Thursday, May 21, 2009

Who's that Queer? International Mr. Leather

Brought to you by Pistol Pete

International Mister Leather (IML) is an international conference and contest of leathermen and leatherwomen held annually since 1979 in Chicago, Illinois. It will celebrate its 31st anniversary this weekend at the International Mister Leather 2009, May 21-25.

IML's forerunner was the 1970s "Mr. Gold Coast" bar contest held at Chicago's Gold Coast leather bar, owned by Chuck Renslow and his then-partner, Dom Orejudos. As the "Mr. Gold Coast" contest became one of the bar's most popular promotions, it expanded to a larger venue in 1979. Along with the change of venue came a change in name to International Mr. Leather.
IML is an independent contest in that there is no contract or formal connection with feeder contests. To qualify, IML contestants must either be the winner of a bar, local or regional leather contest or be sponsored by a leather bar, business, club, or organization.

Over the years, a whole conference and another contest, the International Mister Bootblack Competition, have arisen around the IML contest.

International Mr. Leather 2009

IML's preliminary judging consists of two parts. First, the preliminary interview, up to 8 minutes in length and held in private, which accounts for 60% of the preliminary score. Secondly, stage presence and personality at a Saturday "Pecs and Personality" event, which account for 40% of the preliminary score.

The highest and lowest scores by judges for each contestant in each part are dropped, and the contestant's remaining seven scores are added together. The 20 contestants with the highest combined scores are announced as finalists at the Sunday IML contest event.

Each of the 20 finalists is judged at the Sunday IML contest on a scale from 0 to 100 in this order:

1. Leather image, which accounts for up to 40 points.
2. Presentation skills, which account for up to 40 points. Each contestant must give a short speech.
3. Physical appearance, which accounts for up to 20 points.

The highest and lowest scores for each finalist are dropped, and the remaining seven scores are added together. The finalists with the top three scores are the second runner-up, first runner-up, and winner, International Mr. Leather.


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