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Mid-Atlantic Leather: CLAP

One weekend and four titles. A great time was had by all who attended, competed and produced this annual event held in Baltimore, Maryland.  Titles of Mid-Atlantic LeatherSir, Mid-Atlantic Leatherboy, Mid-Atlantic Community Bootblack and Mid-Atlantic Ms. Leather.

This was a first for me as far as an event and I believe the first time in the city of Baltimore. I stayed at the The Conference Center at the Maritime Institute  (CCMIT) which was playing host to another event this particular weekend. The grounds played host to a conference  for educators or folks involved with the National Eductors Association. I shared a shuttle from the airport with 4 such participants.

Very nice weather the first day followed by rain. My activities were indoors so not to worry.

Ended up using Google to find the venue for the Meet/Greet and ended up out of Baltimore at Leon’s Triple L in Halethorpe, NOT the correct Leon’s Triple L which should have been Leon’s Leather Lounge actually in Baltimore. OOooops, yet another geographical adventure as I was traveling by cab and got to do two cab rides to find the correct venue.

Both boy Zech and boy John were competing and Leo, Morgaine, Sir John and boy Andy were stepping down that weekend. As it was a regional contest for LeatherSir and Leatherboy the fantasies were edgy and really fantastic!!

Tom (American Leatherman 2011) got to carry the American flag in the color guard to start the contest event 🙂

We didn’t get any time on the mic, formally but I did manage to hold the mic for just a bit as the emcees needed to stretch time during the contest. Thank you pup Nitro for pointing me out and garnishing me my moment in the spot light that afternoon!

My evening concluded with yet another geographically challenging ride in the rain back to the Maritime Institute for the Leather Victory Dinner. I had the pleasure to sit and chat with Debi and “Fingers”, the ASL interpreters. Always learning and appreciating the special skills folks have to offer the Community at large 🙂

 

My last breakfast on Sunday morning was at the Maritime Institute and I held conversation with Master and slave. I only knew what I saw of them in their contest at South Plains Leather. We talked about their household and what they’re up to with local events. It’s face to face time like this that I get to really know who folk are and it encourages me to continue. I know that meeting face to face is technically slower than the high tech computer age gadgets we can own, but I truely believe that life’s riches cannot be experienced fully unless it’s up close and personal.

 

Mr. San Francisco Leather 2012

Mr. San Francisco Leather is an annual contest produced by the SF Bay Area Alliance (SF BALA). I was honored to serve as one of the Judges this year to choose one man from 5 contestants. The honor of the title of Mr. San Francisco Leather comes with a few responsibilities including competing at International Mr. Leather weekend held over Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago, Illinois as well as local fund raising and “appearances”. Mr. SF works with the SF BALA to promote the city of San Francisco, the Leather life style and a project of his choosing (charity, education, entertainment, etc.)

This year’s contestant pool included Mr. Powerhouse Leather, Mr. Edge Leather, Mr. SF Citadel, Mr. Homoto Leather and Mr. Hayes Valley Leather. All had varied backgrounds and current involvement the local SF Bay Area.

The Judges are chosen from different facets of the Leather Community to offer a unique yet varied perspectives. The SF BALA is composed of multiple facets of the Community as it is an umbrella organization composed of clubs in and around San Francisco of which Mr. SF must represent whereever he goes. Each year different individuals fill the role of Judge and this year the judging panel included Master Olivier Pratt, International LeatherSir 2007, Darren Bondy, Mr. SF Leather 2011,  Anthony Rollar, Mr. San Diego Leather 2010, Ms. Bethie Bee, Ms. SF Leather 2011, Jorge Vieto, Jr. , SF Leather Daddy’s boy XXII, Scott Brogan, Mr. Edge Leather 2002 and Leather columnist of the Bay Area Reporter and Leonardio Iriarte, Mr. Los Angeles Leather 2011. Yes, all have been past or are current Leather titleholders which is common practice but not an absolute.

I love interviews as it’s my job to get to know the contestants but I also get to know more about the judging panel. Often times we find ourselves involved in an event or production of some sort that we don’t get time to just chat with each other or find out what we consider important information within our personal lives.

Contestants are common place, especially in San Francisco, but I still find them interesting and also a great place to learn and be social.

On an additional note, all the contestants have the opportunity to compete at International Mr. Leather so just because they didn’t get the title of Mr. SF doesn’t mean you won’t get to see them on stage in another contest.

