Friday, November 24, 1995

Leatherman of MN/Ms. MN Leather

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #13, November 24, 1995)

The Leatherman of Minnesota/Ms. Minnesota Leather contest was held Sunday, Nov. 5 in the Gay 90’s Dance Annex. In spite of talk about the community being burned out on contests, those in attendance certainly seemed to be enjoying themselves. Darlette Knox won the Ms. Minnesota Leather title, while runner-up BK took the Ms. Twin Cities Leather title. The new Leatherman of Minnesota is Thomas (who was runner-up in the recent Mr. Minnesota Leather contest). True, Thomas was the only male contestant, but he still had to earn the title. In situations such as this, the contestant must score a certain minimum number of points or the title is not awarded. (I was at a contest in Omaha last year where that happened; the only male contestant didn’t score enough points and the current titleholder was asked to hold the title for a second year.) Congratulations to Darlette, BK and Thomas; I thought you all presented yourselves very well.

The show was ably cohosted by Beth Kelley (Ms. Leather Madison) and new Mr. Minnesota Leather Michael deLeon, who did quite well in his first experience as an emcee. Crowd-pleasing fantasies were presented by Dale Willman and troy, Darlette Knox and strong>Nickie, Beth Kelley and Goo, and Tiffany Cartier, the new Miss Gay 90’s (who performed three fantasies!).

Man Bites Community, cont’d.:
The recent potshots aimed by the Club Kids at the leather community in Demure Butchness #7 certainly have the community talking. This week’s topic: young people and “pretty boys.”

The Club Kids point to a paradox: At most leather events you hear lip service paid to the concepts of unity, acceptance and inclusiveness. Yet one Club Kid has been told he was too much of a “pretty boy” to fit into the leather community, and another was told that he was too emotionally immature and should try again later when he could “handle it.”

Great Lakes Drummerboy troy responds that although he’s young, he certainly feels welcome in the community. In an interview, Atons president B.D. Chambers made the point that yes, the leather mentoring system has broken down due to AIDS and the community hasn’t had a chance to rebuild it yet. “It’s not we don’t welcome young people,” says Bruce, “but no one likes someone who’s pretty and knows it and thinks he’s prettier than everyone else. There are people who will show up at the Halloween party, for instance, and have some fun but who then won’t talk to you on the street, because you aren’t pretty enough or fashionable enough. And they aren’t afraid to tell you about it. The way to get involved is to show up at events and talk to people. If you show up at events, but you just stand around and make faces at people who don’t fit your image, you’re not going to meet people or get involved in the community. And you will find other people standoffish.

“Bitchiness aside, there are valid points to this diatribe. We do need to be aware that we need to find a way to reach out to new people and to make ourselves accessible. We need to rebuild or replace the old mentoring system, so that as people express interest in leather they can find a way to hook in and learn about the community and lifestyle.

“It’s good to take a moment to reflect on our attitudes — are we being standoffish? Are we thinking that just because they’re good-looking they must be “pretty boys” and therefore unapproachable? Self-analysis can be useful, and having someone in our face about it, while not fun, does give us a moment to ask ourselves these questions.”


Atons “Making the Streets Safe For Santa” Party

Sunday, Dec 3, 4-9 pm, Gay 90’s Dance Annex and Men’s Room.
With a theme like this, you know it’s going to be good. Entertainment of all sorts is planned including a self-defense instructor (!). Vince will be cutting hair and a leather Santa or two will be there, posing with patrons for pictures. Food, keg beer and sodas will be provided. Admission is $8 at door, or $5 with non-perishable food items or a new (non-giftwrapped) toy. The food items and toys will be given to the Aliveness Project while door receipts benefit the Queer Street Patrol. The Atons has a voice-mail line for questions; or for leather technophiles, their e-mail address is

Friday, November 10, 1995

Contest Winners

(Published in Lavender Lifestyles Magazine, Issue #12, November 10, 1995)

As George Bush would say, it’s been Contest City around here lately, but contest attendance has been rather light. For those of you who weren’t there, here’s what you missed at the Mr. Minnesota Leather contest and the Mr. Gay 90’s Leather contest.

