After taking a slight dip in 2010 the LA Division’s membership has been increasing steadily, and the number of active officers is now up to 17. The division has been proceeding at a steady pace, holding meetings every month, and sponsoring beer busts, which have averaged four a year over the past few years. In a variation on the beer bust, the division has been adding gear exchanges to some of them.
This has been highly successful, providing men a place to get rid of gear they no longer need, and others, particularly those who are new to uniforms, leather and gear to acquire what they need at a reasonable cost. It has turned out that the gear swaps have been fun as well, providing club members and the men at the bar more opportunities to interact.
A special event that occurred in 2010 was the celebration of the club’s 500th meeting, which took place on July 10 at Bistro 45 in Pasadena. The setting was upscale, the food and wine were refined and plentiful, and the club members and the other men attending were attired in their formal uniforms and highly shined boots, making for a memorable evening.
Sadly, in June 2011, the officers of the club said goodbye to B&B Founding Member Mel Saddler at a Celebration of Life that took place at his home in Atwater Village. Mel, who had provided the club with strong leadership over several decades, played a critical role in ensuring that the club survived and thrived. In has last years, in spite of medical issues, Mel was able to remain in his home with the assistance his club brothers Jim Neuman and Robert Green. Mel’s house, which had functioned as something of a B&B clubhouse over the years, and which Mel had turned into a shrine to uniforms, is now owned by Robert Green and continues to be the repository for the B&B’s archives and is a focal point for club activities.
Continuing the tradition it started in 2006, each year the B&B has hosted its annual Christmas and anniversary party at the Tom of Finland House. The iconic house provides the perfect venue for the club’s gatherings of men who love boots, uniforms, and the men in them. Invited guests include the friends of the club and members of the B&B’s brother club, the Regiment of the Black and Tans. The parties include a no-host buffet dinner and bar, as well as a moment for introduction of new members, installation of the next years’ officers, and presentation of checks to the charities that the club supports.
In the years since 2010, the B&B has initiated two new events: the Assembly and the annual B&B Convention. The Assembly is a formal uniform and leather reception that takes place annually during LA Pride week that the B&B stages in collaboration with the Regiment of the Black and Tans and BLUF (The Breeches and Leather Uniform Fanclub). The event takes place in the parking lot of Rough Trade in Sunset Junction.
The three clubs work together to transform the parking lot into what is essentially a pop-up male assembly space with a bar, tables for food, sound system, dj station, lights, cocktail tables, and large-scale homoerotic art. The dress code is strictly enforced — dress uniforms or dress leather only. Over the six years that the B&B has been helping to stage The Assembly, the concept and execution have been refined, making The Assembly one of the hottest and most convivial uniform and leather gatherings anywhere.
The Convention is an intra-club event for the B&B that brings the members of the three divisions together for socializing. The first of the Conventions occurred in 2013 when the Desert Division hosted the LA and San Francisco Divisions for a weekend of restaurant dinners, bar visits, and informal socializing in San Diego. Since then, Conventions have taken place in other locations, including Monterey, San Luis Obispo, and Las Vegas. The most memorable convention by far, was the one that took place in February 2017 at the Banning House Lodge at Two Harbors on Catalina Island. The officers had the craftsman style lodge, once the home of the Banning family that at one time owned the island, all to themselves. The lodge, located on a high point overlooking the village of Two Harbors and the ocean beyond, provided a private and tranquil location for the officers of the three divisions to enjoy their boots and uniforms and the company of their booted and uniformed brothers.
March 23, 2018. Robert Green, Co-Chief of the LA Division of the B&B and Esteban Bartholo, Commander of the Regiment of the Black and Tans, on the stage at the Assembly.
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