LEATHER COLUMN JULY 2007
stands for Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub. This
organization is hosting a special BLUF night at the San Francisco Eagle at 10pm
on Saturday, July 28th, the weekend of the Dore Alley Fair. Also happening that
weekend in San Francisco is the San Francisco Leather Daddy Contest, at the
Eagle on Friday night, the 27th at about 8pm. The SF Leather Daddy is a
venerable title, and the holders of that title have been leaders of the SF
leather community and its most prolific fund raisers for over 25 years. There's
always a huge crowd of former and current titleholders from all over the country
at this event. On Saturday, for those who want something interesting to do
before the BLUF event, there is the Northern California Leather Sir and boy
contest at the Eagle, beginning at 7pm. There's also a bootblack competition
hosted by Andrew (bootdog) Johnson and the whole event is produced by Jay
Hemphill and Michael Holeman (can that be his real name? There's also
entertainment by the famous Snatch and DJ Petey Alvarez, the MC is Karen (Ultra)
Crecelius and the San Francisco Boots and Breeches Corps are providing the color
guard. On Sunday the 29th, of course, is the Dore Alley Fair, a much more
exclusively leather tribe event than the more famous Folsom Street Fair, which
tends to attract lots of non-leather looky-loos. Dore Alley is a family event.
In the previous column I had a paragraph headed "Queens on a Queen" referring to RSVP Cruises which chartered the fabulous Queen Mary 2 for a trans-Atlantic crossing. On this cruise the Barracks Bar in Palm Springs hosted a leather party which was successful beyond RSVP's wildest dreams. So many leather people attended that an additional room had to be opened up to accommodate the crowd. RSVP was so pleased that they have invited The Barracks to host another two leather parties on their cruises this year. Here are the details:
The first leaves Rome on August 9th for ten days in the Mediterranean, calling at Naples, Messina, Venice, Salerno, Corfu and Dubrovnik, returning to Rome. The second leaves Seattle on September 7th for seven days in the wonderful Alaska scenery. Stopovers include Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, and Victoria BC. I have been on both these cruise itineraries in the past and can heartily recommend them. For more details go to RSVPVacations.com. And kudos to The Barracks for giving a new meaning to the word "cruising."
Many things of interest to the kink community have happened since the last time this “blog” as people are now calling it, was updated.
First of all was IML, which I did not have the opportunity to attend this year. I quote from George Wong’s e-mail to me:
Mikel Gerle, Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2007, won the coveted title of International Mr. Leather 2007 on Sunday night, May 27, in the Windy City of Chicago at the famous Chicago Theatre. Mikel topped 51 other contestants and will represent IML and the leather community for the next year. The 1st Runner-up is Rob Grant, Mr. Washington State Leather 2007, and the 2nd Runner-up is Bill Hoeppner, Mr. Ramrod 2006 of Ft. Lauderdale. Spot of Indianapolis won the International Mr. Bootblack title, beating out four other contestants.
Mikel and his fellow IML classmates competed in various categories such as an eight minute interview with a panel of nine esteemed judges, pecs & personality the jockstrap segment with a delightful funny question on stage, overall leather image, and formal leatherwear with a 90-second speech on a topic of the contestant's choice. The 52 contestants paraded onto the Chicago Theatre stage for Mister Marcus of San Francisco to announce the top 20 contestants who went on to compete the rest of the evening. No Canadian or international contestants made the top 20 group this year. Chuck Renslow, Executive Producer of IML (www.IMrL.com), announced the winners of IML 2007 and then the crowd jumped to its feet and cheered. A definite extra loud cheer came from the Los Angeles contingent when Mikel was called to the top of the podium. Mikel was awarded an IML medallion, leather sash and title vest by his predecessor, Bo Ladashevska, IML 2006.
Mikel first won the Mr. Oil Can Harry's Leather 2007 title to go on to compete at Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2007 last March. This gave him the opportunity to compete at IML 2007. The management of Oil Can Harry's made its first trip to IML and were celebrating throughout the weekend in support of their titleholder. Oil Can Harry's will be hosting a huge party in honor of Mikel's win. Mikel's next immediate trip was to San Francisco to begin the AIDS LifeCycle ride to Los Angeles. The public there had their first view of Mikel when he walked down the LA Pride parade route on Sunday, June 10. The 42 year old Mikel currently works as a management specialist for the City of West Hollywood and has been involved in fundraising and activism for various HIV/AIDS organizations in Southern California. His hobbies include traveling, photography, motorcycles, running, dancing, SciFi, computers, German dark rooms, and fetish gear. More on Mikel at www.mrlaleather2007.com. He is sponsored by the Los Angeles Leather Coalition (www.LALC.info) who will give him all the support he needs during his IML title year.
A note about Oil Can Harry’s. I feel a degree of responsibility for that bar and a paternal interest in it. Way back in 1969, I think it was, I heard that a new bar was opening on a specific night so I turned up to support it. To my surprise I was the only person there and the owners were on the brink of tears, thinking that their bar was already doomed. “Just wait.” I said, “Hang on” and I took off along Ventura Blvd, stopping in all the bars that were there at the time and elsewhere in North Hollywood: Keith’s, the Queen Mary, The Office, The Woodside, The Rawhide and several others whose names I can no longer remember. I worked the crowd in each and told everyone I knew to get down to the new bar ASAP. When I got back to Oil Can Harry’s the place was full and the owners came dashing up to me and hugged me. “You saved our skins” they said. So that’s my little claim to fame in North Hollywood, where I lived for three years after I first came to this country.
Speaking of IML, are you going? If so you had better book your rooms as quickly as you can via the IML website. The reservations from any other source for the Palm House Hilton seems to be closed off. Fortunately I booked mine just in time. This next year will be the big anniversary, the thirtieth year and I imagine that the biggest crowd of all will be there so don’t miss it. Thursday, May 24 through Monday, May 28, 2007 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Chicago. IML is pleased to announce a return engagement at The Legendary Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State Street. Actor, stand-up comedian and musician Hal Sparks has just signed as the headline entertainment at this year’s Contest.
IML 2007 Weekend Event Packages start at $150 with special upgraded seating packages available. All packages include: admission to the International Mr. Leather 2007 competition, admission to all other official IML events (Opening Ceremonies, Physique Competition, Salute! - Closing Ceremonies, IML Victory Celebration Party and the Black and Blue Ball), free admission to the Leather Market, free shuttle bus service, an official IML 2007 t-shirt plus special promotional offers and gifts.
IML Weekend Packages can be purchased online at www.imrl.com or at www.boxofficetickets.com; by calling (800) 494-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0288); or via facsimile at (800) FAX-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0290). Weekend Packages should be picked up at The Palmer House Hilton beginning Thursday, May 24 in the afternoon through Sunday, May 27. Cancellations are subject to a $25 processing fee. There will be no cancellations after April 30th, 2007. Special seating accommodations for persons requiring wheelchair access or those who are hearing impaired can be requested through Box Office Tickets.
International Mr. Leather 2007 will include the following main
29th Annual International Mr. Leather Competition presented by Miller Beer
Sunday, May 27 at 5 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.) The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State Street, Chicago
15th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition presented by Bootwerks
Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27 The Palmer House Hilton, Leather Market
Other official IML weekend events include:
The Leather Market – Celebrating its 25th Year! The world’s best collection of leather and fetish vendors. Friday, May 25 from 12 – 7 p.m., Saturday, May 26 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday, May 27 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Monday, May 28 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Palmer House Hilton
IML Opening Ceremonies presented by Recon The introduction of contestants and judges, drawing for contestant numbers and unveiling of the IML 2007 Flag. Thursday, May 24 at 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) The Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom
Pecs & Personality (Physique Competition) presented by Interactive Male IML contestants are judged on their appearance and stage presence. Saturday, May 26 at 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) The Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom
Salute! - IML Closing Ceremonies presented by Leatherpost.com Introduction of 2007 winners, "parade of colors" featuring leather clubs and organizations from around the globe and signing of the IML Flag. Sunday, May 27 at 11 p.m. (doors open at 10 p.m.) The Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom
IML Victory Celebration Party presented by Leatherpost.com Music by DJ Eddie Baez. Sunday, May 27 after the IML Contest until 4 a.m. House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago
Black and Blue Ball – presented by Recon The traditional IML final blowout celebration. Music by DJ Matthew Harvat. Monday, May 28 from 8 p.m. – 4 a.m. Excalibur, 632 N. Dearborn Street, Chicago
Tickets to individual IML 2007 events are available at
www.boxofficetickets.com and will be sold at The Palmer House Hilton throughout
Single ticket prices are as follows:
International Mr. Leather Competition ($60),
IML Opening Ceremonies ($30),
Pecs & Personality ($30),
Salute! – Closing Ceremonies ($10) and
Black and Blue Ball ($30).
Please note: Single tickets to the IML Victory Celebration Party ($50) are only available through the House of Blues, by calling (312) 923-2000.
International Mr. Leather contestants are judged on a variety of criteria including community involvement, speech, presentation and overall presence. The winner of the IML 2007 Contest will receive a prize package consisting of donations from businesses and organizations supporting the leather community. Complete contestant information, including contestant applications, can be found at www.imrl.com.
The 2007 International Mr. Leather Judges are: Bo Ladashevska,
Matt Foreman, Master Jim Glass, Scott Bloom, Ted Lassen, Gil Kessler, Glenda
Ryder, Joe Reusch, and Matthew Johnson. The Tally Masters are: Blackkat and Jim
Kiley-Zufelt. Bo Ladashevska, Mr. Leather Montreal 2006, was named International
Mr. Leather 2006, winning over a field of 52 contestants from five countries:
Belgium, Canada, Germany, Switzerland and the United States.
Larry Golubski, Mr. Long Beach Leather 2005, was named 1st Runner-Up.
Philippe Lepine, Mr. Fetish Switzerland 2006-2007, was named 2nd Runner-Up.
