By Vonn Tramel, Photos by Rich Stadtmiller and Muffin
IMsL Weekend 2016 the “Dirty 30" Celebration was held in San Jose, CA, April 14-17. Seven contestants competed for the titles of IMsBB and IMsL 2016, but Saturday night it was Bootblack Meghan and Lascivious
Jane who came out on top of each class.
The weekend was a culmination of a year of travel for slave Tabitha and her Master who were only separated on three trips and over 93,000 miles of travel for IMsL 2015 Sarge – travel which included Northern Alaska and the southern most tip of Africa, four continents and over 10,000 selfies.
Tabitha’s “last shine” opened the festivities, followed by Queer happy hour and the opening reception. However, Thursday night’s Seduction was again the highlight of the weekend for me. With performances by hot butches and super femmes, and of course the eternally-hot Peggy Sue. Who would choose to miss this IMsBB and IMsL travel “fun”rasier? The runway was longer, the lights were darker, and the women hotter than ever, dancing their way into the attendees' wettest dreams.
Friday was chock-full of amazing classes and intensives, receptions and hot bootblacking.
New this year was a Jamberry nail salon, hosted by IMsBB 2009 pony girl with a percentage of proceeds for the entire month of April benefiting the IMsL Foundation.
The vendor and auction spaces were open and chock full of delicious and devious devices and duds for dolly’s and Daddy’s to do with as they please.
Friday and Saturday night’s show’s were judged by a panel of firsts … the first Ms World Leather Annie Romano, first American Leather Woman Sara Humble, International Mr. Bootblack Pasken Burrel, Producer Gen 1 Sky Renfro, and Metis Black owner of the first sex toy company to mainstream silicone sex toys ensuring industry material safety, IMsL judges were joined by Head Judge IMsL 2014 Patty.
IMsBB judges were first IMsL Judy Tallwing McCarthy, International Mr. Bootblack Bamm Bamm, International Ms Bootblack 2014 Dara Bryant.
The Contest nights were simulcast to the contestant’s hometowns by The Leather Journal for IMsL and recordings of all four ballroom events will be donated to the IMsL Foundation for historical record. Friday’s show featured roll call for all four generations of contestants.
Saturday night, an announcement of all IMsL’s and IMsBB alumni was presented during the Contest Finale. The Mama's Family photo included over 100 members, including two new members: IMsL Staff member Oliver Clothes Off is now Mama’s Left Shark and Ms San Diego Leather 2016 Jae Marie is now Mama’s Cold Hands.
Saturday Night's contest featured fantasies and formality. Bubblinsugare performance as Emcee was downright sassy. Each contestant brought fantasies, which reflected their own brand of kink and desire. IMsL runner-up Aurora Lee’s musical tribute to back-alley gang-bangs and Lascivious Jane’s Victory Girl domination of Uncle Sam brought down the house.
The bootblacks spoke with a common conviction and clarity of purpose during their speeches. The Leather Archives & Museum and The Carter/Johnson Leather Library were on hand each displaying special pieces that had not been out of private collection in almost 10 years. The Carter Johnson Leather Library’s centerpiece was a Bootblack quilt with boot patches chronicling titleholder names through 2005. The quilt was acquired in 2005, during an auction. IMsL Weekend was the first time it had been seen since then.
Reuniting many titleholders with a piece of their history, each IMsL and IMsBB wore their sashes Saturday night during Alumni introduction.
Emcees Tristan Taormino and Bubblinsugare kept the stage alive throughout the weekend, each with their own special brand of wit, snark and sexy stamina.
Hospitality was hoppin’ as usual and was hosted by Portland Bad Girls, SFgoL, ACLC and Mama’s Family, The Exiles, The Canadian’s Bevies with Beavers, Dragon Tear Tribe hosting the Cigars and Boots Social on Saturday Night, a Disney Social hosted by The Little Scouts, and the Pajama Party in lieu of the traditional Afterglow party. Bootblack Scout was on hand with pancakes and peanut butter to supplement a wonderful continental Saturday morning spread during the SFgoL’s Brunch. Mama’s family pinning’s and Volunon patching by Rich during which my partner PuP~ and I were patched by Rich Stadtmiller during the ACLC and Mama’s family reception.
Master George and slave bren also took the opportunity to appoint Teagan as the 2016 Southern California Leather Bootblack during Mama’s reception.
Sunday morning, Mama Vi’s keynote was told in storyteller fashion. With her “grand children” gathered at her feet. She spoke about the history present in the room, giving us a taste, but skillfully, leaving us wanting to know more about each of the hero’s she spoke of. After her keynote, the applause continued until Emcee Tristan Taromino called her back to the stage and she pulled a tearful Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt with her, for a full 120 seconds of thunderous applause for the two women.
