IML. I gave myself that time to reset and make it more fun again. Did a few pairs on people I didn't know and a couple of regular folks came back for a spin. And of course the place was thick with bears and cigar smoke. Yum.

6/9/12 : Portland Leathermen Potluck @ Private home, Portland
I had been asked a few months back to help host this particular potluck with Les Lewis. His partner Rick was out of town on business, and I was conveniently close to him to help. Of course now he was telling people that Mr. IMBB 2012 was hosting with him. This was a nice relaxed gathering of men, who were also very congratulatory and proud I had won.

6/9/12 : Dirty Playground @ The Sindicate, Portland
On the tail end of the potluck was a queer play party over at one of the local dungeons, in which I had also agreed to do boots for a time. I was able to get there, do my boot shift and even got to play with one of my friends for a good amount of time. Nothing gets my blood flowing like a good impact scene. This is a queer play party that has recently got off the ground and I wanted to make sure to go by and support them.

6/16/12 : Pride Play Party @ The Sindicate, Portland
This was my Oregon title family's joint event - a play party the night before the Portland Pride Parade. Ms. Tracey, Tarsus and I hosted a dungeon night to try to raise funds for our respective charities. We had a good crew of people working with us, and the setup and tear down was ridiculously easy. Turn out was not tremendous, but given it was also Pride weekend, it was not surprising. I did manage to play with a newer guy to the scene though, which was a lot of fun.

6/17/12 : Portland Pride Parade @ Portland, OR

One of my last obligations as the Oregon State Bootblack was to march in the Portland Pride Parade - and despite the pacific north west's constant threat of rain, the sun came out and made it all better. We marched through the downtown streets ending at the fair, and I was accompanied by my lovely wife as well*. Hurray!

* The man in the picture with me, Dominic, is not my wife.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

IML - Tuesday

Today was all about going back home. Everything was packed and ready to go, and even a small perk for the winners was a limo ride to the airport. Tarsus and I said our goodbyes and headed out. And then promptly got pulled over by the police. Apparently there was some issue with the plates on the vehicle, and them not being appropriate to the limo service. This was not the best way to start a title year. They at least let us go to the airport, and then continued talking with the driver. Hopefully it wasn't too bad of a fine.

The rest was just airport shenanigans. I was so glad to get home and to see my wife. And to celebrate of course.

Monday, May 28, 2012

IML - Monday

Monday was another whirlwind day, but thankfully I didn't have to do another pair of boots. Tarsus and I skipped our morning breakfast as I had a Victory brunch to attend instead. This was really a thank you brunch to the executive staff for all their hard work over the weekend, and the winners were also invited so folks could meet them without everyone running around doing things.

After some very tasty food we were taken down to the vendor area for a press conference. Well, I say press conference, but really it was a photo op. Prior years had the winners bombarded with the same questions over and over about what they would be doing now that they won, or what their platform was, etc. So instead we took pictures. This was great as I was able to take a good class photo and meet up with all the bootblacks again.

Then we were released into the wild again - at least for a few hours. It was time to finally shop. I spent most of my tips as I was running around the vendor area picking up items I really wanted, and some I liked. It felt like one of those game shows where you had to stuff a shopping cart with everything you could in 60 seconds. I did manage to get a new vest which fit my new patch perfectly, no chaps unfortunately, but plenty of jocks.

One short nap and a soak in a tub later and it was off to have dinner with Chuck Renslow and family. It was a nice relaxed atmosphere and we were able to sit and chat with each other without lots of other people around. We had a great dinner and some good conversations. I was mostly trying to get to know Woody as we would be working together during the year. And then we had cake, but really it was a landscape in a ball. It was delicious, and yes we had seconds.

And even after that was over, there was one final party to attend - the Black and Blue party at Excalibur. We had an area all to ourselves, and somehow Woody and I had psychically decided to wear military colours. This was a good sign. We were introduced again on a much smaller stage at the club, in which we were also supposed to dance again for a song. Thankfully I know how to do this, and this time it wasn't a surprise. After more drinking and socialising, it was time for bed.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

IML - Sunday

Today was our final day of doing boots and we were all so glad for that. It was a much shorter amount of time, and we also had to take a formal picture before hand - so there was a lot of quick changing going on before we got started.

