Tim Starkey, AKA "Tim Bootblack," passed away on November 9, 2013 at UMass Memorial Medical Center after a complicated course of illness and long hospitalization. He was 50 years old.
Tim was a dual titleholder, and he took both jobs very seriously. A native of Worcester, MA, he won the title of Mr. Boston Leather 2009. On May 30, 2010 at IML in Chicago, he went on to win International Mr. Bootblack 2010.
Tim was a member of Mama's Family, "Mama's Boot Masseur," Delta International, and New England Leather Alliance. Through his years of service in the Leather world, he received a FLAG (Fits Like a Glove) Community Service Award and the 2009 Toronto Leather Impact Award. He was also nominated for a Pantheon of Leather Award.
A dedicated Leatherman and BDSM activist, Tim traveled all over the U.S. and Canada to spend time with his Leather and Kink brothers and sisters. He could often be seen leading bootblacking classes or roundtable discussions, volunteering, or just having fun. Among his favorite hangout spots were P-Town, New York City, and of course, the Boston Ramrod.
By Tynan Fox
Twin Cities Leather Weekend 2016 concluded this year with attendance of just under 2,000 people over three days of events.
The weekend kicked off with a great Meet and Greet, which included a raffle, contestant number draw, and Twin Cities Leather & Latte’s unveiling of their new logo and plans for the future. This was followed by a women and men’s kink/Leather night. Flogging, bondage, and paddling were clearly represented.
The contest judges this year included: Head Judge Andrew Bertke of The Atons of Minneapolis, Mr. Tristate Leather 2015 Bolt Donner, Mr. Ireland Leather 2015 Kevin Murphy, Mr. Phoenix Leather 2015 Pup Tugger, Mr. San Francisco Leather 2015 Trevor Black, Ms Iowa Leather 2014 Lucket Kiche, International Leatherboy 2015 ASH! and Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2014 Greg Menzel.
The Tallymaster was Mr. DC Eagle 2011 Michael Kramer. Assisting Mr. Kramer and the ASL Interpreter for the weekend was Great Lakes Leatherboy 2015 Boy Woody.
Four contestants ran for Mr. TCL; Steven Sinclair of Minneapolis, MN, Anthony S. of Iowa City, IA, Justin Anderson of Minneapolis, MN and Emerson Kellogg of Minneapolis, MN. Emerson Kellogg emerged the winner and was sashed Mr. Twin Cities Leather 2016.
The event included featured bootblack Erick, the first and current Alaska State Bootblack.
Sunday Brunch sponsored by Nicollet Diner was hugely popular, where TCL&L presented the 2016 Bobbie Smith Community First! Award to John Bigger for his selfless donations of his time and energy.
The weekend closed with the Sunday Saloon Shower contest where a number of the weekend attendees jumped in the shower to win a chance at $500.
The event sponsors include Twin Cities Leather and Latte, The Saloon MN, Uberlube, Si Novelties, Nicollet Diner, Smitten Kitten, Everett Allen Photography, Ox Balls, Slam Dunk Lube, Leatherstock, Nasty Pig,
Instigator Magazine, Coit Photography, Twin Cities girls of Leather, CLAW, IML, ILW, and BearSKN Underwear.
The winner receives $1,000 in custom Leather from Twin Cities Leather and all travel and accommodations to IML, CLAW, and MAL. Twin Cities Leather, in partnership with the other contest sponsors, takes great pride in strongly supporting their titleholder.
As a former Leather titleholder, I have a vested interest in ensuring that the Leather culture continues in perpetuity. Over the past few decades, what that "means" has continually been reshaped to best suit the needs of the current crop of Leather enthusiasts and the times in which they live. One thing, however, has remained consistent: the outgoing generation reviles the changes brought about by their incoming replacements.
Perhaps the one stable meeting place for those in the Leather community has been the ubiquitous "Leather bar" - that often dingy, dimly lit bastille where the local Leather denizens gather to preen as much as their restrictive clothing (or lack thereof) will allow. Beneath the layers of posturing and displaying, however, there are turbulent conversations being had about the future of these bastions of our culture, and what that future may mean for the community.
