Issue:  Vol. 47 / No. 50 / 14 December 2017
 

Smell the f'ing roses

Leather


Left to right: Matt Bunch, President of Queer Leather Association Sacramento; Pup Ranger, Mr. Santa Clara County Leather 2017; and Minxy Jeni, Ms. Alameda County Leather Corps 2017; all expressing camaraderie and happiness on the recent Golden Gate Guards leather cruise. photo: Rich Stadtmiller     
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ADVERTISMENT

Warning; this is a rough column for me to write. About two weeks ago I lost someone incredibly close to me, Robb Meese, a remarkable man. His sudden passing truly devastated me as well as everyone in his sphere of intimates, family and friends.

I was in an extremely bonded, loving, kink relationship with this man. When his partner, Alec Braithwaite, an equally remarkable man, notified me of his passing I was at Folsom Street Fair.

Upon hearing the news, I quickly left the fair, in tears. As you can imagine, it's been a rough couple of weeks. It's been an emotionally bumpy ride back to some semblance of normalcy.

So, why am I telling you this?

Robb was a leatherman. Leather, and the kink that percolates within that world, was for him an extremely important part of not only his sexuality, but also his identity and social and familial connections. He simply loved leather and the men who wore it.

He also had the knack for seeing the good in our scene, perhaps more than I do sometimes. My tendency can be to nitpick and dissect the goings-on in our scene, often to minutia. Sometimes that's a good thing and our scene needs it. But far too often, I and others seem to wallow in the negative.

Robb didn't do that. He tended to consistently see the wonder, beauty and joy of the leather scene. Amid its faults, he instead chose to focus on the positive, that which made him happy. I always marveled at how he viewed the leather communities with a sort of awe and wonderment.

Lately, I've seen a lot of negativity in our leather and kink scene. Some of it's founded. Some of it's simply the ramblings of people with an axe to grind. Regardless, such negativity takes its toll.

In honor of Robb, here's just a sampling of some of the negativity I've heard in the past few months along with what I consider their counter positive sides.

"The bars don't have enough leather in them." Yes, true, and that's not likely to change except when people who want such environments get off their butts, gear up, and go to those bars and organize their geared-up friends to go with them. And even then, enjoy what we do have while making them even better.

"This titleholder or contest [insert your title or contest complaint of choice]."

Regardless of one's view of leather contests, they're supposed to be fun and an enjoyable communal experience. The far too frequent bitching, much of it done online, isn't typically productive or helpful.

"There is no leather scene. The apps killed it."

Sure, much of cruising culture has moved from bars to online and apps, but there's still a busy social scene that awaits. Get out and enjoy it. Also, hookup apps, and especially social media such as Facebook, have enabled kink event organizers to promote and organize their events with little to no cost. In the past, how many groups could afford to buy advertising for their events? Now they can spend their money on parties and programs and not on expensive marketing efforts.

"The leather street fairs aren't gay enough anymore."

The truth is, they're still plenty gay. If one embraces just how gay they still are you can have an awesome time.

"There are no more good dungeons, so we can't have any fun."

San Francisco has two excellent active dungeons, but yes, you're likely to have to often be creative about where you might play. Besides, never forget that most kinksters play at home; still a good place to play. Focus on the play and connection itself, not the location.

"The young ones don't know what they're doing and don't respect the old traditions."

Honestly, I've encountered few young kinksters who don't respect others, including us older folks. And the young ones coming into the scene are learning things more quickly than in my initial leather days. Cut them some slack, and remember traditions change over time.

I could go on.

This rant isn't meant to squelch real discussion about those things in our scene that can be improved. Of course, that's needed. However, the rise in the negativity I've seen lately, often given a larger audience due to social media's megaphone effect, needs to be reined in and channeled to more positive pursuits.

When you read or hear someone spout negativity, take a moment to discern if it's valid, and even if it is, determine if the level of ire is warranted. Engage your bullshit and drama filters too and turn them on high. Parse out what's important to focus on and let go of the rest.

