Friday, October 27, 1995

S.F. Simply Fabulous, Part II

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #11, October 27, 1995)

San Francisco/Drummer/Folsom reminiscences, continued from last issue . . .

This year’s International Mr. Drummer contest was the best international leather contest I’ve ever seen. Tickets were pricey—$25 for general admission (standing) and $65 if you wanted a seat. It was worth every penny.

Our own Alvin Robinson’s fantasy was an improved version of the “personal Jesus” fantasy which won him the Great Lakes Mr. Drummer title. The audience liked it—a lot. His speech, delivered in distinctive southern-gospel-preacher cadence, also got plenty of applause.

Best fantasy music: Florida Drummer Ray Castro used Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana”—guaranteeing a big finish. His fantasy involved a painter whose portrait came to life. After getting nicely messy splashing each other with red paint (blood?), the two men embraced and stepped into a box which then spun around while spewing fireworks from its top. (How’s that for a sexual metaphor?)

Most politically-incorrect fantasy: Southern California Drummer Joe Spina’s fantasy started with the voice of a father yelling at his son that no kid of his was going to be a faggot. There was a gunshot and the audience gasped. The lights came on and we saw a twelve-foot-high cross, a kneeler—and the son, holding a gun to his head after killing his father. A priest (Spina) wrestled the son to the ground, knocking the gun out of his hand. The priest then stripped off his robes, revealing a harness underneath. What followed was an S&M scene to chilling Madonna lyrics: “You can’t hurt me now/I got away from you/I never thought I would.” Parental abuse, murder, Catholic priests and S&M in one disturbing and thought-provoking fantasy. (The son, incidentally, was Pup, Southern California Drummerboy who went on to win the International Drummerboy title.)

Spike, the muscular and gorgeous contestant from Australia, did a strip-to-naked-and-put-on-leather fantasy. You may recall that last year’s Great Lakes Mr. Drummer did something similar. But while I wasn’t allowed to be totally naked on stage, Spike was—with his back to the audience. He was standing in front of a “mirror,” which was really silver mylar, so the audience didn’t see a reflection of his front. (We just had to use our imaginations.)

The non-contestant entertainment was first-rate. Mimi=Freed poked fun at the macho hyper-masculine Drummer image and noted (quite correctly) that several of the contestants were seen lip-synching on stage! (I bet they just could have DIED of embarassment!) Vocalist Richie Waits, appearing in an androgynous dress and Cleopatra-style headdress, sang a unique rendition of “I Feel Pretty.” His final number, a wonderfully bizarre version of “Proud Mary,” exploded with energy: he became a male Tina Turner, and four backup dancers became male Ikettes. The audience was blown away. (Those four backup dancers were led by Charlie Seltz, the contest’s choreographer, who is a master dancer and choreographer—and a sweetheart besides.)

After the excitement of Saturday’s contest came Sunday and the Folsom Street Fair. 400,000 kinky people of all persuasions came out to see and be seen. Vendors ranged from the usual (t-shirts and buttons) to the unusual (a spanking booth). Colt man Steve Kelso was there, wearing too many clothes, shaking hands and giving autographs. The parties continued all night.

And then came Monday. The bars were deserted. The sex clubs were deserted. (Believe me, I checked.) Even the streets were quiet. If the previous week had been foreplay, and the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday was the leather tribe’s collective climax, then Monday was the day that San Francisco, exhausted, finally had a cigarette and drifted off to sleep.


Monday, Oct. 30: Halloween Fetish party in the Gay 90’s Dance Annex (9 p.m. to closing). $200.00 first prize for Most Original Fetish Costume (Rubber & Leather).

Sunday, Nov. 5: Leatherman of Minnesota and Ms. Minnesota Leather contests, Gay 90’s Dance Annex, 4-9 p.m., contest at 5:30. No admission charge, donations accepted, all donations to charity. Beer and food will be provided. The atmosphere will be relaxed and social, with informational booths for clubs and other organizations. Ms. Minnesota Leather will compete in the upcoming International Ms. Leather contest, while the Leatherman of Minnesota will have a choice of international competitions. This event is the Minnesota Leather Den’s gift to the community in celebration of the fact that there will be a Ms. Minnesota Leather this year.

