Madeline Sparkles: Southeast Bootblack 2013
This femme leatherwoman was initially inspired by a dear friend and honeybadger, Mercat, and got hooked on bootblacking and the leather community more than a year ago doing lots of private bootblacking and also public bootblacking at Black Rose XXV, Dark Odyssey Winterfire 2013, and Frolicon 2013. While she has no formal bootblack mentor, her bootblack skills comes from a community of bootblacks to include bootblack titleholders from the MidAtlantic and the Southeast and particularly from friends, such as Mercat and boyAndersen. She is proud to be a pledge for the LeHigh Valley Girls of Leather. Her other interests include kinbaku, fireplay, honey beekeeping, pitbull rescue and international women's health issues. Give her a hank of rope and she'll happily tie you up, tie you down or give you wings to fly.
Calendar of Events
• July 27 - Kink d'Soleil - Bethlehem, PA (Sister Space Charities)
• Aug 10-18 - Hosting Dr. Phil, rope extraordinaire - Alexandria, VA
• Aug 24-26 - Stefanobirdofprey classes - Greenpoint, NY
• Aug 30 - Sept. 2 - MsC - Rockville, MD
• Sept 13-15 - Leather Bash - Atlanta, GA
• Sept 25 - BAR NIGHT - Richmond, VA
• Sept 28 - Rapture D~X~S - Manassas, VA
• Oct 4-6 - Bound in Boston - Boston, MA
• Oct 17-19 - Zamil classes - Greenpoint, NY
• Nov 16 - Rope skillshare at The Warehouse - Greenville, SC
• Nov 29 - Dec 1 - Brimstone - Asbury Park, NJ
• Jan 11 - Leather Night at The Warehouse - Greenville, SC
• Dec 14 - Twelve Days - Baltimore, MD
• Jan 18 - Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend - Washington, DC
• Feb 9 - Scarlet's Bake Sale (Charity for Scarlet Foundation) - Washington, DC
• Feb 14 - DO Winterfire - Washington, DC
• Feb 15 - TES bootblacking class and TES Paddles Party - NYC, NY
• March 7-9 - Southern Sole - Augusta, GA
• March 22-23 - Bound in Boston - Boston, MA (tentative)
• March 28-29 - Carolina Weekend - Greenville, SC
• April 11-13 - Leather Leadership Conference - Philadelphia, PA
April 2014 Column
I have spring fever!!! Wait! Has Spring finally come yet? It seems like this winter keeps on going despite time passing by so quickly.
So I kicked off this year with MidAtlantic Leather. I actually rearranged my schedule so I could spend some time with my SELF family. Optimus and River were heading into town for it and I wanted to make sure the SELF family were all at the event together. Or at least as many as we could get together in one place since our sash sister wasn’t going to make it. I can’t get enough of our title family. It’s always good to see those three.
MidAtlantic Leather is such an amazing event! Wall to wall with nearly every square foot filled with hot leather men and women and however else people identify, puppies, bears, otters. It was my first time going and I was so amazed by the sheer number of hot people everywhere. The view from the bootblack stand of the escalators was the best because you had a view of all the hot faces coming down to that floor and all the hot asses (from chaps and jockstraps) going up. It was awesome. I made it to the ONYX auction and wow, those leather brothers sure know how to put together an auction. All the sexy stripping of clothes kept us warm even though the weather was frigid and cold. I met some new faces, like Raimon (DC EAGLE 2014) and some other ONYX brothers I had met at MsC with Optimus last year. Congratulations to Joe Birdwell for the MidAtlantic 2014 title win! Looking forward to seeing all the folks going to IML to compete. Good luck to all those brave souls!
In a few weeks, I saw some of the same faces again at Scarlet’s Bake Sale. It’s amazing how many people come to that. It’s a charity fundraiser where all the proceeds from the Bake Sale go to a designated charity. This year’s charity was SMYAL. What is even more amazing is to see how much money those baked goods go for. Some cakes and pies were being sold for $100-$200. It is unreal. I went last year and loved the event so much that I begged the coordinators if I could help out this year, so I got to be part of the judging and helped present the items for auction. I already can’t wait for next year and may try my hand at putting a submission for it. I might have to practice my skills at baking.