South Plains Leather Fest 2012

South Plains Leather Fest is home to the International Master and slave contest. Five Regions are represented across the United States and sent their titleholders to compete for the international title. Attendees for the weekend gathered in Dallas, Texas from the United States, Canada and Australia.

I had the opportunity to see Internaional Master Liza and International slave Liza’s slave Jody complete their title year and cheer on Northwest Master and slave Daniel and pink (Basse), respectively compete for the 2012 International titles. All are from San Francisco 🙂 Each has made many contributions to their community, the regional titles, international titles and most importantly, their personal lives. Congratulations to all you have done and well wishes to your futures!!

Additionally this weekend, workshops, play parties, a vendor mart and the International Mast meeting filled the weekend with endless activities. I mostly enjoyed the conversations I had with both local residents and visitors from across the nation. How could this pup refuse head rubs from International LeatherSir, Sir Alan and International Leatherboy, pup nitro!! I even got my workout shoes shined by International Community Bootblack, Luna!

I am reminded of how easy I have it as a gay man in that being out gay makes my Leather identity not so extreme when compared to a heterosexual couple who are Master/slave AND kinky. This is evident to me as many heterosexuals use scene names (alias) by choice over their legal name. By no means is this the case for all heterosexuals and a never for homosexuals, just keep that in mind.

A majority of my travels are to Leather events. I’ve been doing this since 2000 and I still enjoy the conversations and personal face to face contacts I make at each and every venue. The contests, too are still interesting enough for me to actually want to still attend. Maybe I am a masochist at contests and just can’t get enough (LOL). Society has a ways to go but I do hope I’ll see us closer to an open and all embrassing country where personal choice is just that and not a point of friction with those who opt not to take our kinky path.

Lenny Broberg Roast/Tribute

Lenny Broberg has been a cherished part of San Francisco and the greater SF Bay Area since he was named Mr. SF Leather 1992 and went on to become International Mr. Leather 1992. He has often been seen as emcee or auctioneer and has been in high demand both near and far. His work towards and during his title years encouraged him to persue his dream of becoming a SF police officer which he has done all too well. The SF chief of Police, Greg Suhr was present to add a few comments as well as other community members, Ray Tilton, Donna Sachet, Frank Nowicki, Audrey Joseph, Queen Cougar, Scott Brogan to name a few. Most profound, in my opinion was the reading of a poem by Sister Roma of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. We also got a taste of the SF Police department video contribution to the “It Gets Better” campaign which included SF Police officers like Lenny.

Lenny has been an inspiration to me over the years, introduced me to members of the SF Leather Community and remains a living example of integrity.

Mid Atlantic Leather – MAL

Mid Atlantic Leather is an annual contest weekend for the title of Mid Atlantic Leather. This year, one of nine men will take the MAL title to International Mr. Leather located in Chicago over Memorial Day Weekend. Men from all over attend MAL and enjoy the parties, vendor mart as well as a virtual take over of the host hotel. The lobbly is filled with men from wall to wall, upstairs and down and all around. It is also the time when the judges for IML are announced and introduced to the men who will be competing at IML. It was a rather low key affair but has been tradition since way back. Though not all the IML contestants are present, those who were had a photo opportuntiy after the announcement. At this point in time it should be noted that not all feeder contest events have been held so not all who will compete at IML were present.

I chose to stay about half mile away from the host hotel and was lucky to find a friend to share my room. West was there to document the IML Judges announcement and the event of MAL. I now remember how cold it gets on the east coast in winter. I really am spoiled living here in California and not likely to leave any time soon. No snow, but very very crisp.

Lobby time and vendor mart and bootblack stand were all great places for me to meet other folk and hold conversations. The DC boys of Leather hosted a party to kick off the weekend’s events.

Leather cocktails was a grand affair. All the titleholders in their finest Leathers and eager to schmooz with everyone in the room. The open bar wasn’t bad either. Finger foods including “sliders” and small desserts were very yummy.

I had the honor of serving as Judges’ boy and only had responsibilities on contest night. Pretty sweet gig and made the contest that much easier for the Judges and Tallymasters. I got in lots of walking from the front of the contest hall to the rear for the Judges’ drinks.

2013 will host the US Presidential Inaguration so MAL will be a week earlier. Check the MAL website for details if you think you might attend the weekend.

