Don Thompson
May 24, 2006


This coming weekend should see lots of tourists in town. Since itís a holiday weekend all those people who are not in Chicago for IML will be here. And letís face it, going to Chicago for IML can be a very expensive proposition; the five day experience will set you back well over $1200 and thatís not including the food and drinks and what you will almost certainly spend in the leather mart. Most people plan on the weekend there costing them over $2000. A lot of people donít have that kind of disposable income so I expect theyíll be here to be the welcoming committee for visitors.

Next Saturday evening , from 7pm till 2am the Tool Shed will be presenting one of its famous vendor fairs in the parking lot behind the bar. As well as being a rare opportunity to sample leather clothing, toys and other items from a good selection of vendors, many of them from out-of-town, this really does develop into a party out there. Thereíll be outdoor bars and a beer truck and Iím sure a very good time will be had by all, especially since the weather will almost certainly be warm but not too hot yet. If youíve never been to a Tool Shed vendor fair, do make a point of it, you wonít regret it.

The following day, of course, will be the notorious Barracks beer bust, where you can follow-up cruising the men you cruised the night before at the Tool Shed.

Most people donít realize that IML has a lot more going on than the contest itself. There are parties everywhere. Here are just a few.

On Friday the party fun begins with the International Sir and boy reception at 7pm on the sixth floor of the hotel. At 8pm thereís the International Bootblack reception a floor lower. At 9pm the current IML Michael Egdes gets "roasted" at a party on the same floor. Meanwhile on the floor above the Texas party is going on. At the same time, down in the lobby, the SmokingHot guys are having a party. An hour later, on the fifth floor again, the Florida contestants host their party. Whew! Those elevators will be busy! Actually a lot of the cruising goes on in the elevators.

On Saturday, at 2pm - a sensible time after all that activity the night before - on the fifth floor of the hotel the Windy City Boys Troop hosts a cocktail party for all boys and the people that love them. (Iíll be there!). At 3pm on the same floor (by now you will have realized that there are a number of party rooms on each floor) you can get to meet The Chicago Hellfire Club at their reception. At 4pm down in the lobby will be the cigar social event of the year where people who love to light up can meet hot cigar men and boys and enter a hot ash contest. Also at 4pm all women there and their friends and supporters can celebrate the 20th anniversary of the International Ms. Leather contest. Thereíll be munchies, music and lots of stories from all the good old days. At 6pm is the BLUF party, a club for men who enjoy wearing breeches and leather uniforms. Another event at 6pm which is a must for me is the San Francisco party, since I lived there for so long and was that cityís Leather Daddy and also was named the only ever Mr. Folsom Street Fair. That and 50c will get you a coke, right! But itís still a good party. At 10pm after the IML Pecs and Personality event itís time for four parties going on simultaneously Ė the Puppy party for those who think of themselves as pups and for their admirers, (and handlers); the Canadian men host their party, the Leather Archives and Museum celebrate their fifteenth anniversary with a reception, and finally the best of all the parties, the famous ONYX party, presented by Chicagoís leather men of color. It always has the best music and the hottest crowd.

And weíre only at Saturday night!! Now you see why some people donít even get the weekend package, they just go for the parties!