November 29, 2006
I’M BACK AGAIN
I do apologize to all of you for my absence recently. I was recently so annoyed by the antics of Talk Magazine (see the previous archived column) that I was discouraged from writing at all. But as a very well-known leather writer commented to me, “The editor is responsible. What would you have done, gone in to their office in the middle of the night, typed it into their system and laid it into the page? Even then they would be expected to review the layout, spelling, content and everything else. If they thought it was too controversial or whatever, they should have not printed it in the beginning. That's why they have editors.”
Clearly, TALK doesn’t have a responsible editing staff. Enough of that, let’s go on to what’s happened since the last column.
In September I spent some time in England and Scotland and also visited Istanbul for the first time. Nothing leathery, I didn’t even have time to go into a bar anywhere.
West Coast Rubber came and went and it was very successful, with over 100 guys attending the Labor Day weekend event from across the US, Canada, Mexico and from such far flung locales as the UK, Hong Kong and Australia. The weekend kicked off on the Friday night of that weekend with a meat and greet cocktail party sponsored by RubberZone and Chaps Inn. One innovation that proved popular was the provision of a shuttle between the host hotel and the bars, which made things a lot easier for some people, especially those who wished to have a drink or two and then get home safely. Other events would do well to copy this. IML does it and I think probably all events catering to more than 100 people or so should think about it. I volunteered as one of the drivers and got to meet some nice people in the process.
The first night also featured a vendor mart with a great collection of gear from LacLeo Leather, Henna Body Art, ArtDamage, Tuff Stuff Leather, PS Piercing, Leather Smith, K&C Novelty and a brand new 3-D vacuum bondage device from SlikCo that debuted at WCR, The latter was a very popular attraction but I didn’t see many people buying anything from the other vendors and as a result possibly the vendor mart might not happen in future. The vendor mart the following night at The Tool Shed, by contrast, was much more popular.
After the meat and greet the participants in the weekend had a delicious full-gear dinner at the resort’s Butterfield’s Restaurant and then headed off to the pool where lots of people played around there. Later, there was a Get Gummi Blackout Party at The Barracks, complete with a slime pit and “high stakes” wrestling.
On Saturday the contest began promptly at 8pm with seven contestants, who were winnowed down by the judges to four finalists. After some pretty interesting fantasies and Alan Stroik’s step down speech the winners were chosen and the runner-up was “RubberBoy” and the winner, Mr. West Coast Rubber 2006 is Michael O’Connor. A ‘Bad Piggy” play party followed the contest at a private dungeon. On Sunday the participants made their way to the infamous Barracks Beer Bust, and that was followed by an impromptu rubber dinner and an even more impromptu vac rack off and bondage-a-thon back at the hotel and the weekend finished with a KINK Dance at the night club Heaven. Quite a fun-filled weekend.
Get ready to Get In Gear for next year! The 2007 WCR website is up and ready for action with a whole new design at www.westcoastrubber.com. Stay tuned for more kinkiness throughout the year from the L8XGuys!
The next big event to come along for us was Pam Springs Gay Pride. This is organized as a kind of private event with one guy running things and a board assisting him. The members of the board are nominated and then have to serve a year’s probation before being confirmed (to make sure that they don’t vote against anything the promoter wishes). Hardly a democratic institution, it seems. For years they have banned motorcycles from the parade and as a result Pride Riders was formed, a group of bikers who met at The Barracks once a week to plan a campaign to try to get the promoter of Gay Pride to change his mind. This year he did and we had Dykes on Bikes and other bikers participating. Finally!
All the leather people, bars and organizations were grouped together to form one contingent. There was a truck which carried the owners and staff of The Barracks, the Boys of Leather, PSLOD representatives and some of the South of Market Bare Chest Calendar men. Quite a load and quite an eyeful.
The following weekend was Leather Pride in Palm Springs and environs. The weekend began as usual with a meet and greet, this time held at the host resort, The Villa, instead of at the more usual Barracks Bar, a choice which some thought possibly had something to do with the event producer’s own personal agenda, although it did seem to make sense to have the registration where the people were actually staying.
The formal leather dinner was held on the Friday evening at Butterfield’s Restaurant in the Villa and by all accounts it was excellent. There was a vendor fair afterwards in the parking lot behind the ToolShed which was extremely well supported, hundreds of leatherfolk were there having a good time and socializing and greeting old friends. Inside the bar was another meet and greet taking place, where judges and contestants were introduced.
Next day, Saturday there was a vendor mart again at the Villa, and various discussion and demonstration groups. That night the Mr. Palm Springs Leather contest was held at Oasis (formerly called Heaven) the only location in town big enough to hold everyone who wanted to attend, and a bit crowded at that.
There were five contestants, drawn from the five preliminary contests at various bars (some of them non-leather bars). Represented were Sidewinders, The ToolShed, The Barracks, Oasis and Hunter’s. The winners of the contest were runner-up Mr. Sidewinders Casey Cooper and the judges’ choice for Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2007, Mr. Oasis Leather Eric Mitchell. My sources tell me that Eric did a fine job in the pre-judging interviews - always the most difficult part of the contest and the one where the decisions are generally made. Eric goes on to IML in May 2007. Judges, by the way, were the stepping-down Mr. PS Leather 2006 Bernard Stauffer, George Wong of Avatar (George gets everywhere), Roger Gregg of Pal Springs Piercing, Bo Ladashevska, (IML 2006) and Dave Rhodes of the Leather Journal. 185 people bought the weekend package and of course countless others paid to attend the contest and other single events that they wanted to attend. This event is getting bigger and bigger every year.
Thanksgiving weekend was just as busy as Gay Pride and Leather Pride weekends in town and on Friday night of that weekend the Barracks had its busiest Friday night ever. The weekend was also LazyBear weekend so many of the men at The Barracks were taking up more than the usual space which made it seem even more crowded.
At the Tool Shed, Friday, Dec 1st sees the PSLOD monthly beer bust taking place and on Saturday Dec 2, Buckshot Productions has a DVD release party there. Saturday Dec 9th is Chaps Night and Sunday December 17th is the annual Christmas Stocking Stuffing party, when many members of the community turn up to form a kind of production line to fill hundreds of Christmas stockings.
At The Barracks, There are beer bust every Friday night, by the Softball league, first Fridays, the Boys of Leather second Fridays,, the Rubber gang third Fridays and the Boots and Breeches Cops forth Fridays (except the one a couple of days before Christmas when people will be too busy doing their own thing at that time of the season).
On Friday, December 8th Rob Hathaway hosts the Barracks Christmas Party.