Friday, June 20, 2008

International Mr. Leather 2008: The numbers tell the tale

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #341, June 20, 2008)

XXX: Roman numerals for 30—this year’s International Mr. Leather (IML) contest weekend was the thirtieth-anniversary event. (You thought XXX was the rating for the weekend’s activities? Pure coincidence.)

2,019: Number of rooms in the Chicago Hyatt Regency hotel. Setting a record, IML filled them all.

400: Approximate number of audience members for the first IML contest, 1979.

15,000 (or more): Approximate number of attendees for the IML weekend in 2008.

12: Number of contestants in the first IML contest, 1979.

51: Number of contestants this year.

23: Number of states represented by contestants. (Minnesota, alas, was not among them.)

7: Number of foreign countries represented this year (many by more than one contestant). It truly is an international event.

1,382: Number of contestants IML has seen in the last thirty years.

30: Number of years it took to have a contestant in a wheelchair roll across the IML stage: contestant number 33, Richard Hubley, Mr. Leather Ottawa 2008.

5: Number of International Mr. Bootblack contestants. Winner was Boot Dog, from Castro Valley, Calif., sponsored by Alameda County Leather Corps.

70,000: Square feet of space occupied by the Leather Market.

125: Number of vendors in the Leather Market.

$3,200: Price of IML 30 winner’s ring by Juan Ponce. White gold, black diamonds, white diamonds, Ceylon sapphires and a Burmese heart-shaped ruby. A very limited edition, but Ponce also makes a similar leather pride ring and has many other unique jewelry offerings. <>

160: Length in feet of the Hyatt Regency’s bar known as Big, centerpiece of what was, for the weekend anyway, the largest leather bar in the universe. (It’s the longest freestanding bar in North America. And trust me, the bar really is there behind all those people.)

11: IML titleholders from past years on hand for this year’s festivities (including outgoing IML 2007 Mikel Gerle, right).

47: Contestant number of the new IML, Gary Iriza (center), Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2008 (sponsored by PSLOD-Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert, The Barracks Bar and Gear). First runner up was contestant number 41, Bob Firth-Tessier (right), M. Cuir Montreal 2008 (sponsored by Priape of Montreal, Canada and Inseam Clothing of Boston, Mass.). Second runner up was contestant number 17, Scott Melton (left), Mr. Ramrod 2008 (sponsored by The Ramrod Bar of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.).

Friday, June 6, 2008

“Tie the Knot” at MN Leather Pride

(Leather Life column published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #340, June 6, 2008)

GRAPHIC: “Tie the Knot” dogtag.

“Tie the Knot” is the theme of Minnesota Leather Pride 2008. A full schedule of Minnesota Leather Pride events starts June 5 and obtains simultaneous climax with the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Festival on June 28 and 29. This year’s Pride Parade will introduce a brand-new giant Leather Pride flag.

The 2008 collectible “Tie the Knot” Leather Pride dog tag gets you discounts at some of this year’s Minnesota Leather Pride events. Get yours for $5 (before June 28) at Cockpit Project, Gray’s Leather, Rainbow Road, Smitten Kitten or Midwest Triple X. Or buy your dog tag from members of the Minnesota Leather Pride committee at upcoming club meetings and munches and at all 2008 Minnesota Leather Pride events. (After June 28, dog tags will be available for $7 at the Minnesota Leather Pride booth in Loring Park during the Pride Festival.)

Organizational sponsors for this year’s Minnesota Leather Pride celebration are Athenor, Atons of Minneapolis, Erotic Deviance, Knights of Leather, Masters And slaves Together (MAsT)-Twin Cities, MinKY (Minnesota Kinky Youth), MN Bondage, Minnesota Storm Patrol, MPX (Minnesota Power Exchange), MSDB (Minnesota Stocks, Debentures & Bonds), PEPRMNT (People Exchanging Power Respectfully in Minnesota Together), and Twin Cities Pride.

Information listed below is subject to change—updates will be posted at <>.

Thursday, June 5

• PEPRMNT Munch/Discussion. Topic: “Conflict Resolution in the Twin Cities BDSM Community.” Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 N. Snelling Ave., Roseville. Dinner 6:30 P.M. (order off the menu), discussion 8-9 P.M.

