FEBRUARY 2007

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. 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 could have in mind that if that contestant won and went on to compete at IML, because that would also be a no-no there, especially since Chuck Renslow has been vocal about his opposition to the practice. However, I was recently assured by one of the judges that that particular fact was NOT taken into consideration at the contest.

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.

Eric Mitchell, the winner, does have some plans under way already, for a Fetish Ball at Oasis, probably during the Avatar Weekend in the Desert. Eric has also ably represented Palm Springs at M.A.L. which is an important place for our titleholder to see and be seen and he turns up and supports other events also. He acted as MC for the Uniform contest at The Barracks recently when Rob Hathaway was sick and could not appear.

Sidewinders, while 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 well-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.

WEST COAST RUBBER

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.

GET IN GEAR

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. The next Gear nights are Friday Feb 23 and Saturday March 17 atThe Eagle Tavern, 10pm to closing.

Bootblack on hand, coat check by SOMA GuardiansÖ

Also Sunday March 25 at the Powerhouse, 6pm to 10pm after the beer bust

Studly Powerhouse Bartenders offering drink specials for those in gearÖBootblack Stud Richie Chameroy will work you and your boots overÖUnicorn from SOMA Guardians will man the coatcheck, or hold onto whatever you want.

The 7th Annual Breast Cancer Emergency Fund Dinner will be on March 31st this year at The Swedish American Hall " Cafe  Du  Nord." Mama Sandy is looking for  Silent Auction Donation items (and sheís desperate). She says " Plz. look under your beds, closets ,walls etc. for art work or anything you would love to donate. Thank you so much for your support, it is appreciated.  Details of the dinner: 7.00pm Cocktails, 8.00pm Dinner. $75 per person. Purchase your ticket and menu order on line @ www.Frantix.net

International Ms Leather (IMsL) is coming home to San Francisco, California. Join them April 5th - 8th as incoming Executive Producer Glenda Rider takes IMsL on its wildest ride yet! The judges for this event are always outstanding and this year's group
reflects the diversity of the contest as well as its deep roots in the leather community. Judging this year are: Sarah Humble, the first American Leatherwoman from 1994; Jill Carter, International Ms. Leather 1996 and the head of the Family Hope Alliance; slave ziggy, International slave 2006; Chuck Renslow, founder of International Mr. Leather and the Leather Archives and Museum; Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt, the leader of Mama's Family; Vick Germany from the San Francisco Women's Motorcycle Contingent - more fondly known as the "Dykes on Bikes" and Will Clark, retired porn star and tireless fundraiser and community organizer. A judges' pup, slave pug and tally master Joe Gallagher, IML 1996 will assist the judges and an additional judges' assistant and tally master will be announced soon.
Judging this year's reformatted International Ms Bootblack (IMsBB) competition will be Alex Bettencourt, IMsBB 2006; Cristo, MidAtlantic Bootblack 2003 and Bootdog from the San Francisco Bay Area. The identity of a secret bootblack judge is to be revealed at the end of the bootblack competition. In addition to the IMsL & IMsBB contests, the weekend package is brimming with activities, including more than 30 educational classes and 14 hospitality receptions (including a `Boots and Cigars' party Saturday night). The nearly 7,000 square feet of Play Space will be rocking 24/7 throughout the entire event and will feature a Bondage Lounge designed by Midori. A Vendor Mart featuring a dozen of the scene's most exciting entrepreneurs will be open throughout the weekend.
You don't want to miss this ride. Register now at www.imsl.org where you can find out more details about the event schedule and information on the fabulous host hotel.
__._,_.___

BOOTS AND BREECHES

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. Last month, on Jan 26 they presented a uniform contest with appropriate prizes, with our Mr. Palm Springs Leather Eric Mitchell pinch hitting and stepping in as MC for the ailing Mr. Barracks Rob Hathaway. Thanks, Eric. Theyíll be doing this again shortly 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 at our leather bars. 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

DESIRE Announces Its 2007 Leatherwomen's Weekend In The Desert.

Registration now open!

DESIRE will be returning to Palms Springs for its 3rd annual Leather women's weekend from Friday June 15th, 2007 to Sunday June 17th, 2007.

