Thursday, February 28, 2013

DVD REVIEW: "Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels"

DVD REVIEW: "Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels"

She calls herself "Angel Walker" today.  Generations ago, she was a restless girl from San Francisco who rose to become a legend in the burlesque world, under the titillating persona of "Satan's Angel, The Devil's Own Mistress".  "Satan's Angel" was a raven-haired beauty with angel's eyes and a devilishly decadent figure.  In addition, this sex kitten also had a very rare, innovative talent which is still considered a specialty (albeit a dangerous one...) today.  Angel was also an avowed lesbian, which colored many aspects of her already unique life.  In Josh Dragotta's fascinating new documentary, "Satan's Angel: Queen of The Fire Tassels", the audience learns about a true sex star, survivor, and icon whose story was as wild and crazy as anything you could see on a stage.  We also get quite an education about the world of burlesque in general, which couldn't be more perfectly timed.  The art form, as many have learned, is rightfully enjoying a renaissance in a big way.  Throughout the film, many women of burlesque and the erotic arts (past and present) are heard from, including Dixie Evans, Francesca Kitten Navidad, Tiffany Carter, Anna Bells, Big Fanni Annie, Ginger Lynn Allen, Lily von Schtupp, and others.  

Now a husky-voiced blonde, the still-glamorous, 67-year old Angel Walker still carries herself like a star... although, we learn, she's not above getting into an occasional bar brawl.  She tells the audience, "My birth name is none o' your damn business! 'Satan's Angel' is wild, crazy, loves to party, still loves a good martini, loves a good cigar or cigarette, likes to stay up till 4 o'clock in the morning and shoot the breeze with the guys in the band...  Just because I'm 67-- just because I'm old-- doesn't mean I'm a dead person, like you dug me up and sat me here and said, 'OK, Angel...Speak!'".  Astonishingly, Angel actually came out of retirement in 2000, and today she still performs all over the world.  The audiences appreciate not only her dynamic performances-- which we get to see in the film-- but her legendary status as well (and, you might add, the novelty of seeing a sexagenarian stripper still plying her trade...).  We meet many of the star's own peers in the business, from her fellow legends to rising stars in the burlesque world.  Many of them speak about Angel: one star calls her, "The Cadillac of Burlesque", and another adds, "She's more fabulous today than she was years ago." 

It was years ago that Angel discovered the persona that mad her famous.  There was a gig as a nude artists' model, then an amateur strip contest, and then a full dance card as a "rock and roll club stripper".  With a mix of influences ("Lili St. Cyr's class, Carrie Finnell's tassel twirling, and Mae West's rhinestones..."), she then reinvented herself as "Satan's Angel", bona fide burlesque artist... complete with the innovation of "fire tassels"!   To date, it's estimated that she's done over 25,000 performances over the course of four decades.  We also learn about this renegade star's rather unique personal life.  Although she states she always identified as a lesbian, and we meet her longtime partner Vic in the film (The two have since gone their separate ways.), Angel also describes her love affairs with many men-- including some famous ones.  She describes, in particular detail, two male stars-- one a popular music icon of the 50's and 60's, and the other an actor who played one of the major villians on TV's "Batman"-- who were particularly important to her.  She explains, "I loved them both... There were only these two men.  All the rest can go to Hell."  She adds, "All my lovers knew that I was gay.  I might have been dating Clint Eastwood, but my girlfriend was at home.  I was pretty on their arm, they were pretty by my side."  She also married men four times.  You may be thinking, If she was a lesbian, why would she marry men?  Well, Angel Walker will tell you herself!

Ms. Walker, and many of the other women interviewed in "Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels", speak about how burlesque gradually lost popularity in favor of the likes of "gentlemen's clubs", live sex acts, and hardcore pornography.  As mentioned earlier, many new generations-- even those who grew up in the digital age-- are re-discovering that “old school“ sexiness that burlesque offered: the pageantry, spectacle, glamour, and art that went alongside the showing of skin.  Like any good burlesque dancer, this is a documentary that doesn't show EVERYTHING... It's very satisfying, yet leaves you begging for more.

"Satan's Angel: Queen of the Fire Tassels" is now available on DVD.  Visit for more info. 

See also: "Gypsy Rose Lee & Her New York City…Uncovered" at:

"BULK: The Series": Ready For Round Two!

                  "BULK: The Series": Ready For Round Two!

For all those of you out there (like me!) who believe that "Bigger Is Better", there's some good news in the Bear Nation.  "BULK" is coming back!  The popular Bear-themed web series, which launched in 2011, is set to start shooting Season 2.  Filmed at genuine New York City locations and featuring many real-life members of the NYC Bear community, "BULK" was created, written, and produced by the team of filmmaker D.R. Knott and playwright/actor J. Julian Christopher.  The series is estimated to have reached over 80,000 viewers worldwide.  It's been two years since "BULK"'s protagonist, Leo Durán (played by J. Julian Christopher), headed back to the New York City Bear scene after a devastating breakup.  Fans of the series will now get to catch up with Leo and other familiar faces... and it promises to be a wild and woofy ride!  The cast features returning actors CirrTone as Barrett, Patrick Johnson as Oscar, Jim Noonan as Guy, and Robert Valin as Martin.

