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.
The Southern California Leather Gathering (SCLG) 2014 will be held on Saturday, June 21 at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte, CA, from 11 AM - 4 PM.
SCLG is an annual outdoor picnic gathering that is open to all Leather/BDSM/Fetish, kink, motorcycle and bear individuals and/or groups of all genders and orientations. The aim of the Southern California Leather Gathering is to provide an opportunity for these various folk to interact in a relaxed atmosphere, have fun and raise awareness about the size and diversity of the Leather/BDSM groups within Southern California. There will be games and prizes. Several clubs and groups bring tents or umbrellas.
Bring your own food and beverages (non-alcoholic only). Feel free to bring extra food to share. There will be grills heated up and available for anyone that wants to grill food.
On the evening of Thursday, July 24, 2014, the Ottawa Leather/Kink/Pup communities were shocked to learn of the death of Mr. Leather Ottawa 2014 Jon Nizzi. "Nizzi," as he was affectionately called by his many friends, had been a driving force in the various communities since moving from Toronto in 2013. In November of 2013, Jon won the Mr. Leather Ottawa title and went on to compete in the International Mr. Leather contest in May 2014, where he placed in the top 20 of a field of 46.
As news of his death became known late Thursday night, messages of grief, tribute and condolence from friends across North America and in the international Leather community had begun to fill his Facebook profile.
“With a smile from knowing you and quite a few tears I’m headed to bed; glad that you’ll rest well brother. (Pats and scritches) We will make sure Loki’s taken care of,” wrote International Mr. Leather 2012 Woody Woodruff.
A poignant photo of the Leather Pride flag flying at half mast was posted by Ms Leather Toronto 2013 Youkali Youkali.
CODE: Dress Rehearsal
CODE: Dress Rehearsal - MAL Discount Tix Night will be hosted by CODE at the Glorious Health Club on Saturday, January 6 at 9 PM. With MAL just around the corner, try out your best gear at CODE - it's "dress rehearsal" time! Harnesses, chaps and jocks, oh my! Don't be caught by surprise - it's always best to have a Dress Rehearsal. Glorious Health Club, 2120 West Virginia Avenue NE, Washington, DC 20002. https://www.facebook.com/codedc/
The 2014 version of the Folsom Street Fair took place in perfect Leather weather on Folsom Street between 8th and 13th Streets on Sunday, September 21, one week earlier than the usual fourth Sunday of September. It was cloudy, not sunny, but was perfect for Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Kink/Gearfolk wearing plenty of Leather - not too cold. The Fair seemed to be crowded earlier than normal and several booths were open just after 6 PM as that usual 5 PM wind did not arrive.
The move one block west did what organizers hoped it would do. That, and the stage moved to 10th Street not far from Howard made for better viewing. The short walk from Folsom Street over to the San Francisco Eagle at Harrison and 12th Streets worked. What had been a parking lot across from the Eagle was converted into a party area with a $20 admission.
Most of the usual suspects had vendor or social booths including The Society of Janus, Steamworks, the San Francisco Bare Chest Calendar Men, Mr. S Leathers, Orchid and Serpent.
On November 2 The Threshold Society will present its annual Bizarre Bazaar. In addition to numerous vendors, there will be sampler booths, food, and entertainment.
This event is open to the entire community, with the doors opening at 1 PM and the fun winding down at 7 PM. Admission is $10. There will be vendors from around the country and locally who will be selling some of the finest and most interesting wares in town. Here is an opportunity to handle and size those "special" items for which one has been looking.
The sampler booths will give Leather/BDSM/Fetish/Gearfolk a chance to try some activities they may only have been fantasizing about. Try out the violet wand, or a flogger, or a needle or two. What does a cane feel like? Here is a chance to get a small taste in a safe and fun atmosphere.
Join Threshold on the night of November 1 for the club's version of Dia De Los Muertos, Day of the Dead, play party. It is the night the "spirits," so get closest to the land of the living and celebrate the night away. This party is open to the community and admission is $20.