DESIRE is a weekend for women who love BDSM and/or sex! It is the perfect get away for those whose experience range from curious beginner to advanced enthusiast. The retreat is open to butches, femmes, lesbians, straights and everybody in between. The weekend will be filled with workshops by
well-known and well-respected presenters from all over the country.
The keynote speaker will once again be the fabulous Midori.
Presentations will include topics which you cannot find anywhere else. They will include: art of the tease, branding, blood play, under water bondage.
Participants will be able to learn hands-on, one-on-one from these community experts

DESIRE will be taking over the whole resort. There will be plenty of opportunity to soak in the blazing desert sun, surrounded by hot kinky women or relax in the pool under the shade of the trees at a beautiful Palm Springs resort.
Clothing is completely optional! There will be a well-stocked, outdoor/indoor dungeon available for your perverted pleasures. The play spaces will be open for play day and night. Additionally, three organized play parties will take place

outdoors under the stars every evening.
Past participants have described
DESIRE as a fantastic place to make friends, explore passions and fulfill fantasies and the event was nominated for a Pantheon of Leather Award. Come join them for a mind-blowing, awe-inspiring weekend in the Desert!
Email Address: information@desireleatherwomen.com
Website URL:
www.desireleatherwomen.com

 

AUGUST 2007

A couple of famous members of the leather community are in town at the moment. Solomon Rose and Chris May are not only notorious for their leather activities but also for their culinary skills and for their show business appearances. They own the famous Cafť Bohemio in Puerto Vallarta and are prospecting for a location to open a Cafť Bohemio here in Palm Springs and are checking out various potential locations, which is why I keep running into them in restaurants when I have my camera. Solomon has a prodigious and lengthy show business resume and also a prodigious and lengthyÖ.but letís not go there! Any suggestions for where they should set up business? They are serious.

Coming up on Friday the 24th at The Barracks is the beer bust presented by the Palm Springs Boots and Breeches Corps. Come along if youíre into uniforms, and wear one if you have one.

West Coast Rubber weekend in Palm Springs is coming up fast, in fact by the time you read this it will only be a week or so away. Hereís whatís happening:

The official weekend start is Friday Aug. 31 but lots of guys are planning to roll in on Thursday. Youíll need to get your weekend package on line to get into all the festivities. www.westcoastrubber.com. Although the weekend is dedicated to rubber and gear fetishists from around the world, even if youíre not into that particular fetish give it a try; thereíll be lots of hot men there all ready to play and itís a very festive weekend.

Thereís a Meat ní Greet cocktail reception at the Barracks on Friday from 7 to 9 pm. to begin. Anyone can attend that. Events included in the $95 weekend package are the Wet Willie Pool Party, the Dark Piggy Play Party and the Blackout Dive in Party. Thereís also a full gear dinner at a great Italian restaurant called Boscoso on Saturday night starting at 5.30. The dinner is an add-on to the weekend package but buy your tickets now because they have to give a final count for dinner by Monday August 27th.

The highlight of the weekend is the Mr. West Coast Rubber contest, held this year at Oasis on Saturday the 1st from 9pm to midnight. Last year there were nine contestants. After the contest thereís a kink dance, also at Oasis. The host resort is sold out but you who are reading this probably live here and will head home when exhausted each night. Other suggested hotels close to the host hotel can be found on the WCR website. I hope to see you there and at the other events around town.

ALSO AUGUST 2007

LEATHER COLUMN

Half of our desert leather "family" took off for San Francisco for the last weekend in July for the Dore Alley Fair weekend.

On Friday night, July 27, the 25th annual Leather Daddy contest took place at The Eagle. There were seven contestants for the famous title of SF Daddy. The winner was a former Palm Springs resident Glen Tanking, whose partner is the infamous Snatch, Queen of the Desert, well known for "her" outrageous performances here. The following night was the Northern California Leather Sir and boy contest, also held at The Eagle. It seems to be impossible to get interested contestants for these titles. The contest in April this year at The Barracks had only one contestant for each title, from the whole of Southern California! In SF, there were no contestants at all for the boy title so the producers appointed a boy to compete at the International contest in Dallas in October. The one appointed is well-known in the community, a nice guy called Brian Kurtelo who had been around the block; he was a former Mr. Central California Leather and a contestant at IML.

After the contest there was a get-together for uniform aficionados.

Speaking of uniform get-togethers, the owners of The Barracks took off on Monday the 6th for Rome, where they will be presenting another one of their now famous leather/uniform parties on a cruise ship. They scored a world first in May with the first leather-fetish party in history on the Queen Mary 2 liner, and now will partner with RSVP Vacations for a party on a Med Cruise this week and one in early September on a week-long cruise of Alaska. Itís not too late to book for the Alaska cruise. http://rsvpvacations.com/

 

COMING UP IN THE DESERT

Make a note of these dates:

West Coast Rubber. Labor Day weekend in Palm Springs. See www.westcoastrubber.com

Mr. Barracks Leather Contest, at The Barracks bar. Meet and Greet, Friday Sept 14. Contest on Sat Sept 15

Palm Springs Pump Weekend 11 September 21 Ė 23. If you donít know what it is, donít ask. Visit www.PSPumpers.net.

