From Issue 2.6 - June/July 1996
Stiff Upper Lip, a benefit for England's Spanner defendants, took place May 15 at Castlebar. Despite the rain, 100 people came out to hear about the Spanner case, bid on auction items and, of course, engage in some play. The event was sponsored by Mistress Marilyn. Alan Selby of Mr. S and Val Langmuir of the Spanner Campaign in London were on hand to discuss the case. The Spanner defendants were arrested and convicted in 1990 for engaging in consensual . The defendants lost all their appeals in the UK. The Spanner Campaign and the Spanner Trust have as their mission to raise the many thousands of dollars needed for the European appeal, which is expected to be heard in October in Strasbourg.
Action by Brixton police canceled the tenth anniversary Sex Maniacs Ball, a fundraiser for The Outsiders (Leydig Trust), a groups which promotes sexual fulfillment for the disabled. The annual ball, which had been scheduled for late March, is put on by Tuppy Owens, and draws participants from around the globe. This year former Italian parliament member Cicciolina was scheduled to appear. Brixton police shut down the event by menacing the original venue and pressuring alternative venues. The organizers were left with food for 2,000 people, huge expenses, and no way to inform would-be guests. Owens has formed a defense network called the Sexual Freedom Coalition. For information contact P.O. Box 4ZB, London W1A 4ZB, England.
The Sex Maniacs Ball is only one of several events and venues that have recently received harassment from the British authorities. In 1995, the Club Whiplash event was raided by numerous police officers and dogs, and the organizer and building owner were charged with maintaining a "disorderly house." In March, a jury acquitted the organizer, although charges against the owner are still pending. In February of this year, three clubs -- SM Gays, Sadie Masie, and Gummi -- were ousted from their venue in Earls Court due to police pressure. The clubs have since been reinstated -- with an apology and an offer of compensation from Bass Tavern.
One favorable outcome came in the case of the Wilsons, also known as the bottom branding couple. Mr. Wilson was arrested and convicted after a doctor reported to police a brand that Mr. Wilson had bestowed upon his wife's buttocks at her request. An appeals court overturned the conviction, ruling that the private sexual activities of a married couple conducted in their own home was not a matter for the law. While this case shows the heterosexist bias of the courts, it provides a useful precedent for future consensual SM cases.
The first Ms. Golden Gate Leather contest was held June 13 at the SF Eagle. Despite the short notice, the contest drew six contestants and a large, appreciative audience. Dyke Daddy Koko produced the contest; Ms. Alameda Leather Thumper and Mr. SF Leather Gary Virginia acted as emcees. Many speakers stressed unity between the women's and men's leather communities. First runner-up was Jamie Jameson, who presented an imaginative chain gang fantasy; second runner-up was Shawnna Silverhand/Silver Daddy. The new Ms. Golden Gate Leather is Beth Downey, who demonstrated her skills with a single-tail. Other contestants were Daddy Gene, Kim Shultheis, and Mistress Marilyn Bush. Beth will take part in the International Ms. Leather contest to be held July 18-21 in Philadelphia.
The Bears of San Francisco recently distributed $18,000 worth of funds raised at the 1996 International Bear Rendezvous in February. The worthy recipients were the STOP AIDS Project, Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (P-FLAG), and 18th Street Services.
Through June 30, International Ms. Leather pat baillie and LeatherWomen United are sponsoring "Exposing Ourselves to Women's Health Care," a national drive designed to focus attention on women and health care. Like all women, leatherwomen need regular health care -- including Pap smears and breast exams -- but may fail to get it due to lack of resources or negative and prejudicial attitudes among medical providers. Suggested activities include sponsoring women's health fairs, SM first aid education, seminars with medical providers, raising funds to improve women's access to health care, and learning to do self-exams. For more information, contact pat baillie at 505-332-4901 or CheshLthr@aol.com.
The Power Exchange club expanded into a new location in early May. In addition to the original site at 960 Harrison Street, the Power Exchange now also occupies the large space at 74 Otis Street, the site of the former Playground. The building became available after Playground owner Deno Fessler was evicted for failure to pay rent. For now, the 74 Otis location will cater to gay and bi men, while the 960 Harrison site will retain its straight/bisexual and transgender focus. Owner Mike Powers says he will be exploring new ways to use and integrate the two spaces, including initiating women's nights. Both locations have a variety of theme areas, bondage equipment, and semi-private rooms. For information on hours and prices call 974-1460.
