Friday, June 9, 2023

Archive: Summer 2023

As we now leave the trials of the pandemic behind us, it comes as no surprise that some major changes have taken place, both w/in the scene as well as the mainstream world which surrounds us. But such is the tide of our times, so we continue to push forward in its wake. Rather than returning to normal, we find a new norm & sort out what it all meant. Indeed, if the past few years haven’t given us pause for a deeper contemplation, then I find such individuals have missed a major opportunity for inner reflection & change. Regardless, now moving forward we simply pick up, regroup, & move on w/ life.

Notes for The Metro Underground 

The Metro Underground & Metro Events Celebrate 15 Years! Initial efforts for the site were launched back in Feb 2003. We soon added social media (starting with LiveJournal), & would later include such initiatives as The DC Fetish Ball, The Black & White Ball, The Metro Spring Formal, eXotica DC, Underground Parties, Scene Socials, & countless joint ventures. It’s been one hell of a ride with many ups & downs, but our core mission has never changed…  To serve as a primary gateway to the ‘entire’ spectrum of the alternative, underground, & adult scene for the Mid-Atlantic region, lift the fog for what’s going on in & around the area, & create a forum for like minds to come together, & for bridges to be built, from one culture to another & from one group to the next. I’ve learned a great deal in this journey & thank you all for your many years of support.

Underground Parties: Moving Forward in 2023 – Finally coming back from the post-pandemic, U-Party is rebuilding our data-base for future events & parties. Updating contact info, resturcturing our database, & verifying continued intrest in the post-pandemic is our key focus. We're also looking for private venues for future events. Care to co-host one of the hottest/best parties in the region? Please let us know if you or any leads might be interested. We thank you & look forward to future affairs!

Flikr, Tumblr, & Fetlife? – As social media continues its slide toward more restrictive community standards, we’re looking into new platforms to post galleries for past events. These are the memories we carry forward & consider this an ever important element for our ongoing efforts. So keep an eye out as the last of our new galleries are posted, & previous pics are moved to a more appropriate formats.

News from Around the Scene:   

No doubt, 2023 seems to be the year of milestones…

Pennsic Celebrates its 50th Anniversary!

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.

The name “Pennsic” comes from 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 (the 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.

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 or ultimate geek vacation for those in the local Renn-Fair. The only problem is the dual nature of things - for there are literally TWO gatherings taking place, each side by side.  

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 that most people see.

However – 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. 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, then you'd have something very close to the Swamp lands 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.

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.

Southern Decadence Celebrates 50 Years!

It began as a house party. A group of friends who lived in a small cottage on Barracks Street called themselves ‘The Decadents.’ They were hosting a going away party for one of the group - “A Southern Decadence Party: come as your favorite Southern Decadent!” It was such a success that the following year they held it again as an end of summer party on Labor Day Weekend. In costume, they all met in the French Quarter & had an impromptu parade back to the house for the rest of the evening’s festivities. From these simple roots, an institution was born. In time, Southern Decadence would grow to become the third largest event in New Orleans, outpaced by only Mardi Gras & Jazz Fest. Now celebrating 50 years, its early traditions have carried forward & today it sees over 300,000 in attendance. It also stands as one of the largest & most respected gay festivals in the north American continent. See National Calenders for Labor Day Weekend.

Folsom Street Festival Celebrates 40 years!

During the ‘60s & ‘70s, San Francisco’s burgeoning counter-culture soon gave birth to the ‘Miracle Mile’ along Folsom Street. At the time, it was the highest concentration of gay leather bars & sex clubs anywhere in the world. This was the Golden Age of Castro & SoMa’s Gay Mecca for city. But the ever present threat of gentrification was a constant battle & the looming tsunami of AIDS lay upon the horizon. Holding in its shadow, political reformer Harvey Milk created a model using The Castro Street Fair to successfully mobilize the gay community. From such roots, activists fighting for SoMa applied this model & soon launched the first Folsom Street Fair. While it was open to all, the area carried a strong presence for the gay leather community, so they were included.


