Friday, March 24, 2000

David Coral wins Mr. Olympus Leather 2000 title

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #126, March 24, 2000)

PHOTO: Left, Mr. Olympus Leather 2000 David Coral; right, Ms. Olympus Leather 2000 Joni.

It happened in New Orleans: Minnesota became home to yet another major leather titleholder. On Saturday, Feb. 26 Minneapolis resident David Coral (aka Jazz Thomas) won the men’s sash in the Mr./Ms. Olympus Leather 2000 contest. At the same time Cori Ander, Ms. Olympus Leather 1999 and also a Minneapolis resident, ended her title year and awarded a sash to her successor: Joni, the new Ms. Olympus Leather 2000 and a well-known member of the Atlanta fetish community. The Olympus Leather contest and titles differentiate themselves by representing and celebrating pansexual SM play.

Saturday night’s contest featured seven contestants (four for the Mr. title and three for the Ms.) and some very impressive and entertaining fantasy presentations. Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather Hannah Miyamoto presented the first fantasy of the evening, a vampire-leatherdyke seduction scene based on a Mexican legend. Ms. Florida Olympus Leather Lady Cat’s fantasy took place on a plantation, and Joni’s breathtakingly sizzling and steamy fantasy started with corsetry and climaxed with flogging and fireplay.

The funniest fantasy of the evening belonged to Mr. Louisiana Olympus Leather Mark Anthony, who presented a boot-camp scene in which he turned the tables on his drill sergeant (who didn’t resist all that much). Mr. Georgia Olympus Leather boy kyle’s fantasy was a humorous portrayal of an office worker whose sole knowledge of SM practices came from surfing the internet after business hours.

Mr. Florida Olympus Leather Allen Grim’s paint-by-flogger fantasy held the crowd spellbound. After warming up Maryland Mr. Drummer Paul Bohli’s bare backside with a flogger, Grim covered Bohli’s back with black paint and pressed a blank canvas to it. Then he dipped three floggers in blue, white and red paint and flogged the paint onto Bohli, pressing the canvas to Bohli’s back after each color. (The four colors are the colors of the leather-pride flag.) The canvas was later auctioned off, with the proceeds going to charity. Grim will be at this year’s International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago and will be happy to make the same kind of painting of your backside.

David Coral’s fantasy was a 1940’s-era Havana nightclub dream sequence (choreographed to Santana’s “Smooth”) that featured rip-away clothing, hot-wax play and clothespin “zippers” for a finale. In addition to playing the main character Coral also directed a relatively large cast, all of whom performed exceptionally; the fantasy’s movement, staging, lighting and sound work were impeccable. This should come as no surprise: Coral is a professional actor who was last seen as Guildenstern in Theatre in the Round’s recent production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

The Olympus Leather contest was part of the tenth annual Pantheon of Leather weekend held at Le Petit Theatre, located in the French Quarter in the heart of New Orleans. Each year Pantheon of Leather presents awards to leatherfolk around the world for distinguished community service and contributions to the leather/SM/fetish community and culture. This year 30 awards were handed out at the awards ceremony on Friday, Feb. 25—and, unlike last year, many of the award recipients were there in person to receive them. (Attendance in general for this year’s Pantheon/Olympus weekend was up 33% compared to last year’s event.)

Todd Leek is new Mr. Mpls. Eagle 2000

On Sunday, Feb. 27 (the same weekend that Pantheon/Olympus was happening in New Orleans) the Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000 contest was held in Minneapolis. The evening’s emcee was Minneapolis Eagle co-owner Greg Norton; judging the contest were International Mr. Leather 1997 Kevin Cwayna, Mr. Minnesota Olympus Leather 1998 B.D. Chambers, and Minneapolis Eagle co-owner Ed Hopkins. From a field of five contestants the judges selected Lonnell Callum as second runner-up, Robert Chatlos as first runner-up, and Todd Leek as the new Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000. Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 1999 Tim Forte was on hand to make a stepdown speech and present the sash to his successor.

The contest was structured along the lines of the International Mr. Leather contest. Contestants were interviewed privately by the judges before the contest; onstage judging events included a “keg walk” (the contestants traveled from one end of the bar to the other and back with an empty keg on their shoulder), an erotic reading, a 90-second speech on a leather topic, and answering a question on ageism.

Leek will go on to compete in the International Mr. Leather contest, taking place Memorial Day weekend in Chicago.

