LA Leather History

I went to the BOLD event last Friday night because Guy Baldwin was speaking and the topic was “the History of Leather in Los Angeles”.  Guy Baldwin is always fascinating to listen to.  While I didn’t get a history of Leather in Los Angeles, what I did get was that Guy Baldwin used his experiences in the Leather community to transform what was available, to outreach and network with a great many people.  He was part of the Society of Janus and the education of people outside the gay men’s community knowing about and exploring BDSM.  He supported others in the community to go forth and provide safe places for the Leather community to explore BDSM.


Googling I found LA Leather History.weebly .com

This is more of what I was expecting to be discussed:


1950, Dec.: Mattachine Society founded in Los Angeles. 

1952, April:Dale Jennings, a member of the Mattachine Society in Los Angeles is arrested by the police. Mattachine organizes The Committee to Outlaw Entrapment.

1952, August:Cover date of Physique Pictorial issue bearing a cover painting by Quaintance, “Sacrifice,” depicting a nearly naked man chained in spread-eagle suspension to a vertical sun disk. In the foreground two virtually naked warriors lie bleeding (dying) from arrows penetrating their backs. This cover resulted in censorship in Los Angeles county. No one objected to the bondage, blood, or violent theme. They wanted the lushly rounded asses of the dying warriors covered! 

1954: The Satyrs Motorcycle Club is founded, the first gay motorcycle club in America and is now the longest, continuously-running gay organization in America.

1958: Oedipus MC founded in Los Angeles, the second gay motorcycle club in America

1960: Warlocks MC formed in southern California

1962: Satyr MC holds it’s first Badger Flats Run. The annual event continues uninterrupted for 33 years, until 1994. Then resumes in 1998.

1967, Jan. 1:Los Angeles Police raid the Black Cat, the incident “boosted the modest PRIDE newsletter into The Advocate.” 

1968:Metropolitan Community Church founded in Los Angeles by Rev. Troy Perry, a leatherman.

1970, Jan.: More than 250 homosexuals, led by the Rev. Troy Perry, march for police reform on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles.

1970, June:Celebrating the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades/marches/rallies are held in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Cycle MC marches in the Christopher Street Liberation Day parade in NYC.

1970, July 6:Troy Perry, founder of Metropolitan Community Church, and a leatherman, sits on the steps of the Federal Building in Los Angeles refusing to eat or leave until someone from the city of Los Angeles comes and talks to him about Gay rights. Eleven days later city Councilman Robert Stevenson holds a curbside meeting with Perry, ending his vigil. 

1970:The explicitly homoerotic SM film Born to Raise Hell starring Val Martin (the first L.A .Mr. Leather), produced by Terry LeGrand and directed by Roger Earl, is released in Los Angeles. It remains a classic of the genre to this date.

1970: The Leather Game Bar opens

1971:Formation Kingmasters MC in Los Angeles

1972: Formation of Hawks MC in Los Angeles

1972, Aug.:Los Angeles police raid a HELP (Homophile Effort for Legal Protection) monthly fundraiser at the Black Pipe, a major leather bar. Among those arrested: HELP president Larry Townsend. The police are surprised when the organization fights back. Some consider this the West Coast Stonewall.

1973:The Leather Fraternity, a contact club newsletter for leathermen is started in Los Angeles by “Robert Payne”.

1973:Tom of Finland’s first exhibition of original art, the illustrations for the book, The Loggers, is held in the back room of a sex shop in Hamburg. It is a disaster, poorly hung, poorly lit, no sales, and most of the art disappears.

1974 Corps of Rangers, Iron Cross MC, Regiment of the Black and Tans are formed

1975:Gauntlet, a business devoted to body piercing, is started by Jim Ward and Doug Malloy. 

1975:Larry Townsend founds, and becomes president of the Hollywood Hills Democratic Club, the first openly gay political club in Los Angeles, and possibly anywhere.

1975, Oct. 31:Val Martin is selected “Mr. Leather” in Los Angeles at the Hawk’s annual Leather Sabat.

1976, Jan.:Full Moon Night at Larry’s, Los Angeles’ popular leather bar, becomes so crowded it is changed to admission by invitation (and reservation) only.

1976, April 10:Los Angeles Police Department raids a Slave Auction being held at the Mark IV baths as a fundraiser sponsored by Drummer magazine. A major case of police overkill as the resulting legal actions show.

1976, July:Robert Opel covers a Leather Wedding at Griff’s, a popular Los Angeles leather bar, in Drummer #7.

