Aaaaand We're Back! After a necessary hiatus to reassess & realign, The Metro is back in action with some awesome news, new endeavors, & a new direction.
Our Main Site (TheMetroUnderground.com) has been fully updated & our annual build-out is now complete. Clubs, Groups, Resources, as wells as our various Calendars have all been updated. We recognize there were some issues w/ formatting for mobile platforms so these have been fixed as well. The site now offers a better interface for laptop, tablet, & cell phone alike. Social media has also been expanded to offer a more aggressive effort across the spectrum.
In our research, we were a bit surprised by just how much the scene has tangibly shrunk over the past year. The chaos of hate culture seems to have taken its toll on a number of organizations, many who's leaders simply became dissolutioned & decided to step away. Many more ceased efforts for public parties & pulled back to a vetted list for private functions. Across the entire country, larger full scale events have seen a decrease in numbers (still pulling enough for a good event, but down none the less).
However, we seem to be entering into a period of transition. Where chaos once reigned, more tempered attitudes seem to be taking hold. Where event hosts were quickly stepping away, we now see new additions for the local & regional scene. So it seems we've begun a new day as we step onto the path for what lies ahead. Just where that path will take us is entirely up to us. We can continue the rhetoric of hate & division, or we can move in a more positive direction, taking a stand to bring back the sense of community & acceptance that once brought us all together.
In this spirit, The Metro is returning to its roots as we launch new initiatives for something pure. Since its inception, our central focus has always been to create a forum for people of a like mind to come together & connect for something more. In this, we have some major announcements, both for The Metro as well as the scene in general...
Major Announcements from The Metro Underground:
From The Metro to You: We'd like to thank everyone who made 2019 such an aweseome year! We wish everyone a fantastic New Year & wish you nothing but the best for 2020! Our annual build-out will be done soon so please check back for updates. Until then, we hope the coming months find you happy, healthy, & prosperous in all you hope to be.
The Metro Launches Happy Hour Socials - Our central focus has always been to bring people of a like mind together & create a forum for people to connect. Our Happy Hours strive to do just that. All too often we converse at affairs with not much more than a sound-bite. So by design our casual socials are NOT a scene-based event. They're offered purely as a chance for people to gather & connect on a deeper level over drinks, good food, & honest conversation. So in addition to our events & parties, we now plan to host about 8 such gatherings per year. Please keep an eye on our Events Page for future gatherings.
The Spring Fantasy Expose - Metro Events have always been known for bringing a strong edge w/ active play to the public forum. Indeed, The DC Fetish Ball will continue to do just that! So in 2020 we plan to bring something new to the stage. Focused more on music, entertainment, & fashion we'll offer something a bit more mainstream while keeping 'just' enough of an edge to keep it interesting. Details are coming soon, so please keep an eye out.
Road Trip! Coming Memorial Day Weekend (2020): The Metro Underground takes to the road for an event of epic proportion. We're planning a trip to Ft. Lauderdale for the Fetish Factory 25th Anniversary Weekend. Possibly the biggest, baddest, & most amazing fetish event in North America - The Metro & Friends will be there in force as DC travels to Florida for an unbelievable time not to be missed! 5 days, 9 parties, for an epic all fetish hotel takeover! Tickets are already going fast, so we hope you'll join us for an incredible trip w/ memories to last a lifetime.
Social Media: we’re on it!
Photos Long Overdue: Yes! Believe me, we've heard you... Sometimes life moves in a certain direction & priorities must prevail. So we got horribly behind on posting several galleries from past events. It takes an enormous amount of time to gather, sort, & post our galleries but we've been working to pull it all together. We hope to have all past event pics done & up by this year's Fetball. So please keep an eye out & thank you for your patience.
News & Notes from Around the Scene:
Archived postings for each of the following can now be found on Blogspot:
It's the end of an era as Bound comes to a close: after 23 years in the scene, Bound finally comes to a close. Celebrating incredible highs & lows for an amazing run as one of the scene's most recognized club nights, Bound finally celebrates a final farewell with its last Summer Masquerade Ball hosted at the DC Eagle. We thank Todd & his crew for over 20 years of memories to last. Life is a moving parade & change is an ever present reality for us all. With the passing of Bound, we celebrate the end of an era for the DC Scene.
After 25 years, DC 80's Night bids a final farewell: after a quarter century in the scene, Neal (The Angel) has decided it was time to reprioritize & move his efforts in a new direction. In this, 80's night has taken its final bow as DC's longest running dance night. We wish him well & hope to see him spin his signature old school sets on occasion around the area.
