The Southern California Leather Gathering (SCLG) 2014 was held on Saturday, June 21 at the Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in South El Monte, CA with a huge crowd of 150 Leather/BDSM/Fetishfolk in attendance.
SCLG, an annual outdoor picnic gathering that is open to all Leather/BDSM/Fetish, kink, motorcycle and bear individuals and/or groups of all genders and orientations, saw perfect weather.
Among the clubs with booths, tables and or tents were Among the clubs with booths, tables and or tents were Threshold Society, Satyrs MC, MDHL, Los Angeles Band of Brothers, LA Girls of Leather, , LADS, Monarchs, Avatar Club los angeles, The 15 Association and Orange County Social.
Mr. los angeles Leather 2014 Eric Paul Leue emceed several games, including a tug of war and a water balloon toss that saw about 30 players bombard Eric with all of the balloons at once.
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.
VT-TLJ: Is your contestant run sponsored by an Event, bar, club, organization? Please tell me about your Sponsor(feel free to include a copy of their logo and a url to their website) and your involvement with them in 100 words or less.
MS: I am honored to have the following sponsors;
1) Alameda County Leather Corps (ACLC) is a a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization serving the East Bay community. The club is composed mostly of residents from San Francisco’s East and South Bays. Our purpose is to promote educational and charitable activities through social interaction among people with an interest in leather, Levi’s, uniforms, and latex. I am proud to serve as the current Ms. Alameda County Leather, a Board member and a very proud member. Website: aclcweb.org
2) The Bolt Sacramento- Sacramento’s only real Leather/Cowboy/Bear bar- Located in Sacramento this bar is a great hangout the staff is amazing. Next time you are in Sacramento please swing by. Website: sacbolt.com
3) Leather Masters- Is a unique shop that sells amazing products. Their website states fulfilling fantasies all over the world since 1989. I have purchased amazing leather clothing from them. Please visit their website you will not be disappointed. Website: leathermaster.com
Mid-Atlantic Leather judges named
By Patrick Grady
The judges for Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather were named. They are Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2017 Martel Brown, International Mr. Leather 2017 Ralph Bruneau, International Mr. Leather 1992 Lenny Broberg, Mr. Eagle NYC 2016 Darkqwolf, American Leatherwoman 2012 Doc, Mr. Leather Europe Joe King and Sister Tiny Bubbles. The scores will be added up by Mark Branson of COMMAND MC and International Leather Sir 2015 Tug Whitehead. Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend will be held January 12-14 in Washington, DC. Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2018 will be a contestant in the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago, IL, Memorial Day Weekend. Go to http://www.leatherweekend.com/ for details.
The dynamic nature of Washington, DC’s urban redevelopment has allowed the landlord to grant the DC Eagle yet another extension of their lease at 639 New York Avenue NW. The DC Eagle will be staying at this location though January 2014. During the weekend of Mid-Atlantic Leather the DC Eagle will be testing out their first pop-up location which is at the other end of the DC Eagle's current block - 607 New York NW, the Fringe Building.
At a time where many established Leather, gear and biker bars are closing across the globe, the DC Eagle has viewed the challenge of a location move as an opportunity to create a stable home for the DC Eagle and a destination for all members of the community. If all goes to plan the new home will be at 3701 Benning Road NE with an anticipated settlement in February 2014. After renovations and improvements, the DC Eagle management anticipate an opening in late summer of 2014.
Empire City MC Folsom Street East. Photo by Chaz Antonelli
ECMC’s Motorcycle Weekend
Empire City MC’s Memorial Day Motorcycle Weekend was simply amazing this May at The Ranch in New York State – everything from the ride up, the ride back, the fantastic meals served all weekend-long, the camaraderie of the guests – we couldn’t have had a better time. The day trips were fun and included: Cycle Stop, Extreme Biker Leather, Ground Rounds (prime beef hamburgers) at Bill Gray’s and Abbot's Frozen Custard. On Sunday afternoon, we had a pizza-baking contest. We were all exposed to craft beers, thanks to the folks from Three Rivers MC. There was even a very touching collaring ceremony on Friday night! Sunday, anti-road gremlin bells were presented to three new bikes/bikers: Jack, Erik and Earl.
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.
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.
Michael F. "Mike" Guice,55, longtime Ripcord Houston bartender and active Leather/Levi community member passed away on July 7, 2014 with his long-time partner at his side.
Mike was the founder of Spankfest Houston. He was also an active participant in many Leather-oriented demos and activities at the Ripcord.
He also was a volunteer with KPFT public radio Houston as co-host of the Pas-Sale Zydeco music show.
He is survived by his partner of 28 years Roger Rother, his mother Mary, brother John, sister Kelly and favorite Aunt Barbara...as well as his cats Dash and Missy. Mike will be deeply-missed by all whose lives he touched.
1. Please tell us about yourself, and your connection to the leather world.
I am a 51 year old white male and was till recently the secretary of the SA Leathemen Cape Town chapter. I have been the manager for 5.5 years at the oldest Gay male only guest house in SA until it was sold in April 2013. I also dabble into making small leather products for myself and anyone who might be interested, supplying the local bar and an online sex shop with various small leather products. I try and help create an environment in our community where we can be proud to be out and open about our leather community.
2. How long have you been into leather, what or who got you started?
I was introduced to the leather world by my ex boyfriend in 2000. Whilst we were dating he was working at the local leather bar "Bar-Code" when it was still situated in Hudson street Cape Town. Since he worked nights and I was working days it became clear to me to join him in working at the bar. And what an eye opener that was.
3. Which club or bar are you affiliated with and tell us more about the history?
I did always go to Barcode but the scene has changed so much that I no longer feel that it is the bar for me. We now mostly gather at Lions Corner in Observatory or at Amsterdam bar in Greenpoint. With the community being quite small it is difficult to have a bar that solely caters for the Leather community as a whole.
4. Tell us about your charity involvement and goals.
I personally support "The Gay Pride Shelter" and volunteer there on a permanent basis in doing all their handyman work. I have also together with the Golden Gay foundation raised funds and collected food and clothing for them to be distributed amongst our desperate and in need members of the broader gay and Lesbian community. The Pride shelter is one of the nonprofit organizations that give back to our people. It is time that we start looking after our own.
5. Who is the most influential person in your life and why?
My Mom, she is my hero. She supports and loves me unconditionally and has never made me feel anything less than the most beautiful person she has brought into this world. I am very lucky and happy to enjoy the full support from my whole family.
6. In your mind, what's the biggest misconception of the leather community?
I think the notion out there that we are sexual deviants that it is all about the sex in our community. We are so much more than just a sexual preference.
7. What would you say is the best thing that happened while at a leather function or event?
Experiencing the mindset change amongst an audience when they realize it is not all just about the fetish. When you see that spark in their eyes when they look at you and realize you are way more than their preconceived ideas and perceptions.
8. What does sexual freedom mean to you?
It means I can express myself sexually with whom I want and experiment without the fear of being persecuted, I n an environment of my choice.
9. What do you see for the future of leather in your community and internationally?
It is my strong believe that we as a male only Leather chapter should open up our group to include ALL the Leather brothers and sisters of South Africa. The only identifying criteria should be Leather; not whether we are male or female, gay or straight. It should become a totally inclusive group. At the moment it is just too fragmented to make any impact and that is why we will always be on the fringes of society unless we unite under single umbrella group structure.
10. Tell us what your favorite piece of leather is and why?
Oh that must be my harness......the smell and feel of the leather on my skin is just wow!!
11. You are a very talented man, making leather, what piece of leather can you design, make to represent yourself?
I still want to make the perfect leather waistcoat for myself. With enough well placed inside pockets for your keys and other little tidbits....
12. In your own words, can you tell us how important it is to maintain sexual freedom and how should we continue to making sure we have our rights?
If you can no longer express your sexual freedom we will no doubt land up like our brothers and sisters in Russia. You will be persecuted just for whom you love and care for. And that in the whole will make you as an individual lose your identity to conform to narrow minded bigots idea of what a society must be. We did not choose to be gay; it is whom we are. I was born this way.
13. What are your favorite S&M activities and tell us one you haven't tried yet?
Welllllllll........... Now that would be telling..... Well I like the fisting scene as it is one of the most intense, trust building and intimate scenes I know. Would not mind being introduced to a little bondage....if I can get over the fear of being tied up.
14. What's the funniest safe word you ever heard?
15. What's your favorite meal, and cook us a meal that represent you and what would it be called?
Oh it must be Lamb shank. I make a very nice Beef Curry. The complex spices and taste should just be right. Too little or too much and it is yuk!
16. Tell us your favorite book at this moment.
The Gay man's Kama Sutra
17. We both live in Cape Town, what 5 things would you show me and why?
- Paternoster - the sea, open spaces, beauty and fresh air
- Table Mountain – it is like standing over our beautiful land and looking as far as the eye can see and just take in the majestic view, the creation of a Higher Power.
- The Pride shelter – to highlight the plight of our brothers and sisters in need.
- A beautiful wine farm – to savor the flavours of our wines.
- Blikkies dorp – the most impoverished community that still survives against all odds. Their needs and aspirations, and how we can help.
18. In conclusion, anything you would like to add to this interview for the leather community of South Africa?
Stand-up and stand together all the boys and girls! It does not matter who or what you are; if you love Leather then you are part of this community.
Dave Rhodes turns 70
Dave Rhodes turned 70 years old on December 20. Dr. Larry and his husband, William, threw a huge LA Dodgers-themed birthday party for me on Saturday night, December 22 with 76 Leatherfolk attending. There was a great outpouring of love and I thank everyone who was part of it. A couple more photos appear near the bottom of this page.
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.
The NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom) is inviting Leather / BDSM / Kinkfolk to take its Mental Health Survey. They would like to know more about your BDSM practices, mental health and relational violence experiences.
The NCSF is working with researchers at Sam Houston University's Department of Psychology and Philosophy who will compare our responses to two other sample populations - one college-aged and the other LGBT-identified.
The NCSF will use these results to help with its advocacy, benefiting both existing and developing programs. Specifically, the study's results will assist in educating law enforcement, legal and psychological professionals about the practices and mental health of BDSM practitioners.
The survey will take approximately 35 minutes of one's time.
This survey is anonymous. Neither the NCSF nor outside researchers have access to any identifying information about participants.