By Anthony Harmon
January 26-29 Drummer North America held its Third Annual Drummer, Drummer Boy, and Drummer Bootblack contest at the re-known Alexis Park Resort in Las Vegas, NV with the winners being Drummer - Jack MacCullum, Drummer Boy - Pup Cruze and Drummer Bootblack - Boy Tig. The annual Brotherhood Award, voted on by the contestants, went to Boy Tig.
The Leather Hall of Fame announced the names of its 2017 inductees: Durk Dehner, Peter Fiske, and MSC Hamburg who will be honored at a brunchduring CLAW (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend) on Sunday, April 30 at the Westin Cleveland Downtown in Cleveland, OH.
The Leather Hall of Fame was established to honor and preserve the legacy of the extraordinary men and women who have significantly shaped the history of the Leather/BDSM communities worldwide since 1950.
Durk Dehner (b. May 23, 1949)
Durk Dehner provided much of the institutional and organizational structure that made the art of Tom of Finland (2009 inductee) widely known in the United States and around the world. Originally from Canada, by the 1970’s Dehner was a hustler and worked as a model for Bruce Weber and others in New York. He wrote a fan letter to Tom after seeing one of his drawings at the bar, and they became pen pals and eventually business partners and artist and muse. They created the Tom of Finland Company in 1978 and the Tom of Finland Foundation (ToFF) in 1984. For more than 30 years, Dehner and the ToFF have been the curator owners of TOM House in Los Angeles, where he and Tom lived during the last and most prolific years of the artist’s life. For more than 30 years the ToFF has preserved Tom’s work and been a key institution in preserving and fostering masculine gay sexual art.
Peter Fiske (b. 1946)
Whip and whipping expert Peter Fiske has been a mentor to two generations of Leatherfolk.
Originally from New York City, Peter Fiske has been a Leatherman for more than 50 years.
He is a Stonewall veteran and a member of the Stonewall Veterans Association. He moved to San Francisco in 1966 and was a member of the Koalas MC San Francisco from 1966 to 1969. Peter is a founding member and Chairman Emeritus of The 15 Association San Francisco and of Delta International (Chairman and Coordinator 2009/2010), and a long time member of GMSMA, SNC London and the Chicago Hellfire Club. Peter was presented the Caligula Award at Inferno XXV in 1996. Also known as "Daddy Peter,” he is a well-known educator and has presented at hundreds of events and clubs across the country. Peter was San Francisco Leather Daddy XXI in 2003. His community service includes Board Member (1999-2003) and President (2000) of the AIDS Emergency Fund and cofounder of the Breast Cancer Emergency Fund. Peter was a SF Pride Board member from 2002 to 2004 and was awarded the Heritage of Pride Award in 2005 for long term service of over 15 years to the SF LGBT community. He has long been a strong advocate for acceptance and inclusion of transgender men and women in the Leather and SM community. Now retired in Palm Springs, Fiske is still an activist and educator.
MSC Hamburg e. V. (Founded 1974)
The MSC Hamburg was officially founded in 1974 after the first official Hamburg Leather meeting the year before. After this big success with around 300 visiting Leathermen from various European countries, the MSC decided to host the second Leather meeting in August 1974 where they showed a fist fuck movie at the event: the first time such a movie had been shown to the German public. This began the club’s influence on European Leather. The annual MSC Hamburg Leather meeting became the number one Leather event in Europe — including wild parties on the famous MS Cap San Diego ship. The MSC party posters created by Martin S. Cool (aka Günter Henzler) are legendary. Along with producing the annual Leather meeting, the club and its members are active in Hamburg LGBT organizations, and produce the Mr. Hamburg contest.
The Leather Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Brunch will be held during CLAW 17. Complementary and reduced price tickets are available. Find out more, and order your tickets now at http://www.clawinfo.org
LHoF nominations can be made by anyone. A board of community scholars, organizers and leaders select three inductees each year. To learn about the Leather Hall of Fame’s previous inductees, or to make a nomination, please visit http://www.leatherhalloffame.com
CLAW is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and has donated over $700,000 to community charities.
