Friday, December 20, 1996

A Christmas Fantasy: The real Drummerboy story

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #41, December 20, 1996)

Many, many years ago, in a land far away, there was a young drummerboy named Willie. Willie played his drum at the temple, where he accompanied the temple dancers. He loved drumming, and he also loved the leather harness that he wore to carry the drum. It had been a gift from his Daddy, who had made it especially for him. He loved the harness so much that sometimes he wore it even when he wasn’t playing drums. His Daddy had a harness too (even though he didn’t play drums at all) and most of their other friends had harnesses and other leather clothing as well.

Playing the drum at the temple didn’t pay very well, but Willie didn’t mind. Shortly after he had attained manhood and left his parents’ house he had started living with his Daddy, an older gentleman who made a good living as a successful astrologer.

One winter night, Willie and his Daddy were lying in bed, cradled in each other’s arms. Willie, feeling very contented, looked out the window at the starry sky. Suddenly he saw one star grow brighter and brighter, until it blazed with a radiance he had never seen before. As he drifted off to sleep holding his Daddy, he thought to himself that the star could have symbolized the love he and his Daddy shared.

The next day Willie had just finished playing his drum when his Daddy suddenly appeared at the temple. “Willie, take your drum and come with me,” said his Daddy. “We’re going on a long journey.” The King had seen the same star that Willie and his Daddy had seen the night before, and had asked his Daddy’s company (Weisman, Weisman and Weisman Astrological Consultants P.A.) to investigate it.

Day and night, the star continued to blaze in the sky as Willie, his Daddy and his Daddy’s two partners followed it for twelve days. Finally, it led them to a tiny stable behind an inn in an obscure village. In the stable, among the animals and the stablehands, there was a young woman, Mary, sitting on a bale of hay nursing a baby! Willie had never seen such a sight before. But what was even more incredible was that his Daddy and his Daddy’s partners knelt down before the mother and child and presented them with rare and precious gifts. Willie didn’t understand at all what was happening.

Willie’s Daddy, seeing the look of puzzlement on his face, took him aside. He explained that he and his partners had all had a dream telling them that this child was the long-awaited Hebrew Moshiac, or Messiah, who was born to remind all people everywhere of the common humanity they share.

Willie was amazed to hear this. He understood how important this was, and he felt both honored to be in the presence of this child and ashamed that he had no gift to bring, as his Daddy had. He went over to Mary intending to apologize. But before he could say anything, Mary spoke to him. “Thank you for coming here, Willie. You honor my child with your presence. Your Daddy told me all about you.” “He did?” Willie suddenly felt uneasy; many people in that time didn’t approve of Daddy/boy relationships, or people who wore harnesses even when they didn’t need to. Mary, who was wise beyond her years, sensed his discomfort and said, “Yes, and don’t you ever worry or feel ashamed of who you are. You have every right to be part of this holy event; you are just as much a brother to this child as is any other person.

“This child was born to be brother and friend to everyone in the whole world, in each and every tribe. I know your tribe is working on brotherhood and sisterhood in your own way. You have an idea of what brotherhood and sisterhood are all about; many people in this world don’t.”

Willie listened, fascinated, as Mary foretold some of the events in the life of her child, Jesus. He would never condemn anyone, and in fact would associate with many classes of people whom the rest of society at the time considered untouchable. History would never record whether Jesus ever married or had children. But it would record that he had many followers, including a disciple named John who would be enigmatically referred to as “the disciple Jesus loved”; scholars would argue for centuries over the exact meaning of that phrase. And they would argue over whether or not Jesus was, in fact, Moshiac. What they wouldn’t argue about was that Jesus was destined to play the most famous crucifixion scene in history.

Willie found himself lost in the wonder of Mary’s predictions. Suddenly, he remembered what he had intended to tell her: “I’m sorry I have no gift to give your son.” As he said this, an idea came to him: “Perhaps I can play my drum for him, like I do in the temple.” Mary nodded and said, “I think that would be lovely.”

As his Daddy listened with pride, Willie played his drum softly, gently and skillfully, tapping into the primal rhythms of the wind, sky, ocean, birds and animals. As he played, Mary swayed and rocked Jesus gently to the rhythm of the drum.

