SweetSalt’s Earned Leather Ceremony

Once upon a time in a far-off land there was a small, private group of like-minded Leather people that united for a weekend of fellowship, appropriately distanced of course. Does it sound like the beginning of a fairy tale? Well, not exactly, but Craptastic 2020 has handed us a year where we learned to overcome and celebrate in our brothers and sisters successes and triumphs. Seriously though, one of the most spectacular experiences that occurred the weekend of November 21st was a beautiful ceremony of acceptance, recognition and love. Those in attendance were blessed enough to bear witness to one such amazing Leatherwoman who was recognized after years of service, commitment and selfless dedication to our community: SweetSalt.

Master Malik started by reminding us that they had been together for a little over 5 years. “It’s been an interesting and fascinating journey.” And he wanted to give her earned Leather after reaching out to some of her friends first. He asked them to share their thoughts “does she deserve earned Leather?” As anyone that knows her would agree, the resounding response was: hell yes!  The first response was a beautifully crafted message of adoration from Briar read aloud by a teary-eyed rebel. Briar believes SweetSalt’s consistent actions uphold the principles of Leather: honor, integrity, trust, respect, and loyalty. Sir Mark (in a sexy pair of bike shorts and a leather vest) shared his thoughts and conversations within the Leather Heart Clan on her being a rock, always exemplifying her values in her actions, and being a leader within our Leather community. Next, Alice read a letter from Master TC where he spoke of his awe watching her transformation from a shy girl into a confident, strong woman with self-respect who is an amazing teacher, “AND ONE HELL OF A LEATHERWOMAN.” Master Malik read a letter from Hardy Haberman next that referenced many of her endearing qualities, but it really all boiled down to “she marches to the beat of her own drum.” Lastly, rebel shared Ivey’s thoughts where she described how she viewed SweetSalt as the embodiment of Leather, about being unapologetically yourself and fucking! Finally, and most deserving, Master Malik dressed SweetSalt in her earned vest. She strives to do more of  “her Leather” for her peers, community, and her Master, but this moment of recognition is an experience she will forever treasure because “It made me feel like I actually have made a positive difference which part of my purpose in life.”

SweetSalt (she/her)

NewsLeather is going bi-monthly!

The NewsLeather Team spends countless volunteer hours each month bringing you a quality publication packed full of unique, educational resources. This reboot was conceived as a way of staying connected during this unprecedented time. To ensure that we continue to provide the same quality, we will move to a bi-monthly distribution. We welcome you to write articles of interest, share ideas you would like to see, and give us feedback about what you like and dislike. The NLA-Dallas NewsLeather is a labor of love by our community for our community. We look forward to continuing to serve you in 2021!

“Friends, Romans, Cunt-rymen, Lend Me a Hand “

It occurred to me that while many sorts of play have a seemingly boundless level for more/harder, some types of play have more limits. I found that unfortunate.  Take for example fisting (that’s it, take it you filthy little pig. You like it, don’t you?).

Santa, the man with all the ho’s

Where was I? Oh right, fisting.

For almost all of us, the limits of fisting are two hands and ten fingers. This is really a shame if you think about it.  Imagine, you’re in the moment, all is going well, every zig is met with a perfect zag, all of your fingers, palms, and wrists are occupied, and THEN your person is encouraging, nay DEMANDING, more.  

What is one to do in such a moment to keep the spirit of the fisting going?  Sure, we could call a friend, but that’s hardly creative. Anyone can call in a second set of hands. As a top, I want solutions that are more innovative. Things that will keep the bottom guessing as it were. I want my person to always wonder (and worry) what’s next.  With that spirit in mind, I created a list of pervertible finger substitutes that can pinch hit when you need to take your fisting scene to the next level.  Please note that I accept no responsibility for any outcomes using these suggestions causes be they good or bad. Your mileage on these items may vary.

With no further ado, here is my list of ten fisting pervertibles to keep your fisting party going:

