I'm here this week on business, staying at the Crowne Plaza in downtown Dallas. It's a nice enough hotel; I mean, any place that boasts a breakfast buffet that moonlights as a nightclub HAS to be quality, right? Was walking through the lobby yesterday when I notice a small group wearing various articles of leather. 'Biker family,' I thought to myself. Then, later that day, I notice many more people wearing leather vests and various...interesting accessories. Hmmm, must be a biker convention.
But when I entered the elevator this morning to find two leather clad grandpas with name tags that said "Beyond Vanilla," my curiosity overcame itself. As one of the grampses left the elevator and the doors closed behind him, I asked the remaining gentleman, "Excuse me, sir, but what is 'Beyond Vanilla.'"
The elevator went up one floor as he looked at me hesitantly. After a pregnant pause, he said under his breath:
"It's a training. An education event. [long pause] For kinky people."
And with that the doors opened and he promptly exited. And I IMMEDIATELY went for my laptop.
Ladies and gents, from their website, http://www.beyondvanilla.org/, I present:
The History of Beyond VanillaIn 1990, a group of like-minded people, the first members of NLA Dallas' Executive Committee assumed from the Disciples of de Sade an educational forum called Beyond Vanilla. This was a one day formal presentation of Leather, SM and fetish interests and issues in one hour segments held on consecutive Thursdays in May. It was planned that this be a twice yearly affair. While that plan didn't work out, what Beyond Vanilla has become is more than the sum of it's parts or it's organizers, presenters and attendees. It has a life and a purpose all it's own. That purpose is education.Through the years, 21 of them to be exact, the workshops have included topics such as "Our Kink Is OK!", Flogging, Bottom Issues and Perspectives, Fisting, SM and Domestic Violence, Switching, Fantasies, Fetish Wear, Gay and Lesbian SM - Coming Out For The Second Time, Age and Gender Play, SM and Spirituality, Fantasy To Reality, Protocol, Canings, Single tails, CBT, Polyamory, all types of relationship issues and just about anything else you'd ever want to know about Leather, SM, D/s and fetish activities. The workshops of the past bear a striking resemblance to those of today indicating that the desire for education is ongoing and the influx of people who want that education is ongoing as well.
Yes, that is correct. In my hotel, the Crowne Plaza of downtown Dallas, Beyond Vanilla 22 is in full effect! How does one get so lucky... Don't know how much of this undoubtedly fascinating event I'll be able to chronicle, but I'm going to exercise every bit of guerrilla journalism in my blood.
Well, up to the point when I have to don nipple clamps. I always draw the line at nipple clamps.