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The issue also examines the world of desire in New Orleans in the past and present, provides a link to erotic photos on imprisonment, and showcases the first annual True Tales Leather Journalism Awards.
EDITORIAL: Protecting Those Outside Our Backyard: The Importance of Regionalism and of Free Erotic Speech. A natural disaster and legislation highlight how much we have to lose.
"August 30, 2005. 'Hey,' I said to a family member, "do you know anything about a hurricane in New Orleans?'"
Tales Leather Journalism Awards 2005. Illustrated with a photo
by Andy Cloud. The awards honor excellence in leather news, commentary,
and information on current events. This year's awards commend well-crafted
and useful leather news, commentary, and information about Hurricanes Katrina
NONFICTION: Suggestions for Improving News Coverage and the Spread of Information in the Leather Community. By Dusk Peterson.
1938: SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
FICTION: Verdict. By Parhelion. Sergeant Carl Riemann was the sort of "real" man who had the homos in back alleys down on their knees. But Sergeant Riemann wasn't interested in being knelt to. Quite the opposite.
"Blondie's head bobbed up and down as he worked on me. He was pretty good, I have to say. His one hand was cupping my balls, rolling them a little. His mouth was warm and wet around my cock, clever-tongued and letting me in real deep. It wasn't his fault that I was somewhere else entirely inside my own head.
"Slowly the Doctor snapped on the heavy, green rubber gloves, first onto the right hand, and then onto the left, taking his evil time over the task. Then, still slowly, he turned to survey the helpless, muscular figure that hung in chains before him, tormented by the unceasing attentions of the foul and horrible device.
"Filled with unspeakable, obscene pleasure, Riemann screamed."
1965: LOS ANGELES
NONFICTION: Stupid Me, I Went to the Leather Bar. By the Rev. Troy D. Perry. From an interview by Shaun Proulx. The founder of Metropolitan Community Churches describes his first, naïve encounter with leathermen.
"It was very dark. I started looking around and all at once I saw this guy at the end of the bar: chaps, boots, no shirt and a leather vest on. He was looking at me like he was undressing me."
1969: GREENWICH VILLAGE
NONFICTION: Black-Leather Black Mass Celebrates Perfect Sex Date 6/9/69, Eighteen Days Before Stonewall Rebellion. By Jack Fritscher. An on-the-spot account of an occult leather gathering, from a new edition of a book originally published in 1972.
"When the guests arrived, the young man was caged in a corner of the loft apartment. The dominus limini (the porter, the keeper of the door) counted as the core-coven and their guests assembled. The coven wore black leather garments ranging from loose medieval robes to motorcycle gear."
1979: SAN FRANCISCO
FICTION: At the Barracks on Folsom: Leather-Bondage Whip Dance from Some Dance to Remember. By Jack Fritscher. Heartbroken over the death of his father, a San Franciscan gay man tells himself that he doesn't need anonymous S&M any more. Then he makes the mistake of walking into a bathhouse.
"Three men in black leather chaps and vests sat waiting on the bed. Next to them, a large suitcase lay open, displaying leather restraints, chains, and whips. A large can of Crisco sat on the floor. Votive candles burned on the window sill."
FICTION: Franny and Her Boys. By John Preston. The only leatherman in town seeks advice from an unlikely source.
"After Franny went home, I'd stand in the street and just watch the men. I figured I'd really done it now. No one was going to want anyone like me, someone who was purposely acting weird and different."
FICTION: Spontaneous. By Dusk Peterson. Can an Old Guard top survive in a world with safe words?
"Nearby, most of the group had entered into a discussion of how long the negotiations before a scene should last between a top and a bottom, and whether there should be three breaks or four for further negotiations later in the evening.
"'Fucking Christ,' Trent said with disgust. Then he turned to me and asked mildly, 'Will you do something for me?'
"'Sure,' I said with a mouth full of my first bite of Ho Ho. 'Anything you want.'
"It must have been the Ho Ho. Sugar rushes cause madness, right? Because I promise you, 'Anything you want,' is not what you say to Master Trent. Not when he has his black handkerchief sticking out of his back pocket."