As they left the stable, Willie turned to his Daddy and said, “Daddy, I think we just saw something very special.” “Yes,” said his Daddy, “I think we did.”

Friday, December 6, 1996

Who Put The “M” in SM? Leather and SM In History

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #40, December 6, 1996)

“The New Joy of Gay Sex,” by Dr. Charles Silverstein and Felice Picano (published by Harper Perennial) is a fascinating gay-sex encyclopedia covering everything from “AIDS” and “Bars” to “Wills” and “Wrestling.” While not specifically targeted at the leather community, it contains a wealth of leather- and SM-related information (as well as some spectacular illustrations). Here’s one interesting SM tidbit:

SM, in leather circles, stands for “sadomasochism.” It is relatively common knowledge that sadism (achieving sexual pleasure by inflicting pain) takes its name from the Marquis de Sade. The origin of the name of the opposite practice, masochism (achieving sexual pleasure from receiving pain), is much less well-known.

According to “The New Joy of Gay Sex”, masochism takes its name from Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, “a historian and novelist. All his novels contained whipping scenes, and he himself preferred to be whipped by women wearing furs, especially if the women were older.” (It’s an interesting comment on society’s values that the Marquis de Sade has become a household name and archetype, while von Sacher-Masoch languishes in relative obscurity.)

Some other items of historical interest from “The New Joy of Gay Sex”:

• The flagellants were a twelfth-century mass movement within the Catholic Church that encouraged people to flog themselves until they bled.

• Saint Margaret Mary Alacoque was a seventeenth-century nun who “carved the name of Jesus on her chest with a knife.” Because the carving didn’t last long enough, she subsequently burnt it in with a candle. (She was canonized in 1920.)

• Saint Mary-Magdalen dei Pazzi “used to roll in thornbushes in the convent garden, then go into the convent and whip herself. She also forced novices to tie her to a post, insult her, whip her, and drop hot wax on her.”

(The above examples are not intended to be disrespectful of the Catholic Church, but rather to show that SM impulses have been around a long time and in many different and unexpected segments of society.)

• The Chicago Hell Fire Club is an organization of men who are into heavy SM play; their annual Inferno run is a social and sexual highlight of the SM scene. Where did the name of the club come from? It was “probably borrowed from the Hell-Fire Club organized by Sir Francis Dashwood in late eighteenth-century England.”

On a more local note, the Atons leather club of Minneapolis take their name from Akhenaton, the Egyptian Pharoah just before Tutankhamun. His theory was that there was just one divine being instead of a myriad of gods. He called that god the Aton, the Sun God, and symbolized it as a sun disk with rays streaming from it. He closed the old temples and built new ones for the Aton. After he assumed the throne he installed a man named Smenkhare on the throne of Queen Nefertiti, his wife. Smenkhare was given all Nefertiti’s royal titles, and the inscriptions that remain make it clear that Akhenaton and Smenkhare were lovers. Eventually the old priesthood overthrew Akhenaton, installed the boy prince Tutankhamun (whose name was originally Tutankhaton) as his successor, and tried to obliterate Akhenaton’s name from the earth (primarily because of his religious heresy, not his sexuality).

Now you know.

Upcoming Leather Events

Leather Knights

Wednesdays in December, 8 pm to close, Town House Country
Leather/levi/uniform attire encouraged. Drinks are $1.50 all night with a $5 cover.

Atons Holiday Fund-raiser
Sunday, December 8, 5-10 pm, The Saloon
Help the Atons fill a few baskets by attending this fund-raiser benefiting The Aliveness Project’s Holiday Basket Program. $7 at the door or $5 with donation of food shelf items or new unwrapped toys. Free food, 75¢ tap beer & soda, other drink specials. Net proceeds benefit The Aliveness Project. For more info: call or e-mail

Steve Kelso Aliveness Project Fund-raiser
Friday, December 13, 9 pm, Town House Country
Come meet the legend himself! Buy a calendar or poster and Steve will autograph it for you on the spot. $5.00 at the door, net proceeds benefit The Aliveness Project.