International Ms Leather 2013 is Sarha Shaubach, from Meadow Lakes, AK, sponsored by The Last Frontier Men's Club of Anchorage; having won the title at the Holiday Inn Golden Gateway in San Francisco, CA on Saturday night, April 20. The new International Ms Bootblack 2013 is Bella, hailing from Kentucky and sponsored by the Great Lakes Leather Alliance. Bella also won the heart and Soul Award by a vote of her sister competitors. Minion from Pittsburgh was voted the winner of the IMsL contest Heart and Soul Award. Youkali Youkali from Toronto was the runner-up for International Ms Leather.
In front of a sold out crowd, the 27th annual International Ms Leather Contest and 15th annual International Ms. Bootblack Contest was emceed by the outrageous Karen Ultra. Eight IMsL and two IMsBB contestants made for a busy weekend. The contests were both split over two days with in-depth interviews, inspiring speeches, pop questions that centered around super heroes and television shows, the high energy opening number, sexy on-stage fantasies and the sashing of two new titleholders.
This year, International Ms Bootblack celebrated its 15th Anniversary. Many of the IMs-bubba, as it is affectionately labeled, were on hand. Each of those presented coins totaling 15 in number to individuals that they believed were most instrumental in the formation and development of IMsB.
High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack is a documentary that was filmed during this year's contest and will include footage from past years.
Sarha was back for a second try, energized by her hometown folks in Alaska to return. She proudly made it clear that she did not buy her Leather, she went out and caught and tanned it - something that Alaskans would expect. The idea resonated with the crowd and judges.
The International Ms Leather 2013 contestants were Sarha Shaubach, Ces Williams, Christy Ford, Minion, Ms Charries Jubalie, Nyx, Toni Solenne, and Youkali Youkali
Read the interview that Vonn Tramel did with Sarha Shaubach before she competed.
The IMsL judging panel included Sarah Lashes, International Ms Leather 2011 Sara Vibes, International Mr. Leather 2012 Woody Woodruff, Miranda, sex blogger Sinclair Sexsmith and Tilly King of Vancouver, Canada, owner of Pittsburgh Leather Central Mike Zuhl.
The International Ms Bootblack 2013 contestants were Bella and Foxfire.
Read Vonn Tramel's interview with Bella, done before the IMsBB 2013 contest.
The International Ms Bootblack judges were International Ms Bootblack 2011 kd, International Mr. Bootblack 2012 Nick Elliot, International Community Bootblack 2012 Ruin and a secret judge, Lenny Earl, who was introduced with the other judges at the beginning of the contest.
The Sunday brunch keynote speaker was Lolita Wolf from New York, NY. Lolita told her story of coming out As Leather, her growth, apprehensions and fears, her progress and even of her online magazine, Lolita's Predictions and Predilections. She had a profound effect in the Big Apple, but through her writing she may be more influential and loved than she realizes.
IMsL included Inside Leather History, A Fireside Chat in its event line up this year. Douglas O'Keeffe conducted a two-part Fireside Chat with Leatherwomen Audrey Joseph and Amy Marie Meek. Audrey Joseph vividly depicted her attendance at Woodstock, her work in the music industry producing Sister Sledge, and Chic, and her production work for IMsL's first eight years. Audrey also produced the International Drummer contest for several years, and IML in its early years, sharing intimate details of both event.
Amy Marie Meek discussed her production of IMsL, the changes she made to the contest when she assumed ownership, her political involvement and rumors she's heard about herself over the years. The Chats were filmed for historical preservation at the Leather Archives and Museum. Inside Leather History, A Fireside Chat is a coproduction of Mistress Joanne Gaddy and Douglas O'Keeffe.
Douglas hosts the live-on-stage Chats. Future Chats for 2013-14 will appear at GLLA, Chicago's Center on Halsted, Master/slave Conference, and Mid Atlantic Leather.
