The seventh annual Philadelphia Leather Pride Night (PLPN), produced by Cowboi Jen, guiding a team of equally tireless volunteers, and having Energy as its theme, took place on November 7 at Voyeur Nightclub, in the Gayborhood, and raised $8,000 for its five beneficiaries. The MC was Karen Ultra Domme, who was also interviewed, in an ‘Intimate Conversation’ just before the event, and shared with the 149 PLPN attendees the mysteries of “Persian Pitting,” creatively incorporating burning and burnt avocado pits into scenes. The returning DJ was ‘the Loving Tyrant’ Don. Sponsors for this memorable endeavor were Voyeur, Masters & slaves Together (MAsT): Philadelphia, Midtown II Restaurant, the Woods campground, and the Bottom Line. The Sharon St. Cyr Fund, Inc. provided ASL interpreters for the proceedings.
The event’s centerpiece was a lively benefit auction, with “Million Dollar Auctioneer” Jo Arnone, who helped PLPN raise more than $60,000 during the previous six years, and here auctioned off such donated items as passes to Leather events; Opera Philadelphia tickets to Jennifer Higdon and Gene Scheer’s “Cold Mountain,” after Charles Frazier’s novel, and to “L’Elisir d’Amore;” artwork; Leather and Kink clothing and accoutrements; PLPN Energy Leather Heart Bear, by slave Kelly, and PLPN wooden paddle, by Shy Butch; gift baskets; Cuban cigars; and Zeb’s infamous and delectable “Crack Brownies.” The beneficiaries were the Chicago-based Leather Archives & Museum (LA&M), dedicated to preserving and protecting Leather and Kink history, and receiving $2,800 of the PLPN proceeds; Philly AIDS Thrift (PAT), for its free drop-in HIV testing center, receiving $2,500; By the Grace of George, Jo Arnone’s charity, helping to feed pets of ailing, home-bound men and women, who could not otherwise care for them, given $2,000; GALALEI: queer Latin@ social justice, given $500; and the Leather Heart Foundation, presented with $200. Donors of auction items included LA&M, PAT, I am a Sub to My Cat(s), the Leatherman NYC, Aquiel, Passional Boutique, NJ FemDom Group, Remi Graber, Chadds Ford Winery, Cowboi Jen, Mr. South Africa Leather Herman Groenewald, and Le Chateau Exotique.
Jo Arnone presented her Award for Services to PLPN volunteer slave 705 and Remi presented the David Peters Award to PLPN volunteer Kitten. A 50-50 raffle was handled by Mid-Atlantic Onyx Pearls and its $215 prize was donated back to PLPN by the winner.
Ben’s Kinky Bakeoff, including baked goods in Leather Pride flag designs and colors, was a new component of PLPN, and judges included Gay Activist Alliance in Morris County’s Sherri Rase and Mr. Philadelphia Leather 2015 Jason Hall. Prizewinners for their entries included Ms. New Jersey Leather 2013 baby girl Diane and 2015 Philadelphia Bootblack Wicked Jade.
Speaking during the evening were Rick Storer of LA&M, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary in September 2016, and in which PLPN has a lifetime membership; and Phoenix Leather Pup Jefferson Tugger, who caused controversy at the International Mr. Leather (IML) 2015 contest in Chicago by wearing a corset and high heels on stage. The presentation of current Leather titleholders, including Mr. New Jersey Leather 2016 Tigger, Mr. Q FLAG (Fits Like a Glove) 2015 Remi Graber, and Mr. Fire Island Leather 2015 Edd Clark; a parade of colors of Leather clubs; and introduction of Mama Sandy Reinhardt’s Family members also took place during the evening.
Entertainment was coordinated by Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon. This writer, Mr. Fire Island Leather 2001—the first ever—kicked off the proceedings once again, singing “Unchained Melody” by Alex North and Hy Zaret. Suzanne, Cowboi Jen’s fiancée, contributed an Elvis “Burning Love” striptease.
Numbers from Alan Menken and Howard Ashman’s “Little Shop of Horrors” were Mr. North American Bear 2012 and Mr. Rawhide NYC 2011 Jed Ryan’s striptease down to Leather harness and jock, to “Dentist!,” ending with a confetti shower, and a “Suddenly Seymour” dance and striptease duet by Burlesque Battle Royal winner Masochist with Martina Mayhem. A contributor to the Leather Journal and Q News publications, Jed is also producer of the Underneath the Sash pin-up calendar, benefiting LA&M and featuring photos by David Heitholt and graphic design by Connecticut’s Twilight Guard Vice-President Sean R. Campbell.
Numbers from Richard O’Brien and Jim Sharman’s “Rocky Horror (Picture) Show” were Mr. New Jersey Leather 2015 Thomas Fincannon’s “Sweet Transvestite,” Ms. New Jersey Leather 2016 Christy Lee’s “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me,” and New Jersey Leather titleholders’ “Time Warp.”
The eighth annual PLPN will take place on September 24, 2016, and Jaco Lourens, the first Mr. South Africa Leather (2009-2010), who placed fourth at IML 2010 and was Keynote Speaker for Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) 2014 in Philadelphia, will return to the City of Brotherly and Sisterly Love as PLPN MC.