Don Thompson
 

January 2007

Once again I have to apologize for the delay in bringing my column up to date. Try being a church organist over Christmas! On top of that, having European guests for a few weeks, people who are afraid to drive in Southern California. I had to be the chauffeur and devise all kinds of interesting places to take them, all of which took me away from my usual leather activities. Anyway, hereís whatís new.

Pantheon of Leather nominations are all in and the judging by the panel has taken place so all that remains is for the awards to be announced, which will take place as usual in Chicago on the weekend of February 16 Ė 19. Itís too cold then for me. However, I think thereís a possibility that Pantheon may be coming back to the West Coast next year, along with the Mr. and Ms. Olympus contest. Letís hope so, anyway. For this year, is you want to attend, or need info, go to http://www.theleatherjournal.com/pantheon.htm

The Talk Magazine leather column which I started continues with Avatar member Dave Murdock at the helm. Heís covering mostly the same ground that I covered when I wrote for the magazine, in fact he even writes this week on the Mr. Palm Springs Leather contest and Leather Pride weekend and makes a sly dig at my reportage of that event. But Iím used to that, a lot of leather columnists take digs at others, - remember the long-standing feud between Dave Rhodes and Mr. Marcus? Fortunately that was put to rest some years ago and all now appears to be well. Marcus himself also spent a lot of energy denigrating my writing years ago but that seems to be over too, in fact I even got a Christmas card from him this year. Who would have thought that ten years or so ago?

As for Palm Springs Leather Pride, that was almost three months ago, however, Dave spends some time defending the PS Contest in his current column and refers to grumblings about the results so there must have been some dissatisfied people. He also makes a point of defending the integrity of the judges and tally masters. I donít know whoís been grumbling, but people should realize that what happens on the actual night of the contest is only the half of it. All contestants must experience a one-on-one with the judges prior to the contest and thatís where the decisions are usually made, in my experience. Iíve judged scores of contests and the contestants at the pre-judging get asked all kinds of questions that would not be asked in public and I know many of my decisions have been made based on the responses in those private judges-only sessions. Someone who appears on the actual night of the contest to be an obvious first choice could have revealed information to the judges privately that served to disqualify him from that spot on the winnerís rostrum. One of the contestants in the recent contest is known to have appeared in bare-backing videos. Thatís a no-no to many judges and they might have in mind that if that contestant won and went on to compete at IML that would also be a no-no there, especially since Chuck Renslow has been vocal about his opposition to the practice.

Another contestant who was popular with the crowd on the night had only been living locally for a month. Contest winners really rely on their support base and local contacts to help them put on events and so on and somebody whoís only been here a month would not have such contacts and would find it difficult to succeed with his title.

There were also contestants this year from non-leather bars, which didnít make a lot of sense to many people. Hunterís is a twinkie disco bar and thereís not a stitch of leather in the place apart from peopleís belts and shoes and as for a leather attitude or lifestyle Ė forget it. Most people could not believe that that bar put on a leather contest. It was in fact very poorly supported and greeted with some hostility by the regular patrons and naturally enough, their winner didnít impress anyone as being a potential Mr. Palm Springs Leather. Oasis is another bar that is a dance venue. To be sure, the owners are reputed to be leather men, but itís not a bar where leather events have ever been held apart from the PS contest and the only reason that that event is held there is that itís the only bar big enough to host it. Even then, we have to be out of the place by soon after ten so that the dance crowd can come in and dance the night away. One would think that another leather event would have been held there by now since their contestant won the title but I havenít heard of anything so far. Sidewinders, while also not a leather bar per se has at least always been leather-friendly and now has a leather owner, the well-liked George Puddephatt and it made sense for that bar to have a contestant, but again, the winner was somebody who did not appear to have been previously known in the leather community. So people who were grumbling about the Palm Springs Leather Contest result should bear all the above in mind. The crowd favorites donít always win and thereís often a valid reason that you may not know.

The West Coast Rubber guys continue to be busy and up front and out in public. The guys strolled down Hollywood Boulevard to the Hollywood and Vine complex recently in full rubber for a rubber dinner and movie. The tourists were suddenly taking more pictures of men in rubber than stars on the sidewalk. They went upstairs to the food court for dinner and wandered the entertainment complex shopping for leopard print rubber boots (Yes, they do make such a thing) and watching Kink Boy splash around in the fountain.

The latest James Bond Thriller "Casino Royale" was the main event inside Graumanís Chinese Theater. If you have not had a chance to see the movie, it is a must for all bondage fans. James Bond truly has balls of steel. The bondage and torture scene alone is worth the price of admission. After the movie was over the rubber party had to end, it was a work night. Unfortunately for Mr. West Coast Rubber 2005 Alan Stroik it took longer than expected to leave. Next time he will have to remember which level in the garage his car was parked on.

The rubber guys held their monthly bar night at The Barracks Bar on Friday Jan 19th and on the following night they were a noticeable presence in the Eagle, Los Angeles. Both the Barracks night and the Eagle event are dedicated to enjoying the hell out of rubber, latex and everything else shiny and geared up. Plus it's a big ole shine party with personal, hands-on service from two of the hottest rubber studs around. And as always they had giveaways and loads of pervy guys to share the fun. Get more details at www.westcoastrubber.com. On February 16th theyíll be back at The Barracks again and the following night at the L.A. Eagle, which has its "Gear Night." Finally a night for those pervs who love latex! Rubber fetish gear is strongly encouraged, and thereís never a cover charge. The next West Coast Rubber weekend is next Labor Day weekend in Palm Springs again.

Speaking of Gear night, David Morgan is still going from strength to strength with his "gear nights" in San Francisco; this time guys are encouraged to get away from the internet and put on their leathers and go out to meet real people. They had a get together at My Place on Jan 7th, Sunday and theyíll meet again on Sunday Jan 28th at the Powerhouse for an after beer bust get together from 6 Ė 10pm. Powerhouse Bartenders will be offering drinks specials to those who are geared up. BootBlack Stud Richie Chameroy will work you and your boots over.

Unicorn from SOMA Guardians will check your coat or whatever elseÖ

David is about to confirm a date for February and possibly two dates for MarchÖand I will keep you informed on those dates as soon as he confirms them.

Back in Palm Springs area, the Palm Springs Division of the Boots and Breeches Corps continues to grow. The group has a beer bust at The Barracks on the Fourth Friday of each month. This month, on Jan 26 they will be presenting a uniform contest with appropriate prizes. So get out your stuff and show up and compete! On the third Thursday of each month the Division gets together for a brief meeting and a social evening, usually a pot luck at the house of one of the members. For those interested in this group (there are three Divisions Ė Palm Springs, L.A. and San Francisco). Visit the web site at http://www.bbcorps.com.

You can also check out www.thebarracksbarps.com and www.toolshed-ps.com for whatís going on any night in town. Apart from the usual bar nights (beer busts on Friday nights by PSLOD and other organizations) the Tool Shed also has special events. Dennis Cramer presents the Fifth Annual Erotic Art Expo there from Monday February 12, 2007 through Sunday February 19, 2007. Erotic works from local artists will be on display all week and available for silent auction bidding. Proceeds from the event benefit Tool Shed's AIDS Assistance Program Christmas Stocking Fund.

Several of the participating artists will be on hand for a Meet & Greet on Saturday February 17th from 3 pm until 6 pm. Many of the artists will also have additional pieces of their work available for viewing and purchase.

The Tool Shed also features a weekend back lot party and vendor fair on Memorial Day weekend Ė always a great event with lots of hot men. Interested in being a vendor? Drop them an e-mail to webmaster@toolshed-ps.com