In the days prior to the KinkFest weekend, I am notified on FL regarding the possible presence of several Vancouverites from back home. This immediately catches my attention and, starved with homesickness, I drop by another munch and am reunited with an old face from Rain City. Though he adamantly tried to persuade me into mentioning him, let alone writing a full length article about his escapades, I politely declined. However, he did manage to snap a photograph with me together for which I will credit him for. “Look Yellow!” He exclaims, directing my attention to his iPad. “People are putting likes to the photo! In fact, one of them mentioned something about you giving a spanking when you return!” I can’t wait.
In Portland, you learn quickly of a few things regarding the scene here. The first being that most of the deviants identify as either switches or with polyamory or even both. Second, the feisty personality that is apparent in their zest and flair often prompt them to brattiness and justifiably so, for Portland has perhaps a sizable and growing body of brats and littles. There is a universal sentiment towards integrating the varying age groups in the City of Roses, both which are willing to direct their interests towards furthering a familial atmosphere in their community. An outsider, familiar to kink or otherwise, would not find themselves unwelcome here amongst the deviants. Common sense is advised, naturally, that is don’t act like a dick.
At the venue of the munch, I am pleased to renew my acquaintances from the one before, and it does not take very long for me to adjust to the courtesy with which they provide. The Portland deviants, at least the ones I’d encountered during my stay, are a friendly and jovial bunch, preferring to mingle between bouts of flirtation and lighthearted fun. To describe them akin to the local attitude, that is laidback and openminded, would not be far from the truth. Several quickly sign my guestbook – a small notebook of well wishes, good luck bidding, and even the occasional nonsensical drivel.
With what limited clean laundry I had – let alone socks – the following morning was an early one for me. Already reeling from the seemingly surreal events that unfolded last night, I was incredibly groggy from the lack of sleep, blaming insomnia and excitement for it. From the selection of semi-formal attire, I pick out my vest and buttoned long-sleeved shirt, a tie and a pair of dress pants with a matching belt; unfortunately my shoes had since become worn down from constant movement and activity, lacking maintenance tools I had to rely on the presence of bootblacks – a division of the leather community, solely dedicated to servicing and polishing boots the old fashioned way.
The convention center proved to be a short walk from the hotel I stayed at. Given that the weather was clear, I was simply brimming with positivity as I strolled along the avenue; a nearby MAX transit car, Portland’s one version of a land-based skytrain, commuted by the center location. Flanked by a trio of flags, the statue of the late Martin Luther King Jr stood tall above the pedestrians. Black clad individuals in both jeans and leather made clear I was headed in the right direction.
At the register to KinkFest, I am approached by an old friend from Vancouver, locking in a firm embrace. We talk for a while, reminiscing about good old Rain City, about its deviants whom I refer to as my beloved brothers and sisters. My absence has been accounted for, let alone the entirety of my adventures to date. Should any of them read this entry, you should know that it is a daily struggle resisting the urge to return to your company, and that I miss and love you all very much. After coercing me repeatedly to put him on the blog, my fellow Vancouverite set about to introduce me to others – unbeknownst to him that I had already met several.
Due to the lack of energy from my first sleep I would soon debunk the first myth regarding Portland. At the concession stand I requested a potent coffee to jumpstart my day and jumpstart it did…quite literally. By the time I walked to my first class, the floral patterns on the convention carpet seemed to spiral and undulate before my eyes, similar to a hallucinogenic trip; my fingers began to feel tingly and spiked with sensitivity, movement seemed weightless and my legs seemingly in constant freefall. Paranoia set in with the thought, along with a distinctively loud inner voice that said: “Holy shit, this stuff is potent! I feel awesome!”
