By Bruce-Michael Gelbert
The seventh annual Philadelphia Leather Pride Night (PLPN), produced by Cowboi Jen, guiding a team of equally tireless volunteers, and having Energy as its theme, took place on November 7 at Voyeur Nightclub, in the Gayborhood, and raised $8,000 for its five beneficiaries. The emcee was Karen Ultra Domme, who was also interviewed, in an ‘Intimate Conversation’ just before the event, and shared with the 149 PLPN attendees the mysteries of “Persian Pitting,” creatively incorporating burning and burnt avocado pits into scenes. The returning DJ was ‘the Loving Tyrant’ Don Thompson. Sponsors for this memorable endeavor were Voyeur, Philadelphia Masters And slaves Together (MAsT), Midtown II Restaurant, and the Woods campground. The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. provided ASL interpreters for the proceedings.
The event’s centerpiece was a lively benefit auction, with “Million Dollar Auctioneer” Jo Arnone, who helped PLPN raise more than $60,000 during the previous six years, and here auctioned off such donated items as passes to Leather events; Opera Philadelphia tickets to Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer’s “Cold Mountain,” after Charles Frazier’s novel, and to “L’Elisir d’Amore;” artwork; Leather and Kink clothing and accoutrements; PLPN Energy Leather Heart Bear, by slave Kelly, and PLPN wooden paddle, by Shy Butch; gift baskets; Cuban cigars; and Zeb’s infamous and delectable “Crack Brownies.” The beneficiaries were the Chicago-based Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M), dedicated to preserving and protecting Leather and Kink history, and receiving $2,800 of the PLPN proceeds; Philly AIDS Thrift (PAT), for its free drop-in HIV testing center, receiving $2,500; By the Grace of George, Jo Arnone’s charity, helping to feed pets of ailing, home-bound men and women, who could not otherwise care for them, given $2,000; GALALEI: queer Latin@ social justice, given $500; and the Leather Heart Foundation, presented with $200. Donors of auction items included LA&M, PAT, I am a Sub to My Cat(s), the Leatherman NYC, Aquiel, Passional Boutique, NJ FemmeDomme Group, Remi Graber, Chadds Ford Winery, Cowboi Jen, and Mr. South Africa Leather Herman Groenewald.
Jo Arnone presented her Award for Services to PLPN volunteer slave 705 and Remi presented the David Peters Award to PLPN volunteer Kitten. A 50-50 raffle was handled by Mid-Atlantic Onyx Pearls and its $215 prize was donated back to PLPN by the winner.
Ben’s Kinky Bakeoff, including baked goods in Leather Pride flag designs and colors, was a new component of PLPN, and judges included Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County’s Sherri Rase and Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2015 Jason Hall. Prizewinners for their entries included Ms New Jersey Leather 2013 baby girl Diane and 2015 Philadelphia Bootblack Wicked Jade.
Speaking during the evening were Rick Storer of LA&M, which will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in September 2016, and in which PLPN has a lifetime membership; and Phoenix Leather Pup Jefferson Tugger, who caused controversy at the International Mr. Leather (IML) 2015 contest in Chicago by wearing a corset and high heels on stage. The presentation of current Leather titleholders, including Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016 Tigger, Mr. Q FLAG (Fits Like a Glove) 2015 Remi Graber, and Mr. Fire Island Leather 2015 Edd Clark; a parade of colors of Leather clubs; and introduction of Mama Sandy Reinhardt’s Family members also took place during the evening.
Entertainment was coordinated by Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon. This writer, Mr. Fire Island Leather 2001 — the first — kicked off the proceedings once again, singing “Unchained Melody” by Alex North and Hy Zaret. Suzanne, Cowboi Jen’s fiancée, contributed an Elvis “Burning Love” striptease.