We're so damn lucky in the Bay Area (and in so many places) to have an amazingly diverse, robust and active leather and kink scene. Let's focus a bit more on the positive and less on the negative. You would honor Robb Meese if you did so.

 

Angel Garfold (left), WILL (Women's International Leather Legacy) 2013, and Q Wilson (right), International Ms Bootblack 2008, expressing sheer joy at Donna Sachet's recent titleholder brunch. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

Kink Resources

Now that I've gotten it off my chest to encourage you to smell the roses in our scene, while still working to make it even better, let me offer you a small gift.

I maintain a group for kinky gay men on Facebook called Race's Bar that serves as a place where local and visiting gay men into leather and kink can find out about certain kink-focused events. One of the things I also do in that group is maintain a resources list in PDF format.

The resources list contains abbreviated information about clubs, bars, retailers, kink-friendly mental health and medical care providers, and much more.

If you would like a copy of the current version of this document sent to you, I offer it as a gift to you in the interest of fostering a strong and vibrant local set of kink communities.

Send me an email (to race at bannon dot com) and I will send you the latest file. Depending on the number of requests I get, it may take me a while to return the email, but I promise I will.

Also, I would like to encourage anyone who would like to create such a resource list for their own local kink constituency to do so. I'll even send you my source Word file to help you get started with yours. I think such resource listings are vital to encouraging the health and happiness of our leather and kink communities. Let's do that together.

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

Local kink notables, Daddy Robert (left) and Erik Will (right), expressing complete and utter fun and joy at the SF Eagle. photo: Rich Stadtmiller

Leather Events, October 13-28, 2017

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

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

Frisky Pups @ SF Catalyst

A men's party for naughty pups and bad boys. Sex-positive pups and the men who love to play with them are invited for this night of debauchery. Donation $20, $10 if in pup hood or fetish gear on check-in. No pup turned away for lack of funds. 1060 Folsom St., 10pm. www.sfcatalyst.org

Sat 14

Mr. SF Rubber Step Down and Contest @ SF Eagle

Step down of Mr. SF Rubber 2017 and then the contest to choose the next Mr. SF Rubber 2018. Raffle of prizes from Mr. S Leather. 398 12th St., 6-9pm. www.sf-eagle.com

Mr. SF Rubber Victory Play Party @ SF Catalyst

Celebrate with the new Mr. SF Rubber 2018 for a men's rubber party for the 18+ male-identified. Arrive in rubber/fetish gear and experience multiple play areas including a rubber gimp room and sling room. 1060 Folsom St., 9pm-2am, $20, $15 in full-body rubber/neoprene/lycra. www.sfcatalyst.org

Mon 16

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 20

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

FuKR SF Cigar & Pipe Men Social @ Joe Whitaker @ SF Oasis

Man Upp hosts a cigar and pipe men's social on the rooftop of Oasis. This is a pre-party for FuKR SF (see below). Enjoy your favorite cigar or pipe and meet some hot SF cigar and pipe guys. Leather and kink gear encouraged. 298 11th St., 9-10:30pm, $8. Early bird ticket and door cover gets you into the social and the later party. www.sfoasis.com

FuKR SF Jock/Gear Party @ SF Oasis

DILF & Joe Whitaker host a jock/harness party with DJ Corey Craig, for a night of hot music, men and fun in jocks and gear. 298 11th St., 10pm-2am, $8. www.sfoasis.com

Mon 23

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

Wed 25

Leathermen's Discussion Group @ Mr. S Leather Studio

Explore Your Kinks: LDG Mentoring Program with Richard Sprott. The LDG mentoring program has been active for more than five years, serving hundreds of kinky men. Come learn and prep for the 2018 program. 385A 8th St., 7:30-9:30pm. www.sfldg.org

Leather/Underwear Buddies @ Blow Buddies

Erotic fun for leather, gear and underwear guys, $15, 933 Harrison St., 8pm. www.blowbuddies.com

Fri 27

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 28

The 15 Association Men's Play Party @ SF Catalyst

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






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