Pantheon of Leather nominations are now open
The schedule for the process of selecting the approximate 30 Pantheon of Leather Awards which will be held on Thursday, August 29 at the Crowne Plaza Market Square Dallas at 6:30 PM in Dallas, TX is set. Nominations are open June 1 and close on June 30; they will be processed including informing nominees and allowing them to submit acceptance and bios until midnight, July 19; voting will run from July 23 through August 16 and the recipients will be announced on August 29.
Leather at Long Beach Pride
By Eric Crow, Photos by Pup Icarus, XXX and XXX
Leather was visible at Long Beach Pride the weekend of May 18-19. About 50 Leatherfolk and kinksters marched in the parade on Sunday morning and a good number attended the Leather tent on Saturday and Sunday with New Horizons For Fifty/The Titleholder Club, Barking Billiards, ONYX, Avatar Club Los Angeles, LA Pup, Cellblock 13 and Nasty Kink Pigs hosting booths. The pups from Barking Billiards dropped by the New Horizons For Fifty/Titleholder Club booth to re-envision the famous "Dogs Playing Poker" painting. These friendly, frisky pups were all too happy to play along, and their good-natured, light-hearted take on this classic image caused many to...paws...and see who would win the hand. (We all did.) PIGS (Perverted Interracial Leather Guys hosted a beer bust at Eagle 562 following the parade and the bar was filed to capacity.
International Mr. Leather 2019 is Jack Thompson from Baltimore, MD, first runner-up is Jawn Marques from San Francisco, CA and second runner-up is Fionn Scott from Dublin, Ireland; International Mr. Bootblack is Kriszly de Hond from Zaandam Noord, Holland, first runner-up is Geoff Millard from Baltimore, MD and second runner-up is Sparkie from Waukesha, WI. The two contests were held at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL over Memorial Day Weekend, May 23-27 with the Congress Plaza Hotel playing host.
Jack Thompson is the first Transgender POC to win IML title. This is the first time black men have won consecutive IML titles. Thompson is the fifth black man to become IML with Ron Moore being the first in 1984, D Cannon in 1991, Ramien Pierre in 2014 and James Lee in 2018. Five black men made the top 20. Thompson's ONYX club brothers from across the nation were in the orchestra area after the contest loudly and proudly cheering "We are - ON-YX, We are - ON-YX." While everyone had their different favorites, Thompson seemed to be accepted right away by everyone.
IML Jack Thompson and IMBB first runner-up Geoff Millard are married and as far as we know, this is a first for IML IMBB.
International Mr. Leather Top 20 Finalists
(Listed by contestant numbers, not in order of placement.)
Mr. Atlas Leather 2019 Colin Marcus Jackson
Mr. Ramrod 2018 Elimination
Mr. New Jersey Leather 2019 Lynx
Mr. Leather Belgium 2018 Bart
Mr. Friendly SF 2019 Amp Somers
Mr. CMen Leather 2018 James Stewart
Mr. Leather Spain 2018 Joseph Rider
Mister Leather Berlin 2018 Jens Walker
Laird Leatherman 2017 James Addinsal
Mr. San Francisco Leather 2019 Jawn Marques
Mr. Leather Ireland 2019 Fionn Scott
Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish 2018 Greg Jones
Leatherman of Color 2019 Jack Thompson
Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather 2019 Emerson Aniceto
Mr. Michigan Leather 2019 Will Baker
Mr. los angeles Leather 2019 Elliot Musgrave
Mr. Leather Venezuela 2018 Gaspare
Mister Fetish Spain 2018 Emerson Prieto
Mr. Chicago Leather 2019 Saber Onyx
Mister Leather Europe 2019 Everett Leerson
The International Mr. Bootblack judges were Lucky Rebel, Joyce Berger and International Ms Bootblack 2019 Gretchen; tally masters (they covered both contests) Vidhra Alexander and Zach Bellman; the International Mr. Leather judges were International Mr. Leather 2018 James Lee, Leather Daddy Ian Allan, John Ponce, David Katzenberg, Daddy Faye Foltz, Thay Master Z, Preston So, Don Leach and Todd White. The IMBB contestants gave speeches this year.
International Mr. Leather 2019 Jack Thompson
Leatherman of Color 2019 Jack “Exile ONYX” Thompson
Bio as submitted to The Leather Journal by him - Jack Thompson has been active in the Leather and kink scene of San Francisco, CA for 15 years, but has recently moved to Baltimore, MD. He is one of the founding fathers of ONYX Northwest and a current member of ONYX Mid-Atlantic. He was Mr. May 2018 for the Bare Chest Calendar. Secretary of the Bay Area's all-gender inclusive Leather club, Queer Sphere. Did stage management for many shows in the Bay Area, including The Playground stage at Folsom Street Fair. An 11-year drag performer/producer with the Rebel Kings of Oakland drag troupe and now running The Rebel Kings of Baltimore troupe and is a consistent companion/service wolf to his husband Geoff.