In early March, I returned to Southern Sole. Organized by girlDale, Elegant and Sonya, last year’s Southern Sole was its inaugural run and it was so amazing that I wanted to go back. This year, they brought in new instructors and put together a new set up and added an additional day of classes. It was amazing. Nick Elliott (IMLBB 2012) was there to teach as was Chris, Michael, Tidbit and others. The classes are chock full of information whether you’re a seasoned bootblack or a novice. All day is filled with classes, from cleaners, conditioners, high shines and oil tans, sexy bootblacking, and lacing. The nights were full of laughter and fun and camaraderie and even some healthy competition. It was a great weekend to meet all the new bootblacks from across the country. I sincerely hope that one of them would step forward and run for SouthEast Bootblack 2014 and I can hand off the baton.
If you’re a bootblack in the Southeast, please consider stepping up to compete for the title. You step into an amazing family and leather history. I couldn’t recommend it more. Feel free to email me if you have questions about the title or about Southeast LeatherFest or about running, I’d be happy to answer any questions.
Well, SouthEast, I hope we get more sunshine and more opportunities to bask in it. And I hope to meet more of you in the weeks to come. It’s about 70 days to SELF. Are you ready? I’m so looking forward to the messy Twister and taking classes. But most of all, I’m really excited to see all of you again. I’ve come a long ways and I’ve done it with you all as family. I’m truly grateful.
With much love and respect,
SouthEast Bootblack 2013
January 2014 Column
Happy New Year to my SouthEast Family!
First off, I'd like to pay my respects to Nefarious (Mr. Southeast Leatherfest 2009). He was a bootblack brother to me. I met him at Southern Sole last year and he was instrumental in some of my wardrobe changes for my SELF competition. Always generous in making someone laugh, he was probably one of the silliest men I have ever known and his memory will continue to shine on. Rest in peace, brother. i hope your antics make the angels laugh and help to brighten our skies.
I hope that all of you are warm and safe and surrounded by love this upcoming year. I love new years. They always bring the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. And regardless of whether the past year was full of happy memories or painful ones that you'd rather forget, new years always bring hope of new adventures and new friends... and sometimes a much-needed clean slate.
This year, 2013, was a wonderful year for me, or at least since SELF 2013, it really has ended better than I ever imagined. I seemed to have grown a family and an extended family and it's been really amazing and humbling.
In November, I had the opportunity to go down to the Warehouse in Greenville, SC, and share some rope with a really amazing community. I walked in expecting the 5-10 people who RSVP'd and walked into a packed place. I think my exact words were, "holy shit, there's a lot of people in here." And everyone was nice enough to let me babble on about hip harnesses and share my love of rope. If you haven't been to the Warehouse, you definitely should make it there one of these nights on a rope night or a leather night. The energy is amazing and I feel happiest when communities are blended. In DC, perhaps because it's so big, you have cliques of people, gay parties, and queer parties, and all-femme parties, and rope parties... In Greenville, as in Richmond, they all blend together harmoniously and seem to welcome each other with open arms. I feel happiest in those environments. And at some point in the wee hours of the... ahem, morning, you hear the deafening sounds of air mattresses as people make preparations to camp out overnight. I love sleepovers. I left there with a heavy heart and some really bad jokes (you know who you are). I miss you, Greenville. Thanks to LadyVictoria, her handsome hubby, Sir_Devious, and Rhapsody for a very warm welcome.
At the end of November, I was invited to bootblack for Brimstone by the amazing bootblack, Brandon (MidAtlantic Community Bootblack 2009) and share space with some new bootblacks, WickedJade and DragonEmrys. I also met some folks who are part of the SouthEast LeatherFest extended family. We leatherfolk sure manage to get around. It was a great opportunity for me to share the art of bootblacking with a lot of people new to it and spend some time wallowing in leather. Brimstone is a great smaller sized convention held in a relatively abandoned (due to season) Asbury Park, NJ. It has a band and karaoke nights. I walked away with Erasure lyrics in my head for weeks. And I managed to get my squeezes in from Catherine and Jack, OB and Angel. I thankfully got the chance to congratulate OB in person (finally!) for her ABW title win. Facebook is only satisfying when it's the only way you can communicate, but the hugs are always always better in person. Special thanks to Brandon for just having really good energy all weekend and being kind of a grandpappy bootblack to us newer bootblacks. And a shoutout to Mike, Gigi, Anne, Sara and Matty for making the weekend extra special.
