It’s Monday night—a school night, but so what? My mission for this evening is to experience “Hard Mondays” at the Saloon, and to answer the question on everyone’s mind: how does it compare to Bondage A-Go-Go on Thursday nights at Ground Zero?
I arrive at the Saloon at 10 pm. Ms. Minnesota Leather <strong>Darlette Knox</strong> and her entourage are already there, raising money for the Minneapolis-to-Chicago AIDS Trek.
The music is loud. The lights are red. The atmosphere is misty, stabbed by strobes and multicolored lasers. The crowd is a cross-section of the leather community—men, women, transgender, gay, straight, young, mature and in-between. A leather/levi/latex/fetishwear dress code is strongly encouraged, and the majority of the crowd complies, although there are also a few jeans-and-sweatshirts types present.
As the evening progresses the crowd grows and the dance floor becomes active. Go-go dancers of both sexes writhe on the dance floor and on a spotlit platform in a dark corner of the bar. Some people come in, gawk as they circle the bar, and leave; tonight is not their scene.
At about 11:00 the demonstrations start. Three women tie three men to a railing and perform a flogging scene. By 11:30 the performers are holding lit candles and dripping hot wax on each other as they weave their bodies together in a twisted human candelabra. The crowd is changing, however, and the leather atmosphere gets diluted a bit as more straight-appearing college kids filter in. (One girl is wearing a DKNY sweatshirt. We all know Donna Karan is a leather goddess, right?) But everyone is at least respectful of the leather/SM activity going on; unlike Bondage A-Go-Go, I don’t get the feeling that anyone is here tonight to be scandalized, and I don’t feel as if I’m part of the floor show for these people just because I’m wearing leather. Someone remarks that the atmosphere at the Saloon is more intimate than the atmosphere at Ground Zero; I agree.
At midnight, Mr. Minnesota Leather 1996 <strong>Michael deLeon</strong> and his business partner <strong>Gary O’Neill</strong> arrive, ready for action. They join Darlette and <strong>Nickie</strong> at the back of the bar. At 12:15 the entertainment takes a decidedly bizarre turn. <strong>Master Zoran,</strong> bare-chested and dressed in a skirt, receives a beer enema from <strong>Matt Hopping,</strong> dressed in an industrial-strength latex apron and gloves. The crowd gathers around, entranced by the proceedings. (And to think I almost left at midnight.)
A postscript to the experience: I realized the next day that a growing number of local bars have “special interest” nights of one sort or another. To name three: Ground Zero has “Bondage A Go Go,” South Beach has “South Bitch,” the Minneapolis Cafe in the Calhoun Beach Club is gay Wednesday nights. One point in favor of “Hard Mondays” is that it (unlike the three I just mentioned) happens in The Saloon, a bar that is gay-owned-and-operated and is gay seven nights a week. I think that’s a plus.
So, have you experienced “Hard Mondays” yet? Try it and see for yourself—Monday nights, 10 pm to 1 am at the Saloon, no cover charge.
<strong>Upcoming Leather Events</strong>
This weekend we wish <strong>Darlette Knox </strong>the best of luck as she competes in the International Ms. Leather ’96 contest in Philadelphia. We’re proud of you, Darlette!
Also this weekend, the Atons are hosting their Gopher XII run, “Going Down on the Farm.” Hope it’s a safe, sane, consensual and FUN weekend!
<strong>International Mr. Fantasy Contest</strong>
<em>August 16-18, Omaha, Nebraska—REGISTER SOON!</em>
Come see Mr. Minnesota Fantasy 1996, <strong> insert name in boldface </strong>, competing in the Internationals. The weekend kicks off Friday night with a meet-the-contestants Welcome Party. Saturday begins with a Sexual Scavenger Hunt (sounds intriguing!); the afternoon features seminars and demonstrations. The actual competition happens Saturday evening and will be followed by an after-hours party (and they know how to party in Omaha, let me tell you!) Sunday features a farewell brunch and the traditional afternoon softball game.
Weekend packages cost $30 per person ($35 after August 1, so register now). For a registration form write to Fantasy Productions, Omaha NE. The host hotel is the Radisson Redick in Omaha; call for room information and reservations.