With a theme of Equality, the sixth annual Philadelphia Leather Pride Night (PLPN), coordinated by tireless founding PLPN Producer and Mid-Atlantic Leatherwoman 2009 Cowboi Jen and attended by 160 Leather people, took place at Voyeur Nightclub, in the Gayborhood, on November 8 and, with its auction, raised $9,081 for beneficiaries By the Grace of George, “million dollar auctioneer” Jo Arnone’s charity, devoted to helping the pets of people who are ailing or otherwise need assistance in caring for them ($1,581); Philly AIDS Thrift at Giovanni’s Room bookshop ($2,500); Change Philly Today, helping homeless LGBT youth ($1,000); and the Chicago-based Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M—$4,000). Sponsors were Midtown II Restaurant, LA&M, Passional Boutique, Freedom G Photography Second Skin, the Bike Stop Leather Bar, Philadelphia Leather Alliance, Voyeur, the Aviary, the Woods campground, Wolfstriker Leather, and Aquiel. Mistresses of Ceremonies were Ms. New Jersey Leather 2013 babygirl (Diane) and 2015 Sandra.
Preceding the main event was a Leather dinner at Tavern on Camac restaurant, where current titleholders International Mr. Leather (IML) Ramien Pierre, from Washington, D.C., International Ms. Leather (IMsL) Patty from Toronto, and International Community Bootblack boy Ed spoke. IMsL 2014 Patty and IML 2014 Ramien affirmed their support for the Rainbow Railroad, aiding LGBTQ people, living in countries where there is severe oppression and repression, to move to the United States, Canada, the Netherlands, or England, and Ramien pointed out that, on South Camac Street, there had been an entrance to the Underground Railroad during the pre-Emancipation Proclamation era.
Assisted by the Loving Tyrant DJ Don, this writer and baritone opened PLPN at Voyeur by singing Jerome Kern and Oscar Hammerstein II’s “All the Things You Are,” from “Very Warm for May,” and performances by the Liberty City Kings of Drag and Burlesque followed. These were Aida Bumkiss with the song “(Hey, there) Li’l Red Riding Hood,” portraying both Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf; Timmy Tenderloin, in black leather puppy mask, doing “How Much Is that Doggie in the Window?” and, sans mask, “(You ain’t nothin’ but a) Hound Dog;” Oliver Fist, adorned with balloons and grapes, doing “(I love you) A Bushel and a Peck,” from Frank Loesser’s “Guys and Dolls;” “grunge punk Top” Gringo Starr addressing “Crazy Bitch” to a blow-up doll; and Liberty City Kings Artistic Director Lascivious Jane interpreting Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance.” A half-time show found the duo Chix without Stix singing and playing Rihanna’s “S&M” and, with Michael, “Goodbye Philadelphia,” in memory of those we have lost.
Jo Arnone, who helped raise more than $54,000 during the five previous PLPNs, conducted a lively auction of donated items, which began with a rainbow leather finger flogger, which went for $75; and continued with a leather-clad teddy bear ($45); a vintage Leatherman NYC black leather vest ($100); three PLPN commemorative wooden paddles, with one depicting Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture bringing in $350; Larry Wood’s portrait, on metal, of first Mr. South Africa Leather and Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) 2014 Keynote Speaker Jaco Lourens, which went for $400; gift baskets; a two-night stay at the Grove Hotel on Fire Island; admissions to campgrounds and events; and tickets for the Philadelphia Opera’s presentation of Theodore Morrison and John Cox’s “Oscar” in its East Coast premiere on February 6, with countertenor David Daniels playing Oscar Wilde; and items of clothing worn by IML Ramien and IMsL Patty, along with the privilege of removing them from the titleholders’ bodies.
Pantheon of Leather Awards were presented to Large Event of the Year LLC 2014, which took place in Philadelphia from April 11 to 13, with Cowboi Jen accepting the award, and to Frazier Botsford, receiving the President’s Award. Jo Arnone gave her Community Service award to Zebrianna. PLPN gave its David Peters Award to Production Manager Remy Gravier for six years of behind-the-scenes service and presented an award to Jo as well. A parade of colors of the Leather clubs present, introduction of current Leather titleholders and of new organization Queer Leather Alliance, and a gathering on stage of members of Mama Sandy Reinhardt’s Leather Family also took place during the evening.
PLPN after parties were given by Second Skin, at the Top of the Stop, upstairs at the Bike Stop, and the Aviary, at the William Way LGBT Community Center, and there was Brunch and Burlesque, with the Liberty City Kings, the next morning at Tabu Lounge and Sports Bar.