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Chicago Gets Whipped Into Shape

By Margaret Lyons in News on May 27, 2004 4:26PM

2004.05.27.leather.jpgCancel your lame-o barbeque plans for this weekend and get all bondaged up for the International Mr. Leather competition (not work-safe, though it depends where you work). Rock! Around 10,000 people attended last year’s celebration of all things leather, so this isn’t some under-the-radar sneaky party: this is a guh-guh-gigantic leatherfest. This year promises to be spectacular, especially now that chaps are making a comeback in the broader pop-culture circuit.
But let’s not forget—this is a contest, yo. Around 60 men will enter the competition, in which nine judges evaluate each contestant on “leather image, stage presence, a formal interview, [and] physique," according to this year’s Mr. Leather (pictured). The judges will then narrow the field to 20, and those lucky men each give a speech. A winner will be crowned Saturday night.
The contest and its surrounding festivities run through Monday, and include:
•12th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition
•The Leather Market— the world’s best collection of leather/fetish vendors.
•Black and Blue Ball—The traditional IML final blowout celebration.
Passes for the whole weekend are $140, sorry, no family discount. See the whole schedule here. Did you know the Leather Archives and Museum is in Chicago? It is.