Friday, June 23, 1995

LavLife: Leather

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #2, June 23, 1995)

This picture of your humble leather columnist and his good friend Joe was taken at last year’s Pride parade. Since then, both of us have been fortunate enough to grace the pages of Drummer Magazine. He’s still a good friend even though they printed his picture bigger than they printed mine.

There’s certainly no shortage of things to write about this time: the Twin Cities Pride Festival, the Leather Pride celebration, and the upcoming Great Lakes Drummer Weekend and Atons “Un-Run.”

Before we get started, I want to say how much I’ve appreciated the positive and encouraging feedback I’ve been getting regarding the first edition of this column. Thank you to everyone who’s offered comments; they’ve been wonderful day-brighteners.

Twin Cities Festival of Pride
Minnesota Leather Pride Celebration
Saturday, June 24 and Sunday, June 25
The Pride Festival reappears, Brigadoon-like, for two glorious days each year, and Loring Park is transformed into a wonderful cross between a gay Disneyland and our own version of the State Fair. Be there, be proud, be visible—wear your leather (assuming there’s no threat of heat-stroke, of course). There’s so much to see and do—too much for only one day. Saturday I’ll casually see the booths and revel in the gay atmosphere and ambiance, as well as practicing my cruising skills (like they don’t get enough practice already). Then comes Sunday and the Pride Parade. The parade, it says here, steps off at noon; if you’re marching with the Leather Contingent, get there by 11:45 a.m. Meeting place for the Leather Contingent is on Willow between 14th St. and the Berger Fountain. The various leather clubs are sponsoring a hay wagon for those who don’t wish to trek on foot. Or ride your motorcycle (free reserved cycle parking on 4th Street).

After the parade, the Minnesota Leather Pride Celebration runs from 4-10 p.m. at the Gay 90’s Dance Annex and Men’s Room. With all four local leather clubs pooling their resources, you know this will be a blockbuster! Sponsored by (in alphabetical order) the Atons, the Black Guards, the Knights of Leather and the Leather Den, this event offers keg beer, sodas and food. Representatives from all the participating clubs will be there with club information. Other features include LIVE hot entertainment, a bootblack, jail, body piercings, temporary tattoos and haircuts by Vince, the Master Barber. All this and Dog Tags, too! Cost is a $5 donation, or wear your ’95 Pride button and get in for $4.

And while we’re on the subject of Leather Pride: This is the third year I’ve designed the logo for the Twin Cities Pride Festival. But it’s the first time I’ve designed the logo as a leatherman. When people see the Pride logo in an ad, or the Pride Guide, or on a button or T-shirt, I want them to know that the design of this year’s logo came from a member of the leather community. As an individual, as a titleholder, and as a representative of the leather community, I’m very proud that I could make this contribution to the Pride Festival.

Great Lakes Drummer Weekend
July 14, 15, 16
This is the biggest leather contest to happen here in quite some time. Leatherfolk will be traveling from all over the Great Lakes region to compete and to watch. Think how fortunate you are that you live here, and can enjoy it without the long drive or plane ticket!

Friday night, in the Men’s Room Bar at the Gay 90’s, the Great Lakes Drummerboy contest starts at 10 p.m. (But get there early for best viewing.) Then on Saturday evening, starting at 6 p.m., the Great Lakes Mr. Drummer contest will be held in the Gay 90’s Dance Annex. Your humble leather columnist, feeling a mixture of sadness and relief that his title year is over, will tearfully step down. And a new Great Lakes Mr. Drummer ’95 will be chosen, who will then go on to compete at the International Mr. Drummer Finals later this year in San Francisco. Note that Saturday’s contest starts at 6 p.m.; this means that there will be plenty of time after the contest for congratulations, celebration, and general heavy-duty partying.

Sunday afternoon the weekend ends with a bang: a victory party from 2-8 p.m. in the Men’s Room. Beer, sodas, food . . . the celebration continues.

This weekend will be BIG, and it will be HOT! You won’t want to miss it! (And I’m not just saying this because I’m one of the people putting it together.) Tickets for the entire weekend are only $15. Individually, the Drummerboy contest Friday night is $5; the Mr. Drummer contest Saturday night is $10; and Sunday’s Victory Party is $5. Call for tickets or more information.