J. Julian Christopher (AKA "Jules" to his friends) spoke to Jed Ryan about the much-anticipated Season 2 of "BULK" and more...

JR: Hi Jules. Thanks for speaking with me. So, without giving TOO much away, what surprises can we expect from the new season of "BULK"?
JJC: You can expect old faces and new faces.   Episode One, which D.R. Knott has written, will feature an awkward and tense reunion and then a sexy debrief to that reunion.   We will also meet a "throuple" which may include a familiar face... or two.  That's all I will reveal right now (Smiles).

JR: Two's a couple, but three's always a party! (Laughs) So, rumor has it that we are going to meet a new cast member this season. Is that true?!
JJC: Yes.  This is true.  David Anzuelo will join the cast.  David has been seen in films such as "Walk Among the Tombstones", "Remember Me", "Prime", "Reservation Road", and "You Won't Miss Me". We can't wait to have him join the "BULK" family!  Also, sexy Frankie Grizz, who played Eddie the bartender, will have a significant storyline in Season 2... so, we are excited to work with him more.  

JR: What was your most memorable experience from the last season? Did you have a favorite episode or particular scene?
JJC: I have two favorite episodes actually.   The first was Episode 3, "The Teddy Bear", which featured Leo and Martin's first date.  It's so great to work with Robert Valin.  We have worked on several projects together now, and we have developed a comfort and rapport which makes working on our scenes together fun and relaxed.   My other favorite episode is Episode 8, "High Expectations," Where Leo and his ex, Guy, reconnect fourteen months after their breakup.  Jim Noonan, who plays Guy, is such a giving actor.  We did many takes of that scene-- and each time, I discovered new things: subtle nuances to the scene that I didn't realize were there when I initially wrote the script.   It's a joy to work with these two actors.  

JR: Many members of the Bear community can get sensitive about how Bears are portrayed in the media. How has the reaction to "BULK" been from the Bear community? Do people feel that the series is an accurate portrayal of Bears and those who love them?
JJC: I think that Bears do relate to "BULK" on many levels.  I don't know if it is an accurate portrayal because everyone's experiences are different, but it definitely is accurate of MY experiences.  My hope is that Bears connect with the material and from the feedback I've received.  It seems to be working. (Smiles)

JR: Sounds GRRR-eat!  So, it seems like in the last year there has been an explosion of visibility of Bear culture in the GLBT community at large, and it's even spilling out into the mainstream media. As a visible member of the Bear community yourself, what do you believe is the most important issue facing Bears and bigger guys in 2013 and beyond?
JJC: Yes, there has been... and I think that it's the changing tide of how gay men are represented in the media.   Gay men are not necessarily the punchline anymore, and I think that is why people are seeing images other than the usual stereotypes that are presented.   Not only Bears, but also lesbians and the transgender community as well.  

JR: How true!  So, anything else you want to tell "BULK" fans?
JJC: We are so thankful and happy about the support we have received and continue to receive.  We have until March 1st to reach our goal of $12,000 for our Kickstarter campaign.  If we do not reach our goal, we will not receive any of the money already pledged... so we really need the support from our community.  If we are not successfully funded, we will not have the budget to continue the project.  We really hope the support continues to flow.   We are humbled by the generosity of the community thus far.  Thank you!

 JR: You're welcome!  I can't wait!

You can contribute to "BULK: Season 2" here:

You can see much more about "BULK" here:



Back in the early '60's, there existed a series of misguided (and creepy, too) short films with titles like "Boys Beware", warning youngsters and their parents about the dangers of predatory homosexuals.  Today, we can look at those so-called "PSA"'s and recognize them as so laughable that even hardcore homophobes would be hard-pressed to take them seriously today.  But make no mistake: The hateful intentions of these short films, reflective of the prejudices at the time, were very real and very serious in their day.  "Out in the Open", the lively new documentary from actor/producer Matthew Smith, opens with a parody of these anti-gay shorts, shot in black- and-white with the same kind of brooding, Big Brother-type voice-over used in the vintage ones back then.  "Out in the Open" is 2013's colorful, hopeful, and far smarter answer to the homophobic propaganda of yesteryear.  The film blends both common sense and educated theories with the stories of real people from an extensive spectrum of LGBTQF's and their allies. This movie is about, as the title proclaims, being "out in the open". Yes, we've come a long way, baby.

