Before the Trip
West Coast Rubber takes place in Southern California each year on Labor Day weekend. This is year 6; the first one was the same time as Hurricane Katrina’s after effects were being felt in New Orleans. The event was originally held in Palm Springs, but has been in Los Angeles the last couple years. I attended the first 2 or 3 years, but I haven’t been to it since it moved to Los Angeles, in large part because L.A. didn’t hold a lot of attraction to me as a place to go for the weekend.
This year, lots of events that I might want to or need to attend piled up on me for Labor Day weekend: West Coast Rubber in Los Angeles; the Rain Country Dance Association Member’s Retreat (where I’ve been the last couple years) on the Olympic Peninsula; the Northwest LeatherSIR, Leatherboy, and Community Bootblack contest in Seattle; and a possible final VisQueens performance for Anchorage coronation. (I don’t think the last of those came off.) I chose WCR.
I ended up flying on Virgin America, as it was the cheapest option with decent flight times (10:30 am going down on Friday, 12:00 noon coming back on Monday). The airline still gives off a lounge/night club vibe, with the white plastic and subdued purple lighting, but it’s ultimately not appreciably different from anything else running down the coast. I did note that their boarding cards are only about 60% as long as most airlines; I wonder what that actually translates into as a cost savings for printing over the course of a year. (Probably a whole lot more than you’d imagine.)
There is no host hotel for the weekend, although they recommend the Silver Lake Comfort Inn as it is fairly central to the event locations (Syren, the bars, etc.) $130 a night for a 2-star hotel, though? *choke* So I priced around and found “America’s fastest growing hotel chain”, America’s Best Value Inn, with a motel about a mile from the Comfort Inn at $70 a night. Much more doable! (Although maybe I should have poked around on Hotwire and such to see if I could find something more upscale for that price, even if not as close in.)
On light rail to the airport, I got checked for ticket compliance. This happened on my last trip (Palm Springs in July), too, but had not before that. After a minute, I realized: light rail has been open for just about a year. They always said there would be spot checks, but they probably didn’t do any for the first year, to encourage ridership to get used to the train. And they may only be checking on airport-bound trips, rather than commute direction (since I didn’t get checked on those in July when I was riding the train to work).
Going to Los Angeles, a car is a must. I found a great deal through Ace Rent A Car, located at the Sheraton near the airport: a Smart Car for about $12.50 a day, $50 total for the weekend, or about half of what it would cost for a cheapest rental from my usual choice, Alamo. Unfortunately, I had forgotten how much easier it can be to deal with the big guys than these third-tier providers. Long story short: I don’t recommend Ace — the price was great, other parts not so much. (Read more here.)
The Events: Friday
After getting to the motel, I drove to a local store to get some groceries — the room had a fridge — and then had a couple tacos at Burrito King. After a nap, I went to another Mexican place for enchiladas to round out my dinner.
Friday night was the Meet & Greet and Rubber Fashion Show, at the showroom net door to Syren/Stockroom in Silver Lake. It was a comfortable cocktails venue with a fruit-and-cookies snack buffet and a hosted bar (at least for those with the weekend pass). A couple photographers were documenting things, so once again I got pics taken with booze in my hand. Sigh.
(Decent liquor selection at the bar, but the only beer option was Bud Light. WTF? And the red wine was okay, but the white wine was described by the bartender as “nun’s piss”; indeed, that intake of breath you do just before a sip said his description wasn't that far off. Urk.)
The fashion show feature various gear from Syren, including rubber aprons (I need one of those!), dog and rabbit hoods, body harnesses, see-through latex, wrestling singlets, straight jackets, and dildos. By being a closed event, they were able to have some nudity involved, and at one point, even some on-stage dildo play.
They also announced the new Mr. West Coast Rubber. Rather than a full contest, they took applications ahead of time and the previous titleholders chose based on those applications, apparently. It’s as valid a way as any, I suppose, but it took most of the drama and interest out of there being a titleholder; turned the title part of things into an apparent afterthought. Doing the decision ahead and behind the scenes is fine, but who else was competing? Can’t you even introduce them?
The winner is Reid from Vancouver, who always sports some great rubber gear when I’m up there. He’ll do a great job, and might bring in a 4th Canadian Mr. International Rubber title.