Past and Present: NEW ORLEANS
FICTION: Mardi Gras. By Max E. Verga. It was the best Mardi Gras ever: Owen had found a tattooed woman who gave him everything he could have dreamed of. Then the boyfriend came home.
"'Bitch gives the best damn blow jobs,' the cop said as if it was the most profound intellectual revelation of the century and not just a statement of fact that Owen had already come to. 'You suck dick too?' he added as his eyes narrowed to slits while he gave in to the pleasure of getting head.
"'No,' Owen responded, which was the truth, but not one he thought the
cop was about to accept."
NONFICTION: A New Orleans State of Mind. By Max E. Verga. The author tells how he first discovered the hidden world of New Orleans.
"We all heard a crash down the street and saw that a police cruiser had pulled up to Mary's True Value Hardware and was breaking down the door. Little did we know that that would be the last time we'd see police officers through the night and the next morning, Wednesday.
"As the city became pitch black with nightfall, the noise began. . . ."
POETRY: New Orleans, Nos 1 to 9. By Master Sade. Gay, straight, gender-bending . . . Master Sade's poems explore a New Orleans that many misunderstand.
"a whip falls and the sharp cut makes you gasp in anticipation . . . new orleans wears leather, carries handcuffs, takes, does not forgive . . ."
NEWS: Hurricane Katrina Report. News about five weeks that forever changed the life of the American South's gay capital. With resources for leatherfolk, BDSM folk, and bears.
NEWS: Sherwood in Exile. By Wally Sherwood. A column by New Orleans journalist Wally Sherwood, evacuated from the city due to Hurricane Katrina.
Drummer Retrospective – Disabilities
Nearly twenty years later, True Tales reunites the original four contributors and adds new perspectives on leather and disabilities from Jack Fritscher, Rob Ridinger, Aubrey Hart Sparks, and others.
The August issue of True Tales also includes news on the International Deaf Leather and International Deaf Bear contests, D.C.'s Capital Pride Parade, the Master/slave Conference, and a proposed M/s and D/s Flag.
EDITORIAL: Hidden in the Dark: Leather Bars, Disabilities, and the Life and Death of Erotic Photography. Facing the danger that we may be thrust back into the erotic closet.
"I'd been reading about gay leather for three months when I first visited a leather bar. I didn't expect to be surprised by the obvious."
FEATURE: Leather and Disabilities: A Links Directory. Links related to the contributions to this issue.
DRUMMER'S "MAIMED BEAUTY" ISSUE, 1986
FICTION: Other Bodies. By Michael Agreve. The erotic secret that gay men keep from each other, brought out into the open.
"For years he sat in his wheelchair, his right hand supplying the closet
thing he would ever come to a love life. Then, one day, somebody looked
at him. Somebody looked at him real strange. And as he lay in bed with
that someone, his shortened legs being carressed and worshiped, he started
to realize that he was someone sought after. Maybe just for freak appeal.
But with your load resting on someone's lips, you ask questions later.
You enjoy the attention and think that maybe this guy will go beyond the
abstract and see the brain behind the body."
NONFICTION: Historical Note to "Other Bodies". By Michael Agreve.
"This isn't a case from Kraft-Ebbing. If asked, he'd say he's a normal
guy. For him a chiselled profile is fine, but handsomer with a speech defect."
NONFICTION: Historical Note to "The Deformity Lover". By Felice Picano.
"I had always known that I was different, but sharing that difference with the world was like taking a step into the black void. You see, some people want to be indistinguishable from the crowd. They work at blending into the shadows. At being just like everyone else. While others stand out no matter what they do. Brilliant flames against a darkened sky. It's not a matter of desire. They simply have no choice."
PHOTOGRAPHY: George Dureau: Nude Male Photography and Art. Introduction by Mark I. Chester. Links to George Dureau's photographs and artwork of disabled men, African-American men, and others. Includes models who appeared in the "Maimed Beauty" issue.
NONFICTION: Drummer Readers on the Eroticism of Disabled Men. The "Maimed Beauty" issue prompted a "torrent of letters," according to the Drummer staff. Here are excerpts from the letters.
"The most vital and the most politically important of the gay communities is the brotherhood of those into 'alternative sexuality,' commonly called leathermen. But even in this forward-thinking set, there often exists a belief that there is some sort of line you do not cross."
