Friday, February 23, 2001

Mr. Mpls. Eagle 2001 Contest

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #150, February 23, 2001)

It was Friday afternoon, the end of the workweek, and a female co-worker (whom I assume is heterosexual) asked me if I had “anything fun planned for the weekend.” I mentioned that actually, I did—I was going be a judge at a contest. “Oh, really?” she exclaimed. “What kind of contest?” Well, the contest was Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001, but I didn’t really want to go into that much detail about leather bars and leather contests. So I offered what I thought was a simple, easy-to-understand explanation: “Well, it’s sort of like the Miss America Pageant, only it’s guys.” Her response caught me off guard, though it probably shouldn’t have: “Oh, really? Do you know who Miss Richfield is? I just love her! I think Jason in the accounting department is a friend of hers—I mean his—no, I mean hers!”

Note to self: Must stop explaining leather contests to non-leatherfolk by comparing them to the Miss America pageant. People misunderstand. They interpret the phrase “the Miss America Pageant, only it’s guys,” to mean guys in evening gowns and lots of makeup.

I absolutely think the world of Miss Richfield (1981), but I didn’t see her at the Eagle during the contest. The Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 contest was all about men—hot, sexy, masculine men in leather. And it was about choosing one of them to represent the Eagle, and the Twin Cities leather community, at the upcoming International Mr. Leather (IML) contest in Chicago.

This year’s Mr. Minneapolis Eagle contest started with private contestant interviews on Saturday afternoon, February 10. The four judges (Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000 Todd Leek, Atons president Sam Carlisle, Black Guard president Rick Stokes and your humble columnist) interviewed each of the three contestants in a format patterned after the contestant interviews at IML.

The action continued Saturday evening with a meet-and-greet at the Eagle. While officially a non-judging event, the judges are always watching the contestants at events like these to see how good they are at—what else?—meeting and greeting.

Then at 8 PM on Sunday, February 11, came the public portion of the contest. It was a large and good-looking crowd that packed the Eagle that night, and they were ready for a good time. They weren’t disappointed.

Emcee for the evening was the incredibly hunky Dan Bergman, a bartender at Boom! who was moonlighting for the evening. (Bergman will shortly be releasing a CD entitled “Beautiful Mess”—watch for it.)

The first judging event of the contest was the Eagle’s traditional Keg Walk, during which the contestants walked the entire length of the bar while shouldering a beer keg. Contestant Steven Due showed some creativity in this category by only carrying the keg for the first half of the walk; he commandeered a boy from the audience to carry it the rest of the way. As Due explained, it was “a little bit of role reversal—a bottom having a boy!”

Next, each contestant gave a short leather-related speech and then had to answer a randomly-selected leather-related question. In his speech, contestant Due talked about coming out and self-acceptance in both a leather and a GLBT sense. Contestant Scott Kelley, familiar to many in the audience as the sales rep for Fit to a T Leather, talked about the history and primal aspects of leather, and contestant Lonnell Callum used his speech to get some call-and-response action going with the audience.

For the third and final judging round each contestant presented an erotic reading. The lights in the bar were dimmed and Due read a short selection from a book while surrounded by a bevy of gorgeous leathermen wielding flashlights. Kelley didn’t need no stinkin’ flashlights as he powerfully and seductively recited a tale of his own invention—no written script needed. (Who knows? Rather than inventing it, he may have been simply remembering it.) Callum initially had trouble reading in the darkness, but he also presented a powerful erotic reading once Kelley came to his rescue by leaping up on the stage to hold a flashlight. The readings seemed to have the desired effect on the audience—when this contest segment was over I felt like I needed an after-sex cigarette, and I don’t even smoke.

Contest results: Second runner-up honors went to Callum; first runner-up honors went to Kelley; and winner Due will be representing The Minneapolis Eagle and the Twin Cities leather community at the 2001 International Mr. Leather contest. If you plan to journey to Chicago to see him compete, better make your travel arrangements soon. Start by visiting the IML website,, for all the details. Host hotel is the Palmer House in Chicago; at this writing there are still rooms available, but they’ll go fast.

FEB. 10: Some of the good-looking crowd at the Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 Meet & Greet.

ME011-24: Randy and Steve

ME011-23: Bruce, Jim and contestant Scott Kelley.

ME011-22: Steve

ME011-21: Steve and contestant Steven Due.

ME011-19: Paul and Bob.

ME011-18: Jeff and Frank.

ME011-17: David, Mike, TJ and Scott.

ME011-16: Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 1999 Tim Forte and John.

ME011-15: John and Jim.

ME011-14, ME011-13, ME011-12: The contestants. Steven Due, Lonnell Callum, Scott Kelley.

FEB. 11: The evening of the contest.

ME011-11: Outgoing Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000 (and chief judge for this contest) Todd Leek.

ME011-10: Contestant Steven Due during the Keg Walk portion of the contest.

ME011-09, ME011-08, ME011-07: Contestant Scott Kelley during the Keg Walk.

ME011-06, ME011-05, ME011-04, ME011-03: Contestant Lonnell Callum during the Keg Walk.

ME011-02: Emcee Dan Bergman and contestants Steven Due, Lonnell Callum and Scott Kelley at the conclusion of the Keg Walk.

