Friday, February 26, 1999

Cori Ander Wins National Ms. OIympus Leather Title

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #98, February 26, 1999)

Pantheon of Leather IX/Olympus Leather Contest

Pantheon of Leather IX, the Leather Community Service Awards, was held February 5-7 in New Orleans. Sharing the weekend was the Mr. and Ms. Olympus Leather 1999 Contest. Space permits me only to share a few highlights of the weekend.

The biggest news for Minnesota is that Cori Ander, Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather 1999, brought the national Ms. Olympus Leather title home to Minnesota. More good news: Greg Hausler, Mr. Minnesota Olympus Leather 1999, took second runner-up honors nationally. (The new Mr. Olympus Leather 1999 is little erick Lundgren from Louisiana).

Saturday night’s contest was beautifully produced in a wonderful old theater in the French Quarter. It was an entertaining evening that drew enthusiastic approval from the audience, which included a large contingent from Minnesota supporting Cori and Greg.

The community service awards were handed out Sunday afternoon at the same theater. The program opened with a salute to veterans in the leather community. Thirteen audience members took the stage and stated their name, rank and the branch of the armed forces in which they served. Then, while they stood at attention, a recording of Kate Smith singing “God Bless America” was played. I was prepared for it to be trite; instead it was incredibly moving.

The biggest disappointment of the weekend (for me, anyway) was that so few of the award winners were present to pick up their awards. That was a symptom of a larger problem with the weekend: Pantheon IX was an inspiring event that drew a crowd of great people, but it deserves a larger attendance than it had. The board of directors of Pantheon are aware that it needs and deserves more and better promotion, and they plan to work on this issue in the coming year.

For more coverage of the weekend visit Then make plans to visit Pantheon X in New Orleans next year.

Black Frost ’99: The Land of Oz

The Black Guard didn’t just top themselves with their latest run—they took the whole concept of a run banquet and show to a new level of sophistication. Again, space permits me to share only a few details, so I will focus on Saturday evening’s run banquet, show, and Red Heart Party.

Although you might think the Mall of America would not be the most leather-friendly place to hold an event, the staff at the Camp Snoopy Playhouse was friendly and accommodating. Dinner was quite enjoyable; the food was prepared well and presented attractively. (One point of etiquette that needs to be mentioned, however: fisting doesn’t really qualify as pleasant dinner-table conversation.)

The Playhouse itself is an impressive venue with good stage, lighting and sound facilities, and the Black Guard put them to very good use. They pulled out ALL the stops for this show, a retelling of the Wizard of Oz story. The soundtrack drew from many versions of the tale, including the 1939 film with Judy Garland and the Broadway musical The Wiz. At one point we even heard Eartha Kitt as the Wicked Witch of the West.

The costumes were absolutely amazing and must have taken hours and hours to make. An example of the witty and irreverent staging: Dorothy (perfectly played by Allison Brooks, aka Carl Gscheidmeier, who also directed) carried her little dog Toto in her basket. But Toto had nine different identities throughout the evening, among them a brown dog, a pink dog, a leather teddy bear, and a rubber chicken.

This show was unlike most run shows in that professional talent was brought in for the evening. Dancers Frit and Frat Fuller and the Kin International Dance Company added immeasurably to the presentation as Munchkins and Flying Monkeys, and the tornado sequence was breathtaking. Black Guard cast members Bruce Gohr (Scarecrow), Colin Spriestersbach (Tin Woodsman), Karl Keturi (Lion), Steve Katz (Auntie Em, also production designer and event producer), Mike Delorme (Glinda), and Ralph Schmidt (Evilene, the Wicked Witch of the West) held their own against the professional dancers.

Another professional, Donn Simione, brought the house down as the Wizard. His first appearance, dressed in leather and tap boots, was hot; his second appearance was even hotter as he tap-danced in impossibly high heels, a cape, a fishnet shirt and a studded leather jockstrap. If ever oh ever a Wiz there wuz, there never before wuz a Wiz like this! WOOF!

After the Land of Oz presentation came the Red Heart Party, presented in cooperation with Because We Care. It was emceed by Jm J. Bullock and featuring performances by singer Margaret Wakely Harris, pianist/comedian Dale Gonyea, and singer Kelly Britt. But by then a large segment of the crowd had either gone back to the host hotel or to the Minneapolis Eagle. That was too bad, because there was a huge amount of talent onstage that evening, and their choice of material was impeccable. If you want to see what you missed, ask a Black Guard member about getting a videotape of the evening.

Atons and Black Guard announce new officers

At the conclusion of Black Frost ’99 the Black Guard installed their new club officers: President Michael Delorme, Vice-President Steve Katz, Secretary Colin Spriestersbach, and Treasurer Carl Gscheidmeier.

New Atons club officers are President Sam Carlisle, Vice-President Jim Courtney, Secretary Keith Cheetham and Treasurer Paul Rozendaal. Their installation ceremony on March 7 will be part of the Atons “March Into Spring” weekend (see below).

Mark Your Calendar

The Atons present the “March Into Spring” weekend March 5-7, featuring Recruitment, Induction, and Installation. See this issue’s Out & About Calendar for full details.

The Mr. Minnesota Fantasy 1999 Contest Weekend happens March 26-28. Friday night is the return of the Party Bus Bar Cruise, followed by a meet-and-greet dance party featuring the music of Savage Aural Hotbed. Saturday evening’s Mr. Minnesota Fantasy 1999 contest features entertainment by Ballet of the Dolls with Savage Aural Hotbed. The weekend closes with two parties, a Fantasy Tea Dance from 6-9 pm and an “End Up” party from 9 pm to 1 am. Check next issue’s Out & About calendar for complete details. If you’re interested in competing, contact Dale Willman. (Correction: Last issue I mistakenly referred to this event as the “Mr. Minnesota Olympus contest.” But you knew I really meant to write “Fantasy” instead of “Olympus,” didn’t you?)

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Friday, March 5

March Into Spring: Recruitment
8-11 pm, The Minneapolis Eagle
Presented by the Atons and cosponsored by Clinic 42, this event will feature hot safe-sex videos and educational presentations as well as “recruitment” for the AIDS vaccine study at Clinic 42. Pay $5 for a glass and they’ll keep it filled with keg beer. All proceeds go to the Atons safe-sex supply fund.

Saturday, March 6

March Into Spring: Induction
6-10 pm, The Saloon
Presented by The Atons. There will be a brief pre-induction physical at the door. New recruits can get a buzz cut from leather barber Vince and a bootblack will get those boots shined up and ready for inspection. Drink and beer specials, free food from 7-9 pm. $5 donation at the door.

Sunday, March 7

March Into Spring: Installation
Cocktails at 11 am, brunch at noon
The Atons will install new club officers and honor a Friend of the Atons. Admission is limited and by reservation only; call for location information and to RSVP. $10 at the door.

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