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Zimbabwe AIDS Plot
Leather/fetish, "At The Beach", '96
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Bean was born in Nashville, and lived in Nashville, Chicago, and New York before moving to San Francisco 16 years ago. Thom excelled in the corporate world as an advertising executive for prestigious agencies such as J.Walter Thompson and Doyle Dane Bernbach. Thom was later an outspoken activist in the Black and gay communities. He served as Third World Co-Chair of the SF Gay Pride Parade Committee, president of Girth & Mirth SF; co-chair of the Coalition for Human Rights; and Director of the Out/Look Foundation. He served on the national and local boards of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbians Against Discrimination) and BWMT (Black & White Men Together). Thom also pursued a successful career as a published poet and writer as well as publisher and editor. Thom's poetry and commentaries have been published in , OUTLINES, The Advocate, Adweek, Out/Look, New York Native, QW, LBay Area Reporter, and many other papers. His writings and poetry have been published in numerous anthologies including Black Men White Men, Risinting Racism: The Road Before Us, the new Milking Black Bull. He was publisher of the Quarterly Interchange for the past 5 years.
Writer Thom Bean dies...
Writer Thom Bean, past president and long time board member of Girth & Mirth San Francisco, died from a heart attack March 17.
E-mail us your press releases, news items and event reviews. The Global Leather Village is intended to support full-time Leather living should this become your lifestyle. Everything listed is assumed to be totally Leather Friendly.
Bean was born in Nashville, and lived in Nashville, Chicago, and New York before moving to San Francisco 16 years ago. Thom excelled in the corporate world as an advertising executive for prestigious agencies such as J.Walter Thompson and Doyle Dane Bernbach.
Thom was later an outspoken activist in the Black and gay communities. He served as Third World Co-Chair of the SF Gay Pride Parade Committee, president of Girth & Mirth SF; co-chair of the Coalition for Human Rights; and Director of the Out/Look Foundation. He served on the national and local boards of GLAAD (Gay & Lesbians Against Discrimination) and BWMT (Black & White Men Together).
Thom also pursued a successful career as a published poet and writer as well as publisher and editor. Thom's poetry and commentaries have been published in , OUTLINES, The Advocate, Adweek, Out/Look, New York Native, QW, LBay Area Reporter, and many other papers.
His writings and poetry have been published in numerous anthologies including Black Men White Men, Risinting Racism: The Road Before Us, the new Milking Black Bull. He was publisher of the Quarterly Interchange for the past 5 years.
Zimbabwe AIDS Plot
"AIDS was brought to Zimbabwe by white people who intended to wipe out the Black population and take its land and wealth," Zimbabwean Vice President Joshua Nkumo said April 6 at the funeral of his son, Ernest Thuthani, who died of the desease.
The state news agency ZIANA also quoted Nkomo as saying, "Unfortunately it backfired because they too are dying of it, but still they have the knowledge of its origins and how it can be cured but they just do not want to share that knowledge."
Officials say about one in 10 Zimbabweans is infected with HIV and 300 die weekly from AIDS comlications.
Nkomo's conspiracy theory follows months of virulently anti-gay rhetoric from Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has called Homosexuality "an abomination" and "sub-animal behavior" and has urged citizens to "hand (gays and lesbians) over to the police," saying, "I don't believe they have any rights at all."
Members of Parliament have joined in, MP Border Gezi demanded police put them somewhere where they can never be seen because we cannot mix with such people."
NOTE: The following is archive news from 1995. It appears here to provide continuity to what's happening today.
LeatherFest Los Angeles Association membership has elected four men and one woman of color to it's board of directors for LeatherFest '96. Three of the five have been honored as President, Vice President and Secretary (Donald Perry II, Richard Seraile and George Wong). All Tops.
