Tuesday, May 28, 2013

kinky shopping heaven

Inside the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
Oh my dear friends and readers, it was a glorious day on Friday, as Serafina and I road tripped to IML2013 for kinky shopping. Our destination was the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile (yes it's a pretentious hotel name - don't blame me, I'm just the reporter) where IML2013's vending area was waiting.

With nary a cloud in the vast blue mid-western sky, the drive up was absolutely beautiful. Of course my lovely slave/wife Serafina was a delight to converse with as I drove. I really do cherish our rides together, as we often spend our time talking without any outside distractions, and that kind of time is truly priceless.

I don't think I missed any toolbooths on the way up (that might not have been the case on the way home in rush hour traffic) and outside of the usual heavy traffic one encounters in downtown Chicago, the trip was essentially uneventful.

We found secure all day parking for just $10 (just as mushroom hunters don't give up their prize patches – I don't disclose my parking secrets) only a few blocks from the Marriott on Michigan Avenue. Serafina was dressed in a short and slutty cheerleader's style skirt with a black lace top that left little (or nothing to the imagination.) Because I knew we were going to walk a few blocks to get cheap parking, not to mention the 5 hours of walking and shopping her feet would have to endure, I didn't have my slave wear any sort of heels or fetish shoes. And, as a nod to the cold wind off of Lake Michigan, I did let her carry a sweater to wear for the walk. What a kind Master, right?

I wore my dress uniform style leather shirt (replete with epaulets) - accessorized with a classic Sam Browne style shoulder belt. I may not be gay, but I'm not so straight that I'm going to go hang with a bunch of hot hunky men dressed in fetish clothes and not actually look the part myself – hell no! The only thing missing from my outfit was a pair of Wesco boots, but once again the compromise was a nod to sensibility. Instead I wore a black Keen hiking boot that are particular comfortable for tired old feet like mine.

While our outfits might (and actually did) turn a few heads in places like Rock Falls where we stopped on the way for food, or the DeKalb Oasis where we stopped for gas, I really didn't feel “noticed” at all walking down Chicago city streets in that attire. OK, I need to retract that statement, I did notice one woman getting perturbed with her husband for perhaps noticing Serafina's breasts a little more ardently than she would have preferred. I figure that's not too bad a result at all for our little exhibitionistic walk, and if nothing else, the outfits seemed to keep the panhandlers at a bay, well at least for the walk to the hotel.

The Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile does, for the most part, live up to it's swanky and pretentious name. I'm not saying that I'd pay the $500+ dollars a night the rooms can cost on some nights of the week, but I will admit that I'd understand why a person of means might decide to spend a night (or three) there. The Marriott is a beautiful building with very striking décor inside, but let's be very honest, when attending an event like IML, it's really not the venue that you notice.

Last year at the Hyatt-Regency, it felt a little bit as though some of the staff were off-put by the unabashed attire and behavior that can accompany this event. I never once got that feeling at the Marriott at IML2013. The staff was all smiles, and they honestly seemed to be enjoying the presence of all the young, virile (not to mention very sexually charged) presence of leathermen from around the globe.

Once inside we quickly found our way to vending registration area, showed our ID's, signed our names, gave our $5 donation, and were given wristbands to flash in order to access the vending area. Again, unlike the Hyatt-Regency, the vending area was not found down in the bowels of the building, instead it had been consigned to both the 5th and 7th floors of the Marriott.

Outside of the registration area I stopped for a moment, drawing serafina towards a quiet area without much traffic, I asked her to produce the pretty new leash I'd recently purchased as a present for her. It was a horridly overpriced little treat from Scott Paul Designs, but as with many things where fetish or kink is involved, seeing my wonderful slave/wife attached to the pretty purple leash, ready to be led around the event all day on my lead . . . Well, it was priceless!

