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Inside Leather History - Fireside Chats

Inside Leather History; A Fireside Chat conducted an amazing series of Chats in 2019. Chat producer and host Douglas OKeeffe visited London in July 2019 for a thorough interview with Roland Jaggard, the last surviving litigant to Operation Spanner. The six-part Spanner interview, and a series of ancillary interviews about the controversial British legal case, are available for viewing on the Fireside Chats YouTube channel. Then the Chats teamed with Australian not for profit KNOTbound Ltd, for an ambitious 12 Fireside Chats in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, Australia over 14 days in fall 2019. All interviews are available for viewing on the Fireside Chats YouTube channel.



fireside Chat amsterdam with Douglas OKeeffe and Martijn BakkerIn the first ever overseas Chat, Inside Leather History, a Fireside Chat was a hit in Amsterdam during Amsterdam Leather Pride.  Chat host and co-producer Douglas O’Keeffe enjoyed the privilege of interviewing Martijn Bakker, owner of Rob Amsterdam, and former owner of Drummer Magazine and The Argos Leather bar.  Held at Amsterdam’s Club Church the Chat was co-produced by LeatherHistory.eu, and was the first Fireside Chat to be broadcast live on the internet.

“The Chat was amazing” enthused O’Keeffe “I was so honored to be able to include European Leather history in the Chat series!”  Pieter Claeys of Leatherhistory.eu organized the Chat on Saturday afternoon October 29th during Leather Pride Amsterdam.  Martijn Bakker, a long time Dutch Leatherman was candid in his interview.  When asked to depict the differences between the North American and European Leather scenes Bakker depicted a different social construct.  In Europe the Leather scene isn’t as stratified as in North America Bakker explained.  Over the years Bakker saw the growth of gay liberation in Holland, the expansion of civil rights like gay marriage, and the devastation caused when HIV/AIDS decimated the community.  When HIV/AIDS struck the Dutch Leather community Rob Amsterdam (Amsterdam’s premier Leather, fetish store) saw a dramatic drop in the sale of Muir caps.  “The community was solely focused on survival” Bakker explained.  

The Dutch audience was receptive and appreciative, “but when I called for audience questions following the formal interview they fell flat” O’Keeffe said with a chuckle!  Dutch culture isn’t as loquacious as North American audiences!   The Amsterdam Chat is the first in what O’Keeffe hopes will be future Chats in cooperation with other European Leather groups.  Already Manchester Leathermen is talking about a Chat in the UK next year!

O’Keeffe co-produces the Fireside Chat series with Christina Court and Mistress Joanne Gaddy, with technical direction from Vonn Tramel.  In Amsterdam O’Keeffe was assisted by Pieter Claeys of LeatherHistory.eu, and Mr. Leather Europe 2009, Arnaud Housenard, Mr Leather Europe 2014, and Michael Roks, manager of the Eagle Amsterdam, all of whom were instrumental not only in organizing this historical Fireside Chat but also in affording critical technological capabilities.   

images/club-logos/HOTFF Toronto Logo 350.jpgThe Heart of the Flag Federation announced that Toronto Bound 2015 will include inaugural Fireside Chats, hosted by Douglas O’Keefe on Sunday, February 15 , at 2:00 PM, at Club 120, 120 Church Street.

The inaugural Fireside Chats will include conversations with boy-alex Dunlop and Duncan MacLachlan.

The Fireside Chats are a co-production of Douglas O’Keefe, Christina Court and Joanne Gaddy, in association with The Leather Archives and Museum and Heart of the Flag Federation Inc. The “Chats” seek to capture the memories, reflections, and experiences of community leaders. Presented live on the stage, in a talk show format, the Chats consist of a formal interview, followed by an audience Q & A segment. Each Chat is filmed for historical preservation in The Leather Archives and Museum. A filmed copy of Toronto Bound’s inaugural Fireside Chats will be donated to the Canadian Lesbian and Gay Archives.

Douglas O’Keefe is co-producer and host of A Fireside Chat. He is the 2004 Cell Block Shel-Don Chicago Leatherman and an IML 26 top 20 finalist. In 2013, he received the Pantheon of Leather President’s Award. He is a long-time Vital Bridges Chicago volunteer, a community educator, and author of Jeff’s Way, the true story of 9/11 flight attendant Jeffrey Collman.