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Southwest Leather Conference loved Vi Johnson's keynote

By February 06, 2016



The Southwest Leather Conference saw several hundred Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Kinkfolk descend upon the Four Points Sheraton in Phoenix the weekend of January 21-24 with the highlights being the Dance of Souls, Southwest Master/slave/Bootblack contest, Carter/Johnson Leather Library exhibit and awards brunch.

Southwest Leather Conference also featured a wealth of workshops, panels, and discussion groups, Our Place room for rituals and meditation, a community-sponsored hospitality suite, nightly dungeons and a bootblack lounge.

Known as the "woo conference," Southwest Leather Conference has a strong sense of spirituality. This reflects in some of the classes and events.

The Carter/Johnson Leather Library traveling exhibit containing more than 10,000 items; including artwork, books, DVDs, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, photographs, club and event pins, posters and other materials that explore the world of alternative sexuality going back to the 1700's was open almost all weekend and visitors were present almost every minute it was open. The collection covers everything from 18th Century writings on the intersection of pain and pleasure to pulp erotica from the 1930s and 1940s, on up to complete series runs of LGBT and kinky pansexual magazines like Bizarre, The Leather Journal, Drummer Magazine, Cuir Underground, and Black Leather in Color. The books, magazines and posters were incredible, but none could shadow the talks with Viola Johnson and her aides Robi and Tracy Wolf.

International Mr. Bootblack 2012 Nick Elliott returned as emcee of the Friday and Saturday evening celebrations and the judges were the target of the man from Vancouver, BC with a British accent. Each night he had pop questions for each one of them as they were introduced. The crowd loved it, even howling out suggested answers of their own.

Carter/Johnson Leather Library founder Vi Johnson was the Sunday Brunch keynote speaker, using a theme of "I see you" she had the audience from the beginning. She knows how to handle a crowd and will undoubtedly see more brunches in the near future - her stock, already high, just skyrocketed.

The second part of the brunch saw honors presented with the big ones, Leatherman's Heart Award, going to Race Bannon who is the Leather columnist for San Francisco's Bay Area Reporter, a noted Leather author, blogger, activist and all around mensch; and the Leatherwomen's Heart Award going to Ms Constance.

Other awards and their recipients were: Master Skip Chasey Scholarship to Molly Johnson, Spirit of Service Award to slave Kiki, Volunteer of the Year to Uma and the Master Steve Sampson Golden Paint Brush Award to Lauren Ide.

The Dance of Souls, a closing ritual and ecstatic dance held at the end of the conference on Sunday afternoon saw its usual high level of participation. The Dance is about people bringing their focus and energies together for good intention. This modern primitive celebration is uniquely created through the energies of the voluntary participants present within a scaffolding of cross-cultural spiritual traditions that involve temporary piercing, drumming, chanting and dancing. The ritual is a closed private ceremony offering all Dance of Souls attendees the opportunity to participate in a variety of roles including pierced dancer, non-pierced dancer, drummer, etc. All activities are voluntary and there is no requirement to be pierced.

The Southwest Master/slave contest winners were Master Orpheus Black and slave Indigo Black who competed under the Southern California Master and slave title. The other contestant team, Master Shado and slave Neeka, are from Colorado. Orpheus and Indigo, Southwest Bootblack contestant, and Xiaoyi will compete at International Master and slave in 2017 in Dallas, TX.

The judges were Patrick Mulcahey, slave Jazz, Douglas Connors, Sir Cougar, Master Trish and Allena Gabosch.

The lone Southwest Bootblack contestant, Xiaoyi, received enough points to win the title.

The Southwest Bootblack judges were Gabriel Majors, Marta, Sarge, Tyesha Best and Bootdog.

Some of the best bootblacks from across the nation provided Leathercare in the Bootblack Lounge which was open from Thursday to Sunday afternoon. There was a crowd there all weekend.

A cigar party just outside the Bootblack lounge had as many as 75 in attendance on Friday night.

The Leather Quilt was on display in the hotel atrium. Several panels were added over the past year or so.

Two groups bearing the colors on their Leather vests were the Red Dragons and the Dragon Clan. Many other clubs saw a presence including APAH (Arizona Pups And Handlers), Chicago Hellfire Club, Los Angeles girls of Leather, APEX, Avatar Club Los Angeles, several MAsT chapters, Albuquerque Leather Daddys, Threshold, Butchmanns, Arizona girls of Leather, Chicago Leather Club, Las Vegas Leather Women, The 15 Association, Tulsa Uniform Leather Seekers Association (TULSA), Lesbian Sex Mafia (LSM) and ONYX Pearls.

For more about Southwest Leather Conference activities, visit http://www.southwestleather.org