Numbers from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s “Little Shop of Horrors” were Mr. North American Bear 2012 and Mr. Rawhide NYC 2011 Jed Ryan’s striptease down to Leather harness and jock, to “Dentist!,” ending with a confetti shower, and a “Suddenly Seymour” dance and striptease duet by Burlesque Battle Royal winner Masochist with Martina Mayhem. A contributor to the Leather Journal and Q News publications, Jed is also producer of the Underneath the Sash pin-up calendar, benefiting LA&M and featuring photos by David Heitholt and graphic design by Connecticut’s Twilight Guard Vice-President Sean R. Campbell.
Numbers from Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman’s “Rocky Horror (Picture) Show” were Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon’s “Sweet Transvestite,” Ms. New Jersey Leather 2016 Christy Lee’s “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me,” and New Jersey Leather titleholders’ “Time Warp.”
The Eighth Annual PLPN will take place on September 24, and Jaco Lourens, the first Mr. South Africa Leather (2009-2010), who placed fourth at IML 2010 and was Keynote Speaker for Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) 2014 in Philadelphia, will return to the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love as PLPN emcee.
By Rick Conley
500 Leatherfolk were on hand for the 19th Annual Mates Leather Weekend in Provincetown, October 1-4 and by all accounts had a great time. The event raised $3,567 for the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod.
In addition, 34 men took part in Unit 10′s Free Health Screening during MLW. Unit 10 is part of the AIDS Support Group of Cape Cod’s Men’s Health Project dedicated to education and prevention. These men deserve our respect and admiration for taking such a proactive approach in maintaining their good health and the health of their partners.
First Mate 2014 Jeremy Weis was the emcee for Mates Leather Weekend.
Jonathan Kharfen from Boston, MA was chosen First Mate 2015. First runner-up was Kurt Kolok from The Berkshires in Western MA and second runner-up was Eric Farkas from Boston, MA.
The judges were First Mate 2013 Steve DuPont, First Mate 2002 Patrick “Puppy” Lamerson and Mr. Connecticut Leather 2016 Tom Matt.
Look for Jonathan when he hosts the 2016 First Mate Contest in October 2016.
To find out more, check out http://www.MatesLeatherWeekend.com
Mates Leather Weekend is produced by Rick Conley, longtime Provincetown resident and Leatherman.
Rick says, "I want to thank all MLW sponsors, friends and past participants who have contributed to the success of Mates Leather Weekend. I’m grateful for all the new friends that I’ve made along the way"
He added, "I take great pride in the quality of men and women that attend MLW. There is no attitude here, just folks that are down-to-earth, friendly, and nice to look at. It takes a lot of effort to put on an event like this."
Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert (PSLOD) produced yet another Mr. Palm Springs Leather Contest on Saturday, October 31 at the Palm Springs Convention Center on the Grand Concourse during Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend with Mr. Hot Rodeo Chris Durbin being best among six men competing.
First runner-up was Mr. Off Ramp Leathers Steve Juneau and second runner-up was Mr. Chill Leather James Bork.
Palm Springs Leather Pride emcee Lenny Broberg was back and announced the winners. The Palm Springs Gay Men's Chorus opened the night with the Star Spangle Banner and they also serenaded Lenny later in the contest.
The judging panel included Esteban Bartholo, Randy Carmenaty, Randall “Bear Man” Klett, Sandy “Mama” Reinhardt, International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015 Clifton Tatum and Dan Woodward.
The three remaining contestant were Mr. Tool Shed Leather Jeff Maxwell, Mr. Barracks Leather Mark Austin and Mr. Copa Palm Springs Leather Aaron Jones.
Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2015 Clifton Tatum's step down speech included thank you's to many who were there for him and was a recount of all of the fundraising he did in his title year.
He announced a goal of $20,000 raised last year when he won and he attained it. Mock checks were presented to all of the charities that received funds.
International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith delivered a rousing speech which can be read in its entirety by clicking on Uganda.
Jim Neuman was presented his President's Award from Pantheon of Leather founder Dave Rhodes and being as loved as he is in Palm Springs for his community service he received a loud standing ovation.
The weekend started with a Meet and Greet at Hunters Nightclub on Thursday night where people could get their registration.
A clothing-optional pool party hosted by the Clifton Tatum was the event of Friday afternoon at InnExile.