Capitalizing on the momentum generated at Great Lakes Leather Alliance where two Minnesotans won regional titles, Minnesota Leather Pride announced the first Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest. The new contest will be part of Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, which also features the first Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy contests, to be held April 3-5, 2015 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“When we began planning for Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we started with Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy with the expectation additional contests would be added over time,” said Tim Holden, chair of the Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend committee and member of the Minnesota Leather Pride board. “When Tim Hotchkin won Great Lakes Leather boy and Riches won Great Lakes Ms. Leather Pride, the board agreed the timing was right to add the Ms. Minnesota Leather Pride contest to what is already shaping up to be an exciting weekend!”
The winner of the Ms Minnesota Leather Pride contest, along with the winners of Minnesota Leather Sir and Minnesota Leather boy, will go on to compete at Great Lakes Leather Alliance held Oct 1-4, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Contestants for Ms Minnesota Leather Pride must be 21 years old and identify as a woman in the Leather/Kink/BDSM community.
“With the addition of Ms Minnesota Leather Pride to Minnesota Leather Pride Weekend, we feel this event will have something for everyone,” said Holden.
ILSLb ICBB winners from 2016 and 2017. Photos by Dave Rhodes
The International Leather Sir 2017 sash, patch and medal went to Major Ty from the Florida Region, International Leatherboy 2017 hardware went to boy Kaz from the Great Lakes Region and the International Community Bootblack version was won by boy John Urso from the Atlantic States Region at the DoubleTree Hilton near the Galleria 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.
ILSLb judges were Dr. Larry, MarKus Leath, Master Olivier Pratt, Sir Don, Sir Tug, Cowboi Jen, boy Dan and Tim ASH!. The ICBB judges were Briar, Cobi, Pony, Rylee Spire, Shahrazad, Sir Greg and Stephen Palaschak.
Leather Sir runner-up was Sir Mitch of the Great Lakes Region, Leatherboy runner-up was boy Michael May of the Southwest Region and the Community Bootblack runner-up was Garret Rodriguez-Snook of the Southwest Region.
The Golden Flogger winner was Sir Robert of Eastern Canada, Golden Paddle winner was Pup Napoleon from the Florida Region and the Golden Brush winner was Garret Rodriguez-Snook from the Southwest Region. The recipients of these honors were decided by the 16 contestants.
The Pantheon of Leather Awards ceremony was on Thursday night with Thib Guicherd Callin taking. Man of the Year honor while Woman of the Year was Patty Patty. Christopher Edwards emceed while Texas Governor-to-be played the role of Vannah.
Contestants performed fantasies after the Awards and that was followed by a roast of the outgoing titleholders.
No rest for the wicked, contestants had to pry their eyes open very early on Friday for interviews.
Registration was in full force all day Friday and the vendor market opened with about double the amount of vendors from 2016. Wolfstryker Leather, which saw one of its artisans win Business Person of the Year on Thursday night, was new to ILSLb ICBB.
The weekend included a Family Welcome Cocktail Party, workshops, cigar socials by the pool, a Grand Casino night, daily activities, bootblack stands, puppy mosh pits and culminated with two nights of contests.
ILSLb ICBB President Jeffrey Payne announced that he is stepping down form the board since his run for the governorship of Texas will require his full attention. His replacement is yet to be named.
Many would-be attendees did not make it to Dallas due to Hurricane Harry. Many roads leading out of the Houston and New Orleans area were closed and it was anyone's guess as to which were open.
One of the defining characteristics of ILSLb ICBB is the up front philosophy that Leather Sir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack are about sex. These contests and titles are about the representation of the sexual side of the Leather community. Our goals include networking and outreach to help educate the community about Leatherfolk, our erotic expression, traditions and history - and of course, hot Leather sex.
For more on the contests go to http://www.ilsb-icbb.com
To see who received Pantheon of Leather Awards see https://www.theleatherjournal.com/news/national-news/item/1953-pantheon-of-leather-2017-award-recipients
Beyond Vanilla will be held September 26-28 in Dallas, Texas, celebrating almost a quarter of a century on fun in the Lone Star State. Hotel Rooms are going fast at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Downtown Dallas. Reserve yours in the Beyond Vanilla block to get the lowest rate. In addition to discounts in overnight parking.
