Today found me attending my second Bizarre Bazaar at Threshold in North Hollywood.
First, I would like to send a shout-out of thanks to Master George, slave bren, and all of the other hard-working volunteers who make BizBaz an amazing event. This year’s BizBaz was, indeed, amazing.
The event was chock full of seventeen venders, eleven “Taster Tents” offering demos of various play styles, and a delicious BBQ selling delicious noms for lunch.
All of the vendors were offering superb wares. Admittedly, my money was only spent in two places, since I was on a budget this year. I brought home some leather-scented Hog Wash shower gel and silicone lube from Leather Stock (full disclosure: I’ve been a fan of theirs for about two years now, and will be posting reviews of some of their products in the near future). Secondly, I snagged some absolutely GORGEOUS chrome-plated steel cuffs with O-rings. They also had matching collars. Their large sized collar fit me nicely, and was deliciously priced. I have plans to order it at a later date (though I may need to email the owner, as I’m not finding the chromed steel collar with O-ring on their website right now).
Browsing the other merchants, I must make mention of the following:
- Dungeon Discounters: I’ve seen these good folks at other events, and purchased a lovely aged black powder-coated steel collar at My Kinky Valentine back in February. The friend I was with purchased one as well (in a polished steel version), so the vendor cut us a discount for buying both and paying cash. Really neat stuff at excellent prices.
- Knightscross Leatherworks: I’m familiar with Wesley’s work from seeing him at various events and conventions. He produces cuffs, collars, bracers, masks, and all sorts of other superb items. He works in heavier lathers, and has a wonderful eye for color and decoration. I proudly own one of his spiked collars and a pair of spiked cuffs. The collar has well stood up to years of wear, with proper care and attention. The cuffs are newer, but I do love them dearly. Wesley’s work is not only beautiful, but sturdy, and will last for years with sufficient care and attention.
- Bunny Flogger: The folks at Bunny Flogger produce amazing items. Their namesake bunny floggers (floggers with falls made from bunny fur), as well as more traditional lather floggers in various sizes and weights, single-tail whips of different varieties, bunny fur mitts, and bunny fur mitts with CLAWS, which I admire greatly. I purchased one of their standard floggers at My Kinky Valentine in February, and of my collection, it is one of my favorites. Their floggers come in a myriad of colors and materials, and are invariably beautiful and sturdy. These are floggers that can last for years with proper care.
- Taboo Leather: I don’t own any products from Taboo Leather, but I was SORELY tempted to purchase one of their clearance floggers, which was black and purple deer hide (I have a thing for black and purple). Of particular note was their selection of floggers with Pyrex glass handles. Oh man, the handles! They came in various shapes and sizes, from more traditional shapes, to curved, to short nubby handles for holding between the fingers, which I imagine would be ideal for a dual-wielding Florentine flogging style. There was one in particular that I wanted to take home, but it was well beyond my allotted budget, alas. Still, gorgeous floggers, and I hope to add one (or maybe two) to my collection someday.
- Hilary’s Vanity: I’m saving the best for last, here. Now, normally I don’t consider myself a clothes horse, but I find that occasionally, I want to establish my style a bit. Being a plus-sized butch female, this presents particular difficulties for me. This is where Hilary’s Vanity comes in. Not only are Hilary’s designs made of win and awesome, but they come in sizes ranging from XS through 4X. Be still my heart! Clothes that fit me AND look absolutely smashing!? YES PLEASE! And having met and spent some time chatting with Hilary and her assistant, I have to say that these are two truly amazing ladies. They’re enthusiastic about what they do, but they don’t drive a hard sale. They were all too happy to let me try things on (I want the Omen Vest, and I want it badly). They talked me in to trying on one of their Murder Vests, and despite my initial hesitation toward PVC (I’m really more of a leather and comfy cotton kind of garg), I was IMPRESSED. Of course, being strapped in and fitted snugly by two amazing ladies was kind of an extra treat. ;D Last, I tried on one of their Bat Holsters. The Bat Holster is a comfy belt with two nice big, roomy cargo pockets (one of which has Hilary’s trademark bat logo embroidered in red). Seriously? I MUST HAVE ONE OF THESE. Instant pockets! Whether you’re looking for goth, fetish, or steampunk gear, check out Hilary’s Vanity. They’re just awesome, and that’s all there is to it.
Alas, this year they had decided to have the performers outside. Normally, this would have been a brilliant idea, since that way the performances don’t crowd out the vendors inside the clubhouse. However, this year we were plagued by rain and exceptionally chilly weather. I was especially disappointed that Leigh Acosta’s pole dance performance was rained out. Having seen her perform at last year’s BizBaz and this year’s My Kinky Valentine, her performance was one of the highlights that I was looking forward to today. Hopefully she’ll perform at My Kinky Valentine next February. She’s seriously amazing, and a real joy to watch.
Not deterred by the rain, the troupe from Fire Groove gave us a spectacular fire poi show after dark to close out the evening. Four performers, whose costuming was just as impressive as their dancing. They stuck around for a bit of a meet-and-greet after the show, so I grabbed their fliers and signed up for their free Fire Dancing 101 class later. Hopefully I’ll be able to attend. I don’t think it’s a hobby I’d like to pursue, but I would like to learn a bit more about what goes in to what they do in the hopes of cultivating a deeper appreciation for the art.
Last but not least, I must mention the silent auction, overseen by the wonderful Ms. Diana. There were a lot of really great items donated by the various vendors and other generous souls. Alas, I didn’t win anything this year, but that’s okay. Some of my friends DID win their coveted items, so I’m really stoked for them. I was sore tempted to put up a fight for the basket from Leather Stock, but after seeing a couple discussing the basket and really talking up Leather Stock to them, I decided to stay out of the running so that somebody else can discover Leather Stock and how awesome their stuff is. I’ve scored some really great stuff in previous silent auctions, and probably will in the future. It’s always really cool to see what gets donated.
Once again, I do want to mention the amazing crew of volunteers. Without them, BizBaz wouldn’t be possible. I put in for a two-hour shift at the beginning of the event, answering questions and playing gofer for some of the vendors. It feels good to be useful, and to help an event like this run smoothly. The real champs though are the folks who show up hours before the event, and stay for hours after, to set up and then clean up. Without those hard-working folks, events like BizBaz wouldn’t be nearly as awesome as they are. If you’re ever planning to attend an event like this and catch wind that they’re looking for volunteers, consider putting in to lend a hand, even if it’s just for an hour or two, doing something simple. Every little bit of help adds up. Plus, it’ll earn you some good karma, and that’s never a bad thing.
Thanks again to the crew at Threshold, all of the vendors, and all of the volunteers for putting on another awesome Bizarre Bazaar! Here’s looking forward to next year! 😀
Full disclosure: Feral Gargoyle is a dues-paying member of Threshold.