ME011-01: Contestants Steven Due, Lonnell Callum and Scott Kelley at the conclusion of the Keg Walk.

ME012-24: Emcee Dan Bergman and contestant Steven Due answering the pop question.

ME012-23: Emcee Dan Bergman and contestant Scott Kelley during the speech/Q&A segment of the contest.

ME012-22, ME012-21: Contestant Scott Kelley finishing up the speech/Q&A segment.

ME012-20, ME012-19: Contestant Lonnell Callum at the end of the speech/Q&A segment, accepting the crowd’s applause.

ME012-18: Rob and Dale.

ME012-17: Charles and Gabe.

ME012-16: Steven Due just found out he’s the new Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001.

ME012-15: Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000 Todd Leek hands over the sash to Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 Steven Due.

ME012-14, ME012-13: First runner-up Scott Kelley; Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 Steven Due; second runner-up Lonnell Callum.

ME012-12: Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 Steven Due.

ME012-11: Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2001 Steven Due and Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2000 Todd Leek.

ME012-10: The staff at the Eagle: bartender James, owner Ed Hopkins, manager Greg, bartender Jesse.

Friday, February 9, 2001

Investigating the Real Marquis de Sade

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #149, February 9, 2001)

What is there about the Marquis de Sade? Comte Donatien Alphonse Francois de Sade was born in France in 1740 and died there in 1814. But his legend lives on and keeps growing (aided by movies like Quills), making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. A complete biography is beyond the scope of this column, but there are many sources of information about (and analysis of) the man, his life, his works, and the times in which he lived. If you’ve recently seen Quills and want to know more about de Sade, simply visit your bookstore or library, or type “Marquis de Sade” into your web browser’s search engine and see what comes up.

Here are a few things to keep in mind as you investigate the Marquis:

If you want to learn about de Sade’s life, it helps if you are already familiar with what was going on in France and the rest of Europe during the 1700s and 1800s—royalty, wars, revolutions, that sort of thing. These were events that helped shape de Sade’s life and writings, and it’s impossible to really understand him apart from this historical context. If you don’t know much about this era, though, don’t worry; you’ll pick it up as you go along.

Another thing that might come in handy is a degree in philosophy. de Sade was as much a philosopher as a pornographer, and if the sex and brutality in de Sade’s work was scandalous, so was the world view behind it. It continues to be scandalous, and therefore good fodder for philosophical discussion, to this day.

If you want to read some of those scandalous writings, you’re in luck—after being banned or misplaced for years, they’re now readily available. Be aware, however, that you might find them difficult reading. You may find the sex scenes titillating, repulsive, or both, and you may find the writing style overly florid to the point of either laughter or boredom. Gay men may be bored or turned off by the constant barrage of overembroidered descriptions of the female anatomy, and many women will find the Marquis to be obnoxiously chauvinistic. (Incidentally, the word “chauvinistic” expresses another concept which arose in eighteenth-century France.)

Keep in mind that the Marquis wrote in French, so if you are reading him in English you are necessarily reading a translation. I’m told that reading his works in the original French is a much different (and most would say more pleasureable) experience.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, keep this in mind: Today’s leather/SM community is about safe, sane and consensual SM play. Note that word “play,” and note the fact that the community refers to people who engage in SM as “players.” The Marquis was not concerned with safety, sanity, or consensuality, and he was not playing—he was dead serious. He was a Marquis, a nobleman, and an aristocrat. He, like much of the rest of the aristocracy of the time, thought he was above the rules that governed ordinary people. If, in the course of pleasuring himself, he injured (or killed) a prostitute, what did he care? She was of no importance.

That’s not the philosophy of today’s leather/SM community—if it was, we would have all killed each other by now. That’s why, as I said last issue, the Marquis is a somewhat embarrassing patron saint and poster-boy for the community. It’s why the leather/SM community has, to a certain extent, distanced itself from the terms “sadism” and “masochism,” or even “S&M,” preferring simply “SM”—which for some people means “sex magic.”

MSDB presents “Sex Sells: How to Write and Sell Erotica” March 9-11

If the Marquis’ writing inspires you to create your own—or if you don’t care for it and think you could do better—local kink group MSDB has just the workshop for you. Learn how to tap into a booming literary market. Discover the secrets of writing erotica: how to free your creativity and get past inhibitions, how to avoid cliches, common mistakes and pitfalls, how to write what editors and publishers will want to buy, and more. The workshop will be led by M. Christian, author and editor of several current erotic books. For more information, write to MSDB, Minneapolis MN, or visit

Upcoming Leather Events (for Calendar section)

Friday, Feb. 9: Leather Beer Bust and Dance Night, Trikkx in St. Paul. This will be a recurring event on the second Friday of every month. Host Jim Dryden invites you to “create some leather presence in St. Paul for those of us on this side of the river.” All the beer you can drink for $5 and all the pop/soda you can drink for $1 from 7 to 9 PM. Dancing continues until closing.

Friday-Saturday, Feb. 9-10: Mr. Minneapolis Eagle contest, details to follow.

Saturday, Feb. 10: Atons Leather/Levi Night, details to follow.

Saturday, Feb. 17: Levi Leather Night at The Main Club, 1217 Tower Ave., Superior, WI. This is the kick-off event for The Main Club’s Old Anniversary Week. Call for more information.