 Mr. ToolShed 2008 Contest and 14th Anniversary celebration weekend

Friday, Oct 12 through Sunday Oct 14.

Leather Pride Weekend, Nov 8-11. The weekend package is $135 per person, but there is an early bird special at $120 until August 31. A good deal if you want to attend everything. Volunteers who agree to work at least 4 hours get a special discounted package price. See www.desertleatherpride.com

Sunny Dunes Street Fair, Outside The ToolShed on Leather Pride weekend, Nov 9 and 10. For on line registration and vendor information visit the same web site.

ALSO AUGUST 2007

Half of our desert leather "family" took off for San Francisco for the last weekend in July for the Dore Alley Fair weekend.

On Friday night, July 27, the 25th annual Leather Daddy contest took place at The Eagle. There were seven contestants for the famous title of SF Daddy. The winner was a former Palm Springs resident Glen Tanking, whose partner is the infamous Snatch, Queen of the Desert, well known for "her" outrageous performances here. The following night was the Northern California Leather Sir and boy contest, also held at The Eagle. It seems to be impossible to get interested contestants for these titles. The contest in April this year at The Barracks had only one contestant for each title, from the whole of Southern California! In SF, there were no contestants at all for the boy title so the producers appointed a boy to compete at the International contest in Dallas in October. The one appointed is well-known in the community, a nice guy called Brian Kurtelo who had been around the block; he was a former Mr. Central California Leather and a contestant at IML.

After the contest there was a get-together for uniform aficionados.

SEPTEMBER 2007

West Coast Rubber was held last weekend, not helped at all by the weather. Itís bad enough wearing leather in high temps but wearing skin-tight rubber at 115 degrees in high humidity canít have been pleasant, however they all seemed to bear it with a grin. There was a smaller number of participants this year - I guess previous participants found the heat too much for them last year and didnĎt return. Maybe this fun event would be more successful if it were held in late November or early May, for example. Weíll have photos of rubber guys here next week for your viewing pleasure, but in the meantime I can tell you that the winner of the Mr. West Coast Rubber contest held at Oasis was Christopher Saxon, Mr Eagle L.A. Rubber. Heíll now go on to the International Mr. Rubber contest.

Something unpleasant is going on in Cathedral City which seems remarkably like harassment of the gay bars. Several police visited The Barracks a couple of weeks ago because they had received an anonymous phone call about alleged overcrowding there. They found nothing to report and left. This past Sunday a whole posse of them arrived, about seven of them, which raises the question - since there are only eight police officers altogether in Cathedral City, was there only one officer available at that time for any other emergency in the entire city? That hardly seems a safe situation.

The seven left, but several of them returned not much later, found nothing to concern them and left again, and then a third group arrived still later, accompanied by paramedics and the Fire Chief. They again found nothing to concern them. They asked to see permits and all was in order and they asked to know the capacity of the bar and fortunately the bar was able to verify exactly how many people were there each time. One officer in The Barracks was heard to say to another that there was "nobody there" at Sidewinders earlier in the afternoon so clearly somebody had checked there also and some kind of inspector had been there recently and required removal of a Microwave. Club W has also been visited. People are wondering whatís causing this. Is one demented queen making lots of anonymous phone calls or is there somebody in the City government somewhere who has decided itís time to get rid of the gay bars and particularly of the leather and leather-friendly bars? Three police "raids" on one bar in one afternoon seems highly suspicious. Maybe itís time for a Stonewall-type demonstration!

ALSO SEPTEMBER 2007

People who live in big cities probably think that thereís not much going on in what they think is this sleepy backwater but last Saturday there was so much going on that it was impossible to attend everything. The first event was the Cathedral City Cove Gay Menís Potluck, which I have the pleasure of producing every month. This time the host was Martin Wass of Ambiente Inn and about 70 people attended and the food was fabulous! They are, after all, gay men trying to impress one another. The venue was clothing optional so of course quite a few exhibitionists were showing off. Those with no clothes had their names written on the arms by magic marker. The theme was Hawaiian so everybody got leiíd.

Simultaneously, Lallapooluzza was taking place at Hotel Zoso, organized by the Desert Pride Center. I understand that $45,000 to $50,000 was raised at the sell-out event and since the whole affair was sponsored, that is clear profit for the Center. Good job guys! Iím told that it was quite exciting and that people were turned away at the door.

