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Street Theater, Leatherman Doric Wilson’s Proud Take on Stonewall, Returns to Eagle NYC

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Left to right, front row: Jeremy Lawrence and Eilis Cahill; second row: Desmond Dutcher, Chris Andersson, Christopher Borg Eagle co-owner Derek Danton, Johnathan Cedano, Michael Lynch, Joe MacDougall, Russell Jordan and director Mark Finley; back row: Rebecca Nyahay, Josh Kenney, Tim Abrams, Patrick Porter and Ben Strothmann. Photo by Bruce-Michael Gelbert

By Bruce-Michael Gelbert

Street Theater (1982), late playwright, veteran gay activist, Leatherman, and role model to many of us Doric Wilson’s classic gay-and-proud take on June 28, 1969, the night that the Stonewall Rebellion began, made a welcome, two-week, eight-performance return to the Eagle Bar NYC, where it also played in 2002. The play was presented by TOSOS (The Other Side of Silence), the theater company founded by Wilson and led later by him with current directors Barry Childs and Mark Finley. Finley directed this revival, which opened on October 14, and it was as fresh, witty, and moving a realization as ever, of an inspiring work, which aware LGBT individuals should take to heart.

Street Theater takes place on Christopher Street on that fateful hot summer day, when the incendiary combination of corrupt police—raiding the Stonewall Inn, popular and Mob-run, in the wake of icon Judy Garland’s funeral—and drag queens, LGBT people of color, Leathermen, lesbians, flower children, ’50s queens, and other nascent activists—pushed to the limit by officially-sanctioned abuse, taking matters into their own hands, and fighting back—blew open the closet doors and gave birth to Gay Liberation and Gay Pride.

Wilson’s sure and stirring dialogue, evidence of his master wit, as a spiritual heir to Oscar Wilde’s mantle, still rang true 33 years after the play’s premieres in San Francisco, at Theater Rhinoceros, and New York City, playing at the Basement and then the notorious Mineshaft, and Finley’s cast, composed of veterans of earlier productions as well as newcomers, delivered the goods with razor-sharp acuity, making scenes sparkle with spontaneity, even for those to whom the script is thrice-familiar.

Period references to Garland; to Dog Day Afternoon bandit John Wojtowicz AKA Little John Basso; to pioneering Street Transvestite Action Revolutionary Marsha P. Johnson; and to New York’s Francis Cardinal Spellman AKA Fanny, fazed few. And the show still packed a powerful punch, after the jokes died down, and the new-found pride — the first chants of “Who takes the payoffs, you take the pay offs” and “Join us,” and the historic rejoinder to “You faggots are revolting!,” “You bet your sweet ass we are!"— took center stage and brought lumps to our throats for so many reasons.

Kudos go to, as good guys, Chris Andersson and Michael Lynch, colorful street queens Ceil and Boom Boom, godmothers to the new activism; Josh Kenney and Rebecca Nyahay, as Leatherman Jack, just one of Wilson’s mouthpieces here, and no-nonsense lesbian C.B., cut from the same tough cloth as each other; Jeremy Lawrence and Tim Abrams as Sidney, senior closet queen, boasting some of the best lines, and coming to see the light, and Timothy, innocent new boy in town, hailing, like Wilson, from the Pacific Northwest, and having to learn fast; and Eilis Cahill as flower child Heather, blessed with uncanny insight and quickly outgrowing her Rego Park roots; to Johnathan Cedano and Desmond Dutcher as gay politicos Jordan and Gordon, already frustratingly bureaucratic; and Ben Strothmann and Patrick Porter as terminally-oppressed Boys in the Band fugitives Michael and Donald, amazingly similar duos; and to, as bad guys, Joe MacDougall and Russell Jordan as dopy undercover vice cops Seymour and Donovan, one with more in common with the men he entraps than he’d want others to believe; and Christopher Borg as no-less-dopy, swaggering lout Murfino, who runs the Stonewall.

Giving the cast the right period look were costume designer Chris Weikel and wig and makeup designer Zsamira Sol Ronquillo.

For more information about TOSOS, visit http://www.tososnyc.org

 

Ms San Francisco Leather 2016 is Stela D.

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By Tracy J. Wolf

Stela D. Love was sashed as Ms. San Francisco Leather 2016 on Saturday, October 3 at the 2015 Ms San Francisco Leather contest held at the historic Hotel Whitcomb. The event raised money for the titleholder fund and two beneficiaries, The Carter/Johnson Leather Library and The Women's Leather History Project at the Leather Archives and Museum.  

Emcees Ms San Francisco 2011 Miss Bethie Bee and International Ms Bootblack 2008 Q kept the contest moving and brought joy with their playful humor. Little Bad Daddy gave a heartfelt and personal step aside speech, reflecting on her year as a representative of the San Francisco community.

With four contestants, this year's contest was one of the most engaging since the title was revived in 2009 by producers Liza Sibley and her slave Jody. Each Leatherwoman had something unique to bring, and bring it they did! This certainly could not have been an easy decision for head judge SF Dyke Daddy 2002 Daddy Vick Germany and their fellow judges Madame Estrella, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2012 Thib Guicherd-Callin, Ms San Francisco Leather 2013 Val Langmuir and Pacific Coast Power Exchange 2015 Ms WillowKat.

