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Friday, June 6, 2014

Review of Gear Invasion Dinner & Presentation Ceremony

Photos by Scott Smith, Felix Moo, Magnum and Jacob Augustine Bell

Written by Papa Tony


Saturday, May 31, 2014:

FetishMenSanDiego's annual Gear Invasion Dinner during Family Reunion Weekend 2014 was a smashing success, thanks to the hard work, dedication and good will of Ian Daniels and the folks at Harvey Milk's American Diner.

It was also a breakthrough occasion for new brotherhood, and celebration of achievement.

In the months and weeks leading up to the weekend, many men have been working hard to learn and grow.

Several times a week, EVERY week, we have been getting together to share techniques, wisdom and intimacy.

Every one of these men has made advances in not just WEARING leather, but in LIVING leather. They are the Real Deal.

The Gear Invasion Dinner was an opportunity to stop and take inventory, and to acknowledge progress on a personal (and community) level.

A few men had excelled beyond all others, and it was time to celebrate their achievements.

Gathering the Tribal Witnesses

Brett, Papa Tony, Scottie, Eli, 
Aaron, Sir Nicholas, JP and Paulo.

After taking some time to socialize, snap photos and hug, it was time to prepare for the Presentation Ceremony.  I called up men who had clearly achieved a new level of achievement in our Tribe, such as (left to right):

Brett, who had earned his flogger a few months back, by impressing me with his character and constant practice and skillful application of his craft.

Scottie Tidwell, who had represented San Diego at the International Mr. Leather contest in Chicago one week earlier, and who had achieved Fifth Runner-Up out of 46 contestants. Scottie hosted last year's raising of the Leather Pride flag (a brilliant idea - Bravo, Scottie!), and this year, he is hosting a local version of the Folsom Street Fair in San Diego in August (more details as soon as they come in).

Eli Correa, Mr. San Diego Leather 2013. Eli has worked VERY hard to be the best possible representative of our community. Ever since he showed up in San Diego years ago, he has been one of the hardest-working men in our Tribe.

Aaron Duke, who now lives in Los Angeles, but who has set an impossibly high standard of excellence for his humble and effective work as Mr. San Diego Leather 2012, and then American Leatherman 2013.

Sir Nicholas, who has maintained his bar the San Diego Eagle as a center for our local community for years, and whose deep wisdom and role-modeling are an inspiration to us all.

JP, who is our newest WhipMaster, due to his constant growth, willingness to learn, regular practice, and careful attention to style, accuracy, sensitivity and excellence.

Paulo, who earned his title as Mr. San Eagle 2014 (contest photos here) earlier this year, has been showing up more and more as a man of the Tribe, giving support all over the community, even though he is not obligated to do so.  Paulo represents our hope for the future, as a young man with drive and idealism.

Three other fine men who did not show up in the photos before this were:

Frank, who recently earned his whip after impressing me with his character, his community spirit, his willingness to grow as a leatherman, his constant practice, and his excellence in pleasing a submissive!

Scottie, James and Jay.

James won the title of Mr. Gay Pride San Diego 2013 last summer. James has been second only to me lately, in terms of sheer output of powerful energy in getting new changes achieved in San Diego's Tribe. The man is a powerhouse of idealism, passion and clarity of vision.  I wish that we had fifty more men like him.

Jay Heimbach, who recently earned his title as Prince Royale in San Diego's Imperial Court, and who also hosts the SENSATIONAL Puppy Nights at the Eagle each month. The man is a natural-born ringmaster and charismatic leader, who always thrills and satisfies a crowd!

The Staff of Tribal History

Earlier that day during the Flog Swarm, everyone present helped me christen the Staff of Tribal History. It is a visible symbol of the history that we share, not only in the past and the present, but it also represents our hopes for the future generations who will come along behind us and stand upon our shoulders. The entire assemblage sent their blessings for future generations into the staff during the christening, and this dinner was its first public application.

ANYONE can hold the staff, as long as they carry it with somber dignity, and an awareness of how valuable they are in our community's progress. Our Tribe lost SO much of our history, and every one of us now present, has a part to play in a history that just gets better and better.

Beginning the Presentation

With these fine men standing with me as valued witnesses, I first called up WhipMaster Eriel, our youngest member present. Eriel assisted me in the next steps, because he represents our hopes for the future. He has certainly earned the right to be a valued, special part of the ceremony, due to his constant hard work, incredible flair and passion, and sheer mastery of every kinky technique that he applies himself to. He's a STAR!

Eriel handed me a flogger, which I presented to our brother David.  David earned this gift as a gesture of respect and honor, due to his visible and very welcome progress as a man, and as a maturing member of the Tribe.

His technique is excellent, but, far more important, he has shown great sensitivity and grace in how he deals with submissives.

When the time, the circumstances and the bottom-boy all come together the right way, he's a wonderful Top!

Then, Eriel handed me "Kayla", my very favorite singletail whip. I presented her to JP, who I described above this, and who deserves all honor for his growth as an honorable, lovable, respectable and admirable man.

He achieves a whip-spread pattern as well as I do, and I've been a WhipMaster for decades - He's ready to wow the crowd at the Folsom Street Fair!

Master's Cap Presentation

Then, it was time for the Main Event. Eriel brought me a Master's Cap, which has been waiting for a long time to be claimed.

I called up my brother Magnum, whose personal and public growth as a Tribal leader, leatherman and  deeply-committed champion for brotherhood has been awesome to behold.

For nine months, Magnum and I have worked together, as he shifted from each level to a higher level, with the goal of achieving full Mastery as a high-quality Sir.

It's no accident, that when it came time for me to hand away coordination of FetishMenSanDiego, there was only one answer. Magnum's deep wisdom, sensitivity, humility, laser-guided focus and passion made him the obvious choice. He has grown into his status as a true man of the Tribe, and has done the difficult, continuous work to earn his Master's Cap.

Magnum can never doubt that he is a true LeatherMaster. I personally certify him as having achieved all of the complex, subtle and difficult work that qualify him to stand proudly in our Tribe as an authentic Leatherman, as qualified as any others that I have known since 1977.

I claim him as my brother, and as my equal on every level. I look forward to years of relaxed, satisfying friendship with this good man.


The intention behind this ceremony (and many others that will follow in the years to come) is to take the time to acknowledge individual and community successes.  Now that I'm no longer organizing events of any kind (after being a community leader since 1981), I am stepping into my role as a Tribal Elder.

This means that I will be celebrating passages, blessing those who have earned it, carrying our Tribal history in my heart, sharing any wisdom if requested, mentoring new champions and Sirs, and encouraging more and more good men to reach their next level of achievement.

The Gear Invasion Dinner ceremony was a good indicator of what will be happening more and more, as the years go by.

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