Issue:  Vol. 46 / No. 17 / 28 April 2016
 
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Leather women rock San Jose

Leather


Lascivious Jane (left), the new International Ms. Leather 2016, and Meghan (right), the new International Ms. Bootblack 2016. Photo: Shilo McCabe     
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ADVERTISMENT

Women who are into leather, kink and the edgier styles of sexuality only have a handful of large events that are exclusively dedicated to them and their particular aspects of our kink culture. The International Ms. Leather and International Ms. Bootblack contest and weekend (often referred to as IMsL/IMsBB) (www.imsl.org) that took place in San Jose April 14-16 is one such event.

This was the 30th anniversary for the event and the producers, staff and volunteers should be proud of themselves for creating a truly wonderful experience for the attendees.

While the contest might be the focal point for many, the weekend is actually a collection of many things kinky women, both newcomer and experienced alike, can partake in. Along with the contest the weekend offerings included author readings, bawdy storytelling, bootblack lounge, hospitality parties, play spaces, pool party, silent auction, photography services, vendor area, an evening of sexy entertainment called Seduction, and much more.

In addition, there were an assortment of more than 40 education intensives and workshops on a diverse set of topics such as Master/slave and Dominant/submissive relationship development, leadership skills, and spanking and paddling technique. This is likely the largest Bay Area collection of such learning opportunities available at a single event and it offers attendees the option to not just socialize and play, but also to learn in a safe and supportive environment from skilled practitioners from many walks of the leather and kink world.

In the past there have been some challenges with various issues surrounding the weekend. The producers addressed some of them this year head on by providing those in attendance the opportunity to explore finding ways to address the ISMs in their lives, in the IMsL organization, and in the entire leather women's community.

The organizers added valuable voices to the planning of the event that also helped increase their awareness on racism, sexism and trans misogyny, ageism, and able-bodyism. They did this in part through some of their education program selections, a scholarship grant program, and a moderated lunchtime panel discussion titled "ISMs in the Women's Leather Community." I applaud the organizers for continuing to strive for excellence and serving their constituency with honor and sensitivity.

A longtime friend of mine, Vi Johnson, keynoted the event with a rousing speech titled "Standing on the Shoulders of Giants." In that speech she highlighted that our scene is what it is today, for women in particular, because of the work of so many leatherfolk and kinksters that have come before us. It was a great reminder that we all need to heed, that each iteration of our scene enjoys the freedoms and community it does because of those who have gone before. Thanks, Vi, for the reminder. (If you search on YouTube for "Vi Johnson Keynote Address IMsL 2016" you can watch Vi's speech.)

Beloved comedienne Shan Carr provided entertainment during the weekend's brunch.

So that's just some of what went on during the IMsL/IMsBB weekend other than the contest. But before I continue, reporting on the contest itself, I'd like to mention something that struck me as I was writing what you're reading now.

So often the various leather and kink weekend events revolve around or have a contest as a main component of that weekend. However –and this is important, I think– we (myself included) often fail to adequately report on and otherwise discuss the non-contest happenings during such weekends. I think that's a big fail.

The entire IMsL/IMsBB Class of 2016 contestants along with den staff and event producers. Photo: Shilo McCabe

Why is it a fail? Because even though a contest might be an important component of such a weekend, not pointing out all the wonderful social, educational, community building, play and other parts of these weekends does a disservice both to all of the people who have put so much time and effort into the full breadth of the weekend experience, and to the scene itself for elevating contests to such a level of importance that other truly important elements are shunned and glossed over in media, such as in this column. I make a commitment to you now that I will try and not do that myself in the future and I encourage others who write about, speak about or otherwise report on our scene to try and give every walk of our scene their due recognition.

With that said, and I hope with no sense of disrespect to the contest organizers, participants and winners due to what I just wrote, let me tell you about the IMsL/IMsBB contest, which does admittedly play a big role during this stellar women's weekend.

MCs for the weekend and the contest were Bubblinsugare and Tristan Taormino.

Competing for IMsL 2016 were Aurora Lee, LasciviousJane, Miss BEEHave, and slavegirl marion. Competing for IMsBB 2016 were Angel, Meghan, and Shelly. Judging the IMsL contestants were Annie Romano, Sarah Humble, Patty, Patrick Smith, Paksen Burrell, Metis Black, and Sky Renfro. Judging the IMsBB contestants were Dara Bryant, Bamm Bamm, and Judy Tallwing McCarthy. Tallymasters were Phillip Wolf and Tracy Wolf.