Finally, a leather contest was taking place at Toucans, of all places. By the time I was done with the pot luck (quite late) and after a bottle of wine, I didnít think it was advisable to drive 7 miles each way along busy Hwy 111 to perhaps miss everything anyway. The winner was Steve Valencia, who is also the owner of the Desert Moon Resort. There were no photographers present that I know of but I hope to get a photo of him in time for this column. If not, weíll have one next issue.

This weekend sees leathermen from all over the world heading to San Francisco for what is the worldís biggest leather event, the Folsom Street Fair, I have the honor to be the only ever person elected as Mr. Folsom Street Fair in 1994, I think it was! Folsom Street is closed for many blocks (causing traffic chaos in SF, which is bad enough at the best of times). Hundreds of vendors, non-profits and bike clubs selling beer fill the street and there are demos and exhibitions going on everywhere. There are other events there this weekend also, the biggest of which is the Mr. San Francisco leather contest on Saturday evening. On Friday evening is Roll Call, a big formal dinner for members of the various uniform clubs. This will be held at the Officerís Club on Treasure Island, a spectacular location, and Iíll be there to enjoy it and to take photos of all the hot men in uniforms for this column. And next weekend several of us are off to Dallas to support our Southern California leather boy TC at the International Sir and boy contest. Photos next week.

 

OCTOBER 2007

INTERNATIONAL SIR AND boy - OKLAHOMA TAKES DALLAS

Oklahoma won on all fronts in Dallas the first weekend in October. Not too far from where we were (the Crown Plaza Hotel), the Oklahoma/Texas football game took place and the town was full of celebrating Okies. In the hotel near by the stadium, all three titles in the International Leather Sir/boy/Community Bootblack contest went to Okies also. It was a busy weekend that began at the Dallas Eagle with a Bootblack reception and Meet and Greet and all contestants drew their numbers for the order of appearance in the contests. There was a silent auction and the 2006 titleholders gave their step-down speeches, The bar was impossibly crowded and noisy and it was difficult to hear what was going on and even more difficult to get a clear sight-line for photographs. This was a popular event.

Next day was mostly spent on private meetings and discussions among the judges and contestants while the rest of us took the chance to do some sightseeing. I took the opportunity to go to Dealey Plaza and visit the Kennedy Museum. That evening there was a couple of silent auctions and some real bargains were to be found because bidding was much lighter than expected. Some items went for a song. It must have been disappointing to the contestants who expected much more money from the auction. Serious drinking closed out the night in the hotel bar with the Okies and the event participants who stayed right there while some people headed off to the Sanctuary for a play party.

Saturday found the 26 contestants going through their interviews with the nine judges. Many of each category were old friends of mine and of each other so it was a great re-union event also. Some of us took the opportunity to go to Cedar Springs, the gay area and explore the bars there. The judges, by the way, included Randall Kinnear, the stepping down Int. Sir for the last 112 days as he kept reminding us. Others were Blackkat, American Leatherman 2005; Remi Colette, Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2004; Mr. Marcus; the dean of leather columnists; IMsLthr Lauren Ide; Michael di Mugno, the owner of Specter Leather; Benjamin Palmer, Int. Mr. Bootblack 2006 ; Rick Storer, of the Leather Archives and Museum; and Antoin Strachan, the events manager for Recon.com, who probably had the most spectacular butt in the whole crowd!

Saturday evening saw the public portion of the contest and as you can imagine, with so many contestants the evening was a very long drawn-out one and there was no intermission in the almost five hours of continuous stage activity.

Unlike at most contests, there was also no entertainment at this one, apart from the contestantsí fantasies and some of the speeches. One hit speech came from Southern California boy TC who had the crowd howling with his racy speech about his sex life in the navy, a true comedy act in fact, which he later told me he improvised on the spot. There were nine of us there from the Palm Springs area to support and encourage him. When the big moment of decision came, Olivier Pratt was named the new International Sir; heís originally from France. "Sparky" was named the boy and heís from a small town in OK called Wellston and is exceptionally handsome. Finally "boy cat," a local person who identifies as a boi, was named the Community Bootblack. In the main competition our Southern California Sir, Mr. Tom, unfortunately didnít place but TC was second runner-up in the boy section - a great achievement considering that there were so many highly experienced contestants.

