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Monday, April 29, 2013

Review of the FMLA Kickoff Event, April 27, 2013

Sweet, supportive, well-socialized gay FetishMen from every part of Southern California came together at the Antebellum Gallery near Sunset & Vine to support our brothers in the newly-formed FetishMenLosAngeles (FMLA).

The gallery was displaying "The Art of Drummer Magazine", which delighted all concerned, because Rick Castro (the gallery's owner) is one of the few remaining folks who were part of Drummer magazine's team. Many, many of the men present have fond, sticky memories of Drummer magazine.  I also strongly recommend checking out (and Jack's Facebook page) for more of our shared history.

Rick's work on display.

Rick gave a very well-received talk about his photography work, and showed examples. All attendees felt like they are part of an ongoing flow of shared history.

Men of every age (from 18 to 68), color, body-style and experience-level mingled freely between the display gallery, the back office-area and the outer patio, where cigars were enjoyed.

Hugs were exchanged in every area, and often.

They knew exactly how to behave, based upon this article, and every man arrived ready to PARTICIPATE.
Jeremy shows up twice!

Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2013 Jeremy gave his talk to welcome us all (he's the guy who will be handling the publicity and networking), and the representatives from our brother clubs in San Diego and Palm Springs gave our brief talks as well.

What makes FMLA different?

In any major city, many existing affinity-groups fulfill the needs of a few lucky members. However, this leaves a lot of great guys with social, mentoring, leadership and volunteering opportunities unfilled.

New-style groups such as FMLA, DFA and FMSD are designed to be "crowdsourced", so that anyone who has something to contribute can do so, and gain satisfaction, approval and greater community status as a good man of the Tribe.

None of these newer-style groups have, or need:

-Membership dues
-Elected officials or top-down hierarchy
- Treasurers or 501(c)3 status

Instead, we "use the Internet as our bitch".

There is an online publicity system in place to promote events that encourage friendly, in-person social events, which can be created by ANYONE. The word goes out (via email, Facebook, blog, calendar, or whatever). Folks show up, hug and renew friendships while welcoming shy newbies, and the event succeeds.

Repeat as many times as you want. It always works great. Humans are hard-wired to need social interaction, and to be a part of something larger than ourselves.

The guys that show up are not interested so much in WEARING LEATHER (or whatever gear turns them on), as they are in "Living Leather".  It's not fashion, it's our lives.

We actively encourage the sharing of wisdom at every opportunity. Useful information flows in every direction at all times, because every one of us needs help with:

- Relationships of all kinds
- Sexuality and intimacy
- Coping mechanisms that help us get through life
- Play technique and philosophy

...and much, much more.

By building a wide-ranging social structure that encourages trust between dissimilar men, we are more likely to get information that can help us all succeed and thrive. It's awfully nice to have lots of dependable, sweet friends, too.

Back to the event:

By the end of its first day, FMLA had more online followers than any other gay leathermen's affinity-group in the Los Angeles area. If FetishMenLosAngeles grows like its brother clubs, it will be truly massive in a very short time.  After all, Los Angeles is a really big, diverse city!

Based upon the enormous smiles, close and intimate conversations, glorious diversity and sheer joy present at the gallery (followed by rapturous reviews on Facebook), I'm certain that FetishMenLosAngeles will grow like a weed, just like its brother clubs.

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