The Formal Leather Dinner at the Palm Springs Hilton in the Horizon Ballroom was first class all the way. Great atmosphere, service, company and the Chicken and beef were terrific. Those who opted for meat got two regular-sized portions.
The Tool Shed/PSLOD Vendor Market and Back Lot Cruise Party went on Friday and Saturday nights with some 5,000 Leatherfolk passing the gate each night.
On Saturday afternoon the 'Gar and Gear Party/Barbecue at The Barracks bar was packed.
The Victory Leather/Fetish Dance Party at The Barracks followed the contest, and once again, the bar was full.
The Turning up the Heat Pool Party/Barbecue and Soaked T-shirt Contest. Clifton Tatum and the new Mr. Palm Springs Leather Chris Durbin were on hand. There was no shortage of hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, bright sunshine and hot men.
Jim Neuman hosted another huge party with the California B&B Corps at his Casa Lola in North Palm Springs on Sunday afternoon. Virtually every Leather dignitary was there including Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt. Plenty of food and an open bar.
The Official Closing Party at The Barracks.
The Palm Springs Leather Pride staff includes Chair of Palm Springs Leather Pride Skip Mlaker, the Board of Directors and the membership of the Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert, Contest co-producers Drew Kramer and Dave Murdock, tally master, Karen Rakow Atkins, judges coordinator, Skip Mlaker and contestant coordinator, Todd Parker, emcee Lenny Broberg and ASL interpreter Michael Klynn. Leo Newcomb is the President of PSLOD.
Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert at http://www.pslod.org is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to providing a safe atmosphere for growth and support of the Leather Lifestyle while nourishing a sense of sister/brother hood and camaraderie within the organization and the community, and to raise funds for deserving projects, clubs, organizations, defense funds or charities which have given direct or indirect support to the Leather community or to the GLBT community at large.
Many snowbirds and Leatherfolk from Southern California hung around for Palm Springs Gay Pride, November 6-8. Jim Neuman hosted another huge party at his Casa Lola in North Palm Springs on Sunday afternoon. Those who stayed were treated to a fabulous parade and festival which saw some 100,000 GLBT people in the crowd and a festival with approximately 75 vendors and information booths. All of the city's bars, shops and restaurants benefited. It was noted that Palm Springs population is not 57 percent LGBT. Every year this number seems to increase. Attend next year to find out why.
By Patrick Grady
The Centaur Motorcycle Club announced the judges and tally masters for the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2016 contest to held in Washington, DC the weekend of January 15-18.
Once again, the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave, NW, Washington, DC 20001 will serve as the host hotel where Leather Cocktails will be held on Saturday night and the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2016 contest on Sunday afternoon.
Chief Judge Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2015 Daddy David Gerard will be joined by International Mr. Leather 2015 Patrick Smith, International Mr. Leather 2015 Seattle Mr. Leather 1998 Billy Lane, Mr. Eagle New York City 2014 Cee Jay, Mr. Eagle New York City 2014, Mr. Rock Bear 2015 John-John, American Leatherwoman 2000 Paula Smith and Mr. Leather Europe 2012 Kilker Alcaraz.
The tally masters will be Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon and International Mr. Puppy 2014 Pup Tripp.
Perhaps the main event of Mid-Atlantic Leather weekend is Leather Cocktails which will be held on Saturday night. The Centaurs put out one of the best food spreads and the formal Leather affair is not to be missed. Those who have attended Leather Cocktails before already know.
There will be many unofficial events including play parties hosted by SigMa at their clubhouse, bar parties at the Green Lantern and the recently re-opened DC Eagle.
In 2011, the Bootblacks were re-introduced to Mid Atlantic Leather Weekend and they will be there again in January. Since 2011, the Bootblacks have raised $9,828 – Half of which has gone to the Mr. MAL Travel fund and the other half to support a local charity.
The Weekend also includes official events organized by Centaur MC, that include a bustling Leather Exhibit Hall open Friday and Saturday, and a Sunday brunch before the Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2016 contest.
Information on events, registration, and guest room accommodations can be found at http://www.leatherweekend.com