Normally, what goes on at LRA stays at LRA, but this time it is a little different. We want to take a few moments to reflect on what a fantastic year we had at LRA Chicago in 2011 and looking forward to what 2012 will bring.
We have maintained that the true strength of LRA rests with its members, and this year truly bore that out. So before we go any further, we want to thank all of our members for your support and dedication for the many things LRA has accomplished in 2011. We truly could not have done it without you. The Board of LRA deeply thanks you all and we want you to know how much we appreciate each and every one of you.
We also want to thank the many guests and visitors who have come to our little corner of the kink world in Chicago. We hope that you enjoyed yourselves and look forward to seeing you again. SOON!
It is safe to say that 2011 has been the most successful year at LRA in some time. We attracted more the double the amount of new members that we took in during 2010. We are also pleased that we have had many returning members from our days both at our Fullerton and Cornelia locations. Individuals both experienced and new to the Chicago BDSM/Leather scene are making LRA home, and we are very happy to have everyone.
For the second time in 3 years, the Pantheon of Leather Awards nominated LRA, this time for Large Club of the Year. While our friends at Chicago Hellfire Club received the award, we were grateful that so many of our peers recognized our work in 2010 and found us worthy enough to nominate.
LRA was pleased to have some great demos and great presenters during the year. We would like to thank our presenters for the year: Riley (The Fine Art of Packing a Wallop Without A Thing); Lady MJ (Uniform Play); Master Rich and lillith (Pony Play); Lady Elsa and boi kris (Insertables and the Female Anatomy); Peter Raven and slave evangeline (Rituals, Rules and Contracts); and The Kitty (Let’s Play Doctor).
Additionally, in March and October we held our “A Taste of Kink” demos. We also want to thank our ATOK presenters: Min, Larry, Sabah, Master Michael, Riley, Master DVNT, Whipstroke, Rigger Ares, Neosteel Guy and Gavin G. Thank you all for your participation in making this one of our great events.
Our educational partnership with Galleria Domain II continued with The Roundtables finishing its 3rd year. This program continues to be a valuable resource by providing informational and mentorship opportunities. Thank you to our moderators Mistress Carol and Min (Tops/Doms), Bal and Mimi (Bottoms/Submissives) and Andrea and Ron (Switches).
We were also pleased to offer our Dungeon Training workshops, led by LRA’s head DM Sabah both in January and in November.
LRA also sponsored a 6-week “Presenters Workshop,” aimed at helping experienced and newly developing presenters hone their skills in hopes of making them better presenters. Facilitated by Sarah Sloane and Min, 12 presenters participated in a great program.
One of the true educational highlights of the year was when LRA hosted the Carter-Johnson Leather Library. We were honored to have Mama Vi Johnson with us to give tours of the Library, but also to give a special presentation in April on “Why Our History Matters.” It was truly a special treat for the members and friends of LRA to have Mama Vi, along with boi robi and Mistress Max assisting. We want to thank the R.A.C.K. group out of the University of Chicago for their assistance in bringing the Library to LRA, along with the members of Windy City Trident and Lady MJ in particular.
During the Library visit to LRA, the Board of LRA conferred upon Mama Vi its first Lifetime Membership in recognition of her hard work in informing and educating the Leather community about its history, reminding us all that in our BDSM/Leather journey, we are never alone. We even gave her a membership card immediately and most LRA members will appreciate what a feat that is in and of itself.
LRA was also deeply honored to have famed author and educator Dossie Easton give a presentation on “Processing Pain.” Dossie’s demo and her interaction with members and guests afterwards was a huge treat for all who attended.
We also hosted events and play parties for several events throughout the year: ReBoot (March), IMsL Women’s Party (IML weekend), Chi City Smack Down (October), American Brotherhood Weekend (November), Femme Boot Pride (October), International Mr. Rubber (November) and The Next Generation Chicago 10th Anniversary (November).
LRA also provided regular meeting space for C.L.A.W. (Chicago Leather Alliance of Women), C.R.A.S.S. (Chicago Riggers Artists and Shibari Sluts) along with special meetings for MAsT: Greater Chicago (Masters and slaves Together) and Chicago Leather Club. We were also pleased to continue to host monthly Recovery in the Lifestyle meetings, hosted by our own slave evangeline.
In keeping with an honored Leather tradition, the Chicago Leather Club presented the LRA with their club colors, which are on display in the social area of the club. We were humbled by this gesture of friendship of respect from CLC and are proud to display their colors in the club.
But it wasn’t just all education and learning and meetings. We had some kick ass parties (pun intended) throughout the year. Our annual IML Fetish Ball was a blast, along with a great Halloween Party and Holiday Party. All 3 events were well attended with some very hot play taking place with some of Chicago’s best players.
We continued our tradition of debauchery and mayhem with our monthly Bootblack and Cigar night, with modifications made by several of our LRA members to make it enjoyable to enjoy a cigar even during the winter months.
We also had fun with the lighter side of play with the creation of our “Service Top” and “Sensual Sadists” Saturdays. Although at times we think we showed that those terms didn’t mean what people thought they did, especially when it comes to LRA members.
Speaking of LRA members, the Board was happy to name three new Hans Blanken Founders Award recipients for service to LRA both in the past and present. The 2011 honoree’s were Dennis N., Sabah and Lady MJ.
We also had several LRA members who participated in different aspects of the Chicago community for which we are quite proud. Our own Lady MJ was elected for a second time as President of Windy City Trident (the first woman to be the president of the Leather club in Chicago) and Master Michael was re-elected as president of the Chicago Leather Club. LRA Board Member Peter Raven and slave evangeline were named Illinois Master and slave 2012, with Master Michael and slave angie (also a LRA board member) being 1st Runners Up during the contest. At the same contest, LRA member Cherries Jubalie was named Ms. Illinois Leather Pride 2012. LRA Board Members Min and Boy Shaun were both birthed into Mama’s Family. We also had LRA members who served as judges, presenters and assisted with events on both a local, regional and national level.
2011 also saw a major physical makeover to the LRA space. Spearheaded by LRA Board Member Riley and the FacOps team (Bootdog, Steve, Das, Rachel, Jeff and Luke), we were able to give LRA a facelift in reorganizing the space. We want to thank everyone on the FacOps team and especially Riley for their tireless efforts in improving the physical appearance of the club.
In July, LRA held its annual Board of Directors elections. Both Min and Riley were elected to second terms as President and Director 2, respectively, and the Board welcomed Boy Shaun as Secretary and GavinG as Director 1. They joined Board Members Larry G., slave angie and Peter Raven.
As you can see, it has been a very busy and productive 2011 and 2012 promises to be even better.
Once again we want to thank all of our members, friends, visitors and supporters for making 2011 wonderful. We couldn’t have done it without you!
Here is hope we all have a kick ass (pun intended, again) 2012!