December zoomed right by me. And I wasn't about to let it pass without attending Twelve Days. It was an event that I really wanted to go to in 2012, but circumstances and my own social anxieties prevented. And I don't know if it's the season, by my social anxieties flared up again right before the event this December as well. Thankfully, my leather family anchors me and I was able to overcome my shyness and go. What an amazing event!!!! It's a charity event and a drag show with Shawnna Alexander and even Cher!!! And there's Dykes and Daddies and Puppies and Bears (Oh my!) to be seen! Everyone is decked out for the season and it was nice to rub against so much leather! I was a little shy, but I met the very handsome Aaron Duke (American Leatherman 2013) and I did get my squeezes in from Doc (American Leatherwoman 2012), Nikki (Ms. New Jersey Leather 2014), Ms. Solitaire (Ms. Southeast Leatherfest 2006, 2007) (a very pleasant surprise!), Margaret (Southeast Bootblack 2009, 2010), Buzz (Ms. B'more Eagle 1999) and Lee. Special thanks to boyAndersen, Widj, Theatricaltoy, Jay, boyAlex, Doc and Nikki for being my social anchors. I love my family! At these kind of events, I'm quickly reminded that leather spaces are home for me and that I have an extended leather family. It's an amazingly humbling feeling.
I filled the rest of my weeks with Rapture and Riggers Delight rope events and, unfortunately, work.
So after having a quiet few months, I'm looking forward to all the adventures in store for me in 2014. Please reach out to me if you need some bootblacking skillshares. I'd love to come out to visit.
Best wishes to you all for a very healthy, happy 2014, filled with peace, love and happiness... and leather! lots of leather!
With much love and respect,
SouthEast Bootblack 2013
October 2013 Column
Community. It's a term that's widely used and probably less understood. I'm starting to learn what it's about in my travels as Southeast Bootblack 2013. I love hearing people's stories and some of the history of the community as they build the foundation of my definition of leather.
I think my first official event as a titleholder was TESFest. I didn't get to bootblack too much but through the bootblacking I did do, I met some (and got to know better) some tremendously amazing people: a kink writer who was familiar with the CT tobacco industry (yay for cigars) and some folks from the Crucible's rope family, Mara and Evan. I love bootblack space and the energy it provides. There's just something about it and I love wallowing in it. Thanks to Brandon, Mid-Atlantic Community Bootblack 2009, for the opportunity to share some bootblack space. And thanks to Finn and Doug for being so welcoming and helpful.
My second event as a titleholder was a Sister Space fundraiser in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, with 2012 MidAtlantic Woman Toni Solenne, the Jersey Amazons, and my sisters in the LeHigh Valley Girls of Leather. It was an amazing turnout in which we helped raised more than $800 for the charity. The generosity of the people is always so humbling. Big thanks to Nikki and Morgaine for being so friendly when I was a bit shy.
Life was a bit busy in August as I was hosting Dr-Phil, a French rigger who practices Japanese rope bondage. It was a pretty amazing time and I met a lot of new people from around East Coast. Hopefully, it opens some doors to exploring the communities out there. And then up to NYC for Stefano BirdofPrey classes. I learned a lot about sadistic rope and my views on it. If you ever want to try it out, please give me a shout when I'm passing through.
And then MsC during Labor Day Weekend in Rockville, MD, was probably my third official event. The leather community is always amazing and I love the stories. . I think I learned a lot about the history of MAsT groups just from a gentleman having a conversation with others in my chair. Apparently 50 Shades of Grey has increased membership in the MAsT communities, but it also closed down a few of the originating groups. I'm not sure what to make of that. I guess on the one hand I'm very glad that people are being introduced to the leather and M/s communities through a mainstream source, but on the other hand, we're watering down our roots and in some cases they are dissolving. Hopefully, this is just part of a natural evolution. I also realized that there are some amazing resources for learning in the DMV area... It's not limited to the Crucible. Frederick, MD and some of the southern VA communities are really growing quickly.
