FOF #964 – A Brief History of Leather

Apr 6, 2009 · 1985 views

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Every year over Memorial Day weekend Chicago is host to the hugely popular International Mr. Leather Conference, a gathering for leather man and other assorted kinky types. We’ve seen everyone from Marlon Brando to Madonna […]


  1. ibox2000 says:

    Interesting show. I enjoy an occasional drag performance, but I suspect more guys are into listening about kinks than drag queen interviews. Shows like this one will expand your audience.

    Despite being only a few years younger than Mark (Austin), I guess I must be “new leather”. I’m really into sports gear and sportbike leathers. I’m growing an appreciation for traditional leather but you’ll never find me in one of those hats and I have no interest in the rules and protocols of ‘leather culture’. Whatever floats yer boat, but that doesn’t float mine.

    I wish I lived in the area to be able to attend your guest’s lectures.

    Keep up the good work,

  2. You may be onto something, but please understand, and I can’t emphasize this enough that the state of gay male entertainment is ruled by drag queens. It is very hard for gay men to accept other non- drag gay men as entertainers and our show really is about entertainment so there you go.

    Still waiting for those hockey butt photos.

  3. Jamie says:

    Another wonderful show guys. Great interview with a handsome guest. I learned a lot. I’ve wanted to play a little with leather, maybe I’ll now give it a try.

  4. dave73 says:

    This was a great show. I hope you plan to have more leather guys like him on your show. Mark Austin brings up a lot of the leather scene of the past, and where it seems to be headed. I need to get out there and learn more about it one of these days, as I show interest in leather. So far, it’s a fetish, but would like to make a lifestyle one day too. Need to learn those hanky codes too, though they’re not used as much as they were in years past.

    Now I hope you Marc & Fausto didn’t try to force feminize Mark Austin. He’s way too masculine to be forced feminized. My preference, but I like them butch, and hot looking daddies are even better, like Mark Austin.

  5. Mark Austin is Sooooooooo HOT !
    I can’t believe he is 49!
    He looks like 35 baby !

    Sexy Voice, knowledgeable, and such a gorgeous face !

    Thanks Marc and Fausto for having Mark Austin on the show.

  6. dave73 says:

    I agree with you Bracer Jack. Mark Austin is hot looking for his age. Either genetics, or his overall well being has kept him looking great at his age. A year & a half ago, I came across a guy who told me he was 70, but looked no older than 45. Now unless he had work done, then he has taken good care of himself.

  7. I like masculine guys but have mixed feelings about the leather scene . I have only been a ‘tourist’ in the Amsterdam leather scene but that scene didn’t do it for me. It seems too much like everybody is putting on a play of masculinity, based on some fairly old-fashioned concepts of masculinity, rather than begin actually, naturally masculine. Just putting on a uniform doesn’t make you butch. The amount of rules makes it feel like a fraternity and takes away from the spontenaiety. Even a mild sense of humour about it seems to be discouraged. On my observation, the guys on the leather scene are mostly 40+ years old and I wonder if a younger generation will be taking up the torch in the same numbers, as that does not seem to be the case to me so far. Unfortunately, I also have strong associations with unsafe sex tied into the leather scene, which is backed up by friends of mine who actually are in the leather scene from time to time.

    That said, two guys getting it on in leather will get my attention most of the time and Mark Austin is seriously hot! I’m always interested in hearing about kinks and fetishes, even if I don’t ‘get’ it.

  8. One of the sexiest guests you’ve had one and incredibly well spoken too.

    I consider myself pretty pedigreed having researched extensively, worked for Drummer Magazine et al. and
    numerous SF leather bars. The old guard/new guard and the staid privileged affluency of the customers who can afford this very expensive habit was one thing I constantly struggled with. I felt the pull and lure of my trannyshack crowd friends and leathermen get very peeved when the lines cross. I would constantly push it at work. On uniform night I wore a prison jumpsuit but would use a bruise wheel to give myself a black eye. Other times I would wear a victorian corset under breeches but over a uniform shirt. Guys responded strongly to the superman shilloutte but recoiled when informed that I was using a corset. When I quit the bar I had my own little “coming out” at the Folsom Fair when I put together this fierce ensemble of leather tank top, cod piece, mirrored aviators, and lucite platform stilletos. Tres liberating!

    While a severe quassi leather uniform can look incredibly sexy there is a thin line where it runs dangeously close to camp parody. Still there is an outlaw and a tribality to leather that is quite appealing. Today I’ve reconciled my tastes in leather away from the costumey aspects and more along the lines of a post apocalyptic road warrior aesthetic.

    ps StevenvanL ur assesment of the A’dam scene is pretty accurate but imo the scene there is a little unique, there’s no nuance or chit chat, it’s just lets get to the point. If you visited the Warmoestraat around a high holy day like Leather Pride with the influx of visitors you’d find a totally different flavor

  9. Okay Tricky Toro, lets see that photo of you in those pumps.

  10. I spent an hour looking with no luck. :[

    But, I still own the heels so I’ll just have to take new ones.

  11. Charles S. McVey says:

    I feel like I should pack my leather pants for the Chicago gigs now. See you soon boys!

  12. I’ve always thought of gay leather, pre-AIDS as part and parcel of the rebellious nature/necessity of our people. Early ‘mos needed a place to express themselves. A major issue was rebelling against both world wars. These dissenters eventually solidified into the Beat Generation (Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kerouac all liked the cock). It was the military men of WWII who brought home motorcycle culture and a distaste for war that created that Marlon Brando/greaser image. That image of über-masculinity was not only hot, but on the same anti-war wavelength as those rebellious homos. Gasoline, meet my friend match! The rest, as they say, is gay iconography…
    Post-AIDS… well that is a different story. Sontag writes about how modern gay self imagery changed with AIDS. The 80’s saw the growth of the Muscle Mary’s, Bears, and Leathermen as healthy images compared to the emaciated early victims of AIDS. The Bear’s opulent physiques the opposite of the body wasting effect are a sign of health. The bodybuilder’s muscles and leather are suits of armor against disease.
    (Sontag, Susan. AIDS and Its Metaphors 1989 )
    What is it now and where is it going? Only time will tell.

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