Friday, April 24, 1998

Inside a Leather Closet

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #72, April 24, 1998)

One of the other local gay publications has recently been running a feature in which they rummage through people's closets as a way of finding out more about them. (One of those closets belonged to Roger Gregg, Mr. Minnesota Leather 1998.) Now it's my turn—I'm going to take you on a guided tour of my leather closet, with shopping pointers along the way, to illustrate the broad range of places where it is possible to find additions to a fetish wardrobe.

Vests: My first vest came from Verducci Leather when they still operated retail stores; they currently have a store in Chanhassen that will be open for another few weeks, after which they will be wholesale-only. (Going out of business bargains, anyone?) This is a motorcycle-style vest with snap closures on the front, and it's the vest on which I have most of the run pins I've collected over the years. A second vest was purchased at the Minnesota State Fair (!); it's more formal, it's made of very soft leather and it even has lapels! The vest I seem to wear most often is my bar vest. For the uninitiated, it's called a bar vest because  the front has no buttons or snaps; it's intended to be worn open, the better to show off the wearer's chest in a leather bar. Mine was made by Leather Etc. (local leatherwoman P.J. Knight's leatherwear business). You won't find bar vests at places like Wilson's or Tannery West.

Bodysuit: While we're on the subject of things you won't find at Wilson's, here's a black leather bodysuit that was made by North Bound Leathers of Canada. The top looks like a black-leather athletic shirt that is cut away in front to frame the chest; continuing down, the garment ends in a zippered pouch in front that tapers to a strap up the back (no buttock coverage here). I bought mine at the International Mr. Leather Contest's Leather Market and wore it onstage when I competed in the International Mr. Drummer contest; now I understand Back in Black Leather (Club Metro Underground, St. Paul) is selling these and other items by North Bound Leather.

Pants and chaps: I bought my leather jeans at Worn Out West, a must-shop store on Castro Street in San Francisco that sells new and used leather, latex, uniforms, western, and other fetishwear. My chaps came from Mr. S. Leathers, another San Francisco leather-fetish emporium which also is a dealer for Wolf Production's locally-made heavy-duty bondage equipment.

Motorcycle jackets: Motorcycle wear by domestic manufacturers like Schott and German manufacturers such as Hein-Gericke are available new at area cycle shops. Don't overlook area Harley-Davidson dealers—the quality of their cycle wear is high, and when they have a sale the markdowns are substantial. I bought a leather shirt, belt and gloves at their store in Savage.

Motorcycle leathers are also available used at several stores in the Uptown area: Tatters (2928 Lyndale Ave. S), The Corner Store (900 W. Lake St.), and Just Broken In (3032 Hennepin Ave.). At these stores you can find jackets, vests, cycle pants, chaps, and even boots, western wear, and uniforms. And there's always Ragstock.

So where did I buy my leather motorcycle jackets? None of the above. The German one came from an estate sale, and both my black leather motorcycle jacket and my long leather trench coat came from a little cycle shop called Dayton's.

Upcoming Leather Events

Atons Bar Night in Chicago
Saturday, April 25, in The Pit at The Chicago Eagle

Call for more information.

Mr. Minnesota Fantasy Weekend
Thursday-Sunday, May 7-10, various locations

It's not just a contest. It's a weekend-long party, with special bonuses for weekend-pass holders. Here's what's planned as of this writing:

• Thursday night's Kick-Off Party is at Club Metro Underground (St. Paul) from 9 pm to close.

• Friday's Motorcoach Bar Crawl starts at 7 pm at the Minnesota Bar & Grill, visits five local gay bars and ends at a Meet & Greet Reception back at the Minnesota Bar & Grill. The Meet & Greet is open to everyone, but the Motorcoach Crawl is exclusively for the first 50 people who buy weekend ticket packages. After the reception will be a private play party for weekend-pass holders only.

• Saturday's activities are at the Club Metro Underground and start with a vendor fair/cocktail/SM demonstration party at 7 pm, leading into the contest at 9 pm (show producer Michael deLeon promises an entertaining evening) followed by a wind-down party after the contest. Topping it all off after the bar closes is another private play party for weekend-pass holders only.

• Sunday evening's Victory Party will be held at The Tank (at The Saloon) from 7-9 pm.

Weekend packages are $45 and include a souvenir T-shirt in addition to all the events listed above. All events except the Motorcoach Crawl and Friday and Saturday night play parties are available on an individual basis. Call Wolf Productions for weekend packages, single events or if you want to compete. The winner will represent Minnesota in the International Mr. Fantasy Contest in Omaha, August 14-16.

Mark Your Calendar . . .

Sunday, May 17: Mr. Minnesota Leather 1998 Roger Gregg and The Tank present the IML Kick-Off Party, 6-10 pm at The Tank. Food, drink specials, IML weekend package giveaway (not including hotel).

May 21-25: International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago. Up-to-the-minute details at

May 29-31, 1998: The Knights of Leather present Knights Tournament 10, a tenth-anniversary celebration that even includes a Birthday Party. Bring a new participant and receive a 10% discount on your application fee. For more information or an application write Knights of Leather, Minneapolis, MN or e-mail

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