Mr. Minnesota Leather:

Six men competed for this title on a recent Saturday afternoon in the Gay 90’s Dance Annex. The show started with high-energy precision dance troupe 202 Jam (the audience loved them). Later in the show, comedienne Jody Maruska drew big laughs and much applause.

Contestants John and Gary performed their fantasy together (the first fantasy I’ve ever seen that included a cellular phone!). Thomas performed a hot shaving fantasy in a jockstrap. Norm did a classic S&M (stand & model) fantasy, but did it so very well. LaRon’s fantasy got the biggest audience reaction due to his wicked Bette Davis impression. Michael’s fantasy featured special guest star Dr. Bob (and slave) doing a heavy-duty bondage demo.

The erotic attire contest segment could have been better. This was not the fault of the contestants, who did the best they could under very bad circumstances—bright, flat lighting and absolute silence. Memo for next year: it’s much easier to be seductive when you have some sexy music and lighting getting the audience in the mood.

The results: 2nd runner-up, LaRon; 1st runner-up, Thomas; and the new Mr. Minnesota Leather, Michael DeLeon. Congratulations and best wishes to all.

Mr. Gay 90’s Leather:

In previous years this contest, held in the Men’s Room Bar, has been loud, boisterous, rowdy—but certainly never boring! What happened this year? Did the entire audience overdose on Prozac? The first contestant strutted his stuff and got absolutely no reaction from the (small) crowd. The off-stage announcer said, “You can clap if you want to.” I tried to start some applause, but it didn’t work. Three more contestants met the same lack of response. Finally, Bill Thompson took the stage in a spectacular chain harness and got some applause, as did Lee Sickler, the last contestant. Congratulations to winner Bill Thompson; thanks to you there will be another good-looking leatherman’s portrait hanging on the wall of the 90’s. And to Bill and the other contestants: Please don’t let this rather lackluster contest experience dim your enthusiasm for leather in general or leather contests in particular. Any of the contestants would be a welcome addition to any other leather contest.

Man Bites Community:

Fellow LavLife columnist Timothy Lee also publishes a ’zine called Demure Butchness. Issue #7, “The Nasty Issue,” more than lives up to its name as Timmer & Co. diss just about everybody. There are references to the leather community sprinkled throughout its pages, but the most vitriol is found on pages 40 and 41, in which the “Club Kids” bitch about various aspects of the community, including this column, which they say is “usually about surface previews of upcoming events at the Gay 90’s.” They’re right when they say “That’s calendar listing materials.” But so far, there is no local newsletter (like they have in Seattle, for instance), and I’ve never seen a local leather calendar other than those formerly issued by the Atons. Quite often at leather events I’ve had people tell me they wouldn’t have known about the event except for this column. That tells me it’s filling a need within the community.

The Club Kids say they would like some “education and outreach” columns. Well, I’ve written columns that dealt with topics such as my leather family, or ways to take “safe, sane and consensual” beyond the dungeon and apply it to other areas of life. I got good feedback on those columns, and I’d like to do more of the same, but I only have so much space available in this magazine.
The Club Kids have much more to say about the current state of the local leather community. If you want to be outraged, or just see some sacred leather cows gored, pick up a copy of Issue #7 of Demure Butchness. You may agree, you may disagree, but it will certainly make you think. Available at A Brother’s Touch or Dreamhaven Books or send $3 to Demure Butchness, Minneapolis, MN. (And no, Timmer did not pay for this plug, either monetarily or in trade.)


Black Guard Chili Feed

Sunday, Nov. 19, 4-9 pm, Gay 90’s Dance Annex
$5 gets you beer, chili, and the famously rowdy atmosphere that this event is noted for.