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Friday, October 13, 2017

Start Spreading the News!

Written by  Rodney Burger
Mr. Eagle NYC 2018 winner Joseph Macchia Mr. Eagle NYC 2018 winner Joseph Macchia

Joseph Macchia, a talent booker from Maspeth, New York, in the borough of Queens, took home the title of Mr. Eagle NYC 2018 at the annual contest held on Saturday, October 7th at New York City’s iconic leather bar. First runner-up was Johnny Quesada, a photographer from New York City, and second runner-up was awarded to Dwayne Townsend, an actor, model, and aerobics instructor, as well from the Big Apple. Also competing were Damien Basile, Darius “Dax” Fox, and Mike Chapman.

It’s fortuitous sometimes how life turns out. All summer Sir Steve and I talked about going to Las Vegas for a week to celebrate his birthday in early October. We had not made reservations yet and on September 1st I received an email from longtime contest coordinator for the Mr. Eagle NYC Contest Vern Stewart inviting me to be a judge this year. How does one say no to an honor like that? So we skipped Las Vegas and made hotel reservations in NYC. Had we gone to Las Vegas we would have been there on October 1st during the mass shooting.

Joining me at the judge’s table were Mr. Eagle NYC 2017 John-John Punki, Mr. Fire Island 2001 Bruce Michael Gelbert, Mr. DC Eagle 2017 Grey Onyx, and Mr. Connecticut Leather 2005 George Peet. What a wonderful change of pace to have more contestants than judges.

The weekend began on Friday, October 6th with a meet and greet at the bar. This was an old-school meet-and-greet during which each of the six contestants made sure that they came up to each judge, introduced themselves, and had a conversation. Later in the evening as the bar started to fill up Mr. Eagle NYC 2004 Brian Kent, who was emceeing this contest for the tenth time, brought the contestants and judges onto the bar’s small stage and introduced them to the crowd. At that time the contestants also drew their contestant numbers. (Later in the evening as I was enjoying a beverage at the Eagle’s rooftop bar a cute young man told me that the introductions made him want to come back on Saturday for the contest. Thank you. That is exactly why the meet and greet was traditionally done that way.)

I was also extremely pleased with how the interviews were scheduled and conducted. Instead of having them in the morning and having to return to the bar in the evening for the contest, the interviews were scheduled right before the contest and we were provided with a delicious meal between the interviews and the contest. Also Mr. Eagle NYC 2006 Christopher Andre served as tally master and timed the interviews to make sure that they were no longer than 12 minutes each.

By 10 pm when the contest started the bar was packed like Times Square on New Year’s Eve. There was free admission for the contest and the bar did not have a cover charge. The six contestants were judged on bar wear, jockstrap / physique (with an onstage question), and formal leather / speech. Each judge had written and sent in three fun questions to be used doing the contest. The contestants drew questions, but the emcee rejected some of the questions for not being funny or clever enough. I was really thrilled that all three of my questions got used onstage and got a good audience reaction. Each contestant was very different and brought something to the table. There was no filler entertainment and the contest even with an intermission was over in about an hour. For the 15th year Susan Weinstein provided the ASL interpretation. Drummer North America 2015 Doc Hoskins was upstairs working as den daddy and helping the contestants with their quick changes. John-John began his stepdown speech with a moment of silence for all the lives lost in the recent disasters in Texas, Florida, Las Vegas, and his homeland Puerto Rico. He urged the audience to find their strength and stated, “We all have a power inside of us. Tap into that power and expose it.” It all went so smoothly and quickly. The contest was over in a New York minute and we had sashed Mr. Eagle NYC 2018 with lots of time to enjoy the rest of the evening.

On Sunday afternoon Eagle NYC bar owner Derek Danton hosted a brunch at Elmo Restaurant (156 7th Avenue) for the new Mr. Eagle NYC, judges, and contest staff. Elmo was hopping and appeared to be the LGBT brunch place to see and be seen. Plus the food was fantastic.

Mr. Eagle NYC 2018 Joseph Macchia will be representing the great Eagle NYC bar and the beautiful New York City leather community in Chicago in May at the International Mr. Leather 2018 Contest. What a thrill to help with this tradition. Come to NYC and enjoy the Eagle NYC bar (554 West 28th Street) and check out their very detailed website at Eaglenyc.com. It even gives the history of the bar. What a fantastic place. The leather community is alive and well in New York City. Help me spread the news.

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