Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 49 / 7 December 2017
 

IMsL/IMsBB and
a Community Hero

Leather


This year's winner of IMsL 2015 is Tina M. (aka Sarge) from San Diego. photo: Rich Stadtmiller
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ADVERTISMENT

A lot has been going on lately about which I could write, but two events stood out to me as important to talk about in this column. The International Ms. Leather and International Ms. Bootblack contest and weekend (often referred to as IMsL/IMsBB) (www.imsl.org) took place in San Jose April 9-12. The SF Leathermen's Discussion Group (www.sfldg.org) event, www.RichTrove.com 10th Anniversary: a conversation with founder Rich Stadtmiller, took place on April 22 at the SF LGBT Center.

Both of these events are notable. IMsL/IMsBB is the largest gathering for leather and kink women. Rich Stadtmiller can justifiably be considered a hero of the community (and he also provides most of the photos included in this column). Thus why I consider them both worthy of mention here.

The IMsL/IMsBB weekend and contest offers women from around the world an opportunity to commune with others who share their passion for our style of sexuality and erotic identity. In my opinion, it's the most high profile and important of the kinky women's gatherings because it seeks to pull together women from all walks of the scene from around the world. I'm not aware of any other event that does that consistently. So it's important that IMsL/IMsBB exist and thrive since women often have a hard time finding large events at which to commune. With this year's event's large attendance, it's clear there's a big need that this event fulfills for the community.

The weekend may center on the contest, but it's much more than that. There are a host of educational, social, play, shopping and fundraising options that can keep anyone in attendance occupied and having fun. And they certainly did so again this year. For the men reading this, men are also welcome to participate in the weekend and many men do attend to support their fellow women kinksters.

Because this column lacks the space to adequately do justice to reporting on the entire weekend's events, I urge readers wanting more detail to look up Deborah Hoffman-Wade's article on Leatherati ( www.leatherati.com) titled "Walking The Labyrinth: IMsL 2015." It's a thoughtful and thorough reflection on the weekend.

Since the contest is one of the main focal points of the weekend, the winners end up being the face of both the title and the event for the coming year. This year's winner of IMsL 2015 is Tina M. (aka Sarge) from San Diego. The winner of IMsBB 2015 is slave tabitha arie from Phoenix. Both women did an amazing job. I wish them both great title years.

I asked the new IMsL 2015, Sarge, what some of her plans are for her title year.

Tina M.'s Disney-themed kink number at IMsL 2015. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

"I am planning to write a book documenting the last 30 years of IMsL history," she said. "Interviewing, photographing and documenting the amazing women who have paved the way for the current class of leather women. Why am I happy to have won? Well I worked really hard to win the title! Studying, late nights, long preparations, practicing, struggling with self-image and self-esteem as I squeezed my big beautiful body into a countless amount of steel-boned corsets and painted on leather pants. So, to bring the sash home meant that all the hard work paid off, not just for me, but for my family and the entire Southern California community. I want people to know I'm approachable and I love to play. I'm a sex positive butch that rolls with the GBGs (Gang Bang Girls)."

I asked one of the producers, Pat Baillie, for her thoughts on the event that she and so many others work so hard all year long to create.

She said, "We had just over 700 attendees and besides having an amazing contest with 9 IMsL and 5 IMsBB (a record), hot play parties, lots of workshops and vending, we also looked at deeper issues like the intersection of kink, porn and feminism and continued the discussion on racism in the community. Even during amazing events like IMsL, these issues impact the ability for all of us to live, love and play radically and although we can't solve these issues with just a few discussions, we are committed to addressing the 'isms' that are all around us."

Bravo to the producers, volunteers and sponsors for mounting yet again the preeminent event for kinky women.

 

The always-smiling Rich Stadtmiller (left) receiving a proclamation from State Senator Mark Leno for his community contributions from Anna Damiani (right), Senator Leno's District Representative. photo: Race Bannon

Rich's Riches

The event honoring Rich Stadtmiller's accomplishments, photographically documenting leather, kink and other communities at both local and national events, was well attended. Hundreds of Rich's images flashed on the large screen as Rich beautifully recounted how he got into this type of photographic contribution and what motivates him to continue the work, while also offering the audience some great stories that provided further insight into Rich's photographs and mission.

