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.
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.
The ShipMates Club of Baltimore, Maryland’s oldest Leather club, will celebrate 40 years of brotherhood and community service on the weekend of April 11-13 at the Wyndham Peabody Court Hotel in Baltimore.
The weekend’s activities will include a Leather dance at Grand Central Station, a bar crawl, a Fetish Ball at Club Orpheus, a Sunday brunch, and a formal Leather dinner at McCormick & Schmick’s in the beautiful Inner Harbor area of Baltimore.
There will also be cocktail parties at the host hotel as well as a council meeting of the AMCC (Atlantic Motorcycle Coordinating Council).
For tickets and more information visit http://www.shipmatesclub.com
Martine Ling Chu (aka BadSchoolgirl on Fetlife), the current Ms Central Canada Olympus Leather, has become the first female pledge to The Ottawa Knights, a formerly all-male, Leather and Denim club located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
In November of 2013 the Ottawa Knights amended their constitution to allow all people who reached the age of 21 and who had a common interest in the mandate of the club to apply for membership. Given that Martine had received much support from the club as Ms Central Canada Olympus Leather, and was volunteering at the club's bar nights, she felt that it would be appropriate for her to seek membership. She submitted her application in late March of 2014 and at the club meeting on June 19 she became their first female pledge. Martine's husband, Jeff, joined the Ottawa Knights in 2012. With her appointment, they are the first heterosexual married couple to be members. Martine and Jeff were also the first married couple to compete in the International Olympus Leather contest in 2012.
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.
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
It’s not uncommon for our Leather lives to intersect with more mainstream happenings and hobbies, however, Master Travel and Tours is revolutionizing ‘kink vacationing’ with the offer of a South African adventure tour. The once-in-a-lifetime ‘bucket list’ trip will include both a history-making Leather weekend and a wildlife safari. Leather and Lions will depart on December 2 for a tour of South Africa that will run December 3–12. Hosted by Master Travel and Tours, the South African adventure promises Leatherfolk “our own private customized first-class African experience.”
The tour will include five nights in Cape Town, one night in Johannesburg, and four nights at a private game reserve in Greater Kruger Park, including meals, and morning and nighttime game drives. Alongside this safari adventure, Leather and Lions will include the Mr. and first Ms South Africa Leather 2014 contest weekend, with a meet and greet barbeque, Friday night beer bust, after party and Leather brunch.
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.
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.
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.
Snowbound VII blows in to Provincetown the weekend of February 21-23. Need a winter getaway with a twist. Discounted accommodations and discounted meals, Beer Blast, White-out thermal underwear party, Educational Workshops by Full Kit Gear Shop, Chaps and Straps, Leather Dance, and hot and horny men await.
Northeast Community BootBlack 2011 and International Community Bootblack 2012 first runner-up Jay Falcon, will be on hand to shine boots throughout the weekend.
Friday's Beer Blast will start at 6 PM at the Watership Inn, 7 Winthrop Street. Check out the men vying for Mr. Snowbound 2014 and vote for your favorite with a $5 donation to the ASGCC. The dude with the most money raised will gain the title, a cash prize and be featured in all Snowbound promotions for 2015.
The White Out and “C*CK Party in thermal shirts and johns at Paramount in The Crown & Anchor, 247 Commercial Street, starting at 9:30 PM.
The Atons of Minneapolis held their 40th Anniversary and installation of new club officers on Sunday, January 22 at Elsie's Restaurant and Bar in Minneapolis, MN. 45 Leather brothers and sisters joined the Atons in kicking off their 40th Anniversary celebration year.
Richard Carlbom, from Minnesotans United for All Families, spoke about the upcoming Marriage Amendment vote coming soon in Minnesota. Friends of the Atons, Daniel Hennagir and Seth Iverson were presented plaques, the Atons' 2012 Associate Excellence Award recipients were Rich Hunt and Jodi Fritsche, and Bud Lile and Randy Ingram.
The Atons new officers are: president Mark Ludwig, vice president Andrew Bertke, treasurer Sam Carlisle and secretary Kyle Truss.
In recognition for his outstanding community work in helping to produce the Gear Nights at the Bolt Underground, and for working to foster a safe space for young Leathermen, the Atons awarded a gift of Leather to Derek Harley. Derek received a flattering garrison cap with yellow piping.
To see more photos of the Atons' 40th Anniversary check out http://db.tt/Lvi0R03V
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.
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 .
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