Displaying items by tag: IMsBB - The Leather Journal

IMSbb Contestant meghanName: Meghan

Current Title: Great Lakes Bootblack 2015 and Bluegrass Leather Pride Bootblack 2015

City, State: Louisville, KY

Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3):

Events:
-Bluegrass Leather Pride
-Great Lakes Leather Alliance
-International Puppy Contest

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: Oil tan harness boots - They were the first piece of leather I bought for myself. I’ve had them for years now and they are so broken in and comfortable! They’ve been with me on all of my travels, tromped through mud, sprinkles and glitter, and kept me grounded when I’ve felt shaky.

Is your IMsBB run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor:  

I am fortunate enough to be sponsored by Bluegrass Leather Pride, Great Lakes Leather Alliance and Mr. Friendly, Team Louisville.

Bluegrass Leather is a feeder contest to Great Lakes that not only produces contestants, but hosts a weekend educational event that focuses on what it means to be family.

Great Lakes Leather Alliance is a regional contest that produces contestants for International contests, hosts educational classes and play parties for the Leather and kink communities.

Mr. Friendly Team Louisville, the Kentucky chapter that works to reduce stigma of HIV. Currently, I sit on the Board of Directors serving as Treasurer.

Published in International Leather

IMSL Contestant LasciviousJaneName: LasciviousJane

Current Title: Ms Philadelphia Leather 2015

City, State: West Chester, Pennsylvania

Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3):

Twitter @LasciviousJane
Instagram @Lascivious_Jane
FetLife @LasciviousJane
www.facebook.com/lasciviousjane

Regular community events that you produce or participate: I produce, perform and Emcee for Vixens & Vagabonds Queer & Kinky Cabaret with Liberty City Kings Drag & Burlesque. Our monthly show is the only regularly occurring kinky show in Philadelphia! Nearly every show benefits a local organization.

I am excited to be one of the Entertainment Coordinators, and the Emcee, for my club Queer Leather Alliance’s big fundraiser The Black & Gold Ball
I have been involved with Diabolique Ball Philadelphia’s Fetish Charity Ball for years, as a model, go-go dancer, stage manager, performer, Emcee, and now on the Board of Directors as the Entertainment Coordinator. Each year the Diabolique Ball raises critical funds to help benefit several different organizations in the Philadelphia Community.

 

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: As my favorite Leather item, I would have to pick my blush-pink corset. It’s the first leather corset I ever purchased, the color is amazing and it makes my breasts look fantastic!

Is your IMsL run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor:  

I have many sponsors and supporters in my home community, my official sponsors are the producers of Mr & Ms Philadelphia Leather, the Philadelphians MC with our home bar The Bike Stop. I am also receiving generous support and sponsorship from our local leather craftspeople, Wolf Stryker Leather as well as our local fetish store, Passional Boutique & Sexploratorim. All of these groups have been integral to creating and growing Philadelphia’s vibrant leather community. I am honored that they have allowed me to represent them at International Ms Leather.

 

Published in International Leather
Monday, 14 October 2013 15:12

IMsL/IMsBB 2014 judges announced

IMsL New LogoInternational Ms Leather and International Ms Boot Black 2014 (IMsL/IMsBB) will be held April 24-27, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Jose, CA

International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack are under the new ownership of Pat Baillie and Sharrin Spector..

Traditionally, the judges for IMsL/IMsBB and tallies are announced at the Ms San Francisco Leather contest and this year was no exception.

 

Published in International Leather
Saturday, 01 April 2017 10:52

IMsBB 2017 Contestant: Micky Rebel

MickyRebelLeatherJournal

Name: Micky Rebel

Title: Oregon State Bootblack, 2015

City/ State: Portland, Oregon

Events:
Co-Producer of PDX BootLab
Volunteer for Portland Pets and Handlers and was a board member for 3 years.
Bootblacks regularly on the PDX Bootblack stand at The Eagle Portland

Favorite Leather/fetish Item: My collar, it took me 4 years of service to my Sir to earn it.

