Friday, June 16, 2000

Web Extra: Joseph Bean Asks “Make the Effort” for the Leather Archives & Museum

(Leather Life column published on Lavender Magazine website, Issue #132, June 16, 2000)

Here are highlights of the speech by Joseph Bean, Executive Director of the Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M) at the IML 2000 contest.

“We have gone from representing about nine countries when I spoke to you last year to more than 30 this year. How many countries really have enough of a leather community to be contributing to a museum? Apparently, right now the number is about 30.

“And you guys are making them do it. We keep getting letters from people saying, ‘Someone from Ohio wrote to me, I’m here in Morocco, and I thought you’d like this.’ It happens, it happens all the time and it’s because of you.”

Last year Bean showed a picture of a building that could be a home for the Archives—“This year it’s a reality. Without you none of it would have ever happened. No government institution, no foundation, no public reservoir of money has been involved. Every penny that has made the Leather Archives & Museum happen has come out of the pockets of leatherfolk . . . .

“We mean it when we say we’re here, we’re here to stay, and you’ve gotta get used to us. The neighborhood we have moved into was an orthodox Jewish neighborhood not that long ago. And hey, we moved into their synagogue. They’ve not just gotten used to us, they’ve gotten to depend upon us, to help them with the gangs, with the drugs, with the appearance of the neighborhood—the point is, we have become good neighbors . . . .

“I’m dreaming of paying off the mortgage in 2004, which means you’re stuck with me for about four more years . . . We have the building, but that means we have a mortgage. And if we can pay it off in August, 2004—that’s not that far away, guys. Remember, I first dreamed of us owning a building in December, 1997. That was yesterday, barely. I announced the capital campaign to buy a building in January, 1998, imagining that it would take you guys ten years to buy us a building. Well, it took you less than a year and a half. You’d think that the geniuses of finance would live on Wall Street. Instead we live on Leather Street, U.S.A. . . .

“Let me make this real simple. If we pay off the mortgage by the refinance date in August 2004, you the community will save $813,000. That’s worth the effort. Make the effort.”

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