The fun begins Thursday evening at 6 PM at The Dallas Eagle for the Beyond Vanilla Kick-Off. A complimentary shuttle bus will be running to and from the Crowne Plaza and The Dallas Eagle from 5:30 PM to 2 AM. Early Check-In will be available at The Eagle so you can avoid the lines on Friday.
Friday registration opens at 10 AM, with Vending, and Silent Auction opening at 12:30 PM. Workshops run from 1-6:30 PM. The night's entertainment starts at 7 PM.
Saturday will pry eyes open at at 8:30 AM when Vending, and Silent Auction opens. Workshops start at 9 AM and run all day with a break for lunch.
The Leather Leadership Conference 2014, to be held at the DoubleTree Hotel and the William Way Center in downtown Philadelphia April 11-13, has done an internal inventory of what it has offered, combined with conference feedback forms and with the results of their 2012 community survey, with the result of that inventory being the creation a new Do It Yourself (DIY) program that will debut in Philly with a new delivery system for that program.
LLC has been the offering leadership training for Leather/BDSM/Kink/Fetish and LGBT communities for nearly 18 years. During that time, several changes have taken place and there has been more acceptance for those in alternate lifestyles, including more positive media. The Internet has given endless opportunities for contact, communication, and networking. There are a multitude of groups, munches and events to attend; sometimes so many that one could go to at least one event a week or have to choose where to participate.
The Mr. San Diego Eagle 2014 contest will be bigger than ever. “It will be a 4-day event for the entire Leather community,” says Robb Rodriguez the current Mr. San Diego Eagle. The event runs from February 20 to 23.
The main contest activities will be moved from the San Diego Eagle bar to the nearby Sunset Temple auditorium. “We’re moving the venue of the contest to the Sunset Temple because we’re expecting a large crowd to attend. Already we’ve heard from people from as far away as Phoenix that they’re going to attend. And one of our judges is from Minnesota while another is from Georgia.”
The seven judges are an all-star group of titleholders. The head judge will be International Mr. Leather Andy Cross. Other judges are: American Leatherman Aaron Duke, Mr. International Deaf Leather boy Richard, Mr. San Diego Leather2013/Mr. San Diego Eagle 2012 Eli Correa, Ms San Diego Leather 2013 Colt Everyday, Eagle LA Mr. Leather 2013 Bill Robertroy and Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2013 Ryan Brown.
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.
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.
The Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, September 29 was the crown jewel of San Francisco Leather Pride Week which ran from Sunday, September 22 through Sunday, September 29. The Fair was packed as usual, the weather was great although overcast in the early hours. The late wind that usually hits around 5 PM did not show up until 5:45 PM. It seemed that the mix of kinky people and vanilla leaned significantly more toward kinky, an upturn from the tend in recent years and something that was commented on favorably by several Leatherfolk who came from about 50 different countries on five continents.
The Second Annual San Francisco Sober Leather contests are moving to a larger and kinkier venue this year, the San Francisco Citadel, located at 181 Eddy Street between Taylor and Mason with the main event scheduled for Saturday, November 15 at 7 PM, followed by a play party beginning at 11 PM.
The party is a new addition, as are two events on the days preceding and following the contest: a meet and greet taking place Friday, November 14, and a victory brunch on November 16.
The contest has grown into three titles, all serving the broader objective of fostering sober leadership, outreach and expression within the kink community. The San Francisco Sober Kinkster is open to any individual who feels like they either don’t identify with the male or female gender model or that they shouldn’t have to choose a gender. The other two titles are Mr. San Francisco Sober Leather, which is a feeder into the Mr. San Francisco Leather 2015 contest, and Ms San Francisco Sober Leather 2015, which is a feeder into the Ms San Francisco Leather 2015 contest.
While all will take place simultaneously, each will have its own panel of three judges. The contests are open to individuals 21 and over residing within the Greater Bay Area and Sacramento. Applications for entry are available on the organization’s Facebook page, at https://www.facebook.com/SFSoberLeathercontest They are due by October 21.