Hello! Good morning! Hi, how’s it going? I’m Yellow. Hey, good to see you. How’s things? Really? Cool! Love your outfit. Hello darlings! Dig the heels! Such beautiful diction, it could get you in trouble. Hi, good to see you! Sleep? Never! I’m a Canadian! I’m a blogger! Why I simply adore your fashion sense! Awesome! I call myself Yellow because I like the Power Rangers. Are my eyes dilated? Dude, you have got to try the coffee here, its so fucking energizing. You drank the coffee too? That’s the same one I had! This is like some real cosmic synergy shit going on! Hahaha. Let’s dance! Woohoo! Oh my God, the classes are starting! Run! Get outta the way! Wheeee!
Imagine a can of Monster, mixed with a hint of Red Bull, Powerade, and one of those energy drinks that convenience stores sell at the counter. On top of that, a mixture of sugar and cream, enough caffeine to kill lesser men and a drop of foreign chemicals found in the back of a white van with tinted windows.
Now try to pay attention in class without fidgeting.
I pause momentarily to provide a bit of background into KinkFest. It is a large-scale convention created by none other than the Portland Leather Alliance and other sponsors, spearheading a three day long event that caters to the kinky and alternative. During the daytime, a number of presenters are present to provide informative classes and basic 101 narratives, covering a variety of topics ranging from basic rope bondage to Dominance/submission, needleplay to safeties and procedures with all things fetish-related.
Vendors from all across North America rent out booths and display a vast selection of their wares, almost all of which are handcrafted leather tools and other various sex toys, merchandise and even crafts. The quality of their work, suffice to say, are superior in design – KinkFest is regarded as one of the largest fetish conventions in the entire Pacific Northwest. While prices remain steep, the overall event is well worth the price of admission, and for a traveling kink-blogger it is the perfect grounds to interact with people from all over.
During the evening, the classes and vendors close shop, paving way into a long night of debauchery. At a staggering 33,000 square feet of space KinkFest also boasts the largest dungeon space available at any convention of its kind. The setup, which I will cover later on, is by far the most convenient and safe efficient that I have personally seen to date.
Alright fine. I admit, buzzed off the caffeine, most of the classes I attended proved to be an agonizing experience despite the straightforward presentation each of the class instructors provided. With all the attention I could muster (OH LOOK, SHINY!!), I spent the early morning and afternoon jotting down notes like I would at a regular college class…only more interesting, of course. Periodically I had to commit towards incessantly shifting on my seat as if though overcome by some non-sexual stimuli – in this case, the implicit desire to pace back and forth.
The majority of kinksters present at the convention range from newbies to the experienced, middle-class workers and students; fetish-wise, many present are clad in leather with full regalia – each of the badges decorating their vests having been earned at some point or another, not unlike military honors. Others are dressed in regular street clothes, floggers and rope coils hanging off their belts, collars worn around throats, and matching hair colors to wild vibrant hues of blue and purple and red. Each person has on their persons a color-coded armband designating their stay duration such as blue for the entirety of the weekend, yellow for a day pass. Only the staff members and volunteers have name tags hanging off their necks.
At lunch, I drop by the Burgerville joint not far from the convention center, and am thoroughly amused by the baffled looks of regular patrons and just so – half the people teeming inside the restaurant are clad in leather and latex.
The age gap between the con-goers are widespread indeed. A good portion of the younger crowd share similarities to the local Portland fashion, at times carrying on their belongings various trinkets related to the geek culture – a reoccurring trend in most kink circles that I’d come across. The mixture of the old and younger generation are well balanced. Conversation is not hard to come by despite the vastness of the crowd ambiance.
Having been acquainted to the local Portland deviants, it pleased me to encounter one or two familiar faces, and their welcoming demeanor helped dissuade any developing anxieties of being alone in unfamiliar territory. Most are quick to introduce me around and for this, I am considerately grateful for their hospitality. Furthermore I am informed and invited to attend a pre-opening ceremony meeting, a social meetup and meet-and-greet at the hotel across the street.
Before I do, however, my fellow Vancouverite and I found a perfect photo opportunity to commit to the blog, and despite onlookers staring as I pulled out the Leather Pride flag, he managed to snap this photo:
I’m still not writing a full article or crediting your name, MrOinkOink.
Next Update: The Secret to Sensuality