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Explore another life experience with Metro’s KINK event

Bill DeYoung



Original art by Luis Balaguer for the KINK auction.

Hey babe … take a walk on the wild side?

Lou Reed’s not here, but if he were he’d be extending a personal invitation to Metro Inclusive Health’s Saturday fundraiser, KINK – An Art Affair, at the Metro Community Center in St. Petersburg.

Alongside specially-created works by 35 of the area’s top LGBTQ+ and ally artists, there’ll be erotic performers – from Florida Community Boot Black, Florida Leatherboy 2019, Electro and Impact Play, Male Review Tampa and more – and interactive fetish installations for the curious.

“Tasteful nudity” is on the menu as well (that means no exposed naughty bits). Guests are encouraged to “dress up or down in their fetish finest.”

“This definitely de-stigmatizes the perception many may have around the idea of S&M or body paint or roping or light paddling or anything like that, that we’ll be doing,” says Metro Chief Marketing and Experience Officer Brian Bailey. “Sometimes it’s an interest – and a way of life.”

Visitors will arrive and traverse a live model gallery, followed by pole dancing demos and burlesque, “hot go-go boys” and the first-of its kind Glory Hole Café, serving up “tons of little desserts shaped like all kinds of things,” according to Bailey.

“Sexual health is part of our mission, obviously,” he says of Metro, the second largest LGBTQ+ center in the United States. “And it’s one thing to throw a seminar, and have a speaker and do talking points – and it’s another thing to entice people that’s a little bit more cutting-edge and is a little more forward, sexually.”

As for the physical stuff, “We’re trying to open it up. It’s interesting, because you have movies like Fifty Shades of Grey that are out there, taking the idea of S&M or bondage a little bit more mainstream. And of course Hollywood really sensationalizes it – it’s really not quite like that – and there’s curiosity.

“You know the old expression ‘Everybody likes to watch.’ Well, you can watch if you’d like to, but you can also take part in it. If you’re curious about it. And you may never do it again – done that, moving on – or you may go ‘This is something I’m interested in.’”

Metro is an independent, non-profit organization with more than 100 services focused on the health and well-being of the LGBTQ+ community.

“Unfortunately, HIV is still a real thing,” Bailey explains. “And it’s not only just a thing, but Hillsborough and Pinellas counties are both identified by the CDC as being two of the 48 most-burdened counties. That’s literally what they call it. With regards to HIV rise.

“So when we look at opportunities to talk with people about sexual health, we don’t want to create a boring, non-engaging sort of situation where you’re like in a classroom setting. This is an opportunity for us to make the discussion worth having, to a lot more people.”

Cocktails will be available in Metro’s speakeasy.

For tickets ($25 advance, $30 at the door) and/or additional details, click here.

Here are the artists who’ve created new original works for the Metro fundraiser:

Carrie Matteoli

Chad Mize

Chesire Balogh

Cole Foust

Cyrus Frioli

David Mendelson-Curry

Graham Savage

Hannah Powell

James Hartzell

Jay Poppe

Jessica Dickerson

John Carroll

John Gascot

Jose Mohammed

Jose Gomez

Joseph DiCarlo

Juan Alzate

Julie Haura

Kristi Capone

Luby Haider

Luis Balaguer

Mark Williams

Michael O’Connell

Michael Wempe

Michelle Rossi

M’ria Swire

Nichole Alonso

Perry  deVick

Robert Pomeroy

Samantha Churchill

Sara Wiggins

Seth Mannino

Susan Doscher

Terry Scopelliti

Tom Amidon




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