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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Review of Last Night's Breakthrough Event

I attended Mr. San Diego Leather 2010 Anthony Rollar's Meatball Turkey Day Fundraiser for Mama's Kitchen at the Center last night, and had some thoughts that I wanted to share:

- First of all, it was 100% sold out. There were ticketless folks outside trying to gain entry to the main, huge hall at the Center. Extra chairs had to be found, and some of the late arrivals were eating off of plates in their laps. If you've ever been to an event at the Center, you'll know that it was a BIG crowd.

- It was also an extremely congenial group. Lots of FetishMen on this list were mingling happily amongst the rest of the attendees. My feeling was that there was an elevated mood of brotherhood that intrigued the folks who had not yet figured out what made the difference in the mix. In events from many years past, I use to feel despair when I would see different factions hating on each other across the room at major San Diego events, and hissing and spitting on a personal level. Those days are gone, based on what I keep seeing here in San Diego. We're all fed up with the isolation of the Internet, and the community is roaring back with a lot of energy. Everybody is on their very best behavior, because we had all hit bottom and learned from it. We're not willing to settle for less than Tribe any more.

- On a personal level, I'm seeing more and more new faces stepping up to make a difference, and succeeding. This was only Anthony's second event, and even his first event was a marvel. New, effective and charismatic community leaders such as California Leather Sir Miles B. and Kurt Wendlborg are finding constituencies of followers who believe in their dreams and want to be the wind beneath their wings. That's what our community needs, and I know of many more people who are starting to build up their support-network and their plans. You'll be hearing about them in the near future, and I'll also be profiling the long-term leaders who have kept the torch burning for our community when things weren't so rosy or supportive.

- From an entertainment viewpoint: I have been burned by some horrid, amateurish drag shows in my distant past, and as a result, I was wary before this event. I needn't have worried. The entertainers at the fundraiser (GlitzGlam, Daisy DeadpetalsDisco DollieDaisy TorresMiss Conception and Ladonna Monroe) were absolutely superb, highly entertaining, and professional-class. I made special mental notes to follow the future plans of a few special stars among them. Several went out of their way to greet me by name while wandering around and socializing in the crowd, which baffled me utterly, because my memory for faces is bad enough WITHOUT makeup to throw me off the track! It was a drag show to please even people that normally can't abide them.

- The food was plentiful (with extra left over, afterward) and superb. I was surprised to see the variety, quantity and excellent presentation. I can't recall having better food at an event like this one. International Leather Sir 2003 Mike Russell did a magnificent job on the turkey. Which brings me to…

- The volunteers were ON THE JOB. An event of this magnitude doesn't happen at random, and it doesn't happen solely because somebody is out there being the quarterback. Volunteers are crucial to handle the preparation, timing, coordination, heavy lifting, dealing with random surprises, final completion and cleanup. I saw an incredible variety on the team, and they were all working as if their lives depended on it.  It takes love and dedication to a better world to get into this class of volunteers.  If I would change one thing about what happened last night, I would have found some way to gather the full team together for a group photo. They made a huge difference, and that's worth documenting for our history.

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