Thursday, October 24, 2013

Kink U Debuts, and Twin Cities Leather Adds Latte

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #480, October 24, 2013)

The leather/BDSM/fetish community strongly believes in education. In that spirit, a day-long educational event called Kink U Minneapolis was presented on Saturday, Sept. 14 at the Minneapolis Eagle/Bolt Underground.

The day was divided into five segments. The first, a demonstration and workshop on bodily-impact play, was presented by Jazz Thomas, assisted by Kyle Truss, Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2013. That workshop was followed by a panel discussion of Master/slave and Dominant/submissive relationships. In addition to Thomas and Truss, panel members were Randy Ingram; Bud Lile; Jayson Glynn, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2011; and Slavepup Axel, International Puppy 2013, visiting from Washington, D.C. The discussion was moderated by Ryan Brown, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2013.  During this segment lunch was provided by Twin Cities Leather.

The remaining three demonstration/workshops of the day were rope and bondage, presented by Creg; electrical play, presented by Sir M; and flogging, presented by Randy Ingram and Bud Lile.

At the conclusion of the day’s demonstrations and workshops, the crowd moved to an evening barbecue hosted by Twin Cities Leather and held at the company’s new retail space (see below). Then it was back to the Minneapolis Eagle for a special Gear Night which incorporated the launch of the North Star Kennel Club, a new Twin Cities club for (human) pups and their handlers.

Kink U Minneapolis was produced locally by Ryan Brown and Jason Zahlen and regionally by Titans of the Midwest (<>), a regional organization focused on kink education. (Other Kink U seminars have been presented in Cincinnati, Des Moines and Kansas City.) Event sponsors included the Minneapolis Eagle/Bolt Bar, Twin Cities Leather, and the Atons of Minneapolis and the Knights of Leather who provided presenters.

More Kink U workshops are being planned as part of the upcoming Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2014 contest weekend. That contest takes place Saturday evening, November 16, when Ryan Brown will sash his successor. One of this year's judges will be a special guest: Andy Cross, the current International Mr. Leather. If you want to compete, email for an application.


Local fetish-gear merchant Twin Cities Leather, formerly located in the Loring Park area,  has moved to a new location at 2717 Hennepin Ave. S., just north of Uptown in Minneapolis. With the new location comes a new name: Twin Cities Leather & Latte. Yes, the leather shop will be combined with a coffeehouse and community meeting space—a place to meet, eat, caffeinate and shop for gear and accessories. As far as the owners know, there is nothing like this anywhere else.

In the spirit of Twin Cities Leather’s mission and motto of "Community First," the owners have created a space that will be welcoming to everyone in the neighborhood and beyond.  The interior features blue and gray walls with white woodwork and red accents, and light streams through the many windows. In nice weather, a front terrace and a back deck and yard provide plenty of outdoor seating. A wheelchair ramp makes the space accessible and welcoming to everyone.

Twin Cities Leather has always sought to provide the highest quality in both merchandise and service, and they are applying the same philosophy to the beverages they serve. Coffee will be supplied by locally-based Roastery 7 Artisan Coffee, and one of the offerings will be “a unique Leather & Latte coffee/espresso blend.”

Twin Cities Leather & Latte wants to be a gathering place, a supplier of community needs (apparel and other goods), a good neighbor in their urban neighborhood, and a visible and proud manifestation of the Twin Cities kink community. That community appears ready to support this kind of business, as evidenced by the fact that a fundraising campaign on raised 40% more than its goal.

Find out more at (search for “Twin Cities Leather & Latte”) or call them at (612) 756-9TCL (756-9825)—one number for either the store or the coffeehouse. By the time you read this they should be open for business, so stop by and check them out. And watch for their Grand Opening festivities.