Friday, June 25, 2004

Sex, Drugs and Hard Bodies: Tony Mills at the Saloon

(Article published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #237, June 25, 2004)

Dr. Tony Mills, a medical doctor treating patients living with HIV, is a long-term HIV survivor himself. He’s International Mr. Leather 1998 and a model for Colt Studios.

With credentials like that, it was no surprise that on Thursday, June 10, about 100 people packed the dance floor of The Saloon in Minneapolis to hear Dr. Mills discuss “Sex, Drugs and Hard Bodies.” A light dinner was served before Mills’ presentation.

Dr. Mills is Assistant Professor of Clinical Medicine at the UCLA School of Medicine and is also in private practice (<>). During his year as International Mr. Leather Dr. Mills was asked by HX, a magazine for gay men in New York City, to write an article on men’s health issues.

That led to his first men’s health presentation before an audience, which occurred at New York City’s Splash bar. Now, several years and many presentations later, Mills was in Minneapolis to deliver his take on the health issues concerning men today.

Mills started by talking about “Sex,” sharing with the audience the latest information on sexually-transmitted diseases including AIDS/HIV, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, syphilis and drug-resistant staph.

The next segment of Mills’ presentation, “Drugs,” dealt with ketamine (‘K” or “Special K”), GHB, crystal meth and other popular but problematic party substances. The “Hard Bodies” portion of the discussion dealt with the use of testosterone and anabolic steroids.

Other topics of discussion included poppers, erectile-dysfunction remedies such as Viagra/Levitra/Cialis, and the need for people living with HIV to be aware of cardiovascular and cardiopulmonary health issues.

Bill Burleson, representing the HIM Program of the Red Door Clinic, noted that Dr. Mills had given another presentation earlier in the day for health professionals. Burleson said he was impressed with Dr. Mills’ “client-centered” approach to AIDS/HIV and other health issues.

Another compliment for Dr. Mills came from medical student Mark Dunham: ‘I wish we had such good presentations in medical school.”

Also on hand for the evening were representatives of the organizations that made the presentation happen: pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott Laboratories (which has also underwritten other talks by Dr. Mills) and area men’s health groups Project Positive (Clinic 42/Abbott-Northwestern Hospital), HIM Program (Red Door Clinic, Minneapolis), Pride Alive/Minnesota AIDS Project, Pillsbury House Communities, Minneapolis Urban League, Minnesota Soul Essence and the Minnesota Department of Health.

PHOTO: Dr. Tony Mills, right, with Kevin Sitter, a representative of Project Positive/Clinic 42, Abbott Northwestern Hospital.

Lambda Legal Publishes Little Black Book; What To Do If You’re Arrested While Cruising

(Article published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #237, June 25, 2004)

Spring is almost here. For some men, that means the outdoor cruising season will soon begin.

Unfortunately, whether outdoors or indoors, cruising for man-to-man sex in public or semi-public places carries with it the danger of police harassment.

Little Black Book, a new one-page publication by Lambda Legal, tells men who have sex with men what to do—and what not to do—if they are harassed or arrested while cruising.

The publication is part of a major national campaign by Lambda Legal to fight police harassment and other harms men face when cruising for sex.

Plans call for Little Black Book and its Spanish-language companion, El Librito Privado, to be distributed both in print and online through links on high-traffic websites catering to men who have sex with men.

According to Michael Adams, Director of Education and Public Affairs at Lambda Legal, “There have been many cases where police have entrapped men or intimidated them into giving up their rights.”

This happens in part because many gay men taken into police custody do not know their basic civil rights, and therefore allow them to be trampled upon by prosecutors or the police.

In some cases, according to Adams, police and local prosecutors inappropriately use laws, such as sodomy laws, that have been struck down and are no longer on the books.

Besides being a good primer on those basic civil rights, Little Black Book debunks many longstanding cruising myths.

For example, men who leave their driver’s license at home or in the car when they cruise might want to reconsider that habit. The publication notes that if you’re arrested, “Providing your ID (driver’s license, green card, passport) may decrease your chances of spending time in jail, especially if you don’t have a criminal record.”

Another example in Little Black Book might come as news to many men: “A cop doesn’t have to tell you he’s a cop, even if you ask.” Even if the undercover officer is hitting on you (rather than you unwittingly hitting on a cop), the publication notes that entrapment is difficult to prove.