International Mr. Bootblack 2019 Kriszly de Hond
Bio as submitted to The Leather Journal by him - Being a loyal service dog to his Sir and the European kink community, Kriszly's favorite service to offer is boot-blacking. Kriszly has always been a person who has found connecting with people through touch comes much easier and naturally than through talk - whether it be a handshake, a pat on the shoulder or... bootblacking. Looking into his client's eyes while Kriszly works on their boots and seeing them grow in their (sexual) confidence is electrifying...!
The International Mr. Bootblack contestants gave speeches this year, a first for this competition. Bootblacks shined boots on the second floor near the escalators to the Leather Market.
The four contestants selected Kriszly de Hond to receive the Bootblack Brotherhood Award.
Meet International Mr. Leather 2019
By Rodney Burger
It is always interesting to sit down with leather titleholders and hear the story of the life experiences that brought them to the point of being selected to represent their community. I have been fortunate to have that opportunity many times. No leather journey I’ve heard is more complicated then that of Jack Thompson (Exile ONYX) who in December at the DC Eagle was sashed Leatherman of Color 2019 and after my interview went on to Chicago and was selected International Mr. Leather 2019.
Recently Jack was kind enough to meet me at my office, or as some people call it Leon’s, to share with me the story of his life. It was an evening that I will not soon forget.
Born in Berkeley, California, Jack was always kinky. At age five he was already into puppy or wolf play and made his family call him “Fang” and treat him like a wolf. He enjoyed it when friends would lead him around with a leash. He did not have excess to the internet, so he was unaware that puppy play was even a thing.
Although now a proud transman, he came out as a lesbian in middle school. Although his mother was not 100-percent sold on the idea, his parents were supportive of the fact that their girl liked girls. For Jack there was still something not quite right. He was still not happy. In high school he met someone who was trans. He was curious but unfortunately the first time he looked up “transgender,” the we directed him to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In his sophomore year of high school, he was interviewed for a newspaper article about the murder of a transgender person in the community. The writer identified him as being trans. This resulted in him be called into the principal’s office. Since he was not 18, there was not much he could do about his situation. When he sought help for being transgender, all he found were counselors who wanted to fix him and talk him out it. Thankfully his high school had a gay / straight alliance which provided a safe space. He came out to his family as transgender. Jacks says it was like coming out again.
With hormone shots priced at $200 apiece, he was grateful when he found a trans health clinic in San Francisco that was a non-profit and had a pay what you can policy. (It his case he couldn’t afford to pay anything and that was okay.) He began to become his true self.
In San Francisco he also found himself working at the icon Mr. S Leathers store. Jack quickly explained that he did not just work as a salesclerk, but he worked in production. All the leather goods at Mr. S are produced in-house. He worked there for two years and the staff really taught him everything. Filled with my fantasies fueled by pictures in the Mr. S Leathers catalog and by a porn video I once saw of a salesclerk helping a young man try on a straitjacket, I asked Jack if he had any erotic stores to tell. He said, “It is less sexy when you work there.” He enjoyed working at Mr. S and commented that If he ever moved back to San Francisco, he would be happy to return to work there.
In July of 2018 Jack and his husband Geoff Millard, California State Bootblack 2018 / Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017, moved to Baltimore where they live in a beautiful house in the Hamilton part of town. On a visit to Baltimore, they discovered how affordable the city is compared to the high cost of living in San Francisco. Jack added that, “Baltimore has a slower pace and I don’t have to bust my ass to be able to afford things.” He also likes that Baltimore is conveniently located between Washington and Philadelphia. Jack met Geoff at an ex-girlfriend’s birthday party. At that time, he did not date men, but he and Geoff soon became close friends and after a year started to “experiment.” Jack’s sexuality defies labels and he didn’t tell his family about Geoff for two years. He laughed and added: “How many times do I have to come out to my parents?"
I asked him what inspired him to run for the Leatherman of Color title. As a member of ONYX Mid-Atlantic, he knew that he wanted to step up and run for something. This title just felt right. He is looking forward to taking the title to Chicago in May and competing in the International Mr. Leather Contest, but currently has a problem. Although the IML contest allows contestants to be transgender, identifying documents must list the contestant’s sex as male. Jack is working on resolving that problem and stated that should he win IML, that would be the first thing he would fight to change. He is planning an IML send-off fundraiser on May 3rd at the DC Eagle and hopes to also have a fundraiser at the soon to reopen Baltimore Eagle where he will also be working. As an eleven-year member of the Rebel Kings of Oakland troupe, he is currently involved with the Rebel Kings of Baltimore who have a show every second Wednesday of the month at the Clifton Pleasure Club located at 2803 Grindon Avenue in Baltimore. (The next show is March 13th).
Leatherman of Color is a national title that started in Chicago. Jack hopes to help recruit many more contestants for the 2020 contest and hopes to encourage all the chapters of ONYX to send a representative. “In the LGBT community representation matters!” It has been a complicated journey for Jack Thompson, but it is clear to see the great pride that he has in having been selected as Leatherman of Color 2019. I’m excited to see where his journey will take him and cannot be happier that if only for one evening, I was given the opportunity to join him for the ride.
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Jack Thompson's speech
Contestant #51 Jack Thompson delivered a home-run speech to the cheering audience of about 1,300 Leatherfolk and kinksters on Sunday night, May 26. Sharply dressed with an adorable furry tail dangling behind him, he answered those who questioned him throughout his life, ending with, "...I promise you, I am more than enough." Here it is
Joey McDonald's Opening Speech
Here is the link to the full opening address given by Joey McDonald on stage at the beginning of the International Mr. Leather 2019 contest on Sunday night, May 26 at the Auditorium Theatre in Chicago, IL.
"Welcome to Chicago and to the 41st Annual International Mr. Leather Competition and 27th Annual International Mr. Bootblack competition.
I hope that you are enjoying all the things that IML/IMBB weekend and our fair city offers. I want to give a special shout out to the IML Executive Staff - Bill Stadt, Roger Scheid and Tom Greenleaf for their hard work and dedication in planning the weekend, for the department head..."
It only took a day for Transphobia to strike
Transphobia struck only a couple days after IML 2019 Jack Thompson was sashed when then Southeast Conference of Clubs president Craig MrCode posted on Facebook a statement suggesting the selection of Thompson was "politically motivated. An immediate and overwhelming response from the Leather community saw Craig MrCode stripped of his presidency within a day of his post. Full story at
Contestants drew numbers on Thursday night during the Opening Ceremonies at VenueSIX10 which was a short one-block walk from the Congress Plaza Hotel. Thib Guicherd Callin was back as the emcee. He and the IML team ran Saturday and Sunday night to maximum efficiency, ending within a minute or two of the scheduled time. The ASL interpreters were Kirk Hamlin and Greg Haretos. Flashback on Friday night at VenueSIUX10 included IML 2018 James Lee and IMBB 2019 Lucky Rebel sharing what there concluding title year was like. This was roast-light as friends told stories about the two.
The IML production team surprised International Mr. Leather 1994 and contestant coordinator Jeff Tucker with a short video clip recognizing his dedication to IML and hard work. This generated a rousing ovation, one of many during the night.
The weather was a mixed bag with rain, then balmy days and nights followed by rain and tornadoes in the area. This did not dampen the spirits of the approximate 16,000 who attended or worked in the IML weekend.
There were the usual huge parties such as the Victory Party at the House of Blues, the closing Black and Blue Ball on Sunday night, ONYX Dance - APEX at The Bottom Lounge on Saturday night.
The Leather Market saw big crowds, but seemingly smaller than in recent years. Many vendors, who reported slower sales than in recent years expressed their belief that a wristband-wearing Access Pass policy scared some away from the weekend, thus hurting sales. In order to be in the Congress Plaza Hotel, one had to purchase a wrist band. The regulars had them with their rooms, but locals balked at paying $15 for one day or $45 for the weekend.
The Leather Archives and Museum had a room on the first floor where they had an IML 2019 flag for people to sign. Up in Rogers Park, or Leatherville, the Leather Archives was open for viewing. A block away, Touche'. Leather64TEN and Jackhammer were swamped all weekend. These businesses sponsored a bus, the Northside Leather Express, to bring people to and from the area.
The Chicago Hellfire Club was busy with a booth in the Leather Market, three days of play parties at their clubhouse and a huge cocktail party at the Congress Plaza Hotel. The Titans of the Midwest hosted a Seminar/Social, BLUF had a Social and a formal dinner.
The Titans of the Midwest presented several classes through their Kink U.
Centaur MC had their party where they presented a check in the amount of $40,000 to Gary Wasdin for the Leather Archives and Museum.
Friday included Puppy Yoga, Off Leash - The Pup and Handler Romp, and Spitshine - The Bootblack Party. The Chicago Rubbermen and Mr. International Rubber hosted the rubber Cocktail Social.
One of the big things about IML is the food in Chicago. The Congress is known for not being the best eatery in the Windy City, but nearby are plenty of the best ranging from high-end diner Miller's Pub and daytime Cafe Luna, to Russian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Soul, Tibetan, Halal cuisine and several doughnut and fast food places. No one should have starved.
In case no one caught it. International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Bootblack 2020 will be hosted by the Congress Plaza Hotel. With the Auditorium Theatre and VenueSIX10 within walking distance it makes sense.
See 63 0f the 68 IML 23019 and all four of the IMBB 2019 contestants and their bios here:
Welcome to The Leather Journal's annual IMBB and IML Contestants Preview
We have all four of the Bootblacks and 63 of 69 IML contestants
Who are your favorites?
DomCon: LA - Draws record crowd
DomCon: los angeles, the world’s largest professional and lifestyle domination convention was held May 8-12 at the Hilton LAX in los angeles, CA with a 20-percent increase in attendance. DomCon was a weekend of socials, play parties, vendors, classes and workshops, erotics presentations and the crown jewel of DomCon, the Fetish Ball at Sanctuary Studios LAX on Saturday night. The new awards dinner on Thursday night had about 125 guests, six continentes were represented and the place was abuzz about the vastly-improved and highly-efficient registration process.
International Olympus Leather 2019 - Three winners in Chicago
International Olympus Leather was held in Chicago, Illinois May 3-5 with Rayna kitten becoming International Ms Olympus Leather 2019, Ferris Oxide chosen to be International Mx Olympus Leather 2019 and Randal boy glovez named International Mr. Olympus Leather 2019. 11 International Olympus Leather Alumni were in attendance. Head judge Fred Anderson won the Leather Rhodes Service Award. West Coast Olympus Leather Producer Anthony Harmon passed the West Coast Producers torch to Rayna kitten and Mina Fatale. Anthony Harmon was named International Olympus Leather Contest Producer and Vonn Tramel announced she would be focusing her efforts on the expansion and administrative efforts. Karen Ultra emceed and lit up the stage in a neon-orange dress and blonde wig.
CLAW 19 - so hot that a certain social media site blocked a cover photo, so we used this. Open to see the the next photo.
CLAW XIX (Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend) has come and gone and around 3,000 Leatherfolk are the better for having been part of it. From almost every corner of the planet Leatherfolk traveled the weekend of April 25-28 to Cleveland, OH at the host Westin Downtown Hotel. CLAW was non-stop and fast-paced action with hotel parties, bar parties, dungeon parties, naked pool parties, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame party, skills and education sessions, Vendor Mart, Testosterone, silent auction, Leather Jeopardy game, Bound and Beautiful, speed dating, pup vents, International Leather Family Dinner, cigar deck and Kinky Kabaret.
We are at CLAW
This is a some what abbreviated version of Hump Day. We have had several deadlines, the trip to CLAW and software problems that necessitated this.
Bare with us.
Some of our software was no working properly and we were unable to complete parts of Hump Day.
It may be a rough two weeks or so.
IMsL and IMsBB winners
International Ms Leather 2019 Haley Alice and your new International Ms Bootblack 2019 Gretchen Wellman in San Jose, CA. There are three IMsL and two IMsBB contestants. The IMsBBs are Brooklyn and Gretchen, and the IMsLs are Haley, Heather Kelley and Tuesday Niles. There are many other awesome events to keep everyone busy including Seduction on Thursday night which raw women's energy. Special guests include Barbara Carrellas as keynote speaker and Ruth Marks who will be interviewed by Sarah Humble as part of the Inside the Leather Series. The weekend includes play space, hospitality parties, the Amy Marie Meek pool party and an IMsL IMsBB pet park. DoubleTree by Hilton San Jose, 2050 Gateway Place, San Jose, CA 95110.
Smokeout - 20th Anniversary
Smokeout celebrated its 20th Anniversary in Las Vegas the weekend of April 4-7 at the Alexis Park Resort and Villas. Most of the hotel was reserved for Smokeout with its cigar and pipe studs, Leatherman, bikers, bears and friends, from all over the world. Smokeout is a free-flowing weekend so everyone could enjoy Las Vegas the way they wanted. Maximus had their barber chair going, the Bullet Bar and SF Eagle hosted a play area that was busy, Rocky Mountain Rebellion supplied booze and lots of Rock and Roll music, Desert Brotherhood MC ride to Lake Mead, Cigar Poker party, bootblacks, the Chicago Hellfire Club had a Scotch and Cigar social. There were groups going to cigar shops, restaurants, shows and bars. The pool area was busy at almost all hours. Great job Bob, Shadow, Leather Uniform Club of Las Vegas and the Las Vegas boys of Leather.