(Pictured L to R: Donald Perry II, Richard Seraile and George Wong)
The L.A. Gay Pride Parade Float #169, LeatherFest'96, was indeed colorful with half of it's sixteen member contingency representing Asian, Latino, Native American and Afro American LeatherAti culture. Indeed, a beautiful sight with everyone beaming in pride for the LeatherFest theme: "Express yourself; don't repress yourself".
LeatherFest Los Angeles AssociationPhone 213/460-2409E-mail LeatherFest@PCHBBS.comSnail mail PO Box 291598 LA, CA 90029-9098But not to wait, LeatherFest LA has regular events throughout the year. On August 20th there will be a Women's Erotic Art Show, co-sponsored by Athena Motorcycle Club and the Tom of Finland Foundation at the Faultiline - a first. Faultline has been a leather friendly bar since the 70's as the STUD, and Griff's. The current owners, Shawn, Bill & Ralph are young risk-takers interested in staying on the cutting edge of service to our dynamic community. Check LFLAA Hotline for details.
New in Town....Faultline's Leather Ambiance
A new kind of evening has quietly evolved at the faultline on Tuesday nights. Male bonding at it's prime best. Soft jazz, shadows inside, warmth by the fire outside (usually with "Famous Fred", our very own B-Boy). It's an intimate, friendly crowd hosted by the barman who shows us the gentle side of masculine, "Richard Ser", or "RICHARD After Dark" as he is known on Tuesdays.
The evening begins with the Pool League which is enjoyable in itself to watch - and there's pizza if you want it. Then, afterwards the lights go down, conversations are spontaneous, couples form, bonding begins. "LeatherAti Partners of All Colors Together" (L.A. P.A.C.T.) are welcome and appreciated. Everyone's included.
"It's sensual as opposed to erotic", says Alex, a Leatherman sitting at the bar. "It's also mixed which is quite great." On the other side of the huge horseshoe bar, Alfonso describes it as "... sensuous music, mysterious sights - served by a Master". In a darkened corner Steve reflects, "...erotic and demure - a Pub with an edge". Special guest Leather Arts performances are being planned for the near future. Ser Richard says: "Tuesday night is not anything L.A. has ever had. We don't want this to be a secret, but we do want it to become a 'natural habit'."
Check out 'RICHARD After Dark' at the Faultline, Tuesdays, 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. It's the place to explore "The soft side of Leather; the tender side of tough." 4216 Melrose at Vermont, Los Angeles.
RICHARD After Dark at the Faultline is also the home of House of Noir and the official un-official LeatherFest and B.L.I.C. meeting place for "The curious and the committed".
Richard will also be competing for the Mr. Southern California Drummer title at the Faultline on August 4th. He's already got competition though. On June 18th, Atlanta's Rico Ware won the Mr. Southeast Drummer title. Regional winners travel to the Mr. Drummer Finals in San Francisco on September 23rd during Leather Week which culminates with the Folsom Street Fair, the world's largest Leather Festival, on Sunday, September 24th. These men give us plenty of reason to attend. Be there!
Editor's note; we wish to acknowledge Compass Keith for his support in printing the above release in Compass Magazine. Compass also featured 'boiEsquire' (aka Brian) as its Cover boy. Brian was on the cover and centerfold of B.L.I.C. Fall '94 issue. Thanks as well to Joe Shuck of Seattle for the photograph and to boiEsquire for his commmitment. Yes, I do love you. Ross.
Compass will also be supporting The Trident Leather Club's annual Daddy's boy Contest at the Faultline on August 26th. Vice President 'DAS' will be the coordinator this year. DAS is looking for boy's to sign up. Call him at 805-643-2427. You'll become an instant legend. The winner qualifies to the International contest in Oklahoma City in 1996.
