As in every year, there are stories that define a year, mark a change for the better or worse, establish the end or beginning of an era, lend recognition to achievement, or just simply make a statement that cannot be forgotten. Here are ours.
The Leather Journal's Top Story of 2013
US Supreme Court overturns Proposition 8 - Marriage-ban states fall like dominoes
Not long after the United States Supreme Court ruled that the plaintiffs who sued to have Proposition 8 reinstated had no standing, enabling same sex marriages to resume in California, marriages resumed.
Only a handful of states allowed same-sex marriage at the beginning of 2013. By the end of the year, 18 states, plus the District of Columbia, permitted same-sex marriage, with a few more likely to change. The last of the bunch, Utah on December 20 because a court judge ruled their same-sex marriage ban that was voter-approved in 2004 is unconstitutional. This was the biggest surprise of all. A dagger was struck into one of the main arteries of the devil that has fought against same-sex marriage.
Beyond the Sash is a new Bear/Leather/Gear fundraising calendar, produced by Mr. Rawhide NYC 2011 and Mr. North American Bear 2012 Jed Ryan. The all-new calendar features 12 months of testosterone-soaked portraits by acclaimed male erotic photographer Richard Yates. The result is a searing combination of unapologetic, raw masculine sexuality and intimate male sensuality. From wrestling gear, to harnesses and boots, to jockstraps, right on down to men in just their Bear skin, Beyond the Sash is guaranteed to get one's temperature rising.
All the men in Beyond the Sash are dedicated community activists who "live the life," working hard and definitely playing hard. As its name suggests, Beyond the Sash features Leather and Bear titleholders and some outstanding members of the Leather/Bear/GLBT community in all their hot and hairy glory. And, for the first time, the Calendar adds a dash of searing estrogen into this mens' only after-hours party: Lady Kim Justice. Here's a rare lady with that same unapologetic, raw sexuality mentioned before. She can defintiely handle a cigar and a whip as well as any of her Leather brothers.
The dynamic nature of Washington, DC’s urban redevelopment has allowed the landlord to grant the DC Eagle yet another extension of their lease at 639 New York Avenue NW. The DC Eagle will be staying at this location though January 2014. During the weekend of Mid-Atlantic Leather the DC Eagle will be testing out their first pop-up location which is at the other end of the DC Eagle's current block - 607 New York NW, the Fringe Building.
At a time where many established Leather, gear and biker bars are closing across the globe, the DC Eagle has viewed the challenge of a location move as an opportunity to create a stable home for the DC Eagle and a destination for all members of the community. If all goes to plan the new home will be at 3701 Benning Road NE with an anticipated settlement in February 2014. After renovations and improvements, the DC Eagle management anticipate an opening in late summer of 2014.
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.
Arizona is home to a brand new organization, Arizona Bootblacks of Leather. The Arizona Bootblacks of Leather organized in spring, 2013 and have based their group after the Phoenix Boys of Leather. Arizona is home to quite a few bootblacks, and they wanted to create a group that would allow them to promote the strong bootblack presence in Arizona. The plans are to offer their services around the region and introduce bootblacking to new people as well as exchanging ideas with other bootblacks. When asked what the purpose of the group was, President slave tabitha arie replied, ‘The Arizona Bootblacks of Leather exists to serve, support, and enrich the Leather community. We gather to support our members and to serve our community with respect and integrity.’
On Saturday, February 1, The Care Bears International Daddy Bear 2009 Joe Mannetti and Mr. North American Bear 2012 Jed Ryan presented Forever Fierce, a benefit for the New York City-based organization FIERCE at the West Village Bear/Leather hotspot.
The fundraiser was organized with the participation of John Blasco who is President of ONYX Northeast and Lead Organizer of FIERCE. Forever Fierce featured live performances by Mr. Eagle 2013 Arsenio
Amadis, Justice LaBoy who is the lead singer of modern rock band Mad for Justice and popular drag diva Candy Samples.
Also in attendance were The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, celebrity/fashion photographer Mr. Paddles NYC 2013 Rob Ordonez and the men of ONYX, the national Leather fraternity of Men of Color.
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.