 

Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization?   o    I am proud to be sponsored by Blackout Leather Productions, the producer of the Oregon State Leather Contest.  BLP raises funds for charitable organizations in our local community, hosts the Rose and Thorn awards to honor outstanding Leather people, and supports their titleholders to go on to represent Oregon in international competitions.  Come and join us for the 2017 Mr. Oregon State Leather, Ms. Oregon State Leather, Oregon State Bootblack and Oregon State Puppy contests August 11-13th. http://blackoutleather.org/

 

 

Tell me about your favorite charity.    o    While there are many organizations that I support, one of my favorites is Outside In.  It is an organization dedicated to helping homeless youth and other marginalized people in the greater Portland Metro area move towards improved health and self-sufficiency.  They do this through providing medical care, mental health treatment, advocacy and connecting individuals with the services they need to live the lives they want.  Outside In caters to the specific needs of under-served populations like the LGBTQIA community and the homeless.  They even have programs to help homeless pets. http://outsidein.org/

 

Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.    o    Service is a gift and every contribution counts, from donating a few dollars to a worthy cause, seeing an opportunity to help out at an event, or holding a position on the board of an organization.  Volunteering has helped me maintain greater focus and reach higher goals.  I’m so fortunate to come from a community that values service so favorably and shows gratitude to those that give.

 

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?    o    I found my identity as a Leather Woman through developing myself as a Bootblack. Before learning to bootblack, I rarely interacted with others.  I was painfully shy. My Sir insisted that I learn the trade, indicating, “It will be good for you.” As a result, bootblacking has radically changed my life. I began to notice how I could be of use to others and my inward focus reflected outward through volunteering.  Through these acts of service to my Sir and my Community, I found myself.  I am now a confident Leather Woman and accomplished Bootblack in all areas of my life.

 

Who is your favorite Leather Woman…Why?    o    I could pick any number of Leather Women pioneers who have pursued equality and promoted bootblack visibility as my favorite Leather Woman.  I appreciate all those contributions with my whole heart; however, my favorite Leather Woman is my friend Jesbian.  I look up to her in so many ways.  She gives beautiful service, she is young but accomplished and represents the contributions of the next generation that is so hungry to engage in leadership roles.  Jesbian consistently seeks out littles and critters to make space for individuals that often don’t have a refuge in leather spaces.  She is fun, witty, kind and caring.  She is someone that I love dearly and respect enormously.  She positively impacts the lives of every person she meets in every corner of the world.  She is Leather.

 

Published in International Leather
Saturday, 07 March 2015 22:32

IMsBB 2015 Contestant: Just Angel

JustAngelTLJphotoName:  Angel
Current Title: none (previous titles: Southwest Bootblack 2014 and Ms. Great Plains Olympus Leather 2008, 2009)
City, State: Norman Oklahoma
 
Regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3)
Southwest Leather Conference January 21st-24th, 2016 
Kink Weekend July 18th-20th, 2015
Women’s International Leather Legacy Weekend July 31st- August 2nd, 2015
 
Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: Leather garter belt it has a pocket made to hold a can of soap and a can of polish, with places to hook in rags, toys, or restraints. Hell it looks dead sexy over tight jeans. http://www.idetoys.com/
 

TLJ-VT: Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor (feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or  less.
IMsL Contestant Angel: Yes I have many sponsors and supporters that have helped me in many ways. My official  three amazing sponsors are  
a)     The Red Dragons Riding Club:
The Red Dragons Riding Club have supported me throughout my title year as Southwest Bootblack 2014 and have generously agreed to continue their support during my run for International Ms. Bootblack.

b)  Leather Masters
A long time customer and former employee, it has been my pleasure to further the cause of people who give so much back to our community.

c)     The Dallas Eagle
The Dallas Eagle my bar of heart and while things change over time it will always will feel like my home bar.