I added some red duct tape to Tankenstini just for some extra snazz, and then I flew. I got through 21 pairs in the 4 hours we had. Almost the same as the first day when I had 7 hours. Much faster this time. I had more people coming by saying they had watched me all three days, and then voted for me without getting anything done. That was very gratifying. And then it was over. We stopped, counted our final ballots, and then just hung around a little shell shocked packing up our kits.

I was not going to take my stand home. He had served me well, but it was time to let him go back into the wild. After checking with security that we could leave it by the trash bins - I removed the stanchions and we dropped him off behind us. I packed my kit, turned, and he was gone. I was astonished at how fast that happened. I did get a report that Mexican ninjas were seen carting him away, so I hope he found a better place.

Then I actually had a break. One in which I could eat food without rushing, and soak in the tub and even a small nap. That felt so good. And yet, it wasn't over. Now we had to go through the bits about who won, and the big show for the Mr. Leather contestant as well. Sharon McKnight was hilarious, and John Pendal and Karen Ultra were fantastic as well. We got through to some great speeches by the Mr. Leather contestants and then it came to us.

I wasn't tremendously nervous. I felt I did a great job being social and friendly, and also making sure my fellow class mates were doing OK. We were paraded on stage and introduced one last time before they announced the winner and runners up. Earlier in the day we had all voted on which bootblack we personally liked best or thought exemplified bootblacking - the brotherhood award. That was up first and I won. It meant a tremendous amount to me to get that from my fellow bootblacks. I also had a moment of relief too, as historically the winner of that award was not the one who won the title.

Then I also won the title. I was truly shocked. After a whirlwind of photos being taken we were whisked into the back office to sit and be in a quiet place. We were headed to a victory party at the House of Blues and needed to change - so we were ushered through the hotel and into the service elevator area, being cock blocked along the way. It felt very Rock Star and also a little intimidating. After a quick change and a ride in a stretch limo - we got into the club which was a renovated theater with box seats. I was also able to bring one person with me and I asked Boy Dave to come with. I wanted him to share the experience as well.

Myself, the Mr. Leather winner Woody Woodruff, and first and second runners up Kevin and AC Demidont were introduced on stage, and had to dance for a song or so before going off to enjoy ourselves. Truly overwhelming.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

IML - Saturday

Saturday was another blur of a day, this was to be the long day as well - 8 hours of boots and no breaks. After a hearty breakfast again with Tarsus, I went and signed 100 posters for the IML class. All the contestants signed them, we all got one and one was sent to the Leather Archives & Museum.

Then I had to repair my poor Tankenstini! I had extra pieces of wood that I brought, and a healthy dose of screws and nails to fix him up. Add a dash of blue duct tape to catch the eye a little and viola! A better more rigid bootstand.

Then the people arrived, I even had one who was camping out waiting for us to open, and someone else waiting in the wings after him. With my space station fully operational I could get through folks a lot more smoothly. I did a pair of tall crotch length wesco waders, and he must've told his friends as I got two more later that day. I had people coming to me thanks to some recommendations of people yesterday. I had people come and compliment my work. All the while I was doing boots, snacking on hazlenuts, drinking water and then doing boots again. My final count for the day was 34 pairs, much faster than yesterday.

After it was all over, it was ballot counting and then a super quick change for the bootblack reception. I had about 30 minutes but made it back down in time to be the first one there. After running so long in the day, I didn't have anything substantial in my system, so after a short break to the bar upstairs and some comfort food that I brought back - Wendell was kind enough to get me a drink and calm me down. Then the rest of the evening went a lot more smoothly.

The bootblack reception was also the site of a silent auction, the proceeds of which were going towards the winners travel fund. There was also a small piece of stage time there as each of us was introduced to the folks there. Some people even came in full leather Canadian Mountie gear. Boy Dave and I just had to take a picture with him. We schmoozed and talked and nibbled and browsed and eventually it was all over. All of us were just exhausted and around midnight we were free to go about our own business. For me, that business was bed.