After the show, I cam back to the motel for a fuck date with a hot Latin guy who drove up from Irvine (45 minutes away) just for a crack at my ass. (Something like that makes you feel special, that you’re intriguing enough to take a good long ride to have a good long ride.) I think I served him well. Afterward, I went out to the Eagle for the Cub Scout event, and then to Slammer.
Slammer is a decent size sex club, with a main space that is mostly stalls and an elevated group blowjob area. Several of the stalls are equipped with slings. There are also two semi-outdoor cruise areas. Slammer was pretty underattended that night, but I did finally get a hand up my ass at about 3:30 am.
The Events: Saturday
I woke up at 11:30 and went to a nearby diner (Alexander’s Brite Spot) for breakfast. Piddled around for the early afternoon, trying to set up a play session, but no luck.
Afternoon event was a “slime pit” at the Eagle, from 4:00-6:00. I got there at 4:15 and was the first rubber guy to show up. The slime pit — actually a vinyl sheet on top of rubber padding, with lube on top, used as a rubber wrestling pit — didn’t get set up until 5:00. Six of us ended up wrestling and sliding all over the place.
Somewhere at the Eagle (I think), we found a chair leg or a post or some such wrapped with kitted or crotched yarn, like a weird cozy. I’ve since found the term “yarnbombing”, which apparently covers this — basically a form of anti-graffiti or a “random act of kindness”. Why you would do this to a chair at a leather bar, and in plain brown yarn, is beyond me.
Took a nap of sorts — didn’t sleep well — and then out to dinner at Pizza Buona. Don’t know if it was the sun, the beer, or the wrestling, but I was plastered all through dinner. Didn’t bode well for the evening. I had clam linguine in red sauce; yummy, but a huge portion, so I got the rest to go, intending to maybe heat it up for lunch on Sunday in the room’s microwave. (Never got around to it, alas.)
The evening “Gear Up” dungeon party was at a playspace in North Hollywood called Threshhold. Typically a het/pan space, it gets rented out for gay sessions as well. Some “gay event in het sex space” events don’t work very well (I’m thinking especially of the Center for Sex Positive Culture in Seattle, originally known as the Wet Spot), because they are set up mostly to make kinky straight and bi women comfortable, which doesn’t tend to be what kinky gay men want — we don’t want comfort, we want edgy and dark and loud and somewhat anonymous, even with the hint of danger. Threshhold was one of the better jobs of converting such a space for gay kinky use, with bondage areas and porn in the main area and low lighting throughout the rest of the space; barring the geisha and boudoir themes of some of the room, the space was reasonably conducive. (One major omission, though: no slings. Doubly odd because one guy I chatted with on Recon goes there for gay bondage parties and says there are usually a couple slings then. I can only guess that the people responsible for setting things up for Gear Up aren’t fisters and/or didn’t have any portable slings available.)
Play at Gear Up, for me, was sparse. Some guys were getting into some bondage and maybe some mummification (not my scene), but beyond that, it seemed to be mostly prowling and dick sucking. Not that such is bad, if there’s enough of it and it’s good. (There was some, and some good, just not enough.) At about midnight, I was prepping to leave — was going to go to Slammer again — but I got convinced to stay, to get into some mutual fisting.
We decided to use the medical room, which had a table with stirrups (although ones that just extended out, not up; silly pregnant women!) and was better (and better lit, although still dim) than other options. I got into his ass without much difficulty, and then passed him on to David (with big hands, a little too big for his comfort at that point), and then to Peter (with tiny hands, who probably could have double-fisted him if we hadn’t been at it a while already). We then got me on the table, and he was able to get into me easily (which is always nice). We played for a bit, but my clean-out eventually gave out (as I thought it was going to; churn churn went the tummy).
I used J-Lube with him because he was in latex, but I was in neoprene and industrial boots, so we used Crisco with me. This was apparently his first time using Crisco for fisting.
The Events: Sunday
My search for a brunch spot for Sunday was fruitless. A web search showed a handful of nearby possibilities. The nearest was a coffee place where “breakfast” was four bagel options. I aimed for one near downtown, but could not get to it; the street I was on turned one way and took me back across the freeway, to where I would have been six blocks away before I could try to find my way back, so I gave up on that one. Another option turned out to be a restaurant supply place, and another was closed. I ended up at Starbucks. Sigh.
