What better way to celebrate and enjoy a beautiful, sunny Father's Day than to trek over to the Folsom Street East festival? The 15th annual event was held this past Sunday in the urban valley of West 28th Street, between 10th and 11th avenues, under the watchful eye of the newly opened section of the High Line park. After all, hanging out during daylight with lots of sexy guys wearing nothing but skimpy scraps of leather, a healthy sprinkling of freaks, a little BDSM in the open air and some beer on tap was lots better than buying Daddy a tie and taking New Jersey transit out for a tedious day with dysfunctional family members. Instead, this celebration of sexual freedom offers what daddies really want: some rubber puppy paws, a plastic tail plug and a rubber dog hood for puppy play sessions.
Although you might think the event caters only to a fringe group, I bumped into a lot of my friends there. "I love leather, and I think this event is one of the sexiest of the year," photographer Rob Ordonez told me. He and his friend, fashion designer Geary Marcello, are regulars and were dressed in typical Folsom Street attire, with matching spiked dog collars, leather straps, face piercings and tattoos.
When I arrived around 3 p.m., the block was crammed with mostly men, a few women (some in leather) and drag queens. And one living blow-up doll: A person encased in a latex mask covering his entire face, who was also wearing black latex—with balloons for tits. I pushed my way through the crowd looking for the press table on the other side of the block and thought about getting a beer ticket for $5 because it was starting to get hot (in more ways than one).
As I expected from photos I'd seen from previous Folsoms, some men were semi-nude and consisted of all different body types, ages and colors. Some wore leather chaps with ample ass hanging out, some wore other bondagetype fashion (harnesses being the most common) and some were just wearing average, everyday clothing. What made the day fun was the sense of adventure and friendliness of the crowd.
The stage shows were emceed by porn star personalities Mike Dreyden (who later participated in the most unique pie-eating contest ever conceived) and Will Clark. Sassy drag queen Peppermint performed and—although there were some wellplaced taunts from the average-looking gawkers on the High Line—it was a feelgood day.
My friend, nightlife photographer Teague Clements, seemed to have a great time. "It was a veritable cornucopia of sexual freedom: leather daddies with their lovers, lesbian doms with their boi slaves, muscular bears walking hand-in-hand," he said. "And every now and then, people just... kissing. And yes, there were straight folks, too."
Members of the leather, fetish and BDSM community from across the country visited Houston this weekend to share their wares and offer workshops on the fetish and BDSM lifestyle in a convention at the Sheraton Brookhollow Hotel. We sent a photographer to check out the booths and the most interesting items for sale. Text in some images may be semi-NSFW. PHOTOS BY GROOVEHOUSE
NCSF is pleased to announce the addition of the “Consent Counts” project to our major programs. Consent Counts is a community-wide project that was launched in 2007 at a Leather Leadership Roundtable hosted by NCSF at the Creating Change conference.
Consent Counts is focused on the decriminalization of BDSM. This was determined to be the number one priority for the BDSM/Leather communities at this meeting and the subsequent town hall meeting held at the Leather Leadership Conference.
It was decided that a steering committee should be formed that included representatives of national advocacy groups as well as other key individuals. An extensive survey was conducted to gain community input-- which also provided a basis for further planning.
It was recently determined that in order to serve this critical sexual freedom project that one of the national groups involved needed to take primary responsibility for it; because of the history of the origin of the project NCSF was the logical choice. The program will be directed by Judy Guerin, the former Executive Director of the NCSF, and long-time sexual freedom and gender expression activist.
“We are very excited to have this community-wide project as one of our major programs and a central area of focus,” stated Leigha Fleming, Chairperson of NCSF Board of Directors. “This is a major priority for the BDSM and Leather communities, and NCSF is pleased and proud to be able to take the leadership role.”
For more information on Consent Counts, or to volunteer, please visit:
This Quarter's Newsletter was the most fun to write. It features several different community perspectives, inclduing an article by Catalina Loves, talking about how the NCSF helped her in a critical moment in her life; a youth group in Baltimore that serves to help newcomers find their second skin, Tabu Social Club a success story for the NCSF Incident Response Program and a lively swing community space, and the new changes the NCSF is facing to better serve you resultant from our first ever joint board retreat. This issue is indicative of the new communications you should expect to see from the NCSF, highlighting not just the critical threats facing us, but the joy our community has and the beauty we aim to share with the world--and now with color pictures and more content!
I hope you enjoy, and don't forget that now your stories, your opinions and your writing can be featured in the NCSF blog and newsletter so submit yours to: