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Chicago, IL -- Today, I had my first opportunity to visit the Leather Archives & Museum. This was a special treat for so many reasons, I'm glad I made the expense to fly in for the weekend.
The LA&M contains an amazing collection of art and artifacts portraying a glimpse into the history that defines a large part of who I am and the community with whom I have chosen to associate myself. My boy Derek received the invite to Joanne's birthday celebration benefiting the LA&M and the Chicago Hellfire Club's McAdory Fund, among others. I thought of Dave Lewis as soon as I walked in and searched for the plaque bearing his name at the Box Office. Dave was a trusted friend and advisor...my "Daddy" in Seattle, if I ever had one. He was the founder of the Dragon Clan, my leather family, and its patriarch until he died. My connection to the LA&M began with him.
Derek and I met many familiar faces at the event, including cousin Rob and my nephew Joey the owners of the [Undisclosed Location], and numerous friends from the CHC, I soon hope to call Brothers. Jon Krongaard was there and gave us a "not many people" tour, including the archives and vault. In addition to the abundant exhibition of art on the walls, the LA&M displays a fantastic array of memorabilia from the likes of Tony DeBlase and an archive of posters and publications from events that shaped our understanding and epitomized our social construct. My favorites include the collections of Youth Physique and Straight to Hell magazines in the archive. I could spend hours exploring the LA&M; it is rich in the history that helps me understand my relationships and myself. I look forward to the day I discover art by Axel and Drub displayed and can't help but wonder how many more people I know will contribute to these archives.
Derek and I bought some raffle tickets at the event. He won one of the lots, but I got an autographed copy of Steve Toushin's book, The Destruction of the Moral Fabric of America. I had a chance to meet and talk with Steve at Inferno this year and was impressed by the man, his courage in the face of the State's totalitarian tendencies and his advice to Derek and I as we described our objectives in relation to our "Art Film" careers. I can't wait to dig into the book on the plane trip back.
Tonight Derek, his beau Doug and I are going to dinner and the [undisclosed location]. Doug and Derek have both made this trip exceptional. I can see why Derek fell in love with Doug. He is a kind and understanding man with a playful, inquisitive and quiet disposition. I knew, I too, would love Doug the first time I met him. From our first meeting through Doug visiting Seattle form my birthday and my return to Chicago with Derek after Inferno, Doug has opened his relationship with Derek and himself to me. This trip has been no exception. I imagine there must be some trepidation on Doug's part, but he has made me feel welcome, valued and love. I'm looking forward to the three of us spending more time together.