London, July 2008
On Saturday 5th July Dave and I attended London Gay Pride. Press reports stated that the official attendance figure issued by the Police was 825,000 people - making this the biggest ever pride event in the UK and one of the top 5 attended prides in the world. This was also the first year that members of all of the armed forces and emergency services were allowed to march in uniform. It made a great start to the parade and the uniformed personnel were cheered on by crowds lining the route.
At the end of July I flew to Denver to present two more classes at Thunder in the Mountains. This was my second year at Thunder and it was just as much fun as the first time. Over 1000 people attend this pansexual weekend and I found them to be a very friendly crowd. One of the highlights this year was being the demonstration model for Midori's class, where she got her own back on me using her in one of my classes last year.
There are many more SM educational weekend events in the second half of 2008. I'm sure the following is not a complete list, but it includes the events I've attended, heard about by reputation or that answered my emails requesting further information:
Held in London, UK
on August 2nd 2008
16 presenters will give 14 workshops at Conway Hall in London on Saturday 2nd August between 11am and 4pm. There will also be a vendor market and fashion show. I'll be attending this event to teach a workshop and give a speech from mainstage.
Black Beat 08
Held in Maryland, USA
from August 14th to 17th 2008
Provides a safe, discreet, and welcome environment for African American expressions of D/s, BDSM and alternative sexuality. 18 presenters give 17 workshops on Friday and Saturday aimed at Dominants, submissives and switches. All genders and sexualities are welcome, with an even balance of men and women attending.
Leather Camp IV
Held in Wichita, Kansas, USA
from August 14th to 18th 2008
There will be 6 classes on Saturday 16th August, as part of a larger schedule of events (including leather contests). I was one of the presenters at Leather Camp in 2006 and had a lot of fun there. This year they are holding a raffle for a new 2007 Triumph Bonneville Motorcycle. Proceeds will be split between Positive Directions Inc., a local Wichita Kansas AIDS organization, and Mama Reinhardt's Breast Cancer Emergency Fund in San Francisco. The drawing for the bike will be held August 16 at the final event of Leather Camp IV. Raffle tickets are available online at www.wichitaleatherpride.com or at the registration desk at Leather Camp.
Wichita, August 2006
Held in Edison, New Jersey, USA
from August 15th to 17th 2008
At the time of writing this event had 148 classes in their schedule, which must be a record for this kind of weekend event. They are expecting between 800 and 1000 attendees who are "gay, straight, bi - and just about every kink and interest".
Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) Weekend
Held in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
from August 22nd to 24th 2008
Now in its 7th year, they will be holding more than 30 workshops over Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Between 400 and 500 people attend, whether they are "gay, straight, bi-sexual, cross-dressers, and many things in-between".
Beyond Vanilla XVIII
Held in Dallas, Texas, USA
from September 26th to 28th 2008
Beyond Vanilla is an educational and social weekend devoted to BDSM techniques and D/s relationships. A pansexual event, it brings in over 300 attendees from across the United States and Canada. Numerous presenters will give more than 30 workshops over Saturday and Sunday, geared towards novice and intermediate individuals.
International LeatherSir/ leatherboy Weekend
Held in San Francisco, California, USA
from October 9th to 12th 2008
This contest has recently been rebranded as a title for "players" and the weekend will include 10 to 12 seminars on different types of SM play. Although predominantly a gay event all people are invited to attend and take part. I'll be attending this event as one of the judges for the leather contest.
Black Rose 2008
Held in Washington, DC, USA
from October 31st to November 3rd 2008
According to their website they will have over 70 classes on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
November 2007 - Toronto is a beautiful city and most of the gay bars are within walking distance.
Mr Leatherman Toronto (MLT)
Held in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
from November 27th to 30th 2008
MLT weekend is not just the largest leather contest in Canada, it's also a weekend of SM education. The workshops schedule won't be decided until September, but details will be posted on their website. They typically hold 16 workshops with 12 on Saturday and 4 on Sunday. Last year over 3000 people attended the weekend and at least 300 people attended the workshops (including Dave and me). The education committee also runs quarterly SM workshops under the title So You Want To Be Kinky? in October, January, April and July. More info at www.mrlt.com/?page_id=8
Have fun, look after yourselves and the people you play with.
International Mr Leather 2003