This weekend, I was back in San Francisco for the annual Sundance Stompede GLBTQ country-western dance hoedown. While it’s not a leather event, there are a lot of guys into leather and leathersex who attend, and rust is one of my hanky colors (under the “Cowboy/His Horse” definition — cowboy fetish).
I come down for this event every year. This is about the 12th or 13th one — they would know for sure — and I’ve been to all of them, even back when it was just the one-night “Hoedown” dance event at the Galleria. I teach two-step workshops for Stompede each year (for about 7 or 8 years now, maybe more), usually on Friday afternoon, typically in a ballroom with 100-150 dancers. It can be quite a challenge to teach some intermediate/advanced content to that many people. (I’ve been teaching dance for some 15 years now. The teaching skills themselves play forward into teaching leather workshops just as well.)
International Community Bootblack Luna and International Ms. Bootblack 2007 Ms. V were at Stompede, doing boots. We have bootblacks at our Emerald City Hoedown in Seattle each year, and I’m glad to see it propagating out in the country community. Dancers have largely never learned much about care for their boots, and it makes for good bridging of communities (and while perhaps easier/quicker per person in the chair — not laces in most cases — the bootblacks also get the chance to encounter a variety of colors and materials not seen often in the leather bar). I arranged for bootblacks at the IAGLCWDC hoedown in Philadelphia earlier this year, thanks to the Bootblack Brigade, and I need to see what I can arrange for the one coming up in for next May’s hoedown in New Orleans.
Friday night, I went out to Kok Bar (formerly Chaps II). I met Rod Wood (Mr. Russian River Drummer 2000 and now on the ILSb board — I remember him with that title from before I moved to Seattle) and his boy Roger. Got some heavy nipple play and CBT going with an Aussie named Brad.
Saturday, I cut out of the dance earlier than I would have liked, because I wanted to go to the Hell Hole party. (Amazing, isn’t it: I’ve managed to hit that party each trip to San Francisco this year!)I could have easily danced another couple hours, although I know I would have had exhausted feet on Sunday if I had. So off to the slings I went. Thanks to Paul, Dana, and Billy for good times, and special kudos to Billy who lost his fisting top cherry that night.
Sundance Association has a silent auction as part of their Saturday dance at Stompede each year. A lot of the items aren’t of much to to bid on for out of town folks — restaurant gift certificates, local massage therapists and personal trainers, local theaters, or collections of a dozen bottles of wine (like I can get that home?) — but there are also a couple things to bid on. This year, I ended up with a woman’s corset and a couple ostrich feather ticklers, at about 1/3 the list price. Any past leather titleholder will know the line on this: “I can use these for a fundraiser later on.”
On Sunday, I set up a play session with a guy named Jake. A while after we started, I asked him, “Did you go to Wet ’n Hot in 2001?” That had been the second year I went, a few months after I had moved from the Bay Area to Seattle, when attendance was dropping each year. What salvaged it that year was playing most of the weekend with two guys. One was, I think, a gray-haired guy named Chris, maybe from Texas; the other was dark-haired “J” from San Francisco (that’s about all I could remember of him a decade later). Sure enough, Jake was that guy, and we had a good play session as well as catching up a decade later.
Country-western dancing is one of the big loves of my life. I’ll give up an evening of it now and then — like half the Saturday dance here for the Hell Hole party, or to teach the Tribal Instinct workshop on Foodplay in November — but it still overall rules the roost. Next May, for example, I won’t be going to International Mr. Leather in Chicago; I’ll be in New Orleans for the IAGLCWDC convention (and dance competition — I compete in dance as well as leather). As I’ve told people before, the country event needs me more than IML does. At IML, even now as a regional titleholder, I'm just one more faceless leatherman there, one more backpatch, but the leather presence I can bring to the country-western world, and to the New Orleans leather scene that weekend has more value than my presence can bring to Chicago that same weekend.