One more comment; as in many contests, the needs of the photographers were not understood. Itís difficult to get good photos when there is a red flood on the stage and no white spot. After the contest there was a Mamaís Family photo on the grand staircase and then people adjourned to the Churchill room of the hotel for chocolate cake and champagne. Apparently this is a tradition. A surprise announcement came at the end of the contest. Mike Zuhl announced that he was retiring from producing the International Sir and boy contest and was turning it over to Mark Frazier, the owner of the Dallas Eagle. Mark has been well-known and respected in the community for many years and it is to be hoped that he finds a better location for the contest than the Crown Plaza. While it is relatively close to the Eagle, about four miles or so, it is far from anything else of interest and people staying there really needed a car if they werenít to feel trapped in the hotel. A shuttle did run to and from the Eagle but not to anywhere else. The buffet breakfast in the hotel was a good deal and very popular but after the first night hardly anyone returned for dinner, which says something. The last night of the event, an anti climax, found a smaller crowd going to the Eagle for a pizza party while others stayed for an indoor pool party at the hotel. The lone bartender at The Eagle had his work cut out but at least the crowd was nothing like the Friday night crowd. However, all the pizza disappeared within seconds and a second supply had to be ordered.

NOVEMBER 2007

PLAN AHEAD NOW FOR IML!

I checked with the Hyatt Regency Chicago this weekend and Iím told that there are still rooms available, but you had better act fast if you want one. Thereís a three night minimum, all doubles and executive suites are already gone, so get on that phone fast if you donít want to be left out of the fun. Call 312-565-1234.The singles are $195 a night.

The opening ceremonies begin at 9pm on May 22, with introduction of contestants and the judges. If enough of us fly from Palm Springs we hope to give a great yell for Gary Iriza on opening night. Itís important therefore to book an early flight that will get you to Chicago in time to get to your hotel and settle in before the event begins. The direct flights are already booked up.

COMING UP LOCALLY Ė two fundraisers.

Henry Jordan is presenting a fund raiser on World AIDS day, Sat. December 1st at The Barracks, raising money for DAP and AAP. There will be a raffle and silent auction. Any and all support for this event will be appreciated. A representative will be on hand from both organizations to speak about where they have been, where they are now and what is in store from the future.

On January 12, from 1pm to 4am itís Daddy Zeus Purgatory, a charity fetish ball at Oasis. Thereíll be a silent auction, boot black services, buzz cuts by Palm Springs Barber Shop, demonstrations all night long, all culminating in a midnight show on stage starring porn "superstar" Tober Brandt. You can buy your tickets now through Paypal and I suggest you plan ahead for that too, as tickets go fast. This is a fundraiser for Prostate Cancer Awareness.

 

 

JANUARY 2008

ITíS STONEWALL TIME AGAIN

Older people with long memories will recall the days when, every election time, gay bars were hassled, raided and intimidated by police acting on orders from politicians pandering to their right wing electorate. But that all ended in June 1969 when drag queens at The Stonewall Bar fought back. Such intimidation has been very rare since then. However, as viewers of Channel 3ís evening news last week saw for themselves, those days are back and alive and well in Cathedral City. The Barracks is being threatened because of the videos they show. I was also told that Club "W" had been advised to discontinue their Sunday night drag shows, but a phone call to the co-owner John established that that was definitely not true Ė who starts these rumors, I wonder? However, the next step is likely to be an effort to eliminate all gay businesses in Cathedral City. I really think the time has come to have a Tavern Guild here in the desert, like the one that I belonged to in SF, to co-ordinate our response. How about it, you bar and gay business owners? John Rentsch is all for it. And the rest of you, remember this when there are local elections in November and vote only for our verifiable friends.

Mr. Palm Springs Leather Gary Iriza is out and about selling raffle tickets for his favorite charity, The Well In The Desert. They are $5 each and the first prize is a $5000 Caribbean cruise for two leaving Feb 23! If you see Gary around do stop him and pick up a ticket or two. Second and third prizes are great too. Mike Allen, that handsome cowboy, is also presenting a wonderful cocktail time event at Mixieís, with a dozen great entertainers beginning at 4pm on Saturday, February 2nd, to raise funds for the Palm Springs Rodeo Association. Come and mingle with hot cowboys!

Speaking of charities, Daddy Zeusí Purgatory event at Oasis drew over 300 people and raised over $7000 for Prostate Cancer Awareness. Kudos to all involved.

Jeffrey Cooper, American Leatherman 2001 is now a chef at Miroís restaurant and 18 leatherfolk went there for brunch last Sunday. The food is first class, so do go and support Jeffrey.

Finally, Todd Bishop of Hunters won the title of Mr. Pistons Leather in Long Beach last week. Good luck at IML Todd!

