The Twin Cities Leather Weekend Returns
“Thank you, sir—may I have another?”
The Saloon, having assumed the position, made that request of the universe in February of 2020. By “another,” The Saloon, that cornerstone of Minneapolis queer nightlife, requested a revisiting of the Twin Cities Leather Weekend, that celebration of all things tanned and twinned.
And, like all the best sadists, the universe replied, “No.”
“We were the last large event at The Saloon before we went into lockdown,” recalls Twin Cities Leather Weekend co-mastermind Karri Plowman. This threw a two-year safe word into the presentation of an event that had been steadily burgeoning…but Plowman judges this year’s comparatively cautious re-emergence on September 23rd through the 25th as a singular opportunity, not a regression. Says Plowman, “I call it a return to our roots. We’ll start out like that, and then we’ll see in the years to come where we grow.”
According to a tentative online schedule, the event kicks off on Friday night with a special edition of the drag show “Booked,” complemented by a just-as-special manifestation of TANK, the Saloon’s monthly leather-and-fetish event. “Saturday, there will be educational classes during the day which we’ve always done in the past,” Plowman predicts, “and Saturday is the night of the contest.”
Oh. Yeah. The contest. That’s no big whoop, only the most spectacular of the Weekend’s doings, the determination of Mister Leather Twin Cities 2022, a title meant, according to the application, “to celebrate the culture we live everyday.” Think of a kinky, hirsute version of Miss America, but with more personality, more skin showing, and better hats, and you’ve got the right idea.
“We, much like many of the other contests that are here in the Midwest, have been moving back to more of what I would call a classic bar contest,” Plowman relates. “Maybe that’s partly to test the waters.” All that, and lunch on Sunday!
Plowman hopes that the comparative smallness of 2022’s Weekend will embolden those who do attend. “With this return to roots, I really want to see some people step up as contestants,” Plowman asserts. “I think that, particularly in the leather community, over the last ten years, people started taking these contests so seriously that people didn’t think they could run–‘I’m not pretty enough, I haven’t worked out enough, I’m a person of color, and they only want Caucasian people.’”
Plowman assures fence sitters that such haunting doubts are baseless. “I laugh, because the fact is that Mister Twin Cities Leather, we’ve had more men of color than any other contest in Minnesota,” he answers. “We’ve had a gentleman who was a drag queen who has won. We’ve had a trans man who’s won.”
This diversity is a victory not just for the contest winner, but the contest holder, as well. “I’m proud to say that Twin Cities Leather has always been on the forefront of being open to all genders and all orientations, and things like that,” Plowman points out. “A lot of the things that other contests are doing around the country, both Twin Cities Leather and the Minnesota community have been on the cutting edge of that for many years—those things are not changing. It’s an event open to everyone.”
The Twin Cities Leather Weekend
September 23-25, 2022
All events held at The Saloon