If you’re a kinkster, and looking for some cool events to attend, there are some great national events to attend that most folks have heard of. On the west coast, the Folsom Street Fair gets an insanely huge turnout, and you can travel to Chicago for International Mr. Leather.
Once you narrow down the kink to a specific fetish, though, your options can become fewer. Latex/rubber is my particular interest, and while it’s enormously popular in Europe, the community for it in the US/Canada is smaller, but passionate. The biggest rubber fetish event in the US is Mr. International Rubber in Chicago. There are also quite a few smaller events near Seattle, including Rubbout in Vancouver, BC.
Another another smaller event is RubbDown, hosted by the Rubber Men of San Francisco () over the weekend of February 5-8. RubbDown included a number of events from Thursday through Sunday, along with package deals for attending multiple events. While they offered hotel deals at some convenient hotels in the South of Market area, I recommend shopping around. All the events were fun.
Meet and Greet at Mr. S Leather
Mr. S Leather is one of the best leather stores I’ve been to. They have a great selection of leather, rubber, neoprene, and street wear, and an incredibly friendly staff. They hosted a meet-and-greet on the first day of the event. Everyone was friendly (free beer didn’t hurt) and getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the store was a lot of fun.
Most of the packages included free entry to the Powerhouse Bar, a SOMA leather bar. While similar to the Cuff in that the leather part has become diluted or hit-and-miss over the years, it’s still a fun destination, with hot go-go boys, great music, and a back patio where different varieties of smoke fill the area, and frisky times abound (think the Seattle Eagle patio, but turned up a couple of notches). Most of attendees visited Powerhouse both Thursday and Friday night and had a good time, despite a lack of a rubber-specific theme. Thursday, which featured an underwear contest for the Bare Chest Calendar and a pretty varied crowd, was better than the Friday “House Party,” which was a younger and distinctly less kinkster crowd.
Center for Sex & Culture VIP Area
One bonus for many of the packages was having a comfortable place to hang out and socialize during the day, especially for us out-of-towners. The highlight of the Center for Sex & Culture VIP Area was an included massage, which could be done in rubber or naked. I chose in rubber (the massage therapist was also wearing rubber) and it was well-done. The sensual element of the gear was an added bonus.
Beyond that, it was a great place to chill, eat, and drink, with a nice array of provided snacks and an open bar. You could pick up a bit of swag (including a lovely cockring from Oxballs) and attend kink seminars. We got to learn a bit about the TSA and traveling with fetish gear/toys/etc. on airplanes, which was interesting and informative.
Kink.com Armory Tour
I had actually never watched anything on Kink.com, but it was still a cool experience. It probably would be more meaningful to an avid fetish porn watcher. It was a huge, fascinating, historical building, and it interesting to see the array of settings available. The tour guide was fun and geared the tour to our needs (with a token straight person or two along with a very queer group). There were some cool photo opportunities too, though nobody took the bait and got a picture behind bars or underneath a grate.
Tenacious: Rubber on the Runway
This was definitely a highlight of the weekend, and the best-attended event. There were tons of hot models showing off various new pieces from different rubber stores, such as Mr. S Leather and Invincible Rubber. I love the fact that superhero rubber is becoming a trend, combining geek and fetish interests, so the superhero rubber outfits were a highlight of the show. The hosts were fun, there was a lovely, live performance from Honey Mahogany (of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame), and, of course, there was a great rubber-y crowd for socializing with before and after!
On Saturday night, the Center for Sex and Culture transformed the hang-out area into more of a play space, with a sling, a pool covered in lube, and a vac cube.
The vac cube was the highlight experience for me. A vac cube is a bondage device attached to a vacuum. You enter a cube, which is covered in rubber, and stick your head out. Then, a vacuum sucks out all the air, leaving you immobilized, tightly compressed, and covered in the second skin of rubber. People can turn the cube over, touch your body (outlined in rubber, with no room to the imagination), put water and ice on you, and other fun activities. It was definitely the show piece of the event.
Lots of other rubber fun was had, of course, from more traditional sexual activities, to fisting, to lube wrestling, and other fun, with a fun, dirty crowd.
Merry Rubber Men Bloody Lunch
The Make Your Own Bloody Mary event (also at the Powerhouse) was a nice cap-off of the event, with a bleary-eyed bunch of rubber men having one last social opportunity before heading back to Muggle lives. Overall, I think this is a great opportunity to hang out with a smaller group of guys and actually get to know them, and to try out some pieces of gear/equipment that you may have to wait in line for elsewhere. Plus, since you’re in San Francisco, you can find other naughtiness, as well as fun things to do.
If you’re curious about rubber and want to check it out locally, there’s an upcoming event on Friday, March 6 at the Seattle Eagle as part of the Black Friday series. It will feature demos of a vac tower (a standing version of the above cube), a sleepsack and straitjacket, and our local rubber community. Be sure and also check out Rubbout in Vancouver during Easter Weekend this April.