archive: anniversary 1998
OUR *FIRST* YEAR IN REVIEW
KFE - Nov. 8th 1997 - Nov. 8th 1998
An organization is only as good as its members. It is only as strong as their will. It thrives on their energy and participation. KFE has had a great inaugural year and has been blessed with a core of dedicated, cheerful members whose enthusiasm has never diminished and whose imagination and knowledge has enabled the group to meet every challenge thrown its way. With gratitude and wonder we now look back on this exciting experience while considering the future.
We were born in a VFW Hall, of all places. Sandra had put an ad out on the 'net. Thirty-six people showed up, self consciously milling around and eyeing each other warily. There were some sleek looking urban sophisticates, a few attractive suburban couples and one or two hairy guys dressed in black.
Sandra opened the meeting a little shyly, asking for suggestions on the direction people thought the group should go. People spoke up freely but their ideas were diverse. "I jus' wanna meet and greet, baby, that's what I'm here for!" declared one guy dripping in heavy gold jewelry. "I think education should be the main focus," announced a prim young woman.
Well, we talked things over for a couple of hours and the consensus was that the group should be social and educational. Lo and behold, we all soon got announcements. The first play party was scheduled for December at the Fun Jungle in Central Jersey. It was mostly party with a little play. Lady Constance gave a caning demonstration and a couple demonstrated bondage techniques. A few people played "Spin the Paddle."
But it WAS fun. Besides the bondage and discipline, there was a dark maze you could walk through, a tree house and a slide. A lot of us forgot BDSM for awhile and played on the kids' toys!
The next party, in January, was our first at the Tokar building and was a well attended, smashing success. People from all walks of life mixed together and played long into the night. It was one of those events where time flew by and you were completely absorbed in the experience. And then, when you thought back on it, you realized that you had been changed somehow.
Many people reported feeling released and relaxed, happy to have been with others that openly shared their interest in activities that they had previously repressed. We cleaned up after the party, tired and spent, in an atmosphere of joy. We knew we were part of something special.
But the KFE members longed for a home of their own and Sandra put in great amounts of time searching for a suitable spot. Finally, she found a large space in Hillside and began working hard to get it ready for its grand opening.
Everyone pitched in and soon the place was painted and we began installing equipment. In March, it was ready. Sandra was nervous as the KFE "staff" toasted the new space before any guests arrived. We stationed two members dressed as monks in the main playroom and assigned tour guides to take new arrivals through the space.
People began arriving slowly. They'd walk in and look around tentatively, their faces full of anticipation and curiosity. By 10:30 the place began to really fill up and we realized we had an unmitigated success on our hands.
People loved the space. There was plenty of room and plenty of potential. From March to late April things got even better. Dozens of new people came to the parties and signed up as members. The group was growing fast.
More and more equipment was brought in or built on the spot. We did demos about bondage and safe play. We gave out joke awards and performed funny skits. (Well, maybe they weren't so funny. But I was in them, so I thought they were.)
Then, on May 2, it happened. We were visited, suddenly and unannounced, by the Hillside Police together with the Building Department. That wasn't so funny. 'Seems there was a little zoning problem regarding the use of the building for public assembly. But the individual policemen were very nice and some of them showed an obvious non-official interest in the group, taking a tour of the facility and even posing for pictures with Sandra!
To her credit, our fearless leader refused to give up. She carted everything off to her garage. You have never seen a garage so full of dungeon equipment. She waved and smiled to her befuddled neighbors as they watched her unload a pillory, a spinning bondage table and a spanking horse in her driveway.
Sandra solemnly promised that KFE would rise again. Many people voiced their doubts. But she was determined and she made it happen through the sheer force of her will. Moving its operations back to Tokar, KFE's parties resumed in less than one week. They were small at first, but word soon got around that we had reopened in a safe place and people began coming back. The BDSM demonstrations continued and the group remained true to its original purpose of exploring the social and educational aspects of BDSM play.
There were presentations on sensual spanking, implements, a talent show that was very well received, a lecture on safe play by an EMT professional and a discussion group on inexpensive toys. There were caning and flogging demos and a presentation by the P+P newsletter author Lolita and her sub "O" on hot wax and fire play. KFE held a very successful BDSM flea market and an S&M fashion show.
Which brings us to the present. KFE is still thriving and still planning exciting, interesting evenings for anyone interested in any aspect of the BDSM scene. We, the membership, salute Sandra and the KFE Consulting Committee and they, in turn, recognize the wonderful inventory of knowledge and commitment in the members of this fine organization.
Hopefully the coming year will continue to further our aim of bringing people together who have similar interests so that they can freely exchange experiences and ideas on the subject of safe, stimulating BDSM play. Long live KFE!