  1. Finger hooks.  If you’re not familiar with these, they are the hooks for robes, keys, and so for that are made in the shape of a human finger.  In my book anything that checks off the insertable, hardware, and home décor boxes is always a winner.  Note to tops, the ends of these are usually screws so be careful not to stab yourself as you put them in.
  2. Chicken fingers. Not only do they take up that space for your extra fingers, they make for a tasty mid-scene snack.  I’d avoid using sauces; the spicy sauces may make your fingers go numb and the sweet ones may cause post-scene unpleasantness.
  3. Lady finger firecrackers.  These are pretty tiny so you should be able to find space for lots of them. If you want to give your scene an added punch add fire play to your scene – it’s sure to end with a bang!
  4. Finger sandwiches.  Like chicken fingers but fancier.  Be sure to wear your fancy lady hat.
  5. Finger monkeys.  Believe it or not, I do have a, very low, level of decorum.  Nuff said.
  6. Finger brushes.  Adds a whole new meaning to the phrase “clean as you go.”
  7. Finger cymbals. Add some mirth to your scene with an impromptu game of “Name that Tune.”
  8. Wendy’s chili finger. A few years ago, someone claimed they found a finger in their bowl of Wendy’s chili.  Time to put that finger to good use.
  9. Finger hooks.  If you’re not familiar with these, they are the hooks for robes, keys, and so for that are made in the shape of a human finger.  In my book anything that checks off the insertable, hardware, and home décor boxes is always a winner.  Note to tops, the ends of these are usually screws so be careful not to stab yourself as you put them in.
  10. Chicken fingers. Not only do they take up that space for your extra fingers, they make for a tasty mid-scene snack.  I’d avoid using sauces; the spicy sauces may make your fingers go numb and the sweet ones may cause post-scene unpleasantness.
  11. Lady finger firecrackers.  These are pretty tiny so you should be able to find space for lots of them. If you want to give your scene an added punch add fire play to your scene – it’s sure to end with a bang!
  12. Finger sandwiches.  Like chicken fingers but fancier.  Be sure to wear your fancy lady hat.
  13. Finger monkeys.  Believe it or not, I do have a, very low, level of decorum.  Nuff said.
  14. Finger brushes.  Adds a whole new meaning to the phrase “clean as you go.”
  15. Finger cymbals. Add some mirth to your scene with an impromptu game of “Name that Tune.”
  16. Wendy’s chili finger. A few years ago, someone claimed they found a finger in their bowl of Wendy’s chili.  Time to put that finger to good use.

There you have it, kids. Next time you are planning that mood that will bring out your sexy, delicious, raunchy best keep these things close at hand (pardon the pun.)  You may not need extra digits to make the most of your party, but you’ll be relieved to know they are there if you need them.

You’re welcome, now go have fun!

-Todd Lawrence

VENDOR’S CORNER: Bear Essentials

I (Sir_Tender) recently had the pleasure of sharing a personal discussion with Sir Bear of Bear Essentials about his passion for cigars and service to the community. Occurring just before a weekend camping trip with other Leatherfolx, the timing allowed for his responses to “marinate” in my mind and offer context for self-reflection centered on my own values and awe of our community.  Sir Bear kicked off his online cigar business on May 14, 2020, the culmination of  intertwined passions for Leather and cigars, which, for him, exist hand-in-hand. When I asked how cigars became twisted and twined together with his Leather journey, Sir Bear began by sharing fond memories of his Leather Father, Sir Strange (RIP), who continues to be his most compelling influence still to this day. Sir Strange was the one who taught him about Leather and helped him follow his path. He continued by describing the significant influence of his mentor, Master Seykou, who shared his passion for cigars and cigar service. 

Sir Bear’s most beloved cigar scene will leave witnesses hungry to experience it for themselves: “Having a long-ash,” he says, “a willing bottom to receive it in her mouth, and hearing her thank me kindly.”  To him it’s about the energy exchange and watching the happiness and joy on her face. Although Sir Bear has no specific rituals surrounding his cigar enjoyment, he savors a well seasoned cigar with a glass of Bourbon or Scotch. Sharing his future aspirations, he hopes to develop his own signature cigar of organically grown tobacco that will represent the community, pay tribute to all those who have helped him in his Leather journey, and showcase his sense of power in giving ash. 

Until then, Sir Bear offers guidance and sources our well-loved cigars.  For those just starting their exploration of cigars, he offers this advice: start small and inexpensive until you find sticks that you enjoy. His top 3 favorites include: 1. 770 CAO Flathead (a bit of cocoa and dark chocolate notes with a little bit of coffee and a bit of white pepper) , 2. Ave Maria Divinia (some brown sugar molasses sweetness on the retro hail, then strong black pepper jumps right on top of the sweetness and covers it up with a longer finish in the pepper build up), and 3. Drew Estates Undercrown Shade (peppery shot at the beginning with cedar and dark cherry flavor leading to a citrus lemon peel, more into the cigar a creaminess and nutty flavor with the peppery or spice along with just a  hint of citrus & described as velvety and smooth).  See below for online reviews of these particular cigars.
Hit Sir Bear up for your cigar inquiries on his Facebook Bear Essentials page! He’s always happy to share stories and loves the fellowship of enjoying a good stick with friends and family. 