On the subject of commitment, I attended LeatherFest VII in San Diego. Sponsored by The National Leather Association, there were about 1,000 in attendance. The three things that I did not see during the weekend were people of color (less than 2%); and any belief that it is possible to make leather a total lifestyle; and little, if any, emphasis on monogamy. So, not to deny those who like to 'play', a new informal association is forming for LeatherAti who prefer to 'stay'. As a balancing force, LeatherAti Partners of All Colors Together celebrates those who believe it is possible to love and lust - even in monogamy - in a full-time leather love-style. Write or call:
The Leather/Fetish/SM Community continues to renew itself with new thoughts, new images, and new cultures. It's fresh! Ken Chang, doorman at the Faultline, is now at the Gold Coast in Mid-west WEHO; the hot model "James" is the new hunk at the Faultline post.
Silverlake, CA - Darryl Carlton who is Divinity Fudge in the Ron Athey Performance Art Troupe is back from a wild trip to Lisbon Portugal.
Chicago - Al Reese, Mr. Eagle San Diego 1995 won the title of First Runner Up at International Mr. Leather (IML) on May 27th.
Los Angeles - Black Eagle Leather Klub, the Fashion Theater Ensemble has performed at several major events this spring and summer:
(Ricardo & Dimitrus)
LATIN LEATHER WEEKEND - Black Eagle Leather Klub celebrated its first anniversary the weekend of May 5th, with a Latin flavor, by having a Cinco de Mayo party at the Faultline. Saturday was even hotter with Black Eagle's fashion show, which is actually dance theater.
The presentation transcends time and space with toga designs inspired by the Egyptians and fifteenth century pirates through traditional images and on into a leather future blend with clear plastic chaps over hand painted Levi's. In the show there is a prisoner scene and a vampire scene which makes use of real blood capsules and vampire teeth from the movies. There is also a 'manimal' - half man, half beast. It's a mix of leather and spirituality - about creating and finding new things - new roles and new identities. But, most of all it's about gay men and men of color who are reclaiming their masculinity. It's also about leather as a fetish with, or without, SM.
On Sunday, after performing at Tom's Bar, Black Eagle held a beer bust, again at the Faultline, for the benefit of AmFar (American Foundation For Aids Research). In just one year the group has raised over $40,000. for the organization. Ricardo Mejia and Dimitrus Castillo would like to thank all who have supported and participated in these efforts. They are exciting examples of what commitment can produce as they live and work and serve the community in a true Leather love-style as a testament to Leatherati Partners of All Colors Together.
During the past year the Klub has performed all across the country as well as in Europe, and this summer they will travel around the world to Japan and Spain.
(At Tom's Bar)
Some other exciting leather/fetish fashion shows have been occurring in the L.A. area showing a lot of creativity and great ideas for hot stuff we can all wear this summer. (Yes, 'At The Beach' Party & Dance & Play Party July 2 in Malibu & L.A. - review to follow at a later date).
The fourth annual erotic leather and fetish show appeared at the Catch One Disco as a benefit to Rue's House and Gentlemen Concerned. Dream Dresser showed some very hot latex corsets and PVC seems to be the biggest word in fetish fashion today. Hot boots by Varla Vortex that lace up the front all the way to thigh high's International Male showed sexy see-through underwear in black mesh fabrics that had the audience's eyes popping! Finally, Black Eagle Leather staged an entire Egyptian procession with sexy pornstar Bo Stallion installed in a divan chair carried by four bodybuilders in leather kilts. Ms. SF DYKE DADDY "T" with shaved head, bare breasted and pierced, led the procession as an Eqyptian priest with shaved head, OBA, at her side. Boys with giant leather fans followed the entire procession on the stage as the audience screamed to it's feet! Daryl stole the show doing an incredible Egyptian dance wearing buckled leather leggins to the thighs, leather gladiator kilt, and a giant Ankh harness. After the Egyptian procession exited, Black Eagle wowed the audience with models in clear plastic chaps, Levi's 501s, and vinyl skirts running around the stage and shooting at each other with laser-beam handguns. Robot cyborgs were controlled by hot Marcell, a dancer at Catch One, whose very buff naked bod could be seen under the clear plastic clothing. It was a wild time at the Catch Once and money was raised (as was our fashion/fetish savvy!) for a great cause.