Sunday afternoon was a pool party at a house in the Altadena hills, a beautiful private location with a great view of the valley. It was attended about half by WCR attendees and half by other guests or people who had bought just the single ticket for that event.
My left shoulder was hurting. At first I thought it was from holding my own legs up during play the night before, but later I decided I probably strained it a little with the slime pit wrestling.
Unfortunately, after about an hour at the pool party, I made the mistake of accepting a couple hits of pot and I quickly ended up pretty toasted, to the point that I pretty much just quietly sat off to the side the rest of the afternoon. Didn’t engage with anyone, didn’t go swimming, didn’t even walk around much (and thus stayed out of the sun). My senses of time and speed were so fucked up, I didn’t trust myself to even walk around much, and If I sat down somewhere I could recline, I was sure I would fall asleep. (I’m told now that I probably should have walked around more. I’ll remember than next time.) Pretty much wrecked my afternoon as a result. Party was scheduled to run until 5:00 (I think), and I left about 4:45; just picked up my bag and left without saying goodbye to anyone.
That’s the third time I’ve been too blitzed like this to trust myself this summer. First time, I was hitting it off with a guy at the bar, we had a couple hits with his friends, and some time later I found that he wasn’t there any more and I didn’t remember why (but I can guess) or when he left. When I tried to go home, I couldn’t even get the scooter to start (probably a good thing), so I went to the sex club for a few hours (and didn’t do much there) until enough had worn off that I could ride home. Second time, I got toasted with someone else and had some fantastic sex as a result, but then had to ride back to my hotel. I wasn’t too bad, but being in a new neighborhood in a less familiar city, I couldn’t track well where I was on my route and had to stop twice to check the phone map; I was only going about 2 miles, but absolutely could not tell where I was or how far I had gone.
I’ve done this a couple times in the past at other parties, too, taking more than I probably should. This is not a feeling I like, very out of control. Intellectually and after the fact, I apparently am adequately in control, but my brain is racing so much that I feel that I’m not. Obviously, I have to learn balance much better with this and limit myself to only one or two hits unless I’m at my final destination of the evening. (If I’m where I’m going to sleep, fuck it, just keep me from falling down the stairs.)
(I’m such a lightweight. That comes with never smoking anything until in my late 30s, I guess.)
Back at the hotel, I tried to nap, but no good, so I got online for some cruising. Invited a guy over who was a bit of an SM top. Some dick sucking and marking up my ass with the tail of my rubber belt (hurts more than a leather one!), and then zoom zoom, he had his hand up my ass. Ah, very nice. I appreciate going into some good SM subspace now and then.
Last formal event of the weekend was the group dinner at Casita del Campo, a Mexican restaurant in Silver Lake. 11 or 12 of us were there in gear. It was an enjoyable time, but I was still somewhat toasted from the afternoon pot, so I was fairly quiet. At the end, we said our goodbyes.
I had originally wanted to go play some more, maybe go back to Slammer, but with the pot slowly wearing off, my shoulder hurting, and no afternoon nap, I headed back to the hotel. Invited a guy over for some dick sucking, but ended up sending him away after a bit; I just wasn’t into it, and I went to bed shortly after.
Breakfast at Starbucks again. Sigh. I really prefer to mix it up. Maybe should have hit the Mexican place I ate at on Friday night instead, in retrospect, since they serve breakfast.
Returned the car. Didn’t have nearly as long of a wait, but see this page for the aftermath on the rental return.
Talked to Cliff at the airport, since he had been house sitting while I was gone. He offered to pick me up at the airport, and suggested we later go to a friend’s Labor Day Party. After we got back to the house, we did some removing of branches off one of my cedars (in light rain), preparatory to taking it down completely the next weekend.
The party was a bit of a bust, with low attendance (due to the rain and too much partying by people over the weekend) and a lot of the people smoked (and frankly, we weren’t all that interested in the conversations), so we left after an hour or so.
Back at the house, we watched Hairspray (the movie version of the musical version of the movie version; that is, the one with John Travolta). I haven’t seen the stage musical, but a couple notable songs were missing from this and John Travolta in a fat suit doesn’t make a pretty woman (or much of a woman at all), so I came away thinking that the original Divine movie is likely the best of the three.