Life After IML - February 2007

John on stage wearing a blue leather shirt, talking into a microphone

January 26th and 27th 2007 - Hosting the Mr Chicago Leather contest at Touché
Photo credit: Chuck Goes

I spent most of my free time in January preparing my script for the Mr Chicago Leather 2007 contest at Touché. This is the fourth consecutive year that I've been their Master of Ceremonies and it was a hugely enjoyable weekend. There were seven contestants, an international judging panel (including two other IMLs), a sign language interpreter and excellent hospitality. Jorge "JC" Cestou won the title and qualifies for a position at the IML 2007 contest next May.

This year's contest had a "puppy" theme, including a segment where four human pups joined me onstage. They had to howl along to Celine Dion's My Heart Will Go On to prove they were pups (actually, the whole bar howled) and then dressed up as a solider, doctor, fireman and policeman to help me make a point about the different kinds of service people give to the leather community. Despite threats of misbehaviour they were very well trained pups and definitely earned their round of applause from the audience.

One person who has given a great deal of service to the leather community is New York resident John Weis. He's a past president and past chairman of Gay Male S/M Activists, founder of GMSMA's Folsom Street East and a current ex officio member of their board. He has served on the boards of the New York City Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project and the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom Foundation.

John is also the founder and chairman emeritus of the Leather Leadership Conference and served as board member and chairman until 2002. He kindly agreed to be interviewed for this column about the conference, which is in its 11th year.

Have fun, look after yourselves and the people you play with.

Best wishes,

John Pendal
International Mr Leather 2003

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