After two days of intense competition that for IMsL included personal interview and short teaching demonstration, hotwear and pop question, fantasy performance, speech and formal wear, and public image, and for IMsBB included technical knowledge and skill, personal interview, pop question and bootblack image, speech and formal wear, and public image, the winners were announced.

International Ms. Leather 2016 is LasciviousJane and International Ms. Bootblack 2016 is Meghan.

I asked the new IMsL 2016, LasciviousJane, for her impressions of this year's event and about her own experience.

"Every year that I have attended IMsL I have had a different experience, each one special and unique in its own way. Each year I have had a blast. This year was no exception. Preparing to run, and the contest itself, challenged me in ways I didn't expect, but ultimately I learned so much about myself in the process. One of my favorite takeaways from this was the strong bond of sisterhood that developed amongst all the contestants. We were not IMsL and IMsBBs, we were one class. We were not running against each other, but with each other. I will carry each of them, their grace, their strengths, and their friendship with me this year."

Tina 'Sarge' Maravilla (left), IMsL 2015, Pat Ballie (center), Liaison from IMsL Foundation, and Sharrin Spector (right), Executive Producer. Photo: Ceridwyn Asher

I asked, Meghan, the new IMsBB 2016, the same thing.

"The experiences shared during IMsBB/IMsL weekend were as extraordinary as they were rewarding. Getting the chance to compete in this contest has most certainly impacted my life on a grand scale. I am deeply thankful for the community's faith in me to represent not only the Kentucky and the Great Lakes region, but the Women's Bootblack community on an International level."

Congratulations to the winners. Congratulations to the producers, staff and volunteers for year another great event. It's so great to see this important women's event continue to grow and thrive each year. I look forward to IMsL/IMsBB 2017 next year!

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

Leather Events, April 29 – May 15, 2016

 

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

Fri 29

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 30

Brüt @ Beatbox

Express your sex-sports, leather, jocks, muscle, chubby, rubber, sleazy, freaky or whatever divulges your confidence as a sexual being at this dance party. Every headspace has a place at Brüt. 314 11th St., $10 in advance, 10pm-4am. www.brutparty.com

Sun 1

Scotty's Cigar Social @ World Famous Turf Club

Cigars, drinks, snacks, and fun. An afternoon with friends and leather family. 22519 Main St., Hayward, 1-5pm. www.worldfamousturfclub.com

Mon 2

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

Fri 6

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

Sun 8

Locked @ SF Citadel

A men's dungeon party hosted by CastroKink. 181 Eddy St., 8pm-1am. www.sfcitadel.org, tickets at www.purplepass.com (search for "LOCKED" and you'll see LOCKED: A Men's Dungeon Party Hosted by CatroKink)

Mon 9

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

SF Ring – Flogging with Paul Johnson @ Club Eros

The SF Ring is a BDSM educational group serving the gay and bisexual male community in Northern California, with bimonthly meetings. 2051 Market Street, 7:30-9:30pm. www.sfring.org

Wed 11

Golden Shower Buddies @ Blow Buddies

A men's water sports night, Golden Shower Buddies, $15 with membership, 933 Harrison St., 8pm. www.blowbuddies.com

Thu 12

Red Hanky Nite @ Powerhouse

Bar night for men into fisting. 1347 Folsom St., 7-9pm. http://hellholesf.com/

Fri 13

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 14

Leather Marshal Voting and Meeting @ SF Eagle

The final vote will take place at the next San Francisco Leather Pride Contingent Meeting. 398 12th St., 2-3:30pm. www.sfleather.org

Woof @ SF Eagle

Come romp, play and socialize at our monthly pups and Handler mosh event! We'll have mats out to pup out on and snacks to munch on! 5 mats outside if the weather is clear, 3 inside if it rains. 398 12th St., $3 entrance, $7 for puppy pass, 2-5pm. www.SFK9Unit.org

The 15 Association Men's Play Party @ Alchemy

A men's BDSM play party. 1060 Folsom St., 7pm-12am. www.the15sf.org

Sun 15

Leather Affair @ Cassava Restaurant

A leather inspired 4-course tasting menu with beverage pairing in collaboration with Wagz Pack's Service Pups, Inc to raise funds for SF AIDS Walk ($30 of every ticket). Doors open 6pm. 3519 Balboa St., www.wagzpack.org, tickets at https://squareup.com/store/cassava/item/leather-affair






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