(Dyke Daddy "T" & Oba)
MANiFESTations of Leather appeared at the Driveshaft Club recently with a number of singers celebs, and Black Eagle Leather Klub to benefit Aunt Bee's Laundry & Housekeeping Care for persons with AIDS. Eric Westerdale of "The Bold and the Beautiful" appeared wearing Black Eagle's incredible chaps completely hand-painted with tribal tattoos. The chaps were also inlaid with black patent leather tribal tattoos and wild religious iconography with laminated pictures of porn stars on the massive belts. Special thanks to brian Moore for his wonderful publicity and to the Driveshaft for their worthy effort.
Now to the frustration of community building: guess who, up to now, has not been supporting B.L.I.C./L.A.? Yep, The Black Gay Press hasn't printed any of our press releases, or sent anyone to cover our events so far.
Hopefully this is changing. Word is there will soon be a regular leather column or even a leather issue of one of our local publications. When they finally wake up and find B.L.I.C. is a hit; they'll be reminded that they had 'first dibs'. My advise: "Get it all and get it quick. Default makes a poor defense." With Dennis Rodmann G.Q. and on the cover of Sports Illustrated; and with Arnold McCuller an openly gay singer, it just may be that B.L.I.C. will be strong in leading the community out of it's own homophobia. Let's hope so.
Wayne Corbett has been performing his solo piece "A Fish with Frog's Eyes" in San Francisco. Wayne, who is pierced and tattooed has been a SM freek for over twenty years.
OutFest '95, the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Film Festival will be showing Marlin Riggs' 1994 film: Black IS, Black Ain't. The film is the culmination of an extraordinary body of work including Emmy and Peabody award winners Tongues Untied and Color Adjustment. Late Note: Saw the film. Don't miss it!
Also, on Sunday July 16th, Menmaniacs: The legacy of Leather will guide us through the underside of this world of role-playing and illusion. Find this one and Go For It!
Mark Durham, LeatherFest board member and artist extraordinaire has been busy... On June 13th at the Fetish Magazine 1st anniversary party held at the Faultline he got spanked on stage with a hair brush by Mistress Edie. When the pictures came out his hot ass was as red as Edie's leather dress. When George Clinton performed recently in L.A., Mark was sitting atop a stack of speakers drawing to the music. Afterwards he was rushed for signatures on the art he had sailed into the crowd.
Mark also did banners for the LeatherFest float. You can see his illustration work on page seven of the latest issue of Buti Voxx. Mark's art is also incorporated in some of the gif's on the LeatherWeb. The June 19th issue of the LA Reader features Mark's cartoon work in full color on it's cover. Mark can be seen around town doing performance art on a regular basis.
We're proud to have this freaky fetish fine artist as a very active member of B.L.I.C./West.
(Artist Mark Durham with mistress Edie of the Magic of Fetish Shop)
Another long time artist and supporter of the LeatherAti has been graphic artist Edward Williams. He produced all the graphics as a co-founder of B.W.M.T./L.A. and P.A.C.T., and he now takes credit as Art Director on the LeatherWeb. Edward's Creative Services include Business Graphics 'Designed for Success'. They range from idea development to commercial design to story illustration. Edward can be reached through his location at LeatherWeb.
Yesterday, July 2nd, turned out to be one of those days of being at the right place at the right time. About 9:00 am I decided to go to All Saints Episcopal Church here in Pasadena. I had heard that Archbishop Desmund Tutu would address the 11:00 service. It's an absolutely beautiful sanctuary. About 1,000 of it's 4,000 members were there. It is the largest Episcopal congregation in the western United States. All Saints has been a prime sponsor of Aids Service Center - Pasadena.
Thanks, perhaps to the Paul Simon projects, the mostly, if not all, White choir was able to present the South African Freedom Song: "Oh, freedom, oh, freedom, oh freedom! Freedom is coming! Oh yes, I know freedom is coming!"
