From Issue 2.5 - March/April 1996
At the end of 1995, some new developments came about related to the Spanner case, in which several men in England were arrested and prosecuted for consensual SM activities. The presiding judge in the case ruled that consent was not an adequate defense against bodily injury. The case has been appealed to the European Court, where it is currently proceeding toward a hearing.
In the aftermath of Spanner, England's Law Commission examined the laws affecting consensual SM. The Commission's final recommendations, released in December, included the preparation of a new list of activities for which it is legal to consent, provided the activity does not involve "serious bodily injury," a determination which will be left to the courts. Sadomasochistic activities are included, along with tattooing, religious circumcision, contact sports, and medical procedures. The proposal applies to those over 18 years of age (the "vanilla" age of consent is 16 for heterosexual sex and 18 for homosexual sex).
If this recommendations had been in force at the time, the Spanner defendants could not have been prosecuted. The British government is not obligated to accept the commission's recommendations, but a Spanner victory at the European level may encourage them to do so.
In what may be an indication of the new legal thinking regarding SM, three Appeals Court judges in early March overturned a man's assault conviction for branding his initials into his wife's butt at her request. (Thanks to participants in the gl-asb mailing list.)
The 1996 Inter-Club Fund (ICF) 30th annual Motorcycle Awards ceremony was held February 17 at the SoMar Gallery. Winners included the California Eagles Motorcycle Club for "Best Bike Run," Alden Spafford as "Bike Rider of the Year," J.R. Wilson as "Buddy Rider of the Year," and Daddy Philip Turner as both "Best Emcee" and "Most Supportive Titleholder."
The Golden Gates Guards raked in the largest number of awards. For the first time in the Motorcycle Awards' 30-year history, a woman won the top award. This year's ICF Woman of the Year is Audrey Joseph, well known as the producer of many of the leather community's largest and most well-attended contests and events. Other nominees for person of the year included Dennis Engle, Frank Naccarato, and Daddy Philip Turner. (Thanks to Mr. Marcus.)
The 1996 Pantheon of Leather was held the weekend preceding Mardi Gras in New Orleans. The weekend featured a presentation of club colors, the Mr. and Ms. Olympic Leather contest (another one?!) -- won by Ron Hendin and Daddy Flo, respectively -- and of course the Pantheon of Leather awards. For these awards, nominations are received from the community and a panel of judges selects the winners. 1996 winners include: Eastern Regional Award -- Lolita, TES board member; Midwest Regional Award -- Jan Hall; Local Community Service -- Aubrey Hart Sparks, past Mr. Seattle Leather and editor of "The Doomed Rabbit cookbook"; Non-Profit Organization -- Countdown on Spanner; Business of the Year -- The Gaunlet (accepted by Daddy Irwin Kane); Club of the Year -- SF's own 15 Association; Readers Choice Woman -- Cindy Bookout, IMsL 1994; Readers Choice Man -- Frank Nowicki, Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 1994; Forebear Award -- Bay Times leather columnist Daddy Don Thompson; Man of the Year -- Woody Bebout; Woman of the Year -- Sarah Humble, the first Ms. American Leather Woman and organizer of Camp FIST. (Thanks to Sarah Lashes.)
After a brief mid-winter hiatus, the Bay Area's premier fetish-theme nightclub, Bondage-a-Go-Go at the Trocadero, celebrated its 3-year anniversary on Valentine's Day. The event featured the usual array of DJs, dancers, and upstairs fetish lounge, as well as special entertainment and an appearance by Fetish Girls photographer Eric Kroll. The club continues going strong in its third year, with a weekly heavy turnout, especially in the upstairs fetish-wear-only lounge. The Trocadero (520 4th Street near Bryant) has also initiated a new club, Terminator, on Friday nights. The opening on February 16 featured tattooing, body piercing, and performers, including Danielle Willis.
