Don Thompson
June 21, 2006

MORE ABOUT IML

One of the great things about IML is that it presents a wonderful opportunity to see old friends. People from all over the world gather in Chicago for that event, many of them coming back every year. Some people attend several such events every year, events such as Mid Atlantic Leather, Pantheon of Leather, International Ms. Leather, Ms. World Leather, Folsom Street and Dore Alley Fairs in San Francisco and the International Sir and boy contest. Itís quite a circuit, with IML being the crowing glory. I met many wonderful people during the years that I was MC for Pantheon of Leather when it was held in New Orleans and it was great to see some of them in Chicago all these years later. Intl. Mr. Leather 2003 John Pendal was there from London with his partner and everyone congratulated them on their recent wedding in London. I could fill this whole page with the names of old friends that we greeted with hugs, especially the San Francisco crowd, "Mama" Reinhardt and many of her family. Itís always great to see them. Many people think that this is really what IML is all about, meeting and greeting and hanging out with old friends, the actual contest is incidental to the piece - a major part of course - but the meeting and greeting in the lobby is the highlight for many people. There was much swapping of tall tales and experiences and lots of catching up. Everyone there had his or her favorites in the contest and there was much discussion about who the winners should or might be and provocative gossip about many of them. Dish reigned.

Another highlight is the Leather Mart, which this year filled three floors of rooms. The display booths just seemed to go on and on and there was so much offered for sale that it was wise to leave your wallet firmly in your pocket, or better still, locked in your room. There was also lots to see there: demonstrations, toys, and so on as well as clothing. I was quite restrained. I ended up with just a new pair of leather pants and a leather shirt. Some people spent many hundreds or even thousands of dollars and had to buy additional suitcases to get the loot home.

COMING UP IN THE DESERT

On Saturday, July 1, The Barracks will join leather bars across the nation to raise funds for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. This is the second year for this national event and following last year's lead by Jason Hendrix, International Mr. Leather 2004, this year's event is being headed by Michael Egdes, International Mr. Leather 2005. Other participating Californian bars are Faultline in Los Angeles, Powerhouse in SF and the San Francisco Eagle. The Barracks will again represent The Desert. Meanwhile, the same night the Tool Shed is having a Boots and Briefs Night Ė so itís your choice.

 On July 7th the Tool Shed hosts the PSLOD beer bust and on the 8th itís the RHSD night (Red Hankies of San Diego).

Meanwhile, Mr. Palm Springs Leather 2006 (and Mr. Barracks 2006) Bernard Stauffer has finally confirmed three night's of activities at The Barracks to support The Desert's Crystal Meth Task Force. The first will be Saturday, July 22, followed by Saturday, August 26 and concluding Saturday, September 23 with a grand prize drawing for two airline tickets to Amsterdam. A handsome prize indeed! Iíll be in jolly old England at the time so Iíll miss that one. Darn it!

Meanwhile, The Barracks' new expanded patio and the bar itself are now a free wi-fi access zone. Co-owner John Rentsch explains that the bar decided to make the access free (some bars charge customers who want to access their e-mails, etc.) as a service for tourists and a thank-you to locals.

PLAN AHEAD 

Beat The Heat! Mark your calendars! Palm Springs boys of Leather and Southern California Leatherboy 2006 Rick Yarbrough are planning a road trip. They are hiring a bus for a trip to The Eagle LA (formerly Gauntlet 2) on Saturday, August 12. It will depart from The Barracks and return later that night.