DARK X Weekend

DETROIT – This past weekend featured an event that this reporter feels may have been one of the most influential events that have taken place in the state of Michigan in the last year. In it’s tenth year DARK Weekend in Detroit featured two days full of Leather, Kink activities, & education.

LIFE Detroit Board Members (from left to right) Event Coordinator Rapture, President SIR Shane, Treasurer Cazadora

LIFE Detroit Board Members (from left to right) Event Coordinator Rapture, President SIR Shane, Treasurer Cazadora

The first night featured a Bottoms Buffet that allowed those in attendance to try something new. The line up for the Bottoms Buffet was quite impressive with stations including; Pressure Points, Rope & Suspension, Violet Wands, Impact Play, Fire Play, Floggers, Knives, Rough Body Play, Plastic Wrap & Straight Jackets, & Needle Play. Following the Bottoms Buffet there was an open play party for those in attendance to enjoy.

Friday evening also seen the Event Coordinator for LIFE Detroit, Rapture receive his first piece of earned Leather. SIR Shane (Mr. Leather Michigan 2003 & President of LIFE Detroit) presented Rapture with a pair of boots. For those who haven’t had the pleasure of meeting Rapture, not only has he been involved with the LIFE Detroit organization for a number of years (currently the Event Coordinator) but he has hosted Dark Nirvana events in the Detroit area as well as being the owner of Rapture Leather.

The focus of the second day of DARK Weekend was on education. Saturday featured numerous classes on topics including play, relationship, & community. The class line up featured a class on bottoms responsibilities presented by Michigan slave 2014 Niki titled “He Hasn’t Killed Me Yet”, a class on Chest Harnesses for the Flexibility Impaired presented by Shibaricon presenter RopeRaiden, a class titled “For Science, and Violet Wands” presented by Chuck Child, and a class titled “From Workspace to Playspace: Power Tools in Play” presented by Michigan Master 2014 Sir Travis. All the presenters seemed to be very knowledgeable and well spoken, and those in attendance seemed to get quite a lot out of the educational portion of the weekend.

Another “class” that was featured was titled “Journeys and Destinations” and was presented by Rapture. This was not so much a class as it was a retrospective of Raptures Leather Journey. Rapture discussed his journey from the time he found kink through his struggles to understand Leather up to this weekend presentation of his first article of earned Leather. Much of what Rapture touched on was changes to the community and what could be done to build and strengthen the Michigan Leather & Kink Communities. I found what Rapture had to say inspiring and as I looked around the room it seemed that many others were very taken by his words.

Immediately following Raptures retrospective was the weekends Keynote presented by Mr. Dale G. Ross. Mr. Ross has a very long list of credentials that include; Mr. Detroit Leather 1983, a member of the Michigan Band of Brothers, associate member of the Chicago Hellfire Club, Founding Member of the Leather Institute For Education (LIFE) Detroit, & he has had his own private therapy/counseling practice since 1985 focusing on both addictions & work with Gay/LGBT Clients. With a list of credentials like that one might expect an amazing keynote, & if you were in attendance you were not disappointed. Mr. Ross spoke about the changes to both the Leather Community and the Gay Community since the 1980’s. He touched on things we might do to strengthen our community as well as mistakes that had taken place in the past. He spoke of the rise of the Heterosexual Kink Community and of the blending between the Leather & Kink communities.

This keynote added nicely to the things Rapture had to say earlier and you could see the wheels turning in the heads of the crowd. Those in attendance were taking everything in not just on a intellectual level but on an emotional one as well. You could see some folks drying their eyes while others sported large grins, the energy in the room was amazing.

Michigan slave 2014 Niki receiving her first piece of earned Leather.  (Photo by Sir Travis)

Michigan slave 2014 Niki receiving her first piece of earned Leather.
(Photo by Sir Travis)

The keynote was followed up by dinner, but there was one more very emotional moment left to come in the evening when the Michigan Leather Community, Detroit Bootblack Lab, & Michigan Band of Brothers presented the Michigan slave 2014 Niki with her first piece of earned Leather. If you haven’t had the pleasure to meet Niki at one of the many Leather or Kink events she has attended, let me share a little about her with you. Other than being the slave portion of the Inaugural Michigan Master/slave Couple, Niki has been involved with a number of events all across the Great Lakes region as an educator/presenter. Niki is the first female member of the Michigan Band of Brothers. She is also one of the founders of the Grand Rapids Educational Munch & West Michigan TNG. Niki has served as Educational Coordinator for both The Warehouse and for Grand Rapids Alternative Lifestyle Enrichment (GRALE) as well as having served as host for the Greater Grand Rapids Munch (GGRM). Niki earned her boots through her tireless efforts and giving nature as she has worked to provide Education for the Michigan Leather & Kinky Communities.

Then came the after dinner entertainment provided by RopeRaiden who along with his partner put on a choreographed rope suspension for the enjoyment of those in attendance.

Saturday evening closed with another play party where those in attendance could wind down from a long day of classes and enjoy some play.

Over the two days there were a number of vendors present as well. Those in attendance had the oppertunity to peruse items from vendors such as; Cindy’s Sexy Toys, Fetvest’s Plastic Wraps & More, Adam & Eve, Dom’s Leather, Rapture Leather, Fenix Massage, & Tattoos by Angel. The other option to make a purchase for the thrifty among us was the silent auction that ran Friday Night & all day Saturday.

As I mentioned earlier in this article DARK X Weekend was presented by LIFE Detroit. I personally would like to thank the LIFE Detroit Board; President SIR Shane, Secretary Domino Grey, Treasurer Cazadora, & Event Coordinator Rapture for welcoming The Great Lakes Den and assisting in our coverage of such a fantastic event.

You can find out more about LIFE Detroit at their OFFICIAL WEBPAGE or via their FETLIFE GROUP.