1977: Formation of Avengers MC West, Claremont, CA; South Orange Bikers, Santa Ana, CA;

1977: Bar openings include Boots, Los Angeles

1977, Jan.: Eons Gallery in Los Angeles holds Tom of Finland show and publishes the Tom of Finland 1978 calendar. Tom attends the opening and meets Durk Dehner who would become his partner in establishing the Tom of Finland Foundation.

1979: Satyrs MC, the country’s oldest, celebrates its 25th anniversary in the Grand Ballroom of the Queen Mary, Long Beach CA.

1979, Oct. 30: A Different Light Bookstore opens in Los Angeles, they will be the first bookstore to have a separate Leather/SM section.

1979, May: Durk Dehner is named 1st runner-up in the International Mr. Leather at first IML Contest.

1979, Oct. 30:A Different Light Bookstore opens in Los Angeles, they will be the first bookstore to have a separate Leather/SM section.

1980: Val Martin is named the first Mr. Drummer by publisher John Embry and later goes on to compete at the 2nd annual IML and is named 1st-runner up.

1981: Leathermasters forms.

1981: Cuffs bar, Los Angeles, CA opens.

1982: Formation of Leathermasters Inc., LA; Somandros, LA

1982, May:
 Luke Daniel of Los Angeles is named as the third Mr. Drummer.

1982, May: Luke Daniel, Mr. Drummer, is selected as the 4th International Mr. Leather at the contest at Park West in Chicago.

1983: Formation of Avatar Club Los Angeles, LA;  Leather and Lace, LA

1984 Gauntlet II, Los Angeles, CA opens

*1984: Dale Habberstad and partner Zack re-open the Gauntlet as Gauntlet II, with business partners Lucky and Boyd.

*1984: The first LA Mr Leather is Andrew Maurer, patron of Greg’s Blue Dot. There will not be another Mr LA Leather until 1996.

1985: The Tom of Finland foundation, a not for profit corporation formed to preserve the art of Tom of Finland, and to promote erotic art and artists, is founded in Los Angeles.

1985, Apr 13: Val Martin, legendary porn star, community activist, 2nd runner up at International Mr. Leather 1980, best known for his role in Born To Raise Hell, dies from complications due to AIDS. Roger Earl discovered and cast Val Martin in the lead in this incredible S/M film. Born to Raise Hell brought Val Martin international prominence in gay leather communities around the world. Val was also a pivotal part of the Mark IV Bathhouse raids in Los Angeles, CA when the LAPD freed the slaves in 1976

1987: Formation of Trident International LA.

1987, May: David Rhodes begins publication of The Leather Journal in Los Angeles.

1987, Feb 11:Death of D. Lyn Sterling, known as “The Leathermaker”. He originated many unique designs in leather clothing (and toys), including chaps with the zippers on the outside! and was for many years Leathermaker to the stars in Los Angeles. 

1987, Mar. 25: Robert D. Reite begins SM Board in Los Angeles, one of the first telephone bulletin boards specifically catering to SM men. SM board is now accessible by Direct dial, telnet, and the World Wide Web. It celebrated it’s 10th anniversary in 1997.

1987, June: Mark Alexander of Los Angeles becomes the 8th Mr. Drummer at the contest in San Francisco.

*1988: Southern California makes IML History when the Top 3 winners are named:
Michael Pereyra (Mr San Diego Leather) is named Mr IML 1988;
Peter Morrison (Mr Gauntlet II Leather) is named First Runner-up 1988;
Brian Dawson (Mr Floyd’s Long Beach) is named Second Runner-up 1988
(change from below)

1988, May: Michael Pereyra of San Diego becomes the 10th International Mr. Leather at the contest at the Vic Theatre in Chicago.

1989: Formation of Trident: Los Angeles; Wrench Benders, Los Angeles, CA; Wild Women (national), Los Angeles, CA;
1988: The Los Angeles chapter of the Janus Society broke away from their San Francisco counterpart and became Threshold.

1988: The L.A. Police and Fire Departments made a series of raids on Los Angeles Leather bars. Community activists demanded meetings with City Councilman Mike Woo to stop the harassment of AIDS fundraising beer busts and the like.

1988: The Stud, a bar with a long history in Los Angeles, was sold to new owners who named it The Zone, which became Griff’s about six months later and stayed open for 5 years. It was sold in 1993 and re-opened as The Faultline in 1994.

