Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 3 / 19 January 2017
 

A man honored, a woman sashed

Leather


The late Saliem "Tommy" Thomas (left), and his surviving husband, Jim Maher (right). photo: Tim Wong
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ADVERTISMENT

This week I'd like to honor our leather and kink communities by acknowledging two starkly different aspects of what we do as kinksters. In one case, it's how a community bands together to honor the life of someone who has died. In the other, a community bands together to gather and partake in what's become a joyous ritual institution among our kind.

On January 8, a large group of men, along with many women in attendance, honored the life of a revered man within their community, Saliem "Tommy" Thomas. Organized in large part by Jerry Roberts and Tommy's husband, Jim Maher, with a beautiful digital photo slideshow by Brett Brockschmidt, people gathered at the San Francisco Armory to honor the memory of Tommy.

Various people spoke of their fond recollections of Tommy and discussions took place after the official portion of the proceedings about connections to him. It was a fitting tribute to a man much loved.

Tommy was, of course, one of many great people in our leather and kink scene that have passed, but what struck me was how this was a beautiful example of all segments of our kink scene rallying to honor such people when they are no longer with us. We respect their accomplishments. We honor their contributions to making our lives better, more welcoming, more loving, more active. I see this a lot and don't think we can have too much of it. It's important.

Tommy was active in various San Francisco community activities, producing and assisting in countless charitable events, including, but not limited to: the Phoenix Uniform Club, for which he served as president many times, and other offices most of the time; the AIDS Emergency Fund, and the Inter Club Fund, for which he was both director and president for many years.

As was evident when I attended the remembrance ceremony, Tommy is loved and will be sorely missed by the San Francisco leather and uniform communities, the Imperial Court of San Francisco, and friends and associates throughout the Bay Area kink scene.

I hope our leather and kink scene continues the tradition of honoring those people no longer with us who have impacted our lives in significant ways. It not only honors them, but it enriches the historical perspective for younger people so that they fully understand the foundations upon which their current identities, sexualities and social structures are built.

 

Contestants for Ms. SF Leather 2017 (left to right): Marilyn Hollinger, 2nd runner up; Azalea, winner; and Jesbian, 1st runner up. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

Ms. SF Leather

Contrasting with the somewhat somber tone of the memorial for Tommy was the Ms. San Francisco Leather Weekend, with the contest as the main event.

On January 13, there was a meet and greet event at the Pilsner Inn at which people could meet the contestants and judges for the contest while mingling with their fellow kinksters. On January 15, the weekend wrapped up with a victory brunch at Wicked Grounds. In between was the main event, the Ms. SF Leather 2017 contest held at a great new location this year, SOMArts.

SOMArts has served our city with a variety of programs and events as well as making their space available to a variety of constituencies. It was nice to see the space used for a leather event. The upcoming Mr. San Francisco Leather 2017 contest will be held at the same location on March 4, 2017.

Three fine women competed. Azalea, Jesbian and Marilyn Hollinger vied for the title, with Azalea ultimately winning after a tied tally with Jesbian that was broken by the judges. Considering that the two who tied were only a point ahead of Marilyn Hollinger, this turned out to be an incredibly close contest. All three women were outstanding as competitors.

Since the contest coincided with the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, there was a beautiful slideshow tribute to MLK. To further honor MLK as well as all people of color, there was an amazing singing performance with a choir in robes. Kippy Marks accompanied on violin while Alotta Boutté sang, along with the choir, a wonderful rendition of "Proud," a song originally sung by Heather Small.

Judges for the Ms. SF Leather contest: Beatrice Stonebanks, Cody Elkin, Daddy Vick Germany, Q, and Little Bad Daddy. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

Per her bio, Azalea is a queer, poly, kinky, gender-fluid, top-heavy switch who loves coffee and spends way too much time on the internet. She often transforms into a purple pony, a papillon puppy, and a gryphon. She has presented classes on petplay at IMsL, Pantheacon, SF Citadel, Wicked Grounds, and Kink Unlimited. She hosts the Human Animal Night munch and is a certified sex educator through San Francisco Sex Information. On her YouTube channel (Azalea Pony) she likes to talk about petplay, her adventures with ADHD, and wearing zentai suits. (And she says if you see her around, say hi!)

I asked the Azalea how she felt after her win.

"I had an incredible time at the contest and everyone I met was wonderful. I'm looking forward to connecting and working with the great leather community."

The beneficiaries of the contest proceeds were the Woman's Leather Program of the Leather Archives and Museum and Community United Against Violence.

These two events are but two examples of a wide variety of happenings that speak to the vibrancy and connectedness of our local leather and kink communities. We honor our members, both past and present, and revel in many fun communal events such as the Ms. SF Leather contest. Our Bay Area kinky selves have a lot for which to be thankful.

 

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

 

 

Leather Events, January 20 – February 4, 2017

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

 

Fri 20

Whip Fascism: Leather Won't Back Down @ SF Eagle

This is a leather/kink/queer feeder march for the larger Protest Against Trump on Inauguration Day event. The leather community has always stood up for the queer and kinky community, from the fight against AIDS to the fight for marriage equality. The next four years will be no exception. Don't let the right roll back our rights or our freedom. 398 12th St., 3:30-5pm.

Mr. Powerhouse Leather 2017 Contest @ Powerhouse

Contest to pick the next Mr. Powerhouse Leather. 1347 Folsom St., 8pm. www.powerhousebar.com

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

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm. www.442parties.com

Sat 21

GearUp Men's Play Party @ SF Catalyst

Friendly erotic space where kinky men can socialize with, learn from and play with other men. $20.00. Military, student (ID required); and play party first timers $10.00. 1060 Folsom St., $20, 8pm-1am (door closes at midnight). www.gearupweekend.com

Mon 23

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

Sex Talk @ Eros Community Room

When should you bareback? Now with PEP and PREP, sex need not be deadly. How do you determine your best practices? Richard Carrazza will facilitate a discussion directed towards getting more of what we want and avoiding what we don't want. What are your: most sensuous, enriching, hottest, kinkiest, riskiest sexual desires? 2051 Market St., 7-9pm. www.erossf.com

Fri 27

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

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm. www.442parties.com

Sat 28

The 15 Association Men's Play Party @ SF Catalyst

Men's BDSM dungeon play party. Go to the website and request an invite if you have not been to one of their events recently. 1060 Folsom St., 7pm-12am. www.the15sf.org

BLUF Monthly Bar Night @ SF Eagle

Bar night for all gear men. 398 12th St., 9pm. www.bluf.com

Mon 30

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 1

Exiles Monthly Munch @ Cactus Taqueria

Whether you're an Exiles member or not, you're welcome you to come hang out and enjoy the company of like-minded kinky women (along with those self-identifying as other than male) who are 18 and over. 5642 College Ave., Oakland, 6:30-9:30pm. www.theexiles.org

Fri 3

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

Gear Party @ 442 Natoma

Gear play party (leather, rubber, harnesses, etc.) for gay men. 442 Natoma St., $15 (requires $5 membership), 10pm. www.442parties.com

Sat 4

Woof! @ SF Eagle

Come romp, play and socialize at our monthly pups and Handler mosh event, with mats out to pup out on. After the mosh, you can head over to SoMa StrEat Food Park for food. $3, 398 12th St., 2-5pm. www.SFK9Unit.org

 






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