Friday, November 6, 1998

Winter Getaways, Leather-Style

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #90, November 6, 1998)

Leather gives us plenty of reasons (excuses?) to travel—there’s always a run or a contest somewhere. Even if you’re traveling for business, you can connect with the local leather scene in your off-hours; publications like Drummer, International Leatherman and The Leather Journal have advertisements from leather-related bars, lodgings and other businesses in most major cities. But beyond the basics, and in keeping with the theme of this issue of Lavender, here are some out-of-the-ordinary leather-related travel ideas to make this year’s winter getaway the best yet.

• Lots of cities have leather bars, and some of those bars even have restaurants. But while you can get a great burger at the Minneapolis Eagle, only in New York City will you find a place like La Nouvelle Justine. In this SM-themed restaurant the waiters are masters, the busboys are slaves, and the menu features items like “public humilitation” and “verbal abuse” in addition to filet mignon. You may like it, or you may feel your community is being exploited. But as near as I can determine the restaurant is run by authentically kinky people rather than poseurs who settled on SM as a good gimmick. How’s the food? I can’t answer that; I’ve visited but haven’t yet dined there. Conveniently located in the heart of Chelsea: 206 W. 23rd St. at Seventh Ave.

• Turn your next Palm Springs getaway into an educational experience by signing up for one of Butchmann’s SM Training Weekends, a “3-day/2-night Live-in Experience.” Group or individual, beginning and advanced sessions. Palm Springs, CA; or e-mail There’s a very informative website at

Team Delta, an elite unit of former special forces, military intelligence and military police personnel, is waiting to provide you with “intensely realistic military experiences.” From the looks of their website, they aren’t kidding. Choose from POW Interrogation, Basic Training, or War Games/Battle Tactics. Call toll-free, write to Philadelphia, PA or visit

• A fantasy voyage of another sort: Join Mr. San Francisco Leather 1996 Gary Virginia for Leather Cruise ’99 from Acapulco to San Francisco, a seven-day cruise departing May 12, 1999 aboard the Dawn Princess. For more information contact Travel Trends, San Francisco, CA.

• Speaking of cruising: if you like to stay at Beck’s Motor Lodge when you’re in San Francisco (because it’s so convenient to Castro Street, of course), where do you stay when you find yourself in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma? Head for the Habana Inn, mid-America’s largest gay resort complex. This huge two-story motel complex includes a restaurant, nightclubs, shops, and twin swimming pool courtyards. Lots of free parking, too. Wear your leather—the locals who congregate here will be impressed. I’ve stayed at both Beck’s and the Habana Inn and would recommend either for a good time. Oklahoma City bonus suggestion: When I was there, the fishing looked promising at Lake Overholser, on the outskirts of town.

• What’s your humble columnist’s favorite winter getaway destination? Puerto Vallarta, the only place in Mexico that has an annual Gay Pride Parade. Charter air service from the Twin Cities can be cheap if you play your cards right, and the non-stop flights are frequent. Once there you’ll find relaxing sunny beaches, great restaurants and nightlife, a rustic Mexican atmosphere (in the old part of town, at least), interesting shopping and sightseeing, and gay men and lesbians from all over the world (at least some of whom are into leather). Head for the blue chairs at Los Muertos Beach—with any luck, that’s where I’ll be for at least one week this winter.

Upcoming Leather Events

International Mr. Rubber Contest
Friday-Sunday, Nov. 13-15, various Chicago locations
Black Guard member Thomas Smith of Minneapolis will be competing, and he invites everyone to travel to Chicago with him for a fun time. Friday: Welcome Party, Cell Block, 9 pm-2 am (free). Saturday: Rubber Buddies Brunch 9 am-2 pm, Buddies, $10; Rubber Swap & Market 2-6 pm, Cell Block; Contest 8:30 pm-3 am, Cell Block, $10 (includes a $5 drink coupon). Sunday: Rubber Ball Beer Bust, Cell Block. Host hotel: Park Brompton. For more information on the contest call David at the Cell Block bar in Chicago.

Black Guard Chili Feed
Sunday, Nov. 29, 5-10 pm, Minneapolis Eagle
A perennial favorite, now in its 22nd year. $5 at the door includes chili plus $1 off first drink or $1 off beer bust price.

Ongoing Leather Events (clip & save)

The Twin Cities leather/SM community includes many events which happen every week, every other week or every month. Space limitations don’t allow us to list them in every issue, so clip this list and save it for future reference.

Black Guard Fundraiser: 3rd Sunday of each month, various locations.

Dykes on Bikes: Meets every other Monday at District 202.

Hanky Social: Formerly the Red Hanky Social, the scope has been broadened to include all hanky colors and all interests represented by those colors. Time and location have been changed to the last Wednesday of each month from 8 to 10 pm at the Minneapolis Eagle. Next dates are Nov. 25, Dec. 30 and Jan. 27. FFI: e-mail

Knights of Leather: Women’s leather club meets every 2nd Wednesday of the month, Sabathani Community Center. FFI: e-mail

Leather Roundtable: This newly-formed group of leather/SM community titleholders, club officials, event organizers, and other interested folks meets first Monday of each month at 8 pm to plan and coordinate leather events. Meetings are open, so if you have time, talents or ideas to contribute, call Joshua for more information.

Leather Spirituality Discussion Group: Every Wednesday, 7 pm, All God’s Children Metropolitan Community Church, 3100 Park Ave., Minneapolis. FFI: Call Joshua, or call the church.

Sober Leather: All-inclusive club dedicated to “safe, sane, consensual, sober” meets 3rd Monday of every month at Cafe Zev, 7 pm.

T.I.E.S. (Tremendously Intense Erotic Situations): All genders/orientations. The TIES Munch (a non-play social gathering for the express purpose of meeting people in a non-threatening environment) is held on the last Wednesday of every month at Legends Cafe, Minneapolis. The Munch starts at 7:30 pm; there is no set ending time. TIES also sponsors two monthly discussion groups in private homes, one for dom(me)s and one for subs. FFI, see the TIES website at TIES membership is not required for attendance at the Munch or discussion groups.

(Un)leashed: Loosely-organized club for women and transgendered persons meets 2nd Sunday of the month. FFI: Minneapolis, MN or e-mail

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