Published in International Leather

tabitha imsbb contestant 2015Name: slave tabitha arie
Current Title: None past title: Southwest Bootblack 2009
City, State: Phoenix, AZ

Website (if any)  askmenetwork.com,  Facebook: /AskMe Network, Twitter: @AskMeNetwork

Regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3)
•    Team lead for graphic design and bootblack lounge for the Southwest Leather Conference (SWLC)
•    Always bootblacking at many local events such as Mr. Phoenix Leather and Southwest Leather Sir/boy & Community Bootblack

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear
It would have to be my Red Sugar Fluevogs gifted to me by my Master. They are my high femme boots.  For bar wear (I am usually bootblacking), I love to wear my 16 inch Carolina Linesman Boots.  Both pairs make me feel powerful in different ways.

TLJ-VT: Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor (feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less.
IMsL Contestant tabitha: I am being sponsored by Fantasies in Leather from Georgia, which in owned and operated by Archer and Elegant, both are fabulous craftsman. They sell beautiful custom leather and metal items. Elegant and I have become fast bootblack friends since I have started being part of Southwest Leather Conference.
My other sponsor is RnB Leather owned by Robert Schenberg.  Robert is a great person and gives so much to the local Phoenix community. He deserves your support.  I am so happy to have both sponsoring me this year. He just recently opened up a storefront...and he sells Huberd's!
Websites:
www.fantasiesinleather.com and www.etsy.com/shop/FantasiesInLeather
www.rnbleather.com

Published in International Leather
Sunday, 08 March 2015 06:32

IMsBB 2015 Contestant: IrishGrrl

IrishName : IrishGrrl
Current Title : Ms. Texas Leather 2015
City, State Oakland, Ca.

Website (if any) https://bootblackingbabe.wordpress.com

Regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3)
Southplains Leatherfest
IMsL
Folsom Street Fair

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear
Jump Boots!

TLJ-VT: Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor (feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less.
IMsL Contestant IrishGrrl: My sponsor is Texas Leather Productions, owned by Jeffrey Payne, International Mr. Leather 2009.

Texas Leather has produced International Mr. Leather and International Ms. Leather titleholders. There is a rich history in the Leather Titleholder Community, and Texas Leather works to promote the continuation of learning, sharing, educating, honoring, and working together to keep our rich history alive.

Texas Leather Productions

Published in International Leather
Saturday, 01 April 2017 10:43

IMsBB 2017 Contestant: Elisa

ElisaLeatherJournal

Elisa

Great Lakes Bootblack 2016

Metro Detroit, Michigan

Community events:
Weekly kink and fetish educational classes by the BOE in metro Detroit.
I co-host a monthly sex and play party called Fevered Nights.
I just restarted the Detroit Area Bootblacks' Laboratory with access to a new venue space.

Maybe it's cliched, but my favorite leather item is definitely my custom engineer boots. I have very hard-to-fit calves and these have been the first pair of boots that truly and comfortably have fit me from day one. I wear them to bars and events but I also wear them to hard work meetings or on days when I'm feeling tired and scared and like I need my people, my community, walking with me.

 

Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? 

I am sponsored by Great Lakes Leather Alliance (http://greatlakesleather.org/), Great Lakes Leather Alliance -- Michigan and the Michigan Band of Brothers.

These are all amazing contests and organizations, but I am especially grateful for the Michigan Band of Brothers, which I've been involved with since the summer of 2014, prior to ever holding a title. We're a gender-inclusive titleholder support and preparation group. I would never have even considered running for my state title in 2015 if not for their generous time in answering questions, convincing me, supporting and helping me.

 

 

Tell me about your favorite charity.    The Leather Archives and Museum is my favorite charity. I can't express the value in collecting and storing our past, which legitimizes who we are as leather people, in a publicly accessible museum. There is no way to know how to move forward into the future without understanding and relying on who we were and where we have been as a community.

 

Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.    I think community service is critical. We are a self-organizing bunch of folks. If someone wants an event, an experience, a venue to exist, that person has to put in the hard work and hours to create it and therefore enrich the community as a whole.

