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.
Don Thompson passes
Don Thompson, perhaps best known as San Francisco Leather Daddy VIII, passed away on the morning of January 5, 2018 in Cathedral City, CA due to a long time illness. Don studied at Cambridge and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, country of his birth. Professionally, Don was a concert organist and president of Pipe Organ Presentations. Much of Don's Leather community service was as producer of Fetish Balls in San Francisco in the 1980s and 1990s. He was a member of the California Eagles Motorcycle Club. For several years he was co-emcee of the Pantheon of Leather Awards. One proud moment in his early years was as the organist for The Beatles' Mr. Moonlight. Thompson is survived by his husband Henry Jordan. A memorial service is being planned for Don. Photo gallery which will not leave one with dry eyes https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10157037282395968&set=rpd.1132007819&type=3&theater
At 5 PM on December 17th the contestant application for the 2017 Mr. Twin Cities Leather contest became available on the contest website. The contest producers sought a pool of five contestants to run for the title the weekend of February 17-19. 15 hours later, the fifth application had been received.
For the past 10 years, girls of Leather Chapters have been flourishing across the USA, and many people have asked why our diverse and dynamic Southern California community does not have a Chapter.
In order to fulfill this need, slave Bren, founder of Los Angeles sisters in service (LAsis; a local support group for those who live female 24/7 sub/slave bottoms hosted in LA for the past 10 years), has begun a los angeles girls of Leather Chapter.
Bears, Bikers and Mayhem is planning its fourth combined, Bear, Leather and Fetish run for March 27-30. For the second year, the run will be held in historic Gettysburg, PA.
In its fourth year, BBM just keeps getting bigger, better and more unique. As always, BBM brings together Bears, Leathermen and Fetish Lovers to share in the fun with men from all over the United States and quite a few international guests.
The weekend features PanDEMONium, a Leather and fetish dance party on Friday night and Boots to Briefs, a bear party on Saturday. We have a pool party Saturday afternoon, a welcome cocktail party, Gettysburg Battlefield tours, go-carts, laser tag, a breakfast, a dinner, Sunday brunch and much more. Our vendor market features many first class Leather and toy vendors as well as former Mr. Tom of Finland, Barber Pete. For entertainment the weekend delivers Comedian Peter C. Bisuito, performance artist Kendall Kelly and Porn Star Michael Brandon along with three DJ's to keep you on your feet. The fun and play goes on each night with an after party featuring free drinks for VIP pass holders.
Arizona is home to a brand new organization, Arizona Bootblacks of Leather. The Arizona Bootblacks of Leather organized in spring, 2013 and have based their group after the Phoenix Boys of Leather. Arizona is home to quite a few bootblacks, and they wanted to create a group that would allow them to promote the strong bootblack presence in Arizona. The plans are to offer their services around the region and introduce bootblacking to new people as well as exchanging ideas with other bootblacks. When asked what the purpose of the group was, President slave tabitha arie replied, ‘The Arizona Bootblacks of Leather exists to serve, support, and enrich the Leather community. We gather to support our members and to serve our community with respect and integrity.’
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.
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.
The Leather and Kink community came out in full force to support the Atons of Minneapolis as they hosted Gopher XXI the weekend of July 18-20. This was their first in-town run in over 15 years. Although there were some that missed the traditional outdoor camping experience, it was evident that everyone enjoyed their time together.
Gopher XXI: Tails of the City, was held at the Doubletree by Hilton in the Minneapolis neighboring community of Saint Louis Park. The hotel provided great accommodations and delicious food during the Saturday evening banquet and Sunday morning breakfast.
Many brother/sister clubs from the Twin Cities area, as well clubs from out of town hosted socials and cocktail parties, featuring a wide variety of drinks and some even got into the spirit of the run theme and donned inspirational attire.
