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Guest Editorial by Paula Smith

This picture actually was from Menamore’s run in 1999 and was the year they held the fundraiser “Shave the Bear” during their run. The fundraiser that weekend had Russ Brannen shaving Joseph Bean, Chris Zimmerman Law and Frank from the Keywest Wreckers. I have no idea what we were laughing at, but we WERE laughing our asses off!

Earlier JP Garner III had posted a picture from the Trident Knight Levi Leather Club Millennium run in 1999 and was talking about what a close bond that we all had. These were amazing times. It was a testament to brotherhood of how we all came together and supported one other. You could always find Leathermen and Leatherwomen gathered from the Charlotte Tradesmen, Panther L/L, Coastal Empire Sentinels, Menamore, Tarheel Leather Club, Keywest Wreckers, Trident International South Florida, Carolina Bear Lodge, Blue Max, Rogues Leather, Conductors L/L, Knighthawks of Virginia, clubs from Columbia, Kentucky, New Orleans and Florida. We all knew each other and had a blast at the runs. We would participate in the games in hopes to win an award to take home to place in our club’s display case. You could only hope that your club would win an award for most club members in attendance or for who traveled the furthest. We competed and fought hard for those awards. The weekend culminated with the announcement of the weekend pig award! I think that the best part of the run often was Sunday afternoon when the awards were given out before we all prepared to return home, knowing that time would pass quickly until we were able to gather once again.

These were times with tons of laughter, an immense amount of drinking, hot play and debauchery! Just as important too, there was a lot of love and respect exchanged between clubs and people involved in our community. This was time that real life lessons were taught, stories were exchanged in order to uphold our history as Leathermen and Leatherwomen and the history of our clubs were shared throughout the weekend. This was an essential time for new Leathermen and women to be cultivated. THIS is where Leather was learned!...not in books, not online, not at a contest, but in real situations and experiences.

We need to share this experience and these lessons with the next generation of Leathermen and women. We need to lead by example. It's important for us to support our clubs, to work at cultivating new people and to pass on our history, a history that is becoming lost as people no longer know the history of Leather, the history of our clubs and where this all started.

I challenge you all to make this a year of devotion to the cultivation of Leather, to commit to demonstrating WHO and WHAT we are... To what we love!

I’m an out and proud Leatherdyke. I love my brothers and sisters no matter what we come up against. It’s not always easy. It is imperative though to commit to being there for one another though. You don’t turn your back on each other or be fly-by-night. This is not a passing fad. It is ingrained into us, a part of who we are, not the whole, but a portion. Our clubs are being pushed further and further out of what we call the “Leather community.”

My goal for 2016 is to see our clubs work at solidifying as a community, supporting one another and to get back to enjoying time together, laughing our asses off and having good play and debauchery once again in our lives. No more politics, no more stand and model and, no imaginary hierarchy. Many of us are not on a mission to be a part of mainstream society; our Leather and kink is fed by being on the outside fray, relishing in the dark side of life. It’s not just about sex and hooking up. It really is much akin to a fraternal organization, the connections, the bond and the values and ethics that we lend to our clubs.

Heading into 2016, Low Country Leather in Charleston, SC will be celebrating our second anniversary as we prepare to host our inaugural run themed, Low Country Leather - Down the Rabbit Hole the weekend of February 26-28. It’s our hope that we will be able to provide a run that is in the lines of runs of the past. We’re hoping to see Leathermen and Leatherwomen from not only here in the Southeast, but from across the nation join us for this momentous occasion for our club! We will be having themed cocktail parties held by neighboring clubs. There will be clubs sponsoring male and female play parties all weekend long. In addition, we are excited to be showcasing our first ever “Fantasy Fight” http://www.lowcountryleather.com/fantasy-fight.html The plan is to have clubs create entertaining fantasies in order to battle one another for the soon to be coveted Low Country Leather Fantasy Fight Champion award. We are pitting club against club, brothers and sisters against brothers and sisters all in hopes of creating a fun and competitive atmosphere for everyone attending. No holds bar as each group brings their best to battle it out. Hopefully this will be an on going competition for clubs to return each year and defend their title! It’s all about a lot of laughter, love, and freedom to express who we are.

It’s time to return to the simplicity of having fun and sharing the love of who we are as Leathermen and Leatherwomen as we pass on our traditions. Let’s work at getting back to basics. Help to put the fun back into our Leather and kink.


Paula Smith

American Leatherwoman 2000, SELF Ms Leather Pride 1999, Southern Coastal States Leather 1998. Recipient of Pantheon of Leather Readers Choice Award (Woman) 2000 and Southeast Regional Award 2000, NC Leather Continuous Service Award 2002, Mr. Marcus Spirit Award (Pittsburgh) 2013. She is president and cofounder of Low Country Leather, Charleston, SC, cofounder of CLAWS, Myrtle Beach, SC, holds numerous associate memberships for Leather clubs across the nation. She has been active with ABW as coproducer, staff member and active participant for the past 15 years as well as the on staff nurse for IMsL. Latest initiatives are initiating and conducting recovery meetings at Leather events, writing articles on Leather history, mentoring the next generation of Leather people. She has has become “Mama” to more people than she can keep track of these days. Paula has been appointed vice-president for a grass roots project, AIDS Cure Research Collaborative, Pittsburgh, PA.