I think that the vast majority of what I do in the leather and fetish communities is community service. I'm fiercely dedicated to education -- I want to be able to play knowledgeably and play with people who are similarly knowledgeable. I want people to feel safe and comfortable to explore edgy experiences and I think that that can only happen with education and mentorship. I'm also fiercely dedicated to creating a culture of sex positivity and I co-host a party for that explicit reason. I think sex positivity happens when we stop talking about how we need a more sex positive culture and instead start enacting it in our play spaces and venues.

 

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?    I first heard someone give a class on Leather 101 and their personal leather journey back in June of 2013. He talked about HIRT -- Honor, Integrity, Respect, and Truth -- and that he looked at himself in the mirror every day and asked whether or not he had HIRT that day. That shook me down to my core. I had always felt that way about my life, but I did not consider that there was a community within the broader fetish community that valued those principles and lived them out every day. I think HIRT, combined with an unwavering commitment to authenticity in all elements of my life and a fundamental respect and interest in our history, is what makes me Leather. I am a Bootblack because it's part of who I am at the deepest core of my soul. I knew it from the first moment that I saw someone doing boots in front of me that I was meant to be that person working on the boots. Bootblacking is the deepest expression of my desires to love and care for people from a position of both power (in terms of technical expertise) and vulnerability (in terms of revealing my desire to serve and trusting that the service will be valued).

Published in International Leather
Saturday, 01 April 2017 11:45

IMsBB 2017 Contestant: Bootblack Nona

BOOTBLACK NONA USE

Name: Bootblack Nona

Title: SA Bootblack 2017

City/Country: Cape Town - South Africa

Assist with organising SA Leather social events and the annual leather contest.

Favourite Leather item: My favourite piece of leather is my SA Bootblack South Africa Stole! (Sponsored by Shane Hutchinson of Abraided Leather) The first of its kind to be in South Africa.

Is your run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor (feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less.    I am sponsored by SA Leather South Africa. We are small but powerful group of leather people who are dedicated to the continuous growth in our diversity. We regularly hold workshops so we can educate each other and believe in supporting each other completely. We uphold our constitution with the highest regard and we do our best to give back to the NPOs we support.

My involvement in SA Leather is being part of the committee, to assist with the organising of our contest and being the first bootblack for SA Leather it will be important for me to build a solid foundation for future bootblacks within SA Leather South Africa.

 

 

Tell me about your favorite charity.    My favourite charity is Childhood Cancer Foundation SA - CHOC which supports children who have cancer. My connection with this organisation is from when my sister was diagnosed with a rare tumour; CHOC stepped in to assist us. They were there if we needed emotional support or guidance in any way. During the two years that my sister had treatment I saw how CHOC was there for many families at time when things seemed uncertain.

Annually there is a tattoo-a-thon that I participate in   and this fundraising effort helps to keep Childhood Cancer Foundation SA going so that they can continue to help families. They also see it as a chance to also break the stereotypical view about people with tattoos.

 

Tell me in your own words how you feel about community service.    Community service is important because giving back to your community without expecting something back in return helps you grow as a person. I find it up lifting knowing that I have done the right thing by assisting at an event or people in need. I truly believe that the more you give to the community; the more you will get back in ways that you don’t expect.  

 

What makes you a Leather Woman and/or Bootblack?    It’s not only the love of wearing leather, playing in leather and looking after leather that makes me a bootblack but it’s my dedication to the community, being involved in a fundraiser for a charity and to strive to be supportive of the people within community that makes me a bootblack.

Published in International Leather

IMSL Contestant slavegirl marionName: slavegirl marion

Current Title: Oklahoma Ms Leather 2015

City, State: Muskogee, Oklahoma

Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3):

Regular community events that you produce or participate 1. Oklahoma Ms Leather contest - planning committee member beginning this year; 2. Oklahoma Mr Leather contest - planning committee member since 2012; and 3. Kink Weekend OKC - volunteer and planning committee member since 2013.

