During Leatherpride 2018, Douglas O’KeefFe will present his latest ‘Fireside Chat’ with Daniel Dumont of the European Confederation of Motorcycle Clubs (ECMC). We had a brief chat with him about his project.

Tell us about the history of the Fireside Chats?
The Fireside Chats began in Chicago in 2008. They are live, on-stage talk-shows which chronicle the achievements and history of notable people from the leather and kink communities. Inside Leather History: A Fireside Chat is an independent production which is co-produced by Mistress Joanne Gaddy, Vonn Tramel, and myself. I act as the host. Over the past nine years, Fireside Chats have been held at numerous events throughout the United States, Canada, and in Amsterdam. North American leather notables such as Chuck Renslow, Guy Baldwin, and Gayle Rubin have taken part. Martijn Bakker from Amsterdam was Europe’s first Fireside Chat subject.

And now you are planning more Fireside Chats in Europe?
There are many wonderful leatherfolk in Europe. I’m overjoyed to be bringing the Fireside Chats to Manchester (UK) in October 2017 where I will be interviewing Ian Allen and Joe King. After that we will travel to Dublin (Ireland) in January 2018 for at least one interview. The subject of that one is yet to be announced. After that I will be at Leatherpride Belgium in Antwerp in February to interview Daniel Dumont from ECMC. I’m so excited! I hope this is the start of a wonderful Fireside Chat relationship with Europe. I am looking forward to the challenges of interviewing in Europe. European audiences are culturally different from audiences in North America. I’ll have to adjust my interview style to accommodate the unique perspectives they bring.

You film each chat – what happens to the video?
Each Fireside Chat is filmed before a live audience and the finished production is housed in the Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago and in local history repositories. Many are also shared on YouTube. Our history as a leather and kink tribe is invaluable and I’m honoured to secure the rich stories and knowledge my subjects choose to share with me.
The Leather Archives and Museum is a world-class archival and educational facility well suited to house the Fireside Chat videos. I’m honoured they are stored in the Archives.

Who has been the most difficult interviewee?
Chuck Renslow, who I interviewed in 2008, was a challenge. But he taught me how to do better interviews by showing me the importance of personal research. 

Who do you want to interview next?
There are numerous potential Fireside Chat subjects, but personally I would like to interview more women and people of colour from our community. Their stories are vitally important to our history.

And after Europe?
We will continue to present the Fireside Chats throughout North America. We already have events planned in San Francisco, Indianapolis, and in New York City. I hope to see you there!

Douglas O’Keeffe
Fireside Chat
Live at Darklands
Saturday 24 February

13:00h – 14:30h
Rex Stage