Sometime after midnight, in a greasy spoon, off the freeway, we sit in the wood & pleather booth. We’re discussing what Mikey learned at Westcoast Bound, his second kink conference. Had we been writing for Erotic Vancouver last year, I’d have interviewed him then and gotten his impressions. However, I missed the boat on that, so instead we’ll discuss his impressions of this year and perhaps do a little compare and contrast.
After all, last year, Westcoast Bound was at the Maritime Labour Centre, and this year, due to the fire, they’ve had to do a Hotel Takeover; over at the Atrium Hotel, down off Hastings. Many groups, faced with a last minute loss of venue, would have rolled over and played dead, but the MVK board is made of sterner stuff and managed to pull together this conference.
The first thing the comes to mind is the atmosphere. The Maritime Labour Centre is where MVK has normally hosted their parties, so the previous year felt like a bigger version of one of their nights. It was different and was special, but it was also familiar. Whereas this year, at the Hotel, because the kinksters had taken over a strange and new space, there was a different feeling to it. It was much more space that we had conquered. Mikey reflected that the way the space had been used was really unique, and even labyrinthine. On the third floor, they’d emptied a bunch of rooms and converted them into play spaces. It created a strange combination of intimacy and depth, because you could wander from room to room; it felt bigger than any party he’d previously attended. Having the space divided changes the energy of the scenes; making them more personal. Instead of putting on a show for a large and probably half-distracted audience, if people were there watching your scene, they were almost part of it. The way the space was broken up was a bit off-putting initially, he commented. At the beginning, it was frustrating trying to track down a play partner who’d wandered off. After a bit though, he managed to make a game of it, stalking his meandering prey.
Over the course of the last two days, he has taken a variety of courses; being a switch, he took some of topping and some on bottoming. I know he’s decided that he’ll be exploring his reflections on the nature of switches in his upcoming articles. The first significant class he took was one on whipcraft. The education inspired him to purchase a whip of his own, depleting his budget, which is why I’ll be paying for our meal as we work on this. (I get reimbursed for this right?)
All the classes he’s taken so far were great, the presenters were engaging and really brought the material to life, because they were passionate and it mattered to them. MVK really did a solid job recruiting the presenters for the conference, bringing in people from all across North America. A special shout out to Daddy Crone of Seattle and Roughinamorato of Chicago, as they have seriously impressed our friend Mikey. inspiring him to new levels of kink. Daddy Crone being the one who ran the workshop on whips that convinced him to get one. Roughinamorato taught a workshop on building a intimate connection through play that left him reconsidering his assumptions and considering more deliberate and methodical approach for the future.
We’ve finished our three-high stack of pancakes, our overhard eggs, with sourdough bread, and our sausage links, so it’s time to wrap this up. Mikey and I will probably meet up for a coffee tomorrow night to finish writing up his third day at Westcoast Bound.