Saturday, February 11, was the 50th Anniversary of The Black Cat Demonstration in which Avatar Club Los Angeles founding member and long time activist, Alexei Romanoff, participated as did many other Leatherfolk.
On Friday night, February 10, producers of LA A Queer History, screened films including the trailer for the film that includes an interview with Alexei.
The big event on February 11 saw gay los angeles City Councilman Mitch O'Farrell, cast members from Queer As Folk (Peter Paige, Michelle Clunie, Scott Lowell), Proposition 8 plaintiffs Paul Katami and Jeff Zarrillo, Wilson Cruz, LAPD Deputy Police Chief Bea Girmala, Alec Mapa and more speak as did Alexei Romanoff.
All events were at The Black Cat located at 3909 Sunset Boulevard in Silver Lake and an area nearby including a bar then-owned by Romanoff, New Faces.
The los angeles Times reported the story in detail including an on-site interview with Alexei Romanoff - http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-black-cat-anniversary-20170210-story.htmll
How does this relate to today? one might ask. LA City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who helped organize the Black Cat Demonstration Anniversary, told the los angeles Times, "'...there were similarities in what’s happening today and what happened the night of the protest in Silver Lake.'"
"'They demonstrated in an organized fashion in an unprecedented way in 1967, and I feel there’s a real parallel to the current resistance' said O’Farrell, who represents Silver Lake and is gay. 'Fifty years ago, there was a resistance to authoritarian rule at the local level from the police … and there are parallels to what we’re feeling today with this administration.'"
Photos - PRIDE (Personal Rights in Defense and Education) led hundreds in protest when police raided the Black Cat bar in los angeles and brutally beat patrons and the bartender. February 11, 1967. Photos supplied by the University of Southern California Libraries/ONE National Gay and Lesbian Archives
*A special report for The Leather Journal, by Buster Adams and the writers at San Diego Leather Pride (“SDLP” www.sandiegoleatherpride.com), with special thanks to Scott B. Smith for his talented photographic work, and California Drummer (www.drummercalifornia.com) for their continued collaborative contributions.*
First Saturdays are home to “Cigars and Boots”, a long-running social event for Leatherfolk and friends on the back patio of the Redwing Bar and Grill. On Saturday, Jan 7, 2017, San Diego Leather Pride (“SDLP”) was on hand for a lime-green flagger’s dream … bids were taken in order to win the chance to “pie” one of many well-known members of the community during the California Drummer Travel Fund Fundraiser. The patio had a plastic screen to protect it, but some folks got as delightfully messy as any of us could have desired!
The event was organized and promoted by the Producers of California Drummer, Executive Producer Anthony Harmon and Co-Producers Chris Owen and Don Harmon. Anthony Harmon, the host and auctioneer for the afternoon, sported a multi-colored mohawk that maintained its erection (!) even after he was HEAVILY creamed later in the evening. Chris ensured that payments were collected and that whipped cream was distributed in proportion to the bid made (or just at his whim) and the depth of desire with which the winner really wanted to pie the vict- … er … volunteers.
Redwing owner Sarah Critchlow’s outstanding crew always takes great care of our food ‘n’ beverage desires, with Tracy at the front bar and Dutch on the back patio. Not one to “just watch”, Sarah’s partner Yvette attended the event, and when she actually pressed the first pie onto California Drummer 2016, Richard Walker’s face, we knew we were in for a great time! Special thanks to Dutch, who volunteered to be a pie-ee … you’re beautiful! We love the Redwing, with its delectable staff and friendly menu (BEST tater tots!). Oh, wait … um … thanks to the Redwing, supporting the community for over 10 years! (www.redwingbar.com, 4012 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104)
New SDLP Co-producers AJ Turner and Buster Adams were on hand for the fun, and while they didn’t get any pies in their faces, they had their hands in many pies. Buster almost missed the opportunity to smoosh a pie in the face of his “little bro” California Drummerboy 2016, Paul Rhodes, but just before the bidding closed Buster returned to the patio and made the winning bid without hesitation. Papa Tony was on hand with two slaves who were just under-budget for a two-pie special deal offered by Anthony, but Buster could see the fun in store and made up the difference on behalf of SDLP in order to facilitate a beautiful messing and cleaning of Tony with extraordinary love and devotion. What a great sport, too!