I began to miss and even more deeply appreciate my home church, 'Agape' in Santa Monica where the next millennium is already in full swing. To quote Dr. Michael Beckwith: "We are born an original, but most of us die copies."
What's this got to do with Leather, you ask? Rev. Beckwith also says, "No two couples should look alike." Many lesbian, gay, and Leatherati comfortably attend this church - in gear! If you love music I recommend a visit on the second Wednesday at 6:45pm or the last Sunday at 10:15 am.
Archbishop Tutu delivered the message, "we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal..." He is passionate, animated - and full of humor! His message was very Leather relevant: "Look to see the lesson God sent you to teach... God did not need anything outside of God to be God. God created us because God wanted us. God loves each of us. God, Thank You God. God, Thank You for creating me... God longs for us to make our contribution. Give your children space to be... we are each a glorious original. I am beautiful. You are unique... People want sameness because they are scared of differences... God believes in you no matter what you say. God is inclusive. ...God doesn't leave out people because of race, religion or sexual orientation."
After the service I was able to photograph three generations of the Tutu family on the occasion of Reverend and Mother Tutu's 40th wedding anniversary. I was also able to speak to the Bishop and mention that I was a co-founder of B.W.M.T. & P.A.C.T. His response: "Well done!" Council General F.W. de Klerk & his wife were also in attendance.
Editors note: For some, Leather is play, a scene. For others it is a commitment. The events recorded here all affect and offer the opportunity to signify: 24-7/3-6-5.
Later in the day while making the rounds of the Sunday afternoon Beer Busts I stopped off in Baldwin Hills to check on the newly named Magic Johnson Theater Complex which re-opens in July with a continuation of SANKOFA and a Black Film Symposium. If you haven't seen this film - Just Do It! It is a monument to African slave history. Filmed in Ghana and Jamaica by Haile Gerima, an Ethiopian and graduate of U.C.L.A. film school, the story is a flashback in time as told from the slave point of view. The parallels with today's struggles are absolutely vivid. When the film opened on the East Coast it played to packed houses and was picked up by United Artists. Then while playing here once again to packed houses, the distribuitor pulled the plug - perhaps, in part, because of the film maker's habit of appearing in front of the audience to talk after the showing.
I met Mr. Gerima and asked about black on black racism in Africa. He replied, "That's another film." I also mentioned that I had heard it said that it is easier (in Ghana) to find a Gay or Lesbian lover in the U.S. or Europe than to find one in Africa. Same response.
The last time I was at the Ebony theater was when I sang on stage there in Johnny Otis' Landmark Community Choir. On the way back into town I stopped by to find out about tickets to "Children of The Night". Stanley Bennett Clay (SBC), and its producer, was there and informed me that this was the last night of the run (Actually, it may run Sunday nights for the summer). Of course I decided to come back. It was a lucky evening. The writer/choreographer , Stephen Semien was 'very present' to introduce and direct the show which was a close to flawless as is humanly possible. No complaints. The quality of the cast only reflects the superb talents of the director and producer team.
During intermission I ran into Al Von. 'Von' is fondly remembered for his 'way-ahead-of-his-time' private parties on Melrose and in downtown lofts long before anyone dreamed of these areas as becoming trendy. Pay attention LeatherFest, you've got a wonderful legacy to live up to.
After the curtain it was time for SBC's 'Brother of the Year Awards'. Among the five honors was James Earl Hardy, author of 'B-Boy Blues', who was present to accept the recognition. If you haven't bought this black on black love story yet, Just Read It! Don 'Sir Lester' Perry - House of NOIR, is writing about the At the Beach weekend. As soon it arrives it'll be posted here. Now that you've read this section let me ask you if you feel that it is possible to live a full-time Leather Lifestyle in L.A.? The answer has to be yes. So, it's simple: Express yourself. Just Say Yes! Talk to me!
Phil Ross is The Leather Griot. He can be reached at 818-794-5868 or his personal E-mail: ROSS@leatherweb.com.
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