The hospitality suite on the seventh floor of the Holiday Inn is one of the big attractions that makes IMsL special. It was most of the same party sponsors, and why not, as some of these have been terrific. Of particular note was the chocolates and champagne party hosted by the Exiles. Tracy Wolf made all of the candy which was plentiful and went as fast as volunteers could place it on the table.
The Alameda County Leather Corps and Mama's party was a meal that she spent the previous two days preparing. Always hot was the Stompers Boots and Cigar party following the contest. The contest went way over its expected end time, so attendance at the party was limited. American Brotherhood Weekend, DUC Uniform, Boys/Bois in Leather Service, DESIRE and WILL, Society of Janus, Littles and Bevies with Beavers - Canadian Style held bashes as well.
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There were numerous workshops and educational intensives. Play parties included separate women's men's and pansexual dungeons that were open every hour.
Sisterhood of the Sash: IMsL at 25 is a film telling about the largest Leatherwomen's contest in the world. International Ms Leather upholds the sexiness and strength of Leatherwomen, their accomplishments and acts of service. IMsL recently celebrated its 25th year and to commemorate that milestone, former IMsL titleholders gathered to cheer on the 2011 contestants and share their memories about the event’s history and reflect on the diversity, evolution and progress of its community.
Conceived by Glenda Rider and filmed, directed and edited by Princess Kali and Graydancer for Kink Academy (with special editorial assistance from Christina), Sisterhood of the Sash: International Ms Leather at 25 documents the IMsL 2011 contest, its sexy events and performances (think Seduction)and titleholders talking about the titleholding experience. When asked about the film, Christina said, "Overall, the film celebrates Leatherwomen’s historical journey and evolution, and it shows how our badassery is most often balanced by community service, support and outreach."
Sisterhood of the Sash: IMsL at 25 is currently taking part in the CineKink road show with screenings scheduled in Portland,OR on August 5 and Chicago,IL on November 16-17 with more cities being added soon.
The Tom of Finland Foundation, based in Los Angeles, CA announced that Helsinki-filmi, the innovative Finnish production company, has asked it to do a feature about Tom of Finland. Helsinki-filmi has demonstrated enormous respect for the artist who started the Foundation that bears his name.
The Helsinki-filmi biopic will be the first feature-length portrait of Tom of Finland's influential life and career, and everyone involved has committed to crafting it the way that would make Tom proud.
"Every project we've seen from this esteemed company has consistently impressed us with its creativity. The production team has a full grasp of the layers of the subject matter they take on," says Durk Dehner, president and cofounder of Tom of Finland Foundation.
Tom's real name is Touko Laaksonen, he was born on May 8th, 1920 and "May" in Finnish is "Toukokuu." He lived and worked in Helsinki and later los angeles. He died in 1991 and was involved in two documentaries made about him during his lifetime (Boots, Biceps and Bulges: The Life and Works of Tom of Finland, 1988 and Daddy and the Muscle Academy, 1991).
Brent Gannetta was selected as Mr. Powerhouse Leather 2012 on Saturday night at the Powerhouse in San Francisco on Saturday night, January 28.
Brent competed at Mr. San Francisco Leather in March.
Xavier Espejo won the Mr. Southern California Leather 2014 at the Eagle LA in los angeles, CA on Friday night, February 14 with Jim Pelky finishing runner-up.
Mr. Southern California Leather 2012 Shad Cruz held the title for two years and that was by design as contest producer William Schindler asked Cruz to serve two years as the titleholder at the beginning of his term. The Mr. Southern California Leather Contest will be held annually.
Shad Cruz headed the judging panel which included Howie Ramirez, American Leatherman 2013 Aaron Duke, Christopher Street West cochair Steve Ganzel and Mr. los angeles Leather 2011 Leo Iriarte. The tally master was Mr. Christopher Street West 2007 Tom Wang who was able to tabulate the scores with his system designs for an iPhone.
Sister Unity was as shocking as usual with her constant humor. Sharp as a tack all night, Sister Unity never lost the idea that it was all about the contestants.
