Welcome to Chicago and to the official start of gay summer in the Windy City: Memorial Day weekend. It's over this very weekend that bears comes out of hi-bear-nation to gather in festive locales; that "actors" of all talent levelsbe they cut or uncutreceive special accolades from the porn community elite; and, most importantly, that we crown ( or sash, anyway ) and new International Mr. Leather. I am exceedingly proud ( and blissfully exhausted ) to have assembled this official guide to all of the International Mr. Leather 2014 contests, workshops, auctions, parties, demos, roasts, and so much more activities that make this weekend a jewel in the crown of Chicago's gay community.
Here are a few things to remember over this weekend:
1 ) Don't forget to explore the city as a whole. The host hotel's location right on the Magnificent Mile puts you mere steps away from some of the finest shopping in the world. Get yourself a CTA ( Chicago Transit Authority ) pass, hit the "L" trains, and strike out into the city to find world-class restaurants, vibrant nightlife, and friendly, broad-shouldered folks. Consult the list of bars on page 68 and make sure to patronize those businesses who have been there for us all along. And see the official IML calendar on page 18 and the events calendar on page 70 for more events than you can shake a stick at. That is a stick, isn't it?
2 ) Be safe and respectful. Think back to when you were just a young thing, venturing on your first foray into leather life. How would you have liked to be treated? If you see someone who is new to the scene, or who obviously shows curiosity but isn't yet knowledgeable in the ways of the leather community, take a moment to mentor and to make their experience one that will foster brother/sisterhood and community.
3 ) Play safe. I ain't gonna lecture you. You know what to do. Do it. Don't make me lecture you.
4 ) Have a ball ( or two, or four ... ). It's a party, for Pete's sake!
Download the full issue at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/images/publications/nightspots/2014-05-14/current.pdf .
MAIN COVER IMAGE International Mr. Leather 2013 Andy Cross Photo by RVJ Studios