However, as "Out in the Open" points out, there's still a L-O-N-G way to go.  The daily news stories of bullying and gay youth suicide is a sad reminder of that. For every family who accepts their relative coming out, there's another child who is rejected.  For every equal rights ordinance that passes, there is someone who gets fired for their sexual orientation. And (as several of the interviewees point out), despite no less than an explosion of LGBTQF visibility in the media and news, the relationship between and the media is... well, let's just say, "It's complicated!" "Out in the Open" features several well-known openly gay personalities, including adorable singer Josh Strickland, Olympic diver Greg Louganis (now 53 and silver-haired, but still handsome), and the always amusing Carson Kressley.  Kressley tells the story about how he came out to his mother practically moments before "Queer Eye For the Straight Guy" was about to hit TV screens (Her reaction?  You may be able to guess!), as well as his own story about knowing that he was "different" as a child, lusting for Lee Majors ("I knew there was something "wrong" with me-- but I wasn't sure what it was.  I knew the other little boys in the first grade weren't into 'The Six Million Dollar Man' like I was... so I definitely knew I was 'different'!").  A great deal of the film is devoted to the story of director Matthew Smith's own life pathway: his coming out experience (In one provocative moment, he recalls coming out at 15 and going back in the closet by age 16, due to bullying.), his love story with his soft-spoken boyfriend Solly Hemus, and his current life with his accepting family and friends.  He gets intensely personal, sharing some of his childhood stories that aren't pretty; rather, they are quite painful to listen to.  Nonetheless, Smith offers some very keen insight on the issue of sexual abuse. He also opines, "You can't expect every straight person to know what's going on in (our) community.  We have to change it from a fight to a talk... Everyone just needs to get on common ground and have a conversation.  That's what needs to happen!" The director continues to go through great lengths to include a VERY wide variety of out and proud LGBTQF's (The relatively new "F", in case you're wondering, is for "fluid", for those who refuse to classify their sexual orientation with any one word.) to share their stories.  We meet artists, athletes, a politician, a religious leader, a teacher, and many other hard-working young activists-- particularly from a group named Lifeworks Youth Program.  A potpourri of ages, races,and lifestyles are represented. Even more admirable is Smith's inclusion of many of our straight allies: the parents and friends of LGBTQF's.   They include actors Eliza and Eric Roberts, parents of a gay daughter; and Patrick Burke, co-founder of You Can Play, dedicated to the eradication of homophobia in sports (Patrick is the brother of the late openly gay hockey player Brendan Burke.).  Ultimately, Mr. Louganis summarizes the issue of LGBTQF equality-- the core message of the film-- when he asks, "Wouldn't it be great if it was a non-issue?"

"Out in the Open" should be mandatory viewing for parents, friends, and supporters of LGBTQF's who really want to get to know the human side of the struggle for equality.  Many lovers of queer cinema may view the film as "preaching to the converted", believing that anyone who watches the movie probably already espouses its message.  However, it's a much-needed, "kick in the butt" reminder of how far the LGBTQF movement has come... and how much further it still needs to go.

"Out in the Open" is now available on DVD.  Visit for more info.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013



He's BAAAAAACK!  Just when you thought it was safe to come out of your politically correct fallout shelter, Del Shores returns to your living room with "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions".  It's the acclaimed director/writer/producer-turned-performer's second filmed one-man show, newly released on DVD.  Political correctness has rightfully been dead for quite a while now, but Shores seems to get a lot of joy from parading around on its grave... as well as from finding new ways to shock an increasing unshockable culture.   In this show, no one is safe.  True, Bristol Palin and Victoria Jackson are deserving targets.  But who is "off limits" when it comes to jokes? Midgets?  Fat people?  Homeless people?  How about fat homeless people? Sorry, there ain't nothing too taboo or too... well, sordid to talk about at this show.

Shores' body of work as director and writer includes theater as well as both the big and small screens ("Dharma & Greg", "Queer As Folk", and "Sordid Lives" among them).  He's now making a name for himself as one of American pop culture's most raucous raconteurs.  Shores' stand-up comedy has a fabulously queer sensibility running through it, although this good old Southern gay boy is definitely not afraid to talk about P-U-S-S-Y either. (Wait till you hear "Del Shores' Vagina Monologues".) Like filmmaker John Waters, a lot of Del's humor includes a voyeuristic appreciation of our own increasingly twisted culture.  The crowd really loves when Shores reads aloud some of the news stories ripped from the Internet, like the true saga of Melissa Lee Williams. (Her infamous line was "Somebody is gonna eat my p**** or I'm going to cut your f***ing throat!" You can't make stuff like this up...) Also like John Waters, Shores  seems to be a magnet for some truly colorful people and over-the-top situations in his own day-to-day life.  Just wait until you hear about Yvonne (pronounced "WHY-vonne"...), the smart-talking waitress at Mama's Daughters Diner with "fuck fried" overbleached hair and painted-on red eyebrows.  (We wonder if-- no, when-- Yvonne (again, pronounced "WHY-vonne"...) will show up in a future Del Shores movie...)  Of course, not everyone worships at the altar of Del Shores.  The comedian also reads aloud some letters that he's received from some offended people.  His responses, also shared with the audience, usually take no more than two words... and you can guess what they are.  In the course of the film's running time, the audience also acquires such priceless bits of advice as:
1. If you're at a club and see a midget, do NOT pick him up unless you are specifically asked to,
2. A bent penis is called Peyronie's (pronounced "Pay-ROW-knees") Syndrome, and...
3. Most importantly, if you are a neophyte TV actor, DO NOT talk shit about the writer of your show...  Why?  Well, taking a tip from my midget stripper friends, I'm not gonna  reveal EVERYTHING.  So, without getting specific, I'll leave with a little tip for actor Randy Harrison of "Queer As Folk": You may want to  leave "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions" off your Netflix queue...