IN LATER YEARS
NONFICTION: When Cameras Collide: Dureau, Disability, and Dueling with Mapplethorpe. Interview by Jack Fritscher. In a March 1991 interview, the New Orleans photographer George Dureau discusses with a former Drummer editor how his photography of disabled men demonstrates his differences from photographer Robert Mapplethorpe.
"My models are people who are beautiful and sexy and the fact that there's a stump where an arm or a leg should be doesn't mar their sexiness or their beauty. You don't say, 'Well, let's throw out this little Roman sculpture because it's partly broken.'"
NONFICTION: How to Find Love with a Fetishist. Bob Guter interviews Alan Sable. The editor of BENT: A Journal for CripGay Voices talks to psychotherapist Alan Sable about the difficult dynamic between men who desire disabled men and the objects of their desire.
"If the disabled are not seen as symmetrical, they may not be seen as graceful, as powerful, as 'perfect' and thus, by extension, as masculine. In the gay subculture, which fetishizes masculine beauty and perfection, disabled gay men have a problem from the start. . . . . Now here is where the big question, the startling question, arises: Is it possible that the fetish element might be useful to disabled men?"
NONFICTION: Speaking Hands and Hearts: The Deaf Leather Community. By Rob Ridinger. The leather world's most vocal disabled minority group is the deaf. Leather historian Rob Ridinger presents a history of deaf leather contests, organizations, and artifacts.
"The difficulties [faced by deaf leathermen] are most visible in bar interactions, with many hearing leathermen suddenly finding that the man they have been trading glances with all evening is actually deaf."
FICTION: Choices. By Aubrey Hart Sparks. A moment of truth occurs between a top and the leather titleholder who wants him as his daddy.
"'Okay,' I said, looking directly at Bob. 'Do you want to know why I am at angry at you?'
"As usual, Bob was the deer in the headlights. 'Yes, please. Why?'
"'This is why: Bob, you want to be my friend, you want to be in love with me, but you have never adapted so that we might communicate better.'"
NONFICTION: Helping the Hearing to Hear: The International Deaf Leather and International Deaf Bear Contests 2005. By Meredith Peruzzi. An outsider to the leather community scrambles to meet the challenge of providing voice interpretation for the major deaf leather and bear contests.
"Going from one's native language (English for me) into one's second language (American Sign Language) is widely considered to be much easier than the reverse. But this would be a primarily Deaf event with a few hearing judges, so I was going to be voicing almost the entire time."
NEWS: Who's the Boss? M/s Conference 2005 Reveals How Slaves Can Be Dominant for Their Masters, and How Masters Can Serve Their Slaves. Illustrated with photos by Lance. Disabilities, illness, ethical or spiritual frameworks, and practical considerations are among the factors that can reverse expected behavior in a master/slave relationship, revealed speakers at the second annual Master/slave Conference in Washington, D.C.
"The hotel staff, it was reported later at the plenary session, coped admirably with the influx of unusual guests. 'By the end of our visit,' said an attendee at the plenary session, 'the restaurant staff wanted to know who the master was, so that they could serve him first.'"
NEWS: A Flag for Unity: How the M/s and D/s Flag was Created. Illustrated with photos. It took seven months for a master, his slave, and a girl to create a proposed flag for the master/slave and dominant/submissive communities.
"At four o'clock in the morning, following his usual schedule, slave andrew rose from bed. Taking the symbols that Master Tallen had located the previous day, he shifted them around in different patterns. When his master awoke, slave andrew said, 'Oh, Master, I played with this. What do you think?'"
NONFICTION: The Master/slave and Dom/sub Flag. By Master Tallen. Illustrated with a photo. A speech given by the designer of the flag at the Master/slave Conference 2005.
"In our community I have seen a need. A need for unity and self recognition."
NEWS: Youth, Endurance, and Hard Candies: Leatherfolk at D.C.'s Capital Pride Parade 2005. A long parade route served as an endurance test for the leather/levi contingent this year.
"All along the route, observers would gape as the leatherfolk and bears made their way past. Many people would applaud. One man, sighting the Brother Help Thyself float, would shout over and over, 'Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!'"
