Photos by Scott Smith, Mike, JP and Eric. Many thanks for all of the HARD WORK it took, to bring hundreds and hundreds of images together as a team. Scott has been slaving away, late into the night, and you can see the flawless results below. Mike is our newest photo-documentarian, and he is coming up fast in his technique!
Written by Papa Tony
Saturday, May 31, 2014:
We started gathering outside of the North Park Birch Theater at 9PM, greeting friends and getting our tickets. Many of us came directly from the Gear Invasion Dinner and Presentation Ceremony, so we didn't have time to change our outfits!
This Movie Night was a team-effort, with many folks contributing to its success.
We don't have nearly enough of our Tribal history to tell and re-tell, because so much of our verbal and handed-down history was lost during the bad years of AIDS. Director Mike Skiff has been doing heroic work to capture what remains of our history, while the folks who were there, still have a chance to tell their stories.
That's Mike with his video-camera, on the upper right...
Mike also spent all day video-capturing our Flog Swarm, Gear Invasion Dinner and Movie Night. He has PROMISED me that he will be providing a link to his new mini-documentary, sometime soon.
FOLSOM FOREVER was a well-made, wide-ranging documentary, portraying a huge, annual tradition that many of us know about, but only in terms of the final result. It was fascinating to see what happens behind the scenes, in order to create a flawless outcome, year after year.
Demetri (front) and Phillip
That high-quality result wouldn't be happening without two of our honored guests for the weekend: Demetri Moshoyannis (Executive Director) and Phillip Babcock (Board President), from the Folsom Street Events Board of Directors. They came down for the movie's premiere SPECIFICALLY to see what San Diego's Tribe is all about. Demetri told me that San Diego sends more out-of-towners to the Folsom Street Fair, year after year, and than any other city on earth. They also wanted to see what makes us so special. They got an eyeful!
Many folks stepped inside to the official photography stand, getting frisky and formal.
After a while, I started gathering folks together for the Group Photo. It's a tradition for our big Movie Nights, and it's a great excuse to get everybody together, in a unified crowd:
No matter what happened, (swapping camera-batteries in the dark, changing location, or that loudmouthed, bossy leather queen ordering everybody around), everybody was amiable, and ready to go along with the plans.
Here was the official image for this movie night. As I always say, you can't Photoshop "happy" into a picture. This picture really conveys the joyful, relaxed spirit of the evening.
We have had Gear Contests as part of our Movie Night traditions before: August 2012, and June 2013. These contests don't have any PRIZES, mind you - they are just a great chance to shower folks with approval. I chase folks down in the crowd, and urge them to step up to the front.
Then, I call up our Celebrity Judges:
Mr. San Diego Eagle 2014 Paulo.
Here, I'm introducing our Judge Scottie,
who ran for International Mr. Leather a week earlier,
and came in Fifth Runner Up out of 46 contestants.
Behind us, we have James, who won the title of
Mr. Gay Pride San Diego 2013 last summer, and
was SPECIFICALLY chosen as a judge,
because of his impeccable eye for gear and style...
Finally, our Head Judge and Emcee, Mr. San Diego Leather 2013 Eli!
They lightened the mood RIGHT away!
Time to meet our contestants...
Our first runner-up, Rob Scott, who makes the flawless kilts
perfectly-cut-and-fitted kilt, it's a Rob Scott Original!
He can be reached at Rgscott41 @gmail.com
Our First Prize Winner, Pup Brian!
Judges and contestants, together.
It's all silly, fun and light-hearted, and a
great way to get ready for the rest of the evening!
After the contest, we headed into the theater, and started filling the seats.
I was called up on stage, to address the crowd. To paraphrase myself, I said:
First of all, what's with the stick?
Earlier today, many people helped me to christen our new "Staff of Tribal History". It is a symbol, not just of our past, and our wonderful present, but future generations as well. Anyone can carry it, with an air of dignity and authority.
Tonight's event is the last one that I will ever organize, in a direct way. I have been a community leader since 1981, and have organized over 3,000 events. It's time for the next generations to take over.
I am shifting into my new role as a Tribal Elder, which means that:
- I will now keep our Tribal history alive and share it freely,
- I will offer mentoring when requested,
- I will bless ceremonies that maintain vital traditions in our Tribe, and
- I will help to celebrate when someone in the local community reaches a new level of achievement:
I then re-introduced JP, who is our newest Whipmaster,
And Sir Magnum, who had earned his Master's Cap,
after nine months of hard work and careful study.
It's possible that the some of the folks in the crowd may have been slightly baffled, but they were undoubtedly entertained, and applauded wildly. Most folks don't have exposure to open, proud, powerful and majestic kinksters who don't just WEAR leather, we LIVE leather!
