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2006 IML switches locations, moves to Chicago Theatre

Chicago, IL — The world’s hottest leathermen will once again come together to compete for the title of International Mr. Leather, Thursday, May 25 through Monday, May 29, 2006 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Chicago.  IML is pleased to announce an exciting new location for the 28th annual contest: The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St.  The new Contest venue is located just blocks from this year’s host hotel, The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe St.  Comedian and entertainer Bruce Vilanch is confirmed as the headline entertainment at this year’s Contest.

Weekend event packages and hotel packages for IML 2006 are currently on sale and can be purchased online at; by calling (800) 494-TIXS.

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 15,000 leatherfolk from around the globe.

International Mr. Leather contestants are judged on a variety of criteria including community involvement, speech, presentation and overall presence.  The winner of the IML 2006 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 

Michael Egdes (pictured), Mr. Ramrod 2004, was named International Mr. Leather 2005, winning over a field of 52 contestants from six countries, Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States. Dodger Allen, Mr. San Francisco Leather 2005, was named 1st runner up.  Alan J. Bowers, M.D., Mr. Louisiana Leather 2005, was named 2nd runner up.

The 14th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition will be held Friday, May 26 through Sunday, May 28 in the Leather Market at The Palmer House Hilton.  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 28. Arthur “Boo Boo” Funni, sponsored by Great Lakes Leather Alliance (GLLA) of Indianapolis, Indiana and Laws Leather of Cleveland, Ohio, was awarded International Mr. Bootblack 2005.

The Leather Market, located at The Palmer House Hilton, will feature the world’s biggest collection of leather/fetish vendors.  More than 15,000 people visited the Leather Market in 2005.  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 Palmer House Hilton throughout the weekend.  A complete list of vendors, as well as vendor applications can be found at 

IML 2006 Weekend Event Packages cost $150 and include: admission to the International Mr. Leather 2006 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 2006 t-shirt and poster plus special yearly giveaways. 

IML Weekend Packages can be purchased online at; by calling (800) 494-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0288); or via facsimile at (800) FAX-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0290).  IML Weekend Packages will be available for pickup or purchase in the IML Registration area beginning Thursday, May 25.  Cancellations are subject to a $25 processing fee.  There will be no cancellations after April 30th, 2006.

For more information on International Mr. Leather 2006, log on to the official IML website,

Photo: Michael Egdes, International Mr. Leather 2005
Photo credit: BULLmanX
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