Newly (and seemingly happily) divorced, Shores also speaks about his post-coming out "slut period".  He may have left this, ahem... "randy" period of his life behind-- at least for now-- but you can still spend an intimate evening with Del Shores on DVD. 

 "Del Shores: Sordid Confessions" is now available.  Visit for more info. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013



Why is Dolly Parton a gay icon?  Most would agree that it's largely because of her flamboyant, larger-than-life image.  In the world of drag, she has no doubt been one of pop culture's most imitated women. Others would add that her fiercely independent spirit and sense of style also endear her to us.  But there's a deeper reason why Ms. Parton is a true hero to GLBT's... and perhaps no one can explain it  better than Dolly herself, with classic simplicity: In the lively "Hollywood to Dollywood", new to DVD, the acclaimed singer/actress/businesswoman declares, in a clip from a 2010 CNN interview, "I think I've always been accepted by the gay community because I accept THEM... We're supposed to love each other exactly for who and what we are."  Dolly enjoys the unique distinction of having a particularly diverse contingent of fans, with her followers ranging from the GLBT community to members of the religious right.  She's clearly one of America's most beloved superstars. 

It is largely that love for Dolly that inspired brothers Gary and Larry Lane to spend almost five years writing a script, named "Full Circle"... and, more ambitiously, to deliver that script to Dolly Parton personally during Dollywood's 25th Anniversary Celebration.  One of the duo explains, "The two gifts that Dolly has given us-- given the world-- is (1) her music; and (2) her courage to live her life and to be herself... and that kind of gave us the inspiration and courage to write this really heartfelt script and actually be open, finally, about our lives... and to pour all our feelings into this script."  The Lane brothers are two all-American-looking, identical gay twins who were raised in a VERY religious family in North Carolina-- a fact that colored every aspect of their 35 years of life. (One of the two reveals, "There's a lot of stuff that even to this day, we can't tell our mom.")  Today, they are living in Hollywood and hanging out with the likes of Chad Allen, Leslie Jordan, and Dustin Lance Black.  Gary and Larry, along with Gary's boyfriend Mike, rent an RV (christened "Jolene") and kick off their five day trip... from "Hollywood to Dollywood".  Along the way, the trio encounter such forces of nature as fierce winds in Amarillo, flooding in Nashville, and the famous "Night of 1,000 Dollys" in Knoxville.

The premise of two handsome gay identical twins making a road trip to meet their idol is a pretty titillating premise to begin with... and fortunately for the audience, the filmmakers do keep the RV wheels-- and the viewers' interest-- moving at a nice pace, complete with plenty of Dolly on the soundtrack.  Equal parts documentary and road movie, "Hollywood to Dollywood" indeed showcases the brothers' devotion to their muse (In one particularly cute scene, they sing "Jolene" at an Arkansas gay kareoke bar).  The movie also equally explores the pair's long, continuous struggle with growing up gay in a Southern Baptist culture, and with having a family who are-- to put it diplomatically-- very slow to warm up to the brothers' being "out". Bumpy relationships notwithstanding, and although we never meet any of the twins' family in the film, Gary and Larry frequently declare that their relatives are the most important thing in their lives.  They often bring up their family throughout the film, especially their mother... sometimes, it may seem, a bit too much.  Some viewers may bemoan that the Lane twins' story of their struggles for acceptance by their loved ones overshadows the more glamorous "Finding Dolly" aspect of the film. Others will find it quite provocative... as well as an inspiration for all of us to find the balance between "being yourself" while still maintaining the proverbial "ties that bind".

Gary and Larry Lane eventually make it to Dollywood, where they have "three chances" to get their script into Ms. Parton's hands.  Will they do it?  I won't give away the climax of "Hollywood to Dollywood", but let's just say that it's a moment that the Lane twins-- as well as the viewer-- are not likely to forget for a long time.  Whether or not the brothers' script "Full Circle" will ever come to life remains to be seen at this time.  However, it seems that this desirable duo have already made their own highly personal mark in pop culture history with their new movie.  With "Hollywood to Dollywood", our Dolly gets a loving homage by two of her most dedicated fans. This is a road trip worth taking.

"Hollywood to Dollywood" is now available on DVD.  Visit for more info.

Monday, February 11, 2013

ARPAD MIKLOS, 1967-2013

On Sunday, February 10, a public memorial for popular adult film star and rentboy Arpad Miklos took place at the quintessential Chelsea nightspot G Lounge.  Miklos, whose birth name was Peter Kozma, was born in Hungary and lived in New York City.  He was found dead in his apartment on February 3rd.  There was a suicide note, but any motivations for the sex symbol ending his own life remain a mystery at this time.  Miklos was 45.

