Don Thompson
August 8, 2006

This column appears on August 8

            QUITE A WEEKEND!


It was quite a weekend for me over the end of July. The weekend, in San Francisco, began on Friday with the Leather Daddy Contest, now in its twenty fourth year. There were only three contestants but the patio of the Eagle was crowded. It has always been one of the most popular events on the West Coast and draws the biggest crowd of any of these kinds of contests. Leather titleholders from all over the country were there. At least nine previous SF Daddies were there too, they’re a tight- knit crowd of men who work well together. It’s the only leather title that I know where the previous titleholders turn up and support in such numbers and take an active part in the event. The evening ran a bit long, and the crowd was so busy socializing that the goings on up on stage became almost incidental to the piece. There was also the awarding of a citation to Daddy Tom Rodgers marking the twenty years since he won the title and the day had been named by the mayor as Tom Rodgers Day in San Francisco. There was a raffle which raised $2600 for the AIDS Emergency Fund. The three contestants were all good in their way and each had fine qualities to offer but the winner was, it seemed to me, the crowd’s choice too. Finally announced at 12.30am. he is Warren Williams, an officer of the Golden Gate Guards club and very active in many other areas of endeavor in the community. But they always say if you want a job done well, give it to a busy man to do. I’m sure he’ll do just fine.

The victory partying went on till the bar closed.

Saturday afternoon saw the celebration of the tenth anniversary of the Leathermen’s Discussion Group at the Pride Center, humorously emceed by former Empress of SF Donna Sachet, who admitted to having a leather lifestyle. There was champagne and hors d’oeuvres and lots of prominent members of the community, including Mark Leno, San Francisco’s popular Assemblyman, who offered a Certificate of Recognition from the State of California. Another proclamation was offered too and Saturday was named Leathermen’s Discussion Day in San Francisco by its sexy mayor, Gavin Newsome. San Francisco’s officials have always supported the leather community and its work. Famed speaker and writer Race Bannon delivered the Keynote Message which was quite thought-provoking. The producers of the afternoon are to be congratulated on a fine event. This writer was singled out for praise on a number of occasions during the afternoon and the night before and I was glad I had made the trip to be there and bathe in the appreciation and affection of the crowd. It was very heartwarming and gratifying.

 Immediately after the reception it was time to head South of Market to attend the Northern California Sir and boy contest at 4pm.  Unlike the Daddy contest, this one had quite a small crowd, not even 100 people attended but perhaps the $20 admission fee dissuaded many people from attending. No time was wasted here, the four contestants were put through their paces, there were two entertainers (one of whom was our desert resident Snatch), the contestants performed their fantasies and yet we were out of there by 6pm. Good production and tight control helps.

The weekend ended with the Dore Alley Street Fair on Folsom street and in the aforementioned alley, with huge crowds. I saw many people from Palm Springs there and there was a booth hosted by the West Coast Rubber guys which also featured the colors of PSLOD and the banner from The Barracks. There was lots of nudity, which the police turned a blind eye to (it’s San Francisco after all) and many men had clearly taken some kind of chemical assistance to enable them to display erections all day.

Here in the South, I was mistaken last week when I wrote that the bus trip hosted by the boys of Leather and S. Cal boy Rick was sold out. There ARE still tickets available. The bus leaves The Barracks at 7pm on Saturday the 12th to visit The Eagle in L.A. and returns that same evening, in the early hours in fact. Should be a lot of fun. You can get your tickets at The Barracks, it’s only $15 and there’s will be “refreshments”


The Barracks Bar has a completely new mister system installed and it’s just like a 1940s British Movie. You remember those old Black and White movies set in London in the 1890s; films like "Oliver Twist" and so on, with London enveloped in the traditional pea-souper fog. That’s what the Barracks patio is like these days. In the later evening when the sun has gone down, it’s shrouded in mist and gloomy figures appear and disappear just as in the movies. It’s cool in more senses than one and shrouded in mystery.


