WARNING: This site contains adult material that pertains to Leather/BDSM and sexuality.
If you are under 18, or if you are offended by frank discussions
about the sexual behaviors of consenting adults then leave immediatly!
If you are 18 or older and want to learn more about Beyond Vanilla please enter now.
Beyond Vanilla: The Early Years
Beyond Vanilla was originally started by the Disciples of de Sade, a gay male leather/sm club that hung their club colors at the Hidden Door. They were the Dallas version of the Chicago Hellfire Club. They had an annual run that was every bit as edgy as Inferno and they were also very SERIOUS about teaching bd/sm stuff to new and old members in order to keep play “safe, sane and consensual.” In addition, educational seminars were a good membership recruitment tool.
The early 90’s was a time when the AIDS pandemic was raging at its peak and the ranks of men’s leather clubs were literally dying off. This was the case for the Disciples. In 1990 in an effort to preserve the educational efforts of this dying club NLA-Dallas assumed the responsibility of continuing Beyond Vanilla. This in large part was due to the fact that some of the members of the Disciples were also members of NAL-D. Two such men were Jim Richards & Mike Spehar, who were charter members of NLA-Dallas…and Jim Richards was the first co-chair of NLA-National.
Initially BV was a series of two hour seminars that were held on successive days. BV-II/1990 & BV-III/1991 were held in the Dallas MCC Church which became the Dallas Gay Alliance Center (which is now the current site of the John Thomas Community Center…btw John Thomas was a Leatherman and an active member of Log Cabin Republicans). BV presenters, NLA-Dallas members and attendees would assemble in the large meeting room on folding chairs; a semi-circle of about eight chairs for the presenters that were facing the audience. We talked, demonstrated and interacted with the audience. It was hard work & much fun.
Once BV-IV was done we decided that the “six week marathon was too draining” and that we would take the risk of making BV-V/1993 a day long event that was held on a Saturday at the Dallas Gay Alliance Center. Our presenters were taken from the ranks of the local Texas DB/SM/Leather/Fetish community. Master Mack Partain was there, shouldering the burden of being one of the few token heterosexuals (and this is a direct quote from his very lips). We advertized by word of mouth and by posting flyers in Shades of Gray, Leather by Boots, Lobo Books, The New Fine Arts Theater, The Hidden Door, The Brick, The Rip Cord, The Trestle, The Coral, Tigger’s Tattoos, The Video Bar and announcements the NLA-national’s “old LINK” and Lone Star PEP’s newsletter. We actually had somewhere between 30 – 60 attendees ….thus making the event a SMASHING success.
BV-VI/1994 was a VERY special event because it occurred 6 months after LIL/Living in Leather - VIII which was held in Houston AND the titles of Mr & Ms NLA-I went home to Dallas (Mark Frazier being the Mr and Artemis Silverowl being the Ms.) BV committee meetings being held in the living room of Master Jim Hawkins home and the BV committee consisted of about six – eight people. Using the same mode of advertising as we did for BV-V. The day time seminars were held at The Dallas Gay and Lesbian Community Center. Attendees were offered a choice of two classes for each time period and there were onsite kinky vendors. That evening we held a leather auction and “demo-dungeon” at the Brick. People paid $1 per station…Viola Johnson gave “bites”, Mistress Mir delivered floggings, there was a sling set up in a portable scaffold, Clive administered canings, there was a waxing station…and other kinky activities. The next morning there was gathering of BV attendees at a local restaurant for a “victory brunch.”
At BV -VIII/1996 the “Wickedly Wonderful Fashion Show” was part of BV.
BV-IX/1997- was the first that pre-registration was an option and over 160 + people attended the event.
In 1998 NLA-Dallas opted to forego BV because the chapter was hosting LIL-Living in Leather.
In 1999 BV was NOT held because of location issues.
BV –XI/2001 held First Annual “Boot Black Contest”: winner Brenton Kornegay
BV –XII/2002 held Second Annual “Boot Black Contest”: winner Megan
BV –XI/2003 held Third Annual “Boot Black Contest”: winner Slavegirl Mora
BV –XV/2005 International Puppy and Trainer Conference Celebration held at BV
BV –XVI/2006 Teeter-Totter-a-Thon supports Bryan’s House & The North Texas Food Bank
BV –XVIII/2008 NLAI General Meeting held at BV
I’d like to close now by sharing one pervasive underlying memory. Although the BS/SM/Leather/Fetish community was smaller and it was harder to find; the visible, organized community was PAINFULLY aware of our vulnerability in the eyes of the law. The Spanner case was going on in England and eventually it was tried at the Haig in the International Court of Law, The Houghton case was being prosecuted in New York, the Dragon Fly club had been busted and closed down and SM erotica was being regularly seized at the Canadian border. The ever looming threat of legal persecution and prosecution was the adhesive that brought together the disparate and disjoint segments of the Kinky community. We were more willing to band together and work for our survival and protection instead of flying apart over matters of egos, turf and petty political agendas.