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May 29, 2015

CLAW declares in Independence

Independence, Ohio--The 2015 Cleveland Leather Awareness Weekend, the first with a host hotel outside of city limits, expanded once again, filling the Holiday Inn and other area hotels while dozens of parties spread the festivities across the area.

According to executive director Robert Miller, the event, held the final weekend of April, is expected to donate at least $50,000 to various non-profits this year.

“Hopefully more,” Miller said. “Our previous record is $55,000.”

As always, the Leather Hall of Fame held its annual induction during CLAW. The first inductee was Felix Jones, who died in 2003. He co-founded the first gay motorcycle and leather club in Europe, the 69 Club, also known as SNC London. Jones lived with his partner Jim Farant in the United States in the 1980s, and had honorary membership in the 15 Association of San Francisco until his death, after 40 years as the heart of the European leather and motorcycle community.

Pat Bond and Terry Kolb founded the Eulenspiegel Society, the first organized group for masochists in the United States. In 1971, a year after its formation, it allowed sadists as well, becoming a pioneering S/M political group and influencing others for decades to come. Kolb wrote a piece called “Masochists’ Lib” that ran in the Village Voice, and in the 1970s, she moved to California, where she organized a Los Angeles chapter. Bond wrote the original classified ad in Screw magazine from which the Eulenspiegel Society was formed, and he wrote the group’s official creed.

Jeanne Barney was the founding editor of Drummer, the influential magazine that brought gay leather men’s sexuality to the fore and established a lasting international influence.

Along the course of the weekend, events ranging from speed dating, the Leather Family Dinner and the Cigars, Boots and Transmen Party to the BDSM Art Consignment Store, pool parties and the Man on Man Wedding Reception kept attendees busy.

There was another change this year: instead of being an all-volunteer event, there will now be compensation for the executive director and honoraria for a number of the other people who put in so many hundreds of hours throughout the year to ensure that the event continues to thrive.

CLAW has won four Pantheon of Leather awards -- two for Large Non-Profit Organization of the Year in 2007 and 2012, Large Event of the Year 2006 and Small Event of the Year 2003.

Next year’s event will return to the Holiday Inn Cleveland South in Independence from April 28 to May 1, 2016.












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