Xavier Espejo is a 32 year-old program manager who used to be a go go dancer. He is Mr. Gay Long Beach 2008 and will compete for Mr. Los Angles Leather 2014 at Circus Dance Club in Hollywood, CA on Saturday night, March 29.
Fawna, the recently-elected Coordinator of The Threshold Society in los angeles, CA, passed away suddenly on July 22, 2014.
She was a lovely face, passionate advocate, a delightful laugh and a helping hand. She left us too soon. Fawna also used the names aka FawnaLemon, Fawnasaurus, The Fawnanator.
She joined the Southern California community in 2009 and quickly became active by volunteering, including being elected to the Threshold Society, Inc. Board of Directors on more than one occasion, most recently to the position of Coordinator. She was also the founder and leader of the Domme Scouts Troop 96 (a kinky scout troop with a "twist," which is in its fourth year).
Fawna was a wonderful educator, a supporter of dreams and ambitions, and a real friend to many. The Southland Honors group honored her recently with a nomination for the 2014 Jeff Burnam Community Service Award for her devotion and hard work on behalf of the community. Her laugh, her energy and her heart will be sorely missed. Be at peace, Fawna.
The Avatar Club los angeles educational program for Wednesday, August 27 is Fire Play with Orpheus Black at MCC in the Valley, 5730 Cahuenga Blvd., North Hollywood, CA 91601 starting at 8 PM.
Fire Play by Orpheus Black will include discussion on Basic Fire Safety: Preparing private or public fire play scenes, checking tools, fuel storage and transportation, safety equipment and measures, treating burns. Preparing the Sub: Easing fears, outlining safety protocols, negotiating safe words, phrases and gestures, cultivating the head space. Technique: Types of torches brushes and their differences, review of basic torching methods and basic cupping, tips and tricks Advanced Techniques Fire Painting Techniques:How to perform half body trails and full torso transfers Advanced Fire Cupping:Demonstration of horning, using cups as tie points and leads Torching Techniques: Safely combining rope bondage and fire play, safely increasing the heat and intensity of the flame.
The Tom of Finland Art Fair returns to TOM House the weekend of October 3-5, the iconic property where it has been held in earlier years in los angeles, CA. The Art Fair’s tagline, Art in Residence, reflects its staging at a residence of much significance to art lovers.
Situated on a quiet street in the los angeles neighborhood of Echo Park, TOM House is the site where the artist Tom of Finland lived and worked for the last decade of his life, producing the erotic drawings for which he was internationally renowned. Preserved in homage to Tom, the house is visited by fans from around the world. The house also remains a home for the operations of the Tom of Finland Foundation, whose archives comprise the world’s largest repository of erotic art.
The art fair will showcase more than 30 artists, both emerging and established, from the USA and beyond. Workshops and panel discussions will be held, and artwork – spanning sculpture, photography, paintings, sketches, digital renderings and more – will be for sale. Visitors will also have the opportunity to tour TOM House, including the attic space that served as Tom of Finland’s bedroom and studio.
International Ms Leather and International Ms Boot Black 2014 (IMsL/IMsBB) will be held April 24-27, at the DoubleTree by Hilton in San Jose, CA
International Ms Leather and International Ms Bootblack are under the new ownership of Pat Baillie and Sharrin Spector..
Traditionally, the judges for IMsL/IMsBB and tallies are announced at the Ms San Francisco Leather contest and this year was no exception.
The SF Eagle will be holding the Mr. SF Eagle 2014 contest on Saturday, December 14 at The SF Eagle, 398 12th Street, San Francisco, CA 94103 at 3 PM.
The Mr. SF Eagle 2014 contest will be hosted by Mr. San Francisco Leather 2010 Lance Holman.
The judging panel will be past Mr. SF Eagle winners Lenny Broberg, 1992, Mr. San Francisco Leather 1992, International Mr. Leather 1992, Gary Kenyon, 2009; and current Mr. SF Eagle who will be stepping down, Marcus Alston, 2013. Other judges will be Ava Schmidt of the San Francisco Girls of Leather as well as San Francisco Leather Daddy XXIIII Richard Sprott.