July 17th through July 20th, 2014 will be Northern Exposure 5 a truly mind-blowing, eye-opening event!
For the 5th year in a row FoxFinder Productions, in collaboration with the Alaskan Community, is planning the 5th installment of Northern Exposure. Alaska’s only BDSM/Leather Educational Conference!
The three day weekend will be jammed packed with On-Site Play Parties, Delicious Meals, Stage Shows plus the best in Fetish, Sex, BDSM and Leather education taught by educators, authors and kinksters from all over North America. If you have never attended Northern Exposure here are a few things you may want to know:
The weekend kicks off Thursday, July 17th at 7pm at The Raven, in Anchorage, with a presenter potlatch! Come out and say hi to the 15 presenters from all over North America! Past presenters include: Midori, slave Jazz, redwarrior, Master ShibariPyro, mare, Lee Harrington and Sinclair Sexsmith among many many other talented kinky folks.
The Tampa Bay Leather and Fetish Community came out in full force as they participated in the first Tampa Bay Leather n Fetish Pride event hosted by the Tampa Bay Leather Tribe November 11-13, 2011 at the Flamingo Resort in St. Petersburg Florida. The three-day Pride event also hosted the Tampa Bay Leather Sir and Tampa Bay Leather boy contest.
The overall attendance for the entire weekend was well above 1,000 participants who took part in many of the activities. Friday evening’s portion opened at sunset with the National Anthem, sung by Fort Lauderdale’s Ms Kitty, as the Pride board of directors raised the American flag a few hours earlier. The Leather Sir and Leather boy contest meet and greet followed. Master of Ceremonies for the event was the one and only Bobby McKenzie, Mama’s Tampa Craftsman, Mr. Florida Leather 1996, and Co-chair of the Tribe. Matt Wolf, Mr. Gulf Coast Florida Leather 09, Chief of the Tribe, and Mama’s Muppet was presented the 2011 Florida Pantheon Regional Award by fellow Pantheon winners, Bill Hoeppner, Woodie Barnes, and Dave Watts. The evening continued with poolside demos which included fire play, rope suspension, food play, whips, and electro play.
Saturday, participants attended three educational workshops as the contestants for the Tampa Bay Leather Sir and Leather boy concluded their interviews with the judges. The workshops were Safe, Sane, Consensual and RACK themed beginning with a health presentation on HIV/AIDS and Cancer, followed by a Leather History and Herstory panel lead by International Ms Olympus Leather 2005 Caro and Mama’s T Regina along with other Elders of the Community. Lastly, the educational workshops concluded with a Sensation Station RACK - themed class allowing folks to explore new skills and forms of play. Along with various area vendors, demos continued throughout the course of the event as Saturday afternoon’s Living Memorial lead by Ross Scudder, member of Chicago’s Hellfire Club was held poolside at sunset. MCC Reverend Phyllis Hunt and the Tampa Order of Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence were present to assist.
Saturday evening opened the speech and jock portion of the Tampa Bay Leather Sir/Leather boy contest produced by Daddy Jeff and boy woodie. Tradition followed with the announcement of Tim Gill of Paragon Leather as winner of the 2011 Tampa Bay Brotherhood Award. A special performance was given by renowned performer Cyon Flare as DJ Phil DaBeatz (Chicago) spun till the late hours. The Leather Tribe is pleased to announce the winners of the 2012 Tampa Bay Leather Sir/Leather boy contest, Sir Frank and boy rick, who went on to represent the Tampa Bay Community at the 2012 Florida Regional Leather Sir/Leather boy contest in February.
The Co-chief of the Tribe announced and awarded the Bill “Trooper” Boyd “Best in Show” Memorial award to Pup Flip for his outstanding service as a puppy and for continuing the tradition Bill began as “Best in Show” at IML 31. Over 30 Leather Brothers and Sisters gathered for a Mama’s Family photo before the Sunday’s Family Luncheon/Contest Victory Party and further award announcements. The Community Choice award was presented to Puppy Graphics for outstanding dedication to the community and the Tampa Bay Leather Tribe Chief’s award was given to Tim Gill for his dedication towards increasing communication, helping to educate, and unifying the Community. Checks in excess of $500 were presented to the event-designated charities. Sunday’s luncheon was followed by a Military themed T-Dance and an afternoon of entertainment with a concert performed by Cyon Flare along with Tampa’s own Leather Drag Kamden Cass and the Face of the Flamingo Resort, Alexis De Lamar.