Prior to making the run for Southeast Bootblack 2013, I was really on a journey to find myself and my place in the world (or maybe just in the community). At MsC, I realized that my place is with the bootblacks and with SELF. I found out that as an introvert I feel the safest and the most truly authentic me in bootblack circles and with my title family. Special thanks to boyAndersen and boyAlex for all the shenanigans all weekend. Just as a reminder to the rest of you, don't let bootblacks get bored for too long. They stir up trouble. ;) I love my bootblack family.
Special thanks to my brothers in Onyx for taking me in and inviting me to participate in Onyx events during the weekend of MsC and even making me feel really welcome, despite the fact that my gender and orientation might not qualify me into your membership. Rod, Elias, Morgan... and especially my title brother, Raymond... I love you guys. I especially love the kind of TV you watch. ;) Where can I get that channel?
I missed the Leather Bash and I was so disappointed. After all the visitors and MsC, I was tremendously sick. I caught a 3 week cold. It was miserable, so rather than trek down to Atlanta, a city I've come to love due to the leather community, I stayed in bed. I'm sorry. Titleholder meals and schedules do not make for a healthy lifestyle. Thankfully it's just a blissful year!
However, I did recover and one of the events that I was most excited about was a Bar Night in Richmond, VA, with the Richmond Queer Kinksters. Now, I know bar nights happen everywhere all the time, but I was especially excited about this one because it's a community going through rebirth.
The bar night was amazing. I was expecting maybe 5 people and some really in depth discussions with an intimate group, but instead we had quite a showing from the Richmond Queer Kinksters and the TNG groups, as well as some other people from the community. I really had a great time getting to know the folks in RVA and I hope to go back. I was asked to do a bootblacking demonstration and got to pop someone's public bootblacking cherry and teach two girls a bit about bootblacking. It was an amazing night, full of positive energy.
But more than the bootblacking, the amazing part of the night was the richness of the community out there. In most communities, like hangs out with like. It's easy to be around like-minded people. But in Richmond, the community was so diverse and varied and yet all of them really hung out together harmoniously and seemed to really care for each other. I was so impressed. I hope to learn what it means to be part of a community from RVA.
Thanks to MidAtlantic Woman 2013, NinaLove, for making a special trek to visit me. Best wishes on your journey and the next step. Huge hugs and thanks to Gwendolyn and Taylor from Richmond Queer Kinsters and Fallout for hosting. Additional thanks to Andy for getting the word out there especially to the RVA TNG. KittenKhaous, thank for the SouthEast LeatherFest welcome. SirAdam, thank you for the introducing me to one of the best cigars ever and I hope to pick your brain on the leather communities in RVA. Thanks for the tremendous welcome, RVA. I hope to be a regular in the Richmond community and get to know you all better. I'll definitely be back.
In this past quarter, I was able to spend time with my title family members, boyRiver and Optimus. I hate to be so conceited but my title family is a Class Act. I love both of them dearly. If you haven't checked out boyRiver's ass, you're totally missing out. And Optimus... his energy is like a rainbow of flavors and he's eyes could make you melt in a heartbeat. Oh, Ms. Flossie!!! You and I need some girl time together! Considering your motto, I'm not sure what that all will entail, but I look forward to more time spent with my title family regardless.
Upcoming events? I'm looking forward to some events at the Warehouse in SC at the end of this year and the beginning of 2014. I'm also looking forward to Brimstone and hanging out with Brandon and his band of bootblacks again. Plus more time with my SELF family. TES has kindly asked me to skillshare so I'll be trekking back to NY to give them a flavor of the SouthEast. Southern Sole and Frolicon are just around the corner, so I'm looking forward to more time with the SouthEast bootblack family.
Congrats to Brit for her title win as the SouthEast Community Bootblack 2013. Good luck to OB and Tank at ABW. Sorry that I could not be with you guys but sending my love. Special thanks to TheatricalToy, my sister... who always knows the right time to text me. Love you.
SouthEast, the more I get to know you the more I love you. Thank you for keeping it authentic and full of fun. Thank you for teaching me what community is all about. I hope to continue to grow and get to know you better and I'd love to come out to visit you in 2014 so give me a shout.
With much love and respect,
SouthEast Bootblack 2013