FEBRUARY 2008

DAME RUMOR

This was the headline for a column in the local paper in my home town fifty years ago. Several of us visited the studio of a very gay antique dealer in town who had told us that he had just acquired a fine Adam fireplace. One of the girls was carrying a bunch of tulips and I had my camera hung over my shoulder. A nosy neighbor spied us and spread the tale that we had been taking photos of ourselves posing naked, wearing tulips instead of fig leaves! The rumor spread like wildfire in that small town. Our local Member of Parliament presented one of us with a yellow tulip at the busiest crossroads in town. When we went to the dance at the Parish Hall the band stopped what they were playing and launched into "When You Wore a Tulip." My first scandal.

Now Dame Rumor is here in our town. Gossip had it that Sidewinders was closing down last Sunday evening. I went, and all was normal. The bar was closed for Christmas Eve and Christmas day but re-opened on Wednesday the 26th and they are expecting the usual crowd to CW dance on New Yearís Eve and share a champagne toast. So do go along and celebrate there, this kind of rumor can really hurt a barís business and George, the owner, is a fine man and a real leather man and former President of PSLOD. So do patronize the bar this weekend and give Dame Rumor a kick up the tush! And a Happy New Year to all of you!

 

MARCH 2008 ITíS LA-LA TIME AGAIN 

Those of you who like to plan just a couple of weeks ahead might like to know the schedule for the MR. L.A. Leather week. Yes, itís a full week of events beginning on Sunday March 23 and you can find the complete schedule at the L.A.L.C website, www.MrLALeather.com/LAL2008.html, but you have to scroll right down to find what you want. Most people canít take the full week off for that anyway so here are the highlights. The weekís climax begins on Friday night, the 28th with the Southland Honors Awards at the Miyako Hotel, followed by a cigar social at the Eagle, followed by a dance party. On Saturday night thereís a silent auction and the big contest at the Aratani Theatre followed by a victory party, play party and dance. Of course thereís a victory brunch next day and a whole day of workshops, demos, fashion shows and vendors. The L.A.L.C always does an excellent job and the full weekend is well worth doing.

There are ten contestants, including our own Todd Bishop.

Here in the desert, thereís lots for cigar smokers and their admirers. On Friday March 14th itís the Maximus Smoke and Fire Weekend at the Barracks. On Saturday the 15th the Men of Warehouse 661 have their cigar party, on the 28th the men of Maximus host a cigar social at the L.A. Eagle and on April 4th the Las Vegas Smokeout begins. You canít say this column doesnít cater to all tastes, can you?

Also MARCH 2008

BAR NEWS

Despite all the rumors you have heard and the various TV and newspaper reports, Iím happy to tell you that the Barracks remains open and busy. The bar received many phone calls last week asking if they were still open. Itís therefore not necessarily true that any publicity is better than no publicity. As far as I can see all ordinances ARE being observed, yet the bar remains a fun place to hang out and meet friends and it still remains the cruisiest bar I know. So continue to support it, guys!

Itís unfortunate that in this day and age there is still confrontation between bars and other gay businesses and city authorities. There are many things wrong with Cathedral City and this is just one symptom of the malaise. Itís time someone got really involved and made an effort to improve thing here and with that in mind, be advised that my name will be on the ballot for City Council come November. I do hope I can count on your support.

Speaking of bars, itís always great to report that another leather bar has opened. This time itís in San Francisco, which has seen some bars close recently. The new one is where the old My Place used to be at 1225 Folsom Street. It will be called Chaps Bar San Francisco and its owner is David Morgan, who produces the popular "Men In Gear" nights at other bars. That gathering will now happen at his own bar. Go to www.ChapsBarSanFrancisco.com for e-mail updates and the official opening date. Congratulations and good luck, David!

I hear that American Airlines has opened up some seats for the direct flight to Chicago for IML, so those of you without reservations, now might be the time to do the booking. See you around!

APRIL 2008

CHANGES IN CATHEDRAL CITY

A couple of months ago I wrote a column titled "DAME RUMOR" in which I complained that gossip was harming Sidewinders Bar, because people were saying that it was closing, and I asserted that it was not and urged people to support George Puddephatt, the owner. And it seemed for a while that things worked out, the bar kept going and people kept coming, but in smaller numbers than previously. Finally many circumstances caused George to divest himself of the bar, not the least of which was looking after his ailing lover Don. So recently it was sold to Kristofer Nguyen, as TALK magazine names him, though the license application clearly posted on the window names the owners as Christopher Nguyen and Helen Pham. Whatever, the plans have included stripping all the leather curtains away, removing the stage and the peanut barrel and Iím told, planning drag and other entertainment on Wednesday nights, (not a good idea since the existing drag and musical show at Hotel Zoso, hosted by Bella de Ball is also highly successful on Wednesday nights also). A piano bar is also planned there. Sidewinders has always been leather-friendly and cowboy-friendly and was a good place to alternate with The Barracks on Sunday beer bust cruises but those days seem perhaps to have gone. Hopefully the bar will success in its new manifestation.

