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).

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