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: The boots I purchased last year from the IMsL contestant silent auction. I later learned that they had been IMsL 2015, Sarge’s boot camp boots. These boots pair well with the Leather skirt gifted to me by a dear friend.

Is your IMsL run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor:  

I have three great sponsors: Xpressions Tulsa LC – Tulsa’s Premiere dungeon, play space, and meeting place, where I have been a volunteer staff member for more than six years; the Tulsa Eagle – the best gay & Leather bar in the Bible belt, my favorite hangout; and the Rose Rock girls of Leather – this great group of people are the producers of the Oklahoma Ms Leather title. The RRgoL participate in an assortment of charity fundraisers; perform various forms of service as a group, and individually, throughout the Leather, kink, BDSM, and vanilla communities.

 

Published in International Leather

VT-TLJ: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization?

DW: My sponsor is Blackout Leather Productions, Inc. They formed in 1997 as the producers of the revitalized Oregon State Leather titles and co-organizers of Oregon Leather Pride Week. In 2011, they added the Oregon State Bootblack title to their contest. It's their mission to make the gay and lesbian leather, BDSM, and fetish communities more visible while combating the prejudices held against them. As the Oregon State Bootblack 2013, I work with them toward this goal by participating on their board, participating in local and regional events, teaching, and raising funds for local charities.

Published in International Leather
Saturday, 01 April 2017 12:53

Meet the 2017 IMsL IMsbb Contestants

imslbb

Meet the 13 Individuals who will compete in San Jose Enjoy!

Published in International Leather

kylie ms sydney leather 2015Name: Miss BEEHave

Current Title: Ms. Sydney Leather 2015

City, State: Sydney, Australia

Website & (if any) regular community events that you produce or participate (limit 3):

Sydney Leather Pride Assoc.
Sydney Femme Guild  
Extra Dirty

Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear: Full length leather barista apron....I bought this custom made piece from a well known quality leather maker in Sydney, Jo King.  I love that it can worn as a formal or informal piece, and my waist size doesn't matter as its fully adjustable.  I often wear sequin hotpants underneath, a treasure I picked up from San Francisco Folsom in 2014 for a cheeky surprise when I leave the room.

Is your IMsL run in April sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? If so Please tell me about your Sponsor:  

My major sponsor is Marquis De Sade in Melbourne Australia - a gorgeous bespoke fetish wear designer and corsetiere.  We have a shared spark, a contagious energy when we talk of the promotion of visibility of leather women in Australia.  Marquis De Sade offer customised steel boned corsets, leather ladieswear, leather menswear, fantasy costumes, corseted dresses, fetish wear, with online tailoring, their work is available to international visitors to order.

 

Published in International Leather

ccreaneimagesHS4MediaAbove: Christina Court (center) is surrounded by documentary participants on the red carpet debut of her award winning documentary High Shine.

In 1998, Amy Marie Meek announced at International Ms Leather (IMsL), that there would be a new Title for the Leather Women’s Community, and in 1999 the Title for International Ms Bootblack was erected. Now 17 years later, a Documentary about the Journey of the female-identified Bootblack Titleholders has been summed up in a one film, High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack.

After IMsL’s 25th Anniversary, Jayson Daboi (a bootblack and IMsBB 2010 ) felt it was time to tell their story, the Journey of the International Ms Bootblacks. He wanted to tell the story of how significant it was to be a female-identified bootblack, and how they had impacted and made changes in the Leather Community...he and his good friend, L.e. LeGirl, another Leather Community Member, wanted to bring it into part of the 15 year IMsBB Celebration. They had come up with a proposal that included the Documentary. They weren’t sure how they were going to do it, but they began the process anyway. L.e. LeGirl dedicated herself to the fundraising, having Leather & Lace parties all across the country. They wanted to be able to have as many IMsBB as they could, interviewed on film, and their stories told.  In late 2011, Jayson Daboi approached Christina Court about making the documentary, and she agreed to take on the endeavor which included, coordination, research and production of "The Bootblack Film". It became a second job, spanning just over 3 years to completion this year, 2015.