Sir Bear

“No one should go broke, trying to get a Great Smoke.”  — Sir Bear

COMMUNITY FLAGS: ACE/Asexual

Asexuality is an orientation included in the LGBTQIA+ community and is often under-discussed. It is described by the Asexual Visibility and Education Network (AVEN) as, “When a person does not experience sexual attraction – they are not drawn to people sexually and do not desire to act upon attraction to others in a sexual way. Unlike celibacy, which is a choice to abstain from sexual activity, asexuality is an intrinsic part of who we are, just like other sexual orientations.” Asexuality often operates on a spectrum, and there are various types of asexuality that one may or may not experience. Some of this spectrum of Asexuality to Allosexuality is reflected in the colors of the flag: Black for Asexuality, Gray for Graysexual and Demisexual, White for Sexuality/Allosexuals, and Purple for Community. The Asexual flag that we know and use most commonly became popularized after a general vote on the AVEN forums in August of 2010, designed by a user named standup just over a decade ago. It has since become recognized as the official flag of Asexuality. To learn more about asexuality, please visit asexuality.org.

BOOTBLACK CORNER: Zahir

Zahir (he/him)
Zahir (he/him)

When did you realize you were a Bootblack?

Zahir I worked the stands side by side with Brooklyn on the first day of SPLF, before the arrival of the other Bootblacks. We worked together for about 8 hours that day, and I got to put my hands on my first pair of Chippewa boots.

What does being a Bootblack mean to you?

Zahir  For me, bootblacking has always been about community; service; and above all else, love. Not just the love of working on leather, but also of our community, and our leather families. Also, I can honestly say it is one of the first ways that I ever found that someone can actually scene themselves. I have never stepped away from a stand without being highly aroused and feeling as though I just finished a rough body scene.

Please tell us about your title.

Zahir I am the current Route 66 Bootblack. Being a titleholder has been wonderful, and in some ways intimidating. The amount of talent and strength of character shown by previous titleholders – not only at the national level but also at the international and regional levels – is a lot to live up to.  All the titleholders share the feeling of a supportive family, and I have learned a mindblowing amount about myself.  

Please tell us about your Bootblack journey.

Zahir My Mommy literally handed me to my mentor Brooklyn, saying, “I have someone for you to meet; she is going to teach you how to be a Bootblack. Do everything she says.”  This journey, marked by times I’ve had to step away and come back, has not been smooth.  I cried for fear I would never be good enough until I began to ignore all of the self doubt and really believe those who were proud of my work and my accomplishments. Being counted and included among the brotherhood of Bootblacks has become its own amazing achievement that has given me heart, joy, and a singular sense of belonging.

What’s been a memorable experience you’ve had as a Bootblack?

Zahir One of my absolute favorite memories occurred after working on an elder Leatherman’s boots in KC. As we swapped stories, he reminisced about how Leather has changed through the years.  He laughed about the idea of “Old Guard Leather” and the veneration of his generation, while he just saw himself as a dirty old man. When we were done, this venerated older gentleman stepped off my stand, dancing and giggling at how shiny his boots were. Just thinking about his giggles always brings a smile to my face.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be a Bootblack?

Zahir DO IT!! Don’t wait for someone to say you can! If being a bootblack is what you want to do, then do it. Even if all you want to do is your own leathers, then do it!

Dear Miss Velvet

NLA-Dallas NewsLeather’s advice maven, Miss Velvet (she/her/Ma’am), is a cis-het woman who puts the agony in “agony aunt.” She has gathered a lifetime of experiences and insights she will gladly share with all and sundry.  Miss Velvet is always gracious and welcomes your questions and concerns.  When she dispenses advice, she promises to be gentle, but not too gentle, and offers a firm touch when it is needed.  Whatever advice you are seeking, she will make sure that you love it even when you don’t like it. 

On New Year’s Resolutions:

When the clock chimes midnight on January 1, a new year will be born, offering hope for new beginnings and the impetus to make changes.  So often our New Year’s resolutions center around our perceived shortcomings – losing weight, quitting smoking, etc. – that we begin the year already unhappy with where we are.  What if instead we looked to our passions to bring more soul food into our lives?  Let’s resolve to celebrate where we are and dive deeper into what we love.

Those of us who are Leather and those of us who embrace BDSM and kink are fortunate.  These passions offer a smorgasbord of choices and a lifetime of learning.  Whether one is looking inward to strengthen one’s self-mastery or outward to expand one’s library of skills, there is always something more to reach for and explore.

Keep these things in mind when making resolutions:

  • Specific:  Vague resolutions are vaguely met or easily forgotten; be specific in what you want to achieve.  Example: “I want to learn 5 new ways to suspend my girl by June.”
  • Measurable:  Find a way to measure your progress and be aware that you have met it.  Example: The resolution “I want to learn to set a table for a luncheon, a tea, and a formal dinner before the end of the year” could be measured with a research/feedback journal, photos of each attempt, and butler book notes.
  • Achievable:  Unrealistic goals quickly become frustrating and self-defeating.
  • Relevant: Make sure your resolutions reflect your own passions rather than those of partners, the community, fads, or society at large.
  • Time-bound: Open-ended goals are rarely effective.  Set a realistic timeline as well as intermediate goals along the way. Example:  “I want to have my first cutting scene in 6 months.  Each month prior, I will do one of the following: find an experienced top to guide me, read a book, take a class, order my supplies, and practice on myself.”

