BDSM educational events...
For many of us they are not only the way we begin to develop real time play skills, they are also our introduction into real time, the place we started to establish kinky networks. I can still remember the first time sol and I attended a weekend of workshops by Fetish Diva Midori. We looked around and realized that the room was full of normal looking people (well, most of them, lol) who happened to be as perverted as us. At Lukas Zpira's body modification seminar at Uber in Sydney last year, I learned the rudiments of cutting skin and strike branding...
Oh, the joy of meeting like minded friends, of learning new BDSM skills! The joy of anticipating overseas business trips / holidays where I might be able to attend a few kinky educational events! I had to do that, because so few used to be held here in Australia. I was so envious of some American couples like (for example) Eileen and maymay, who seemed surrounded by constant kinky educational input in New York. I remember thinking they would find Sydney a very different situation - something may recently noted :
"Earlier, I wrote that I think the Sydney BDSM scene is suffering from a lack of educational programming. I’m glad that I’m not the only one that thinks so. I’ve had numerous conversations with people in the scene here who would like to start seeing educational events becoming common place, and many Australians are eager and able to contribute. Especially noteworthy in this arena is Mistress 160, who runs what is probably the best informational blog about BDSM in the entire region, and has been doing so for quite a while [Ms 160: of course I had to leave that bit in]
"Of course, the World Wide Web is probably the single greatest tool we as kinky people have in our efforts to educate each other and make information easily accessible. Bridging the gap between the online world and the physical world, however, isn’t easy. Ultimately, every Web site and cyberspace venue is really a support structure for meatspace venues and real-world events where people meet with other people face-to-face"
May is 200% right about this. It's something I've been very aware of for some time, especially at the moment as I write the forthcoming BDSM For Beginners "Going Real Time" series. It's always frustrated me how few educational events are held here in Oz. When they do take place they are usually linked to Australasian visits by people - Midori, Lukas Zpira and Satomi, etc - who may accurately terms "scene superstars". While local extremely skilled and articulate kinksters may appear on the program, it's a rare educational event that features Australians as the main attraction. May makes a VERY important point about this:
Aware of this, I hoped to enlist Eileen and may in my ongoing attempts to encourage local educational events. This has worked very well so far! First I made their presence known to Kitten at Kink-E Magazine - they will both feature in the next issue. Then I introduced them to Mistress Dee at Uber.
"The Sydney BDSM scene suffers from a lack of educational events. The people here seem just as capable of doing excellent BDSM as they are in the states, but they’re not talking about it to anyone, not even each other. Most of them seem afraid to, as if doing so will give them a bad reputation. It seems okay for me for to do it, since I’m from New York City and all, but for some reason, they think they couldn’t possibly have anything to teach me.
"I’m hoping to help change this and over time I’d really love to see more educational events run by local people, advertising local speakers, promoted hand-in-hand with parties and munches "
Uber has recently played a prominent role in bringing "scene superstar" educators to Sydney - regular readers will remember my posts about Lukas Zpira and Satomi. I've been driving Mistress Dee nuts, I'm sure, with my desperate yowls these last few months for more BDSM educational events. Luckily she is as enthusiastic as I am on the subject of BDSM education, and equally understands the need. Even better, she is in a position to actually be able to do something to redress the problem, bless her ...
Uber is now holding regular Skill Sharing Workshops. I think Mistress Dee has chosen that title with great insight and care. It counters not only the Tall Poppy Syndrome maymay picked up on, but that part of the Australian psyche that still believes anything we do is inferior to our kinky friends overseas. Every word is positive - we want to learn new "skills" and "share" those we possess, we are happy to "workshop" with others in an informal environment, where some of us might bolt from something more organized and rigid. But from these smaller workshops the network for holding larger public events will grow.