Elektroschock rebrands & moves to a new venue: after its host venue sold & was closed, the region's last great night for gothic-fusion came to a close & hosted its last night. It was a sad affair for many, & yet again it signaled the end of an era for many. But DJ Neska, Nicholai, & Cerberus have decided to rebrand & launch a new night at Baltimore's Metro Gallery. September 2019 shall see the launch of 'Metroschock' to keep 1st Saturdays alive & well. Please see our Club Listing for links & more.
A Heartfelt Farewell to Frazier of The Crucible: as many have already heard, our community recently lost an icon. Frazier Botsford was the driving force & founder of The Crucible, Camp Crucible, LF&P, & a long-standing leader for the DC Scene. No doubt, his legacy carries far & his tireless efforts have touched the lives of many. Speaking personally (as Richard A.D), he & I actually go back well before the days of The Crucible, a lifetime ago when our younger selves were managing restaurants & pubs. I've always considered him a long standing friend well outside our efforts w/in the scene; efforts to which we always stood in deep support of each other. It was a fond memory to host him for Xmas during the hiatus when the Crucible stood between locations. But once up & running, he was back at it, giving all of us orphans a home. Indeed, that's what he's always done, working tirelessly to give us a place where people of a like mind could gather & explore that side of us which stood true to our inner selves. I had donated my family's pool table to The Crucible because I wanted to find it just such a home. After the opening, we shot a round but something came up & we never finished the game. Perhaps in the next life, but I feel there's a lesson here. for so much of our lives are often left unfinished, so always show you care & always carry forth a message of love to those who matter most. His legacy shall carry on, but he shall be missed. Rest well old friend. Soon enough, we shall all meet again upon the seas of time.
DC Rope comes to a close: after 5 years w/ a strong presence in the scene & a focus on education for all things rope & shibari, the leadership of DC Rope have decided to step away & move on to new endeavors. December 2019 hosted their last round of classes. For the full announcement please see Fetlife Post.
The West Wing joins forces w/ Del Viking for new initiative: for a number of years, The West Wing offered an incredible venue w/ great parties on Maryland's Eastern Shore. But health issues caused its owner to soon step back from actively hosting such activities. Rather than to call it quits altogether, he joined forces with Del Viking & transferred both equipment & membership to the Viking Castle in Seaford, Delaware. We wish him well, & thank him for all his effort in the scene.
Saints & Sinners expands to Philadelphia: Lifestyle organization Saints & Sinners provides beautiful hotel accommodations on the boardwalk of Atlantic City. But they have now expanded their operation to include a new club in Philadelphia just north of Fishtown. The club offers beautiful decor & an active calendar throughout the week & month. Indeed, Philly has a highly active swinger scene & we look forward to hearing feedback on what the new club offers. See our listing under 'Clubs' for more.
Town 2.0 is currently in the works: The former owners of Town are working on a new club off North Capitol Street in DC. It's always been a fantasy to convert a church to a club, so it's incredibly cool that the new place is a former Baptist Church. If photos look familiar, it's because the new location is right down from the former location for The Crucible. See Washington Post for full artilce.
Distrikt C moves from the DC Eagle: the largest fetish dance night for DC's gay scene has decided to end its relationship with the DC Eagle & move to Karma on Adams Place NE. While we sense there's more going on behind the scenes, the new venue purportedly offers a much better system for lighting & sound taking the night to a whole new level of possibility. The new direction also sees Distrikt expanding beyond DC to include nights in Philadelphia & New York. No doubt, they are growing become a premier night for the gay culture throughout the east coast. We applaud such efforts & wish them well in their new home. See links in the Club section for more.
She Productions gives a final farewell: under the tireless efforts of Wendy Fox & Tauni, one of Baltimore's best dance nights to the lesbian, queer, & gay scene takes a final bow & fades into the distance of clubs no longer. February saw the close to a great night for She Productions.
Cum Union DC Currently on Hold: DC chapter of a national sex club for gay or bi men. Parties were held on 1st & 3rd Saturdays. However, for undisclosed reasons The Crew Club has broken ties w/ Cum Union as their host venue. So DC parties have been suspended until further notice.
Glorious Health is set for a Sex Conduct Hearing: As of our writing, Glorious Health Arcade is closed pending a mid-August hearing for a case of sexual conduct. Once home to Code, later Hummer, & a handful of other special events, the club is actually licensed as an art gallery & gym. As was posted to their webpage: upon a recent inspection, a person was witnessed in a towel & the inspector wrote them up for sexual violations as running a bath house which is beyond the scope of their license. We'll have to see what the final outcome is pending the hearing, but for now the club remains temporarily closed.