Sunday afternoon I was lucky enough to be the only press at the meet the titleholders press conference, scoring some much unexpected one-on-one time.
Meghan hopes to continue working to elevate Bootblack status and Jane will continue to bring the men’s, women’s and queer communities together. Meghan looks forward to traveling outside the US and meeting bootblacks from other countries and Jane wants to learn more about bootblacking and the care of her Leathers. Something tells me this dynamic duo will make some memorable moments and bring some great stories to share next April 20-24 in San Jose, CA.
Read more about this years contestants, winners, parties and see video highlights online at https://www.theleatherjournal.com/home/imsl-news
The DoubleTree Atlanta Hotel once again played host to DomCon: Atlanta which was celebrating its 10th Anniversary the weekend of October 16-19 in Atlanta, GA.
The hotel room block for DomCon: Atlanta was sold out several weeks in advance. Many DomCon groupies from Southern California attended and a couple noted the friendly people of Atlanta including the DoubleTree staff. What's more, discussion among the locals centered around the idea of attending DomCon: Los Angeles.
The Friday and Saturday night play parties at 1763, owned and operated by Ms Whip, were packed until closing time. A van shuttled guests to and from the play party.
The Pantheon of Leather Awards 2013 were presented on Friday night with 32 honors being presented. The emcees were International Ms Olympus Leather 2013 Robyn and International Mr. Olympus Leather 2013 Praxxis.
An auction to benefit Pantheon was led by David Nelson. The Small Club of the Year Panther L/L and Large Club of the Year Men of ONYX were there to receive their Awards.
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.
My name is Gary Wasdin, and I am the new Executive Director of the Leather Archives & Museum. I am humbled to have been chosen to lead this organization and to continue the work that so many have contributed to over the past 26-plus years. While I am only in my third week, your passion and commitment to the LA&M and its work is evident. Thank you for your support.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Advocate published 30 Kinky Terms Every Gay Man Needs to Know, a series of photos and one-paragraph definitions of many common Leather/BDSM/Fetish words and phrases.
While some of the definitions may be a little off, or seem like they were written by an outsider, it is worth a read. Take note that it is presumably written for vanillafolk and/or beginners, and seems tame in some cases.
Some of the photos and graphics are hot. Determining which ones are hot and which are meh is entirely up to the reader/viewer.
The first gay publication I ever set eyes on was a copy the first issue of The Advocate back in 1969-70 in my college dorm.
Here's a sample - "Sub/Submissive - Every particular Dom-sub (typically shortened to D/s) relationship has a slightly different power dynamic, but the sub/submissive is always the one who relinquishes control to the Dominant...."
Go to the link and enjoy http://www.advocate.com/love-and-sex/2016/2/12/30-kinky-terms-every-gay-man-needs-know
Cincinnati Gay Pride 2014 was held May 30-June 1 and for the first time in its history, the Leather/Kink Community played a prominent role in the weekend festivities.
Ron Clemons, Producer of the Mr. Tri-State Leather/Rubber Contest and a founding member of SCORPIUS of Cincinnati, was named a Grand Marshall for this year's Pride Parade. Additionally, the Leather/Kink Community had the honor of being the lead float in the parade. Sponsors of the float were Tri-State Leather, Ruff Pups of CNKY and Titans of the Midwest. The float organizer was Pup Nuzz and Kings CJD provided the truck.
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.
Christopher Street West, the non-profit organization that produces the annual LA Pride celebration in West Hollywood, CA, announced its 2014 officers. At CSW's annual Board retreat, Co-Presidents, Secretary and Treasurer were elected for the upcoming Pride season and will assume their roles beginning December 1.
Leading the Board of Directors, Co-Presidents, Patti DiLuigi and Steve Ganzell will share the responsibilities formerly overseen by Rodney Scott. DiLuigi has been on the Board since 2003 most recently serving as VP of Festival Operations while Ganzell joined the Board in 2006 and has served as VP of Administration and chair of Erotic City.
The all-volunteer Board of Directors of CSW has been helmed by Board President Rodney Scott for the past 12 years. During Scott's tenure, the organization has increased its efforts to bring more diversity and inclusion within the celebration and offer something for everyone. Under Scott's leadership, the organization created Latino Carnival, the Friday Night Purple Celebration of Women and Momentum, the Art and Culture Pavilion.
Financial and health difficulties have contributed to the planned closing of the first and only dungeon to be open in the Inland Empire (Redlands, CA). It was announced by the management of the club that the official closing will be the end of September, 2013. However, there is the possibility of the club staying open if there is an interest by an organization or individual to take it over. The owners of the club are hoping that someone will come forward that can provide the financial backing needed to keep a club such as Le Fleur de Lis open and operating.
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.