I drew Eileen and maymay's Sexual Teasing and Denial presentation to Mistress Dee's attention and was delighted when she invited them to hold the inaugural workshop. Sol and I were unable to attend, alas, as that was the weekend we had to pack our possessions in a Hertz truck and drive two thousand kms. But from all I've heard the workshop was very successful indeed. May noted on his blog:
And we missed it. Bugger! Here are some of the comments they received:
"Eileen and I were absolutely thrilled to present Sexual Teasing and Denial at the inaugural über Skill Share Workshops hosted by the generous (and fabulous) Mistress Dee at her über dungeon and BDSM playspace. Eileen and I have done this presentation quite a few times before, once at TES-TNG, once at Conversio Virium, and once at the first-ever Floating World. I’m not at all exaggerating when I say that this time, the presentation was the best it’s ever been, with an uninterrupted nearly two-hour long talk that included wonderful questions from and discussion with the audience"
Informative - finally something that speaks to dominant womenIf may will forgive my quoting him a bit further, his post takes on another topic near to my heart:
Excellent. Very knowledgeable and enthusiastic presenters. Interesting anecdotes and comments
Excellent, very constructive and professional
Informative, fun and very horny :-)
Inspirational and realistic. Really interesting topic and well presented Informative, well presented, good structure and extremely worthwhile
It was great.
Very informative. It was a friendly environment
I might point out, as an aside here, one advantage of Australia's only accessing "scene superstars" is that their teaching skills are usually excellent - that's why they are "superstars" lol - so some of you may not have experienced may's sleep problem. But I know EXACTLY what he means. So at this point I'll stop xposting and suggest anyone interested in presenting - as well as BDSM educational event organizers - go read may's post and (most importantly) make a link to it, for future reference.
"Now, back in the United States, Eileen and I have done a few other presentations in the past in addition to this one on chastity, orgasm denial, and orgasm control. We’ve been in attendance at countless others, too. Some of these presentations were really fantastic. At a minimum, these kinds of presentations always made me want to go straight home and pull Eileen into bed with me, or at least go out to dinner afterwards and have a long debate about whatever the topic of the presentation was.
"Unfortunately, most of the time I didn’t really find presentations that engaging at all. In a few of the worst cases, I’ve literally fallen asleep. That’s right, I’m in a room full of people who are all talking about sex and BDSM and getting off and it’s been so boring that I’ve literally fallen asleep.
"Over time, I’ve learned that there’s a distinct skill in teaching or speaking to others about what you know that’s entirely separate from just being good at that thing you’re talking about. So, in an effort to document some of those things that should probably be common-sense but clearly aren’t, here’s a list of things you can do to make your presentation for a BDSM educational event not suck..."
Now. Back to Uber. Forthcoming Skill Sharing Workshops include:
Do these sound scary? No. Do they sound fun? Yes. Are you courageous enough to go? Absolutely. If you are in Sydney go along to these workshops. SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL DUNGEON, lol, especially when they are trying to support YOU. And don't forget before you leave to give a big thank you to Mistress Dee for making these workshops happen.
Sunday 4th May 2008: Hellfire XS Recovery - Chilled sounds and lounging
and general chit-chat about the things we like playing with.
BYO alcohol and beroccas! [Cost $10, Start time: 2.30pm. Approx ?????? hrs ]
Sunday 18th May 2008: Rope Bondage 101 - Always thought that rope
work looked HOT, but way too difficult? While it is definitely an artform
for some, it can also just be sexy and fun.
Come and learn the basics
[Cost $10, Start time: 2.30pm. Approx 2 hrs ]
Sunday 1st June 2008: How to turn your Lounge/Dining Room into a dungeon for $50 or less-
Not all of us have access to a fully equipped Playroom at home,
so our in-house inventive Dom puts together a scene
with a budget of $50 for toys and equipment. See what can be
done on a tight play budget & perhaps share your own ideas on DIY play.
[Cost $10, Start time: 2.30pm. Approx 2 hrs ]
Some workshops will be for BDSM beginners, others for the more experienced. If you have any topics you'd especially like to see covered, drop Uber a line. I know Mistress Dee has some wonderful ideas brewing. As for me ... hmmmm ... perhaps it's time to start harassing Kitten (editor of Kink-E Magazine) about holding educational workshops at her new Coffee Kink Gallery venue in Melbourne...
Bottom photo: courtesy: Uber website)