Sunday, January 28, 2007

Sadomasochism Celebrated at Sheraton Danvers Hotel

This weekend just witnessed a celebration of sadomasochism and assorted perversions at the New England Leather Alliance's "Fetish Fair Fleamarket". The host hotel was the Sheraton Ferncroft Resort in Danvers. How could the hotel management allow this event? And where are the town fathers who let this occur? Mansfield refused to let this event dirty their town. Salem News jauntily reported:

Having met resistance elsewhere, the New England Leather Alliance is bringing its "Fetish Fair Fleamarket" to the North Shore.The fair, featuring more than 100 exhibitors selling erotic merchandise, everything from "corsets and boots to dungeon furniture and restraints," is scheduled for three days - Jan. 26 through 28 - at the Sheraton Ferncroft. Organizers made a last-minute move here from Mansfield because of a dispute over a permit requirement.

A lucky geographical break - the Sheraton Ferncroft is in both Danvers and Middleton - could spare the New England Leather Alliance from similar headaches on the North Shore. Vendors will be setting up shop in the hotel's grand ballroom, which is in Middleton. And unlike Danvers, Middleton hasn't designated a section of town for adult businesses to operate. Building Commissioner Bob Camacho said yesterday he would take a closer look, but he didn't recall anything in Middleton's zoning regulations that would prevent the flea market. Danvers, on the other hand, has an adult zone bylaw restricting this type of activity to an area off Route 1 near the Peabody line....

In its 28th year, the event has previously been held at the Park Plaza and the Sheraton in Boston, as well as the Ramada in Andover - and would probably still be held there if the Andover hotel hadn't closed.... Flea market patrons have booked nearly all of the Sheraton Ferncroft's 350 rooms, and organizers have reserved all of the hotel's function rooms and meeting space. "We're going to accommodate them as we do all the groups that come into the hotel," said Edward Carey, director of sales and marketing for the Sheraton Ferncroft.

Consider the hotel taxes, the overflow of people staying at other area hotels and the business generated at local restaurants and shops, and [NELA] estimates the weekend-long event will pump at least $1 million into the local economy....

Numerous classes and demonstrations that address whips, role playing, bondage and other subjects will be offered on Saturday and Sunday.

The reporter doesn't tell you about the classes on fisting; canes and caning; flogging; BDSM and the law; etc. (See their listing.) And here's a description from NELA's webpage on an upcoming "lecture":

LAYERED PAIN: EXTREME TORTURE -- This presentation will explore and discuss various types of layered pain. This type of edge play requires using extreme safety precautions and seasoned bottoms. Often this type of play involves body fluids such as lymph and blood. It goes beyond the uni-sensation scene and explodes the possibilities....

We first encountered the New England Leather Alliance (NELA) as a participant at Boston Pride, then we ran into them as participants at the PFLAG/Transgender conference in Worcester recently. (Remember that PFLAG is the group with the largest representation on the new state "Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.") Part of the proceeds of last weekend's event were being donated to "National Coalition for Sexual Freedom" ("swingers" and perverts unite!).

Feedback opportunities:

Mr. Charlie Clist, General Manager; and Mr. Edward Carey, director of sales Sheraton Danvers, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, MA 01923

The Town of Danvers can be reached at:
Board of Selectmen (for names/contact info for individual selectmen)
Town Manager: Wayne P. Marquis, 978-777-0001 Ext. 3069

The Town of Middleton can be reached at:
Board of Selectmen, Joseph Pascucci, Chairperson, 978-774-3589