We started with the short subject, GRIND:
(WEST COAST PREMIERE)
Grind (2014) - USA
Run Time: 32 min | Director: Zachary Halley. Producer: Steven Tylor O'Connor
In this darkly dramatic musical, Vincent (Anthony Rapp) is a guy uncomfortable in his own skin but witty on his favorite hook-up app. Thane (Pasha Pellosie) is his young, hot model roommate who can't seem to express himself intelligently. Devising a plan that Vincent will speak as Thane on his “grind” profile…they make the perfect combination for Thane to peruse the men of New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen. However, Vincent gets addicted to the attention…leading to a grim outcome neither had anticipated.
Grind won THREE awards at FilmOut San Diego's film festival - Best Overall Short Film, Best Cinematography (Blake Steigerwald) and Outstanding Artistic Achievement to director Zachary Halley!
On the left (jeans, black jacket) Joseph Rusin, Producer of GRIND.
On the right, (black shirt and orange pants) Steven Tylor O'Connor,
Producer and Casting Director of GRIND.
I liked it quite a bit, and commented during the Director Q&A after the movies were done, that groups like FMSD were created to protect ourselves from random "bad guys" who prey upon the innocent. Grind was NOT what anybody expected, but it entertained everyone immensely, and caused a lot of commentary in the days afterward.
Then, it was time for our main feature, FOLSOM FOREVER:
If you thought San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair was just about leather and kink, FOLSOM FOREVER will give you a whole lot more to think about. This new documentary by Mike Skiff bares the social, political, charitable and cultural underpinnings of the world’s most notorious bacchanal.I loved this movie! I was part of the leather scene back in the old days, and I was keenly interested in the stories of the gray-haired folks who were my contemporaries. I'm astonished that somebody thought to ASK them the important questions, while they still had the ability to speak so eloquently.
In 1984, a scrappy little neighborhood in San Francisco—home to many low-income tenants and the heart of the gay male leather scene—faced destruction from the bulldozers of redevelopment and the AIDS crisis. The Folsom Street Fair was started to call attention to gentrification and raise money for AIDS charities. Incorporating interviews with organizers, scholars and politicians while utilizing archival footage (Harvey Milk! The Village People!) as well as of the 2012 festival, FOLSOM FOREVER tells the story of how this little street fair grew into the biggest outdoor kink and fetish event in the world, and managed to do a lot of good along the way.
At a time when the mainstream response to AIDS was to close bathhouses and sex clubs—described by Drummer magazine publisher Jack Fritscher as a “Puritan reaction to the pleasure houses”—BDSM was marketed as the ultimate safer sex and the Folsom Street Fair became a place for people of all persuasions to express their proclivities in a public forum. The annual Fair now draws 400,000 people from all over the world, supports indie bands, provides a big boost to business and tourism, and last year awarded $330,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations.
For those just interested in the hot stuff, FOLSOM FOREVER provides plenty of full frontal nudity and a tantalizing array of kink. But learning about its history and contributions to the community will make you feel even better about getting off.
Mike Skiff has done us all an immense service, and I wish that we had hundreds more like him, scouring our Tribe for verbal histories before it is too late.
Oddly, the Los Angeles Outfest crew aren't as kink-friendly as San Diego's FilmOut.
According to Mike:
Oddly, the Los Angeles Outfest crew aren't as kink-friendly as San Diego's FilmOut.
According to Mike:
Well, I didn't tell you but Outfest DID snub Folsom! The LA leather community is none too happy. Leatherati will be interviewing me for an investigational story. I welcome you to mention Outfest's rejection (they said they liked it but just didn't have enough room, but had room to screen two other documentaries a second time - meaning programmer Alonso Duralde's reason was bullshit). Yes, please go ahead and make major hay of this "leather shaming". BTW, Outfest has NO leather relevant films in their program.I think that is a good way to go. Somehow, a small number of people haven't yet figured out that Leatherfolk are TRENDY - We are now the coolest kids in town!
Folsom Forever just won Best Doc, Audience Favorite Doc and the Freedom Award from last weekend's FilmOut SD screening!!! A trifecta of honor.
Kink Crusaders was snubbed because it was called racist and sexist for the inclusion of Christina and Vicky (both of Asian descent) commenting on the puppy play scene. So KC was snubbed for a BS excuse it was racist/sexist and FF was snubbed because "we didn't have enough room" while many films are screened twice, the second screening being a missed opportunity to screen a different film.
There are talks of doing a counter screening of FF by leather people during Outfest and inviting the press.
The best Movie Nights are the ones that show our community that we are all a valuable part of our ongoing history. This one event was clearly something much, much more than just a simple "movie night", where everyone shows up, watches flickering images, and then goes home.
I'm pretty certain that we all created an event together, that everyone present will remember for the rest of our lives!