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A Taste of Leather: Portraits from Chicago’s IML

Another Memorial Day weekend has come and gone, and in Chicago that means dry cleaners are suddenly backlogged with enough bovine apparel to cover the Sears Tower. Yes, the 2011 International Mr. Leather was another roaring success, and the unseasonably warm weather got things to an especially sweaty pitch. Luckily for us, Colin Davis (davco9200 on flickr) was around to capture some of the finer stock.

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  • asa1973

    Love how – apparently according to Colin Davis – there was not one person of color at IML 2011 among the finer stock (unless the guy in the full-bodied rubber get-up is supposed to count for something). And let the accusations of my race-baiting begin in 3…2…1…

  • Fitz

    Are they real men this time? IML is very suspect to those of us who like men.

  • Hyacinthe

    @asa1973: I completely agree with you, actually.

    Also, this is an incredibly dull collection for what is supposed to be an exciting event. Did the photographer just take random pictures of people he thought were kind of attractive, regardless of whether or not they were doing anything interesting? #8 and #13 are the only pictures that make this event look like anything having to do with leather, really.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @asa1973: @Hyacinthe: Prudes and bores, much, boys?

    Indeed, you are race baiting. That gaycities posts a few photos offered by one reader DOES NOT MAKE FOR A PHOTOLOG of the event. They are simply 13 shots that were down-loaded and posted.

    I have been to my share of gay fairs; and to my joy, all races are quite nicely represented. Not once has there been any problem hooking up with gays of all colors and creeds — just so much fun to join!


    For every white gay man who is not interested or does not find sexual attraction outside his race, there are blacks, Hispanics, Japanese, and all other races, who stay within their race boundaries too. Sad for them, for I have found that variety is an excellent spice for fun times.

  • christopher di spirito

    No. 3 looks like he rides the ‘Special Yellow Bus’ to the grocery school.

  • patrick L

    No.11 – Jerry Seinfeld is into leather?

  • lika

    @Mike in Asheville: oh mike, name-calling does not advance your argument. how exactly are they a prude and bore? oh for exactly calling out what is abundantly clear with respect to media representation of gay community, even within our own community. how else do you explain the BIG FAIL of queerty for not covering the Civil Unions being held in Chicago in which the first gay couple in line are fine black lesbians? oh that’s right, they’re not white and muscular and male.

  • m000se

    beautifully shot, as usual. this man has an amazing eye. thanks for showing the charm, diversity, and heat of IML.

  • asa1973

    @Mike in Asheville: I actually agree with you. And I attended IML. There was representation from every race, generation, physical ability, uh…fetish, etc., and so many fine men in each category. I just have a hard time believing Colin Davis’ were the only photos submitted to Queerty from this weekend. And I’m disappointed that these snapshots – even if only 13 – reflect very little of the diversity I saw at the event. It’s sad, but, unfortunately, typical.

  • ggreen

    The annual porn awards and IML where bad hair cuts meet bad tattoos. The steroids seem to be on the decline but butter face is on the rise.

  • EdWoody

    @christopher di spirito: Based on what, exactly? The fact that he’s smiling? Dickhead.

    In fact, I worked with #3, and he was a sweet and smart guy, plus hella sexy.

  • PupDon

    The beauty of IML is that it is a celebration of all things sexy, not just what a few people define as sexy in popular culture. I understand this blog caters to a select few and you are trying to show those select few what might appeal to them out of the thousands of men at IML. The unfortunate thing is that by showing the pecs and abs crew in a variety of black t-shirts and harnesses with just a hint of other things (the one pic of rubber and the one pic of the sleeping(?) pup) you missed out on all the eroticism that pervades this gathering full of people who don’t necessarily have porn star bodies. On the other hand, kudos for having a photo of Chuck Renslow, the man who started IML, even though he’s never mentioned in your article.

    You know, we have porn to glorify men with athletic bodies. And for the countless hours spent at the gym to sculpt the bodies of “hot” gay men everywhere, I solute them. But it really is a shame that rest of us are made to feel that we are ugly and don’t fit in by blogs and magazines that portray the gay “community” as only men under 40 with rock hard abs and chiseled pecs.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @lika: Well, lika, if you click posts to learn a little something about the subject, you will find that GayCities accepted and posted Colin’s photos. BUT NOWHERE did GayCities or Queerty or Colin say or even suggest that the submitted photos were: the only photos taken, were the only photos submitted by Colin, that the photos represented anything other than a few shots taken by an attendee, Colin.

