Friday, October 21, 2011

A Beginning and an Ending

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #428, October 21, 2011)

Two local leather/BDSM events with similar names, held the same September weekend, represented a beginning and an ending.

The beginning: the first Northern Lights (and Kinky Nights) regional BDSM education weekend was held in St. Paul. The weekend included 24 educational seminars, a vendor area, two nights of dungeon/playspace action, and a silent auction benefiting the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF).

The creation of the Northern Lights weekend was inspired by Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) XI, which was held in Minneapolis in 2007 and on which many of the Northern Lights organizers worked. The aim of the Northern Lights organization is “to bring the best of Minnesota to the world and the best of the kink world to Minnesota.”

Apparently the event’s organizers succeeded in their goal; organizers felt the event “went really, really well.” Survey feedback from attendees was good, vendors said they’d be back next year, and presenters were pleased with how the event was run. Northern Lights drew over 230 attendees from the region (Minnesota, North Dakota, and Iowa) and presenters from Chicago, Boston and Denver.

The ending: Minnesota Storm Patrol’s third Northern Xposure run apparently will be the club’s last.  The theme of this year’s run was Totally Twisted Fairy Tales, and the run also incorporated the fall meeting of the Mid-America Conference of Clubs. In addition, the Atons of Minneapolis supported the run by making its banquet the venue for their monthly Leather/Levi Dinner.

At the run’s Sunday morning brunch the announcement was made that, now that the Minnesota Storm Patrol had presented its run, the club would start the process of dissolving itself. Many questions remain, such as whether some Minnesota Storm Patrol members will seek to join other existing clubs or whether a new club will be started.

Until such time as all arrangements for the club’s dissolution are made, the Minnesota Storm Patrol will continue holding their monthly beer busts at The Town House in St. Paul. And watch for details on a possible last Minnesota Storm Patrol bar event, at which the club’s colors will be retired.