Before I delve into the content of these conversations, I should take a moment to describe my own experience. I have moved a grand total of 43 times, the most recent in April from Los Angeles, CA to Morgantown, WV. As someone who was raised on the outskirts of the Leather community in New York City in the late 80s, only to be transplanted into the rural South in my teen years, I was lucky enough to experience a variety of different "scenes" along my journey to my current state of being. When I first started going out to bars, the only options around were of the "small-town gay bar" variety - a hodgepodge of every social type, gender, and sexual proclivity. It is largely due to these vastly different experiences that I am so open to change. The decor and clientelle aside, these bars are the most similar to Leather bars that I have found in that they provide patrons both with a sense of belonging to a community and of being on the outskirts as an anomaly within that community.
These things having been established, please allow me to begin:
When I first moved to los angeles, I found myself voluntarily thrust into the middle of the Leather titleholder community, and by way of my then-partner, the Avatar education non-profit. As an educator, myself, I have always been concerned with ensuring that whenever people engage in any type of sexual activity, they're smart (and educated) about it. At one of my first educational sessions (on the subject of fisting), I entered into a rather heated debate with a very prominent figure in the LA Leather community over the current state of Leather bars.
"I don't even like to go out to (redacted) on a Friday night! How is it that I'm the one being given the stink eye over my attire in my own goddamned bar?"
Flip flops, tennis shoes, outsiders, and, worst of all, women - no irritant was too small for my friend, each of them more of an affront to his sensibilities than the last.
"I miss the days of enforced dress codes," was his, and the most common, refrain when arguing that the Leather bars just "aren't what they used to be," and to some degree, I agree with him. When I made my first (legal) forays into the Leather bar scene, it was so I could find for myself a sense that I was not the outsider standing on the sidelines while the rest of my peers played in the big game. That I was into BDSM and fetish gear happened to be my Scarlet Letter in the small-town gay bars; it was in these Leather bars that I sought acceptance and, most horrifying to me, now, admittance - a feeling that I had been allowed into a special event to which few were ever invited.
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I played the part and donned the drag of my Leather compatriots, but still, there was something missing from my experience. While I had all but forced my way into this exclusive brotherhood, the reality was that, even though I get on famously with the 40-plus crowd, I still found their approach to enjoying their scene still too conservative for my tastes. So many rules; so many protocols; so much bullshit.
Over time, I began to realize that, while after a few (dozen) drinks I could find myself having a good time, I always felt like the Leather bar scene was such a compartmentalized part of my life. I was cut off from the friends I held dearest because, as my friend so vehemently pointed out, they were not welcome on this field of play. My female, straight, bisexual, and "normal" friends often found themselves on the receiving end of distasteful and inartful signals that they had wandered into the wrong part of town; that they'd better get off the old man's lawn.
It was at this time that I began to notice the existence of those to whom I refer as "The Gerontocracy" - a group of gay men over the age of 40 who played a very vital roll in the late 80s and early 90s in helping to ensure that LGBT rights and causes were advance, but who, in their (as my friend put it) "senescence," have come to find themselves being not-so-gently shoved out of the spotlight only to be replaced by those whom they feel to be either too incapable or too incompetent to take up the mantle they so publically bore.
"The younger generation doesn't care about our traditions; they don't respect us," my friend averred, as I sat across from him wearing my title vest and medallion at the tender age of 28, the four pieces of Leather I could afford clinging to my form as I endured his tirade. Was I so dismissive of our Leather heritage? Was I really the cause of the downfall of the Leather bar?
In a word, "No." Economically speaking, the times had to change. The Leather bar faces a unique challenge ahead of them because, if this is the attitude of those in our community who are supposed to be leading and teaching the new generation, they are not replacing themselves at their rate of expiration. Younger people have fewer economic advantages than their elders, and have had to make some not-so-tough choices: $250 for a pair of Leather pants or rent? I'll go with rent. And so they go to the Leather bars in what they have, more often because they are the bars where they are ostensibly less likely to wind up on the receiving end of shady pretty boys because they can't afford to wear high-end clothing and get into the VIP lounge. What they often find, however, is an older generation no more forgiving of their status than their A-Gay peers.
And so, I posit this:
Rather than bitch about how the Leather bars are falling from grace and devolving from dens of iniquity into just another gay bar, why not welcome all comers into the fold and educate them about what we find so damn wonderful about our culture and our community. The days of the oft-mourned Leather bar are gone, and I say, "Good riddance." We have to realize that the Leather community is no longer the only game in town, and if the newer generations can't find acceptance for the sexual deviances with us, they will most assuredly find it elsewhere.