Lambda Legal represented the plaintiffs in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas and scored a major victory when, as a result of that case, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down all laws banning consensual sex by adults in private, including oral and anal sex.

However, there are still many other laws on the books that can be used against men busted while cruising, such as laws against sex in public, laws against adultery or prostitution, or laws against criminal transmission of HIV.

The stakes can be high for men arrested while cruising. The publication notes that a conviction, or even simply being arrested, can result in a fine, jail time, forfeiting property, having to register as a “sex offender,” and can have consequences affecting military or immigration status, employment, licensing or child custody.

Many men panic when they are arrested. According to Little Black Book, that’s one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Other things to avoid are “trying to get it over with quickly by ‘confessing,’ trying to talk your way out of the problem, or trying to deal with the police on your own.”

Lambda Legal instead advises men who are arrested while cruising to remain calm and provide identification but to answer no questions without a lawyer. And not just any lawyer—”Your lawyer should be a criminal defense attorney, who understands the law and the courts where the arrest occurred.”

The full text of Little Black Book and El Librito Privado can be viewed and downloaded as a PDF file at Lambda Legal’s website (<>). The publication is being distributed to LGBT community centers, HIV/AIDS organizations that do safer sex programming, community-based health organizations and gay and lesbian national hotlines.

Plans call for banner ads linking to Little Black Book on the websites of various non-profit groups serving the LGBT and HIV communities. In addition, links to the publication will be placed on the home pages of high-traffic websites including Badpuppy, Cruising For Sex and Kinky Personals.

Yahoo groups that will post a link to Little Black Book on their homepages include Best Gay Sex Spots, Best Gay Sex Places, New York City PozQueers and Mano a Mano.

Lambda Legal is the oldest and largest non-profit legal organization devoted to advancing civil rights for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, the transgendered and people with HIV or AIDS. Founded in 1973, the organization is headquartered in New York City and maintains four regional offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta and Dallas.

Lambda Legal Offers Help Desk

One popular community service provided by Lambda Legal is a Help Desk. During certain hours Lambda Legal staff respond directly to callers seeking legal information and assistance with sexual orientation- and HIV/AIDS-related discrimination. The organization says it receives many Help Desk calls from men looking for legal assistance after being arrested or harassed by the police while cruising.

To the extent that the organization’s resources and priorities allow, Lambda Legal takes on legal representation of callers whose situations present significant litigation issues. For many others, Lambda Legal provides leads to other organizations and practical information that might help them address their problems.

Minnesotans can call the Help Desk at Lambda Legal’s Midwestern Regional Office in Chicago at 312-663-4413. Hours (Central Time, subject to change) are Tuesdays 1-3:30 P.M., Wednesdays 2-4:30 P.M. and Thursdays 10:30 A.M.-1 P.M.

Spanish Help Desk assistance is available Wednesdays 10 A.M.-noon by calling the South Central Regional Office in Dallas at 214-219-8585.

Lambda Legal says it greatly prefers to offer Help Desk assistance by telephone. If this is impossible, however, individuals can send an e-mail to <>. It is very important to include in the e-mail the city and state where the incident occurred, so that the organization can refer to the laws of the correct jurisdiction.

Leather Lens: International Mr. Leather 2004

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #237, June 25, 2004)

Jason Hendrix of Washington, D.C., was chosen as the twenty-sixth International Mr. Leather (IML) on May 30 in Chicago. Here are pictures of some of the moments that made up this year’s IML weekend.

(These are photos of the new International Mr. Leather, Jason Hendrix, that you can outline and use as a graphic element , or possibly screen back and use as wallpaper.)

Thursday, 5/27, 10:06 P.M. Mr. Padlock Leather 2004 Rohno Geppert, from Phoenix, Ariz., draws his contestant number during the Thursday night opening ceremonies and contestant introduction. (He drew number 18).

Friday, 5/28, 3:28 P.M. The 2004 International Mr. Bootblack contest was another feature of IML weekend. Bootblack contestant Spanky, Mr. Mid Atlantic Bootblack from Washington, D.C., is shown practicing his craft.

Friday, 5/28, 4:06 P.M. Host hotel for this year’s IML weekend was the Hyatt Regency Chicago. This is the way the second-level lobby bar, “BIG,” looked all weekend. It’s the longest free-standing bar in North America. The bar’s motto also sums up many people’s IML experience: “Where bigger is better and more is more.”

