Friday, July 5, 1996

Remembering Jim Conway

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #29, July 5, 1996)

James Conway, also known as James Conway Albright, died peacefully May 18 at his home in Golden Valley. In accordance with his wishes, approximately 40 people gathered at his home on May 29 for a farewell cocktail party and to exchange reminiscences. Jim Chalgren, brother Aton and fellow Egyptologist, performed an Egyptian farewell blessing.

Jim was a long-time and very active member of the Twin Cities leather community. He joined the Atons in 1988 and served for two terms as its president in 1990 and 1991; he was also an associate member of the Iowa Cornhaulers leather/levi club. He was keenly interested in the culture and artifacts of ancient Egypt; the 1990 Atons run, Gopher IX, was an Egyptian-themed run and Jim was Pharoah for the weekend. One of his many hobbies was leatherwork, and I will always remember his spectacular WHITE leather Egyptian outfit.

Other memberships included the Minnesota Polar Bares (Jim was a confirmed naturist) and the Minnesota Orchid Society (he loved tending his yard and garden and was especially proud of his orchids). For many years, Jim traveled the world as a professional musician playing woodwinds and piano with many big-name bands and singers.

Jim was a friend of mine and also a neighbor both at home and at work. Our offices were three blocks from each other in downtown Minneapolis, so I would often see him in the skyways. Shortly before he died I ran into Jim at the cash registers at Byerly’s in Golden Valley. He seemed upbeat and said he was looking forward to experiencing at least some of the upcoming Atons run. He took off his cap to show me his treatment-induced hair loss, and said he was anxious for it to grow back. He invited me to come over sometime for a swim in the pool.

Jim, wherever you are, you will be fondly remembered and deeply missed by many, many people.

Raymond LeBrun Succumbs to AIDS Complications

The local leather community recently lost another highly-visible member. Raymond LeBrun, who held the title of Mr. Minnesota Leather 1994 and Mr. Seattle Leather 1995, passed away June 25. At the time of his death he was residing in Spokane, Washington. I hope to have more details and a full remembrance in a future issue.

About That Impressive Leather Pride Float

Wasn’t that a great Leather Pride float in the recent Twin Cities Festival of Pride parade? It was a very l-o-n-g trailer rig sporting handcrafted leather-pride-flag skirting, twin propane-fueled “Flames of Liberation,” a colorful rainbow-flag display, space for leather club banners, and even a motorcycle for atmosphere! There was room on the float for the entire leather contingent, and the ride was climaxed by a spectacular balloon-release finale. I’m sure the entire leather community joins with me in extending our deepest appreciation to Transcorp owners Rand Haglund, John Audette and family for their large contribution of the trailer rig, decorations, and especially their time that went into the making of this year’s float. (And this is the second year they’ve done this!) Thanks for providing such a great ride and making us look so good!

Next Issue: Making The Scene at “Hard Mondays”

So, have you experienced “Hard Mondays” yet? I did recently, and I’ll tell you all about it next issue. Or try it yourself: Monday nights, 10 pm to 1 am at the Saloon, no cover charge.

Upcoming Leather Events

The Atons present “All-American Beer Bash”

Sunday, July 7, 5-9 pm, Gay 90’s Men’s Room Bar (use 4th Street side entrance)
Free keg beer and soda, food from 5:30 to 7:30 pm, and an “All American Man” contest. $5 at the door with your Leather Pride ‘96 dog tag, $7 without. While you’re there you can register for the upcoming Gopher XII Run (see below).

North Star Regional Rodeo
July 12-14
Welcome, Black Bart! At last the Rodeo folks have a column (and a columnist) all their own! (See Black Bart’s column for further Rodeo details.)

Mr. Minnesota Fantasy ‘95 Dale Willman and Ingenue Productions present
Mr. Minnesota Fantasy ‘96
July 14, 5-9 pm, Gay 90’s Dance annex
Hot men, hot fantasies, beer, food & more. $5 at the door. Applications for contestants will be at the Sidewalk Shop upstairs at the Gay 90’s, or for more info contact Dale Willman.

The Atons present Gopher XII, “Going Down on the Farm”
Event happens July 19-21; REGISTER NOW
See previous issue for details. Cost goes up after this weekend, so register soon (maybe at the All-American Beer Bash, above).

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