Robert Davolt Tribute – Bound & Gagged
Also offered are stories exploring the line between fantasy and reality in leather relationships, and the true tale of a newcomer's introduction to the leather world.
EDITORIAL: Bloodprint: Robert Davolt and the Legacy of Drummer. A consideration of the role Robert Davolt played in helping establish the legacy of the world's most famous gay leather magazine.
"Robert Davolt and I were arguing again."
FEATURE: Tributes to Robert Davolt. Illustrated with photos. Tributes throughout the Web, in images and text, as well as links to writings by and about Mr. Davolt.
NONFICTION: Friend, Dad, Mentor, and Teacher: Memories of Robert Davolt. By Earl A. Coffman. Mr. Oregon State Leather 2003 recalls how Mr. Davolt entered into his life.
"Daddy Alan Selby told me that one of the most important people I had to meet was Robert Davolt."
NONFICTION: Hug a Novice. By Kirk Read. A newcomer turns up at Mid-Atlantic Leather . . . wearing brown leather.
"My experience with leather, up until this point, had been pretty much limited to a braided Pierre Cardin belt."
FICTION: Tryout at the Bondage Club. By david stein. A glimpse of the New York Bondage Club . . . and two men's attempt to break past the limitations of fantasies about master/slave relationships.
"'The porn stories make it seem so easy,' he said in a conversational tone as he worked on me – as if weighing ideas in his hands, not my manhood. 'Drag a man out of a bar and into your dungeon, attack his self-esteem, cut him off from everything he knows – work, friends, family – torture him for a few days, or weeks or months, break him down to nothing, then build him up again into whatever you want.'
"My cock jutted obscenely, the shaft swollen and the head a purple knob. I whimpered in a mix of pain and pleasure as he sheathed it tightly in leather all the way to the glans.
"'Whether he loved you or hated you before,' Terry continued, 'if you "break" him, the theory goes, he'll be your loyal slave for life.' He looked at his handiwork approvingly."
FICTION: Cruel Fate. By David C. Set in a bar below hills scarred by forest fire, this darkly haunting tale describes an unlikely encounter between a top and a sneaker-shod young man who just won't let him alone.
"'So what are you into?' he asked, trying to lower his voice below the din. Not trying hard enough. Drawing attention.
"I took a quick drag on the cigar and turned to him, so I could puff a little smoke in his face as I answered. 'I'm flagging black left. You know what that means?'
"'It means,' I said, turning my attention back to the game, 'that I'm out of your league.'"
A Small Beginning
NEWS: American Flags and Paddles: A Flea Market with a Difference. D.C.-area leather clubs join together to hold an event that looks oddly familiar . . . on the surface.
"Few events are more Middle America than a flea market. The ordinary, everyday couples burrowing through junk to find the bargains. The boys and girls horsing around with each other and with their elders. The air of utter conventionality.
"Unless, of course, it is a leather flea market.
"'Let me show you how this is done,' said the top, taking a paddle from the hand of a potential customer."
FICTION: What Slaves Do When They Aren't Cleaning Toilets. By Dusk Peterson. True Tales is proud to be the only Website in the world that offers its accessibility information for the disabled in the form of a leather porn story.
"Stop dragging your feet, boy, and stop whimpering. You knew you had this coming to you. What I want from you is quite simple. I want you to design a Website that's compatible with Section 508— Stop sobbing, damn it! A Website that's compatible with Section 508 and complies with W3C's Checkpoints for Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.
"Get off the floor, boy; you're dirtying my boots with your tears."
FEATURE: True Tales Links. Covers the following topics:
* Gay erotic stories, art, and photography.
FEATURE: Leather Lit: Excerpts from Drummer Magazine's Narrative Nonfiction. Samples from 1977 to 1990 of what editor Jack Fritscher called "erotic literature with SM and punctuation."
"No one knew a man was going to get branded.
"No one knew there was a sling behind the black tarp.
"No one – not even San Diego's gay newspaper, Upedate, which always knows what's going on with its readers – knew that once the branding started and the rules of this conservative, cop-sailor-sex-tinged city were broken, the men of San Diego would turn into unleashed dick-groping, pit-tonguing, tit-torturing animals. Acting just like they were in San Francisco and not a place that elected Ku Klux Klan officials to government posts."
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