The X-Plicit Players, a Berkeley performance group, has for years conducted periodic "Breast Freedom" events in which women, men, and children go without shirts in public. This past summer there were six marches down Telegraph Avenue, with the largest drawing some 80 participants. During these events no arrests took place, and the police even seemed to enjoy the festivities.
But breast freedom officially falls afoul of Berkeley's 1993 anti-nudity ordinance. In October 1995 two Players, Debbie Moore and Nina Shilling, were charged with a misdemeanor after police received a citizen complaint. The two are currently preparing for a pretrial hearing and possibly a full jury trial. They claim that baring their breasts is constitutionally protected, and that gender equality demands allowing women as well as men to go topless in public.
Canada's Bawdy House Laws have recently been used to harass and intimidate private citizens. The homes of professional dominants have been raided, and some have had their property confiscated. The law defines a "bawdy house" as any place used for prostitution or acts of indecency; the laws may apply even if no sex occurs and no money changes hands.
As with the recent Internet censorship law, "indecency" has no legal definition, and is open to the arbitrary interpretations of police and judges. Not only is it a crime to operate a bawdy house, it is also criminal to be found in one. Private parties and "Fetish Night" events may fall within the law's scope.
Canada's Fraser Report recommended scrapping the archaic law more than a decade ago. A Coalition to Reform the Bawdy House Laws has recently formed. Members include the National Leather Association chapter of Toronto, the sex workers' group Maggie's, and Boudoir Noir magazine. For more information contact Boudoir Noir at Box 5, Stn. F, Toronto, Ontario, Canada M4Y; phone (416) 591-2387; e-mail email@example.com.
LINKS will host an Ides of March play party on March 15. The theme will be Roman -- with a prize for the best Caligula impersonator. The party will be held at the Power Exchange (960 Harrison), and will run from 8pm to 2am. Cost is $15. Call (415) 703-7159 to RSVP.
The Journeyman II Academy is hosting a Master's and Mistress' Social on Saturday, March 16 from 7-10 p.m. at the Stockade Bar, 305 Stockton Street at the corner of Julian Street in San Jose. Admission is $5-7, and includes a no-host bar and hors d'oeuvres buffet. Proceeds will benefit the Centre for Living with Dying. Daddy Don Thompson, Mistress Sybil Holiday, and Dr. William Henkin will be the guests of honor. The Journeyman II Academy is an 18 month long course dedicated to training cadets along the lines of the Old Guard leather tradition. The press release informs us that "dress code and high leather etiquette and protocol will be in effect." For more information send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Washington State's annual Leather Pride week will take place March 22-31. The week begins with a Black Party on March 22 at the Cuff in Seattle. March 23 is "Kinkarama '96" show and talent contest, also in Seattle. On March 24 Seattle Men in Leather (SML) holds its seventh anniversary brunch and Leather Marketplace. March 27 is Doomed Rabbit day at Beyond the Edge Cafe (with recipes from the Doomed Rabbit cookbook). March 28 is International Titleholders night at the Cuff with IML Larry Everett, IMsL pat baillie, and others.
A "meet and greet" for Mr. Washington State Leather contestants will be held March 29 at the Cuff. The 15th annual title contest itself takes place March 30 at Neighbors Nightclub in Seattle. Finally, March 31 is the Washington State Leather Awards/Victory Brunch at the Encore. Also on the 31st is a biker beer bust at the Seattle Eagle. For more information about the title contest, call (206) 720-4075. For general pride week information, call (206) 325-4275 or send e-mail to email@example.com.