Mark Your Calendar: The Bizarre Bazaar

Discover all things erotic and exotic at the Bizarre Bazaar, presented in Minneapolis April 15 by Minnesota Stocks Debentures and Bonds (MSDB), a local pansexual BDSM/fetish group. Buy or sell clothing, adornments, collectibles, toys, furniture . . . anything related to BDSM, fetish, leather, kink, and similar lifestyles. There will be vendor displays and a silent auction benefiting a local charity (donations of auction items welcomed). For more details visit the MDSB website:

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Saturday, April 8
Atons Leather/Levi Night
Location and time to be determined
Call the Atons HotLine for more information and to make reservations. Information is also available at the club’s website:

Friday, March 10, 2000

“When Pigs Fly” Soars

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #125, March 10, 2000)

PHOTO: P1010046

PHOTO CAPTION: In a scene from When Pigs Fly, Ursus Torrente (with Richard Tscholl) asks the musical question “Why do they say I’m not all man?”


PHOTOS: P1010052, 053

PHOTO CAPTION: Ralph Schmidt, in a number from The Black Guard’s production of When Pigs Fly, shows why “Bigger is Better.”


PHOTOS: P1010058

PHOTO CAPTION: Some outrageous costumes from the When Pigs Fly finale: center, Carl Gscheidmeier wears a costume made of giftwrap; left, Bruce Gohr wears a gown made of black plastic trash bags; just behind Carl you can see part of the costume made of plastic soda bottles and disposable picnicware.


PHOTOS: P1010059, 060, 061

PHOTO CAPTION: The closing tableau from The Black Guard’s production of When Pigs Fly.


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PHOTO CAPTION: The “Wear Your Vanity With Pride” number from When Pigs Fly. Left to right: Mike Delorme, Carl Gscheidmeier, Richard Tscholl.


PHOTO: P1010033

PHOTO CAPTION: From The Black Guard production of When Pigs Fly: Four playing cards sing “If You Want To Win At Love, You’ve Got To Stay In The Game.” Left to right: Mike Delorme, Colin Spriestersbach, Ursus Torrente, Bruce Gohr.


PHOTO: P1010032

PHOTO CAPTION: Howard Crabtree (George Jones) listens to Miss Roundhole (Richard Tscholl) explain why he should forget the theater and take up “watch repair, plumbing, garden supplies or chicken farming” instead.


PHOTO: P1010030

PHOTO CAPTION: Carl Gscheidmeier, left, and George Jones in a patriotic moment from The Black Guard’s production of When Pigs Fly.


Howard Crabtree, one of the most flamboyant and outrageous theatrical costume designers ever, was brought back to spectacular life in the person of George Jones during The Black Guard’s recent production of When Pigs Fly. The high point of this year’s Black Frost run, the show was a good-natured, campy, over-the-top romp that was a triumphant follow-up to last year’s Black Frost Wizard of Oz show. Crabtree succumbed to AIDS complications shortly before When Pigs Fly opened in New York several years ago, but I’m sure he was right there with the rest of us on Feb. 19 at the Mall of America’s Camp Snoopy Playhouse enjoying The Black Guard’s production of his show.

The Black Guard actually presented a melding of two shows by Howard Crabtree, When Pigs Fly and Whoop-Dee-Doo. Since Crabtree was first and foremost a costume designer, the most distinctive feature of his shows is the huge number of truly amazing costumes. Unfortunately, there aren’t many theater companies that will tackle one of Crabtree’s shows for that very reason—they don’t have the resources to create all those costumes. For this production, The Black Guard tracked down and borrowed some of Crabtree’s original costumes that haven’t been seen on stage since the New York productions; they also obtained costumes from Normandale Community College and The Guthrie Theater. Many costumes were made by Black Guard members themselves, working from drawings or photographs of the New York productions, and some of the costumes were made in Florida.

The costumes were amazing enough that they could have carried the show, but fortunately they didn’t have to. I saw When Pigs Fly in New York, so I already knew the script and songs were good. (The show was conceived by Crabtree and Mark Waldrop; sketches and lyrics are by Waldrop with music by Dick Gallagher.) Costumes, script, songs, choreography, and great performances by every cast member combined to make a very entertaining evening.

The Black Guard spent six months creating this production, and it was obvious as I was watching it that a lot of time and love had gone into it. (The production was dedicated to the memories of both Crabtree and Scott Darst.) Even though most of the songs were lip-synched, cast members still had to learn the songs to be able to lip-synch them; they also had to learn the dialogue, choreography (from the original shows via videotape), and the sheer backstage logistics of entrances, exits and costume changes.