Another well known person has applied for the liquor license which was formerly held by Sisters, then Twisters then a Hispanic bar, then Delilahís. Not a fortuitous location it seems, since they all failed. I certainly wish better luck to the new owner.

Just to remind you, the PS boys of Leather are hosting a Salute to Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2008 Gary Iriza, which is a benefit for the Animal Shelter. This will be at the Barracks on Friday May 16 at 10pm. You can enter to win a pair of 16" Wesco Boss Boots valued at $435.00!

See you there.

June 2008

A BUSY WEEK

There were lots of events this week in our leather world. First of all, Ian and Stuart, owners of Chaps Inn, celebrated the seventh anniversary of their resortís opening, the only truly leather resort in the valley. Many friends attended and a cake was produced. Congratulations guys!

Avatar was in town for their Operation Desert Leather but most members were conspicuous by their absence from the leather bars over the weekend. Too much for them to do elsewhere, they had a full weekend with a formal cocktail party and dinner, a play party, a pool side barbecue, demos, and the Fetish Ball on Saturday night. That evening was produced by our handsome Mr. Palm Springs Leather Gary Iriza and it was well-attended. No word on how much was raised by my deadline but people had a lot of fun there. Speaking of titleholders at work, Stephen Blackwell, Mr. L.A. Leather 2003 now lives in the desert and can be seen working behind the bar at the Barracks and at Oasis. Stephen placed third in the IML contest that year and ran as a proud boy rather than pretending to be a butch top as so many contestants do. He received a standing ovation for his stance there.

Sorry to say that West Coast Rubber will no longer be with us here in the desert on Labor Day Weekend Ė a wise choice I think. I donít know how people could stand wearing full rubber outfits in 100 degree temps. WCR 2008 kicks off on Friday, July 11 and runs through Sunday, July 13 with non-stop rubber fun in Los Angeles this year. Get your weekend packages and individual tickets online now at www.wcr2008.eventbrite.com

Also Friday May 1st sees the start of the MELT weekend.This isnít a specifically leather event but there are definitely some leather overtones. Many of the bears are serious leathermen too. The weekend opens with a kick off party on Thursday night at Hunters, where Iím sure our friend Todd Bishop will be hosting those who arrive early for the weekend. Thereíll be a late night cruise at All Worlds Resort that night also and at the same resort thereíll be a pool party on Friday afternoon followed by Happy Hour at the Tool Shed. On Friday night thereíll be the official Ice Breaker opening underwear party at the Barracks Bar. See you there! For more info about this event go to www.meltevents.com.

Also June 2008 ANOTHER BUSY WEEK

In my last article I reported on a telephone interview I conducted with our new IML Gary Iriza. I stated that he had found the mock interview conducted at The Barracks made a huge difference to him. But at the Victory Party for Gary held at The Barracks on Friday the 13th he told me that he had been asked (by whom, I wonder?) to tell me that a retraction needed to be printed because the interview was not conducted at the Barracks but at some other unspecified place. I am perfectly happy to correct that misunderstanding but Iím completely at a loss to understand why the location of the interview was important. Surely the important thing is that it was held and found useful, isnít it? Since Gary is also Mr. Barracks 2008 it seemed natural to me that thatís where the interview would have been conducted. The person or people who complained didnít see fit to contact me personally to identify where the interview really did take place so that info seems to be unimportant; what clearly seems to be important to the complainers is that the Barracks shouldnít get the credit for hosting that event. I wonder why? Nevertheless, it was good to see Gary being acclaimed by other titleholders and the friends of the bar that night.

I also attended the Ist Anniversary party of the Palm Springs Chapter of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. These people really know how to put on a show.

Iíve been an admirer of the Sisters since I was friendly with Jack Fertig (the infamous Sister Boom-Boom) who was one of the brave few who started it all in San Francisco in 1979. Since then the Sisters have enlivened scores of events and raised thousands of dollars for their favorite charities and had hell of a lot of fun doing so, and entertaining us into the bargain. The event at Hotel Zoso (rapidly becoming the center of gay life in this area) was packed, and the entertainment was non-stop. MC Lenny Broberg (IML 1992 and still a SF cop) just gets better and better. His riff on gay marriage was a hoot.

The Sisters gave out certificates of appreciation to many of the people who had supported the new Palm Springs Chapter along the way in their first year. Among those honored were PSLOD and Gary Iriza, and countless other people whoíd made a difference.

