P R E S S R E L E A S E
December 15, 2015
The Board of Governors of the Leather Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the inductees for 2016
Larry Townsend (1930-2008)
Larry Townsend is best known for the 1972 publication of The Leatherman’s Handbook, one of the first books written on the gay male leather and SM subcultures. The Leatherman’s Handbookwent through several printings and a second edition, The Leathermen’s Handbook II. Along with Drummer magazine, The Leathermen’s Handbook was instrumental in establishing a national leather subculture.
Townsend was a prolific writer of fiction. Run Little Leather Boy (1970), Run No More, Leather Ad (volumes 1 and 2), and The Long Leather Cord helped establish the genre of gay leather erotica. In addition to many other works of fiction, as well as a frequent column, the “Leather Notebook,” in Drummer.
Townsend was involved in the founding of Drummer through his activism in the Los Angeles “Homophile Effort for Legal Protection,” also known as H.E.L.P. H.E.L.P. was founded to assist in the legal defense of individuals arrested for gay offenses by the aggressively anti-gay Los Angeles Police Department. Townsend served as President of H.E.L.P., and through Townsend, when John Embry moved to Los Angeles, he got involved in H.E.L.P. Embry began to edit the H.E.L.P. newsletter, also called Drummer, and eventually left to establish Drummer, the leather magazine. Townsend continued to write and publish until shortly before his death. His papers are now at the Center for Sex and Culture in San Francisco.
Jim Stewart (1932-2012)
Jim Stewart’s was the founder and mastermind of Fetters London, the innovative manufacturer of physical restraint equipment. Under his ownership and management Fetters set a new standard and became an internationally known source for high quality physical restraint equipment and other erotic fetish gear. Fetters UK manufactures and sells bondage and fetish gear across the UK and Europe. Stewart’s business partnership with Richard Hunter of Mr. S Leather in San Francisco introduced his products to the wider US and international audience.
Jim also created and realized fantasies built around items designed for physical restraint which had not previously been considered items with a sexual context. His innovations inspired BDSM enthusiasts as well as other manufacturers. Without his research, high-quality manufacturing techniques and openness to new ideas, BDSM play would be much poorer.
Jim Kane was one of the founding members of the Rocky Mountaineers Motorcycle Club in 1969, Colorado’s first ever LGBT organization. After moving to San Francisco, Jim and his slave and partner, Ike Barnes, purchased a home at #11 Pink Alley, an address that would subsequently become an important axis around which that city’s first leather “salon” revolved. In addition to their local social centrality, Jim and Ike were deeply connected to the early national and international gay leather networks. They regularly hosted visiting leather dignitaries who came through town in their impeccable home and dining room. Their downstairs dungeon was equally legendary. Sam Steward, writing as Phil Andros, memorialized the dungeon at Pink Alley in two short stories published in early issues of Drummer magazine: “Babysitter” and “Many Happy Returns.”
In addition to his role as a venerated figure among gay leathermen, Jim played a key role in transmitting the highly developed sexual culture of gay male leather to the early straight, bi, and lesbian kink communities in the Bay Area. He was among the first leathermen to join the fledgling Society of Janus in the mid-1970s. After The Eulenspiegel Society, Janus was the next mixed gender, mixed orientation SM educational and social organization to form in the U.S. In many workshops and programs for Janus and its offshoots, Jim shared his extensive knowledge of SM practice. He helped train a key generation of perverts in the emotional and technical skills of BDSM, and many of those he influenced went on to also become important educators and practitioners.
As one of the main figures of “old guard” gay male leather community who participated in, and made huge contributions to, the mixed gender and mixed orientation SM population and its institutions, Jim Kane was an invaluable conduit between these communities. He helped to forge the broader BDSM scene that exists today.
Leather Hall of Fame
The Leather Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Brunch will be held during CLAW 16 at the Holiday Inn Ballroom, Sunday, May 1st at 1 pm. (brunch opens at noon, ceremony begins at 1pm) Tickets are $35, $20 for volunteers. Complimentary and reduced price tickets also available. We invite all leather people to join us to learn about , celebrate and honor the lives and accomplishments of these great inductees. Find out more, and order your tickets now at www.clawinfo.org.
The Leather Hall of Fame was established to honor and preserve the legacy of the extraordinary men and women who have significantly shaped the history of the leather/BDSM communities worldwide since 1950.
Nominations can be made by anyone. A Board of community scholars and organizers and leaders select three inductees each year. To learn about the Leather Hall of Fame’s previous inductees, or to make a nomination, please visit www.leatherhalloffame.com.
CLAW is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation and has donated over $600,000 to community charities.