There are additions and amendments to what appears in the print version of The Leather Journal, so read and dig it.

Jaco Lourens - Me visiting You in Cape Town for at least two weeks - How about forever?

Master Kevin and slave feyrie - Joyous integration of the newest addition to your family and a trip to Arizona for the Southwest Leather Conference. Does the Dance of Souls come to mind?

Eric Paul Leue - Success in your campaign to get all of us on PrEP and in a way that it is readily available to everyone and inexpensive.

Patrick Grady - It was such an honor pinning you into Mama's Family at IML. I was shocked to see that you were celebrating Passover in the same way as Bob Hope was with the Oscars. You are a charm.

Shy - A huge chocolate factory where you can make lots of Fudge Packer Fudge inexpensively and a huge market for it.

Dave Faunce - You are an amazing talent in so many ways from playing the role of Krampus at Avatar's Christmas party at Eagle LA to hairstyle, Congratulations on becoming the next president of Satyrs MC. And, oh yes, Many happy years together with your partner.

Herman Groenewald - Visit Herman in South Africa and he will teach you how to grow a big trunk...on your bonsai tree using elephant manure.

Tracy Wolf and Wolf - The Great Wall of China to hold in a certain Sir Francis Bacon and a prosperous cake-making business.

Pony - You will be at Smokeout and you will be at The 15 Association's Boot Camp. No if's, ands or butts.

Fred Anderson and Boo - A huge travel fund and a great year as International Mr. Olympus Leather. Lots of friends and invites around the globe.

Golden Gate Guards - Your club has weathered the storm of clubs fading away. Still host the Leather Cruise and many other big events. You are indeed a beacon in Northern California.

Jay Hemphill and Michael Holeman - All the best in your new residence in Florida and a big thank you for all both of you did with the Leather contingent at San Francisco Pride for so many years. Hope they gave you a great send off with appreciation.

Jeffrey Payne and Sergio - All the love and success in your many endeavors.

Don Doyle - Thank you for all of your support and all the best on being elected the new president of Avatar.

Mistress Cyan - Renewed health and wealth and a huge thank you for the many things that you have done to make the world a better place.

Vonn Tramel - A new house boy and/or girl who can do cars and gardens.

Clifton Tatum - You've had a great year and you kept your bold fundraising promise. You did Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert proud.

Alex Wisniowski - A Facebook account.

Thomas Smith - We haven't seen much of each other lately, but it would be good do so more often. Hugs to you and Joshua.

Brent Seeley - The time off and the means to make it to The 15 Association's Boot Camp run next June.

Bob Miller and CLAW - You are becoming the high holy days of Leather. The brotherhood is there, it is good Leather weather, it is inexpensive and has become the must-attend event of the year. You will likely pass the 2,000 market which would make you the second largest full-weekend Leather convention in North America.

Michael Lara - What an amazing place the Bullet has become. Your minions, Dan, Matthew, Alex and others are coming up with so many innovative events. Pantheon nominators - are you reading?

Bill from San Diego - The best of health, lot of love, trips to Los Angeles and eating at the best eateries that both cities have to offer. Also many terrific full moon treks.

Brett Murden - More armpits to target, but not more than I get.

Sandy "Mama" Reinhardt - Her own Jagermeister distributor.

Bob "Bulldog" Rothwell - A hug for coming up with and producing Las Vegas Smokeout every year. A unique events and we love it.

Peter Fiske - You've been with it for decades. Hugs and recognition for your community commitment and your friendship. Also a comfortable and not-hurried visit with the Queen of England.

Alan Stroik - History is full of men or women being in the right place at the right time. Such is the case with you being there when Avatar needed you most as it was for Great Britain with Winston Churchill.

Jon Wright - You have led LA Leather to a new level. Shoot for the stars. LA needs a world-class Leather event in town and you, Marlon, Hunter and many others are paving the way to that goal.

Richard Conley - The best for Mates Leather Weekend and Snowbound in Provincetown, MA.

James and Jeff of Bulldog Custom Leathers - Thanks for your help at International Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather and best of luck with your new home and business.

Charlie Matula and Hunter - Whopping success with your new Farm Boy restaurant. And to Hunter, 25,000 attending the Off Sunset Festival this year.

Shae Flanigan - Huge success with the Ms Los Angeles Leather contest and all that you do.

Mike Zuhl - Al your dreams of a fabulous Drummer North America coming true.

Patty Patty - You have been amazing. Words cannot describe.

Mario Torrigino - Appreciation for your behind-the-scenes support.

Tindala - To be swept off her feet and properly saddled.

Bryan Teague - Best of health and an unlimited open-ended ticket to The Islands.

