Max and I are going down the Bay Area in September to present at the Folsom Fringe Festival. We haven't been to this particular conference before, but they asked us to come down, so we decided to give it a try.
Folsom Fringe is a relatively new con, being put on to coincide with the annual Folsom Street Fair. I've been to FSF before, of course. It's kinda like going to Jerusalem - every leather person should go at least once. FSF has been called "the grandaddy of all leather events", and that's true, as long as you understand that ol' granpappy will be wearing a studded leather jockstrap and not much else. And oh, there will be four hundred thousand people at grandad's house on the day of the party.
Yeah, I said four hundred thousand. It's really overwhelming. The streets are mobbed with people - mainly gay men, but other leather people too - cruising, shopping the vendor's booths, flirting, snapping pictures. I've been twice, and at the time I enjoyed prancing around downtown San Francisco with my shirt off - because this is very much a done thing at FSF - but that was a number of years ago, and I haven't had a strong desire to go back.
For one thing, I actually get sort of edgy in heavy crowds. And plus, the non-kinky tourists are becoming more of a presence every year. If you're dressed up fetishy, or doing anything at all interesting, random strangers will snap pictures of you like crazy and then do who-knows-what with them. I've run across refrigerator magnets at tourist stands at the Fisherman's Wharf with photos of my friends being spanked. I'm sure there are videos and DVDs with the kink equivalent of "Girls Gone Wild" out there somewhere. No thanks – if you're going to exploit my image I want to be paid for it. Last time I was running around topless at FSF I had a Super Soaker that I aimed at anyone who pointed a camera at me without asking permission. That scared most of 'em off, but I'm told the looky-loos are so prevalent now that it's impossible to deter them. So I will not be dressing up, or stripping down, this year. At least Roman will have a booth, so if the crowd gets to be too much, I'll have a sanctuary to escape into.
Max told me I needed to send the Folsom Fringe folks a bio and a picture, since I'm co-presenting. Going through my "bio" folder, I found this. J and I wrote and submitted these as our presenters bios for the Living In Leather conference in 1996, as a humorous protest against a wave of unbelievably pompous, overblown, and self-aggrandizing bios. Some people got the humor part, some people didn't... This isn't the one I'm sending to the Fringe folks. But J's part is very sweet, isn't it?
Mistress Matisse invented SM and everything about it. In her younger days, she did 4 to7 at the California Women's Penitentiary for lewd and lascivious behavior in conjunction with an assault with a deadly weapon. With the help of Thorazine, she has been acquitted of all felony charges since then. (Just don't get your hands too near her mouth…)
Her book, How I Invented SM And Everything About It, is forthcoming from Domlier-Than-Thou Press. But in spite of her massive international fame, to the SM community, she is simply and fondly known as Mistress Matisse - The Illuminated Imperial Goddess of All, Empress of All She Surveys, I'm-King-Of-The-World!, Domina of Dominas, Queen of the Nile, Princess Most High, Hostess with the Mostess, Defender of the Faith, Belle of the Ball, Genuflect-When-You-Speak-Her-Name, Czarina of all the Russias, Sultan of Swing, Miss Congeniality, Void Where Prohibited, Some Restrictions May Apply…
j belongs heart, soul and body to Mistress Matisse. She would like to add that her Mistress has, out of modesty, failed to mention that she is also...Genie of the lamp, lily of the valley, creature of the night, eye of the storm, and the heart of the matter. She once broke the backbone of society, and tipped over the pillar of the community. She is the leader of the band, inventor of the wheel, the salt of the earth, the life of the party, the rest of the story, the ghost of Christmas past, the singer of the song, the Fuck of the Century, the hair of the dog that bit you, the Secret Square, a lighthouse to others, the jewel on the crown, and the moral of the story. She has snatched the pebble and walked the ricepaper- has the keys to j's heart and its immediate surroundings. Most recently she is noted for hanging the moon and lighting the stars.