SEE FULL PHOTO GALLERY OF HIGH SHINE RED CARPET HERE!

In 1998, Amy Marie Meek announced at International Ms Leather (IMsL), that there would be a new Title for the Leather Women’s Community, and in 1999 the Title for International Ms Bootblack was erected. Now 17 years later, a Documentary about the Journey of the female-identified Bootblack Titleholders has been summed up in a one film, High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack.

To understand what it takes to make this Documentary, you have to remember, film was in different formats, and at various places.  There was dated film that reached all the way back to 1986 that was located in storage units in Berkeley. There were boxes of film in a basement in Omaha, Nebraska, and someone had to go get it. Christina had no idea of what some of the old film had on it, was it even salvageable, was it even useable...This Project also included getting as many IMsBB Bootblacks together and recording the stories of willing IMsBB Bootblacks. Then taking these various montages, and combining it all together into one film. With the help, coordination and assistance of various individuals, the dream making a documentary of International Ms Bootblacks became a reality, and High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack was born.

Last month, “High Shine” finally made it's debut at the Cinekink Festival in New York City. In attendance were many of the individuals that not only helped bring the film together, such as L.E. LeGirl, but also a few of the International Ms Bootblacks, including the first of the IMsBB Titleholders, Leslie Anderson, IMsBB 2011 kd aka Katie Diamond, who also designed the challenge coin that is used as the logo, and Pony, IMsBB 2009.  Making a documentary is not an easy task, it takes tireless dedication, unwavering focus, a lot of help and a lot of time.

I decided to sit down with Christina Court to discuss what brought her to making this her first film, how she got through it, and a few insights into the process and just what it took to make this Documentary.

 

Q: Why did you make this particular Documentary on Female Bootblacks, or what inspired you to make this particular Documentary?

The better question is who inspired me to make a documentary about female-identified bootblacks...and that would be IMsBB 2010 Jayson DaBoi and IMsBB 2009 Pony.

In 2011-2012, I assisted then-IMsL owner Glenda Rider and the folks at Kink Academy with some of the storyboarding aspects of Sisterhood of the Sash, a film short that profiled the International Ms Leather Titleholders. I came into the project toward the very end, as they were making a push toward meeting the CineKink 2012 deadline.  I loved working on the film project and working with Graydancer, who was the film's editor. After CineKink 2012, Glenda began to talk about the IMsBB Documentary that L.E. LeGirl and Jayson DaBoi proposed to her as part of a larger IMsBB XV Celebration. I agreed to help with the research/directing/storyboarding aspects of the film.  It was at the GLLA (Great Lakes Leather Alliance) Weekend that I sat with Jayson DaBoi and smoked cigars until 4am, and agreed to take on the project.

 

Q: I would like for you to shed some light on how hard it was to make this Documentary...and what are some of the things you had to do in putting this story together?

I started doing the research for this film in August 2011. I live less than 15 minutes away from Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M), which is an exceptional advantage to me as a researcher. From 2011 through August 2013, I was also serving on the IMsL staff as the Historian and Archivist. Holding this role in tandem helped simply because it was my "job" to track down lost and rare IMsL organization materials...and I still have some "on loan" media materials that I utilized in the High Shine film that, within the next two years, will also end up at LA&M for future researchers and scholars. I spent much of my "free time" seeking out materials, converting footage from antiquated media sources.  

Then on to the interviews of the IMsBB Alumni. Most people don't realize that, to prepare for a massive, six-person film crew, one-time film shoot like we did at IMsL 2013 requires a heap of planning and organization and knowledge of the subject's backgrounds. Nine of the IMsBB alumni were in attendance, and I needed to know a bit of each of their stories, what their title year looked like, all before we put a camera on them or set foot in the IMsL 2013 hotel. Much of this information was buried within unconverted VHS tapes or without a centralized depository of images, articles, etc., it becomes a wild and challenging mystery.

