Issue:  Vol. 44 / No. 42 / 16 October 2014
 
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Ms. SF Leather and a Leather Icon

Leather


Ms. SF Leather Mistresses of Ceremonies, Miranda (left) and Miss Bethie Bee (right), having some kinky fun on stage. photo: Rich Stadtmiller
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ADVERTISMENT

There are few institutions as long-standing and high profile for the leatherwomen of the San Francisco Bay Area as the Ms. San Francisco Leather contest (www.mssfleather.org ). On Saturday, October 4, the new Ms. SF Leather was chosen. This year, in order to make the bulk of the year in which the titleholder serves match the title name, the winner will be known as Ms. SF Leather 2015.

The contest was well done and everyone in attendance seemed to have a good time. At the end of the evening the winner was announced and it was Little Bad Daddy. Also running for the title was Sailor who did a superb job in the competition as well, but when the votes were tallied it was Little Bad Daddy who donned the sash. I asked the winner why she ran for the title.

"I ran for Ms. SF Leather for both myself and my community," she said. "I want to learn to master myself in everything I do. Being a public representative of my community provides an imperative to grow, and resources with which to do that. What a wonderful opportunity! I am grateful for so much community support and happy to have won. The leather community is worldwide. Reaching other leatherfolk in other places, so we can learn from each other, is important to me, as is being reachable by others."

The contest was started by Audrey Joseph in 1987. The contest continued until 1995. In 1996 a new but similar contest, Ms. Golden Gate Leather, was created and it produced titleholders for 1996-1998. The Ms. SF Leather contest started again in 1999, but was short-lived and the contest sat dormant for ten years. In 2009 Liza Sibley and her slave, Jody, stepped up to produce the contest again and they remain the producers today.

As the creator and first producer of the contest, I asked Audrey Joseph how the contest came to be. She said, "The first real year was 1986. I think someone tried it at the Eagle in the early '80s, but nothing really came of it. A girl named Bobbie Wilkes won that one. Ms. SF Leather began in earnest in 1986 and our first winner was Shadow Morton. A group of us got together with the assistance of Chuck Renslow to form International Ms. Leather (www.imsl.org ) and the format for the first one was identical to International Mr. Leather ( www.imrl.com ), which meant we needed local contests from which to send contestants. So being in San Francisco we decided to have the local contest. It was like a kick-off event for International Ms. Leather."

People sometimes question the value of leather contests. So I asked the outgoing Ms. SF Leather 2013, Val Langmuir, what value she sees such contests having for the overall local leather community.

"I believe that the overall leather community is made up of many different sub-communities, and that these smaller communities benefit from cross-pollination, if you will," said Langmuir. "For example, as the women's titleholder, it was my job to get out and about. I spent more time with men, and I learned about the Mr. Friendly campaign, and I learned a huge amount more about PrEP than I did before. I was able to educate women about these issues, and I think that is tremendously valuable. On the other side of the same coin, it's nice to see 'visiting dignitaries' from other towns at our local events. We look good in our leathers and costumes, why not!, and it's nice to look at each other and take pictures. As for the contests themselves, I think they are a great excuse to get out of the house, get dressed up, and see our friends old and new – and be entertained. I think a well-produced contest is a great evening's entertainment for a very small cost."

Val Langmuir, Ms. SF Leather 2013 (left) and the newly sashed Ms. SF Leather 2015, Little Bad Daddy (right). photo: Rich Stadtmiller

As the current producers of the contest, I asked Liza Sibley and her slave, Jody, how they view the current position that the women's leather community has within the overall SF Bay Area leather community.

They said, "There are many components to the SF Bay Area leather community – gay leathermen, leatherdykes, heterosexual leathermen and leatherwomen, queer leatherfolk and others who are kinksters or fetishists or gearheads. The women's leather community is a subset of this greater leather community. We are sad to say that it is often viewed by gay leathermen as not a part of the greater community. But, on the other hand, there are many who understand that although members of the various subgroups may not want to have sex with each other, we are not all that different from each other."

Let me add to what Liza and Jody said. I cover a lot of leather and kink events. We San Francisco Bay Area kinksters are lucky that the various genders, orientations and factions seem to get along pretty darn well together. We typically honor our differences as well as our commonalities. That's one of the great things about our local leather and kink scene. Sure, we could sometimes do better at understanding each other. I agree with what Liza and Jody said in that some gay leathermen do shun leatherwomen, and that's unfortunate, but I think a lot of folks here do embrace the commonalities while giving each faction the space they need also, and we have it better here than in many places I visit around the country.