The show’s basic premise is that Howard (played by George Jones) is trying to put on a show and meets obstacle after obstacle—a temperamental star (played by co-director Carl Gscheidmeier), props not working, bills not paid, and the ever-present spectre of his high-school teacher Miss Roundhole (Richard Tscholl) telling him that show business is not a suitable career and that he should instead take up “a) watch repair, b) plumbing, c) selling garden supplies or d) chicken farming.”

In spite of these threatened setbacks, Howard and the rest of the company managed to present over 25 witty song-and-dance numbers touching on gay issues relating from relationships to politics. “(If You Want To Win At Love) You’ve Got To Stay In The Game” features four chorusboys dressed as playing cards, while “Stuck On You” has three chorusboys dressed as bees buzzing around a giant No-Pest Strip. “Wear Your Vanity With Pride” contrasts the eighteenth-century European ideal of beauty, and the torments of powdered wigs and arsenic-whitened skin, with today’s gym-body ideal of gay male beauty (which includes its own torments). Politics were the subject of “You Can’t Take The Color Out of Colorado” and tongue-in-cheek torch song tributes by Colin Spriestersbach to Newt Gingrich, Strom Thurmond and Rush Limbaugh.

“You Are My Idol” paid homage to show-biz divas, starting with Mike Delorme playing a jungle savage impersonating Carol Channing, and continuing with Steve Burroughs as Judy Garland as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz (shades of last year’s show!); producer and co-director Steve Katz as Barbra Streisand; George Jones as Mae West; Steve Bame as Bette Davis; special guest star Ava Monet as Marilyn Monroe; and finally with Gscheidmeier as an older Judy Garland singing “The Magic of Me.”

Rounding out the high-energy cast were Ursus Torrente, Ralph Schmidt and Bruce Gohr. According to co-director Gscheidmeier, “None of us are professional actors—it’s all for fun.” And what fun it was! True, there were a few rough edges present, such as the occasional forgotten line or late entrance, but they were handled with such grace and good humor that they only made the production more endearing.

Take a bow, everyone, and see you next year.

College Students Flock to “Radical Sex” Seminar

Also on Feb. 19, your humble columnist was one of four panelists presenting a “Coming to Terms with Radical Sex” seminar at the Midwestern Lesbian-Gay-Bisexual-Transgender College Conference 2000. College students from throughout the midwest came to the campus of St. Cloud State College in St. Cloud, Minnesota, for a weekend of workshops, discussions, and keynote speakers dealing with GLBT movement activism on campus and how it relates to other social-justice movements.

The “Radical Sex” seminar dealt with leather/SM and also with polyamory. The other panelists were Ms. Minnesota Leather Mario, transsexual-polyamorous activity Aaron Lichtov, and Dennis, a St. Cloud-area leatherman. (The seminar’s moderator was Jeff Ringer.) I am proud to say that this was the best-attended break-out seminar of its time period, and maybe of the whole conference—the room was packed to capacity. Each panel member spoke for five to ten minutes, and then it was question-and-answer time. When it was over, a lot of good information had been exchanged, and hopefully many young minds had been opened to some interesting possibilities. If this is a representative sampling of the interest in “radical sex” among the younger generation, the future is looking very bright indeed.

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Saturday, March 11

Atons Leather/Levi Night
Location and time to be determined
Call the Atons HotLine for more information and to make reservations. Information is also available at the club’s website:

Friday, March 17

Atons Club Colors Wearing of the Green Party
7:30-10:30 PM, The Minneapolis Eagle

Tuesday, March 7, 2000

Speechless No More

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #203, March 7, 2003)

This year’s Pantheon of Leather Community Service Awards were presented Feb. 15 in the auditorium of the Leather Archives & Museum in Chicago. Your humble columnist was surprised (to the point of speechlessness) to be the recipient of one of this year’s President’s Awards.

I should, I suppose, first explain why I was so surprised. Every year Pantheon of Leather presents awards in a number of categories (this year it was 28) for which nominations are sought: Man of the Year, Woman of the Year, Couple/Club/Club Event/Business of the Year, Lifetime Achievement, etc. as well as several regional award categories. The recipients of the awards are then chosen either by a selection panel of the previous year’s award winners, or (for the Community Choice awards) by write-in voting from the entire community, or (for the Lifetime Achievement award) by consensus of the members of the Pantheon of Leather Board. I was one of twelve nominees for this year’s Midwest Regional Award (which went to Larry Manion, who is very active both locally in St. Louis and on the national scene as well).

