Women take the stage - Ms. San Francisco Leather contest at SOMArts
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One of the biggest annual local gatherings for leatherwomen took place this past Saturday, the Ms. San Francisco Leather contest at SOMArts Cultural Center.
Every year the producers of the contest create a weekend and contest that celebrates our diverse and dynamic Bay Area leather, kink and fetish communities while also raising funds to support the work of small nonprofit organizations.
This year's contest was well executed by Executive Producer Daddy Sal Hopkins and Sal's competent staff. I particularly appreciated that the contest moved along without gaps. More than one audience member commented how pleased they were that the contest didn't extend to many hours, as contests often seem to do. Kudos to the production staff and volunteers for running a tight ship. It was noticed and appreciated.
The weekend began with a meet and greet at the SF Eagle, where the public could mix and mingle with the contestants and judges while enjoying some casual socialization time.
On Saturday, the contest kicked off with a welcome by the evening's delightful emcee, Val Langmuir. Then the presentation of colors, a lovely rendition of "America the Beautiful" sung by Rio Spooner, and a hot opening entertainment number by Evil Mommy Tina led the audience into introductions of the contestants and judges and the first phases of the competition, the fantasies and speeches.
Contestants this year were Bobbee Trans Mooremon, SF Sober Kinkster 2019, sponsored by Leather Etc., and Reika, sponsored by Society of Janus. I can confidently say that both contestants presented themselves beautifully throughout the competition and as an audience member I felt they both would have done the title proud.
Judging the contest were an esteemed collection of leatherfolk to whom the producers entrusted to as objectively as possible select their next titleholder. They were Nyna Kaiser, Daddy Vick Germany, Victoria, Zane, Girl Complex, Meryl, and Jay Harcourt. I know these people and I'm sure they judged the contest honorably.
Like most leather contests, the judging was comprised of categories with a maximum point total designated for each. The categories were interview in street casual wear (75 points), speech and formal wear (45 points), fantasy performance (35 points), on stage pop question and cruise/bar wear (20 points), and overall competition deportment (25 points).
Both contestants did a superb job with their fantasies and speeches. The fantasies were entertaining and gave some insight into the inner kinky workings of the contestants themselves. The speeches were delivered from the heart.
Prior to the intermission a professional auctioneer took the stage to auction off the contestant baskets of donated kinky goodies. Both baskets raised similar sums from the enthusiastic bidding audience.
After the intermission, a parade of club colors preceded the next phase of the competition, the pop question. I always feel for contestants when the pop questions come up. You just never know what's going to be asked. I've seen some wacky —and sometimes in my view a bit unfair— questions asked of contestants. I loved that the contest producers ensured that the questions were ones they might be asked by people they would meet during their title year, should they win. I hope other contests emulate this approach to pop questions.
After the contestants answered their pop questions, the judges began tallying their scores, followed by a nice recognition of the staff that works so hard to put on this contest. Stela D. Love then gave the audience a sexy visual performance.
Before the final winner was announced though, Haley, Ms. SF Leather 2018, gave her stepdown speech, recounting some of her year and thanking her supporters. Thanks, Haley, for a great year.
After the difficult work of judging both of the fine contestants, the points were tallied, and the new Ms. SF Leather 2019 is Bobbee Trans Mooremon.
I asked Bobbee how she felt about being the new Ms. SF Leather.
"At this time when trans people are constantly under attack by the imposter in the White House and all his sheep, and with funding for HIV/AIDS services and access to HIV meds always at threat of disappearing for so many in our country, I am so honored to be able to serve the community as Ms. San Francisco Leather 2019. I am a disabled HIV-positive transgender leatherwoman and I am so honored to be able to be a voice for not only the trans community but the HIV-positive community, and to be of service to the larger San Francisco leather community."
Contestants, judges, staff and audience members convened after the contest at the SF Eagle for a celebration party where the contest and monthly Pound Puppy party crowd mingled and had a great time.
Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. www.bannon.com
See Leather events at https://www.ebar.com/bartab/leather-kink