Friday, February 2, 1996

Atons and Black Guard Events

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #18, February 2, 1996)

This column begins with an apology and a correction. In Issue #14 (the Questions and Answers column) I erroneously stated that a gray hankie means “light SM” (as opposed to a black hankie meaning “heavy SM”). It was recently brought to my attention that a gray hankie really means “bondage.” I sincerely regret the error and apologize to anyone I may have confused about this matter.


The post-holiday season has been busy for local leatherfolk and promises to remain so. Two recent fundraisers drew good crowds, and both the Atons and the Black Guard have been busy preparing for upcoming events.

Recently there has been some discussion about what some have perceived as the repetitious nature of leather fundraisers. (The term “cookie-cutter” has been bandied about.) Therefore, I thought it might be interesting to take a look at the first two fundraisers of 1996.

Whips & Wheels featured something I’ve never before seen at a fundraiser: entertainment by a live singer with a karaoke machine. I heard generally favorable comments; one guest said the singer was very good and deserved better than the “59-cent” speaker in the karaoke machine. The crowd filled the Men’s Room bar at the Gay 90’s, and the atmosphere was relaxed and social. Hats off to the three local titleholders who were the organizers: Ms. Minnesota Leather (Darlette Knox), Ms. Twin Cities Leather (BK) and Leatherman of Minnesota (Thomas Casey).

The following weekend, the Men’s Room bar was busy again as the Atons presented the Snow Ball. Attire was “winter sleaze” and your preferred color of hankie; guests were given an extensive hankie-code list at the door. Featured entertainment was a “best butt” contest which drew eleven contestants and was won by a beautiful man (with a beautiful butt) from North Dakota. The event drew an enthusiastic crowd; I heard the Atons were thrilled with the turnout.

Neither of these two events were productions on a huge scale, but each one was planned to include some distinctive entertainment features. And each one drew a good crowd who seemed to be enjoying themselves. (I know I was glad I attended both of them.) A recent “Dear Abby” column contained some wisdom that may apply here: “It’s not what you put on the table that makes a great party, it’s what you put on the chairs” (or to paraphrase: what you put in the plastic beer cups isn’t as important as who’s standing around holding them).


Atons to install new officers: On Saturday evening, February 3, the Atons will hold their 24th Anniversary Installation Banquet at Little Jack’s. This year’s officers are B.D. Chambers (continuing as President), Growler (Vice-President), Jeff Gross (Secretary), and Chrys Zaglifa (Treasurer). Also to be honored at the banquet are this year’s Friends of the Atons: Vince Harris and Wayne Loveland.

The Atons also announce their upcoming second Casino Run to Grand Casino, Hinckley on Saturday, March 16. For more information call or e-mail them at


New Officers to “Spur On” Black Guard: This year’s Black Guard officers are Colin Spriestersbach (President), David Blaszak (Vice-President), Tom Johnson (Secretary), and Ken Dedina (Treasurer). They will be among the folks you’ll see at the Black Guard’s upcoming run, Black Frost 19/“Spur’d On in ‘96,” which happens February 16-18.


My computer is positive: A few days ago I got an interesting, if chilling, e-mail message. Someone I met in San Francisco last April (and subsequently lost track of) sent me e-mail holiday greetings with a 12-page document attached. His greeting apologized for the length of the document but assured me there was an explanation at the end of the document.

Most of the document consisted of e-mail headers showing that the document had been forwarded many times from person to person to person—sort of like a chain letter. After reading pages and pages of names and e-mail addresses, I finally got to the end of the document and the person who had started it. They apologized, and said they didn’t mean to offend or alarm anyone. But this was an experiment. Imagine that they had the AIDS virus. Imagine that every forwarded message represented the virus spreading further. Imagine that every name in that document was now positive. How long would it be before the entire e-mail universe was positive?

A virtual HIV virus. A simulated epidemic. Probably coming soon to a computer near you. All those e-mail headers represented an electronic Names Project—a sobering demonstration of how, in the absence of precautions, real-life AIDS spreads exponentially.

Until next time, please play safe.

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