Target Or Flag
Field Reports from Fetishcon and Exotica Detroit
It's Saturday night at the Hyatt hotel in downtown Tampa. The lobby is bustling with activity. Women in tight-fitting latex push past the French Maid with a five o'clock shadow. A petite Jamaican girl with arms tied behind her back is led past a man wearing a droopy diaper. A legless man wearing a t-shirt that says, "instant carpet, just add feet" stops to look up at a pink and green neon-haired female dinosaur. What's going on? Are you hallucinating? Have you wandered into a Fellini movie?
No. It's just Fetishcon.
Feitishcon is the premier trade show for the kinky community. Fetish models, photographers, video producers, webmasters, clothing designers, and adult toy manufacturers from around the country converge on Tampa every August for this event. On the Trade Show floor, fans meet their favorite performers, like Rubberdoll, Anastasia Pierce, Kumimonster, and Darla Crane. Exotic clothes and toys are for sale and internet radio station BNRX broadcasts live. On the stage, rope experts (known as riggers) demonstrate elaborate suspension bondage techniques.
Important elements of Fetishcon are the educational demonstrations and workshops. There are demonstrations of bondage techniques, wax play, and Gorean dance for the lifestyle enthusiasts. For those in the industry, there are sessions on legal issues, how to make it as a professional fetish model, and etiquette for photographers.
Fetishcon is one of the biggest kinky culture conventions in the United States, but hardly the only one. Exotica in Detroit is a semi-annual regional event drawing people from around the Midwest. Where Fetishcon is a trade show, Exotica is a celebration of the kinky lifestyle. It is a chance for people to come together to express their common interests without having to worry about what the neighbors think.
The crowning events of Exotica are the evening parties. The City Club in the old Leland Hotel hosted the April Exotica parties. The parties featured performances by nationally known fetish performers Emily Marilyn, Vivian Irene Pierce, and Evelyn Rose, as well as Detroit based performance troupes Nu Moon and Chaos, and Pain Tribe from New Orleans.
The next Exotica event will be November 4 through 7 in Pontiac.
There are other kinky conventions around the country, each with its own character. Domcon has events in Los Angeles and Atlanta each year. Shibiricon celebrates the art of rope bondage in each summer in Chicago. Spankfest mixes kink with rustic camping in rural Wisconsin. If you look carefully, there is probably a kinky convention of some kind close to your hometown.
"This is the real world," Reno Binder commented over a beer in the Hyatt bar the day after Fetishcon officially ended. The bar was mostly empty, but there were a few photographers and models saying their last goodbyes or meeting up for last minute shoots. "It's what happens out there, that isn't real."
By day, Bob Pomeroy earns his coin working for a massively large financial institution. By night, he is a freelance writer and publishes the fanzine, MOE. Jazz is only one of his many musical obsessions.