    Also, per your comment, Queerty has been faithfully following the Civil Unions (from the prior years’ failure, this year’s success, the battle and debate, the vote in the legislature, the signing by the governor, and then today, the feel good post about the law taking effect.

    Lastly, re: my use of “prudes” and “bores”, one wrote: “unless the guy in the full-bodied rubber get-up is supposed to count for something” and the other: “this is an incredibly dull collection.” I get that not all people are into all things. When I am uninterested in an event, I don’t go and I don’t mock those who do enjoy whatever is their interest. To me, that it is the epitome of prudishness and boorishness.


    I often do rail against Queerty when they post inane stories, just plain bad journalism, snarky bullying, and other stupid posts. But in this case, Queerty simply reposted GayCities photo story about a gay institution, IML.

  • Mike in Asheville

    @asa1973: Perhaps I was — no I definitely was — too quick assume that your comment was a comment about IML and how lacking the event is to its attendees. I do know from personal experience that there are many like us who are into men of mutual desires who come from all sorts of socio-economic, racial, ages, looks and desires backgrounds. Cheers.

  • asa1973

    @Mike in Asheville: Cheers to you. BTW: the “rubber get-up” comment was this black man’s pathetically poor attempt at suggesting maybe #13 – because of the color of his suit – was supposed to represent the non-white community. Bad joke that failed miserably. Funny, though, that it made me come across as prude. Happily far from prude…

  • lika

    @Mike in Asheville:

    how quaint that you’ve adapted a patronizing and condescending tone to make yourself even more self-aggrandizing. srsly?

    i concede that queerty did indeed post something about civil unions, specifically to the happy black lesbian couple this morning. so i retract my criticism on that specific point, but my overall criticism of the whitewashing of the gay community as evidenced by the selective, carefully curated photos or blog links being copied and pasted by queerty on IML and of course, yesterday’s post on Fire Island Mem Day celebration, are certainly a testament to that. but you have not fully addressed this at all, which begs the question, do you believe the gay media need to do a better job in showcasing the diversity that is truly the gay community?


  • PupDon

    I would like to apologize for my tone in my above posting. My biggest pet peeve is people who sit at home writing snarky posts on message boards and blogs without really contributing anything of substance, and that’s pretty much what my bitchy post above was. All the guys in those photos are beautiful and since I wasn’t the one who took the time to snap the photos and write the blog post I really have no cause to complain about the guy who did. And there is no crime in posting photos of guys you find attractive when writing an article about a sexually charged event.

  • Art Smith

    LMAO I agree with you Fitz, IML and “leather” has become such a joke and has been since the late 70s/early 80s when contests started and leather became a total joke like it still is today.

    I think that some of the men pictured at IML are hot but I don’t care for the attitude that some sash queens have and how they don’t know what being masculine is at all.

    asa1973-Leather is mainly for rich white men only who can actually afford all of the designer leather and there are training “schools” for IML and leather contests.

  • Joe

    @lika: Just to jump in, I don’t think you’re wrong about all media needing to do a better job at representation. However the missing point is found in you’re line “as evidenced by the selective, carefully curated photos or blog links being copied and pasted by queerty” They are not selective or carefully curated. Its not random either, its what got chosen by the people doing the choosing. There needs to be more diversity but its not some plot to whitewash everything (though those people exist of course) so much as ignorance and not realizing they are being exclusive. Its the blinders of privilege you are railing against, not intentional exclusion. You are right to remind us that diversity is good, beautiful, sexy, and empowering, but I think we ALL as commentators should remember that you get more bees with honey.

  • Tom in Lazybrook

    @PupDon: Perhaps if Chuck Renslow cleaned up his business, Man’s Country, which IMHO appears to be little more than a meth den with a shower.

    I don’t see Renslow as a hero.

  • Mike in Asheville


    Lika: sorry, but you are confusing Queerty (and other gay blogs) with serious media — and that it is not.

    My biggest gripe about the gay community is just how much racism exists. As a community, we want our own acceptance and equality of our rights to be ourselves. And yet so many of us deride racial minorities with prejudice, bigotry and xenophobia.


    BTW, self deprecation is not the same as quaint, patronizing, or condescending.

  • Kurt

    to get a real flavor of the event, I’d suggest checking out the pictures on the IML website:

  • Abel

    Did Porno Pete LaBarbera show up with his camera? I’m sure he got some seamy pictures. Wouldn’t you like to see his porn collection? Probably rivals Alfred Kinsey’s.

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