by MsMargaretDavis about 1 month ago on Fetlife
In spring of 2011 NY lost an icon and I lost a friend. Lenny Waller used to manage Hellfire and, later, Fetish Warehouse. At Hellfire in 1997 he was the first and only person to give me an opportunity to experiment with ideas I had about spanking parties when there was no OTK community in NYC. At the time he led Leather Pride but he gently held his breath when I asked for a party that called for ‘no leather’. Lenny and I worked really well together even though his kink and mine were in opposite directions. He had no idea what I was doing but trusted my judgment and I put my faith in any suggestions he had. He wasn’t a taker but a giver. By example Lenny taught everybody a deeper meaning of tolerance, trust, communication and honesty. He was a visionary, a teddy bear, and a big man with tattoos; frightening to meet but a cuddle bunny to his friends. He worked tirelessly for Aids awareness and he would set up little memorials for people who passed away who would otherwise not be remembered. He took care of people who were really out of luck. He loved his friends and openly embarrassed people who would cheat or B.S. the community. He had his enemies but I was proud to be his friend. He celebrated his uniqueness with joy and encouraged others to do the same. He was one of a kind and so many people will miss him.
On May 14th Mr. Ryder and I went to the memorial service for Lenny Waller. It was held at Paddles in NYC and began with a video presentation followed by different friends of his who would step up to the microphone to share a story or thought about Lenny. I knew Lenny was a very special part of New York but there were people at the service who knew him from the 1960’s and 70‘s when the BDSM scene had its beginnings in New York through the gay community. By the ‘80’s and ‘90’s Lenny was well established and was one of the first in line to fight the fight against AIDS.
Way back Lenny was the only one who helped me create parties for spankos, who wanted things a little bit toned down and out of the dungeon. While his is own interests went way beyond anything I could handle, Lenny listened as best he could. His Harley was parked in Hellfire as a piece of equipment people used for play. He was a biker and with his long beard, tattoos, and leather outfits you wanted to run in fright. Even he knew he was a big teddy bear and I learned Saturday he had quite a collection of little stuffed bears. It took awhile for me to relax but together we made things come together. Before we incorporated his name for SCONY was East Coast Spankers.
Between ’96-’97, after Lenny had worked so hard for alternative life styles I shared my observations. I could see that there were three things still missing on the east coast. One, the community was loaded with men and not exactly all of them were appealing. Most of them needed a good shower and some serious grooming. Second, as a woman I knew there were females who like dominance and submission but unless things were cleaned up no ladies in big numbers would really come out. The men were not going to clean up anything and it was up to the women in NY at the time to get the job going. Third, on the east coast there was not a strong, active presents of an old-fashioned, OTK spanking community. Lenny listened and let me experiment with anything I wanted to do to make it work. I sat for hours either with him or his Hellfire staff trying to explain what our needs were. When I rented his dark, dungeon- like club I used lace curtains to cover chains, leather tables and leg spreaders. I lit pink candles and we bought flowers in vases to lighten things up. When the party started Lenny would ask people who were clad in leather to wait until 10:00 PM to re-enter the regular Hellfire setting. Spankos got it but some people just didn’t and never will.
My first no leather OTK only party in his club (Hellfire) was in April, 1997 and had 167 people in attendance by 6:00 PM during daylight savings time. (I used daylight as a friend so the frightened bridge and tunnel people could find the location.) Lenny thought I would fail but after the first event he helped NY spankos anyway he could. It was hard for him to watch people resist and struggle to get away. I explained that for some people that’s part of it so he stopped interrupting scenes and trusted me. Everything from people draping over a lap to the ordinary clothes we wore were unusual for him but once he saw us, time after time, he got into it. So here we are and the NY spanking party scene grew from there. Up to that time there were only a few parties and one sub-group of TES. Before that spring NY spanking was identified as a beginner activity rather than a community with its own identity different and separate from other communities.
I have so many memories of Lenny but one of my favorites is on the day one of my parties he wore a soft blue button down oxford shirt, a white sports jacket and beige pants. He said, “How do I look?” I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, I just embraced him with a big kiss.