 

Northern California LeatherSir/boy 2012

The Northern California LeatherSir, Leatherboy and Community Bootblack contest region has a new production team and held their first contest event with a mere 5 months of planning for a weekend of events including a Meet/Greet at the Powerhouse Bar, social and Contest night with a Sunday Victory Brunch AND Beer/Bev Bust. I served as Judges’ boy for the contest that evening keeping the Judges beverage needs at a minimum and their focus on the task at hand, namely scoring the contestants. One man vied for LeatherSir and four for Leatherboy. No contestants for Community Bootblack. Hopefully one will be appointed so as to have full representation at ILSb/ICBB in July.

It is always a pleasure to serve the Community I hold so dear. They are men an women who paved the way for me to be the Leatherboy I am today as well as our future generations. I want to see the traditions of Honor, Respect and Ingegrity never die. I act as a role model to some, mentor from a distance and certainly put a face to this date in history.

Look forward to a better future and perhaps this will encourage you to attend or lend your assistance to this production in 2013!

Mr. Powerhouse Leather 2012

What seems to be our last Leather bar in San Francisco has held another contest for Mr. Powerhouse Leather! Men were packed into the house up against every wall, the staircase, back room and around the bar!! Two contestants vied for the title of Mr. Powerhouse. Three past and the current Mr. Powerhouse Leather served as Judges for the evening. Q/A was quite entertaining, if you could hear what was said. If you were fluent in American Sign Language you would have been able to catch half the contest because one contestant was deaf 🙂 Both contestants were hot men and the ASL interpreter wasn’t bad looking either!!

So now’s your chance to get Mr. SF Leather onto your calendar to see our local titleholders compete for the city’s title and bragging rights as Mr. SF Leather 2012! Contest will be held on Saturday March 3, 2012 at the Whitcomb Hotel, Market Street near 8th Street.

 

Mr. Hayes Valley Leather 2012

Marlena’s Bar is home to the Hayes Valley Leathermen. They hold an annual contest and the newly chosen Mr. Hayes Valley Leather goes forward to the Mr. San Francisco Leather contest. The new Mr. SF Leather and the local titleholders all head to Chicago over Memorial Day weekend to compete for the International Mr. Leather title (optional for local titleholders to compete).

I had the honor of serving as one of 5 Judges to select one of 2 contestants. Both men were relatively new to the Community and eager to learn and grow within the greater SF Bay Area. Both are sober which was very refreshing to hear. Certainly not the norm but not all to peculiar as I too am a sober titleholder 🙂 Always a learning experience when I can be a part of the interview process, whether as Judge or Judges’ boy.

Marlena’s is also an important venue to some of the best SF drag queens and home for Marlena, Empress XXV of San Francisco. Leather and the Imperial Court can and does come together to create a very diverse and colorful community.

Congratulations to both Rob and Michael for making this year’s contest a success!

Lesbian Gay Band Association – Seattle

Nothing like just jumping into an event the weekend immediately following ABW 2011! I traveled to the annual Lesbian Gay Band Association (LGBA) conference in Seattle Washington, Oct. 13 – 16. I took the opportunity to use the time between weekends to take an AMTRAK trip from Martinez, CA by train to Seattle. Sleeper car gave me a bed overnight as well as other extras like meals included and unlimited coffee 🙂 22 hours didn’t seem all too long and it was a beautiful trip.

Had a visit with Rusty, American Leatherman 2006 at the Cuff with a very nice dinner at his place. Mmmm home cooked meal with Rusty, boyfriend Eric and Rusty’s son. Life goes on after your title year but friendships continue.

So the performance on Sunday was a big hit, as expected. We had over 250 in the band on stage for “Lights, Camera, Action!”. Heard the audience was over 500. My medallion was a very nice accent to my tuxedo. Lots of pics on Facebook.

Post #1 of many to come….

ACLC: Santa’s Slave Auction

It’s holiday time and for me that’s Christmas! Alameda County Leather Corp held their annual Santa’s Slave Auction. I and other “slaves” put ourselves up for bid in the name of charity. I offered dinner and concert for two with a choice of either the Danville Community Band’s dinner concert at Diablo Country Club OR Contra Costa Chamber Orchestra.

Earlier that day I had the pleasure of listening to the Oakland East Bay Gay Men’s Chorus performance : Pacem (peace) overlooking Lake Merritt in Oakland. The chorus numbered just over 40 and was an excellent musical performance with ample humor and choregraphy.

Today is Danville Community Band’s annual holiday concert with Christmas and Hanukah selections including “Twas the Night Before Christmas” reading/band background music, a visit from Santa and cookies for all who attend the show.

I end tonight with the SF Bay Area Alliance Holiday party/Thank you volunteers celebration in San Francisco.