Quote of the week:

“They'd have to shoot me to get me back to Illnois."

~Abraham Lincoln upon going to WDC to become president

Monday, May 26, 2008


There are many reasons why I love living in Chicago. Summers in Chicago make up for Winters in Chicago. Meeting friends for a picnic in the evening for free concerts and movies in Millennium Park, to name but one.
Memorial Day weekend is one of my two favorite weekends of every year in Chicago. It’s IML or International Mr. Leather competition, in which a convergence of Leather men (and women) descend upon Chicago for the crowning of the new winner, who will carry the title and be an ombudsman for the Leather Community. (Think Miss America, except it’s a burly, hairy chested hunk of gay man beefcake.) I’m by no means what one would call a leather queen. (Although, I did buy a pair of leather pants. I made a promise to myself that if I lost enough weight to fit into a 30” waist again, I’d treat myself to black leather jeans. {I topped out at 34” waist} I found a pair, on a sale rack for $50.) Other than IML weekend, I maybe go out to the bars once or twice during the year. I’ve never even attended the competition. But I love going to the “Leather Mart”, in which vendors of every fetish, and kink you could imagine (and some you never before imagined) display their wares, services, toys, accoutrements. I’ll refrain from providing any graphic detail as MUPD (see next post) reads my blog.
Additionally, people are decked out in full regalia of leather, uniforms, and other fetish drag. It’s a great sociological and anthropological observation. This year was the 30th annual IML, and had over 18,000 international attendees. It’s held at one of the larger conference hotels downtown, this year at the Hyatt. One of the things I love about the Mart, the whole weekend, is that it’s the most non-judgmental atmosphere EVER. People feel free to be who they are, and display that publically without guile or shame. One of my favorite years of IML was the year that the main conference hotel for IML, The Palmer House Hilton, was also the main conference hotel for the Promise Keepers. If you aren’t familiar, this is the neo con religious right group of men (i.e. jerry falwell, jimmy swagart dobson, etc). IT was great watching the PK men recoiling on the escalators as they watched big hairy men, in chains, collars, chaps, with their naked asses on display. Another favorite, was the year I was walking around the Leather Mart with my friend B. There was a vendor who had a gay porn star in his booth to hawk his wares, which happened to include glass dildoes. The porn star was bragging about how indestructible they were, and proceeded to demonstrate their durability (NO, NOT THAT WAY!) by banging (no pun intended) the sex toy on the edge of the table, upon which the indestructible glass dildo shattered into a million little pieces on the 3rd hit. All of us in the vicinity broke out into hysterical laughter. I’m not certain whether the porn star stayed on as spokes-model, or whether any of the devices sold that weekend.
My other favorite Chicago weekend is the second weekend of every August, which is North Halsted Market Days. It’s the largest street fest in the Midwest, in the heart of Boystown, where Halsted Street is closed down, restaurants, bars, and vendors set up on the street, and there are 3stages for live performances. It’s the dog days of summer, and the beefy, hot men are often shirtless. It’s like being a diabetic in a candy shop, but it’s still lots of fun, walking the strip, seeing what vendors are there, and what bands/performers are going to be on which stage at what time. To me, it’s a lot more fun than the annual gay pride parade, because you’re not on the sidelines watching the parade go by, but you’re in the middle of the action, participating (or not) to your heart’s content. You see men holding hands with other men, and women with women, without fear of bashing.


Queers United said...

no cows die for pleather

mark's tails said...

It has become very obvious as to why your blog is titled 'random thoughts'. Thanks for making me smile.

gay CME guy said...

Yes, Mark, I am one big no sequitur stream of consciousness rambling mind. I would bet there's a touch of ADD in there for good measure. Making people laugh and/or smile is one of my favorite pleasures. I'm glad I was successful in this endeavor with you. Knowing that I made a straight man laugh with one of my extremely gay stories is the cherry on the sundae.
Are you a poppa yet?