Friday, May 25, 2012

IML - Friday

Friday I was up at 6am to head over to Home Depot. I knew what I wanted, and I was so glad that Home Depot does cutting for you as well. I took a taxi, got what I needed and some colourful duct tape to attract attention, and then got back to the hotel. Tarsus and I did our traditional breakfast run first, followed by Starbucks where I picked up my emergency sandwich, and then we started construction.

Everything seemed to go well, and I had enough time to get a bellhop to bring a cart and get all my items down to the setup area for the bootblacks. I was definitely nervous and excited about doing boots, and really not sure about how fast I needed to go. As I was setting up, I got to meet Fuzzybuns who was next to me. As contestant #1, I was set to the left of the raised stage they had provided us. My mini-bootstand was built and named Tankenstini.

We had a short huddle and were presented with our contestant medals. It was a great moment just for ourselves. And then the boots started.

We were in charge of our own lists and how we handled people who wanted their boots done - if they didn't have a ballot, we could decide to take them or not, but were cautioned if we didn't that could have some repercussions.  I just took everyone, and asked them to get their friends to vote instead.

First shine is also arranged ahead of time with folks who come from IMsL, and mine was Leland from San Fransisco (and Portland). There were some quick pictures taken and then we were going to move onto people who wanted their boots done. As Leland was getting off the stand, my stand broke. The front holding the foot rests just fell forward.

This was when I realised that something that looked neater, was not necessarily the best engineering job. Despite muddling through the blurred day of boots after boots and repairs - I had to do something different to fix it, but had to wait until the next day to do so. In 7 hrs I was able to get through 24 pairs of boots and remembered to eat food and drink water between people so as not to be exhausted afterwards.

After we counted our days ballots, we had to get ready to be introduced on stage for the first night of the contest, and then we were released. I was invited to hang out with my fellow contestant Mike and his friends - and a riotously good time was had. Another barely clothed party and meeting and greeting people later, and it was time for bed again. Wow - what a day!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

IML - Thursday

We would walk past this every day
Thursday started a new tradition for Tarsus and I - we would walk down the street to Houlihans, get a buffet breakfast, then head over to a nearby Starbucks to get good coffee and my emergency sandwich for after I had finished doing boots. This gave us both time to wake up, connect with each other, and get a little exercise away from the hotel.

Jim only laces his boots on busesToday though was time for the bootblacks to hang out. At first we had a trip to I. Sachs and Son - a local supplier of all things bootblacks might want (also known locally as Bootblack Heaven), and then later a brunch to get to meet other contestants and friends.  In another small world example, one of the ladies who came with us is good friends with my boyfriend - we've seen each others blogs for about ten years, but never met. Hurray! We met up with everyone going and took a bus to our destination.

Dad and Grandad share a cupcakeIt was all it was purported to be - shelves of stuff everywhere. Polish, brushes, laces, creams, liquids and all sorts of products I'd never seen. A whole floor of leather hides and another with boot soles. It smelled great. I was able to pick up a few things I may have needed, and some things I didn't know anything about so I could learn about it. On he way back I picked up an all important case of water for the weekend.

Then it was time for the bootblacks (and pals) afternoon lunch. We met again at Houlihans and chatted and met each other and ate food. I was able to meet some of the other contestants here as well - boy dave from NC, and piglet who I already knew. Bootblack Mike from MN and Fuzzybuns was still delayed on a train but would arrive shortly afterwards. We had some delicious food, and then Tim brought out some cupcakes for desert. We had to feed them to each other in a special way.

After lunch we all headed our separate ways and I was able to start taking stock of what I had from the trip, and also what I needed to prepare for Friday. It was then I realised something horrific - two crucial 2x4's were not in my stand bag. This would not do at all. Thankfully, after some googling, I located a Home Depot not 3 miles from the hotel and vowed to enjoy my evening, and go in the morning to get the supplies I needed.