If you have never visited the vast photo repository at www.richtrove.com, you should. At present more than 250,000 images reside on that site with the number growing almost daily. It's truly one of the most remarkable records of the leather and kink scene's people and happenings.

Rich started on his photographic journey after a few personal epiphanies. During his presentation, Rich said, "What would possess a man to leave a 30-year tech career to live off his savings and wander through dark bars in a red leather Santa suit, hanging a three-pound, strap-on around his neck with a flashing light? To approach strangers to get them to lower their guard and lend a piece of their souls for safekeeping?"

Even Rich wasn't immediately quite sure why he was so compelled to become this sort of photographer. Eventually he realized that what was driving him was that a chunk of his life was missing.

Like other veterans of the early HIV/AIDs era, he had done his best to kill off any memories of that time - to the point of forgetting that the ones he loved ever existed. That didn't sit well with Rich. His photographs are his passionate response.

Providing photographic service to the community became Rich's way of ensuring that no one will ever feel that their memories are entirely lost.

As Rich put it, "I would hate for anybody to experience such loss again. Instead I want to provide an abundance of memories. I hoped people would realize their value."

By the accolades Rich has received both locally and nationally for his contributions, I know people have absolutely realized their value.

Thanks, Rich, for being such a community hero, and I do consider you a hero. Few people are as generous and caring as you are. May we all continue to benefit from the next 250,000 photographs you shoot.

Let me close with a few words from Rich that apply not just to the amazing work he does, but I think offers some wisdom for our community generally.

He said, "If you want to enhance your life, if you want to build community, connect with people, make sweet memories with them, hang on to those memories and share them with others. Our bonds with each other are forged in shared experiences, strengthened through shared memories, and extended through shared stories. Those bonds form the fabric of our community and hold us together."

Yes, they do. Shared experiences, like IMsL/IMsBB and viewing Rich's photographs, do indeed form the backbone of what we call community.

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

 

Hot Draw @ Mark I. Chester Studio

Leather Events, April 30 – May 17, 2015

 

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

Thu 30

Hot Draw! @ Mark I Chester Studio

Erotic, leather, fetish poses for gay male sketchers of all skill levels. 1229 Folsom St., 6:30pm. www.markichester.com/hotdraw

Fri 1

SCCLA Bar Schmooz @ Renegades Bar

Informal social where friends, prospective members and anyone else who wants to relax, laugh, talk and hang out with like-minded people, 501 W. Taylor St., San Jose, 9pm. www.renegadesbar.com

Boots Leather Cigars @ SF Eagle

Boots Leather Cigars @ SF Eagle. Social gathering for men into boots, leather, uniforms and cigars. 398 12th St., 9pm-midnight. www.sf-eagle.com

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/

Mon 4

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 8

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 9

Leather Contingent - Leather Marshal Voting & Meeting @ SF Eagle

The election for male and female 2015 Leather Marshals will be held at this Leather Contingent meeting. 398 12th St., 2pm. www.sf-eagle.com

Sun 10

Wagz Pack Presents: Puppy Pile! @ SF Citadel

Play party and pup auction for charity. 181 Eddy St., 8pm. $25 (half price if purchased in advance). www.wagzpack.org

Mon 11

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 - Finding a Bondage Buddy, with Mr. Munter @ 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, 7:30pm. www.sfring.org

Wed 13

Golden Shower Buddies @ Blow Buddies

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

Fri 15

IML Send Off Party for our Mr. SF Leather 2015 Trevor Black @ Lookout

Help send off Trevor with a little travel money and good luck as he competes for International Mr. Leather Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. 3600 16th St., 9pm. www.lookoutsf.com

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 17

Leathermen's Discussion Group Beerbust @ SF Eagle

Join the San Francisco Leathermen's Discussion Group for their beerbust. 398 12th St., 3pm. www.sfldg.org






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