Its purpose was to create a presence for the area as a vibrant community which couldn’t be ignored, bring together the community for political action, support local businesses, & create a fundraiser for elements important to the cause. From the beginning, it was an incredible success & doubled over the next few years. During the AIDS epidemic, it soon evolved into a rally cry for the gay community. In that, the leather community in particular carried a strong campaign for fundraising & AIDS Awareness. Such influences soon changed the nature of the fair with gay leather men moving to the forefront.


Then in the late 90s, strong leadership created a transformational era until it grew into the event it is today. Currently, it is hailed as the 4th largest single day event in the U.S. & the largest leather event in the world, drawing just under a half-million in attendance.


We honor their dedication through the many years its been in operation, & toast their celebration of 40 impactful years. For an excellent article of the complete history to the Folsom Street Fair, see:

The Black Cat Celebrates 30 years!

The early 90s, DC saw a deep lack of available concert venues for independent artists. In an effort to revive the underground music scene, a group of former musicians camp together & opened The Black Cat. At the time, the 14th Street corridor was a long way from being the developed neighborhood it is today. But the club offered an edgy mystique & a strong line-up of ever changing alt music.


Today, 14th Street offers some of the most sought after real estate in the city. Yet, The Black Cat continues its tradition of independent & alternative music, hosting up & coming bands as well as popular dance nights such as Cryfest, The Cure vs Smiths, 80’s Dance Night & various burlesque or other performances. They are worthy of tribute for carrying the torch for so very long & we thank them.

Celebrating 10 Years in the Scene & Time to Pass the Torch:

A Message from Master Robert & The Baltimore Playhouse:


In April of 2023, The Baltimore Playhouse began our 10th year of Business. It was the first week in April of 2014 that I signed the lease for our current space and we officially opened in October 2014. The original Playhouse Studio had a devastating fire in January 2013. Ultimately, over the following year, I saw there was a massive need within the community that I wanted to do something about. I never had lifelong dreams of becoming a ‘dungeon owner’. Once I committed to trying to address this need, my goals were simply to establish a playspace, help build it up, then nurture and grow it into something special. I had long since met those goals when Covid hit. But I was determined to survive the Pandemic until things began to return to a level of ‘normality.’ We are now reaching that goal.


With that, I felt it was now time to ‘Pass the Torch’ to the next person who would lead the Baltimore Playhouse for years to come. I am honored to announce that we are passing the torch to Jay Spade and their partner YayKPM. After extensive deliberation, I think Jay and their partner are the perfect choice. Jay was hosting events at various venues prior to my signing my lease in 2014. They have been an attendee, a volunteer, a party host and a Manager at BPH for several years. They are over a decade younger than myself and will bring new enthusiasm, energy, ideas and resources to the Playhouse.


Beginning in May 2023, please help us welcome Jay and Yay as the new owners of the Playhouse.

Thank you, Master Robert


For the full post, please see:

Sugar the Shop has Permanently Closed.

It is with great sadness that one of Baltimore’s most beloved adult boutiques has permanently closed. In their own words, this Lesbian-owned, multi-gender operated, mission driven sex store was driven by passion! Providing toys, apparel, & education in a shame-free, sex-positive environment, they were in operation for over 14 years. A Hampden favorite, they offered as much flavor to the neighborhood as the neighborhood itself. We wish its owners well in their next phase, & thank them for their many years of dedication to a beautiful cause.

Why The Filmore?