Martine Ling Chu (aka BadSchoolgirl on Fetlife), the current Ms Central Canada Olympus Leather, has become the first female pledge to The Ottawa Knights, a formerly all-male, Leather and Denim club located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
In November of 2013 the Ottawa Knights amended their constitution to allow all people who reached the age of 21 and who had a common interest in the mandate of the club to apply for membership. Given that Martine had received much support from the club as Ms Central Canada Olympus Leather, and was volunteering at the club's bar nights, she felt that it would be appropriate for her to seek membership. She submitted her application in late March of 2014 and at the club meeting on June 19 she became their first female pledge. Martine's husband, Jeff, joined the Ottawa Knights in 2012. With her appointment, they are the first heterosexual married couple to be members. Martine and Jeff were also the first married couple to compete in the International Olympus Leather contest in 2012.
Empire City MC Folsom Street East. Photo by Chaz Antonelli
ECMC’s Motorcycle Weekend
Empire City MC’s Memorial Day Motorcycle Weekend was simply amazing this May at The Ranch in New York State – everything from the ride up, the ride back, the fantastic meals served all weekend-long, the camaraderie of the guests – we couldn’t have had a better time. The day trips were fun and included: Cycle Stop, Extreme Biker Leather, Ground Rounds (prime beef hamburgers) at Bill Gray’s and Abbot's Frozen Custard. On Sunday afternoon, we had a pizza-baking contest. We were all exposed to craft beers, thanks to the folks from Three Rivers MC. There was even a very touching collaring ceremony on Friday night! Sunday, anti-road gremlin bells were presented to three new bikes/bikers: Jack, Erik and Earl.
You are formally invited to enjoy fun and debauchery in the corn fields of Iowa October 4-6, 2013 in the form of the 25th Annual Iowa Leather Weekend. The titles to be awarded during the weekend will be Mr. Iowa Leather and for the first time, Ms Iowa Leather. Unlike most contests that combine the contests into one day, Iowa Leather will host the Ms Iowa Leather competition on Friday, October 4 and the Mr. Iowa Leather contest on Saturday Oct 5. A continuing tradition is the partnership with Le Chateau Exotique as the official Leather vender and Liberty Gifts as the official lube and toys vendor.
Judges for the Ms Iowa Leather contest will include Elena Franco, owner/producer Heart of America Leather Weekend, & Producer Kink-U Kansas City; Sarha, International Ms Leather 2013; Mike Pagano, cofounder of Titans of the Midwest and Mr. Iowa Leather 2011; His Most Imperial Majesty, Matthew ‘Wait for it’ Aspire, Emperor for Reign XX of the Imperial Court of Iowa; and Her Most Imperial Majesty Muffy Rosenberg, Empress for Reign XX of the Imperial Court of Iowa. Mark Turnage, Mr. Iowa Leather 2013, will be MC for the evening and Pup Itus will be the tally master.
The Blazing Saddle will be the host for the 25th anniversary of the Mr. Iowa Leather contest. The winner of this contest will go on to represent Iowa at International Mister Leather XXXVI competition in Chicago, IL May 2014. The panel of judges for this year's MIAL contest will be Chad Neil, co-founder KC boys of Leather, Chester Munroe, former Mr. Chicago leather, Sir Papa Bear, Great Lakes Leather Sir 2013, Jesse Driscoll, Mr. Midwest Rubber 2013, former Mr. Blazing Saddle, executive board member Titans of the Midwest, and Mr. Friendly - Team Iowa co-founder, and Mark Turnage, Mr. Iowa Leather 2013 and Top 20 IML XXXV contestant. The emcee will be David Watt, founder of the Mr. Friendly program and former Mr. Michigan Leather. The tally master will be Pup Itus and the den daddy for the evening is John Jack Trujillo.
A Victory Brunch will be held on Sunday, October 6 at the Blazing Saddle at noon. The Iowa Leather travel fund will be the beneficiary for the Victory Beer Bust fundraiser held at the Blazing Saddle at 2 PM.
Anyone interested in competing should contact any Iowa Leather staff member or former title holder for the application. Applications may also be downloaded from the Blazing Saddle website.
The NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) is inviting Leather / BDSM / Kinkfolk to take its Mental Health Survey. They would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences.
The NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University's Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations - one college-aged and the other LGBT-identified.
The NCSF will use these results to help with its advocacy, benefiting both existing and developing programs. Specifically, the study's results will assist in educating law enforcement, legal and psychological professionals about the practices and mental health of BDSM practitioners.
The survey will take approximately 35 minutes of one's time.
This survey is anonymous. Neither the NCSF nor outside researchers have access to any identifying information about participants.