Walking into the 5th floor was a bit like entering a maze where the walls were composed of BDSM gear and fetish attire. Going in prepared and ready for the spectacle, having shopped at IML before, the whole atmosphere was still a little bit awe inspiring and overwhelming. I don't mean that it a bad way, I'm simply saying that the endless walls of goods and gear have a real effect for folks who's hearts belong to BDSM, fetish, and kink. It makes one's heart race just a little

It's easy to completely miss a single vendor in a corner, or even an entire row of vendors if a person isn't careful. To assure I didn't miss anything I was very methodical in my approach to navigating the world's greatest leather shopping area. When approaching the maze of vendors I simply turned to my right upon entering, and then took every possible aisle, going up one side and down the other, methodically taking in every vendor and their wares.

There are a few things about this show that seem different than many others, as vendors have no problems letting customers try on and try out some very personal items. When asking how a lovely metal ball stretcher actually worked, I was immediately invited to try it on for size.

When I politely declined (my question truly indicated curiosity rather than personal interest in the item) - the vendor, following proper sales protocol, refused to take my first no as a hard no, and offered again, saying that if I was shy I could try it on in a corner of their display area. Once again, my refusal was met with yet more polite insistence, which I declined for the third time.

So if attending IML's vending area, it is important to be ready to see guys whipping out their junk to try on cock rings, ball stretchers, as well as other various assorted CBT goodies and toys for bad men and boys. It's also important that you are ready to see ass-crack galore, while some events prohibit nudity of that sort, it really does seem that most anything goes. Last year we witnessed a slightly built man of Japaneses descent, completely naked, crawling across the floor of the floor of the hotel and the vending area on his knees, with a sign hung around his neck. Without a doubt, it had to be the longest walk (crawl) of shame I've ever witnessed . . .

Another thing that's different about this event is the relaxed atmosphere concerning cameras. A lot of fetish/kink/leather/BDSM events prohibit picture taking, or severely limit it in some way, but there's not an eye blinked when folks start shooting pictures (or even video) with their phones and cameras. Some vendors put on elaborate demos to entertain the crowd and attract interest for their products, and it's not uncommon to find a tightly packed group of unabashed voyeuristic men, packed around the display, shooting video with their cell phones.

When it was all said and done, we spent 5 solid hours without a break circling the vending area, we pretty well kept moving and didn't stop for long to gawk at any of the demos. Even at that pace, it still felt as though we were rushing towards the end. Booths that didn't appear to have any items of interests were quickly bypassed, and vendors I'm very familiar with online (like TheStockroom and Mr-S-Leather) got less attention than they deserved.

We did make one social call during the day as well, stopping at the dungeonbeds.com booth to chat with the one of owners about last year's purchase. Even there we were quick and efficient with our time, shaking hands making small talk and praising their product before we returned to our quest for toys.

When it was all said and done, we'd purchased items from 7 different vendors, with a complete tally exceeding $800. We'd picked up everything on the shopping list we'd arrived with, along with a few extras we didn't know we needed. The biggest single purchase was a very nice spanking bench, which will be custom built to our specifications and shipped to our home next month. The second largest purchases were a very striking masquerade mask for serafina, and a nice dragon's tongue flogger that is for serafina too, but in a different way . . .

All told, we drove 8 hours round trip, walked about 15 blocks thru Chicago, spent 6 hours total on our feet without a break, making it close to a 14 hour day. Cost wise we spent close to $1000 on food, gas, tolls, parking and (best/most of all) lots of fun fetish and BDSM gear. We saved back $100 a month for the last year to shop at this event, so we actually came in “under budget” for the day.

