by Lord Jared, NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA
LEATHER BALL 3 was held in
Toronto, Canada on August
7-10. It was attended by seven hundred and fifty of the hottest leather men from the U.S., Canada, and Europe. Everyone danced the night away at the Opera House (a totally renovated vaudeville theater) to the incredible music of DJ David Knapp.
Some of the other official weekend events included the Tough Customer Party at the Barn/Stables, the Military/Uniform Party at the Government House, the Beer Blast BBQ at the Tool Box, and Woody's/Priape Leather Contest.
Here in New Orleans a huge
block party at the Phoenix Bar
on Friday, Aug. 30, helped initiate the leather portion of Southern Decadence Weekend. It was hot, humid, and loaded with bodies from the gutter of North Rampart Street, where the beer flowed, up the stairs to the Men's Room Bar and included the patio where decadence was in full observance. The street was full of vendors selling their wares and sweaty hunks dickering for the best bargain to take home. It was definitely a FUN night.
The next night the Mr. and Ms.
Louisiana Leather 1998 Con
test was held at the State Palace Theater sponsored by the Lords of Leather. The two hour event started with a Mardi Gras Second Line including members of the Lords of Leather, the judges, and the contestants. Frank Norwicki was formally greeted as Master of Ceremonies complete with robe, scepter, and crown.
Both Mr. Louisiana Leather 1997, Melvin Knight, and International Mr. Leather 1997, Kevin Cwayna, were also introduced to the audience. Kevin emphasized the four main points of the Leather community being a unique sense of family, a life past the age of 30, traditions, and a capability to be quite vocal about our sexual desires.
At this point, the five female and six male contestants were presented in leather wear against a giant video screen clip of vampires in keeping with the night's theme of "Real New Orleans". The theme continued with Voodoo Priestess Ava Kay Jones - who thrilled the audience (and sent a few running) with her snake dance accompanied by a six foot slithering serpent. The erotic atmosphere was protracted even more with the hot male candidates exhibited in their leather pouches or white jocks and then the female participants displayed their fantasies complete with chains, hot wax, wrestling, whipping, and bondage. (To think that only months earlier Regis and Kathie Lee were live on that very same stage.)
Following intermission the contestants gave brief speeches on how leather affects their lives and their commitment to the leather community as well as issues of heritage and self acceptance. All the contestants did a great job. Now came the wait for the final selection by the judges of the winners.
During the tabulation of the scores, the audience was entertained by the sensual tones of Sister Beat Drummers. Also captivating the audience were: Jay Cooper, Amon Ra's Mr. America, with the song "You Never Walk Alone"; Lords of Leather's Lord of Misrule, Danny Alford, singing "Long Lost Friend"; Jill Carter, International Ms. Leather 1996, speaking of how twenty-five years in the leather fellowship has taught her never to quit and always remember to thank those who work the hardest behind the scenes and not just the title holders; Melvin Knight Mr. Louisiana Leather 1997, talking of both his and others' personal mentors in the leather community; and finally Thom Murray from Food For Friends and the Food Bank asking everyone to generously contribute during the charity collection that night.
The winners announced are: second runner-up to Ms. Louisiana Leather 1998 - Raven Greywalker, first runner-up to Ms. Louisiana Leather 1998 - Lorrie Aslakson and Ms. Louisiana Leather 1998 - Lorna Pierce. Second runner-up to Mr. Louisiana Leather 1998 - Scott Garrett, first runner-up to Mr. Louisiana 1998 - Chris Hall, and Mr. Louisiana Leather 1998 - Drake Higginbotham. We wish both Drake and Lorna much success at the International Leather Contests, where they will represent this state next year.
An exceptional happening you
should travel to is the
International Leather Pride Week in San Francisco on September 21-28. This will include the Annual Leather Walk on Sunday, September 21 to benefit the AIDS Emergency Fund; the Leather Buddies Play Party on Wednesday, September 24; the Leather Daddies' Art Auction at the San Francisco Eagle on Thursday, September 25; the Fetish and Fantasy Extravaganza at Club Townsend on Friday, September 26: the International Mr. Drummer Contest on Saturday, September 27; and the Fourteenth Annual Folsom Street Fair on Sunday September 28. Over three hundred thousand visitors from across the country and around the world attend this happening with two hundred artisans and vendors in the five block area along with two performance stages and one very large dance arena.
Now I would like to personally
beseech you to please help
support an endangered local species - the New Orleans' Gay and Lesbian Carnival krewes. Nineteen have come and gone. Four are left - Amon Ra, Armeinius, Lords of Leather, and Petronius. It is only through the help of individuals and businesses that these few will endeavor to strive. Many New Orleanians and tourists love attending these wild Carnival affairs. However, remember that it costs thousands of dollars to produce a Ball. These funds are raised from functions held all year round and from the selling of program advertisements. At one time, invitations to the Mardi Gras Balls were privileged and free. Now most of the krewes request a donation or, at least, that you bought function tickets during the year. Please support these clubs (and their fund-raising activities) before they are lost forever. Thanks.