Article and Photos by Brian Mincey
The 2016 American Brotherhood Weekend was held in the Etienne Auditorium of the Leather Archives & Museum October 7-9 in Chicago, Illinois. This year was an exciting contest with 11 contestants hailing from across the USA, vying for the titles of American Leatherman, American Leatherwoman, and American Leatherboy. The contest consisted of individual interviews, fantasies, speeches, and hotwear judging, and featured a number of opportunities for contestants, judges, and attendees to mingle and mix throughout the weekend.
On Sunday evening, contest producers Dean Ogren, George Hester, and Karen Ultra announced the following winners: American Leatherman Doug Kuhn, of Phoenix, Arizona; the first runner-up was Ryan Baehr, from Portland, Oregon, and the second runner-up was Scottie Tidwell, hailing from San Diego, California. Also competing were Sir Kevin, from Baltimore, Maryland, and Todd Sittler, from Pearland, Texas.
American Leatherwoman is Steph, who resides in Charleston, South Carolina. Her first runner-up was Margaret Irene, from Baltimore, Maryland, and second runner-up was Stormy Styles, from Portland, Oregon.
American Leatherboy is Steve Carlisle, from West Hollywood, California. He shared the stage with first runner-up Boy David, from Glen Burnie, Maryland, and second runner-up Josh, who hails from Prairieville, Louisiana.
The Brotherhood Awards, chosen by contestants, went to Steph, Boy David, and Doug Kuhn.
This year’s judging panel included Jefferey “Gummibärchen” Basile, Gabe Sims, Sarah Sloane, Vern Stewart, and Nancy Weinberger. The emcee was Karen Ultra.
The 2015 titleholders – American Leatherman Dan Ronneberg, American Leatherwoman LE, and American Leatherboy Boy Pup Max represented their titles with energy, dignity, and honor.
As this is being written, Leatherfolk from all over North America and perhaps other continents have descended on Chicago's North Side to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Leather Archives & Museum. Those who have played major roles in building and causing it to grow are there. Members of the Chicago Hellfire Club are back from hosting Inferno, known as Summer Camp to those in the know as well as those wanting to learn more.
Those new to the Leather Archives are seeing a Museum that is refined and polished, not something that is dusty and haphazard. One cannot help but feel pride well up inside them as they partake in the magnificence of the Leather Archives and Museum.
By Adam W. Hart
The Leather Archives & Museum is hosting its 25th Anniversary Weekend, September 16- 18 in Chicago, IL.
Plans for the Museum's 25th Anniversary Weekend include numerous receptions, educational programming, a walking tour, a banquet dinner, after parties and, of course, tours of the Museum itself.
Started in 1991 by Chuck Renslow, the Leather Archives & Museum was originally located at 5007 North Clark Street. The museum later moved to 6418 North Greenview Avenue in 1999, where it has operated ever since.
"I never thought when Tony DeBlase and I started the LA&M, it would have such great community support,” says Renslow, who is the current President of the Museum's Board of Directors. “Before the Leather Archives & Museum, most of our history was going into dumpsters. Now our history is being saved worldwide."
LA&M Executive Director Rick Storer agrees, adding, "Celebrating 25 Years of Leather history is really a testament to the Leather/BDSM/kink/fetish community's passion for their history. They recognize the importance of keeping their legacy safe and want to make
sure it's available to the world."
The Leather Archives & Museum houses artifacts, art, clothing, research materials and historical exhibits devoted to Leather/BDSM/kink/fetish communities across a wide spectrum. A non-lending library is onsite, offering non-fiction, fiction, pulp fiction, art books, comic books/graphic novels and more. LA&M's facility also includes a 164-seat auditorium which is used for public/private events and educational/entertainment programs. As part of the museum's outreach and programming, LA&M hosts events ranging
from scholarly lectures to kinky/foreign film festivals, and the museum offers the auditorium to local community groups for use throughout the year.
"The LA&M is a grassroots institution," says Storer. “2016 signifies 25 years of people coming together behind a cause. The Leather Archives celebrates this year because thousands of people have said, 'My history and my legacy is important to me'...and then did something about it."
