FFN5 Snap to it at this weekend's outdoor leather and fetish fair. Agitator kicks the kinky carnival into high gear with a leather and fetish dance party featuring NYC DJ Scotty Thomson to benefit People with AIDS on Saturday (July 21), 10 pm, at the Opera House, 735 Queen East. $25. The fair takes place Sunday (July 22) from noon, in the conservatory dome, Allan Gardens, at Carlton and Jarvis. www.ffnto.com. Rating: NNNNN
HOW DID FFN START? I'm an American, and my friend Dean Price, who is Canadian and the FFN co-founder, and I were planning on going to the Folsom Street Fair in San Francisco with another Canadian friend, but he was denied entry to the U.S. because he was HIV-positive. We decided that if he couldn't come to the party, the party would come to him. That first year it was cold and rainy and it was the summer of SARS, but it was a success and here we are.
HOW HAS THE CONCEPT OF FETISH CHANGED? It used to be guys in leather, basically, but it's really expanded. Now it's leather, rubber, superhero costumes and sports gear like BMX, motorcross, soccer or rugby. Basically, anything goes. Come as outrageous as you want. Bare as you dare. Or you can just come and watch.
EVER SEEN ANYONE WEARING SOMETHING THAT MADE YOU GO "WHOA"? One man was wearing rubber and had spikes embedded in his skull, and his partner, an Asian woman, was wearing a flawlessly authentic schoolgirl outfit. I wondered, "What kind of jobs do they have where they can do this? Do the spikes puncture the pillow when he sleeps?- My grandmother had a bouffant hairdo and used to sleep with her head on a brick. I wonder if he does that.
HAVE YOU MET WITH MUCH RESISTANCE? People in the U.S. think what we're doing is so outrageous and courageous. Canadians are seen as much more open about things gay marriage, for example and while they are very supportive, we actually get more Americans who attend than we do people from Toronto.
WHY DO YOU THINK THAT IS? Maybe it has something to do with not understanding that you can enjoy fetish without necessarily making it your lifestyle. Maybe you're into leather, so twice a year you dress in leather and go out for a beer. It's not all about being beaten and those sorts of things.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT AT THE FAIR? In addition to all the vendors selling everything from porn to fetish gear, this year we have the ArtTent devoted to erotic art and artists. We have a huge lineup of performers on the mainstage, headlined by Brian Kent, as well as 11 DJs, a spanking booth, bondage demonstrations and a fire show at the end of the night. It's all very interactive.