The 11th annual celebration of Wally Sherwood's birthday took place on Mother's Day (May 12) at the Hole in the Wall Saloon, with the naming of a new Wally's Boy, Wally's Mother, and Wally Look-Alike. Pat baillie, 1995 International Ms. Leather, and George Cameron, of the Colors Projects of the Leather Archives and Museum, served as emcees and judges. CU Editrix Liz Highleyman, Tony Sanders of the Rubber Corps, and Tom Galante of the God Damn Independents Motorcycle Club rounded out the judging panel. Numerous contestants vied for each title. The winners were Jack Slack, as Wally's Boy; Billy Corby -- in a lovely flower print muumuu -- as Wally's Mother; and Joe Cote, publisher of the Gay Guide, as the 1996 Wally Look-Alike. The party raised nearly $1000 for the AIDS Emergency Fund and the Shanti Project.
The newly formed SM/Leather/Fetish Network (SMLFN) is a network of individuals working to guarantee the freedom and acceptance of all people who practice safe, sane, consensual sex. SMLFN's goals are to defend our communities against attacks and to establish proactive projects and activities to educate people about the leather/fetish/SM lifestyle. The grassroots network grew out of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's 1995 Creating Change conference, and will provide leather-oriented programming at future conferences. SMLFN seeks local representatives from gay, lesbian, heterosexual, bisexual, and transgendered leather communities. Membership costs $20. Contact SMLFN c/o Brandi Stewart, 5503 Pollard Road, Bethesda, MD 20816.
A packed house filled Seattle's Neighbours Nightclub for the 14th Annual Washington State Mr. Leather contest on March 30. The contest was part of a full roster of events celebrating Washington State Leather Pride Week, including club nights, a leather marketplace, and a victory brunch. The new 1996 Washington State Mr. Leather is Vince Sharkey; Aubrey Hart Sparks was first runner-up; Martin Garcia of Seattle also competed. Washington has an unusual system in which Mr. Seattle Leather -- this year's winner in February was Scott Smithson -- does not compete in the Washington State Mr. Leather contest; rather the two titles have always been equals, and both titleholders may compete in the International Mr. Leather contest.
The third bi-annual Powersurge, the international leatherwomen's conference, will be held Labor Day weekend, August 30-September 2, in Seattle, WA. This is an event where women can share information, hone their skills, meet, network, and have fun. The conference will include workshops, panels, and demonstrations for all experience levels. A "Meet and Beat" and services auction will be held Friday. Other events include an erotica show and the Deep Forest Amazon Feast. Powersurge is for women-oriented women; valid female ID is required, and there is a "dick in the drawer" rule for play parties. Registration is $80 before July 1, $95 before August 15, and $120 at the door; some work exchange is available. The host hotel will be the Pacific Plaza at 400 Spring Street; the Powersurge special rate is $90 for a double room (call 1-800-426-1165 to reserve). For more information or to register, write to P.O. Box 23352, Seattle, WA 98102, call 206-233-8429, send e-mail to email@example.com.
Derek Yeager, president of South of Market Merchants and Individual Lifestyle Events (SMMILE), passed away on March 16, 1996. SMMILE is the organization that produces the Up Your Alley/Dore Alley and Folsom Street Fairs; Paul Lester will be the new acting president. Yeager was also a member of the staff of Drummer magazine and an employee of the Jackhammer bar. His dedication to the leather community will be missed.
Alan Oversby, the London-based master piercer and tattooist known to fans and clients around the world as Mr. Sebastian, died on May 7. The reclusive artist practiced body modification in the UK long before it became a popular fad; he gained some notoriety in the US with the publication of RE/Search's Modern Primitives, in which his piercing and tattoo work appeared adorning Paula and Genesis P-Orridge. A funeral was held in London on May 16.
Well-known SM artist Hawk Brooks (born Timothy Giroux) died in Boston
on May 14. Brooks -- best known work is probably his design for the
Boston Ramrod logo, which appears larger than life as a mural on the
bar's wall. Brooks, a leather craftsman, previously operated The
Jacket Shop in San Francisco, before returning to New England to open
Falcon Leathers in Boston. Hawk was named Mr. New England Drummer in