I've read every single piece all the way down to the grocery lists scribbled on scratch paper.  I have watched every IMsL contest I could locate. In order to utilize old footage, which was mostly stored on VHS and mini discs, I needed to convert everything and do some sound and image editing before even considering whether or not they were "usable" in the High Shine film. These media conversions alone have taken hours upon hours, and I did them at night and on weekends when I wasn't working my full-time professional job. On average, since late 2011, I've worked between 30-40 hours a week on something related to IMsL or IMsBB history…

 

Q: Are there particular moments or people in the film that you feel we should really pay attention to in the Documentary?

I think it all depends on the motivation that brings a person to watch the film--each person walks away learning something "new," even if they've been in the Leather Community a long while or just trying to understand what some of this "Leather stuff" is about.

What strikes me the most about the International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB) and female-identified Bootblack "story" is how those who hear the calling to be a Bootblack work and support one another, and I am often stunned and humbled by just how close knit the Leather community Bootblacks are with one another. On a different, level, I find that the stories that the IMsBB’s tell about busting through barriers in the gay male Leather community to be inspiring and empowering...and the changes that have happened in terms of female accessibility to Leather space has been fast and furious over the past 15 years.

 

ccreaneimagesHS9MediaQ: Throughout the film, were there any in particular bootblacks that have touched or inspired you on a personal level?

The first International Ms Leather Leslie Anderson (IMsBB 1999) and I have worked closely together over the years on the High Shine film and within the Leather Archives & Museum's Leather Preservation & Conservation Project. In watching her work, I see the amount of research needed to keep our Leather alive--and not just research about leathers, but about so many aspects of the Leather Community. Loving Leather also requires someone to learn their Leather history, and Leslie embodies this.

 

Q: Was there anything in particular that you personally learnt about Bootblacking?

While making this film, I learned so much from delving so deep into Bootblack history and bootblacking.  What's most striking to me was that I quickly learned that I couldn't separate the art and act of bootblacking from the Bootblack her/him/hirself.  While there are some basic techniques, some standardized tools and beloved products, Bootblacks don't do everything the same. In fact, more than one person I interviewed said, "Ask 10 Bootblacks a question, and you'll get 20 answers in reply."

 

Q: And in making this Documentary, how has doing this changed you, if it has?

First, let me say this: I absolutely loved having the honor of interviewing the IMsBBs and talking with so many Bootblacks. Bootblacks give in amazing ways. Interviewing them and then reviewing,  and spending so much time with the footage containing their stories of joys and sorrows has filled me in ways that are nothing less than spiritual. I will always be grateful for those whom we interviewed, and those having the courage to be so vulnerable and open to me and my team.

Trust me: it's not easy working a full time job, then coming home to try and work on a film that's financially breaking you... I think it's also important to be very honest about this experience. Since 2011, I have gained 70 pounds from sitting at my professional management job, then going home and sitting and working on editing and media conversions until 1am nightly.  My back went out on me in August 2014, and I ended up bedridden for almost two weeks. I took unpaid leave of absence from work specifically to get through a particularly research-heavy section of the film between 2013 and 2014.  It is exceptionally hard to try and work through rich and empowering footage, all the while bill collectors call. In essence, this film has made me "Leather Strong".

 

Q: Why did you choose Cinekink as your first place to debut the Documentary?

CineKink was the "obvious" choice for debuting High Shine for two specific reasons. It was where the first film project upon which I worked, Sisterhood of the Sash, debuted. For me, applying to CineKink and hoping I could do my world premiere at CineKink NYC, was a coming home and a full circle journey of sorts, and I am so pleased that things unfolded as they did.

It was at CineKink Chicago where I saw Mike Skiff's film, Kink Crusaders for the first time. It is a documentary about the IML experience and the IML 2008 contest, and I loved it. I remember watching the film and wondering why the International Women's contests didn't have anything equivalent and thinking that Leatherwomen should work to change that fact. Little did I know that, shortly thereafter, I'd be involved in creating that change and that, in 2013, I'd be working with Mike Skiff himself to create a feature-length film about female-identified Bootblacks and the IMsBB Title.