Another unique event took place recently that is of interest to the leather and kink folk of the Bay Area. On October 3, I attended the opening reception for the Peter Berlin: A Solo Exhibition of Photographs art show that is currently displayed at Magnet (www.magnetsf.org ) for the month of October. Old-time leathermen such as myself will remember Peter Berlin as the iconic erotic image that many gay men looked to as the epitome of fully embracing one's kinky leather self. I attend most of the art opening receptions at Magnet and I don't think I've ever seen one as packed as this one.

The show is a collection of self-portraits by Berlin. He created thousands of such self-portraits on film, when the whole process of film photography required time and skill that we today take for granted with instant digital photography. Peter spent hours preparing for each shoot - setting up the camera, creating the outfits, developing the negatives and printing the photos himself.

Steven Gibson, Executive Director of Magnet, said this about the show. "Magnet wanted to feature the photography of Peter Berlin to celebrate the way he owned his sexuality, specifically his very public expression of gay male desire, lust even. Peter is an icon. By showing his work at Magnet, we are able to share it with a generation of men who never got to experience the Polk and Castro in that era."

Mark Garrett, one of the show's curators, said, "Peter Berlin's street visibility and self-portraiture documented a period of sexually expressive freedom of the early 1970's. He became an unforgettable and visible presence in multiple gay Meccas, and helped to reinforced a new sexually confident identity for gay men. This show represents a very small but important window into his influence and offers a larger discussion about sex and sexuality for younger generations to come."

For those who might want to hear from the artist himself, Peter Berlin discusses his life and works in person at Magnet on Saturday, October 18, at 7:00 p.m.

Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him through the contact page on his website www.bannon.com


Steven Gibson, Executive Director of Magnet, stands in front of an image of leather icon, Peter Berlin, for Magnet's monthly art show. photo: Race Bannon

Leather Events, October 17-31, 2014

 

There's always a lot going on in the San Francisco Bay Area for leather and other kinksters.

 

Fri 17

Bay Area boys of Leather: Boy Friday @ SF Eagle

Join the Bay Area boys of Leather for Boy Friday, their monthly cocktail social. 398 12th St., 7pm. www.bayareaboysofleather.org

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm. www.castrocountryclub.org

 

Fri 17 – Sun 19

Mr. Bolt Leather 2015 Competition Weekend @ The Bolt

Be the next Mr. Bolt or come out & see who will. 2560 Boxwood St., Sacramento. www.sacbolt.com

 

Mon 20

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St. www.erossf.com

 

Wed 22

Leathermen's Discussion Group @ Mr. S Dungeon

Kane, "Drummer," and DeBlase - Rick Storer, Leather Archives & Museum. This program will examine three pillars of San Francisco's leather culture of yesterday: Jim Kane, Drummer magazine and Tony DeBlase. 385A 8th St., 7:30pm. www.sfldg.org

Leather/Gear Buddies @ Blow Buddies

Erotic fun for leather and gear guys, $15, 933 Harrison St., 8pm. www.blowbuddies.com

 

Fri 24

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm. www.castrocountryclub.org

 

Sat 25

The 15 Association Men's Play Party @ SF Citadel

A men's BDSM play party. 181 Eddy St., 8pm. www.the15sf.org

Leather Archives & Museum Beer Bust @ SF Eagle

Fundraiser for the Leather Archives & Museum. 398 12th St., 3pm. www.sf-eagle.com

Mr. Daddy's Barbershop Leather 2015 @ 440 Castro

Leather title contest to represent Daddy's Barbershop, 440 Castro St., 3pm. www. daddysbarbershop.com

 

Mon 27

Ride Mondays @ Eros

A motorcycle rider and leathermen night at Eros, bring your helmet, AMA card, MC club card or club colors and get $3 off entry or massage. 2051 Market St. www.erossf.com

 

Fri 31

Sober Kink Together @ Castro Country Club

Officially a CMA meeting, but open to all Anonymous 12-step Fellowship members. 4058 18th St., 9:30pm. www.castrocountryclub.org






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