By Anthony Harmon
January 26-29 Drummer North America held its Third Annual Drummer, Drummer Boy, and Drummer Bootblack contest at the re-known Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, NV with the winners being Drummer - Jack MacCullum, Drummer Boy - Pup Cruze and Drummer Bootblack - Boy Tig. The annual Brotherhood Award, voted on by the contestants, went to Boy Tig.
The members of the Atons of Minneapolis elected a new slate of officers for 2014. During the December 2013 business meeting the following individuals were voted into office: President, Andrew Bertke; Vice President, Tim Holden; Secretary, Rob Anderson; and Treasurer, Jayson Glynn.
In addition, Tim Holden will serve as Membership Chair and Rob Anderson will serve as Social Chair.
The Atons would like to thank everyone in the community for helping making the 2013 Atons Holiday Fundraiser a big success. This year the Atons selected Clare Housing as the benefactor for all money raised during the event. Once again, The Aliveness Project received over 450 pounds of food items donated at the door. Thanks to the many donations that were collected for the raffle/auction and photos with the Atons' Sexy Santa, Ryan Brown, Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2013 Ryan Brown, the Atons were able to present a check to Clare Housing for over $1,450.
Snowbound VII blows in to Provincetown the weekend of February 21-23. Need a winter getaway with a twist. Discounted accommodations and discounted meals, Beer Blast, White-out thermal underwear party, Educational Workshops by Full Kit Gear Shop, Chaps and Straps, Leather Dance, and hot and horny men await.
Northeast Community BootBlack 2011 and International Community Bootblack 2012 first runner-up Jay Falcon, will be on hand to shine boots throughout the weekend.
Friday's Beer Blast will start at 6 PM at the Watership Inn, 7 Winthrop Street. Check out the men vying for Mr. Snowbound 2014 and vote for your favorite with a $5 donation to the ASGCC. The dude with the most money raised will gain the title, a cash prize and be featured in all Snowbound promotions for 2015.
The White Out and “C*CK Party in thermal shirts and johns at Paramount in The Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street, starting at 9:30 PM.
ONYX: Southern California's Second Second Anniversary. Photo by Dave Rhodes
Welcome to Dave Rhodes' Hump Day - Wednesday, September 13, 2017
This column will appear here every Wednesday on TheLeatherJournal.com
ILSLb ICBB 2017 results
The International Leather Sir 2017, International Leatherboy 2017 and International Community Bootblack were held in Dallas, TX on Saturday night, September 2 in front of about 200 cheering spectators. The contests were emceed by Pantheon of Leather Man of the Year Thib Guicherd-Callin the weekend of August 31 - September 3. See photo below. See the results at https://www.theleatherjournal.com/news/international-news/item/1954-ilslb-icbb-winners-in-dallas
Mr. 501 Eagle Ron Kautz
By Jerry Rosenberry
Ron Kautz was chosen Mr. 501 Eagle 2012 at the 501 Eagle in Indianapolis, during the weekend of January 13-14. Tony Loy was the runner-up. There were three contestants.
The judging panel included Indiana Mr. Olympus 2012 Sir Greg, Mr. 501 Eagle 2011 Daniel Purtha and Indiana Falcons president TIm Barton. To round out the contest we had emcee Jerry Roseberry, den daddy Jamie McKim and tally master John Drago.
On Friday night there was a party for the outgoing Mr. 501 Eagle Daniel Purtha and a meet and greet.
At 5 PM on December 17th the contestant application for the 2017 Mr. Twin Cities Leather contest became available on the contest website. The contest producers sought a pool of five contestants to run for the title the weekend of February 17-19. 15 hours later, the fifth application had been received.
Smokeout - 20th Anniversary
Smokeout celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Las Vegas the weekend of April 4-7 at the Alexis Park Resort and Villas. Most of the hotel was reserved for Smokeout with its cigar and pipe studs, Leatherman, bikers, bears and friends, from all over the world. Smokeout is a free-flowing weekend so everyone could enjoy Las Vegas the way they wanted. Maximus had their barber chair going, the Bullet Bar and SF Eagle hosted a play area that was busy, Rocky Mountain Rebellion supplied booze and lots of Rock and Roll music, Desert Brotherhood MC ride to Lake Mead, Cigar Poker party, bootblacks, the Chicago Hellfire Club had a Scotch and Cigar social. There were groups going to cigar shops, restaurants, shows and bars. The pool area was busy at almost all hours. Great job Bob, Shadow, Leather Uniform Club of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas boys of Leather.