1989 Club formation: Southern California Leather Coalition, the area’s first association of leather clubs, businesses and organizations. Later decides to become a part of NLA: International (this needs to be confirmed)

1989 NLA: Los Angeles forms

1989, May 28: Guy Baldwin of Los Angeles becomes the 11th International Mr. Leather at the contest at the Vic theatre in Chicago. He ran as Mr NLA International.

1989, June 20: Death of bar owner, and guidebook publisher, Bob Dameron. Among the Los Angeles and San Francisco bars he owned are the Hideaway, Febe’s and the SF Eagle. But he was also the originator of the bar guide that helped us all find what we were looking for wherever we were.

1989, Sept.: Brian Dawson of Los Angeles becomes the tenth Mr. Drummer

1989, Nov. 4: NLA Los Angeles sponsors Bondage as Art show at Leonardogavici Art Gallery. Bondage themed paintings, drawings, collage, photography, and inanimate sculpture are augmented by living bondage
sculptures created by numerous artists from around the country. Huge crowds attend, including LAPD and Fire Departments who close down theshow due to overcrowding of the facility.

1990, March: Gabriel Antolovich of San Diego becomes the fourth International Ms. Leather at the contest in San Francisco.

*1990: The owner of the original Eagle L.A. passes away and the bar gets caught up in litigation

1990, June: Rev. Brad Anderson of MCC Silverlake passed away from AIDS. Brad was a well known in the Los Angeles leather community.

1990, July: NLA Los Angeles proudly announces a triumph during the June L.A. Pride Parade. The largest contingent in the parade was the Leather contingent, which stretched over two blocks with members from NLA Los Angeles, Leather and Lace, Avatar Club Los Angeles, Dikes on Bikes, Somandros, Trident International and several other organizations. Spearheaded by Race Bannon with much help from Karen Kirshner & The Leather Journal and NLA:LA, a contingent of over 400 Leather/SM/Fetish People walked as one unit, with honored dignitaries riding in floats and convertibles. Titleholders included Jan Lyon, Guy Baldwin, Brian Dawson, Gabrielle Antolovich and Javier. Grand Marshall was Elvira.

1990, Summer: Luke Owens’ creates first recorded Master & slave contest which is held in Los Angeles and won by Mark Bowers and Bob Farrell.

1990, Nov: Elayne Levine accepts appointment to position of Co-coordinator of NLA:LA

1990 The International Ms Leather title awarded to Los Angeles for the first time when Gabrielle Antolovich becomes IMsL 1990.

1991, Feb. The Leather Journal holds its first Pantheon of Leather awards ceremony in Los Angeles. Bill Costomiris and Susie Shepherd are named Man and Woman of the Year. Lee Willis of the Studworks is named Business Person of the year and Tarheel Leather Club is Club of the Year.

1991, May: D. Cannon of Palm Springs CA is named the 13th International Mr. Leather at the Vic Theatre in Chicago.

1991 Club formations: OCLA (Orange Coast Leather Assembly, Garden Grove, CA; Leather Corps, Los Angeles, CA; Cigar Studs, Los Angeles

1991, Summer: Luke Owen’s Master & Slave contest in Los Angeles is won by Race Bannon & Mike Pierce.

1991, July NLA: Los Angeles is holds an art show titled “Fetish and Fantasy” at the Blue Spot Bistro in Los Angeles.

1992, Feb.: At The Leather Journal’s Pantheon of Leather awards ceremony in Los Angeles Jim Richards and Pat Califia are named man and woman of the year. Other recipients are: R.J. Chaffin, Business Person and Mr-S-Leather,  Business.

1992, Sept. 19: John Hare of Los Angeles is named Drummerboy of the year at the contest in San Francisco

1992: NLA: Los Angeles disbands (Need to confirm that it disbanded was due to rising costs of dues payments to NLA International.

1992 Club formations: The Los Angeles Deaf Leather Association, Los Angeles, CA; The boys Club, Los Angeles, CA; International Masters and Slaves Association, Los Angeles, CA; Southern California Wrestling Club, Los Angeles, CA

1993: The Los Angeles Leather Community Coalition forms

1993: Los Angeles Police raid the San Diego home of Lee Baldwin, who produced, directed, and starred in his own line of gay SM videos. Police confiscate Ass Play, a video that includes several fisting scenes,
and several others. Baldwin is convicted and sentenced to 547 hours of community service and fined $3000.

*1993: The original Eagle LA closes its doors

1993 Club formations: Bears LA, Los Angeles, CA; Palm Springs Leather Order of the Desert, Palm Springs, CA

1993, June 26: The Los Angeles Leather Community Coalition presents “This is Leather – An Invitation to Fantasy” in the West Hollywood Auditorium during LA Pride.