The Genders That Be," a series of visual and performance art events by transsexual and transgender artists will take place throughout March at Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis, in conjunction with the 1996 International Foundation of Gender Education (IFGE) conference to be held March 24-31. Artists will include Loren Cameron, Jordy Jones, and Diane Torr. There will also be a series of community forums and discussions. For more information, call (612) 871-1444
Where can you find words, sounds, and strings, storytellers, musicians, and artists, perverts, femmes, and faggots, slipping in and around gender definition and identity? Taste This, a queer performance group from Vancouver, will bring you all this and more in their current multi-media show "Beggar's Feast". The 4-person troupe describe themselves as "lip- smackin', butt-fuckin', boot-lickin', rhythm-bending, gender-blending queers." Taste This, featuring Ivan Coyote, Lyndell Montgomery, Zoe Eakle, and Anna Camilleri call themselves queer, pervert, and "differently gendered," having fun with, while commenting on, the political reality of the polar concepts of female and male. "Beggar's Feast" will be performed at LunaSea, 2940 16th Street near Mission, on Saturday, April 20th, at 8pm. Tickets are $8-12. For reservations, call (415) 863-2989.
In celebration of its twentieth anniversary, Bound Together Books (1369 Haight Street in SF) will sponsor the first annual Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair. The event will include book vendors, video showings, art displays, food, entertainment, and speakers including Susie Bright, Robert Anton Wilson, Kathy Acker, and Jello Biafra. Bound Together, and the vendors at the fair, feature not just alternative political works, but also books, comics, 'zines, records, and other materials addressing such topics as self-defense, hacking, magic, drugs, and, of course, sex. The book fair will be held on March 30 from 10 am until 6 pm at the San Francisco County Fair Building near 9th Ave and Lincoln Way in Golden Gate Park. Admission is free. For more information or to inquire about a vendor table, call (415) 431-8355.
A new SM rap group will soon be coming together in San Jose for people interested in discussing SM-related topics. The group will meet the fourth Thursday of each month starting on March 28. Location is the Stockade, 301 Stockton Ave. in San Jose. For more information call (408) 336-1606.
The Mr. SF Leather contest will be held Saturday, April 20 at the Alcazar Theatre on Geary Street. By that date, local bars should have selected their contestants, including Mr. Leather Daddy (now that's an interesting title!) to be chosen March 20, and Mr. SF Eagle Leather to be selected March 21; winners of both preliminary contests will win $300 and a title vest. Tickets to the April 20 contest are available from Mercury Mail Order and Mister S Leather.
South of Market Merchants and Individual Lifestyles Events (SMMILE) has announced the dates of its 1996 fairs. The Up Your Alley Fair (AKA the Dore Alley Fair) will take place on July 28. The Folsom Street fair is scheduled for September 29, at the conclusion of Leather Pride Week. The 1996 International Mr. Drummer contest will be held September 28. SMMILE has also announced a contest to design a poster for the 1996 Folsom Street Fair. The winner will receive $100 and the chance to see their work in store windows and lampposts across town. Entries, on paper, can be mailed to the SMMILE office, 369 12th Street, SF, CA 94103. Deadline is April 9, 1996.
As our last issue went to press we received word of the death of Brad Braverman. The prolific film and photography artist was known for his works exploring erotic limits, including his films "Fetish" and "Pissed." Braverman's photographs were featured in an exhibit at the Mark I. Chester Gallery last fall. Due to the nature of his work, Braverman was hounded by legal authorities, most recently a raid on his studio last September. Braverman was on trial for suspicion of causing a "public offense" at the time of his death. See the tribute/review of Braverman's films elsewhere in this issue. (Thanks to Mark Chester.)
Bob Flanagan, the
performance artist and writer who gained notoriety as the subject of a
RE/Search book devoted to his life and work, died last month. Flanagan
had the genetic disease cystic fibrosis; in his 40s, he had survived
an unusually long time with the disease, a survival he attributed to
his masochistic explorations. Flanagan created installations that
explored the themes of sickness and sexuality, and he became well
known in SM/body modification/modern primitive circles for such feats
as nailing his penis to a board in public. Flanagan most recently
lived in Los Angeles, where he was an active member of the kink
community. He is survived by his partner Sheree Rose. In making public
what most keep private, Flanagan allowed us to share his unique
explorations and experiences. (Thanks to Carol Queen.)