Friday, September 01, 2017

Here’s to the Ladies in Leather!

Written by  Rodney Burger
Winners all Winners all

Amy “Foxxy” Phillips from Baltimore, Maryland, was named Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2018 and “Bumper” from Hampton Roads, Virginia, was selected Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Boot Black 2018 during the annual MAL-W Contest held on Saturday, August 26th at the Baltimore Eagle. Runner-up for Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2018 was Christy Lee, Ms. New Jersey Leather 2016. There were no additional contestants.

The contest began on Friday night with the meet and greet at the Baltimore Eagle. It was a beautiful evening on the Eagle patio and I was happy to have a chance to speak with the MAL-W contestants and to welcome the many out of town judges to Charm City. This year’s judges were International Ms. Deaf Leather 2010 Valerie O. Sherrill, Mr. Eagle NYC 2017 John-John Punki, Ms. Capital Pride Leather 2009 Jackie Thompson, Ms. Baltimore Eagle 2001 Tracy Black, Ms. Philadelphia Leather 2017 Heather Raquel, Mid-Atlantic Community Boot Black 2013 Amelia Horo, and founding member of The Seven Guardsmen leather organization Dana Prosser.

On Saturday afternoon the upstairs Nest at the Baltimore Eagle was a packed house as contest emcees American Leathergirl 2006 Dawn Marie and Baltimore’s Queen of Comedy Shawnna Alexander kept everyone entertained for the three-hour-plus contest. Last year the contest, which is usually held in August, was postponed until November while the producers were waiting for the Baltimore Eagle to open. (They finally had to select another location.) At the start of the contest Dawn Marie entered the stage with a fur coat over one of the many outfits she wore onstage. (She had more costume changes then Carrie Underwood hosting the CMA’s) When asked why she was wearing a fur coat in August, Dawn quipped, “I thought this contest was in November!”

There were so many noteworthy moments during this contest, but I must start by applauding producers Rik Newton-Treadway and Tina Landi who started the event by asking the audience to not live stream the contest or take random pictures and crowd shots. This has long been a big pet peeve of mine. Not everyone is out and wants their picture posted all over social media, especially while attending a leather event. I wish every contest started this way. Rik also announced that the tradition of starting with the playing of the national anthem would be waived and replaced with a moment of silence for all the problems in our nation. After an introduction of judges, the contest staff was introduced which included judge’s boy Jake Cordova, tally master Paulie Treadway, stage manager Buz with stage crew David Spellman (who had a huge job at one point when one performer dumped an entire bag of glitter on the stage), den daddy Morgaine, and Lady Desire (who was the silent auction chair). Plus I’m sure there were many others involved in putting on this wonderful event.

When the introductions ended, Shawnna made her entrance performing a hilarious number entitled: “Back When We had Sex.” Her other number later in the contest had her dressed as a giant dildo as she performed a spoof of the James Bond movie theme “Diamonds Are Forever” or as Shawnna performed it “Dildos Are Forever.” What can I say? She brought down the house.

Contestants, who had been interviewed by the judges earlier in the day, competed onstage in “hot wear,” answered a funny question, performed an onstage fantasy, put together a basket of items to be auctioned (with the money going towards the travel fund), appeared in formal leather, and gave a brief speech. I am sure that the scores for the two Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman contestants were very close because they were both excellent. Christy Lee’s fantasy involved a burlesque performed who transformed into a dominatrix complete with flogging and hot wax play and Amy donned sexy ringmaster garb and put a kinky spin on the Britney Spears’ number “Circus.” Both skits were well done and kept the audience entertained.

The speeches delivered by all three contestants were also wonderful. There seemed to be a reoccurring theme of family that ran through the weekend. I know I enjoyed seeing many friends that I do not get to see very often. Christly Lee spoke with great emotion about her cancer diagnosis last year and how she learned the true meaning of having a leather family who kept her spirts up and got her out of the house when it would have been easier to just stay at home. Amy spoke of the two types of people in the leather community: the guardians who want to keep people out and the gatekeepers who welcome people in. This year she plans to work hard as a gatekeeper and welcome more people into the leather community. Boot black Bumper explained that a boot black in the leather community is not just someone who shines shoes. A boot black preserves history. I was also moved by the step aside speeches of the 2017 titleholders. Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Bootblack 2017 Jadelynn “Wicked Jade” Wikkid talked about her love of making lists. She said that, “When you only have a few things to work with, you work with what you have. The most important tool in my boot black kit is love.” Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2017 Alex “Bear” Conley started her speech by presenting $1,600 to the Leather Heart Foundation and spoke of attending over 34 leather events during her ten month title year. The afternoon also included performances by Baltimore’s recently crowned King and Queen of Pride 2018. Chris Jay and Sapphire Blue gave very energetic performances that had the leather- clad crowd smiling and dancing.

In the spirit of a regional leather event, the victory party for the new Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman titleholders was held on Sunday, August 28th at Georgie’s Bar in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Congratulations to Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman 2018 Amy “Foxxy” Phillips and Mid-Atlantic Leather Woman Boot Black 2018 Bumper. It is an exciting time for women in the leather community who are really stepping up and taking charge. In fact on February 22nd to 25th, 2018 the Drummer North America Contest in Las Vegas will include the first ever Woman of Drummer Contest. This is a big change for Drummer that was founded on a platform of machismo and masculinity. Here’s to the ladies in leather!

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