CLEVELAND — CLAW – Cleveland Leather Annual Weekend took place from April 28 to May 1. There were a multitude of events for the attendees this year, from pool parties to classes, dinners to cabaret, parties and much much more. There was going to a bit of a focus on the issues that took place last year with puppies at CLAW, instead let’s close the book on the events of the past and focus on the great things that happened this year. Let’s call it a reboot like in the movies, but instead of one of those sloppily done remakes, this time it was better than the original.
All in all, the atmosphere of CLAW was electrifying. Going in there was a fear of cliques and animosity toward the puppies from previous events. This was not present at all. The air was filled with fun and laughter and the smell of leather was everywhere. The sights and sounds were hot, there was a buzz in the air.
Approaching every aspect of CLAW freely with an open mind makes it all the easier to interact with this community in a way that you may not be able to normally do. There were 170 or more events to choose from in the four days that CLAW took place. There was literally something for everyone to attend. On Thursday, there were two parties: Speed Dating for smokers in the Cigar Tent and BDSM seekers as well. DICK OFF! a Welcome Volunteers party was on site as well as finding bar events in the City like The Men at Work party at the Mean Bull Bar and the FLEXXX Asylum party at the FLEXXX Asylum warehouse. There were many play parties available to the public as well.
On Friday, There was more Speed Dating, another five groups of amazing men including the “Coaches and Jocks”, “Leather and Boots”, “Ass Play”, “Bears, Otters, and Pigs”, and “Men of the Embassy Suites”. There were several auctions through out the day, a Puppy/Handler lunch, a Rubber Lovers Social, and much more. Some of the highlights onsite from the night included DOG PADDLE – the Pup Pool Party, STRIP BINGO! and the BOOTS & CIGAR Party. You could go to the city and attend one opf three parties including the KINKY MUSCLE BOY PARTY at the Mean Bull Bar, REPORT FOR DUTY UNIFORM PARTY at the Leather Stallion Bar and the FLEXXX ASYLUM party at the FLEXXX ASYLUM warehouse.
The DOG PADDLE party was pretty amazing, it seemed like well over 100 puppies, handlers, and leather men and women were in attendance. You could see the presence of the many vendors in the room, especially MR. S Leather, who produced the new neoprene pup hood and debuted it at CLAW this weekend, it was pretty cool to see all the new hoods everywhere. The hosts were Chicago’s Pup Vino aka Adam Henderson and Columbus’s Pup Havoc aka Zak Rittenhouse. The music was pumping and the drinks were flowing. There were toys for the puppies to dive for and balls and floats and just fun all around. it was a great mixture of everyone in the room. Just an amazing time.
The STRIP BINGO was pretty freaking awesome. The bingo sheets were being sold by stripped down leather men and puppies from everywhere. You could participate by buying the bingo sheets for each round. The highlight rounds were giving away special prizes such as the Golden Cock. It was pretty cool to bid on CLAW jock straps that some of the men were wearing, some of which were being worn for a few days, leaving a great scent in each of them.
Saturday is one of the biggest event days for CLAW with over 20 events packed into one day!
The Day started off with “In Room Pup & Boy Coffee Service”. This was a real treat to participate in. You
signed up for this during registration. Coffee was brought to your room by a pack of puppies and boys and upon opening your door the pack would pile into your room and pounce on the awaiting leather men and leather women. It was received with huge smiles and lots of scritches for all the puppies involved. In fact this year, the puppies raised more in one day than they did in both days last year for CLAW charities through tips from the amazing recipients of Puppy Coffee.
For the rest of Saturday you could choose from the CLAW SPA, Vendor Mart, Leather Cookout, Brown Hanky Social, and Saturday Silent Auction. Then the parties began leading into the evening: Cruising the Embassy – Title Holders Cocktail Party, International Leather Family Dinner, the HOT ASH Party, the BEARS and BALLS Pool party, Puppy Play Pen, and Love Slave Dance Party were the events on site for the evening. Offsite you could hit downtown and go to HOT ASS IN CLEVELAND at the Leather Stallion Bar, STEAMPUNKS GEAR AND GRIND party at the Mean Bull Bar or the FLEXXX ASYLUM party at the Flexxx Asylum Warehouse. The Special Event of the evening was comedian Judy Tenuta, she put on an amazing show ate the Holiday Inn and brought down the house with her comedic styling. Earlier in the day Judy got to pet her first puppy while visiting the site.
The PUPPY PLAY PEN was a mosh held for puppies and handlers and the leather community to come and see how puppies played and interacted. Years ago when the puppies were introduced to CLAW, there may have been about 10-15 puppies in attendance at a pup mosh. When you walked in and the room was jam packed and there were close to 75, if not more puppies playing on one of two mosh spaces set up, you could feel the excitement brewing. There were balls, and squeakies and sticks and more for the pups to play with. The best part was seeing the Handler involvement. If you looked like you were overheating or it was too much for you, your handler or someone else watching over the pups jumped right in to take care of you. It was one of the best moshes!!
Sunday at Claw is a little slower day as many people are heading home, but there is still many things to do: There is always the morning Puppy Boy Coffee service to start your day! The Leather Hall of Fame Brunch and Inductions is a highlight of the weekend. Then the Leather Hall of Fame holds a discussion panel on Who’s In and Who’s Next? The evening starts with a Sunday Supper where 15% of the proceeds from all guest checks are donated to the CLAW charities and heads into the LEATHER CABARET, with this years theme being BROADWAY BOUND. The night ended with a Last Call Retro Dance Party
CLAW is not all about parties and socializing, one of the main focuses is education in the community. Throughout the weekend at CLAW there are classes available to everyone on a wide range of topics. this year there were 88 classes packed into the weekend ranging from FLOGGING 101 to Puppy for the outsider to Women of Drummer. You could attend any of the classes you chose for free. Who wouldn’t want to learn about THE FLUID NATURE OF ASSERTIVE BOYS or I LIKE THE THUD NOT THE STING to name a few of the classes. We learned about age of consent, vac play, flogging, cigar play, fisting, PrEP, BDSM, Electroplay, rope play, and so much more. When you go into this environment with a learning atmosphere, a charitable feel, and the general buzz of the whole weekend, you come out a new person.
In closing CLAW gives everyone in the community a way to learn and interact with each other in a way like no other. Bootblacks and Puppies, Bears and Leather-men, Leather-women and Boys, Rubber and more, every where you looked the crowd was mixed and interacting with each other. Going back to how this article began. Puppygate of 2015 should be a thing of the past and not dwelled upon any longer, when this year you had so many amazing people of leather embracing a community that got a bad name from a previous year. There was a feeling of acceptance for the puppies this year, a feeling of learning about them and a feeling of involvement from the puppies. A ton of the volunteers this year both in the scenes were puppies and there was no acting out, no indecent acts, no issues this year. I love my puppy pack from all over the world and am happy to a part of it. ONE PACK, ONE LOVE was abundant this weekend.