Thats me - outside the Leather Archoves & MuseumFirst though, we had our first mandatory meeting of the weekend, it was our introduction to each other, and our co-ordinators. We went over some paperwork, and how the contest piece would be run. They were very clear about what was allowed and what was not, and it was up to us to educate people, and also handle our list of people wanting a shine. We also drew contestant numbers in a very secret and special way I will not divulge - but I drew contestant number 1.

After that, it was off on the shuttle bus the Leather Archives & Museum.

Tonight was a roast of the outgoing title holders, Jim Deuder for IMBB, and Eric Gutierrez for IML. The Leather archives were selling tickets for the theatre hey had inside, but were sold out when we got there. However, they did have free seating on a first come basis on the sides of the theatre - and they were still really good seats. It was great way to mingle with folks and work some of my social magic. We also got to look around about half of the museum too, which was really awesome - but sadly didn't take any pictures.

After an hour of amusement, it was back to the hotel and some well deserved rest - but I did get to sit next to one of the other IML contestants on the shuttle ride back - Mr Oklahoma Leather and we chatted very comfortably.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

IML - Wednesday

One of the best things about flying on Southwest, was two bags up to 50lbs each flying for free. This allowed me to take a small boot stand, for use on a stage riser - and a regular bag with kit and clothes. I spent a good month or two designing and building the mini stand ( called Tankenstini ), and then being able to pack it into a large green army duffel bag. I made an aesthetic choice about recessing the top plate, because it looked cooler. Note: Always TEST your stands in working conditions.

I was able to get everything I needed into the two bags, bringing a cordless power drill and screws, and just in case a hammer and nails. I weighed in at just 50lbs for each bag. Awesome.

Flying was pretty smooth - makes it a lot easier when taking direct flights too, and there were plentiful taxis just waiting to go. I checked in after getting a bell hop to take things to my room and I just sat. Took a deep breath in and out, and then unpacked necessary items.

My roommate for the weekend was my sash brother Tarsus. He was also running for the IML title, and had arrived earlier that day. They were somewhere else having a welcome and introduction dinner, and after a quick call to him, he invited me down to eat with them. One quick change later and another taxi ride and I was meeting a lot of the contestants for the IML title, and eating some wonderful Minestrone soup.

I sat next to Angel - Mr Chicago Leather, and then his partner arrived who I had met the month earlier at a conference for work of all things. I was later told this was meeting someone in a muggle context for the Harry Potter fans amongst you. We chatted and ate, and then headed out to Touche's - a local gay/leather bar.

The bar was quite crowded, and full of men being their sexy selves. The contestants introduced themselves on a mic and there was lots of cheering. I stayed for a drink or two, and toured the back half of the bar, with a walled in black room. Imagine chain link fence, lined with black plastic - and there's a small entrance and exit. I won't say what happened back there, but I did take time out to sample some of the local fare. Hmmmm - hairy men and leather indeed. Unfortunately I had to leave, and was able to get back to the hotel on one of the shuttles laid on for the weekend, and sadly I was alone.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Origin Story

I began my bootblacking career back in 2002 when I joined the US Military. I learned to make boots nice and shiny, and often traded with other soldiers for it. Its also when I found out D/s dynamics really worked for me and after leaving explored that as well.

I went to a leather event and watched a bootblack work. It was sexy and hot, and while I knew the technical pieces, I was turned on that I could participate in that. I was hooked. I went to events, I went to classes, I learned from some great people. I build a boot stand called Tankenstein.

I was also always adamant that I could do what I did without a title, and without obligations - and I had a stick up my butt about title holders themselves.

And then I met Q.

She explained to me about the importance of good role models, and how she really believed I could help the next generation of bootblacks, and that she saw my heart and my passion for bootblacking and other bootblacks. This planted a seed that would germinate for a few years.

After moving to Portland, Oregon and getting involved in community there, I found a crew of bootblacks and we worked and learned from each other. I began to sprout. In August 2011, I competed for and won the first Oregon State Bootblack contest sponsored by Blackout Productions. And so it began.

Oregon State 2011 Family