Saturday, 5/29, 4:45 P.M. Some of the crowd at The Minnesota Party, held at Gentry on State Street. Left to right: Steve Brinduse, Jeffrey Winkler, Terry Cole, and Eric Pankratz.

Saturday, 5/29, 4:52 P.M. The Minnesota Party at the Gentry. Left to right: Chris Boudewyns, Mr. Mpls. Eagle 2004 Carl Byrd, Minneapolis Eagle owner Ed Hopkins, and Adam Johnson.

Saturday, 5/29, 9:41 P.M. Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2004 Carl Byrd during Saturday night’s Pecs & Personality prejudging at the Hyatt.

Saturday, 5/29, 10:59 P.M. Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2004 Carl Byrd during Saturday night’s Pecs & Personality prejudging at the Hyatt.

Saturday, 5/29, 9:12 P.M. Mr. Minneapolis Eagle 2004 Carl Byrd during Saturday night’s Pecs & Personality prejudging at the Hyatt.

Saturday, 5/29, 9:22 P.M. Contestants onstage during Saturday night’s Pecs & Personality prejudging. Left to right: Bavarian Mr. Leather Robert Hoepfner, Mr. Fetish Switzerland Thomas Schoch, Mr. Leatherman Toronto Remi Collette, German Mr. Leather Philipp Tanzer, Mr. Exile-Columbus (Ohio) Robert Dean Haas, Mr. Iowa Leather Robert Hawes, and Mr. Santa Clara County (Calif.) Leather Khol (partially shown at right).

Sunday, 5/30, 1:33 P.M. Former Minnesota resident Roger Gregg, now with Gotham Piercing, shows off some body jewelry at his booth in the Leather Market at the Hyatt. Gothan was one of approximately 120 vendors at this year’s Leather Market.

Sunday, 5/30, 6:29 P.M. All 56 contestants are onstage during the IML Contest Sunday night.

Sunday, 5/30, 10:36 P.M. Victory! Center, new International Mr. Leather Jason Hendrix flanked by, left, first runner-up Remi Collette and , right, second runner-up Thomas Schoch. Not shown is the new International Mr. Bootblack Alan Tunstall.

Sunday, 5/30, 10:36 P.M. Victory! Center (standing), new International Mr. Leather Jason Hendrix flanked by, left, first runner-up Remi Collette and , right, second runner-up Thomas Schoch. Kneeling in front is the new International Mr. Bootblack Alan Tunstall.

Monday, 5/31, 1:54 P.M. At the conclusion of the press conference, the new IML is surrounded by other competitors.

Friday, June 11, 2004

Minnesota Leather Pride 2004: United In Spirit

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #236, June 11, 2004)

“United In Spirit” is the motto of the Minnesota Leather Pride 2004 celebration, and the theme of leather/BDSM spirituality is woven through many of this year’s events.

This year Minnesota Leather Pride is spread over ten days, commencing on Friday, June 18 and climaxing on Sunday, June 27, which is also the final day of the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Celebration.

Scheduled to appear at Leather Pride events this year are noted local and national leather/BDSM activist/educators including Cleo Dubois and Fakir Musafar, bullwhip expert Robert Dante, dominatrix Amanda Wildefyre and, from London, International Mr. Leather 2003 John Pendal.

The many events being presented this year have required months of planning by the Minnesota Leather Pride planning committee. The committee includes members of various local leather/BDSM organizations as well as several independent community members. Official sponsors of this year’s Leather Pride events are Atons of Minneapolis, Knights of Leather, Minnesota Storm Patrol, MSDB, Shannon Blowtorch and Whipsters.

Minnesota Leather Pride is an all-volunteer, not-for-profit organization whose aim is primarily to cover the costs of presenting the Leather Pride events. In addition to admission charges at some events, Minnesota Leather Pride is supported by the sale of Leather Pride dog tags. The dog tags, a Minnesota Leather Pride tradition, look great on everybody and are eminently collectible. Besides, they entitle you to discounts on admissions to several of this year’s events and a 10% discount at Dreamhaven Books (904 W. Lake St., Minneapolis) during the month of June. Buy your dog tag at area businesses (see <> for a list of participating sellers), at many Minnesota Leather Pride events, or at the Leather Pride booth in Loring Park during the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Celebration.

Several of this year’s Leather Pride events are included in the 2004 Minnesota Leather Pride Package, which includes the 2004 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag and admission to three workshops and a ritual.