 

Q: Now that the film has been completed and it is out there to be seen by the public, how would you like it to impact people?

I think the best narrators are invisible to the story being presented. Now that the film is finished and being shared, it's my hope that, during a viewing of my film, I am forgotten...that would be the highest compliment for me to receive. In fact, after seeing the film, rather than turning and thinking of me, it's my greatest hope that folks turn and think about whether or not they've been tipping Bootblacks the amount of money that they're truly worth and giving Bootblacks the degree of respect they deserve.

 

Q: What do you want the current or future women, who are interested in bootblacking to know, understand or learning from this Documentary?

I wish for anyone who feels that they have a Bootblack Heart or the bootblacking bug to embrace that part of themselves, and never be embarrassed to reach out to another Bootblack. I find this generosity of time and spirit consistent with most Bootblacks I meet.  In learning the art, they hold onto the traditions of mentors and those who've passed, and in being such an inclusive bunch that often sees the "Bootblack" identity before sex, gender, orientation or presentation, they illustrate what could be the future for Leather, and in caring for others' Leather wear.


Q: Do you see yourself making any other Documentaries in the near future? or will you take a different film avenue?

Now that I've finished High Shine, I can also begin to move through a backlog of other interviews of Leather community members I've filmed (or inherited from previous videographers) for the LA&M Fireside Chat series, and I can begin to dive full throttle into the IML video production work needed to make the 2015 contest visuals look sexy as hell.

I have many "dream" documentaries I'd love to create and share with our community, so let's see what's ends up on my plate next. What I do know is that having the intent to provide a voice to people and resources that may otherwise be overlooked, forgotten or misunderstood.

Published in Society & Arts

Survived by her life partner Margaret Begley. Meek had been suffering illness and had suffered several falls over the last few months but details surrounding her death this morning are unknown at this time.

Amy Marie was known to many as Daddy, Bare or Papa or Aunt Bare.  The nickname Bare was short for Bare Images, which was the company that Meek ran that actually held ownership of IMsL during Meeks "IMsL Gen 2".

Amy Marie "Bare" Meek with IMsBB 03 Boi Eddie Shared by a Screen Shot from High Shine by Christina Court of High Moo Productions

Perhaps best known for her IMsL/IMsBB Legacy, her title journey started in 1992 with Ms Nebraska Leather. Then in 1993 she won International Ms Leather. In 1994 she purchased IMsL from the board and ran the contest 1995-2006.  It was under her ownership that the contest grew into the weekend event style we enjoy today. It was also Meek who approached Chuck Renslow, owner of the then co-ed International Bootblack Contest, and convinced him to endorse splitting the contest in two. Creating the International Ms. Bootblack Contest in 1999.

Meek is the first of the IMsL/IMsBB Alumni to pass away. Our hearts go out to each and every reader whose life was made better by this phenomenal woman.

Meek was the first female to judge IML, however, she was so much more than a titleholder. Amy Marie has been described as trailblazer. An out and proud lesbian since the 80’s. She came out in high school amid a climate that was less than ideal or supportive.  She was also an activist. Meek was a member of the 1993 March on Washington as well as a rabid backer for the DSM-IV revisions.

Amy Marie was definitely her own person and lived life on her own terms.  She was an influence to those who sought out how to be masculine women and have pride in one's self and their community, no matter what community one’s path would take them to. An unorthodox sense of humor, Meek gave hugs that tried to heal the world.  Even when she didn’t understand or appreciate a person's view she still loved and encouraged them to follow their heart.

Unapologetic, strong, brave, and troubled, Amy Marie “Bare” Meek was a Leather Icon. Her methods of community involvement made for some legendary battles. But, one thing is for certain, Amy Marie Meek forever changed the leather landscape for all women.

 

Published in Leather Obituaries
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