1993 Griff Griffin, owner and founder of Griff’s Bar and Grille and member of Satyrs MC, Los Angeles, CA dies

1994: Clubs formed: Bears LA (Los Angeles), Bears SD (San Diego), Black Eagle Leather Klub (Los Angeles)

1994: Sean Farnsworth, with friends Bill and Ralph, buys Griff’s  and re-open as The Faultline Bar.

1995: Clubs formed: Vulcan America Southern California

1995, Nov.: The Spanking Club of Los Angeles is founded by Glenn Walker and five other men.

1995, Aug.: The Orange County Leather Assembly hosts its second annual “Meet a Master” weekend, this year featuring Tony DeBlase.

1995 LeatherFest Los Angeles: The Kinkiest Place On Earth event is held and features workshops, dungeon parties,  vendor fair and community service awards. Durk Dehner, founder of the Tom of Finland Foundation, was named Man of the Year, Crystal Cross was Woman of the Year and author Larry Townsend received a Lifetime Achievement Award. It took years of planning and preparation by the organizers and over 700 people attended. Some of the Producers Ben Cable-McCarthey, GL Leyner, Phil Ross, Bob Fifield, Matt McMahan, Lee Lambert, Donnie and Le Rice, Dave Rhodes, Luke Owens, Scott Nelson. (Is the Producing organization the Los Angeles Leather Community Coalition from above?)

1995: The second Masters & slaves contest

*1996: The second Mr LA Leather, Michael Shewan (Mr Faultline Leather 1996), is named and from this point forward the contest continues annually.

1996, Nov.: Matthew Bourne’s new production of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake opens in London. Rewritten to feature an all male cast of swans and a prince who falls in love with the with the Swan King, who is dressed in black leather, the production is a hit in London and later in Los Angeles. It opens on Broadway in Nov. 1998.

1996: Daddy Bob took home two of the honors from the Los Angeles County Leather Fetish Awards. He won one award for Outstanding Columnist/Journal and another for Outstanding Literature.

1997 Hand Ballers of Los Angles (HBLA), Los Angeles, CA; RAWW, Los Angeles, CA

1997 The first women’s Leather contest held in Los Angeles in ages was sponsored by the Women’s Leather Network and was won by Lisa Weiszmiller.

1997: Joi Parker, Founder of the Women’s Leather Network, produces the Ms Fallen Angels Leather Contest in West Hollywood. Lisa Weiszmiller isthe winner of the title “Ms Fallen Angels Leather 1997”

1998 Marci Schrager walked off the stage at the Faultine with the Ms. LA Leather sash on February 28. Stephanie Locke was the runner-up.

2000:  The Los Angeles Leather Coalition is formed by Brett Sweer and William Schindler (What happened to the Los Angeles Leather Community Coalition from a1993-1995 above?)

2000: The Los Angeles area gay Asian community gathered for an evening of Leather/SM/Fetish at The Village at Ed Gould Plaza in Hollywood. Avatar’s public relations officer George Wong co-presented with Andre Ting of the Chinese Rainbow Association.\

2001:  Sean Farnsworth, co-owner of the Faultline Bar, buys out friends Ralph and Bill in 2001, and becomes its sole owner.

2002, April: People of Leather Among You (PLAY) holds its first meeting.Formed by Master Skip Chasey and pup Tim Hamilton, this educational and social group is for leatherfolk interested in the integration of radical sexuality and spirituality.

2002, Feb. 22 The bidding was fast and furious as The LA Boys of Leather held its first Boy/Boi Auction at Gauntlet II in Los Angeles, CA on February 22. $1,600 was raised for the Lupus Foundation and the LA Leather Coalition.

2003, Sept 20: The first MAXIMUS smoker takes place, the brainchild of Los Angeles Leatherbear 2002 titleholder Joe Smith and DJ Reed. The event is such a success — drawing, beyond their wildest expectations, stogie studs and briar brothers from all over the USA — they decide to continue holding smokers on a quarterly basis.

2003: New on the Scene: Instigator Magazine, Los Angeles, CA; Leather Girl Network, San Diego, CA; Palm Springs boys of Leather, Palm Springs, CA; West Coast Pup and Trainer Contest, Los Angeles, CA

2003, Jun. 21: The Los Angeles Leather community gathered together and participated in Los Angeles gay and lesbian pride festivities the weekend of June 21-22. The LA Leather Coalition, with the help of the Christopher Street West committee, produced a successful Second Annual Erotic City Expo on Saturday and Sunday and nine Leather community units marched together in the pride parade on Sunday.