Priced at $45, the package represents a significant savings over the price of the events purchased individually. Also, space is limited at many of the events included in the package and only package-holders can be guaranteed admission. (The availability of tickets on an individual-event basis will be dependent on space available.) A limited number of packages will be sold. You can download a package order form at <>.

Here’s the schedule of events for Minnesota Leather Pride 2004. Information is subject to change; visit <> for additional information, updates and presenter biographies.

Trampling Demo (Atons Fetish Friday)
Friday, June 18, 10PM-Midnight, Minneapolis Eagle
This is the first official Leather Pride event (and a great place to buy your dog tag). Trampling is literally “walking all over someone”—and in a range of footwear, too. Sharina Nicole and Michael, the presenters, will also present a trampling workshop the following Tuesday (see below). No admission charge.

Saturday, June 19, 8-9PM, Minneapolis Eagle
A large-scale celebration of flogging (and another easy chance to buy your dog tag). No admission charge.

CBT for Daddy’s Day
Sunday, June 20, 2-4PM, Intermedia Arts (2822 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis)
Learn all about the arts of CBT (cock and ball torture) from local dominatrix and performance artist Amanda Wildefyre. Admission is included in 2004 Leather Pride package or $7 at the door for non-package holders ($5 with dog tag).

Minneapolis Eagle Beer Bash
Sunday, June 20, 4-8PM, Minneapolis Eagle
Dog tags will be available as well as “all-u-can-swallow” beer.

A Smattering of BDSM Smorgasbord
Tuesday, June 22, 6:30-9:30PM, Patrick’s Cabaret (3010 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis)
An evening of three workshops: Singletail with noted singletail expert Robert Dante; Trampling with Sharina Nicole and Michael; and Punching/Breath Play with Jazz Thomas and International Mr. Leather 2003 John Pendal. Admission in included in package or $12 at the door for non-package holders if space is available ($10 with dog tag).

Spirituality Roundtable
Wednesday, June 23, 7-10PM, The Townhouse Bar (Blanche’s Cabaret), St. Paul
Join many of this year’s Leather Pride presenters and other community members in a roundtable discussion of the spiritual dimensions of leather/BDSM. Admission: free with dog tag (or purchase your dog tag at this event).

Workshop: The Magic of Temporary Piercing with Cleo Dubois and Fakir Musafar
Thursday, June 24, 6:30PM
An exciting three-hour program on temporary piercing (also called “play piercing” in the BDSM community). Origins, spiritual ramifications and rituals of other cultures involving temporary piercing will be explored, as well as techniques and safety considerations. Admission: included in package or $30 for individual event if space is available ($25 with dog tag). (See for more details.)

Leather Pride Booth in Loring Park
Saturday, June 26 during Festival of Pride hours
Drop by the Leather Pride Committee’s booth at the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Celebration. The booth will be staffed by representatives of area leather/BDSM clubs and organizations. Community information will be available, and you can buy your dog tag if you haven’t already bought one. We’re easy to find—just look for the cage.

Spirit+Flesh: Ecstatic Rites Beyond Play Piercing with Cleo Dubois and Fakir Musafar
Saturday, June 26, 4-11PM for participants and dancers (8-10:30PM for witnesses)
Experience an exotic exploration of rites that move energy. Learn how piercing ceremonies in other cultures have been adapted to the contemporary BDSM world for consciousness shifting, vision questing, healing, and strengthening group connections. Workshop participants will receive preparatory instructions and exercises before being assisted by dancers in creating an intense group body ritual. Non-participants will witness and support the ritual. Witness admission is included in package or $30 for individual event if space is available ($25 with dog tag). See for more details including participant and dancer admission costs.

Pride Parade Leather Contingent
Sunday, June 27, 10:30AM (parade steps off at 11AM), intersection of Hennepin and Washington Aves., Minneapolis
Come show your pride by helping to carry the 75-foot leather community flag in the Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade. (Wear sunscreen and comfortable boots.)

Leather Pride in Loring Park
Sunday, June 27 during Festival of Pride hours
(See listing for Saturday, June 26)

In addition to these Minnesota Leather Pride events, leather types will be gathering during Pride Weekend at The Minneapolis Eagle for Scorch Fireball V. The beer tent will be open Friday and Saturday at 7PM ($5 admission). On Sunday the beer tent will open at 6PM ($10 admission) and will feature live music: local favorites All The Pretty Horses will be opening for Lola and the Red Hots. (You might know “Lola” as Tina of Tina and the B-Sides.)