Finally, we can all now marry our lovers and several leather people chose to do so this week. One of them was Michael Healy, who I believe was Mr. Hunters Leather last year, and also two PSLOD members and B&B Corps members Lewis Kernan and Clark Trafton tied the knot in my presence early in the morning of Friday June 20. Iíve always thought it was great fun that two people called Lewis and Clark ended up as a pair. I wish the very best to all those people from our community who have already been or will soon be married.

COMING UP

Those of us who enjoyed mingling with the rubber folk the past two or three years are disappointed that they wonít be here this year. Finally they capitulated and nixed the idea of wearing full rubber in 100 degree temps and they have decamped to L.A. The fun event takes place from July 11-13. For more info go to info@westcoastrubber.com. Itís over 100 degrees in LA as I write so I hope they didnít make the move for nothing, that would be really ironic.

JULY 2008

SO LONG, HUGH

"Officer" Hugh Wright, a fixture at The Barracks since it opened and for years at previous bars in that location, has finally decided to call it a day. Sunday July 6th was his last beer bust there and it was an emotional farewell for all his regular customers as well as for Hugh. He just loved his job there and his associates there but there comes a time in everyoneís life when he has to move on and that time had come for Hugh. But Hugh will still be around, you will probably see him now and again at Streetbar, especially Sunday lunchtimes, and heíll still be available to bartend for private parties but that regular Sunday slog every week had become just too demanding, it seems. And we all have to move on in our lives sometime.

Are you planning ahead for Gay Pride and Leather Pride? Turning up the Heat 2008, the official name for Leather Pride, begins on November 6 with a Meet and Greet and most of the events are taking place this year at Hotel Zoso, which has become the destination of choice in the Valley recently, with major non-leather events taking place there also. The Wednesday evening show produced by Bella de Ball is always packed and always fun so check that out. A surprising number of leather folk are there (but out of leather, so see if you can recognize them out of their trademark outfits). The weekend package for Turning Up The Heat (early bird special) is $120.00 per person. After August 31st, the price will be $135.00. Ticket reservations can be made online, by phone (760-218-5542) or fax (760-321-4045). The package includes admission to all official events: the Meet & Greet, Formal Leather Cocktails, the Breakfast Get-Together, the Mr. Palm Springs Leather Contest, the Victory Dance and the Closing Party. Full package holders also receive drink discounts at various bars as well as day passes to different resorts, an official Leather Pride 2008 T-Shirt, a dog tag and a collector's pin and free entry to the Street Fair. So nowís the time to make your reservations since some events have limits to the number of people who can attend, so donít risk being disappointed.

A word of thanks to all those who turned up for my beverage benefit on the 4th and especially to Terry Darby, Roger Snofsky and Bobby Jordan who sang their hearts out for us. Bobby did an amazing a-capella version of the Star Spangled Banner for the occasion which got prolonged applause. Thanks guys!

LEATHER DADDIES

The tile of Leather Daddy of San Francisco is one of the better known leather titles, and certainly the winners of that title are among the hardest working members of our community. The title was created by the late Alan Selby as a means to raise funds for people with HIV, very soon after the disease began to appear. Alan was instrumental in creating the AIDS Emergency Fund in S.F.and it was designed to help those with HIV pay their rent and cover basic expenses that they could no longer cover because of their illness. This was at a time when people were passing away by the score every week. He devised the Leather Daddy contest, the Leather Daddyís boy contest, the Fatherís Day beer bust at the SF Eagle, the Fetish and Fantasy Ball and lots of other fund raisers. His first Leather Daddy was chosen in 1982. The twenty sixth was chosen last Friday night in the city by the bay and I had the honor to be invited to be one of the judges, a task Iíve performed quite a few times now. I was Daddy # 8, or VIII (Alan chose roman numerals for his titleholders) in 1990. What the judges look for is not any particular lifestyle, just an ability and willingness to go out and fundraise, produce and MC events and generally beg for prizes and auction items.

There were only three contestants this year. I have seen as many as six in the past and for the Leather Daddyís boy title many more; one memorable year there were 28 contestants. Imagine that nowadays when itís hard to get even one person to enter some contests. Several times recently a titleholder in some contests had to be appointed, since there were no contestants. I wonder what happened to peopleís desire to serve the community?

In any event, each of the three contestants had his good points and it was not an easy choice but the judges decided that contestant #3, Ray Middling would be the best choice. Ray has a commanding personality and is a self-described bear and member of the bear community. By the way, another former Leather Daddy, # XIV, is Loren Berthelson, who went on to create the West Coast Rubber contest here in the desert. Still working after twelve years with the title.