There are a few major things coming up that you should know about. First of all, two weeks from now will be the Labor Day weekend Vendor Fair at the Tool Shed. Among the vendors participating will be Art Damage, Bear Wear etc., K&C Novelties of Las Vegas, Miguel’s Henna Body Art, Q Trading, Tuff Stuff Leatherware and the official food vendor Bud’s burgers and weenies. Of course there’ll be a bar out there and no doubt many more vendors will appear at the last minute. If you are a vendor and want to be represented contact the Tool Shed bar immediately. Also that weekend in San Francisco is the famous Leather Daddy’s boy contest. They just had the Daddy contest a couple of weekends ago and hot on its heels comes the boy contest. It’s at The SF Eagle on Sunday afternoon of Labor Day weekend. For your admission you get draft beer and a meal, usually provided by one of the local bike clubs. Well worth a visit, and hopefully there will be lots of boys competing. For bikers, that weekend is also the world famous Badger Flats run.

The same weekend here in the desert sees the West Coast Rubber weekend taking place. The judges for the Mr. West Coast Rubber 2006 contest will be Alan Stroik, Mr. West Coast Rubber 2005 and a hellova nice guy, Squirm, the founder of the Rubber Lovers’ Contact List web site in 1996 (celebrating 10 years online, the list is now a part of; John Jacobs of KinkRubber,  Stomper, from Portland, OR, who is the founder and Alpha pup of, (the only online kennel and community for men, trainers and human pups) and finally Michael Schneider, Mr. International Rubber 2006, all the way from  Achern (south-west Germany) which is where he developed his love for rubber and guys in rubber. This year's highlights of the weekend will include the Meat ‘n Greet profile party and Rubber Dinner; a vendor fair; the Wet Willie pool party hosted by International Mr. Rubber, RubberWilli; two play parties including a blackout party with a slip-n-slide pit; the Mr. West Coast Rubber contest; the Fetish Dance, and a weekend shuttle to keep everybody's boozin butts outta jail. Oh. And by the way, if you’re coming from out of town or have friends coming from out of town, Jon at Instigator Magazine pointed out the other day that rising fuel costs have increased air fares into Palm Springs but that tickets to LAX were still pretty reasonable. And then he volunteered to drive a 12-passenger van out from LAX for West Coast Rubber. Room is limited to the first 11 weekend package holders to sign up and the round trip cost is just $30. Just imagine the fun you'll have in a van full of horned up rubber guys! If they get a huge demand they’ll look at adding an extra van.
The van will depart LAX at 2:00 PM on Friday, September 1 and arrive in Palm Springs at approximately 5 PM with plenty of time to unpack, rubber up and make it for the Meat ‘n Greet Rubber Cocktail Party. The van will depart Palm Springs for LAX on Monday, September 4 at 12 noon and arrive at LAX at approximately 3 PM.
BTW, Full weekend packages are $95 – get yours now from


Prior to the publication of the article entitles "Dirty Tricks," now in the archives I e-mailed the publisher of Talk Magazine on July 17 as follows:

I thought I had better run this by you before including it as part of my column this week. I was there shortly after this happened and asked the bar owners if I could write about it and they said "please do, go ahead." What do you think?

He replied "Go Ahead."

So I included that opening paragraph in my column. Imagine how shocked I was to read, instead of my column in Talk Magazine this week, August 8, the following, under a heading "A Leather Retraction"

"We at talk magazine feel the need to apologize for one of our columnists. In issue 31, dated July 26th, Don Thompson attempted to relay a story of alleged events that took place at The Barracks Bar on July 15th. These events were a personal matter between John Rentsch and J.,D. Smith and should never have been made public. Mr. Thompson went further and made slurs against J.D. Smith's character that were totally unfounded.. any attack on his person is totally without merit.

But, dear readers, the Editor was advised that he might not want to publish this. He then went ahead and did so. He is the one that should be apologizing if there is anything to apologize for. There were witnesses to this event, one of them very well-known in the community. The circumstances were exactly as reported except that the incident where J.D. Smith threatened John Rentsch with a hammer was not in the article.

 I have nothing against J.D. personally. He has been a friend but his behavior that day was inexcusable and the behavior of talk magazine is also inexcusable in shifting responsibility for the article to me, after they encouraged me to write it. They also say "We at talk magazine would like to publicly apologize to J.D. Smith  for any inconveniences caused by the Don Thompson article. Then why publish it and then pretend that they didn't know what it contained? It surely is the duty of any good columnist to expose abuses in the community. What happened at The Barracks was a total abuse of the trust of a completely supportive bar and it should be known, just as instances of deliberately stealing from a non profit should be known.  In editing, "the buck stops here applies to the Editor." To approve an article and print it and then deny responsibility for it is the height of hypocrisy.

Needless to say I will not be writing for talk magazine again.