I am so happy to be able to again welcome you to Chicago, the home of the International Mr. Leather and International Mr. Bootblack competitions!
Once again, we get to celebrate our annual family reunion and partake in all the things that make our city so special. We're so happy you're here and hope this is your best IML yet!
Open and view the full program at the link: www.windycitymediagroup.com/pdf/IMLGUIDE_2017_web.pdf .
This year marks one of those special benchmark moments that truly matters. Why? It is because we celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the International Mr. Bootblack competition ( IMBB ). I sometimes marvel at some of the ideas through our history that started small and have grown in ways we never anticipated and became something so important. IMBB is a perfect example of this: An idea 25+ years ago that has become such a vital and important part of our entire weekend experience as we come together to celebrate all things leather and fetish.
I ask you to show your support for the contestants of the IMBB competition this weekend. Cheer them on. See and experience first-hand the beauty and passion these amazing people bring to their craft. And, if you're a Weekend Package holder, be sure to bring your ballot to do your part in selecting the next International Mr. Bootblack. I wish each of the contestants the very best of luck!
Once again, IML returns to The Congress Hotel. Each year, regardless of our host hotel, there are challenges and changes we experience in real-time as the weekend progresses. Both the IML staff and the Congress staff have been working hard all year to make your experience as fun and as care-free as possible. We know it is virtually impossible to please every single one of our guests but, if challenges do occur or you have an issue, please raise those concerns with the appropriate parties but also, please be patient as well as respectful as we try to remedy what comes our way.
This year brings a few changes to both our weekend schedule and our venues for contest-related events. IML Weekend begins on Thursday, May 25, with Opening Ceremonies. Going back to our roots once more, this event will be held at The Congress Hotel in what promises to be the more intimate cocktail party gathering of friends and family that many have enjoyed over the years. Of course, there will be contestant introductions, along with the return of the "Number Pull" for the contestants competing for both IML and IMBB.
Equally exciting is our move to The Auditorium Theater, located directly across the street from The Congress Hotel. Both the Pecs and Personality on Saturday night and The International Mr. Leather finale on Sunday night will be held here. The Auditorium Theater is a National Historic Landmark with a history that goes back to 1899. And while we certainly won't need all of its 4,000 seats, its place in Chicago historyand now OUR historyis truly wonderful. I am so glad we were able to secure this beautiful and incredible venue for our events and just can't wait to see all that leather take the stage and fill the the seats!
As before, the weekend is filled with parties, seminars, mixers, demos and, of course, the Vendor Market on the first, second and third floors of the hotel. Access to the Vendor Market requires a wristband that is included in the full Weekend Premier Package. For non-package holders, Vendor Market wristbands are available in the "Day Pass" Registration area in the hotel lobby: A full weekend wristband is available for a suggested donation of $25 and individual days for a suggested donation of $15. Please remember that the net proceeds of all wristband sales benefit the Leather Archives and Museum.
There are so many people to meet, opportunities to connect with old and new friends and just plain fun. For you newcomers to IML, just jump in and enjoy the energy and, if you need some guidance, don't hesitate to ask one of our 300 volunteers who are ready to assist you. But, I do encourage ALL of you to step out of the hotel now and then to explore, experience and see firsthand why we love Chicago. From museums to dining to just exploring the waterfront close by. I am convinced that you too will fall in love with our city.
I say it every year, but IML is truly a labor of love. Last year, we welcomed some 15,000 people to celebrate the weekend. IML also started small with about 400 people in attendance. And now ... Wow! It is because of each of you that we have grown over the years and I thank you for making this the premiere leather fetish event anywhere. Anywhere! Thank you!
Now get out there. Play hard. Play Safe. And welcome to our 39th Anniversary of IML and our 25th Anniversary of IMBB!
Chuck Renslow Founder / Executive Producer