I just finished an amazing weekend in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida at Beyond Leather 2011.
For an event only in its forth year, the producers of BL (Sir Top and slave bonnie) have put together an outstanding group of presenters and created an environment that is welcoming, entertaining, relaxing, and inspirational.
As far as the details of the event:
I figure I’ll start with food, because it seems to always be the thing everyone wants to talk about after a convention.
I actually enjoyed the food. On Thursday, I had lunch at the hotel restaurant and got an overpriced burger that was half-decent. But the whole rest of the weekend was another story.
I purchased the meal plan offered by the event and I’m glad I did. The food each day was very enjoyable and the presentation offered plenty of time for visiting with others and enjoying the break.
The hotel is beautiful. It’s tucked back into an almost secluded little corner of the city and you feel very much isolated. Once you get inside, you are greeted by a gorgeous foyer and a spectacularly landscaped atrium designed to give the energy of being outside with less bugs, heat and humidity.
The hotel offers free internet if you are willing to go down to their lounge and not too overly priced internet plans for the wifi in your room.
The open air room access balconies are great for helping everyone to feel together. Most hotels have tiny, swerving hallways leading to rooms that seem completely cut-off from all the others. But at this hotel, you can see almost three fourths of the other rooms from your front balcony. I loved that.
I am going to avoid talking too much smack here since I was one of the staff members (Dungeon Monitor Coordinator).
Actually, I was impressed by the professionalism and (for the most part) organization of the staff. Everyone was very friendly and welcoming to me, and as a new addition to the team, I felt right at home very quickly.
The registration process was a bit chaotic during the first 30 minutes after the desk opened, but that’s to be expected. Once the opening rush cleared, everything seemed to go very smoothly.
Security at the event seemed to not be as air-tight as I would like at an event of this nature. That said, they handled every problem quickly, professionally, and without any serious incident.
As a whole, the seminars were very well organized and ran smoothly. There seemed to be some issues with the short (15 minute) gap between the classes which meant that if one class got out late, everyone would have late-comer interruptions in the next time block.
I will not write about each and class that I went to, but there are a few that I have to mention.
Master Obsidian and slave namaste were absolutely indescribable. Hearing them share their journey with such honesty and passion was truly inspiring. Later in the weekend, my girl and I had a chance to sit down with them for an hour or so and discuss the path that we are on and they both gave us some really insightful advice. I hope to continue drawing on their wisdom for a long time. And I look forward to seeing them again in a few months at Northern Exposure in Anchorage, Alaska.
Utah Rox continues to be one of my favorite presenters and someone that I consider to be a very good friend. In addition to learning from him every time I watch him teach, he is also simply very fun to be around. This weekend, he borrowed my girl for a little while to do this>
Yes, you’re seeing that right, it’s 12 needles stuck through her neck.
The moment started off as a joke. He and were threatening to put needles in her neck and he was pretending to clean the area just to mess with her.
But then she left her head in place and her neck exposed, inviting us to go for it, and moreover, not reacting negatively to the idea.
So he went for it.
And this was the result. It was a seriously hot scene.
But anyway… Right! Workshops!
Yeah, Utah Rox was awesome and I really did learn some new things.
I can’t wait to see him again soon.
I went to two great bondage classes, one by Lew Rubens and the other by Professor Oni. Both presenters are skilled rope artists and it was awesome watching them work in person.
There were plenty of other great workshops, but those are the few that come to mind right away.
I really enjoyed the intimacy of the space, but also the different environments created by the separate rooms. One hardcore room, one laid back room, and one in between. All three had different, but really great energy.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get much of a chance to use it, as I was working during the dungeon times.
I’m sure there is so much more to say, but I have only had, like, an hour of sleep for the last week and need a nap.