The contestants were Stela D. Love, Mistress Eden Alexander, Sarafina Maraschino (a.k.a. SaraMara) and Tali Tart.  Pop questions were answered quickly and often humorously. All of the speeches included very revealing information about each contestant's relationship with Leather, and shared some of their journey. Plus, each fantasy was memorable and fun.

Mistress Eden Alexander is a switch who works professionally as a fetish film maker, bondage model, burlesque performer and pro domme. She identifies as a high femme, and her Leather family includes a pack of puppy play pups. In her fantasy, she was awakened by her pups, and started playing with them using rope, which led to her tying herself into a beautiful rope harness while playing with the pups.

SaraMara is a pony girl as well as an artist, musician, trained Domina and lifestyle BDSMer. She joins the Ms San Francisco contest by way of the pony community. Her fantasy was of a wild pony in the woods, being captured by a trainer and turned into a show pony. All the while this was happening, various human critters (ponies, puppies, a fox, and a bobcat, among others) scampered through the audience and cavorted onstage making various animal calls.

Tali Tart is a femme with a megawatt smile and lots of tattoos who performs in burlesque and drag shows throughout the bay area. She describes herself as “a cupcake full of razor blades,” due to her twisted sense of humor. In her fantasy, Tali entered the stage as the Virgin Mary, escorted by two naughty angels. The angels helped her strip off her bindings, while introducing her to SM play. By the end, our Virgin Mary was topping the angels!

Stela D. Love is a gender fluid artist who participates in drag with Debauchery Burlesque and his own dance drag king troupe, Fella-Fem. They are also an event producer for Queer Sphere. Stela's fantasy was a boudoir scene that could have come straight from the first season of HBO's Game of Thrones with Stela as a convincing Khal Drogo arriving, being undressed by his servants, and having lush and savage sex with his blonde khaleesi as the servants waved feathered fans.

 

Mr. Long Beach Leather Joelle Royal

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By Nikolas Keith

The 2015 Mr. Long Beach Leather title went to Joelle Royal on Saturday, September 12 at the Crest in North Long Beach. This year the contest was split between two locations the Mineshaft and the Crest bars as a part of keeping the Long Beach Community engaged with the Leather community.

This year the contest celebrated 35 years of Mr. Long Beach Leather. Although there were a few breaks over the years with producer changes the contest is back in its third year of being produced by Mr. Long Beach Leather 2012 Nikolas Keith and his husband Bert Simon.

Also this year the Mr. Long Beach Leather Contest had partnered with The Center of Long Beach for their Q Film festival for the screening of “Seed Money” the documentary story of Chuck Holmes’s Falcon Studios.

On Friday, September 11 festivities kicked off with the CellBlock13 Contestant Meat n’ Greet and number draw at the Mineshaft.

Four of the judges were past Mr. Long Beach Leather titleholders including head judge Mr. Long Beach Leather 2005 Larry Golubski, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2007 Don Sir, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2013 Marc Bellenger and Mr. Long Beach Leather 2014 Douglas Dick, and Mr. West Coast Olympus Leather 2015.

Look for more information about Mr. Long Beach Leather at http://www.mrlbl.com

 

 

 

 

 

SoCal Drummer in San Diego, April 22-24

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Southern California Leather Productions announced that the SoCal Drummer, SoCal Drummerboy and SoCal Drummer Bootblack Competition will be held the weekend of April 22-24.

SoCal Drummer will include social and educational events.

During the Southern California contest, Drummers and Drummerboys will be judged on speeches, stage presence, interviews and a fantasy. Bonus points will be awarded if the contestant performs a fetish or kinky demonstration; Bootblacks will be judged on speeches, image, technical ability, chair management, and interviews.

The SoCal Drummer competition is a feeder contest for Drummer North America to held in Las Vegas, NV.

Drummer was the most successful of all American Leather magazines and also sold overseas. The publication had a major impact of spreading gay Leather as a lifestyle and masculinity as a gay ideal. And gave birth to such famous San Francisco social events as the California Motorcycle Club Carnival and the Mr. Drummer contest.  
SoCal Drummer is a region of Drummer North America (DNA) which rekindles the Drummer tradition of self-identified masculinity in gay men, at an annual family reunion where history is honored and diversity respected.

Unlike contests restricted to only Leather or rubber, or a specific power dynamic such as Master/slave and Sir/boy, SoCal Drummer contest titles are open to a broader spectrum of fetish identities of gay men — from rubber, uniforms, skinhead and Leather, to sports kit, military and punk. SoCal Drummer is diverse.

SoCal Drummer contests are open to gay-identified, biological and trans-gendered men in the fetish/kink communities, who are residents of Southern California (including the counties of San Luis Obispo, Kern, San Bernardino, Ventura, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside San Diego and Imperial).

The diversity celebrated at SoCal Drummer weekend creates a welcoming home for fetishists who migrate across a wide range of gear and play, and for gay kinksters who are equally comfortable exploring power dynamics from both ends of the spectrum.

For more information go to http://www.socaldrummer.com/

 

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