The winner will go on to compete at Mr. San Francisco Leather the weekend of February 28 - March 3. For more information or interest in competing, please contact Mike and Alex at the SF Eagle or Desmond Perrotto
Displaying excellent command of the stage during his speech, Bobby Allen was declared Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2014 at that venerable bar in Studio City, CA on Sunday night, February 9. Gareth Chen was the runner-up and David Taylor also competed.
A tribute video to all of he past Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather titleholders prepared by Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2008 Randy Carmenaty entertained.
Sister Buffy was the emcee who handled the contestants quite well - and often. The crowd ate it up.The judges were Bullet Bar owner Michael Lara, International Mr. Leather 2007 and Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2007 Mike Gerle, Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2006 Tim Stake, Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2005 Lou Romano, Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2004 Mark Diamond and Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2013 Jeremy Ranceros. The tally master was Kris Larson.
The audience was blown away by Ranceros step down speech. One Leather community elder was heard afterward saying, "I think we are in good hands with this new generation.
Jordan Frink was chosen Mr. Sister Leather 2014 at the Eagle LA in los angeles, CA on Saturday night, September 21 in a contest produced by the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence: los angeles House. Another man named Andy competed. The Mad Tea Room Party was the theme. There was a meet and greet at Eagle LA on Friday night and the theme was Sacrilege.
Emcees Sister Unity in her well-known orange "face" and George Geary were on top of things from beginning end. They worked well together and are one reason that the Mr. Sister Leather is once of the favorite Leather contests in the los angeles title circuit.
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.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony for Bob Tomasino, famed founder and sole owner of Oil Can Harry's bar in Studio City, CA, will be held at the West Hollywood Auditorium on Sunday, January 19 from 2-5 PM.
Eulogies will be given by Charlie Matula and Hunter Fox Long of the Eagle LA, International Mr. Leather 2007 Mike Gerle and Avatar Club los angeles Secretary Nick Drance.
Formal Leather/Fetish attire is requested. A parade of flags led by several los angeles clubs will start the memorial.
Bob Tomasino, owner of Oil Can Harry’s which is the oldest gay bar west of the Mississippi River at 47 years, was killed in an auto accident while returning home from work in the realy hours of November 23 in not far from his Lake Balboa residence in the Studio City area of los angeles, CA. He was 66 years old and was born in Rochester, NY.
Tomasino also ran the Country Dance Pavilion during the Festival at los angeles LGBT Pride in West Hollywood. He received many honors for his generous community service inculding when Christopher Street West Association honored Tomasino with its Sheldon Andelson Award in 2007.
Country Western music and dancing helped Oil Can Harry's to continue as one of the hottest night clubs in the San Fernando Valley. Before Country, Oil Can Harry's was a popular disco.
Tall Zac Rigo was named Mr. Pistons Leather on Saturday night, January 28 in Long Beach, CA. Four men vied for the chance to compete at Mr. los angeles Leather.
Following the contest, members of the LA Band of Brothers appeared on stage with their "laying on of hands" ceremony, welcoming Zac into the group of men who have competed at Mr. LA Leather.
Los Angeles’ Gay Community is mourning the death of one of their most beloved members, Bob Tomasino, owner of the popular Country Western dance club, Oil Can Harry’s, located in Studio City, CA. The club is the oldest gay bar west of the Mississippi and has been in business continuously for 47 years. Mr. Tomasino has received awards and recognition for his generosity many times over the years.
An unprecedented number of local Business leaders, family and members of the Gay community in los angeles are coming together in a virtual gathering for a moment of reflection scheduled for 8 PM, Wednesday November 26th. This moment of meditation is being lead by Reverend Les Demarco of North Hollywood Church of Religious Science, in the closing Benediction of their Wednesday evening service at 8 PM.