The 15th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition will
be held Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27 in the Leather Market at The
Palmer House Hilton.
The winner will be selected by the vote of IML Weekend Package-Holders. Each paid weekend package includes a ballot for the competition that can be cast for the bootblack of the holder’s choice. The winner will be announced at the International Mr. Leather Competition on Sunday, May 27.
Benjamin Palmer, sponsored by PumpJack Pub and Priape Vancouver, was awarded International Mr. Bootblack 2006.
The Leather Market, located at The Palmer House Hilton, features the world’s biggest collection of leather and fetish vendors. This year the Leather Market celebrates its 25th Anniversary. More than 15,000 people visited the Market in 2006. Admission to the Leather Market is included with all Weekend Packages.
For all other visitors, a suggested donation of $3.00 will benefit The Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago. The $3.00 Day Pass can be purchased at The Palmer House Hilton throughout the weekend.
A complete list of vendors, as well as vendor applications can be found at www.imrl.com.
Entertainer Hal Sparks will bring his many talents to The International Mr. Leather Contest at The Chicago Theatre on Sunday, May 27. Best known for his portrayal as Michael on the groundbreaking Showtime series "Queer as Folk," Sparks has also made a name for himself in both the music and stand-up worlds.
For more information about Sparks, as well as details about his upcoming CD release, visit www.halsparks.com.
About 400 gay leathermen gathered in Chicago in 1979 for the
first International Mr. Leather contest. Today, the event has grown to be an
annual tradition for the leather and fetish community – drawing contestants and
attendees from around the globe. Once an event for "hardcore" leathermen, IML
has expanded in recent years to include a more diverse crowd – from the
experienced to the curious.
Last year’s event drew more than 15,000 guests from around the
world. American Airlines is the official airline of IML. For fare discounts,
travelers should contact American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 and identify
themselves as IML attendees with Star File #A7757AP.
For more information on International Mr. Leather 2007 and to get updated event information, log on to the official IML website, www.imrl.com. International Sir and boy.
Meanwhile the International Sir and boy contest is in October
and I’ll be there also. This time it’s at the Crown Plaza, Market District,
Dallas TX. The two prelims in our part of the world have been held. As reported
last month, Southern California held its contest at The Barracks in Palm Springs
and Master Tom and boy TC were the winners.
Phoenix hosted the South West Sir and boy contest n June 16/17 weekend. That weekend in Phoenix, Arizona during the contest, Master Kalan, who lives in a Phoenix suburb, announced that he was resigning from the International title and Randall Kinnear, the South Central Leather Sir, agreed to take over the international title for the remainder of the year. That makes two years in a row that the International Sir titleholder has resigned before his year was through. What’s up here? Personal problems were cited in both cases. Maybe people should think more carefully about their life commitments before running for these titles in the first place. Holding a title can be very demanding.
Also in Phoenix that weekend Michael Villarini was named as the Southwest Leather Sir 2007 and "Francisco" was named the Southwest Leather boy. See photos.
Meanwhile on Jun 24, the Northeast Regional LeatherSIR / Leatherboy competition selected Bob Snytka as Northeast LeatherSIR 2007 and Jeff Bliss as Northeast Leatherboy 2007 and earlier in the month the fifth annual Eastern Canada LeatherSIR / Leatherboy contest was held Saturday, June 9 in Toronto. Two contestants competed for Eastern Canada Leatherboy 2007. Winning the title was boy Ryan, 25, of Toronto. No contestants stepped forward to run for LeatherSIR. In the absence of contestants, regional producers within the next two weeks will appoint a LeatherSIR to represent the region and fulfill duties for the next year.
Meanwhile, coming up are:
International Deaf Leather 2007 - Jul 5-7, Atlanta, GA;
Mid-Atlantic LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Jul 13-14, Baltimore, MD
Southeast LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Jul 21, Atlanta, GA,
Northern California LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Jul 28, San Francisco, CA
Great Plains LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Aug 17-19, Witchita, KS)
Great Lakes LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Aug 24-26, Indianapolis, IN and
Northwest LeatherSIR / Leatherboy 2007 - Aug 31 - Sep 2, Seattle, WA
COMING UP IN THE DESERT
Friday, July 6, PSLOD are the hosts of their monthly beer bust at the Tool Shed in Palm Springs. It might be a more somber get together than usual since one of their long-time members, Dan Lesczynski, passed away last week. His partner Jack Banaszynski and he were together for over forty years. So much for all those right wing people who talk about family values and have themselves been divorced several times. Jack was President of PSLOD when I joined the club. Dan will be sadly missed; he was always fun to hang out with.
Saturday July 7 at the ToolsShed is fetish night.
Friday July 13 sees the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence hosting a Dungeon party. You are commanded to do your Sisters’ bidding. There’ll be flogging and a cage in which to imprison people and this is all to celebrate the 50th birthday of the current Mr. ToolShed, Jon Lopez.
Meanwhile at the Barracks the bar is celebrating the Fourth of July all week, and also has the town’s consistently cheapest happy hour.