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Leather Pride

by Michael Kirwan November 4, 2012

 

The Palm Springs Leather Pride Weekend

 

So pretty much by accident, I ended up going to Palm Springs with the Tom of Finland Foundation guys to participate in a Leather Pride Weekend event on Friday night. When they asked me whether or not I'd like to go with them on Thursday, I hesitated because a) there's little to no expressions of the Leather World in my artwork so sales were unlikely, b) I hadn't done any mental preparations for trotting out my public persona, c) I had nine dollars to my name and didn't want to be a burden on my friends, and d) I didn't have enough time to contact the people I know who live in Palm Springs so we could meet up. But I went. Why not? It's not like not drawing for a day or two would precipitate a significant financial crisis and I might even unload a couple of Just So Horny books. Besides, PEOPLE WATCHING (specifically hot men)! Hahaha!

The event was held and hosted at The Tool Shed and it was about twenty vendors hawking their various homo-wares in the parking lot. We got there a bit late, rushed to put our tent up, and get our displays organized before we could actually take in what was going on. The outing was well attended, and the guys who showed up for Leather Pride had every reason to be proud. These men took their gear seriously. I'd never seen quite so many excellently outfitted men in my life not in New York, not in L.A., and certainly not in Miami. It was a pretty spectacular sight. Hundreds of men done up from their boots to their hats and everything in between looking great. I had been lamenting the decline of the Leather Community with Durk Dehner a couple of months back, but seeing so many guys decked out to the nines (and quite a lot of younger ones sporting black cowhide) has prompted me to revise my assessment. Leather may no longer be as fashionable in the major cities, but wherever these boys came from, they had expertly crafted gear available to them. I was elated to see so many leather-clad studs congregating for this celebration.

I talked with a lot of people who had an affinity for art, sexual expression, identity politics, and generally appreciated the brotherhood factor in Queer World. There was a lovely woman, a sex therapist and artist, who was contemplating moving from black & white pencil and ink work to color. There was a very charming art teacher with some interesting ideas about the value of the arts in education. I also got to spend some time with my buddy Tom Bianchi (always a delight and he always seems to have some intelligent eye-candy in tow) as well as a bunch of other folks who provided thought-provoking, conversational entertainment.

The highlight of the experience was (shockingly! Hahaha!!) a man. I saw him drifting amiably through the crowd with some friends and my entire body went on alert. I had to get closer to affirm that I was seeing what I thought I did. I interrupted his group so that I could introduce myself and get a better look. This guy was perfect. Beyond handsome or beautiful, this person had hit the genetic jackpot (or rather his parents had, but he had certainly maintained their creation admirably), and he possessed the most perfect head I had ever encountered in my life. Every facet, every plane, and angle, the entire underlying structure was absolutely flawless. I beheld mathematical genius in human form. For an artist, it's like discovering King Tut's tomb to run across someone with this extremely rare combination of absolute beauty. It was more than just good symmetry, each feature on his face was not only perfectly aligned but they each enhanced and complimented each other in an extraordinary harmony. The cheekbones would have been great on their own but they applauded the jaw line and celebrated the brow which did similar duty to the bridge of his nose. Alone, each facial component was amazing, but watching them act in concert was nothing short of spectacular. I should have gotten at least one photo of this guy (although I find that cameras really don't know what to do with this level of perfection, they typically focus on irregularity of which this man was without) because I've already spent hours trying to approximate what he had going on in my sketchpad. [HEY! IF YOU'RE OUT THERE AND HAPPEN TO READ THIS, I NEED SOME PICTURES OF YOU!!!] Perhaps it's impossible to render this man's perfection on paper, I'll keep on trying, though. A sculptor might have a better chance of memorializing this particular magnificence in art. Meeting him was literally a breath-taking experience for me and trust me on this... I enjoy studying all aspects of the human form but this was something else all together.

So, yeah. I had a great time out in Palm Springs. Next year, I'm going to try to arrange to spend the entire weekend soaking in the various events. Gotta get some new gear. Gotta create a dozen drawings that might appeal to this crowd. I'll have to think about that a great deal as I don't want just the usual hokey shit they've all seen a thousand times before. I'll need to come up with a different approach to the subject matter. And with any luck I'll run into that remarkable man again. We'll see.

Later, Michael

 

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nor used for any other purpose without the express written permission of the artist or KirwanArts.com.