By Cesar A Reyes
Mr. City Entertainment will throw its third annual Fetish Gras Weekend for its biggest event to date Friday February 9ththrough Sunday February 11th. Hosted by The Rail and Rich’s, the weekend-long event will have a different themed party each night to explore the different forms of fetishes in multiple events and activities throughout the historic Hillcrest Community with themes dedicated to the Leather Fetish Community.
Mr. City Entertainment is a San Diego-based event organizer focusing on creating and promoting LGBTQIA+-themed events. Outside of Fetish Gras, they also host a monthly Big Gay Picnic in Balboa Park to bring the community together. They’re known for going all-out in their events and hosting extravagant and immersive experiences you’ll never forget.
We caught up with Josh to get to know him better and to learn more about the weekend-long party.
Tell our readers a little about yourself?
My name is Joshua Simmons. I am originally from Dallas, Texas. I have been in the bar and Night life industry for over 10 years. When I became HIV positive my dreams of being a professional wrestler went away and I started putting all my time and energy into the bar industry. I became so passionate about the industry, specifically the LGBTQIA nightlife industry. I learned early on how important these bars were to our community and what they stood for. I moved here 4 years ago to help open the Tin Room. Things did not go exactly as planned and it was my biggest obstacle I had faced at that time in my life. I honestly thought that I had ruined my name after being attached and unofficially the Face of the company, but Hillcrest saw the work I did as well as the effort I put forward and ultimately welcomed me as they understood it was not my fault.
How did Fetish Gras come about?
In 2021 I was working for the San Diego Eagle, they were the first place to give me a job and a chance. I had not worked or been a part of the leather fetish community before and I quickly fell in love with the community and camaraderie that was displayed. I had always wanted to step out and do my own events, but I was too scared too. I had been putting them on for other bars but had never taken the jump for myself for fear of the financial risk. One of the events that I did every year was Mardi Gras. To me It was an event that displayed letting go of social norms and becoming whomever you wanted to be for one night. Each bar I worked at, I would design my Mardi Gras after what that bar was. When I worked at the Round-Up Saloon, I called it Howdy Gras and put together a literally parade with decorated shopping carts and local organizations. While working at The San Diego Eagle I had pitched the idea, but I realized what I visualized was not possible to do on a small scale, so I started creating a proposal and reaching out to a couple of the bars in San Diego. The Rail agreed and gave me an opportunity to let my vision come alive and in 2022 the first Fetish Gras was born. The Rail also quickly learned I loved to go over the top with set design, performers, and visuals. From then on, the staff always tells management or the owners that I put together great events but I’m gonna do A LOT.
This is the third year of the event, tell us how it’s grown?
I must continuously challenge myself so for the third year I have decided to expand fetish Gras into a 3-day fetish Mardi Gras Weekend. At the moment we no longer have a leather/fetish weekend and after the last couple of years getting to go to Folsom and Dore Alley, I wanted to create one unique one for and something that could grow over time.
For this year we have 3 official events at 2 incredible locations.
First is Kink Street at the Rail Friday Feb. 9th. This event was inspired by many of the leather bars I have visited of the years. There will be darker music and a grittier vibe, but it still encapsulates the over-the-top whimsy Mardi Gras is known for. I have the Amazing Alpha Rob of Detoxxx Leather putting together some unique BDSM Demos that you don’t usually see in the bars here. There will also be other interactive kinks shows that will give you a chance to earn your beads. The night is highlighted by DJ Alex Ferberye from Miami whose track record on the East coast and Europe speaks for itself.
Our Second event of the weekend is Revolution Decadance at the Rail Saturday Feb. 10th. This event is put together by Alberto Bernal who runs the newest monthly circuit party, Revolution. Think Mardi Gras Masquerade Ball with a Kinky twist. The guests our encouraged to wear their masks. DJ Arno Diem from France will be the showcase of the night as we go till 4 am, but Alberto has others surprises in-store for us as well.
Finally, Krewez Tea-Dance at Rich’s will bring the weekend to a close with a bang. Krewez takes inspiration from Southern Decadence, Carnaval and bourbon Street in New Orleans. You can expect leather/fetish vendors, street performances, Tarot card readers, and much more. We will also have performances from saxophonist Nightshade Navarro, and Scarlett of Scarlett Fever at Rich’s. The night is highlighted by the incredible DJ Shane Marcus from Atlanta as he brings us those Mardi Gras/carnival vibes.
But we have also partnered with Pecs, AWOL, San Diego Eagle, The Merrow, Humanity, Swap Meat, The San Diego Leather Boot Black Competition, and Scarlett Fever to bring you a packed weekend of events and activities throughout the city.
What motivated you to take on Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras actually has a long History in San Diego. I have heard the stories for years of the fabulous Mardi Gras celebrations, and how at one point it was one of the biggest Mardi Gras celebrations on the West coast. When I moved here, I was sad that those times were gone, and it really wasn’t celebrated like that anymore. I want to one day bring those big celebrations back, but of course with a kink twist.
Invite folks and tell them how they can get tickets?
My Goal with putting Fetish Gras Weekend together is to create something that can outgrow me and become an Annual Tourist destination for the Leather/Fetish Community. I have poured my heart and soul into this event, but what truly makes it unique is our inspiring community. This event is for them, I invite everyone to come out and parade your kink. Parade what makes you unique, different and unlike anyone else!
Tickets are on Sale now at Fetishgras.com