Friday, October 13, 1995

S.F. Simply Fabulous

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #10, October 13, 1995)

San Francisco was lovely, thank you. The International Mr. Drummer finals and the Folsom Street Fair were so spectacular I need more than one column to tell you about them. Here are just a few of the events and images that made the week memorable.

Tuesday: We (that’s your humble columnist and my partner Ken) had to change planes in Phoenix. While there we met Florida’s Mr. Drummer (Ray Castro), Drummerboy (Stephen Freeman, who has the most exotic eyelashes) and sponsor (Ed Ivey). That made the layover and flight from Phoenix to San Francisco much more interesting.

We stayed at a motel that was built in the 50’s. It was lovingly refurbished and painted in Caribbean colors with lush landscaping in the courtyard and a kidney-shaped swimming pool. It felt wonderfully tropical. It also felt like the most non-gay space in all of San Francisco. (Fortunately, that changed later in the week.)

Wednesday: At the press party, Ed Ryder (Mid-Atlantic Drummer) was standing next to Ray Castro and the effect was striking. The man next to me said breathlessly that they looked like two Tom of Finland drawings come to life. He was right.

Thursday: The “Fetish and Fantasy” ball featured many good fantasies and demonstrations on stage. But watching (and helping!) a gentleman from L.A. (whom we’d met at the press party) tie up a gentleman from Little Rock (whom we’d met at The Cove, a restaurant on Castro St.), was hotter than anything I saw on stage that evening.

Friday: The Leather “Cruise” Cruise featured many leather dignitaries (including me) “roasting” Keith Hunt, the outgoing International Mr. Drummer. That was fun, but the most outrageous part of the evening was the trip to and from the party. You’ve all seen the “River City Trolley” that shuttles tourists around Minneapolis? Well, San Francisco also has the same sort of fake trolleys (in addition to their real ones, of course). Imagine one of these fake trolleys, filled to overflowing with gay men in black leather, cruising past some of the most exclusive (straight) hotels and restaurants in San Francisco. Let’s just say we were noticed, and I wish I had pictures.

That takes us to Saturday and the contest, which was spectacular. Congratulations and best wishes to David W. Walker, the new International Mr. Drummer. He’s from the Rocky Mountain region (Colorado Springs), the same region that produced last year’s International Mr. Drummer, Keith Hunt. I’ll have details on the contest, and the Folsom Street Fair on Sunday, next issue.

A flurry of contests: Hot on the heels of the Mr. Minnesota Leather contest (October 7), comes the Mr. MNBear contest (Sunday, October 15, 4-9 p.m., Gay 90’s Dance Annex). Then on Sunday, November 5, W.I.L.L.O.W. Productions presents the Minnesota Festival of Leather, featuring the Leatherman of Minnesota and Ms. Minnesota Leather contests. Contestants should have “knowledge of the leather community on a local, state, national, and international level, have the focus, direction and time commitment to fulfill community needs, attend and support special events and fundraisers, as well as networking with organizations.” Whew! Sounds like a lot, but Heartless of W.I.L.L.O.W. Productions says, “I know there are men and women out there in our leather community who can fill those boots.” Two meetings for those interested in competing will be held on October 15 and 29, 7 p.m. in the Piano Lounge (2nd floor, Gay 90’s).

Minnesota Leather Den’s Chamber of Horrors
Sunday, October 22, 4-9 p.m., Gay 90’s Annex
Even bigger than last year’s! Entertainment will feature local, regional and international titleholders. Other attractions are a Halloween costume contest, starvation cell, insane asylum, and a “pit from hell” (no, they’re not transporting my office to the 90’s). Embalming fluid will be served and “Save Your Soul” buttons will be sold. (I made the mistake of not buying one last year.) Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door; advance sales at the Gay 90’s are Thursdays-Sundays 9 p.m.-12:30 a.m. at the Sidewalk Shop (2nd floor behind the Piano Lounge) and Fridays and Saturdays 9 p.m.-midnight at the entrance to the Men’s Room bar. Also, anyone interested in auditioning for a character part or helping build the Chamber is invited to call for more information.

Photo caption:
David W. Walker, the new International Mr. Drummer, is flanked by Ray Castro (first runner-up, left) and Ed Ryder (second runner-up, right).