Friday, February 15, 2008

Baldwin, Thorn to Headline Leather Leadership Conference 12

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #332, February 15, 2008)

And check out podcasts of LLC XI

April. San Francisco. Leather. Any questions? Why would you not be there?

If you plan to be there, register soon—prices go up after Feb. 29. And whether or not you plan to attend, check out the growing library of Leather Leadership podcasts from last year’s conference (details later in this column).

Now in its twelfth year, the Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) is one of the leather/BDSM/fetish community’s premier leadership-development resources. Each year’s conference is a weekend-long program of speakers, seminars and exhibits aimed at developing the leadership, mentorship and community-building skills of the community’s members. Additionally, the conference seeks to create a greater sense of connection among community groups.

This year’s conference has a one-word theme—with a double meaning: “Arouse!” The primary aim of the conference’s San Francisco-based organizers is to arouse, excite and challenge attendees as leaders and as members of the leather/BDSM/fetish community. In addition, conference organizers hope, according to the conference website, to “bring some of the sexiness and edge of what we do into the conference.”

Both of the major conference speakers announced to date (a third speaker is still to be announced) have been known to arouse controversy on occasion. The conference’s opening keynote speech will be delivered by noted psychotherapist, author and Radical Sexuality activist Guy Baldwin. For more than 40 years Baldwin has served the community as a psychotherapist, titleholder (International Mr. Leather 1989), author (Ties That Bind, SlaveCraft, The Leather Contest Guide), lecturer and presenter of many workshops and seminars through the U.S. and Canada.

Saturday’s featured speaker will be Michael Thorn, Instigator Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief. Instigator is an outspoken and often provocative chronicle of “the next generation of global men’s fetish,” and editor Thorn is described on the magazine’s website as “a dirty fucker and relentless crusader for your right to be different. Able to burn a candle at 3 ends and still have his fist elbow-deep in yours.”

The “Arouse!” theme of this year’s conference is reflected and extended in the planned program categories (“tracks”): Evolve (organizational development/vision), Involve (event planning), Arouse (case studies/activism), Embrace (outreach/volunteer development), Ignite (high end/advanced seminars), Transform (personal enrichment/individual skills), and Influence (media/legal/professional/branding).

For more information about the conference, or to register, visit <>. The registration fee is $109 until Feb. 29, $134 until April 10, and $145 at the conference.

Host hotel for LLC 12 is the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway, conveniently located in the center of downtown San Francisco (and steps away from the historic California Cable Car turnaround). A special conference room rate is available until March 20.

Podcast Library from LLC XI Keeps Growing

Regardless of whether or not you’re attending LLC 12 in San Francisco, how about improving your leather self while you’re working out, commuting or just relaxing? It’s as easy as downloading one or more of a growing library of free podcasts from Leather Leadership Conference XI, held last year in Minneapolis. The 10 podcasts available include speeches by Barbara Nitke, John Pendal and Laura Antoniou, plus a number of workshops. For a link, visit <>.

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