Arts & Entertainment
2 min

Get ready for Rubbout: Vancouver’s gay rubber weekend

Long-running fetish event plans cosplay side excursion

Vancouver's Rubbout is among North America's most popular annual rubber gatherings. Credit: Tony Fong

I love it when research involves websites with “content warnings.” But such content — and its attendant links — can be distracting. It’s taken me far longer to write this article than was strictly necessary.

Rubbout is arguably one of the largest, longest-running fetish parties in North America. This year’s Industrial Revolution-themed four-day gathering includes 10 official events at four venues co-hosted by five organizations, and could not be achieved without the hard work of 30-plus latex-friendly volunteers.

“Everything to do with Rubbout is volunteer,” says co-organizer Rob Pont. “People are there because they’re ready to do something for the community. It’s a passion.”

Seven years ago, Pont’s personal inclination was more aligned with leather. Then he volunteered for Rubbout.

“I didn’t own a single piece of rubber. Now I have lots. Rubber is slick and smooth and slippery and fun — and you can show off parts without being naked!”

When asked if there’s a particular event he’s looking forward to, Pont is as quick as he is enthusiastic to respond. “Yes! The Play Party at 8×6.”

As a ticketed, limited-capacity event, the draw for Pont is the — ahem — intimate nature of the Saturday night event.

“It’s not just about the sex — although who doesn’t like to see hot, steamy guys having a good time?  Its also because those are the people that really want to play and be there in their rubber.”

Rubbout also overlaps with the Vancouver Fan Expo at the Convention Centre this year, creating a perfect storm of crossover cosplay opportunities.

While not an official Rubbout event, the group is offering a Rubber Brunch Gathering for anyone who wants to travel en masse (and perhaps in mask) to the Expo.

“Why wouldn’t you want to go?” Pont asks. “You’ve got Superman, Batman, you’ve got all these fantasy, sexy characters!”

Pont is quick to point out that in an increasingly divisive world, this is someplace queers can feel comfortable with their fetishes.

“You’re gonna have Jabba the Hutt and Wookies and anime characters, so I think we’ll be embraced. Here’s more people willing to stand up and share their kinks and fantasies. We’ve got to get past “that group” and “this group” and start sharing. Because we’ve all got some kink!”

Rubbout 24 runs Thursday, April 2 to Sunday, April 5. Visit rubbout.com for a detailed schedule of all the fun. And several distracting links.