Arpad Miklos appeared in approximately 60 X-rated movies between 1995 and 2010, with titles that included "Hungary For Men", "The Vampires of Budapest", "Crotch Rocket", "Folsom Leather", " Black 'N' Blue","Buckleroos: Part I", and "Fire Island Cruising 6". Muscular, hairy, and 6'2", for many of his admirers, he represented masculinity in its most raw and carnal form.  Miklos was a bona fide Bear icon.  In addition to his adult film and escort work, for which he won several awards through the years, the star gained mainstream exposure when he appeared in Seattle singer-songwriter Perfume Genius' music video for "Hood." (shown here)

Arpad Miklos exuded an imposing sense of dominant sexuality and was unapologetic about his work as a porn star and escort.  Yet, those who knew him personally unanimously concur that he was very amiable, had a great sense of humor, and was both grateful for and accommodating to his fans-- often posing for photos or giving autographs.  He was a supporter of GLBTQ causes in his adopted hometown of New York City, and was revealed by his friends to be a big animal lover as well.  His public memorial was populated by many movers and shakers of New York City nightlife.

Sadly, Miklos is no longer with us.  But his videos, photographs, and many positive memories survive.  RIP, Arpad Miklos.

Photo 1: Rob Donadio & Joe Aiello
Photo 2: Gustavo Monroy & Rob Ordonez
Photo 3: Will Clark (rt), Gustavo Monroy (center), & friend
Photo 4: Darrell Perry & friend
Photo 5: friends of Arpad
Photo 6: Eric Alan
Photo 7: Rob Ordonez & Geary Marcello
Photo 8: Jonny & JJ Mack 



The second largest city in Kentucky and the 63rd largest in the United States, Lexington is often nicknamed "The Horse Capital of the World". It's also famous for its bourbon (!), its fields of bluegrass, and its decadent regional cuisine (like the Kentucky hot brown: an open-faced sandwich of turkey and bacon, topped with cheddar-infused béchamel sauce.  Yeah!) Lexington is also home to The Kentucky Bourbon Bears, who have been The Thoroughbred City's reigning club for woofy guys and their admirers for the past three years. Their mission is "to provide a brotherhood, a place of acceptance, and a network for gay and bisexual men who identify themselves as Bears, Bear admirers, and friends of Bears".  In addition to being the creators of The Mr. North American Bear Weekend/Contest this February, The Bourbon Bears have events going on all year long-- including bar nights, road trips, and the annual Mr. Kentucky Bourbon Bear Contest.  One of their fundraising events is  their "Big Baskets of The Bluegrass", where the club auctions off donated items for a worthy cause.  Last year, the event raised thousands of dollars for Moveable Feast, the Club's chosen charity.

Woofy, silver-haired Chuck Mallory is President of The Kentucky Bourbon Bears and a lifelong resident of Lexington.  He spoke with  Jed Ryan about why you should get to know The Bourbon Bears and make plans to visit Lexington for the upcoming Mr. North American Bear Weekend:

JR: Hi, Chuck.  Thanks for speaking with me!  So, how long have The Bourbon Bears been around?
CM: We came into existence in June 2010.  There had been a previous Bear club, The Moonshine Bears, and I am not really sure how long they existed.  I was a member for a little while, but they sort of disbanded.  The Kentucky Bourbon Bears were created after that, to try and get it goin' again!

JR: So, there were the Moonshine Bears, now there's the Bourbon Bears.  If there's ever another Bear club, they'd be named...
CM: ..."The Drunk Bears" (Laughs!)
JR: (Laughs) I was thinking, "The Hungover Bears"!  So, is your club primarily made up of guys in Lexington?
CM: Most of our members are here in Lexington, but we also have guys who live in the surrounding communities, and even guys as far away as Louisville, which is about 90 miles to our west.
JR: In addition to having North American Bear Weekend in February, you guys are pretty active throughout the year.
CM: Yes we are.  This past weekend, we just had our Membership Drive after our regular monthly meeting, at Crossings Bar-- with Bingo!  We had a lot of new guys signing up.
JR: I had a lot of fun at Crossings when I was there!  Loved the go-go boys.  Wow!
CM: Crossings Lexington is our home bar.  They really support us, and that's where we have our monthly meetings.  We do a lot of our fundraising there.

JR: One of the things I noticed when I visited Lexington was that the Bear, Leather and Drag communities really support each other and party together.  That's great to see.
CM: Yes!  You probably remember how The Imperial Court of Kentucky performed at Mr. North American Bear Weekend last year, and they are coming back to be a part of the Weekend again this year.  We try to be very inclusive and respectful of one another, which I think is good.
JR: Yes!  It was great to see everyone coming out to celebrate the big finale at the end of the Weekend.  So... For someone who is visiting Lexington for the weekend or any other time, what are some essential things you'd encourage them to see?
CM: If you are into horses, we have the Kentucky Horse Park here in Lexington, and it's a beautiful facility.  They actually held the World Equestrian Games here a couple of years back-- so they did some major, major upgrades.  They have all sorts of horses to be seen, and they are always having horsing events going on.  They have the Rolex Kentucky Three Day Event, which actually lasts four days (Laughs), and it's sort of like the preliminaries for the Olympics.  It's a pretty major event out there.  Our horse race facility, Keeneland, is a beautiful place.  It's on the National Register of Historic Places. Unfortunately, they have races only in the spring and the fall.  We're gonna be too early for that to be going on when we have North American Bear Weekend.  Still, it's a beautiful place to go see if you have the chance.  I don't drink, but one of the fun things that I discovered recently is the Bourbon Distilleries.  They are amazing!  They are very well put together and well kept up, and they provide tours and samples at the end of the tours.  I enjoyed it.  I did a couple of them, and they are worth going to see.