Jim Neuman - You are a mensch. I gave the USC Fight-On salute when presenting your award at Pantheon of Leather.

Patrick Smith - Your really have been International Mr. Leather by visiting more than parties in Canada and Europe. Uganda's LGBT community must love you.

Donna Sachet - Love the image that you give San Francisco. You are all love.

Justin Akin - Thank you for your company at all of the monthly dinners we have had this year and all the best with your partner who just moved in with you.

Cowboi Jen - All the best with your new love in life, Suzanne.

Jon Wright - Thanks fore the really bitchin' Halloween party every year.

Sarge - Cooperation from all of the past IMsLs in compiling her new book.

PuP~ - Win the Publisher's Clearing House Sweepstakes.

Russ Mortenson-Boyd - All the energy you need to keep up with the Leather Foundation and other things in San Diego. Maybe a good vacation would give you a well-deserved break for the action - only to return to all that has to be done.

Matthew Mullins and Dan Lovell - You two are a level or so above amazing. Love you.

Vonn, Pup~, Dr. Larry, Tindala, Mike Van Horn, Mistress Cyan and Regional Sponsors - Thank you for sticking with Pantheon of Leather and International Mr. and Ms Olympus Leather. We have turned the corner and we are now one great team.

Tyler Fong - A head scratcher. Thank you for all of the help during the past few years. You are indeed a trooper.

Dr. Larry - 100 consecutive first class upgrades and smooth flights - and they must serve M&Ms on all of your flights.

And to all, Merry Christmas, Yule, Solstice and/or Happy Hanukkah.


Week In Leather Editorial, August 10, 2015

The Pantheon of Leather Awards will celebrate its 25th Anniversary in October. The Awards were founded because there was no national system honoring individuals, clubs, businesses and organizations in the Leather community in the early 1990s.

There were local and regional awards programs sponsored mostly by the Motorcycle Clubs, particularly in California.

The first Pantheon of Leather Awards presentation was in Hollywood, CA in 1991, prior to then, The Leather Journal named a Man of the Year and Woman of the Year as do many magazines. There was no crystal awards presentation. The honor was just being named in The Leather Journal and the decision on who would be honored was arbitrarily mine.

No hoopla, no drum roll - they were just announced in my Editorials.

There are three award selection categories in the Pantheon of Leather Awards system: Most Awards are decided by public nomination and voted upon by a Selection Panel of previous year’s recipients, Community Choice Awards which are decided solely by popular write-in vote, and President’s Awards decided upon by me. This three-tier system creates a checks-and-balance in award selection.

Over the years, over 550 awards have been presented at Pantheon of Leather.

I hope you will join us on Friday night, October 16 in Atlanta, Georgia. Be there. Even if you are not nominated, but have friends who were, cheer on those who are being awarded.

A crystal ice berg-designed award is nice for the trophy case, but having a large crowd cheering you on when your name is announced lasts forever in one's mind. If you are being honored, be there to receive your coveted Pantheon of Leather Award.

See you in Atlanta.

As a community comprised of misfits and minorities our lives are touched by one human rights issue or another every day. Every so often the people of our community have conversations about these issues. These conversations are vital and each one shapes our daily lives.  

When groups fight for human rights, tempers are going to flare, and inevitably there is one or more group that WILL shout louder and longer. That is after all how fights are won. Changes do not always happen quickly, most often they are not quiet, most of the time there is ugliness, most definitely someone will think the change isn’t what they envisioned and almost always someone looses something in the fight, as in every political fight compromise is key.    We must lift one another in our wholeness, dividing ourselves because of color, sexuality, or gender pronouns only serves to weaken a community.  Our groups must remember to rationally discuss their needs, wants, desires or what they feel to be their rights when presenting their grievances. NO single group or even individual should be excluded for the betterment of another.

The last four decades the LGBT community as a whole has survived and succeeded innumerable fights, riots and conversations between law enforcement, governments and each other to find solutions and make enormous advances. Each group fighting in their own ways.

The Internet has hastened this experience allowing us to speak without thinking, expediting the ability to gather and march, to make moves without stewing in our own juices, those wish to contribute may now flip a switch and hit enter, without taking the time previous leaders used to consider the overall consequences to each and every action.  As we see the pendulum flip towards the RADICAL RIGHT we must remember this despite the  injustices happening every day in each segment of our community.

 We MUST strengthen our resolve and stop and consider for just a moment that this is a community built to lift up and strengthen one another.  When we fight among ourselves in a manner which begins to tear down the event, it weakens the producers ability, it undermines the foundation.  This type of behavior weakens the structure of an organizations political strength.  

Leather has never been easy, Being comprised of sexual deviants the Leather Community has always been the subject of controversy.  Despite who we like or who we feel might be the party in the right, an informed decision and any truly affirmative action requires information and input from all sides.  

I don’t like conflict. BUT I do admire that even in it’s messy nastiness, is my community, this dysfunctional family, does something that my biological family never did.  They talk, they fight, and then at the end of the day, we come together better for it.



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