Chicago, IL —
Contestants from across the U.S. and around the world will compete for the title of International Mr. Leather 2012 tonight at 6 p.m. in the Grand Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency, 151 E. Wacker.
Each finalist in the 34th Annual International Mr. Leather Contest will be judged on a variety of criteria including community involvement, speech, presentation and overall presence.
The judges for the competition are International Mr. Leather 2011 Eric Guttierez (Paris, France), Stephen Blackwell (Palm Springs, CA), Brian Conway (Denver, CO), Jaak Evert (Estonia), Dave Hughes (New York, NY), Steve Ranger (Washington, D.C.), Ira C. Smith (Fort Lauderdale, FL), Dave Watt (Michigan), and Andrea Zanin (Toronto, Canada).
Tonight will be the first time in IML history that two of the contestants competing for the title are legally married.
"Among the contestants in previous years, we've had boyfriends competing against each other, and partners as well," IML Coordinator Jon told the RedEye
. "But this year, to our knowledge, is the first time that two contestants are legally married. Both are from Maryland, I believe, but were married in the state of New York."
After the contest comes the IML Victory Party, held at the House of Blues
, 329 N. Dearborn, where New York City DJ Eddie Martinez will make his Chicago debut
IML began in 1979 when about 400 gay leathermen gathered in Chicago. Today thousands gather in the Windy City over Memorial Day Weekend for what has become an annual tradition for the leather and fetish community.
International Mr. Leather 2012, including the Leather Market, continues through Monday, May 28, 2012 at the Hyatt Regency.
For more detailed information about the goings-on in Chicago this weekend, please visit chicago.gopride.com/calendar
.Related: Memorial Day weekend in Chicago: "Leathermen, adult stars and bears, oh my!"