LA&M's Archivist/Collections Librarian Jakob VanLammeren says, “Celebrating 25 years of Leather history at the LA&M means community members, museum visitors, researchers, and scholars alike can experience the primary source materials that document how Leather communities have radicalized sexuality throughout history.” The Museum 's archived materials – not normally on public display – are made available, by appointment,
to researchers and scholars visiting the LA&M.
By Dave Rhodes
I remember from the beginning the planning of the Leather Archives & Museum - phone calls from Chuck Renslow, E-mails to him and Tony DeBlase who was the publisher of Drummer Magazine at the time, the level of excitement in the entire Leather community
and the realization that a project like this would not come cheap and knowing for it to succeed would take a long, unwavering commitment to seeing it through. In order to show the entire world who and what we are, every segment
that makes up the greater Leather community was going to need to participate.
The first venue was a storefront next door to the Chicago Eagle and Man's Country, two businesses owned by Chuck Renslow.
My first visit there was a thrill. Early additions included sashes of recent titleholders, club vests, bar posters, pins and patches along with copies of a few publications.
The Leather Journal shipped a huge load to the Archives via UPS ground and the bill was $424 - in 1993. Even today that would be a lot. We sent not only items related to The Leather Journal, but many other artifacts.
When I visited several months afterward I was not amused to see only one poster, a pin and a copy of a recent of The Leather Journal was on display. I felt hurt and irrelevant.
What I did not realize at the time was that many others were sending boxes just as I had done. I was not being minimalized, the incoming artifacts was so huge that the place was filling up fast and the bare-bones staff was up to its neck in work. I checked my bruised ego.
It was obvious that the Leather Archives and Museum was going to need a much larger space — and soon.
Joseph Bean was brought on and an announcement that the current space was overrun was brought to everyone's attention at International Mr. Leather.
A campaign to raise funds so that a private space to house what was arriving on a daily basis could be found; it needed to be able to house contributions in the future.
Many were stunned to see just how successful the Leather Archives was, and more so when the fundraising goal was reached. It was a huge amount of money and the community had never been asked for such a sum before.
In my own mind I labeled it the Leather community's Manhattan Project — It was going to take a lot from each and everyone of us and it was so needed.
There are many factors which help define a community or a culture — a preservation of its history is one of them.
Not only was this huge collection going to give us something that we could enjoy seeing at IML every year, it was going to tell the world about us in our own words. What the world would see would be defined by us, not by others who have different and not-so-friendy motives in many cases.
To promote the Leather Archives visibility, to help raise the huge amoint of money needed and to convince people to continue adding to the collection Joseph Bean created the catch phrase, "Located in Chicago and serving the world." The jingle caught on in a big way; so much so that it even became a question asked by judges during interviews at Leather contests.
One of my proudest moments with The Leather Journal was when we held the Pantheon of Leather Awards and International Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather contest on the Leather Archives & Museum stage in February 2002. We almost sold out with 150 of the 164 seats full.
In 2004 the mortgage for the North Greenview Avenue location was torched by Chuck Renslow during the Pantheon of Leather Awards. It was an honor for this celebration of success to have occurred during our event.
There has been so many success stories surrounding the Leather Archives & Museum and there should be.
A few years later Joseph Bean retired from the Leather Archives and Rick Storer became the executive director. The growth under Storer has been steady. Traveling exhibits are making their way around the continent.
Leatherfolk who cannot make it to Chicago are at least getting eyes-on glimpses of what the Leather Archives has accumulated for them.
The Leather Archives is online so anyone with a computer and/or smart phone can see some of it and be informed.
Other events are renting out the Etienne Theater and monthly programs are held regularly. Special short-term exhibits are the norm.
The question is, when will it be time to obtain a much larger space? Will it need to be an entire facility or will it continue to be North Greenview location with a satellite venue.
Above all, the Leather Archives & Museum provides a unique, safe space in which visitors can learn about the history and societal context of Leather/kink/BDSM/fetish communities.
"That the LA&M provides such a space for the community is important, says Board of Directors Vice President and volunteer Christina Court. “Its archives, library, Museum and traveling exhibits serve as a reminder that we have not only existed for quite some time, but that we continue to thrive, evolve, and celebrate with pride who we are as individuals and sexual beings."
For more information visit http://www.leatherarchives.org/anniversary/