March 6th, 2009

Scene rant, part one of a three part series.

I have two rants... and they are actually connected. So, I'm gonna send up each one individually, and then make a summary post. A little organizational comment just in case any of you want to follow along.

Rant Number 1 - "It's never been done, so it must suck!!!"

This weekend, a very unique event will be taking place in NYC called KinkForAll. It's an ambitious project, and somewhat of an experiment, founded by two members of Conversio Virium. The concept is to provide a free space for people to share knowledge about alternative sexuality. Anyone can show up, but they have to get involved - either by teaching, volunteering, providing items that will be used by the attendees, etc. They have a central Wiki organizing all of the information, and anyone can get access to it and add their names to the list and what they are contributing.

What I find fascinating about this event is that the structure has been built entirely to prevent any power plays. There is so real centrally governing power involved, no true event staff. Anyone can contribute, and the presentations that will occur will be selected by those in attendance. It is such a unique structure that I am halfway attending just to see how it plays out.

Frankly, I'm not sure if I like the concept. I have a way of approaching events that I have found works, and my comfort zone is there. I am man enough to admit that. On the other hand, I love that someone is doing something new and unique in NYC, because I have to say, most of the stuff we've been doing isn't working.

Last night I was at a meeting that had members of several NYC organizations in attendance. At some point, the discussion turned to the KinkForAll event. The reps from all these other groups were actually making fun of it. Making fun of their lack of organization, making fun of its free-wheeling purpose, of the website, of that fact that there were no one they recognized involved in the formation of this event.

Frankly, they had quite the set of balls to do this. One of the most major organizations in NYC, one that has a history that could fill an entire wing of the Leather Archives and Museum, has been dying a slow death for the past 5 years. There is honest doubt on how long more it will last. Another group has seen it's meeting attendance and member's willingness to get involved shrink. The mood at the meetings and parties is subdued, much more so than in previous years. It's grown stale... and yet, the group marches on as if it is the holiest of holies in NYC.

Step outside NYC, and you'll hear one thing at every event. "The NYC scene is dead."

But it's really not. You want to know where the action is in NYC? Not in the old, but in the new.

NY boys of Leather.
Suspension parties.
Coversio Virium.

New people. Doing new things. Trying new ways. Sometimes they work. Sometimes they don't. But they try.

The old die. Those who evolve live. And the groups that made fun of this new kid on the block? They're the old.

To be continued.
  • Current Mood
    frustrated frustrated

Scene rant, part two of a three part series.

I almost hesitate to write this rant. Not because it isn't just, but because it is around a topic that's been discussed and debated and ranted about and for and tossed around so many times that I really think it has become the scene's dirty heirloom that no one really knows what to do with.

What am I talking about? Old Guard, of course! (Well, kind of.)

Rant Number 2 - "Do the whatever the hell you want and keep me out of it."

I heard a keynote speech recently that brought up one of my favorite topics of all time... "leather traditions." I love this phrase so much, because it has just about as much literal meaning as "somewhere," or "something," or "maybe." Terminology that references nothing in specific, and is mindbogglingly vague. And yet, whenever it is said out loud, we're all supposed to know what it means and what it is in reference too.

Anyways, this speech referenced the importance of leather traditions - honoring them, remembering them, fostering their continued existence. All fine and dandy, heard before, yadda yadda yadda. And then of course, we had to go into an "us vs. them" discussion.

Everytime this topic comes up, there is usually a scapegoat. Something to point a finger at and say "here is where we went wrong!" and "this is what killed SM!" And what was it this time? Oh, just a small thing we call the Internet.

Of course.

Because the internet fosters an "anything goes mentality."

Because the internet has killed the screening process that the scene once had and has replaced it with easy open access.

Because the internet has made the scene frivolousness, and steps away from the days when play was work and toys were tools.

Of course.

Am I the only one who is tired of this speech? Surely, I can't be.

The internet is the scapegoat for today, just like SM education groups, phone sex lines, newspaper ads, etc. have been the culprits before. Any single time there is an entry point into alternative sexuality that wasn't around before, those who didn't have access to it yell that it is destroying the scene and all that was good with it.

Here is a fresh outlook on the whole Old Guard/New Guard debate for ya. Forget leather. Forget SM. Forget any of those classic concepts that we indentify with so closely. Because you know what it all boils down to? Sex.

We all approach our sexuality differently. We all have our tastes, our desires, our preferences. Whether from a biological need, or a psychological need, or just simple curiosity, we make choices on the types of sex we want to have and with who. We choose "lifestyles" based on what feels right and what gets us off. We all do.

But of course, yours is better than mine, isn't it? Because you've been doing it for 10, 20, 30 years longer than I have. Yours was right, mine is wrong!

Fuck you.

Am I saying you're doing it wrong? Am I telling you that your leather traditions suck, and that we should just do away with the whole bunch? Am I telling you that my way of having sex has replaced your way of having sex? That my way of living my life has replaced yours?

No. I'm not. So stop fucking saying it to me.

Or maybe you're scared. Maybe you're scared that there are less and less people doing it your way, and there are more and more people doing it mine. I dunno. Hell, I'm just about in the same boat with you! I've been around for 13 years - a mere 13 years! - and already I sometimes feel archaic. I remember the way I did things, the places I've been, the way I learned how to do what I do. And I look at the folks today in awe and shock.

I didn't pick up a cane until I was 22. I didn't hit someone with a singletail until I was 23. Blood and scalpels? 24. I got into this thing we call Leather/SM when I was 19. I bought my first leather vest when I was 19, pants at 20, chaps at 21. It took me years to play as heavy as I do now! (Don't quote me on those numbers... it's been so long I can't really remember!!!)

Today people are doing it at 18, 19, 20. There are people 10 years my younger who when wielding a singletail make me look like I am trying to wrestle with a garden hose. They're blowing me away. They're playing harder, faster, and creating even more complicated forms of relationships and power dynamics and poly groups - and my mind REELS when observing them.

And I love it. Because it is forcing me to evolve. It's opening my eyes up to new ways, new ideas, new techniques, new energy, new relationships. New people. New things. It's scary... and it's awesome.

. There is that word again.

The Old Guard is upset because they are dinosaurs. Because they are a dying breed. And I get that. And while I feel bad for you, I encourage you to live your life openly and do what you want however the fuck you want.

And while you're doing that, stop disenfranchising me and let me do things however the fuck I want too.

Because me? I'm watching others do their thing too. And just imagine how cool it would be if we were all in the same room, all doing whatever the fuck we wanted, and getting off on each other's scenes? Pretty damn cool.
  • Current Mood
    aggravated aggravated