Recipients of the President’s Awards, however, are chosen by the president of the Pantheon of Leather board; generally, three awards are presented each year. Since no nominations are involved, there is no advance notice of the possibility of receiving the award. Dave Rhodes, publisher of The Leather Journal and current Pantheon of Leather board president, explained that the President’s Award might be given to people who are overlooked in the nomination process, people who are nominated year after year but miss winning the award by a few voting points, or “sometimes we just feel it’s the right time for them to get [the award]. It’s kind of a wild card.”

I didn’t know Rhodes was referring to me when he said, “Some of the overlooked people in the [Pantheon] awards are journalists . . . . This man has been important for many years out there. There has not been any scandal in his reporting. He’s there in his region and has done some things nationally. He’s also held one of the Drummer titles, I believe in 1994-95.” When he mentioned the Drummer title it suddenly dawned on me that he might be talking about me, but I was still stunned when he announced my name as the recipient of the third President’s Award.

I walked up to the stage and was handed the award, made of very nice (and very heavy) crystal. Then I was handed the microphone. I’m sure my face looked about as blank as a TV test pattern as I so eloquently said, after a long pause during which I could think of absolutely nothing to say: “I’m speechless. Thank you!”

Well, hindsight is always 20/20, and all that. If I had not been so completely surprised, here’s what I would have said on the stage at Pantheon (and I’m absolutely sure there wouldn’t have been a dry eye in the house by the time I finished):

“I have many people to thank. First of all: The only reason I’m able to write what I write is because of the efforts of all those who have gone before me—many of whom are in this auditorium right now, and many more of whom are represented in the museum’s galleries downstairs. Among these people would be, of course, Dave Rhodes.

“Secondly, the only reason anyone gets to read what I’ve written is because of the efforts of the publisher, editor and staff of Lavender Magazine, which has been my literary home for eight years now, and because of Joe Gallagher’s commitment to, which steers readers to my column on Lavender’s web page.

“Finally, thank you to all of you, the members of this vibrant community, who keep supplying me with events and ideas to write about.”

Mr./Ms Olympus Leather Contest 2003

Also part of the Pantheon weekend was the 2003 Mr./Ms. Olympus Leather Contest—Sunday evening, Feb. 16, in the auditorium at the Chicago Eagle. Five female contestants and four male contestants competed. Highlights of the evening:

• During her fantasy performance Ms. Illinois Olympus Leather 2003 Miss Charlotte did an actual real-life onstage piercing of contestant Daddy Carl’s nipple. During his subsequent onstage question-and-answer session Daddy Carl noted that he had to make a change to his contest application: “I DO have a piercing.”

• The two Las Vegas contestants, Ms. Nevada Leather 2002 Debbie Fox and Mr. Nevada Leather 2002 Sir Kenneth Griffin Morgan, appeared in each other’s entertaining but startlingly similar fantasies, both to musical accompaniment by Tom Lehrer. Fox’s fantasy was a nicely choreographed “Masochism Tango,” while Morgan’s was the equally perverse “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park.” And both finished the evening as runners-up in their contest.

• Ms. Gulf States Olympus Leather Angel Melly (from Birmingham, Ala.) spent the weekend wearing a halo that appeared to be made out of a white feather boa. One of her onstage questions: Suppose she was traveling on business and the airline lost her luggage, leaving her with only a polo shirt, khakis and loafers. Would she still go to the local leather bar? Her instant response: “You’re damn skippy I would, because somebody would be cutting ’em off with a knife!”

• At the conclusion of the evening the new Olympus Leather titleholders were announced: Mr. Olympus Leather 2003, from Daphne, Ala., is Mr. Gulf States Olympus Leather 2003 Robert. Ms. Olympus Leather 2003, from Tempe, Ariz., is Bootpig. Earlier in the evening Bootpig had been asked if she would tell her family and coworkers if she won; she replied, “I would tell everybody except my mother, who still thinks I’m a virgin.”

Full details of the Olympus Leather contest, as well as photos and a complete list of this year’s Pantheon of Leather award winners, will be in an upcoming edition of The Leather Journal and will also be available at