Friday, May 8, 1998

International Mr. Leather 1997: The Exit Interview

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #77, May 8, 1998)

PHOTO: International Mr. Leather 1997 Kevin Cwayna will pass the sash to his successor at the 1998 International Mr. Leather Contest, May 22-25 in Chicago.


A year passes quickly. Kevin Cwayna, M.D., International Mr. Leather (IML) 1997 and Minnesota's first-ever international leather titleholder, will complete his title year and sash his successor at the 1998 International Mr. Leather Contest, May 22-25 in Chicago.

Regular readers of this column will recall my first interview with Cwayna shortly after he won the title (an expanded version of that interview appears in the current issue of International Leatherman Magazine, Issue #17). Now, in a second interview almost a year later, Cwayna shares his thoughts as his title year comes to a close:

Your year as International Mr. Leather is almost over. What's it been like?

It's been an amazing opportunity. I feel quite privileged that I got to experience all the various corners of the leather community. As International Mr. Leather you get a very thorough tour of the leather world, and you meet a lot of wonderful people. Fetish groups, old guard, new guard, old and new clubs—you're bombarded with all this fascinating information. The schedule's a bit rigorous—it would be better if one didn't have a full-time job. But all in all, it's been an incredible experience.

What do you feel you've accomplished this year?

Well, I could have accomplished more with a full-time staff. There are lots of dreams and visions I would have liked to do, but in reality you have time during the year to set up a website, write up your platform and send it out, and start your whirlwind tour. A lot of time was spent helping people with their events, and talking to people who are new to the community, or who want to know how to become a contestant in IML, or who have other questions about leather and SM. As IML you become a very visible lightning rod for the community. I feel like I did a lot of "leather triage."

That sounds like a doctor talking.

I didn't start any sort of national leather movement anywhere, and I didn't add a new wing to the Leather Archives. But when I'm done holding the IML title, that's when I'll have time to do that sort of thing. I'll be able to be involved in the community as I choose—be on the board of the Leather Archives, or write more, or whatever. It turns out that this isn't the year when you get to do those things; it will be in future years that I can be involved in the areas where I can be most helpful.

So what are your immediate plans after you step down?

I'm going to reground myself in the local community. I'll enjoy a summer at home—I'll be very "around." I'm also interested in leather sexuality as a field of academic study; I think it's very fascinating historically. And I want to help the Leather Archives and Museum. I've seen a lot of postwar damage from HIV, and the leather community is still experiencing that and trying to regroup—like Eric Rofes writes about in his book Reviving The Tribe. I think the Leather Archives has been our community's attempt to try and culturally affirm ourselves and I'd like to contribute to that effort.

New Minnesota Mr. Drummer and Drummerboy Chosen

PHOTO: Mike Vintean standing; David McCammon kneeling

PHOTO CREDIT: Steve Lenius

Congratulations to Mike Vintean, Mr. Minnesota Drummer 1998 (standing), and David McCammon, Minnesota Drummerboy 1998 (kneeling). They won their titles in the Minnesota Drummer contest held April 18 at Club Metro Underground. Other contestants were Steve Eue, Mr. Drummer first runner-up; Scott Kelley, Mr. Drummer second runner-up; and Corey Austin, Drummerboy first runner-up.

The panel of judges, headed by current International Mr. Drummer Jeffrey Adler, had some tough decisions to make, as each of the contestants made a strong showing. Steve Eue's fantasy started as he collared his boy in the crowd, ripped his clothes off, and dragged him onstage—and it got steamier from there. Scott Kelley's fantasy was a conversation with G.O.D. (the Great Omnipotent Dragqueen); it was one of the most literate fantasies I've ever seen. Mike Vintean presented the final fantasy of the evening, and one that would have been hard to top: a real, honest-to-goodness wrestling match, complete with a real-life World Wrestling Federation wrestler as an opponent. Before it was done both men had been knocked offstage and were wrestling on the auditorium floor in front of the judges' table.

Vintean's next competition will be the Great Lakes Mr. Drummer Contest in Columbus, Ohio August 28-30. McCammon will be part of the Drummerboy pool at the International Mr. Drummer Contest in San Francisco September 26.

Upcoming Leather Events

Mr. Minnesota Fantasy Weekend

Friday, May 8:
Party Bus Bar Cruise leaves Minnesota Bar & Grill, 7 pm (must be pre-registered)
Meet & Greet judges and contestants at Minnesota Bar & Grill, 11 pm

Saturday, May 9:
Pre-contest Cocktail Party, Metro Underground, 7 pm
1998 Mr. Minnesota Fantasy Contest, Metro Underground, 8:30 pm

Sunday, May 10:
Victory and Wind-down Party, The Saloon, 7 pm, followed by The Tank at 9 pm

All the above events except the Party Bus Bar Cruise are available on an individual basis. Weekend packages are $45 and include all the events listed above plus Friday and Saturday night private play parties. Call Wolf Productions for weekend packages, single events or if you want to compete. The contest winner will represent Minnesota in the International Mr. Fantasy Contest in Omaha, August 14-16.

IML Kick Off ’98
Sunday, May 17, 6-10 pm, The Saloon

A send-off for current Mr. Minnesota Leather Roger Gregg, who will represent Minnesota at the International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago the following weekend. Also appearing will be adult video star Steve Canon. Be there; you may be the lucky winner of the IML contest package that will be given away.

Red Hanky Social
Wednesday, May 20, 7-9 pm, Minnesota Bar and Grill

This event is regularly scheduled for the fourth Wednesday of each month. The first two Red Hanky Socials have been well attended, with newcomers to the scene asking questions and experienced men more than happy to answer them. If you're interested in red hankies you'll want to be here.

Mark Your Calendar . . .

May 22-25: International Mr. Leather Contest in Chicago. Up-to-the-minute details at

May 29-31, 1998: The Knights of Leather present Knights Tournament 10. Register by May 11 and save $10. Knights of Leather, Minneapolis, MN or e-mail

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