The Baltimore Eagle Closes (again): Amid continued chaos between property ownership & now 2 separate teams of venue management, the Baltimore Eagle has struggled since its initial relaunch in 2018. Unfortunately, such events have unfolded in the wake of several key establishments for the gay community closing in Baltimore. The Eagle now joins a growing list which includes celebrated locations such as Columbia Station, The Hippo, & others. There is a silver lining amid the turmoil though. Current management who has stepped away from the Eagle have plans to open a new leather club in the Canton area. Hopefully the new home will be better suited to serve the community than the previous residence which continues to be haunted by chaos from property ownership. But every story has two sides, so this is yet to be determined.
Metro Reviews You Say? Why Yes! In the beginning we would publish active & unbiased reviews from our travels throughout the scene. Basically, we wanted people to know what they were missing. We pulled away for a while, but have since reinstalled this element under News & Notes. So please check back, this is an occasional forum that is constantly evolving. I hope you check it out & expand your horizons for some new & exciting. The scene has many corners, so we'll keep bringing you some insight as the days & months progress. We look forward to crossing paths sometime soon.
The Dual Nature of Pennsic: it's a common saying: "There's really nothing like Pennsic. To understand, you just have to come." This may be true, but there are references to it. There are certain festivals such as Burning Man as well as various Fetish, Pagan, or Music Festivals which all have a similar creed. In short, Pennsic is a HUGE festival with the underlying theme of a medieval reenactment. On the surface this lies at its core, but there's a LOT more going on than meets the eye.
Overview & Background:
The name “Pennsic” is a combination of “Punic Wars” (a series of three wars fought between Rome and the Phoenician city of Carthage) & “Pennsylvania” (where the festival is held).
It all began in 1966 with a small get-together in Oakland, California. A group of students gathered for a medieval theme-party. People dressed in period garb, knights fought w/ fake swords, & afternoon revelry ended in a small parade down Telegraph Avenue. This simple beginning soon gave birth to an idea, & in the end an institution was born.
The first official "Pennsic War" was held in 1972. Hosted by the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), the next 40 years saw slow but steady growth until it finally became one of the nation's largest gatherings for a theme-based festival. Each year it draws around 15,000 in attendance & has become so significant that the festival is given its own temporary zip code while in operation.
Located in Slippery Rock, Pa, it's is held for 2 weeks at the onset August.
In addition to a mind bending array of activities, there are also a few core amenities: merchant vending, a food court, camp store, the battlefield, Cooper's lake, its own medical facility, & a vast array of various camps each with their own flavor & theme (many with lavish accents & accommodations).
A Split Personality:
On the surface, Pennsic may seem like a cross between a fantasy paradise for the kids & ultimate geek vacation for those into the local Renne-Fair. The only problem is the dual nature of things - for there are literally TWO gatherings taking place, each side by side. In short, it comes down to those on what is termed "Top-Side" vs. those in the Lowlands or Swamp.
Life Up Top - The more general aspects of Pennsic take place on what is traditionally known as the Serengeti (primarily because it's a large open field where people tend to bake in the open sun). Most people refer to this as being Top-Side because it's literally up the hill from the rest of us.
This is where most of the hard-core re-enactors tend to dwell. Each day they strap on armor, gather their weapons, & fight. Then in the evening they attend pleasant affairs for would be Lords & Ladies. For the most part, they take the medieval role-play very seriously & tend to adhere to some fairly pronounced rules on the subject. This is the face of Pennsic most people see.
There are those down in what is affectionately termed The Swamp, called this mainly because it’s the lowlands, there's a lake, & the outlaying border is marked by a stream. It also carries a large amount of trees (& thus shade), but there's no actual swamp as the name would suggest. It's also worth noting that people often use the terms Swamp & Bog interchangeably, but they’re actually two separate areas.
This is the other half of Pennsic. Whereas people up top are more focused on fighting & medieval reenactment, people in the lowlands are more about the party. Up top they rise w/ the morning sun to strap on armor for the day's main battle, where down the hill we party until the sun comes up & tend to sleep late. It's an entirely different mindset & represents a dual personality for the entire event.
But how can one really describe it? In short, if you were to hold a version of Burning Man 500 years ago in the woods of Pennsylvania (sooo much better than the dessert), then you'd have something very close to the Swamp of Pennsic. We host parties well into the morning hours, & most carry a deep slant toward fun debauchery to offer a vacation unlike any other. Other than this, it's true… you just need to come before you can really understand.
So these are two faces to the overall event. You choose your flavor & get the most out of what you're looking for in a festival experience.
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