My Gay Toronto - Bellini's 8 1/2

Slave to the Scandal

Photos: Raul Da Silva

In the simplest terms, Northbound Leather is a store that sells leather clothing and accessories. But for the past 18 years Northbound Leather has also been hosting a lavish, lengthy fashion show. Can you imagine any other business doing that? (Although I wish Wal-Mart would – I love their fashions.)

The problem with attending the event is that there is a strict dress code, applicable to members of the press as well, meaning I had to scare up an outfit. The best I could do was a black pleather bomber with lots of flaps and snaps and epaulettes. I wore it with a black shirt, black jeans, and black shoes. I called it Goomba Chic. It would be great if your fetish was a Jersey mobster. But despite my efforts to start a new trend, most people just don’t have a pleather fetish.

This year, the title and the theme of the show was Scandal. Written and produced by my lovely neighbour Paul Ciantar, it tried to touch on every conceivable type of scandal there is. Before it started, I was speaking with Kristyn Wong-Tam and her charming partner Theodora, who looked very hot in her outfit, by the way. Like me, Kristyn wondered if one of the scandals might depict a certain mayor, but the show didn’t go there. I guess the idea of depicting Ford in leather is just too sickening for most people.

I arrived with MGT photographer Raul Da Silva early enough to have a beverage and look at some of the people in attendance. I spent an inordinately long time staring at this one guy’s tattoo. He was a tall blonde with a reddish beard and a big goofy straight boy body. But his back featured a full size tattoo of a tree, roots exposed and branches bare. It was actually totally sexy. There were other interesting outfits, like something that looked like Batman, and something that looked like Thor, and lots and lots of naughty girls with push-up titties. I spotted a few friends. JJ Deogracias was there covering the event for the website Leatherati. JJ, always one to take the concept of leather to a new level, showed up dressed like a bird or a Roman centurion or an odd combination of both. My buddy Raymond Helkio interpreted ‘fetish’ by showing up in a Boy Scout outfit that made me feel guilty for feeling aroused by it.

Then the show started. A series of giant newspaper headlines loomed on a large screen. Various scandals were enacted, involving seductress teachers, dumb jocks, businessmen who do it at the office, and the church scene, of course. There was a fake fisting, some spies and hookers, and a Ciantar favorite, puppy play. There was also a big laugh when a skinny model gets upstaged by a huge plus-size model wearing the exact same thing. The big set piece was an erotic pas de deux performed by two gymnasts who balanced off each other while wearing very little, set to Grace Jones’ “Slave to the Rhythm.”

The ending is spectacular. A big cardboard limo appearson stage. The paparazzi line up and the door opens to reveal a drunken, dishevelled starlet staggering down the red carpet.