IML2013 Vendor's List

29 Palms - The Collectors Oasis         Rockford, IL
Acme Toy Company.com                         Evanston, IL                  www.theacmetoycompany.com
Adonis Leathercrafters                             Indian Rocks Beach, FL    www.adonisleathercrafters.com
Alt. Kilt                                                 Madison, WI                  www.altkilt.com
Andre Whips/ Ms-V                                 Repentigny, Quebec          www.andrewhips.com
Atomic Jock                                        Chatsworth, CA          www.atomicjock.com
Balls and Chains                                 Hollywood, CA          www.ballsandchains.com
Barcode Berlin                                        Houston , TX                 www.slsspecialty.com
BDG Sales, LLC                                Tamaqua, PA                 www.bdgslaes.com
Bear Ink                                                Augusta, GA
BearGearusa.com                                Indianapolis, IN                 www.beargearusa.com
BearTshirts.com                                Indianapolis, IN                 www.beartshirts.com
Boot Werks                                        Hinton, WVA                 www.leatherwerks.com
Bootleg Life                                        Berwyn, IL
Bound & Gagged                               New York, NY                 www.boundandgagged.com
Boy Butter                                       New York, NY                 www.boybutter.com
BURLYSHIRTS / Shane Ruff Studios     Eliot, ME                         www.burleyshirts.com
C3 Casual Clothing                               Indianapolis, IN                 www.c3casualclothing.com
Cheaplubes.com                               Portage, IN                 www.cheaplubes.com
Chicago Dragons Rugby Football Club   Chicago, IL                        www.chicagodragons.org
Chicago Hellfire Club                       Chicago, IL                www.helfire13.org
City of Chicago Department of Health     Chicago, IL                   www.facebook.com/ChicagoPublicHealth
CJ's Leather                                       Denver, CO              www.cjsleather.com
Dancing Painter                                       Chicago, IL              www.dancingpainter.com
Dr. Clockwork's Electrical and Medical Oddities Lebanon, NJ       www.drclockwork.com
Dungeon Beds                                       San Francisco, CA       www.dungeonbeds.com
E7 Gear                                               Yonkers, NY               www.E7Gear.com
Eagle Leathers                                       Chicago, IL
Exotic-Erotics                                       Shelbyville, KY              www.exotic-erotics.com
Fetiche Armada                               Montreal, Quebec           www.fetisharmada.com
Folsom Street East                               New York, NY              www.folsomstreeteast.org
Folsom Street Events                       San Francisco, CA      www.folsomstreetevents.org
Fort Troff                                               Atlanta, GA              www.forttroff.com
Gear Essentials                                       Minneapolis, MN      www.gearessentials.com
Got Kilt                                              White Lake, MI               www.got-kilt.com
GuySpy                                               Vancouver, B.C.               www.guyspy.com
Hands for Hire Chair Massage              Niles, IL
HardpointsGreyCat Workshop              Madison, WI                    hardpoints.greycatworkshop.com
Howard Brown Health Center              Chicago, IL                      www.howardbrown.org
ID Lube                                              Santa Ana, CA             www.idlube.com
Industrial Disease Toys LLC                  Madison, WI             www.idustrialdiseasetoys.com
InsideOutShirts.net                              Radford, VA              www.insideoutshirts.net
Jewelry by Ponce                              Happy Valley, OR      www.jewelrybyponceportland.com
Killerbob Graphics                              San Francisco, CA      www.killerbob.com
KJ Canes                                              Baltimore, MD             www.kjcanes.com
Le Chateau Exotique & LCE Ltd      Yardley, PA             www.fetishwear.com
Leather Archives & Museum               Chicago, IL              www.leatherarchives.org
Leather Bonding Co.                              N. Miami, FL             www.leatherbonding.com
Leather Masters                              Dallas, TX                     www.leathermasters.com
Leather Werks                                      Fort Lauderdale, FL     www.leatherwerks.com
Lockergear                                      Pittsburgh, PA             www.lockergear.com
Lucom USA                                      Miami Beach, FL              www.pjurman.com