VT-TLJ: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? Please tell me about your Sponsor:
PB: Sin in the City is an official sponsor and travel fundraiser of Mr. SouthWest Olympus Leather 2014. I have served as SiTC’s Technical Engineer for the past two years and look forward to more work and fun with them February 27 – March 2, 2015.
VT-TLJ: Tell me about your favorite charity.
PB: The Gay and Lesbian Community Center of Southern Nevada (“The Center”), here in Las Vegas is an amazing resource for all aspects of our community. The Center supports and promotes activities directed at furthering the well-being, positive image, and human rights of the LGBTQ community and its allies in Southern Nevada. From HIV and STI testing, to education and employment resources for those in need, to a community recreation center for young LGBTQ, to community meeting space and even to an extensive library, all of the services provided by The Center benefit our community greatly as a whole.
VT-TLJ: Tell me in your own words how you feel about service.
PB: Service to community is a guiding principle in my life. I truly believe that we can only keep what we have by giving it away; what better way to give it away than by helping out in our home: in our community? Regardless of role or identification, I believe EVERY person in a community should be looking at how they can serve and give back.
VT-TLJ: What makes you a Leather Man or Woman and/or Bootblack?
PB: I am a Leather Man because that is my path. Leather’s core values of honor, integrity, honesty, respect, doing the right thing, and community service are principles that guide my daily life. This is who I am at root: leather will forever be a part of me.
VT-TLJ: Who is your favorite Olympus Title Holder and in 100 words or less…Why?
PB: How cruel to ask this when I have two current International Olympus Leather titleholders on the judging panel at IOL this year! While I greatly appreciate both Praxxis and Robyn, I’d have to say that Mr. Andrew Love immediately comes to mind as one of my favorite Olympus Titleholders through the history of the contest. He has used his title to help further the education and activities in his home community of Salt Lake City, Utah, as well as to reach out and educate far beyond his local city or state.
VT-TLJ: What do you feel is the most dangerous mis-information passed through traditional & social media affecting our community today, and how would you combat it should the opportunity arise?
PB: Even with more mainstream media exposure, there is a dearth of accurate information about what it is that we do that actually being distributed to the public at large. This leaves our community constantly engaged in a battle against the misconception that the practice of BDSM and/or power imbalanced or authority transferred relationships is abusive and unhealthy. I feel that the best way to combat these misapprehensions is via transparency and open communication (education). The more that people are allowed to see our healthy lives, the more they can understand at least something about how we live, the less they have to misunderstand. Using the S.S.C. platform as the catchphrase it was created to be for those outside of our way of life and practicing R.A.C.K. in our interactions with each other can only help to manage the flow of misinformation.
VT-TLJ: What makes you feel you can represent the Olympus Leather Community, even the folks who you may not identify with?
PB: The Olympus title celebrates those people who can transcend roles and identifications to find the common ground between all members of our vast and diverse Leather community and present a positive Leather image. I believe myself to be a Leather Man of integrity and honor, and have yet to find someone who has chosen this way of life with whom I did not share some amount of common ground. I find the free-exchange of ideas that comes from diversity in experience exceedingly valuable. I do not believe that I need to be a carbon copy of an individual or group to represent them; instead, I need to be a skilled listener. How can I represent aspects of the Olympus Leather Community who I may not identify with? By taking the time to create the bonds of fellowship and by being humble enough to learn where it is that they are coming from.
VT-TLJ: What makes you most nervous about becoming International Ms or Mr. Olympus Leather?
PB: I find myself a bit nervous about all that I’m going to miss in the time I’ll spend away from my home community. I know, however, that the Las Vegas and the SouthWest communities will be in good hands while I’m traveling on a larger scale.
Now the basics:
Name: Papa Bear
Current Title: Mr. Southwest Olympus Leather 2014
City, State: Las Vegas, NV
VT-TLJ: What regular community events that you produce or participate in:
- Leather Church
- Sin City D/s Society Meet and Greet
- Vegas Valley TNG meet and greet
VT-TLJ: Favorite Leather item in your arsenal of bar/fetish wear:
VT-TLJ: 100 words about what you will do as International Olympus Leather:
If I am selected to represent as International Mr. Olympus Leather 2014, I will use the opportunity to employ education as a means of bringing together all of the diverse aspects of our community. Community education is my greatest passion, and I believe that educational opportunities are often overlooked as the valuable bonding tool they can represent. I look forward to maintaining a presenting a positive leather image through education and fellowshipping at as many events across the globe as I can possibly attend.
Other stories of interest:
As a former Leather titleholder, I have a vested interest in ensuring that the Leather culture continues in perpetuity. Over the past few decades, what that "means" has continually been reshaped to best suit the needs of the current crop of Leather enthusiasts and the times in which they live. One thing, however, has remained consistent: the outgoing generation reviles the changes brought about by their incoming replacements.
Perhaps the one stable meeting place for those in the Leather community has been the ubiquitous "Leather bar" - that often dingy, dimly lit bastille where the local Leather denizens gather to preen as much as their restrictive clothing (or lack thereof) will allow. Beneath the layers of posturing and displaying, however, there are turbulent conversations being had about the future of these bastions of our culture, and what that future may mean for the community.
Before I delve into the content of these conversations, I should take a moment to describe my own experience. I have moved a grand total of 43 times, the most recent in April from los angeles, CA to Morgantown, WV. As someone who was raised on the outskirts of the Leather community in New York City in the late 80s, only to be transplanted into the rural South in my teen years, I was lucky enough to experience a variety of different "scenes" along my journey to my current state of being. When I first started going out to bars, the only options around were of the "small-town gay bar" variety - a hodgepodge of every social type, gender, and sexual proclivity. It is largely due to these vastly different experiences that I am so open to change. The decor and clientelle aside, these bars are the most similar to Leather bars that I have found in that they provide patrons both with a sense of belonging to a community and of being on the outskirts as an anomaly within that community.
These things having been established, please allow me to begin:
When I first moved to los angeles, I found myself voluntarily thrust into the middle of the Leather titleholder community, and by way of my then-partner, the Avatar education non-profit. As an educator, myself, I have always been concerned with ensuring that whenever people engage in any type of sexual activity, they're smart (and educated) about it. At one of my first educational sessions (on the subject of fisting), I entered into a rather heated debate with a very prominent figure in the LA Leather community over the current state of Leather bars.
"I don't even like to go out to (redacted) on a Friday night! How is it that I'm the one being given the stink eye over my attire in my own goddamned bar?"
Flip flops, tennis shoes, outsiders, and, worst of all, women - no irritant was too small for my friend, each of them more of an affront to his sensibilities than the last.
"I miss the days of enforced dress codes," was his, and the most common, refrain when arguing that the Leather bars just "aren't what they used to be," and to some degree, I agree with him. When I made my first (legal) forays into the Leather bar scene, it was so I could find for myself a sense that I was not the outsider standing on the sidelines while the rest of my peers played in the big game. That I was into BDSM and fetish gear happened to be my Scarlet Letter in the small-town gay bars; it was in these Leather bars that I sought acceptance and, most horrifying to me, now, admittance - a feeling that I had been allowed into a special event to which few were ever invited.
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I played the part and donned the drag of my Leather compatriots, but still, there was something missing from my experience. While I had all but forced my way into this exclusive brotherhood, the reality was that, even though I get on famously with the 40-plus crowd, I still found their approach to enjoying their scene still too conservative for my tastes. So many rules; so many protocols; so much bullshit.
Over time, I began to realize that, while after a few (dozen) drinks I could find myself having a good time, I always felt like the Leather bar scene was such a compartmentalized part of my life. I was cut off from the friends I held dearest because, as my friend so vehemently pointed out, they were not welcome on this field of play. My female, straight, bisexual, and "normal" friends often found themselves on the receiving end of distasteful and inartful signals that they had wandered into the wrong part of town; that they'd better get off the old man's lawn.
It was at this time that I began to notice the existence of those to whom I refer as "The Gerontocracy" - a group of gay men over the age of 40 who played a very vital roll in the late 80s and early 90s in helping to ensure that LGBT rights and causes were advance, but who, in their (as my friend put it) "senescence," have come to find themselves being not-so-gently shoved out of the spotlight only to be replaced by those whom they feel to be either too incapable or too incompetent to take up the mantle they so publically bore.
"The younger generation doesn't care about our traditions; they don't respect us," my friend averred, as I sat across from him wearing my title vest and medallion at the tender age of 28, the four pieces of Leather I could afford clinging to my form as I endured his tirade. Was I so dismissive of our Leather heritage? Was I really the cause of the downfall of the Leather bar?
In a word, "No." Economically speaking, the times had to change. The Leather bar faces a unique challenge ahead of them because, if this is the attitude of those in our community who are supposed to be leading and teaching the new generation, they are not replacing themselves at their rate of expiration. Younger people have fewer economic advantages than their elders, and have had to make some not-so-tough choices: $250 for a pair of Leather pants or rent? I'll go with rent. And so they go to the Leather bars in what they have, more often because they are the bars where they are ostensibly less likely to wind up on the receiving end of shady pretty boys because they can't afford to wear high-end clothing and get into the VIP lounge. What they often find, however, is an older generation no more forgiving of their status than their A-Gay peers.
And so, I posit this:
Rather than bitch about how the Leather bars are falling from grace and devolving from dens of iniquity into just another gay bar, why not welcome all comers into the fold and educate them about what we find so damn wonderful about our culture and our community. The days of the oft-mourned Leather bar are gone, and I say, "Good riddance." We have to realize that the Leather community is no longer the only game in town, and if the newer generations can't find acceptance for the sexual deviances with us, they will most assuredly find it elsewhere.
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.
Avatar Club los angeles is known for its annual Holiday Party, and the one held on Saturday night, December 14 in Glendale, CA was no exception as about 100 attended on a clear night which was chilly enough to wear plenty of Leather.
Starting on November 9 and running through January 26, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA), los angeles, presents Bob Mizer and Tom of Finland, the first American museum exhibition devoted to the art of Bob Mizer (1922–1992) and Touko Laaksonen, aka “Tom of Finland” (1920–1991), two of the most significant figures of Twentieth Century erotic art and forefathers of an emergent post-war gay culture. The exhibition features a selection of Tom of Finland’s masterful drawings and collages, alongside Mizer’s rarely seen photo-collage “catalogue boards” and films, as well as a comprehensive collection of his groundbreaking magazine Physique Pictorial, where drawings by Tom were first published in 1957. Organized by MOCA Curator Bennett Simpson and guest co-curator Richard Hawkins, the exhibition is presented with the full collaboration of the Bob Mizer Foundation, El Cerrito, and the Tom of Finland Foundation, los angeles and is made possible by David Kordansky Gallery, los angeles and The City of West Hollywood .
Andy CosmicRoo, Mr. Rubber Toronto of Canada, won the Mr. International Rubber 2014 title at Mr. International Rubber XVII (MIR 17) weekend in Chicago, Illinois on November 9.
Andy was one of 10 contestants from across North America and Europe who traveled to Chicago to represent their regions at MIR. The first runner-up was Mr. Midwest Rubber of Des Moines, Iowa Jesse, and the second runner-up was Mr. Fetish Leather Austria of Vienna In Trouble.
Chicago entertainer Teri Yaki was the emcee throughout the weekend.
The contest took place over two nights at the Center on Halsted in Chicago’s Boystown. The first part of the contest on Friday, November 8, included the introduction of contestants; a step down speech by Stephen Perry, the husband of late MIR 16 Jason Lynch; rubber image and fantasy. Saturday’s portion of the contest included speeches; Mystery Bag; and audience vote.