International Mr. Leather
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A different kind of leather experience is hitting the Magnificent Mile this Memorial Day Weekend—the 35th annual International Mr. Leather competition—with accoutrements, goods and services not likely to be found at Coach, Ferragamo or Gucci. Securely cuffed to a new host hotel this year—the Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile—2013 marks the first time the event, which draws thousands of leather daddies, rubber-suited men and other fetish folk from around the world, takes place on the front door of one of the most famous shopping and dining avenues in the country. IML spans several days (Thursday through Monday) and features a bevy of speakers, seminars, mixers, and themed dance parties, many held at sites around Chicago, including a private screening of "Interior. Leather Bar." directed by actor James Franco and Travis Mathews at the Leather Archives & Museum in Rogers Park. This year, all IML contest-related events Friday, Saturday, and Sunday night will also be held outside the host hotel: Opening Ceremonies and the Pecs and Personality contents will take place at the Vic Theatre in Lakeview, and on Sunday the contest to determine the new IML title-holder will once again be held at the Harris Theater downtown. According to Krongaard, the size of the Leather Market expanded from 120 vendors in 2012 to 134 this year—essentially harnessing both Marriott ballrooms for the entire weekend—and prompting IML organizers to seek venues outside the hotel for contest-related events.