M4M411.com                                     Chicago, IL                      www.m4m411.com
Man2Man Leather                             Castaic, CA                      www.man2manleather.com
Manhunt                                             Cambridge, MA                www.manhunt.net
Marvelous Mayhem                            Snellville, CA                     www.marvelousmayhem.com
Master Series                                    Huntington Beach, CA     www.themaster-series.com
Mid America Fists In Action              Cicero, IL                     www.mafiaff.org
MIR Mr. International Rubber               Chicago, IL                     www.mirubber.com
MISTER                                             New York, NY             www.misterapp.com
Mr-S-Leather                                  San Francisco, CA             www.mr-s-leather.com
Mr. Friendly                                     Kalamazoo, MI              www.mrfriendly.info
Mr. Hyde's Custom Leather                  New Orleans                   www.etsy.com/shop/mrhydesleather
Nasty Pig                                            New York, NY              www.nastypig.com
Northbound Leather                              Toronto, Ontario              www.northbound.com
NYJox                                              North Bergen, NJ     www.nyjox.com
Obscure Belts                                      Kenosha, WI             www.obscurebelts.com
Off Ramp Leathers                               Palm Springs, CA     www.offrampleathers.com
OraSure Technologie                             Bethlehem, PA               www.oraquick.com
Oxballs                                               Chatsworth, CA          www.oxballs.com
Paddle Werks                                      Hinton, WVA                www.leatherwerks.com
PASD and CARAS                             Oak Park, IL www.carasresearch.org
Passional Boutique Philadelphia, PA www.passionalboutique.com
Pjur Group USA                               Miami Beach, FL             www.pjurman.com
Priape                                            Montreal, Quebec www.priape.com
Puppy Grillz                                   West Hollywood, CA www.puppygrillz.com
Rainbow Rope/Kinky Medical Oceanside, NY www.rainbowrope.com
Raw Candles                                  Madison, WI www.rawcandles.com
Recon.com                                     Chicago, IL www.recon.com
Rough Trade                                Los Angeles, CA www.roughtradegear.com
Rubio Leather                                 New York, NY www.rubioleather.com
Semmerling & Schaefer Mask Studio  Chicago, IL www.maskartists.com
Sheets of San Francisc                San Rafael, CA www.sheetsofsanfrancisco.com
SLS Specialty                               Houston , TX                 www.slsspecialty.com
Sold Out Clothing West Hollywood, CA www.soldoutclothing.com
Square Peg Toys                           Idyllwild, CA www.squarepegtoys.com
Steamworks                              San Francisco, CA www.steamworksonline.com
Steve Leather                         New York, NY
Stockroom                               Los Angeles, CA www.stockroom.com
Stompers Boots                        San Francisco, CA www.stompersboots.com
The Kink Shop                         Shreveport, LA www.thekinkshop.com
The Leather Journal Los Angeles, CA www.theleatherjournal.com
The Leather Man, Inc                New York, NY www.theleatherman.com
The Writers Booth & Bears Chicago, IL www.marcthecomic.com
Timoteo L.L.C.                     Los Angeles, CA www.timoteo.net
TLS RubberGear / Midnight Blue  Houston , TX www.tlsrubbergear.com
Toolworks Chicago                    Willowbrook, IL www.floggers.com
Tribal Son                             Fort Lauderdale, FL                  www.tribalson.com
Tropicana Las Vegas                    La Verne, CA www.troplv.com
Twin Cities Leather Minneapolis, MN www.twincitiesleather.com
Unzicker Design                           Ojai, CA www.unzickerdesign.com
Utilikilts                                    Seattle, WA                        www.utilikilts.com

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

a tribute to merinthophiliacs . . .

I write, at least in part, because I love words and word play.  So, imagine my great joy at discovering a new word that equates with being a lover of bondage!

Merinthophilia is now officially declared the "word of the day" here at Samadhi House!

Believe it or not, there's even a Facebook page for merinthophiliacs!

I should also add that Serafina "suffers" from merinthophilia.  In a recent discussion she expressed her true love for rope bondage.  Apparently, for Serafina anyway, there is a special "energy" from rope that simply isn't recreated with leather straps and restraints.

The Joy of Kink is Open

Joy of Kink Now Open New Home Please come join me at my new home... The Joy of Kink I'm joined there by some new friends... ...