2003, Jul 4.: The Los Angeles boys of Leather hosted its first Stars and Stripes over Fourth of July weekend in Los Angeles.  The weekend has since become known for its pool party and mixed play party.

2004:  Bullet Bar Manager Michael Lara talks Bob Tomasino, Owner of Oil Can Harry’s Bar, into holding a Leather Contest that feeds into Mr. LA Leather. Within three years, Mr. Oil Can Harry’s –Mike Gerle — wins Mr. L.A. Leather and goes on to win IML 2007.

2004, Nov. 27: The Satyrs Motorcycle Club of Los Angeles, the longest running gay organization in the world, celebrated its milestone 50th Anniversary at the Hollywood Palladium with 330 in attendance. The highlight of the evening was the screening of Original Pride, a documentary produced and directed by Scott Bloom, who would later be inducted as club president.

*2005, August: Longtime Gauntlet II Bar Manager Charlie Matula, along with business partner Vince Quattrocchi purchase the Gauntlet II Bar with plans to turn it into an Eagle Bar.

*2006, April: The Gauntlet II becomes the Eagle LA, having been purchased by Longtime Gauntlet II Bar Manager Charlie Matula and business partner Vince Quattrocchi. Hunter Fox is named Bar Manager.

November 18, 2006:  Gio Micu, Mr. Bullet Leather 2006, produces the seminar “Leather Bootcamp: Everything You Need To Know About Leather Contests” to provide potential contestants for the ten Mr LA Leather Feeder contests with gthe opportunity to learn from experienced titleholders and judges and be better prepared to run in a leather contest.

February 2, 2008:  Avatar Club Los Angeles celebrates its 25th Anniversary at Castaways Restaurant in Burbank.

July 13, 2008: Randy Carmenaty, 1st Runner up to Mr. LA Leather 2008, wins the American Leatherman 2008 title at American Brotherhood Weekend.  The last  Southern Californiar to hold the title was Jeffrey Cooper in 2001.

January 2009: Gio Micu, beloved Mr. Bullet Leather 2006 and creator of the “Leather Contestant Bootcamp”passes away.

July 2009:  Alex Lindsay, Mr. Regiment 2009/Mr. LA Leather 1st-Runner Up 2009 takes the American Leatherman title at ABW. This is the second year in a row that L.A. takes the title.

December 9, 2009:  Jeff Haas passes away. Jeff was a former Avatar Member who was very active in several areas of the gay, leather and drag communities.  He was a Contestant and Wrangler for several LAL feeder contests and fondly remembered by many people in our community.

January 2010:  John Clifton, longtime owner of Pistons, a Leather/Bear bar in Long Beach, sells the bar to Robert Stace, who immediately applies for a full liquor license.  It is granted several months later.
(NOTE: It was previously mentioned here that Robert Stace’s partner, Koby Bennet, became the
bar’s General Manager.  That information is incorrect and as such, has been removed.)

February 2010: For the third year in a row, Los Angeles takes the American Brotherhood title when Mr Christopher Street West Leather 2009/Mr LA Leather 2010 1st Runner Up  Louie Pacheco wins American Leatherman 2010.

February 20, 2010:  Daddy Nick Golden passes away.  He was Manager of the Faultline Bar for many years and was responsible for the bar being a favorite leather hangout on Sunday afternoons between 1994 and 2001,where one could find large numbers of leathermen in full gear

December 2010:  The Los Angeles boys of Leather are no longer.

February  1, 2011:  The West Hollywood Arts & Cultural Affairs Commission votes to not endorse The Tom of Finland Foundation’s annual event, The Erotic Art Fair, that takes place during LA Pride.  Word spreads quickly across the Greater LA Area, due in large part to Louie Pacheco, American Leatherman 2010/Mr. Christopher Street Leather 2010) , who plans a rally at the next City Council Meeting.

February 7, 2011: A large contingency of the local leather community shows up at the West Hollywood City Council Meeting.  Though the City Council had already decided to sponsor the Erotic Art Fair, several community members were given tie time to speak on record, voicing their concerns about the ACAC’s non-endorsement of the event.




although I notice it is lacking in the women’s leather history in Los Angeles.  I do see Leather and Lace here 1983 but not LADs here, nor an on going list of the Southern California Leather Women from  Los Angeles.


I find it interesting that this seems to be a time when we are are searching and documenting our history, as I became curious about Pony Play history and has begun collecting pictures and stories.