DomCon Convention Rides the New Wave of BDSM
LOS ANGELES — Long before “Fifty Shades” whipped up a frenzy of BDSM interest in popular culture and reignited the world of fetish, DomCon, what’s now billed as the “world's largest professional and lifestyle domination convention” was taking shape in the mind of pro dom Mistress Cyan back in 2001.
It took some time, but after searching for a proper venue to hold the offbeat event, Cyan debuted the first ever DomCon in Los Angeles in 2004. Now a major show featuring industry only seminars sponsored by Kink.com for BDSM pros, along with a public exhibition of the latest fetish gear and classes for practitioners and the curious, a Mr. and Mrs. Olympus Leather competition, and a speed-dating segment, DomCon is trying to once again set a new benchmark for the domination community May 13-17.
Cyan says what prompted her to create DomCon was when she noticed disparity and disassociation between those involved in “professional domination” and those in "the lifestyle.” Wanting to do something that would help bridge that gap between the two communities and make it more united, she developed the concept of DomCon, but abandoned the idea while attending BondCon in 2002 where she was invited to be a special guest of a new domination convention that was to take place later that year. Since there was already such an event being planned, Cyan didn’t see the need, But after attending, she realized that the convention was drastically different than her concept and decided to resurrect her idea and move forward on what was later to be known as DomCon LA. Over the next few months, she worked on developing the concept and paying attention to the details while defining the event’s goals and objectives.
During the summer of 2003, Cyan searched for a venue but discovered that most of the hotels she spoke with were concerned about the content of the event, and the taboo associated with BDSM.
“The hotels that were open to having the event at their venue proved to be too small and did not have the space available to host an event of its size, despite it being a first time event,” Cyan says. Finally, following a suggestion stemming from a conversation with Veronica Vinyl at her Sanctuary dungeon, Cyan made a deal with The Beverly Garden Holiday Inn located in North Hollywood near Universal Studios. The meeting went well and the first DomCon LA debuted in April, 2004.
A website was then launched with an impressive list of guests of honor that included Domina Irene Boss, Mistress Porsche Lynn, the late Sabrina Belladonna, Mistress Vendela Zane and more. Within a month, the buzz about DomCon LA made it a national event of major interest. While promoting DomCon LA in Jan. 2004 at The Las Vegas BondCon, Cyan was approached by Ms Whip, the owner/operator of 1763 in Atlanta, the largest dungeon in the country at the time. Ms Whip asked Cyan to consider bringing DomCon to Atlanta.
Cyan says she had already been thinking of expanding the event to the East Coast, perhaps New York, but had not thought about Atlanta, especially so soon since the first DomCon LA was still more than three months away. But after a trip to visit Ms Whip and 1763, Cyan made the decision to produce the East Coast DomCon in Atlanta in Nov. 2004. Meanwhile, DomCon LA was attracting members of the professional BDSM community as well as many in the lifestyle community. The show even drew from within the leather community despite many who proclaimed it to be a "Pro Domme Only" or "Female Domme Only" event. “DomCon LA proved to be the largest BDSM/fetish/leather event in Los Angeles in 2004, proving everyone wrong who thought that such an event would never work, or last,” Cyan recalls.
But DomCon’s success didn’t happen by shear will alone. Although she says she grew up in a fairly common family, and spent years as a corporate executive, she eventually left to pursue her dark dreams in the businesses of music and professional domination.
“I started my own production company promoting more than 1500 concerts, 300 of which were on The Sunset Strip in Hollywood, as well as a talent management company, a media relations company and I published my own music and entertainment magazine. This gave me the freedom to live the BDSM lifestyle and develop my skills as a dominatrix,” Cyan says.
In 1996 she decided to make professional domination her career. “I've enjoyed success as a bondage and fetish model as well as an actress. In fact, Cyan has been a semi-finalist for Bondage Model of The Year and Bondage Rigger of The Year for four consecutive years. She’s also appeared in a number of mainstream TV shows and movies including Star Trek Insurrection, Nip/Tuck (FX), Shark (CBS), Las Vegas (NBC), EdTV, Rock Star, Ally MacBeal (FOX), Felicity (UPN), First Monday (CBS), and more.
In addition to DomCon, Cyan owns her own dungeon, Sanctuary Studios LAX, that she says is the largest dungeon in Los Angeles and one of the largest in America.
The pro domme’s steadfast abilities and drive have not only forged a major convention, but her abilities have attracted a number of top line sponsors including Stockroom, Clips4Sale and Whiplr.com that’s recently launched an app that helps people in the kink/fetish/BDSM lifestyle connect with each other.
Cyan is also in bed with fetish powerhouse Kink.com, that she’s worked with for the last couple of years. “After meeting with Peter Acworth at The Armory in San Francisco in 2013, the two of us decided to partner on webcam operations. Kink.com has an interest in educating people about BDSM and came on board as the educational seminar sponsor for DomCon Atlanta in 2014. They have returned as the educational seminar sponsor for DomCon LA 2015 and we’re thrilled to have them,” Cyan says.
What’s particularly interesting about DomCon and what sets it apart from other BDSM shows is it’s industry/public split. Cyan says she’s always tried to build bridges between the communities in order to bring a better understanding of BDSM and to bring together those in the BDSM, leather, fetish and professional communities to share common interests, celebrate diversity and promote awareness through education with demonstrations, seminars, and panel discussions.
The seminars number more than 50 and include something for every level of experience in both the professional and lifestyle communities. They vary from technique classes that teach people how to play safely, to relationship classes teaching people about what the BDSM power exchange is all about. Cyan stresses that it’s important for people to know the difference between BDSM and abuse. “They are two totally different things,” she says.
One especially intriguing and unique aspect of DomCon is its speed dating segment called the “DomCon-Nection” that helps dominants and submissives meet each other. “People get the numbers of the individuals who they are interested in meeting, or who want to meet them. They are then notified and can talk in greater detail to decide if they want to play. It’s a lot of fun, a great icebreaker, and good for new people to meet others,” Cyan notes.
Now after 12 years, and with a conference that draws more than 1500 attendees, Cyan is looking at the possibility of taking DomCon to other cities and possibly to Europe and Australia where she says there’s been quite a bit of interest and offers. “There are a number of people who want to partner with DomCon to bring it to their country, and that is being looked at very seriously at this point,” Cyan says.