I just got back in from a road trip on the motorcycle which included a weekend in Atlanta followed by a few days in Tennessee. I had lots of fun w/ my pack at Southeast Leather Fest last weekend. It was me, Sir, Hunter, and Gwynn. We have fun whenever we are together – even though SELF is not one of my/our favorite cons. I first “attended” it in 2007. Shdwkitten and I went down and got just a day pass… then we realized that it only bought us access to 3 or 4 classes – not access to the market or to the dungeon party that night. Ma’am was pissed b/c these day passes cost about as much as Frolicon does for the whole 4-day weekend. We got our money refunded, hung out w/ friends in the lobby, gave Boymeat an awesome present (an original piece of art I’d made for him), did lunch w/ our friend Andrew G., and then went out to play at 1763 that night… so we had a great time attending SELF by not attending SELF. But ever since then, just how over-priced this con is in relation to how small it is has always left a bad taste in my mouth. SELF costs twice as much as Frolicon but offers only about 1/5 the size, classes, parties, dungeon time, music and shows, guests and presenters… and it costs about as much as Dragon*Con which is 5 days, 5 hotels and Stan Lee! I went to SELF again in 2012 (I won a free pass from CAPEX) and 2013 (I had a pass given to me by a pack-mate) and again had fun w/ the people I was with (those times it was the pack) but was still under-whelmed by the event itself. Many of my friends think SELF is the greatest event of the year, but I really, really don’t see it – but, if you really do like it and think it’s worth the money, please don’t let me rain on your parade
My list of problems w/ SELF continue beyond just the inflated price… and I promise I will refrain from enumerating them all here on the blog… but I will mention just maybe one or two more. One is related to the money thing above. Well, really I just think if you invite someone to be a guest at your event as a presenter or something like that, you really should provide them w/ a +1. I just think it’s tacky to invite someone to come teach a class at your thing and say, “But if you want to bring your partner, he/she has to pay full admission.” Really? And demo bottoms? Especially if their class requires special demo bottoms and you ask them to teach the class, then you should admit the demo bottoms. SELF keeps inviting Sir to teach puppy play (this was year 4, and, this year, we also had the mosh on Saturday), but they want to provide only one badge – one for Sir, none for the pack. Even if the class requires demo bottoms w/ special skills (like pup-space) and equipment (bringing our gear and extra gear for others to borrow)? No, their policy for demo bottoms is (and this is so odd) they only provide free admission for demo bottoms who bleed or have sex as part of the class. WTF? It doesn’t matter if the class requires special skills from the bottoms or not – just, bleed or fuck and you can get in free.
Anyway… I could go on, but like I said, I don’t want to go through my whole list of reasons why I’m not in love w/ SELF (and I certainly don’t hate it; it’s just not my favorite con), nor do I aim to convince anyone they shouldn’t go or enjoy it. And there are some positive points: especially that SELF is making an effort (albeit a half-assed one) to include puppy play as part of their programming. I will admit, even half-assed, they are reaching out to our community more than most events do, so we should feel some gratitude for that.
And the waits for the elevators are always short.
What else was good?
Spending time w/ my awesome Alpha pup and two of my pack-mates: Hunter and Gwynn. Sexy-fun-time in the hotel room. Edging Hunter in the sleep-sack. Seeing some of our friends and meeting new people. Moshing… twice! (Although Hunter and I were pretty damn tired at the second mosh, and I wore my PVC bodysuit at that one, so I got overheated.) Time in the swimming pool w/o getting sunburn. No con crud. River pours strong drinks! Introducing Cuddly Pet to puppy play. Talking about “vaginal mucus” to turn-off Hunter enough to get him to flee from the bed so I could pounce Loki. Our special snowflake getting stuck when he put his foot through a gap in the stairs. The cigar-smoking cop offering to let us borrow his cuffs. Nitro texting Sir more spoons after he ran out. And: “Not my circus; not my monkeys.”