San Diego Leather Titleholders were a part of the action as well, of course. San Diego Bootblack 2016, Erik, who has been the resident bootblack at Cigars and Boots for months running, worked the entire time, except when he was one of the volunteers to get pied! Erik’s pie was delivered by mentor Cobi, Southwest Bootblack 2013, who is an amazing member of our SD community and an integral part of the SDLP 2017 Planning Committee. Cobi has been a fantastic liaison between the SDLP producers and Colt, the San Diego Bootblack producer, helping to ensure that Leather Pride Weekend will again host the San Diego Bootblack Title. By the way, Erik’s pie ended up in his pants, and his characteristic smile continued as the crowd squirmed in their seats on Erik’s behalf!
Ms. San Diego Leather 2016, Jae Marie, was quick to report to the crowd that she hated food play but was “voluntold” to get pied in the face. Her displeasure seemed at a threshold until Buster started bidding on her pie! Jae Marie’s partner, Jake, was working a bootblack stand beside Erik during the event, and his worry increased until he begged, “Buster, if you win, don’t get the pie on her Doc Martins--I have to clean the sugars out of those threads!” Jake is clearly committed to his passion for bootblacking and he had just finished the boots that Jae had on at the event! Just when it seemed Buster would win the auction, Jae Marie actually entered her own bid to save herself from the whipped cream! Not to be deterred, Buster continually outbid her by $5 until her wallet gave out, and then, once a huge pie had been created right in front of Jae Marie’s face, Buster handed the pie off to Jake and compelled HIM to do the dirty pie-faced deed! Oh, the sadism!!
One of the judges for the Mr./Ms. San Diego Leather Contest on March 18, 2016, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2016, Ali, came down to join the fun. A natural networker, his outgoing personality, and beautiful smile enchanted everyone. Without hesitation, he agreed to volunteer to get a pie in the face, and who could resist this sexy man? The crowd loved Ali, and a new bidding war almost erupted for the chance to clean him off!
Mike Russell, International LeatherSIR 2003, got a whipped cream treatment from Mr. San Diego Leather 2002, Mr. Dickerson, who is also Mike’s mentor and long-time friend. We knew Mike was in for trouble, especially when we found out Mr. Dickerson asked Chris to hold back a full can just for this. Let’s just say, instead of a pie tin, Mike’s jockstrap was the pie-cream holder!
The night was a great success, and after the event we had the chance to meet Doriam and Pup Rubble, who have stepped up in leadership roles for FetishMen San Diego. Please come out and show your support at the first planning meeting with the new leadership on January 16 at 7 p.m. at the Joyce Beers Community Center, 3900 Vermont St, San Diego, California 92103. We hope to see you there, especially if it’s been a while since you participated.
San Diego Leather Pride is proud to announce Red-Level Sponsorship of 2017 Drummer North America in Las Vegas January 26-29 (http://drummerna.com/)!! San Diego was very honored to be the host city for the California Drummer Contest (www.drummercalifornia.com) in 2016 and we are thrilled to support the California Drummer Titleholders preparing to compete at the national level. We invite you to join us in Vegas, where San Diego will be representing in BIG numbers. San Diego Leather Pride -- “Community...Be a Part of It!”
Special Points of Interest:
Approximately 500 Leatherfolk attended the Southwest Leather Conference which celebrated its 15th Anniversary at the Four Points Sheraton in Phoenix, AZ the weekend of January 19-22 with the highlights being the Southwest Master slave Contest and the Dance of Souls. The weekend was high on spirituality, branded "the woo" by regulars.
Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend saw at least 3,000 Leatherfolk and kinsters converge on the host Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC the weekend of January 12-15 where Martel Brown was chosen to be Mr. Mid Atlantic Leather ans Todd White was installed as Centaur Motorcycle Club president.