Saturday, June 7

• Minnesota Storm Patrol Beer Bust at The Minneapolis Eagle, 5-8 P.M. Free admission, $5 for beer/soda bust.

Friday/Saturday/Sunday, June 13, 14 and 15

• Dark Ages Faire III. This rustic getaway pairs the romantic feel of the Renaissance Festival with the dark kink of the BDSM community. Presented by Athenor. Weekend admission $40 ($10 discount with 2008 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag). More info: <> (from home page, click on “Dark Ages Faire III” at bottom of page).

Thursday, June 19

• PEPRMNT Munch/Discussion. Topic: “What Does Leather Pride Mean to You?” Grumpy’s Bar & Grill, 2801 N. Snelling Ave., Roseville. Dinner 6:30 P.M. (order off the menu), discussion 8-9 P.M.

Friday, June 20

• Dog and Pony Show (human division), where you can meet the human animals and their trainers. Pi Bar, 8-10 P.M. No admission charge.

Saturday, June 21

• Radical Ecstasy featuring best-selling authors Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy (aka Catherine Liszt). Explore the joining of spirituality and sexuality. Presented by MSDB. More info: <>.• Atons Leather/Levi Dinner at Surabhi, 517 W. 98th St., Bloomington. 6:30 P.M. Reservations strongly encouraged—reserve online at <>.

• Atons Club Night at Minneapolis Eagle, Bolt and Bolt Underground. 9 P.M.-closing.

Sunday, June 22

• Workshop: Knotty Intentions. Minnesota’s first-ever Bondage Slam is presented in two parts: a Bondage Showcase will be followed by a Bondage Contest complete with judged events and prizes. Patrick’s Cabaret, 3010 Minnehaha Ave. S., Minneapolis. 2-5 P.M. $5 admission (or $3 with your 2008 Minnesota Leather Pride dog tag). More info, or to be part of either the Bondage Showcase or Contest: <>.

Monday, June 23

• BDSM Creative Collective 2008 (1st annual) Anthology of Poetry, Art and Short Fiction. A reading and art show at Smitten Kitten, 3010 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis. 7 P.M. Free admission, but space is limited and only those on the guest list will be admitted. RSVP by calling.

Thursday, June 26

• Smoke Out Cigar Party. Cigar/pipe social on the patio of The Minneapolis Eagle, Bolt and Bolt Underground. 9 P.M.-midnight. Free admission.

Friday, June 27

• Floggapalooza. The legend continues. Minneapolis Eagle, Bolt and Bolt Underground, 8-10 P.M. Free admission.

Saturday, June 28

• GLBT Pride Festival in Loring Park. Visit, or hang out at, the Leather Pride booth. 10 A.M.-6 P.M. Free admission. Buy your dog tag at the booth if you don’t have one yet ($7).

Sunday, June 29

• Leather Flag Decommissioning/Initiation Ceremony. There won’t be a dry eye in the bleachers as we say thanks and goodbye to the existing Leather Pride flag and welcome the new one. 9:45-10 A.M. at the Parade Grandstand, 8th and Hennepin.

• Pride Parade. Help carry the new giant Leather Pride flag on its maiden voyage up Hennepin Avenue and to Loring Park. Gather at 2nd St. and Hennepin Ave. after the flag ceremony—parade steps off at 11 A.M. Then spend the day in Loring Park, and be sure to drop by the Leather Pride booth. Free admission.

• MinKY Munch at Perkin’s in Golden Valley. 5 P.M.

Also during Pride Weekend, The Minneapolis Eagle will be presenting Scorch Fireball IX.

• Ignition (Friday): The parking lot opens at 4 P.M. Friday afternoon (and stays open all weekend until closing time Sunday night).

• Blaze (Saturday): Saturday night is Bear Night 7-10 P.M. Special appearance by Chi-Chi LaRue and porn stars Josh West and Josh Vaughn, 10 P.M.-close.

• Afterburn (Sunday): Live music by Boogie Wonderland at 6 P.M.

(The Minneapolis Eagle also is operating this year’s Pride beer garden at Loring Park.)

As a wrap-up to this year’s Leather Pride festivities, “Frayed Ends,” a community roundtable discussion on possible future directions for the Minnesota Leather Pride celebration, is scheduled for Friday, August 22 (time and location to be announced).