Incidentally, the field of contestants is looking impressive. But there’s still room for more! If anyone else out there is interested in competing, call. As it says on the contest’s poster: “Go on, be a contestant. You know you want to.”

Atons “Un-Run” Campout
July 21-23
The Atons wish to invite leathermen to a low-cost, no-frills, do-what-you-want, outdoors weekend. The site, a private, wooded group camp, is located about 100 miles southwest of the Twin Cities. The area has a volleyball court and beach on a spring-fed pool. There are seven long row cabins, each with beds for up to 16. Modern toilet and shower facilities are available for your convenience. There is an area for tents if you wish to pitch your own. There will be dungeon space available all weekend and a hot tub to rest any tired bones. Cost of the campout is $80 before July 10, and $95 thereafter, which includes five meals, soda, beer and coffee. Call Jim for an application or more information.

Finally, keep watching this space—there are many more events coming up, and I’ll have details next issue.

Friday, June 9, 1995

LavLife: Leather

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #1, June 9, 1995)

Greetings! New magazine, new leather columnist. When the editors of this publication asked me if I was interested in writing a leather column for them I immediately assured them I was. By the time I hung up the phone I had recovered my senses and ask myself, “What have I gotten myself into now?” Well, I guess we’ll see.

Like any good scene, this column has a few ground rules. I have been asked by the editors to be “interpretive” rather than “descriptive.” Translated, that means I not only get to tell you about what’s happening, I also have the privilege of sharing my perspectives and opinions. I will try not to abuse that privilege.

I intend to deal in this column with facts, not rumors. I see this column as an opportunity to strengthen and encourage our community.

My name may appear over this column, but I can't write it alone. So . . . to all clubs, titleholders, promoters and the community at large: Please let me know what’s going on! I’d love to be in the position of having so much information to cram into this column that I have to—ahem—get down on my knees and BEG for more space. (You can contact me through the Lavender Lifestyles office.)

Finally, I tip my leather cap to my leather columnist predecessor. Thank you, Pete LaSha, for faithfully chronicling our community in an upbeat, uplifting and positive manner. I shall try to do the same.


On Sunday, May 28, the Atons held Eros III at the Club Metro in St. Paul. While Eros I and II were dungeon parties, the theme this time was “On the Beach.” In spite of the weather being un-beachlike, I understand about eight guys competed in the Swimsuit Contest. In other entertainment, Bruce Chambers (president of the Atons) and Mark Warner (Mr. Minnesota Drummer ’93) presented a fantasy in which Bruce was a right-wing fundamentalist who wanted to “convert” Mark from gay to straight. Instead, however, Mark wound up hynotizing Bruce—with very interesting results.


Same weekend, different locale: The 1995 International Mr. Leather Contest was held Memorial Day weekend in Chicago (sharing the hotel with a gay square-dancers convention, and a block away from Bear Pride ’95). The men were hot (contestants and spectators alike!) but we also maintained our dignity. I heard the hotel staff had misgivings about a hotel full of leatherfolk. They quickly changed their minds and were soon talking about what good guests we were!

The new International Mr. Leather 1995 is Larry Everett. I wish him a lot of luck and think he’ll do very well as an international titleholder. I met him last November in Omaha; he’s a genuinely nice guy (and he’s gorgeous!) He is from Collinsville, Oklahoma. That’s in Tulsa County, which is Oral Roberts territory--Larry says he can’t even buy a copy of Drummer Magazine there. Count your blessings.

Minnesota was well-represented at IML this year. David Urista represented the Manhole in Chicago, but he lives in Minneapolis. Our own J.D. Laufman was a judge for the contest, and I saw lots of other Minnesotans in the audience and around the hotel.


Unfortunately, one Minnesotan who wasn’t at IML this year was Charles Blake III. Part of the job of being Mr. Minnesota Leather is representing Minnesota at IML; since Charles did not fulfill that important obligation, he has been stripped of his title. The reader is referred to other portions of this magazine for more details.

On a personal note, let us not forget that during his tenure as a titleholder Charles participated in many fundraisers and helped raise a lot of money with his dazzling displays of skill with ropes and bullwhips. Seeing how things have turned out makes me very sad, both for Charles and for our community. Well, we’ve all lived through the nightmare; now my hope and my wish, for Charles and for all of us, is lots of healing.


That’s it—the end of my first column. I wonder if this is how Mr. Marcus started out?