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.
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.
In 2014 the world's largest Leather/BDSM/Fetish event, the Folsom Street Fair, will take place on Sunday, September 21 from 11 AM to 6 PM. The Folsom Street Fair is usually held on the last Sunday of September.
Things get back to normal in 2015 with the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 27.
According to Jacob Richards, outgoing Board President, “The decision to move the fair date this year was not taken lightly. When we have a conflict with Sales Force or Oracle Open World, the entire inventory of hotel rooms for the city is sold out. To avoid conflicts with other important events that bring visitors and revenue into San Francisco, we must look at the last two weekends in September. We hope that this announcement will give everyone with plenty of advance notice."
Click here for more information on Folsom Street Events.
The Folsom Street Fair will take place on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets on Sunday, September 21 from 11 AM - 6 PM.
While the South of Market streets have changed fairly drastically over the last 20 years, the location of Folsom Street Fair hasn't changed at all. In 1995, the fair expanded its footprint to include the block of Folsom between 11th and 12th Streets; however, in all of the years since then, the fair's footprint has remained constant and unwavering. Until this year, that is. For the first time since 1995, Folsom Street Fair will be updating its layout to accommodate the needs of a changing city.
According to Executive Director Demetri Moshoyannis, "The Board of Directors agreed to move the fair slightly in order to achieve three major objectives: 1. Improving street traffic around the fair; 2. Minimizing impact on residential side streets; and, 3. Engaging new community businesses. The shift of just one block in our fair footprint means that we can improve traffic flow by opening up 8th Street to live traffic; we can engage fewer residential side streets; and, we can create new or improved relationships with community businesses like The SF Eagle, Sports Authority, and Cat Head's BBQ - all of whom will be able to participate more actively now. Getting the Eagle onto the fairgrounds feels especially relevant for many of us in the Leather community."
The 40th Annual Santa Saturday, produced by Bucks MC, will be held again at the Paradise Nightclub, in Asbury Park, NJ from 12-6 PM on November 30. As in 2012, this year’s Santa Saturday will be a combination of an auction of donated items; entertainment by performers associated with the Bucks and the Paradise; service awards for worthy individuals; photos with the Bucks’ bear Santa Claus; a Leather shop; a 50-50 raffle; and refreshments and drinks.
Paradise Nightclub, 101 Asbury Avenue, Asbury Park, NJ 07712 732-988-6663.
Santa Saturday originated in New Hope, Pennsylvania and is the the oldest and largest East Coast Leather charity event. The Buck’s Motorcycle Club has been hosting this charitable event for 40 years. Money raised goes to local charities. Santa Saturday is a sanctioned event by the Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council.
On October 5, CeeJay, from ONYX, was chosen as Mr. Eagle NYC 2014, besting seven other contenders at the annual contest held at the Eagle NYC Leather bar on West 28th Street. Rico and Keith are the runners-up. Vern Stewart was the contest coordinator, Mr. Eagle 2004 Brian Kent hosted, and Susan Weinstein, from Mama’s Magic Fingers, interpreted proceedings for the hearing impaired. Rico, a “tantric shaman Leatherman,” and hairy, pierced Keith were first and second runners-up respectively. DJ Oscar was responsible for music.
Blond, bearded, and tattooed Ken; Montana Vasquez and Buddy, who also ran in last year’s contest; Team Eagle’s Barry, an audience favorite; and Stephan were the other contestants.
Mr. Eagle NYC 2013 Arsenio Amadis, who stepped down with a speech about his experience being an openly HIV-positive Leatherman; Mr. D.C. Eagle 2013 Nigel Williams; Onyx’s John John; Scott Hamm; and Mr. Chicago Leather 2013 Nick Zuko were judges. Former Mr. Eagle NYC Christophe André was tally judge.
Contestants were judged on introductory walk, Q and A with appearance in jockstrap, speech on a subject of their choice and appearance in formal leather, and one-on-one with the judges earlier.