Miss Velvet encourages you to reflect on your journey thus far and consider what further explorations might enhance it as we step into a new year of possibilities.

If you have a question or would like to share your resolution, please contact Miss Velvet at DearMissVelvet@gmail.com

CLUBS/CHARITIES: L.O.T.U.S. and Vision

In a small corner in Louisiana, in the 3rd largest city in the state, you can find the group called L.O.T.U.S., a group that builds its agenda on education. In fact, L.O.T.U.S. is an acronym for Lagniappe (a french creole term for a little something extra) Of Teaching and Understanding Sadomasochism/S&M.

They often bring in local teachers not only for an opportunity to expose new teachers to the group but also in hopes that group members will step forward and share their own skills. They accept everyone from the new tots with their shiny new look to grizzled old Leatherman with as many patches on their vest as greys in their head. The group has dedicated time to volunteering in the community with the “Pride in the Park” Trans Awareness team and put some of the money they raise in fundraisers towards “Blessing Bags” of essentials and food for the homeless.  Additionally, they have involved themselves with the Advocacy program in Shreveport to help battered and abused people and are working around the clock on other ways to grow and improve the group and positively impact the community.

Family run since its inception, the group was founded just under 10 years ago in memory of their dear lost LunaEsclava. Current leaders include founding member Sir_K-Wolf, mate Trix Wolf, and long time member BuniDoom. Each being a key part of the group’s development, they have bonded together to try and create something unique for the area.
Vision, a one day intensive, is the most recent education initiative taken on by L.O.T.U.S.  Vision was born out of a need for Leather and community in the Northwestern corner of Louisiana. It was planned so that it would give the team an opportunity to both recharge the area and focus on acceptance among all people. In its first year, the Vision intensive brought out 60 people to attend. Though this would be a modest number in more populated areas, it represents a tremendous reception in its area, particularly in its inaugural year. The presenters said things such as, “They treat us like family,” and, “This has been one of the better events I’ve taught at because I could tell that the people in this group were hungry for it.” The event was the start of a fire among the people in the area and they are ecstatic for Vision 2021: A Second Look at Leather! You can find out more information and how to be a part of this event on their website: https://visionlotus.org/

NLA-DALLAS MEMBER SPOTLIGHT: Trix Wolf

Trix Wolf is a QUEER! Leather artist, musician, sadomasochist, and sarcastic asshole. Even a hopeless romantic.  When you meet them, you will find a person with a quiet intensity and strong vision.  For Trix, Leather is acceptance, learning to accept yourself and others, and in Leather, they have found an opportunity to grow their chosen family.  They see the beauty in such an opportunity, particularly for those whose bio-families turn them away.  In NLA-Dallas, they have expanded that circle; following the lead of their Mentor and some friends, Trix joined the group and has come to embrace the fact that they always have family here in Dallas who welcome them with open arms, no matter what they are doing or when they need it.

Trix’s journey to the world of Leather and kink began with a boot on their face.  At a young age, far too young to be on their own, Trix found themself homeless, during which time they met their Master.  He took them in as a house slave, prohibiting them to play or have sex until their birthday.  When the day arrived, Master chained them to his floor and took his time working them over with floggers and canes until they were weeping uncontrollably.  With a boot on their cheek, Master told them they would always be cared for in his home.  The scent of that boot still lingers in Trix’s memory, a reminder of the moment they knew this was the life for them.

Art inspires Trix Wolf, and it winds through many of their passions, both kink and vanilla.  Seeing their art walking around on others after a sadistically satisfying cell popping session inspires a sense of pride;, they hone their artistic skills with painting and photography.  “I love making anything beautiful,” they say when speaking of their photography.  Other passions include gaming (“you can always use a break for your mind”) and energy work (“it’s an opportunity to truly take part in someone’s soul”).  Hearkening back to their first Leather experience, bootblacking has become a passion that quiets their mind and offers the opportunity to become friend and confidante.

Last January, Trix organized a new Leather intensive called Vision, designed to bring all sorts of Leatherfolx together to learn from each other.  Envisioned as an egalitarian learning space,  Trix was pleased to see both better and less well-known community members rubbing elbows and learning in unison.  This excitement of educating and holding space for all community members is reflected in their wishes for NLA-Dallas.  They would like to see the group provide the membership with uncommon educational opportunities, as well as more involvement from young people.

Say hello to Trix next time you see them!

Trix Wolf
Trix Wolf (they/them)