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27th Annual International Mr. Leather in Chicago, May 26-30

2005 Contest To Be Held At New Venue – Navy Pier

Chicago, IL — The world’s hottest leathermen will once again come together to compete for the title of International Mr. Leather, Thursday, May 26 through Monday, May 30, 2005 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Chicago.  IML is pleased to announce an exciting new venue for this year’s contest: Chicago’s Navy Pier, Grand Ballroom, 600 E. Grand Ave.  Also, the 2005 competition will begin at 5 p.m., 90 minutes earlier than previous years. The Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E. Wacker Drive, is the official host hotel for IML 2005.  Weekend event packages and hotel packages are still available.

This year, IML is changing its annual Salute! Party to create an official Closing Ceremonies celebration following the Contest at the host hotel. This new event will include a special “parade of colors,” celebrating leather clubs from around the globe. Clubs worldwide are invited to send a representative for what organizers hope will be the largest color presentation ever! Club representatives should sign-up at the IML Registration Desk by 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, May 29.  The new Closing Ceremonies will also include a special new IML tradition, to be revealed the night of Opening Ceremonies.

About 400 gay leathermen gathered in Chicago in 1979 for the first International Mr. Leather contest.  Today, the event has grown to be an annual tradition for the leather community – drawing contestants and attendees from around the globe. Once an event for “hardcore” leathermen, IML has expanded in recent years to include a more diverse crowd – from the experienced to the curious.  Last year’s event drew more than 13,000 leatherfolk from around the globe.

International Mr. Leather 2005 will include the following events:

27th Annual International Mr. Leather Competition** presented by Miller Beer
Sunday, May 29 at 5 p.m. (doors open at 4 p.m.)
Navy Pier, Grand Ballroom, 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago
**Please note new time and venue.

13th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition
Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29
Leather Market, Hyatt Regency Chicago in The Leather Market

The Leather Market
The world’s best collection of leather/fetish vendors.
Friday, May 27 from 12 – 7 p.m., Saturday, May 28 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sunday, May 29 from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Monday, May 30 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Hyatt Regency Chicago, Lower Level

IML Opening Ceremonies presented by Recon.com
Introduction of contestants and judges; drawing for contestant numbers.
Thursday, May 26 at 9 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.)
Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom

Pecs & Personality (Physique Competition) presented by Interactive Male
IML Contestants are judged on their appearance and stage presence.
Saturday, May 28 at 9 p.m. (door open at 8 p.m.)
Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom

Salute! - IML Closing Ceremonies presented by Leatherwerks
IML is changing its annual Salute! party to create a Closing Ceremonies that should not be missed! The new event includes a celebration of clubs from around the world, plus the beginning of a new IML tradition.
Sunday, May 29 at 11 p.m. (door open after the contest)
Hyatt Regency Grand Ballroom

IML Victory Celebration Party
Manhunt.net with WET Presents: dj/remixer Bill Bennett Manhunt World Tour
Sunday, May 29 after the IML Contest until 4 a.m.
House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, Chicago

Black and Blue Ball
The traditional IML final blowout celebration. 
With DJ Matthew Harvat
Monday, May 30 from 8 p.m. – 4 a.m.
Excalibur Nightclub, 632 N. Dearborn St., Chicago

International Mr. Leather contestants are judged on a variety of criteria including community involvement, speech, presentation and overall presence.  The winner of the IML 2005 Contest will receive a prize package consisting of donations from businesses and organizations supporting the leather community. Complete contestant information, including contestant applications, can be found at www.imrl.com.

Jason Hendrix, Mr. D.C. Eagle, was named International Mr. Leather 2004, winning over a field of 57 contestants from 6 countries, including Canada, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland and the United States. Remi Alexandre Collette, Mr. Leatherman Toronto 2004, was named 1st runner up. Thomas Schoch, Mr. Fetish Switzerland 2004, was named 2nd runner up.

The 2005 International Mr. Leather Judges include: Jason Hendrix (Washington, D.C.), Race Bannon (San Francisco, CA), Joseph Bean (Maui, HI), Lynn Bouchard (Montreal, Quebec), Connie Cox (New York, NY), Daniel Dumont (Brussels, Belgium), Christian Henning (New York, NY) Chuck Rodocker (Chicago, IL) and Mike Zuhl (Pittburgh, PA).  The 2005 IML Tally Masters include: Tom Kelley (Morristown, NJ) and Dennis McMahon (Cleveland, OH).

The 13th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition will be held Friday, May 27 through Sunday, May 29 in the Leather Market at The Hyatt Regency Chicago.  The winner will be selected by the vote of IML Weekend Package-holders. Each paid weekend package includes a ballot for the competition that can be cast for the bootblack of the holder’s choice.  The winner will be announced at the International Mr. Leather Competition on Sunday, May 29. Alan Tunstall, sponsored by The Barracks Bar of Cathedral City, CA and the Avatar Club of Los Angeles, was awarded International Mr. Bootblack 2004.

The Leather Market, located at Hyatt Regency Chicago, will feature the world’s biggest collection of leather/fetish vendors.  More than 13,000 people visited the Market in 2004.  Admission to the Leather Market is included with all Weekend Packages.  For all other visitors, a suggested donation of $2.00 will benefit The Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago.  The $2.00 Day Pass can be purchased at the Hyatt Regency throughout the weekend.  A complete list of 2005 vendors, as well as vendor applications can be found at www.imrl.com
IML Weekend Event Packages cost $140 and include: admission to the International Mr. Leather 2005 competition, admission to all other official IML events (Opening Ceremonies, Physique Competition, Salute! - Closing Ceremonies, IML Victory Celebration Party and the Black and Blue Ball), free admission to the Leather Market, free shuttle bus service, an official IML 2005 t-shirt and poster plus special yearly giveaways.

IML Weekend Packages can be purchased online at www.boxofficetickets.com; by calling (800) 494-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0288); or via facsimile at (800) FAX-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0290). Weekend Packages should be picked up at the Hyatt Regency Chicago beginning Thursday, May 26 in the afternoon through Sunday, May 29.

Tickets to individual IML 2005 events will be available soon at www.boxofficetickets.com and will be sold at The Hyatt Regency Chicago throughout IML Weekend.  Single ticket prices are as follows: International Mr. Leather Competition ($40), IML Opening Ceremonies ($25), Pecs & Personality ($25), Salute! – Closing Ceremonies ($10) and Black and Blue Ball ($25).  Please note: Single tickets to the IML Victory Celebration Party ($40) are only available through the House of Blues, by calling (312) 923-2000.

The Hyatt Regency Chicago, 151 E Wacker Dr. in Chicago, is the host hotel for International Mr. Leather 2005.  Reservations can be made by calling the hotel directly at (312) 565-1234 or (800) 421-1442 or online at www.imrl.com/eventinfo/hotels.asp.

The Chicago Free Press GoGuide is the print media sponsor of International Mr. Leather 2005. American Airlines is the Official Airline of IML.  For fare discounts, travelers should contact American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 and identify themselves as IML attendees with Star File #1555AH.  Additional IML sponsors include Wet International, Folsom Street Events, Leatherpost.com and Reel Gay.

For more information on International Mr. Leather 2005, log on to the official IML website, www.imrl.com

Photo (above): 2004 Winners (clockwise from top left) Remi Alexandre Collette (1st runner up), Jason Hendrix (International Mr. Leather 2004), Thomas Schoch (2nd runner up) and Alan Tunstall (International Mr. Bootblack 2004). Photo by Ron Volanti Jr.
 
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