People often ask, which so many people disgruntled & speaking out against The Filmore, why do promoters keep booking bands there? The simple answer: because of Ticketmaster & Live Nation. They currently hold a monopoly on the music industry & carry ownership or partnerships with key venues throughout the nation. Performers are contractually obliged to play at their venues, so there is really little recourse until they’re legally challenged. For a full rundown of the forces at work, see (How Ticketmaster & Live Nation Control the Music Industry):

A Message from Faerie Worlds & Faerie Con:

The Pandemic has had a devastating impact on the event industry, exacerbated even further by inflation and recession. For many, this has been an extinction level event. In the final analysis, we are unable to get affordable insurance for our events which in itself makes them untenable. Even more, last year’s Faerieworlds and FaerieCon severely underperformed, yielding significant losses. As its producers, we are faced with hundreds of thousands in cumulative insurmountable debt. Any realistic hope of producing either event has expired. We have been declared insolvent and have been forced to legally dissolve the LLC that produces our shows.


We know that all of us have suffered the impact of this extraordinary global event. But we also know the Faerie Community is strong in its heart and will not only survive but prevail. So hold on to all the wonderful memories of Faerieworlds and FaerieCon, knowing that all those moments carry a deep richness to empower, sustain, and inspire you in the coming days. We thank you for your years of support. - The Faerieworlds Team.

Quick Note: The Harlot Drag Brunch (one of DC’s most prominent) has moved to Lima-Twist! Please see links under Recurring Events (Ref. Saturdays).  

Thursday, September 23, 2021


 Welcome to The Metro Underground…  We’re Back!

It’s been some time since The Metro went into hibernation. But we’re finally back & ready for the days ahead! Some 15 years ago it all started as a crazy idea for a dating site. But my partner handling the tech was in a custody battle, so the project got put on a back shelf. Then in 2008 I realigned the initial concept & launched early efforts for what soon became The Metro Underground: “Your gateway to the Full Spectrum of the alternative, adult, & underground scene for DC, Baltimore, & the Mid-Atlantic (from Philly to Richmond) - building bridges from one culture to another, & one group to the next.”

It’s been a long road, so we’ll keep this one short & sweet…

First & foremost, our main site is back up w/ calendars updated & a full rebuild now complete. The world is slowly reemerging from a long & arduous quarantine. But given the new norm, the scene remains in a state of flux, so we’ll be making continuous updates as things evolve for the months ahead. Social media is also active, so be sure to check us out.

The Metro Online:  

When Covid started, I knew the recovery wouldn’t be like flipping a switch. It would be a process: things would recover in phases, then businesses & the economy would regroup, & finally people would come out of the haze to align for a new world. This has indeed come to pass, & while social unrest has been as much of a problem as anything else, we are adjusting to the needs of the day & slowly moving forward.

With this in mind, The DC Fetish Ball has been moving ahead with this year’s main event. Coming Sunday, Oct 10th (Indigenous Peoples Weekend): Richard A.D. & The Metro Underground present “Reemergence!” – Somewhere between Quarantine & The Fetish Ball, you find ‘Reemergence.’

 ‘Reemergence’ will be a Fully Vaxxed event, & we’re keeping our promotional focus to a regional vs national campaign. Certain accommodations have been made to keep things safe for all. But the Vaxxed world is moving forward & so are we. In truth, we have a number of factors in play. So if the crowds of years past have put you off, then this might be the perfect opportunity to come out & see what it’s all about.

 For Talent, Tickets, Links, & More see:

Metro Events you say? Remember those? We’d like to help bring those memories back to life. So a full roll-out for galleries are finally unde way. It’s been a long time coming, but that time has finally come. Please keep an eye out…

And finally, we are slowly revising the invite list for Underground Parties. We are holding off on hosting U-Parties for a while, but we’re taking this time to update our contact list for future gatherings. We’ll be in touch if you’re a member of that list, so please keep an eye out.

It’s been a long & difficult 2 years, & we’re still not quite out of it. But we’re making progress & vaxxed life is good life. So we’re moving forward & hope to see you out sometime soon.

Be well, stay healthy, & keep the fires burning bright!

Rick D~
(Richard A.D.)

The Metro Underground:
The DC Fetish Ball Presents Reemergence:

Newsletter through Blogspot: