TLJ - Los Angeles, CA Leather, kink and fetish community news for Los Angeles - The Leather Journal
Wednesday, 01 January 2014 15:15

The top Leather community stories of 2013

Proposition 8 Overturned Marc Watrel By Dave RhodesAs 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.

Published in National Leather
Monday, 13 January 2014 16:00

Mr. 501 Eagle 2014 is Sir Greg Slaven

Mr501Eagle2014 WebOn Saturday, January 11, Sir Greg Slaven was chosen Mr. 501 Eagle contest at the 501 Eagle, 501 North College Avenue, Indianapolis, IN. The runner-up was Michael Fetter.

Due to the effect of weather earlier in the week, the judging panel was reduced to three people. They were Tom Vester who is co-owner of the 501 Eagle, Ron Clemons from Cincinnati Ohio and part of Scorpius Leather Cincinnati, and International Ms Olympus Leather 2013 Robyn Fisher. Others helping with the contest were emcee Jerry Roseberry, tally master Pup Spaz, judges' boy Pup Spike, and contestant handler Jamie McKim.

The contestants were, in order of appearance, Sir Greg Slaven, Michael Fetters, Tom Fleetwood and Greg Otto.

Sir Greg Slaven will compete at International Mr. Leather (IML) in May. Greg is International Mr. Olympus Leather 2012.

Published in Local Leather
Thursday, 12 January 2012 16:00

Mr. 501 Eagle Ron Kautz

501 Eagle Winner Ron KautzMr. 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.

Published in Local Leather

LA Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue Photo By Dave RhodesLos Angeles Leather Pride Week was huge and what a production is was, with the main event at Circus Disco in Hollywood being the 15th Annual Mr. LA Leather Contest where Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue was best in a field of 10 men vying for the opportunity to represent the City of the Angels at International Mr. Leather in Chicago.

The theme for LA Leather Pride 2014 was Brethern = Blood, Building the Bonds of Brotherhood.

There was a ton of events that started at the ONE Archives Foundation near the USC campus with a motorcycle ride that stopped at several popular Leather businesses while working their way to the Bullet Bar in North Hollywood, Chariots of Fire with the Mr. LA Leather contestants, Payasos LA and followers on Sunday morning, March 22 followed by Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather the opening party of LA Leather Pride hosted by Avatar Club los angeles put on Odyssey: The Road to Mr. LA Leather – the traditional kick off party to Mr. LA Leather Pride where the contestants for Mr. los angeles Leather 2014 drew their numbers. The Bullet has recently been remodeled and the back room behind the patio was converted to a VIP lounge.

 

Published in Local Leather

IML LogoMr. Leatherman Toronto 2003 Paul Ciantar and Canadian Leather Man 2004, has been named as a Judge for International Mr. Leather 2014, replacing Carlos Filetti of who withdrew due to a pressing family matter out of the country. Both gentlemen are from Toronto, Canada.

“We wish nothing but the very best to Carlos and his family and we look forward to having him join us in Chicago in the future,” said Executive Producer Chuck Renslow.

Other judges on the panel are International Mr. Leather 2013 Andy Cross, Mr. Atlanta Eagle 2010 Chandler Bearden, American Leatherwoman 2002 Tobin Britton, Northeast Mr. Drummer 1997 Will Clark, Mr. Leather Colorado 2006 Mike Maez, Mr. Iowa Leather 2012 Jeremy Morris, Mr. Maryland Leather 2010 Justin Terry Smith and Chairman of Leather Friends Italia Andrea Zanella.

 

Published in International Leather

 

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Featuring: Chuck Renslow

  1. For those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself and what your titles are.

    I started the first leather bar in the United States and have been an advocate for the leather and gay community since then. I have been a Mason, photographer, psychologist, accredited hypnotist and many more. In the Leather community I’m referred as “Sir,” Daddy or Master.

  2. You got an amazing story to tell and I think so many of us consider you a pioneer, if you would, tell us who got you started in the leather community and what prompted the decision to start a contest called International Mr. Leather?

    My lover in the early sixties was Dom Orejudos, also known as the artist "Etienne.” One evening I went to a park in Chicago called bug house square I picked up a gentleman, I took him home and told him:  “I want to fuck you.” He said: “you will have to fight me for it!” Fighting him until he got submissive was a great turn on. From that point on I was aggressive in my sexual activity.

    I started the Mr. Gold Coast Contest. It became so popular the bar couldn’t handle the crowd so we decided to move somewhere else but the Mr. Gold Coast could not be held out of the bar so we moved it out to a hotel and renamed it International Mr. Leather. In order to promote it I had posters made up and mailed to every leather bar in the world that I could locate. I even translated one into German and sent it to the German leather bars.

  3. You have received just about every award in the gay and lesbian, leather community, can you perhaps narrow it down, some of your favorite awards that stand out and mean the most to you?

    I have received many awards. And all of them are at the Leather Archives and Museum. three of the awards that stand out are: the one from the gay and lesbian task force because they have done so much good for the entire gay community, the one by the Metropolitan Community Church, because they helped so many people that needed religion in their lives and could not find acceptance in the mainstream churches. And the third one was the leather man of the century.

  4. Family is important, you've been a Daddy to many, and trust is earned and very important, can you tell us about your family who are at your side now?

    I consider the entire gay community as my family. Right now my lover Juan is at my side and I am surrounded by people who had been around me for decades.

  5. Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

    I was basically raised by my grandmother since my mother worked and my dad had left us. I consider most of my attributes to my grandmother: she was practical, smart and very logical. She became a very successful business woman after my grandfather died.

  6. In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?

    People think that the leather man just is into beating each other up etc. They don’t realize there is a great deal of love and compassion in the leather community.

  7. What does unity in leather mean to you?

    We have to do away with all the prejudices and jealousy and other negative forces in the BDSM community.

  8. What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?

    I think the future will show more acceptances between the men's leather community and the women's leather community and the general public.

  9. Tell us what your favorite piece of leather is and why?

    A vest that have my name and the International Mr. Leather logo all in studs, made by Studworks in San Francisco.

  10. You have done countless opening, closing and key note speeches; can you tell us some of your favorite or perhaps a funniest moment?

    In so many of my speeches I have advocated that which I felt was beneficial to our community. Most of them, the community listens and follows through.

  11. For someone who never attended IML (International Mr. Leather), what would you say to him or her, why they should attend the event in Chicago?

    IML is the largest leather gathering in the world. It is a lifetime experience and if you attend you will feel camaraderie with a great leather community. We are all brothers and sisters. One big loving family!

  12. In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?

    Leather is merely a symbol. Some people are into different aspects of BDSM, such as just bondage, or the masculine image of leather.

  13. What’s the funniest safe word you ever heard?

    “Little purple prunes”

  14. You have said that you enjoy cooking, and don’t particularly like the cleaning part, please can you cook us a meal that represent you and what would it be called?

    That's easy! Prime Rib with whipped sweet potatoes and cream corn. And for dessert Pecan Pie.

  15. Away from Leather, would you tell us what one of your guilty pleasures are?

    Watching Spanish Soap Operas... I don't understand a word they say yet. But the men are so handsome! I also like to watch men getting fucked.

  16. Tell us your favorite book at this moment.

    Easy: “Steel and Velvet: a soldier's story” by Juan Cordoba. It kind of reminds my other favorite book “The Persian Boy.”

  17. In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the leather community of South Africa?

    Keep unity. We are all in the fraternity of leather. We are family, we may not like everyone but we will support every single one because they are part of who we are.

 

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Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:29

Mr. Chicago Leather January 24-26

Chicago Leather 2013 Nick ZukoTouché, located at 6412 North Clark Street, will host the 2014 Mr. Chicago Leather Contest Weekend, January 24-26.

International Mr Leather 2013 Andy Cross will serve on the judging panel along with Mr. Midwest Leather 2013 Matt Hengle, Mr. Midwest Rubber 2013 Jesse Driscoll, Ms Christina Court and Nick Zuko, Mr. Chicago Leather 2013.

Once again returning from London, England to host the contest will be International Mr Leather 2003 John Pendal.

The contest will be held on Saturday January 25 at 10 PM with additional events scheduled Friday and Sunday. A complete weekend schedule of events will be announced soon and posted online at http://www.touchechicago.com

The man selected Mr Chicago Leather 2014 will receive a title vest and $500 gift certificate from Leather 64TEN, plus additional prizes. Contestant entry forms are available at Touché and online at http://www.touchechicago.com

Published in Local Leather

 

 

By Terry Laupp

Mr. Missouri Leather (MML), celebrated 33 years the weekend of February 26-28 at JJ's Clubhouse Annex in St. Louis Missouri where Ty Portell  from St. Louis was sashed the new Mr. Missouri Leather 201. Three men competed. For the first time in three years the weather cooperated with unseasonably warm weather with no snow or ice!

The now defunct Gateway MC founded MML in 1983 and was one of the longest running annual Leather contests nationwide sponsored by a single Leather club. In 2014, Terry Laupp, Mr. Missouri Leather 2010, and Chad Carroll took over the competition. Currently, Mr. Missouri Leather is the only drug-tested Leather contest in the nation.

The weekend kicked off with a meet and greet on Friday evening with the Leather tribe gathered to renew friendships and acquire new ones. The evening culminated with the introduction of the judges and the three contestants choosing their numbers. The judges for the weekend were: Mr. Tri State Leather 2014 Brian “Pup Bolt” Donner, Mr. Midwest Leather 2014 Jay Johnson, Mr. Chicago Leather 2015 Luis Tipantasig, Mr. Heartland Leather 2015 Russell McDaris and Mr. Missouri Leather 2015 Andy Struckhoff.

Saturday started early with a Morning of Service and Fellowship at Food Outreach, a St. Louis area organization providing nutritional support to low-income men, women, and children with HIV/AIDS and cancer. Over 20 Leathermen volunteered, packing over 5,500 meals in just under three hours!

While the contestants were being interviewed at Attitude’s Nightclub, the Titans of the Midwest presented Kink U at JJ’s clubhouse. Topics included Rope You Can Use by Elton Davis, Sensations by Mr. Colorado Leather 2016 Ric Poston and Don't Stick Your Dick In Crazy by Karen Ultra.

The contest kicked off at 10:30 PM in the Annex at JJ’s Clubhouse with Oklahoma Mr. Leather 2003 Richie Johnson presenting a powerful version of our National Anthem. Emcees for the evening, Oklahoma Leatherboy Chad Neal and Miss Continental Plus 2000 Tumara Mahorning entertained over 200 Leathermen in attendance with their onstage chemistry and humor. The tally masters were Mr. Missouri Leather 2003 Mark Bozif and Mama’s Kinky Educator Aaron Laxton. Den Daddies, O. John Groebl and Mr. Missouri Leather 2013 John Metzner assisted our contestants back stage. Mr. Pride St. Louis 2007 Jimmy Walsh interpreted. DJ TimmyB dazzled the crowd with his lighting and music, Pup Wolfe-Cybrus, a well-rounded puppy, was the judge’s runner, and Boy Ashley was the bootblack.

CLAW donated a CLAW weekend package as a door prize and presented each of the contestants with a CLAW package. A silent auction ran during the entire evening and an army of current titleholders roamed the crowd selling raffle tickets and shots,

The constants were judged in Cruise Wear, Pecs and Personality, Image in Leather and delivered a two-minute speech on a topic of their choice. During intermission Mr. Missouri Leather 2011 DJ Kaiser organized the Mama’s Family photo and introduced a new member to the family, Mike Lunter, Mama’s Kinky Specialist.

While the final scores were being tallied the informal Gateway Guy contest, consisted of 10 hot men from the audience, where the winner was chosen by audience applause. The Gateway Guy contest has been a staple of the MML contest and strives to actively involve more people in the event while fostering interest in future contestants. Tumara Mahorning brought the house down and turned back the hands of time with her rendition of Cher classics. Almost 20 clubs, organizations and titleholders were recognized with a Parade of Colors.

Mr. Missouri Leather 2015 Andy Struckoff gave a heartfelt step aside speech, thanking everyone who was instrumental during his title year and ended by encouraging all in attendance to let his or her voice be heard during this election year.

Ty Portell is a full member of Blue Max CC, a member of the St. Louis Balloon Brigade and Team Friendly-St. Louis. He competed at Mr. Missouri Leather 2015. Ty will go on to compete at International Mr. Leather in May.

The weekend concluded with the Mr. Missouri Leather Victory Brunch presented by Chef Elizabeth Schuster and her Tenacious Eats crew and was held at Food Outreach. All in attendance congratulated Ty and no one left hungry.

Boom Magazine at www.boom.lgbt videoed the entire contest it can be viewed at http://www.Vimeo.com Simply search for Mr. Missouri Leather 2016.

Mr. Missouri Leather Weekend 2017 will be held February 24-16 when Leather collides with Mardi Gras!

 

Published in Regional Leather
Thursday, 19 June 2014 03:57

Conversations with Leather: Joey McDonald

Joey McDonald At CLAW Supplied By Jaco Lourens WebFor those who don’t already know, please tell us about yourself, your Leather titles and how you are connected to the community.

Hey there, my name is Joey McDonald. I’m 57 years old and a native Chicagoan, but have also lived in Norfolk and Virginia Beach, Virginia and Key West, Florida. I am a US Navy Veteran who served as an openly gay sailor (long, long before Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell). I was lucky enough traveled around the world by the time I was honorably discharged, having visited 32 countries. In the mid-80s, I owned a catering and event planning business. I am a trained master weaver, and spent 15 years in the interior design industry designing and weaving luxury/high-end upholstery fabrics.

I worked for LGBT equality in Illinois until April 2013. I currently work as a Community Health Advocate, serving the homeless, recovering/addicted and HIV/AIDS impacted people and am going to school to get certified as a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor.

Although I never won a Leather title, I competed for and was a runner-up for Mr. Windy City 1981. I am a member of the Executive Committee of International Mr. Leather, Inc.  (IML). I have served as the IML Den Daddy for the past eight years, working with the men who compete each year.  I have the distinction of having volunteered at every IML since its beginning in 1979.

 

 

IMG_7395The Centaur Motorcycle Club hosted its Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend the weekend of January 17-19 at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC with a record crowd in wonderful weather. The features were the Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2014 on Sunday afternoon and Leather Cocktails on Saturday night.

Leather Cocktails celebrated its beginning in Big Apple fashion since the party was founded at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. The Centaurs went all-out with the food - roast beef sandwiches, New York cheesecake and the best Manhattan clam chowder west and south of the Hudson River.

Club president Todd White gave a strong speech about the clubs attending the event making Mid Atlantic Leather what it is, after all of the club banners were on stage. Many of the club standard bearers were wiping tears away from their eyes by the time Todd finished. The following day, White was reinstalled as president during the introduction of Centaur MC new officers and all club members.

Published in Regional Leather
Thursday, 27 February 2014 15:13

CLAW XIV Schedule Announced

CLAW Tina Dennis Web IMG_2385CLAW XIV will be held April 24-27 at the Sheraton Airport Hotel in Leather-friendly Cleveland, Ohio. Shuttle buses will meet every CLAW air-travel attendee — day or night — for their one-minute ride to the lobby door.

Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend (CLAW) has seen a growth rate of about 15 percent each of the past several years. CLAW’s biggest Vendor Mart will feature more than 25 merchants, including CLAW sponsors Leatherwerks, Mr. S Leather, Leatherman NYC, Torso, and Stompers Boots; three Recon Reflex  dungeon parties in the warehouse attached to FLEX Spas in downtown Cleveland; and more than 40 skills workshops and other educational offerings, including 25 Years Later, a discussion featuring Guy Baldwin and Brian Dawson, the renowned and groundbreaking Leather titleholders who were International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Drummer, respectively, in 1989.

 

Published in Local Leather

Eric Paul Lieu of los angeles, CA has certainly made a name for himself over the last few weeks with a petition to remove the President of the AIDS Heath Foundation on Change.org. He competes this weekend at IML 36.  Here is a Third Rail Media Podcast to let you get to know IML Contestant #5 Eric Paul Lieu.

 This year the IML 36 class is comprised of 46 men, the last time this occurred was in 1992 when the contest was at Park West when Mr. Drummer Luke Daniel took the title.  Here is the 2014 IML Class line up:

1. Miguel Torres
2. Kirk Rubén
3. Thomas Hamilton
4. Scottie Tidwell
5. Knut Larsen
6. Scott Bigred Farrell
7. Phoenix Colt Pendragon
8. Master Domenic
9. Tim Leatherboy Perkins
10. A D Kus Supps
11. Chuck MrMichigan-Leather
12. Avi MrleatherUk
13. Michaël Verret
14. Farrell Vajra
15. Steve Dupont
16. Ramien DC Eagle
17. Keith MrNj-Leather
18. Robert Schenberg
19. Adrian Thompson
20. David MrMd-Leather
21. Rocky Joseph Mccombs
22. Michael PupRyker Kaplan
23. David Payne
24. Peter Reid
25. Marc Ransdell Bellenger
26. Jon Nizzi
27. Jordan Stiefel
28. Pup Torq
29. Cee Jay
30. Mrwileather TC Hammond
31. Jason Little
32. Dennis Wood MrTristateleather
33. J Tebias Ares Onyx
34. Omar L Boots
35. Jim Benton
36. Greg DeRushia
37. Eric Paul Leue
38. Joe Mal
39. Gage Fisher
40. Drew Riebhoff
41. Cody Troy
42. Matthew Bunch
43. Bavarianmrleather Ralf Schaffelhofer
44. Gregory Slaven
45. SirRaymond Onyx
46. Greg Menzel

 

Published in Regional Leather

International Bootblack 2010 Tim Starkey At IML By Dave RhodesTim 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.

Published in Leather Obituaries
Monday, 10 March 2014 05:01

Conversations With Leather - Hardy

 

 

 

 

hardy2

 

 

 

1.       For those who don’t know you, please tell us about yourself & what your titles are.

First the easy part:  As far as titles are concerned, all mine have been given to me as honorary titles.

1999 Man of the Year from National Leather Association International

2007 Lifetime Achievement Award from National Leather Association International

2010 Recipient of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force Leather Leadership Award

 2012 Presidents Award - Pantheon of Leather

Now the hard part:  I am a native Texan and have been active in the LGBT community since the early 1970's.  I became fascinated with Leather in the late 1970's and stepped into my first Leather bar sometime around 1978.  Since that fateful day I have continued on my Leather journey and am a former member of the Dallas Motorcycle Club, Leather Rose Society, National Leather Association, Discipline Corps and a founding member of Inquisition Dallas.

I have written many articles on Leather/BDSM topics and am the author of four books currently in circulation including "Family Jewels, a Guide to Male Genitortureand Torment "and” Soul of a Second Skin-Memoirs of a Gay Christian Leatherman."

I have also directed a few films on Leather/BDSM subjects including "Leather" a short film-poem  about the gay male Leather experience and "Out of the Darkness, the Reality of SM" a documentary on the critical difference between SM and abuse.

Professionally I am a Marketing Specialist and I live in Dallas with my boy/partner of 18 years Patrick and our feline mistress, Elvira.

2.      What or who got you started in the leather community and for how long?

What drew me to Leather was the hyper-masculinity of it.  I never considered myself feminine; nor was I attracted to feminine men.  Leather just pushed all the right buttons for me and once I  got involved I fund that I really liked rough sex and SM. 

The community, as such, didn't really exist when I came in, but the subsequent AIDS crisis pulled  us together and gave us a real sense of purpose.  We, in Dallas, started educating our community to the many ways sex could be hot and kinky and still be safer-sex.

3.       Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?

Currently I am a member of NLA: Dallas and Discipline Corps.  NLA: Dallas is a pan-sexual organization with a mission to educate and network Leather/Fetish/BDSM folk of all sexual orientations and genders.

Discipline Corps is a men-only social and play group whose primary focus is monthly dungeon parties and having a good time!

When I go to a bar it is the Dallas Eagle, our local Leather bar, though I am not officially affiliated with it the owners, Mark Frasier and Jeffery Payne are close friends of mine.

4.       How did you enjoy being one of the judges at IML XXX5 and what were your favorite moments?

Judging at IML was an amazing experience.  I was worn out form the long days, but energized by the great men I met during the experience.  I knew most of the judges before the contest, though I did make new friends since a couple of the judges were new faces to me.  We all bonded immediately and the contestants were all outstanding.  The final choice was very hard, since any of the Top 20 could have easily been a wonderful IML.

My favorite moments were getting to meet so many folks from outside the US, and the South African delegation was a particular joy!

5.       Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.

As far as charity work I have several.  My contributions to my church, Cathedral of Hope are an ongoing passion of mine.  We even have a full pew of Leather folk wearing their colors every Sunday.  I also work with Kiva, a micro loan organization that funds small businesses and individuals across the world.

I serve as Chairman of the Board for the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance in Washington, DC and work raising funds to support it and its many programs.

6.       Tell us about your leather family.

My leather family is small, just me and my boy/partner.  My extended Leather family is larger.  About 8-10 close friends who I think of as family.  Beyond that I have a large circle of friends who I have met at events and contests all over the continent and they too, are like family.  I consider them my Leather cousins.

7.       Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

I have to say my father.  He taught me a lot as far as values and how to treat other people.  He was authentic and honest and I try to emulate that.  He loved his work and his family.  He was intellectually curious and being a scientist, he never stopped learning, and that is something I think I got from him.

8.       In your mind, what’s the biggest misconception of the leather community?

The biggest misconception I see about the Leather community is that we are some sort of homogenous group with a written code of conduct and values.  No such thing.  We are as varied as the general population, except for our love of kink and Leather.  As a whole I have found our community does communicate more than the average vanilla folk, and I attribute that to the fellowship of our organizations and to the need for communication when we play.

9.       What would you say are the most important strengths to have as a Leather man?

Honesty, authenticity and a good bull-shit detector. 

10.   What does leather mean to you?

I could prattle on about this topic forever but I would sound like I was doing a canned speech for a title contest.  In reality leather means as many different things as there are people involved in it.  Some simply are drawn to the fetish.  Leather clothes and gear are sensual, organic and arousing.  Some are drawn to the BDSM aspect of it.  That was part of my attraction. 

Leather folk, the energetic and intense encounters that SM play offers.  I went into it thinking I would be a "grey Hankie" guy.  Only into bondage and light SM but quickly realized that bondage was really not very interesting to me and more hard-core SM was my thing.  Changed my hankie to black and never looked back.

11.   What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?

It is in a state of flux.  Leather always changes, as sexual pioneers we are on the edges of what is possible physically and sexually and so there will always be something different and new.  I see a disturbing trend to try to turn back the clock and relive the glory days of Leather in the 1970's, but surprisingly the people who are trying to do that are predominately straight.  They have adopted the Leatherman look as though it was a codified uniform and remind me of " Renfair" folks, donning period costumes and role playing at Leather. 

12.   What does sexual freedom mean to you?

As someone who came of age I the late 1960's sexual freedom means being able to define my sexuality on my own terms  Being able to enjoy consensual activities with other adults and not have to conform to any rigid rules.  I have begin to think of myself more as "Queer" than gay, not because I do not have an affectional orientation toward men, but because I enjoy playing with anyone so long as we click and our goals are the same.  Sexual freedom is a basic human right, it is up to us to define it and express it and celebrate it.

13.   Whats your view on the huge anti-gay wave that is happening in certain states in America? What do you think people can do to protect their rights and help others retain it?

What you mentioned as the "anti-gay wave" sweeping parts of the country is not a massive display of anti-gay sentiment in my opinion.  It is the last gasp of the hard core bigoted right.  Their attitudes are dying out.  Public opinion polls show most Americans believe in equality for LGBT citizens. What these anti-gay laws are is an attempt by the right to change the framing of the issue from "equality" to "religious freedom" or as I call it the freedom to hate.

All of these attempt have failed and even in far-right leaning states like Arizona.  Even there the Governor recognized it's not a religious freedom issue it is equal rights. The laws are clumsily crafted and over reaching to begin with and would not withstand judicial scrutiny, so I have o believe its just politics and its not working.

14.   We all have so many issues we want to highlight, please tell us what cause is close to your heart right now and how are you involved?

The issue closest to my heart is the cause of sexual freedom.  I believe sexual freedom is a fundamental human right and as such it needs to be protected and nourished.  To that end, I work with the Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance, a human rights group with the focus on sexual freedom.  In fact I am chairperson of the board.  That's how involved I am and how important it is. 

We work to affect policy concerning sex education, freedom of speech, sex workers and gender and sexual inequality.  It's a great organization that has made a real difference for our country.  Woodhull holds the gender and sexuality seat on the US Human Rights Network, the group which monitors our country's adherence to the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

15.   What advice can you give a future title holder?

Be authentic, approachable and honest.  Bull-shitters stick out like sore thumbs.  The title holders I know and admire are all down to earth folks who try to use their titles to benefit the community not themselves.

16.   Tell us what your favorite piece of Leather is and why?

Other than my hat, my favorite piece of Leather is my flogger.  It was made by Janet Hartwood and designed to fit me perfectly.  The falls are longer than most folks like, but they balance perfectly with the handle and the flogger becomes an extension of my body when I play.  I have several floggers and all were custom made for me.  I believe if you invest in quality your toys will live as long as you do.

17.   In your own words, can you tell us the difference between BDSM and Leather?

Hard to say.  I used to think of them as the same, but apparently there are folk who see a big distinction.  Leather does not imply SM, it can simply be a fetish.  It is also a different kind of community and that is what sets it apart nowadays.  To some folks Leather can only be gay men and BDSM is pan-sexual.  There is another word that is loaded with nuance.  Pan-sexual was a word coined by the Leather community to describe its inclusion of all sexual orientations, but has been co-opted by the straight community to mean "heterosexual" sexual orientation with some lesbians thrown in for spice.  If I sound cynical, that's because I have seen this in practice.  Play space where two women playing together was acceptable if they were playing in ways that the men enjoyed, but men playing together got stares and snide comments.

Personally I don't have problems playing in the newly defined "pan-sexual" spaces, I think a Leather person can define their own Leather-space and create a scene wherever it works. 

18.   Please tell us exactly what is beyond vanilla & what are your favorite activities you indulge in?

I would think anything that goes beyond plain sex would qualify as beyond vanilla.  Spankings, role play, bondage, SM all of it moves beyond vanilla for me.  My favorite activities are floggings and clothespins and CBT, but most often these are woven into some kind of erotic experience.  I think all SM is better with an element of Eros.  It doesn't have to be penetrative sex, but without a sexual aspect it has less appeal for me.

19.   What’s the funniest safe word that you have heard?

Then comes the safe word.  I have heard lots of strange ones from "aardvark" to "Pontiac". Personally, I like this system.  I tell my bottom or sub to call me "Sir" as long as he or she is having fun, and to call me "Hardy" if they need to talk.  It keeps the communication going and has never failed me.

20.   What’s your favorite drink? And if you could invent a cocktail for the Leather community and what would you call it?

Well I stopped drinking in 1986 so my favorite drink is sparkling mineral water.  My drink for the community would be just that, mineral water with a chaser of mouthwash, cause I love kissing and detest bad breath!

18.   We would love to have you visit South Africa in the future, what classes do you think we could benefit from?

I do a lot of classes, but my favorites are a workshop I call "Putting Sex Back in SM." The pan-sexual dungeons in the US are notoriously tepid when it comes to palpable eroticism.  Many do not allow sexual activities for legal reasons and some just are uncomfortable with sex.  This workshop is intended to put that spark of the erotic back into the play in the dungeon and discusses and demonstrates how scenes can become erotic encounters with no "traditional sex" happening.

My "Family Jewels" workshop is always fun.  Concentrating on CBT and how it can become part of a scene.  I explain the use of toys, safety and exploration of various aspects of genitorture.

I have a complete list of classes I present I can provide you.

19.   In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the Leather community of South Africa?

I would add that the Leather community in South Africa seems to be vibrant and growing and I encourage you to continue to explore, share what you learn and nurture the next generation of Leatherfolk.  To them you will become the "Old Guard" and with that is the heavy responsibility of knowing you are setting an example for future generations.  Play hard, play safe, have fun!

 

Hardy Haberman

Conversations With Leather by Jaco Lourens

      

 

San Francisco Leather 2014 Scott Farrell By Rich Stadtmiller WebIt was announced on stage at the Hotel Whitcomb on Market Street on Saturday night, March 1 that Mr. San Francisco Leather 2014 is Scott "Big Red" Farrell. The first runner-up was Mr. San Francisco Eagle Leather Gage Fisher and the second runner-up was Mr. Daddy’s Barbershop Leather. Six men competed.

Heading the judging panel was Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 who was the fifth Mr. San Francisco Leather titleholder to win the International Mr. Leather title. The other four were IML 1979 David Kloss representing the Brig, IML 1981 Marty Kiker representing the Brig, IML 1985 Patrick Tone representing Chaps and IML 1992 Lenny Broberg.

Joining Andy were Mr. LA Leather 2013 Justin Emerick, Mr. Bolt Leather 2013 Robert Brooks, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012 Thib Guichard-Callin, Ms San Francisco Leather 2013 Val Langmuir and Judge Emeritus Garry "Marlena" McLain.

The emcees were Mr. San Francisco Leather 2013 Darren Bondy and International Mr. Leather 198 Mike Pereyra.

As Mr. Legion of Sin, Scott Farrell is a muscled redhead who is Mr. September on the 2014 Bare Chest Calendar. Big Red is a member of BaGG (Bondage a Go Go) and is the secretary of the San Francisco Bay Area Leather Alliance. He will compete at International Mr. Leather in Chicago in May.

 

Published in Local Leather
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