PRIDE IN LEATHER
Last weekend in Palm Springs was the annual Leather Pride celebration bringing into town truckloads of dominant lesbians in full sadist Leather Regalia and quiet subs being led around by their uniformed owners on leashes. All over town, leather brothers and sisters were seen united at events and representing their unique and diverse lifestyles at parties geared towards the general public and a few behind the privacy of guesthouse walls. Wherever you went the strong presence of a proud leather community was abound.
I tend to joke that working at World Gym in Palm Springs is Gay Pride every day so when these bigger weekends come to town they rarely faze me. Been there, done that, have the rainbows etched in my eyes forever. However, I do love me a big strapping man who knows how to handle a sassy southern dame like me so bring it. Palm Springs Leather Pride 2011 promised to excite and tantalize from early on in the week with men wearing ink and facial fur blazing.
As the Gay Gods and Mother Nature fought it out with cold rain and clouds, we locals wondered if the chill would deter our wonderful visitors. It did make for great opportunity to dust of the leathers and slide them on which everyone did. Friday evening a Formal Dinner was held at Leon’s that’s relocated to the Desert Princess and from what I hear men in sexy Leather Chaps
were sitting around eating delicious beef which is a picture Norman Rockwell didn’t know to paint. “Leather Wearing Beef Eaters,” in oils.
Later Friday evening the Tool Shed hoisted and hosted the Leather Vendor Market and Back Lot Party. The warmth of cigar fire on stogies, testosterone pouring out of horny pores, tight leather pants pulled across muscular asses and strong cocktails poured by the Tool Shed’s finest kept the masses happy and warm all night into the wee morning hours. Across the way one could see an impromptu demonstration between a slave and Master then make a 180-degree turn and witness the hotties from their gym exchanging saliva (or was that sativa?!) with each other. Just saying.
As it rained sporadically between thick clouds and overcast gloom on Saturday I found myself with famed photographer Tim Courtney discussing world domination at Jake’s over delicious lunch positioned perfectly under the awning outside. I watched leather clad men walking hand in hand down Palm Canyon over my glass white sangria. With a cupcake to-go, I was off to take lunch to my husband and decide what I was wearing to the Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2012 contest later that evening.
Arriving a few minutes late to the Palm Springs Convention Center, we made it through the door during the Presentation category which is first. Now I love a good pageant, err, contest and thought it smart to hold it outside in the lobby with big screens and stage because from outside it looked grand instead of shoving it inside a ballroom. People were able to mill about the Silent Auction, cruise one another, meet and meat old friends while emcee Lenny Broberg kept things moving as he always does. He is the one to have at a leather contest. I’d love to master his ceremonies be it hosting a contest with him or one-on-one something just him and I, and his San Francisco police uniform.
The judges had a hard job because the top spots were very close from what we in the audience saw on stage. I say “we” since like you I quietly judged from my various seats in the house just not on the official panel with judges Stephen Blackwell, Alex Lindsey, Amy Marie Meek, Anthony Rollar, Utah Rox, Rik “Hooker” Newton and Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2011 Drew Kramer dressed in fierce orange leather from head to boots. With four strong contestants all holding their own on stage through categories of Physique/Jockstrap and Formal Leather Wear/On-Stage Speech the title was anyone’s to take. But only one leatherman did. Here’s the scoop…
Michael Mitchell, Mr. Leather Indulgence 2012, was an excited blond who admitted proudly to being a pumper and enjoys the fantasy of a group of hot men while spinning in a Lazy Susan chair. His body from my view was on-point smooth and ripped beyond belief. Michael started things off while the next contestant Mr. Tool Shed Leather 2012 Todd Peter brought beefy back which was more my taste.
Todd came in prepared and clearly confidence was on his side not to mention the roaring crowd. Lenny soon handed over the microphone to a jock-clad Todd after asking him “What do you have hidden in your secret closet?” The crowd gave a collective “Ah…” after an inked-up Mr. Peter admitted he wishes that he had a clone of his boyfriend Todd because he loved him so much he wants two. When Todd smiled the spotlight bounced off his pearly whites and he lit up Palm Springs.
The next contestant was Mr. Streetbar Leather 2012, Thomas Oliva, who also seemed like a seasoned pro. He had that delicious masculine beef I tend to appreciate in my men and a genuine swagger of humility but strength. Mr. Oliva’s speech was from the heart about coming out in a leather bar for the first time and what it meant to him. The crowd really cheered him after his speech.
Rounding up the four was Mr. DiGS Leather 2012 Lenny Lesemen. Lenny seemed like he was having fun, represented DiGS very well for being their first representative and placed fourth. Michael placed next in third with the top two being Thomas and Todd. There wasn’t a contestant representative from Barracks even though someone roamed the crowd in a Mr. Barracks Leather 2012 title vest. When I asked about not competing he quickly replied that he competed last year and walked off. I thought it peculiar to be last year’s winner and wear next year’s title vest.
And drum roll, please… Our new Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2012 is Todd Peter who deservedly won and now prepares for Chicago during Memorial Day Weekend competing for International Mr. Leather 2012 hopefully to bring back the title of IML to Palm Springs like Gary Iriza did a few short years ago. The Recon Victory Dark Dance Party soon followed the contest and Sexy Men in Leather danced into the darker hours of morning.
Helios hosted the Sunday Pool Party BBQ which I translate as “Play Party with Food.” Luckily sunshine came out giving a taste of each weather trend over the course of a weekend. Later that day Barracks packed ’em in so tight some bitter queen couldn’t get to the bar fast enough to get a drink so she dialed 911 getting police involved by clearing out the place around 6:30. Well, maybe that’s not exactly how it happened but police did stop by taking care of the way-over-capacity crowd that Barracks tends to allow. They cleaned house regulating how many came back in at a time. Such a drastic finale to this great weekend. Good Luck to Todd Peter at IML next May! We’ll be watching for you to take the title, Mister.
2011 © PULP