JR: Bourbon is always a good thing!  A friend of mine asked me to bring him back some bourbon from Kentucky, but unfortunately I waited until Sunday, not realizing that everything closes on Sunday in Kentucky... even the souvenir shops!
CM: Actually, we've loosened up in the last couple of years, and now you can buy liquor on Sunday, believe it or not. I think it's after 12 noon up until till 6PM. The hours are strange!
JR: That's terrific!  And of course, if your visiting Lexington, don't forget to stop by Crossings Bar!
CM: Yes!

JR: Now, those who have never been to Kentucky or any of the States below the Mason Dixon Line may have preconceived notions about what it's like to be gay, or to be a Bear, or to be into Leather in one of those States-- especially in the so-called Bible Belt.  But I didn't notice any prejudicial attitudes when I was there.  Is those notions exaggerated?
CM: It is very much exaggerated.  You mention "Kentucky" to a lot of people, they think "ignorant, backwoods, redneck..." and luckily, Lexington and Louisville and the northern Kentucky area are all educational and medical magnet areas for the state. We have a lot of very well-educated people here.  The University of Kentucky is located here in Lexington.  A lot of the people who are involved with that stay here after they finish their education.  So, we have a very well-educated populace here, and they are very understanding and open to the gay community.  I used to work for the City, and I remember when Lexington was the first community in the the state to adopt a Fairness Ordinance to protect people who are LGBT as far as their living and working accommodations and what not.  It is pretty open to the whole idea of acceptance of the gay community... which is good!

JR: Yes, it is!  Lastly, I ask you: What makes The Kentucky Bourbon Bears unique?
CM: It's the fact that we are very inclusive.  We try to get people from all walks to be a part of the group.  We have a member of our group who is very involved in the Leather scene, and she has re-upped her membership this year.  Also, Lexington is close enough to eastern Kentucky... and we attract a lot of people from areas where it is generally not as well accepted.  Once they get to the point where they can, they move to Lexington or travel here and become involved in the gay scene as well... so we have all the varieties of people: from college-educated to the average person.  Everyone is accepted, and everyone feels welcome in our group.  I think that's one of our major strengths!
JR: Sounds GRRR-eat!  Thanks, Chuck!

Visit for more!

Fun, fur, and frolic awaits at Mr. North American Bear Weekend, "Run For the Fur", from February 22nd to the 24th in Lexington, Kentucky.    Enjoy a weekend full of pool parties, dance parties, cocktail parties, food, games, wild and woofy men, and more!  Sit back & cheer for your favorite candidate in our second annual Mr. North American Bear Contest – where the winner will receive a $500 cash prize!  The weekend also includes a vendor mart, raffles, the Bearapalooza Comedy/Music show, and Sunday morning brunch.  Visit for details!
(All photos courtesy of Terry Evans.)

Friday, February 8, 2013


Back in Business!

    Pia Zadora was born and raised in New York... and now, she's back home!  At one point in the opening night of her new show, "Back Again And Standing Tall", the Award-winning actress/singer recalled memories of appearing with legendary Tallulah Bankhead and Zero Mostel on Broadway as a child actress.  At another moment that night, Zadora declared to her audience, "Now I know why I love New York-- because you guys GET it!"... "it" being the truly "had to be there" feeling of singing live to an intimate crowd.  This was the kickoff of her four-day run at New York City's Metropolitan Room... and it was as intimate as it gets!  It was also Zadora's first time performing in New York since appearing in "Crazy For You" on Broadway in 1995.  If Ms. Zadora took a hiatus from live performances for a while, it didn't show in any way, shape, or form that night... unless she spent that time away from the spotlight to train and pamper her vocal cords.  Her voice was as unblemished and fresh (Dare I say "girlish"?) as ever.  The diminutive diva opened with the Jerome Kern/Dorothy Fields fave "Pick Yourself Up". (Some observers may view that as a well-chosen song for Pia, whose career was often marked by stellar highs alongside some discouraging lows...)  Looking stunning in a black sequined mini-dress and white sequined jacket (and a generous amount of cleavage as well!), she made her way to the stage, interacting with the audience the entire time.  Backed by her five-man band, Pia didn't falter on a single note during the entire jazz-flavored show... and when she hit some of those pivotal moments, she REALLY nailed them.  An example of this was the big climax of Kander and Ebb's "Maybe This Time".  When she finished with, "Maybe this time, I'll WIN....!!!!", the results were pretty damn stellar.  For the crowd-pleasing "How About You?", after singing the song's famous line "I love a fireside, when a storm is due!", she cheekily inserted "That's tomorrow!".  But I doubt that the upcoming Blizzard Nemo could compete with the force of nature that was Ms. Zadora that night, as she swiveled her hips, tossed her champagne blonde hair, and thrust her knee in the air in true chanteuse style.  In between the songs, she spoke about her long and multi-colored career in showbiz, including stories about her frequent collaborator and friend Frank Sinatra, to which she dedicated, "I Wish You Love".  She also poked fun at her own long journey on the quest to finally find true love-- in the form of a dynamic performance of "Get Me To The Church On Time". ("Everyone should have one song that they're an expert about... This is mine!") Pia gave the audience a "cool down" period with a costume change: this time, an eye-popping Bob Mackie black sequined gown with a dangerously high slit-- accentuated again with that famous cleavage. 

