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Bringing back the fun

by Race Bannon

The five extremely sexy men who competed in the Mr. Friendly's Power Bottom Contest at the Powerhouse bar. Left to right: Raymond Howe, Gage Lennox, Sean Huck, Ronaldo R., and John Montwillo. photo: Rich Stadtmiller
The five extremely sexy men who competed in the Mr. Friendly's Power Bottom Contest at the Powerhouse bar. Left to right: Raymond Howe, Gage Lennox, Sean Huck, Ronaldo R., and John Montwillo. photo: Rich Stadtmiller   

This week I want to talk about fun; sheer, unadulterated fun. When you mention to those outside of the leather and kink worlds that the object of what we do and who we are is supposed to be fun, they nod and say, "of course!"

But sadly, often the fun is overtaken by egos, tribalism, snobbery, rigidity, absolutism and a host of other maladies that, to be fair, eventually infect just about every culture and subculture, bar none. It's to some extent part of the human condition.

Still, it's profoundly satisfying to attend a gathering of any kind, but especially a kinky one, where the entire purpose of the event and proceedings is fun. If it raises a few bucks for a worthwhile nonprofit, that's a beautiful secondary benefit, but the focus on fun is welcome.


The always sexy Stephan Ferris, Mr. Friendly 2018, emceed the contest and produced it in collaboration with Onyx Northwest. photo: Rich Stadtmiller  

Stephan Ferris, Mr. Friendly 2018, and the men of Onyx Northwest, a local leather club for men of color, teamed up on Saturday, August 25, at the Powerhouse bar, to produce a contest that was without a doubt the most fun I've had at a contest in a long time, the Mr. Friendly's Power Bottom Contest.

The idea of the contest was spawned when Graylin Thornton, a contest mentor who was prepping Stephan for his run for International Mr. Leather at which Stephan took third place this past May, asked him, "What title would you want if you were not Mr. Friendly?"

To which Stephan answered, "I would create a fun title and call it Mr. Power Bottom."
Graylin said, "Great idea. You should do that."

Thus, Mr. Friendly's Power Bottom Contest was born because a good idea is a good idea.
Hopefully you can tell by the name of the contest that it wasn't meant to be taken in any way seriously. Not at all. In fact, every effort was made to ensure that this contest was entirely fun, silly, irreverent and sexy.


Ronaldo R. stuffs hot dogs in his mouth for the contest. photo: Rich Stadtmiller  

Prior to the event, to add to the telegraphing of the contest's humorous intent, Stephan would post teasers on the Facebook event page that hammered home the notion that no one was to take this contest in any way seriously, often using America's Next Top Model television show references in jest.

"Do you have what it takes to be America's Next Top Power Bottom?"

"We don't have a one-year supply of Anastasia Beverly Hills cosmetics or a cash prize of $100,000, but we do have a collection of butt toys and other goodies from Square Peg Toys and Mr. S Leather for each contestant!"

To give you yet more of an idea of how not-seriously the producers took the contest, they advertised the contest with the tagline, "No duties. No responsibilities. No sash, No drama. Just back-in-the-day fun!"

Stephan acted as the quite competent emcee for the night's shenanigans.

The door fees and raffle ticket purchases served as a benefit for St. James Infirmary.
Before the competition began, the geared-up men of BLUF SF took the stage to present Onyx Northwest's President, Trey, with a check for $900 as a donation from the proceeds from BLUF SF's annual gear dinner held the Thursday before Up Your Alley street fair.

Competing for the donated toys, and obviously the glory of being named Mr. Power Bottom, the five extremely sexy contestants played along as great sports throughout the entire evening of silly challenges. The good sports (it was for charity after all) competing were Gage Lennox, Raymond Howe, Sean Huck, Ronaldo R., and John Montwillo.

Judging these aspiring power bottoms were Matt Horne, Justin Hall and Orpheus Onyx.
First the contestants had to demonstrate how hungry they were by stuffing as much meat (in this case, hot dogs) into their mouths as they could. I seem to recall the highest number was 10, but I was laughing so much I don't recall exactly.

Then each contestant was presented with a pop question from the judges because, as the contest rules stated, "Sure, any douchebag on steroids can catch a few loads, but our contest values intelligence, wit and snark." Much snarkiness ensued.


Judges for the Mr. Friendlys Power Bottom Contest were (left to right) Matt Horne, Justin Hall, and Orpheus Onyx. photo: Rich Stadtmiller  

After the pop questions the judges narrowed down the field to three men. Once the three were selected, each contestant had to plead their case as to why they deserved to be Mr. Power Bottom. Each man was eloquent with tongue firmly planted in cheek as to why they should win the title.

Then the judges eliminated one man to produce the two finalists. The final two power bottoms, which turned out to be Gage Lennox and Raymond Howe, then faced off in a "Deepthroat for Your Life" challenge during which they were each blindfolded and then while kneeling face-to-face had to expertly deepthroat a doubled ended dildo held in between them. Each of these two men were valiant in their efforts to deepthroat the rubber double appendage, but in the end (see what I did there) it was Raymond who took home the title of Mr. Power Bottom, a title that I'm sure he and the entire community will hold in the utmost and highest regard (as they should).

Congratulations to Raymond. I'm sure you'll use your newly won title as a proper calling card around town.

So, yes, I'm reporting on a fun contest, but I have an ulterior motive for highlighting this event: the fun. It was all about fun. As I mentioned at the beginning of this column, I wanted to talk about fun because I think that too often the fun is squeezed out of what should otherwise be a sexy and joyful experience.

Now and then we do some serious stuff. So be it. Maybe that's necessary. Sometimes we have to address some serious stuff, but as I've written about elsewhere many times, if it's ultimately not about fun, why bother?

We have BDSM classes, organizational meetings, and adopt mantras such as "safe, sane and consensual" and "risk-aware consensual kink," all somewhat serious stuff. And that's all wonderful.

However, kink, BDSM, fetish and leather sex of all kinds are supposed to be fun. If they weren't, why would anyone do it? I try to herald the importance of keeping fun in our scene as much as possible and using this bonkers and enjoyable power bottom contest seemed to illustrate that concept pretty well.

Go forth and socialize, organize, gather, fundraise, have sex, play, and most of all, have fun!

Race Bannon is a local author, blogger and activist. You can reach him on his website, www.bannon.com For Leather events, visit www.ebar.com/bartab


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