in the spotlight
Volume 21/Issue 5/2003

 "A Different Drummer" Big Success
    by Brad Benedict

The Lords of Leather presented their Bal Masque XX on March 2, 2003 at the St. Bernard Cultural Center. It started promptly at 8pm and featured a number of outstanding costumes illustrating the history of leather since World War II. Leading the way into this excellent program was the reading of the proclamation by Mr. Louisiana Leather 2003 Mark Colley, and the singing of the National Anthem by Lord Danny Alford and the presentation of the flags.

Returning Lord King XIX Todd Cole, who was Mr. Louisiana Leather 2001, brought the house down and put everyone in the mood for what was to come. He wore a magnificent costume illustrating the theme of the ball, and it couldnít have been better. For my personal vantage point, it was the best costume of this or any ball executed as only a man of his stature in the leather community could present it.

It has been twenty years of leather, twenty years of love and laughter, with a few tears in the process as members have passed on, but this was the time to bring it all together in a spectacular production. Bal Masque XX Captain Timm Holt summarized it well when he stated that leather and its lifestyle is a vital force in our community. This was evident when the troops paraded out in front of the captain and his Ball Lieutenant Lord Damon Veach, Lord King XVII. The leather lifestyle defies a clear explanation as it remains cloaked in a mist of mystery and intrigue. The ball presented some insight into this lifestyle and the beat of a different drum.

Lord Timm Holtís costume was the American General followed by Lord Damonís British General. After their acts, the dance troupe came forth with a rousing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy number. When Lord Mickey Hebert presented the leather colors, it was time for the presentation of the troops, a most impressive part of the ball which showed how the leather community was and is such an integral part of the overall picture.

With this, the scene was set for what was to come. John Desselle presented the Hankie Codes with a wagon wheel decorated with the various colors of how a leatherman might walk. Kevin Chestnut was San Francisco in a dynamic costume which featured sexy bead tossers to please the audience. New York followed with Lord George Hesterís interpretation of leather in this city. The Catacombs saw Guy Williams illustrate the beauty of grease and poppers.

Anything Goes was the charity number, and this performance raised over $2,000 for charity.

Mina Hernandez was the most gorgeous Dyke on a Bike, and her gutsy performance was a big hit with the crowd. It was a moment of typical Mina magic as she presented another side of the leather lifestyle. Dr. Billy had another hit costume as that lovable teddy bear. He is always a hit on or off stage, and his presence at this ball or any other event is always a positive point of and for promoting the leather way of life.

Adam Steg was a great policeman chasing the two escaped prisoners, and he was followed by the man with the big hose, the fireman, Barry Sikes. Jack Pruitt was the Cat of Nine Tails with an entourage of sexy leathermen, and Lord Ernie OíSteen presented Tom of Finland with his costume representing the cold countries of Scandanavia.

The new royalty came out in a blaze of glory. Lord King XX Tommy Darensbourg and Lord Consort XX Elmer Godeny were magnificentally presented in a way unlike most Mardi Gras balls. They were crowned not with jeweled crowns but with a leather hat and a leather cap. It was a fitting tribute for the men and women who enjoy the pleasures of this lifestyle.

The Grand March and Open Court followed. It was the end of another fabulous leather night of love and laughter and no tears of sadness, just tears of joy and anticipation of another magical year for the Lords of Leather.


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