Her repertoire of songs that night ranged from the sexy, fun "C'est Si Bon"; to the high-spirited "The Lady Is a Tramp"; to a provocatively tender "All of Me"; to "For Once In My Life"-- in which she truly went ALL OUT (yet again!).  If there was a common theme in  Zadora's "Back Again And Standing Tall", it was clearly L-O-V-E.  Given that Valentine's Day was only a week away, Pia Zadora's new show perhaps should be subtitled "The Love Show".  Indeed, her show was her own Valentine to the masses: her love of performing, her love of her fans, and her love for her hometown.  This was evidenced by her roof-raising medley of New York-themed hits, peppered with stories about her own starlit Big Apple experiences.  That evening, she also gave a shout-out to her her gay male fans, speaking about V-Day: "It's 2013.  If you're a married gay couple, then BOTH of you had better buy roses!"  I won't give
away the finale, but I will say that Zadora's choice of an encore was clearly aimed at her GLBT fans... and, judging by the audience, they were very well represented at the Metropolitan Room that night. She also gave a shout-out to her own true love: her handsome husband Michael, a Las Vegas police officer. That night, no one needed to ask what Pia Zadora herself was going to be doing on Valentine's Day!

"Pia Zadora: Back Again and Standing Tall" plays through February 10th at the Metropolitan Room, 34 West 22nd St between 5th and 6th Aves.   Call (212)206-0440 or visit for details!

International Mr. Leather 2013 Judges Announced,
Bryce Caine Named Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013.

This wasn’t your Mama’s cocktail party (Although, it may be your Daddy’s!…). On Saturday, January 12, The Washington D.C.-based Centaurs Motorcycle Club hosted “Leather Cocktails” in the Regency Ballroom of The Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill.  It’s an annual tradition since 1976, where true to its name, dedicated Leathermen and a few of their lucky guests dressed in their best Leather and met up for cocktails at New York City’s Waldorf-Astoria. The event was marked by the accidental tradition of dropping a metal cockring onto a tile floor. Today, 37 years later, “Leather Cocktails” still opens with the tradition of “dropping the cockring”. However, this one-of-a-kind Leather cocktail party is only one event in what has become an entire three-day weekend (Four days for many!…) known as Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend (MAL). MAL has now grown into a major “gotta be there!” event every January, attracting not just dedicated Leatherfolk but also BDSM and fetish enthusiasts of all ages, races, and levels of experience– from all over the world. Once thought of by some as a regional event, MAL is now one of the Leather Nation’s largest events of the year as well as an important antecedent to International Mr. Leather. In addition to networking, MAL’s famous Exhibition Halls, and no-holes-barred (ahem…) partying, the weekend also features the Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013 Contest, in which the Winner competes at IML in Chicago in May.

The weather was surprisingly and nicely merciful when Mid-Atlantic Leather Weekend 2013 kicked off. The weekend actually started out on Thursday night, as thousands of men and a healthy number of women slowly but steadily made their way into town. That night, those who were lucky to arrive early enjoyed some extra meeting and greeting time in the hotel lobby and bar… while a few miles away, Washington’s quintessential Leather Bar The DC Eagle was the site for the Former MAL Titleholders Party. By Friday, the Hyatt was no less than jam-packed with thousands of attendees, representing a seemingly infinite range of fetishes. Leather, rubber, latex, uniforms, athletic gear, pup wear…… Name your scene! One twenty-something first-time attendee, clearly excited, was overheard saying, “This should be called ‘Night of 1,000 Singlets!’…” I have no doubt that a lot of guys spent a majority of the weekend in the hotel lobby, where there was no shortage of hard candy for the eyes. There was also no shortage, however, of soirees going on that night, including the DC boys of Leather’s “Where the Boys Are” Party and “ONYX After Dark”, courtesy of the hot-to-trot Men of ONYX. Saturday night featured plenty of options as well, including the Manhunt party with free Manhunt jockstraps and free paddlings, and the infamous live demos at the SPuRG Party. Whoa! There’s nothing hotter than “MAL After Midnight”! (Sorry, I can’t give away too many dirty details… You had to be there yourself!)

