REAF – Rochester Erotic Arts Festival
The 10th Annual Rochester Erotic Arts Festival, or REAF, came to town this past weekend. Of course, I went. This is a big event for the conservative region in which I live.
Open to the public, it’s a festival on all things related to eroticism. REAF is a weekend thing, opening Friday night and concluding on Sunday. However, it’s Friday and Saturday where all the fun stuff happens.
What will you find at REAF?
The simple answer is, it’s many things related to erotic art, performances, toys, and workshops.
The key feature is the Juried Art Show, displaying accepted submissions and judged by art experts in their fields using various criteria. I submitted my fine art in the first three years of the festival, one winning the ‘Popular Choice Award’ in 2009. You can find an image of this piece on my website under Mermaid Art on the page menu. If you went this year, you’d find a combination of digital and fine art. In past years, they’ve also featured sculpture, glass art, living art, and other mediums.
The festival featured live performances from several acts. There were aerial acts, a burlesque show, snake act, musical acts, and dancing on the dance floor. Vendors set up dozens of tables (of course), plying their wares and expert knowledge. I bought a toy, and I’m excited to try it out and learning how to use it effectively. Can you visualize my hands rubbing together in happiness with a glint in my eyes? They are.
REAF workshops and more.
Scheduled throughout all three days were many workshops presented by local and world-renowned personalities. One workshop I was particularly interested in was led by Midori, a woman well versed in the erotic arts and lifestyles. She is a master at many activities and travels the world on the lecture and workshop tour. These days, she’s based in San Francisco. She’s in high demand and can garner a high price point to mentor under her. If you get the chance to see her in action, I encourage you to do so.
A highlight for me was the erotic playground. Setup on Saturday night, individuals set up various booths, demonstrating skills while letting the public to try them on for size. There was boobie painting, sensual floggings, fire cupping, electrical play and pony rides. In case you didn’t know, pony rides are people dressed up like horses and ponies, pulling a cart of people behind them. Willing volunteers all, it’s grand fun for both the ponies and the riders.
I tried out one of the electrical devices used in play. I felt comfortable and relaxed throughout, at least until they turned up the juice. I’d say I was enjoying myself about ninety-eight percent of the time in-between moments of screaming. It might surprise you to know I enjoyed that too. I have a high tolerance for playful pain.
The festival organizers held the event in a downtown hotel, occupying the entire main conference level of the hotel, and the top three floors of the high-rise building. On these floors, you’d find the VIP suites, the hospitality suite, and suites set up by various groups around the region. I went to one and watched participants play together for about an hour. It never ceases to amaze me how adults enjoy themselves while engaged in erotic play that doesn’t involve sex. Oh, I’m sure that happens, but at this festival, they dis-allowed sexual penetration. Go get a room if that is what you want.
I had a blast. I’m already planning on attending next year. I hope to see you there. Introduce yourself and shake my hand. I welcome the opportunity to get to know you.