Friday, October 12, 2007

Leather Leadership Conference Podcasts: The Sound of Leather Leadership

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #323, October 12, 2007)

What does a Leather Leadership Conference sound like? Now you can find out.

Last April over 250 members of the leather/BDSM/fetish community met in Minneapolis for Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) XI. The weekend revolved around the development of community leadership skills and was devoted to discussion, dialogue, learning and networking. Major portions of it were audio-recorded for podcasting purposes.

That means you now have a chance to listen in on many of the conversations that took place that weekend.

A podcast, for those who wonder, is simply a sound recording distributed over the internet. You can listen to the recording on your computer using a web browser. Or you can download the recording and listen to it later on either your computer or your Apple iPod (hence the name “podcast”) or other MP3 player.

To hear the LLC XI podcasts visit <>, where you’ll find links to the audio files. You can listen to or download any podcast you choose. Or you can subscribe to automatically receive each new LLC podcast as it’s released. (And it’s free—at this time there is no charge for any of the LLC podcasts.)

During its eleven-year history, every Leather Leadership Conference has resulted in an unprecedented sharing of knowledge, experience and information about issues of value to the leather/BDSM/fetish community. In keeping with LLC’s goal of making this body of knowledge more easily accessible to everyone, a substantial amount of material from presentations given at past conferences is posted at the organization’s website (<>).

The organizers of LLC XI in Minneapolis (led by your humble columnist) wanted to extend and expand this tradition by using the relatively new medium of podcasting. It was our goal to create podcasts of as much of LLC XI as possible.

Who will listen to them? Perhaps you attended LLC XI last April and want to refresh either your memory or your inspiration.

Perhaps there were two really interesting sessions scheduled in the same time slot, but you could only attend one. You might now be able to hear the session you missed. (Please note that not all sessions were recorded, however, so whether or not you can hear the session you missed comes down to the luck of the draw.)

Perhaps you couldn’t attend the conference last April. Here’s your chance to hear what you missed—thereby, at least to a certain extent, not missing it.

Are you thinking of attending next year’s Leather Leadership Conference? The LLC XI podcasts will give you an idea of what you can expect next year in San Francisco (April 11-13, 2008).

Or are you just curious about what happens at a Leather Leadership Conference? Give a listen. These podcasts are for anyone who wants to explore current issues in the leather/BDSM/fetish community, or who wants to develop their own leadership skills.

Here are the podcast episodes that are expected to be available by the publication date of this column:

• Opening Keynote with Barbara Nitke: “The Art of Sharing Power” (the first part of the overall LLC XI weekend theme). Nitke talks about her experiences in the community—what she has seen happen when power was shared, and what she has seen happen when it wasn’t. She also talks about her involvement in the community as artist, photographer and activist. (She is introduced by Patrick Scully, who offers a few good observations of his own.)

• Closing Keynote with John Pendal: “. . . a work in progress” (the second part of the overall LLC XI weekend theme). Pendal, who is International Mr. Leather 2003, starts by using his sly and dry British sense of humor to deliver a motivational speech of the type usually heard at tent revivals or Amway meetings—all the while describing each motivational trick even as he uses it. Then he drops the charade and offers some sobering and thought-provoking observations on the current state of leather leaders and organizations, along with a few challenges to perhaps do things differently and better.

• Saturday breakfast speech with Laura Antoniou: “Ho’s, Pros and Schmoes.” Noted author Antoniou discusses her view that the leather/BDSM/fetish community is maturing, and it is perhaps no longer becoming to conduct ourselves as rebellious adolescents. We’re growing out of that phase and into—what? Antoniou makes a good case for the community’s need for professionalism in our organizational leadership if the community is to grow and effectively meet the needs of its members. (While the printed transcript of this speech available on Antoniou’s website makes fascinating reading, hearing her voice actually delivering the speech takes her words to a whole new dimension.)

• The LLC Promotional Podcast. Prepared prior to the conference as a promotional vehicle, this podcast features interviews with Pendal and Antoniou. Host of the podcast is Graydancer, who also hosts the Ropecast, a podcast dealing with ropes and bondage.

In the coming weeks, plans call for some of the individual LLC XI sessions to be released as podcasts. Listen to or download any or all LLC podcasts at <>. You’ll also find information about next year’s Leather Leadership Conference in San Francisco, in case the podcasts inspire you to attend—and I hope they do.

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