On Saturday at 12 noon, those who wanted to meet the next generation of Leather/GLBT leaders took a break from the festivities to learn who would be the Judges and Tally Masters for the next IML, coming to Chicago in May 2013 to a new venue. Attendees got to meet nineteen diverse brothers of the new IML Class of 35, representing many states as well as Canada. IML Coordinator Jon Krongaard thanked The Centaurs MC for yet another successsful MAL… and then proceeded to announce the Judges and Tally Masters for International Mr. Leather 2013:  The Tally Masters will be George Brown of Saugatuck, MI (Mr. Cellblock Leatherman 2005), here for his “fourth and final year” as Head Tally Master; and Danny Tamez of Neptune Township, NJ (Mr. New Jersey Leather 2012), a member of the IML Class of 34 who unfortunately had to drop out of the competition due to emergency illness. The Judges are as follows:
  • Adam “Woody” Woodruff (Farmington Hills, MI): Mr. Michigan Leather 2012 and Mr. IML 2012,
  • Bryson “Pup Nitro (“Needs Intense Torture to Reach Orgasm”)” Hankinson (Atlanta, GA): Co-Founder of The Hotlanta Rubber and Gear Club and International Leatherboy 2011,
  • Hardy Haberman (Dallas, TX): Author, Filmmaker, and “Pain Technologist”, and active member of Leather/BDSM/Fetish communities since the mid-70′s,
  • Uwe Langer (Hamburg, Germany): Founding Member of Spike, Hamburg: “Born and raised behind the Iron Curtain in East Germany…”,
  • Murray Lavigne (Ottawa, Ontario): Past President and Executive Board Member of the Ottawa Knights, and past Producer of Mr. Leather Ottawa (His favorite saying is, “So many acronyms, so little time!”),
  • Patrick Mulcahey (San Francisco, CA): Lecturer, Presenter, and Program Director of the San Francisco Leathermen’s Discussion Group,
  • Brent Seeley (Portland, OR): Mr. Oregon State Leather 2009; V.P. of Blackout Leather Productions; and Host of a monthly Leather, Scotch & Cigar Social,
  • Rik Newton-Treadway (Baltimore, MD): AKA “Sir Hooker”, President of Hooker and Boys; multiple Title holder; and community activist for over 30 years,
  • Lolita Wolf (New York, NY) Presenter, Author, Blogger, Advocate for sexual freedom, and everyone’s favorite “Leather Yenta”!

On Sunday, it was time for The Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather Contest 2013. Three Contestants– all distinctive but all equally dedicated (and hot!)– competed for the envied Title. Reigning Mr. IML 2012 Woody Woodruff, an accomplished singer and one of the Judges, warmed up the crowd by performing a provocative  Garth Brooks ballad. The audience was also treated to a slideshow tribute to The Centaurs’ seemingly ageless Frank Nowicki, MC of The Contest, who was celebrating 20 years since his own winning the Title of Mr. MAL back in 1993. A shot of adrenaline came with a surprise performance by Ella Fitzgerald (No, not THAT one!), local D.C. drag celebrity and former Ms. Gay Universe. The diva, who may strike you as Patti Labelle’s naughty twin sister, really got the crowd going with her over-the-top diva persona and lines like, “I’m looking for a Leatherman with GOOD CREDIT!… Do you want a blowjob? So do I!”. Ultimately, Pittsburgh native Bryce Caine won the Title of Mr. Mid-Atlantic Leather 2013, making him the third consecutive Mr. Pittsburgh Leather Fetish to win the Title. (Damn, it’s apparently it’s “Hot In Pittsburgh”! Does Betty White know about this?). Mr. Double L Leather 2012 Josh Pennington was named First Runner Up, and Mr. Connecticut Leather 2013 KJ Nichols rounded out the top three as Second Runner Up. Caine, the newest ambassador to the Leather Nation, got swept away by a paparazzi scrum of photographers and well-wishers… but he, the other Contestants, and countless others went to D.C.’s U St. Club for the official After-Contest Dance Party. U St. is basically a big black box with a few disco balls overhead… but the music was flawless, as DJ Quentin Harris dished out one closet classic after another, even throwing out a tribute to the late diva Donna Summer. After the bars closed, it was back to the Hyatt for more “MAL After Midnight”. Let’s just say that there was no shortage of male bonding going on…

Monday morning was something of a rewinded videotape of Thursday night, when a slow but steady stream of kink crusaders made their way home. Not a minute too soon, apparently. The Hyatt’s next incoming contingent was The National Association of Evangelicals. (Gotta love America!) Congratulations go out to Mr. MAL 2012 Matt Bronson for a great year, our new Mr. MAL 2013 Bryce Caine, and The Centaurs MC. Start getting ready for MAL 2014!


International Mr. Leather 2013 will be held on Friday May 24 through Monday May 27 (Memorial Day Weekend), 2013. The host hotel will be the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, 540 North Michigan Avenue. For more information, visit