IML Diary: February 2004

February 12th to 17th - "Cell Block Leatherfest" and "Pantheon of Leather", Chicago, IL

The front of the Leather Archives and Museum

Thursday February 12th - Flew to Chicago for the Cell Block Leatherfest weekend. Enjoyed a welcome reception at the Cell Block on Friday evening, then returned to the bar Saturday lunchtime to interview the "Mr Cell Block/ Shel-Don Leatherman 2004" contestants.

After the interviews we were driven at high speed to the Leather Archives & Museum (above), for the 14th annual Pantheon of Leather Community Service Awards ceremony.

John collecting a Pantheon Awards from Andy Anderson
Photo credit: Steve Lenius

Saturday February 14th (continued) - I was lucky enough to win two Pantheon awards: the International award presented by Andy Anderson (above) and the Community Choice (Men). During a break in the ceremony I sat on the Harley Davidson I won at IML last year, which is on exhibit at the LA&M while I'm raffling it to raise money.
John with the three finalists of the International Mr/ Ms Saliva Contest
Photo credit: Dave Rhodes

Saturday February 14th (continued) - Mum, if you ever see this picture it's not what it looks like! After the Pantheon awards is a cocktail reception, where an annual joke contest called "International Mr Saliva" takes place. There are no rules and each year the format is different. This year someone decided that the person who had won the most awards (me) should go up onstage and be licked by volunteers, with audience applause deciding on a winner. Three finalists were chosen, I was lifted into the air (above) and they proceeded with what can only be described as "a simultaneous lick-off". It wasn't sexual at all. In fact it was utterly humiliating and it took several vodkas to numb my embarrassment.
The stage heaves under the weight of titleholders at the Mr Cellblock Leather contest

Saturday February 14th (continued) - After the Saliva contest ordeal I had one hour to sober up, eat dinner and change before the Mr Cell Block Contest.

During the contest we took part in a "roll call of all titleholders present" - an essential part of American leather contests, it seems.... The stage heaved under the strain as almost everyone in the room was called up (above). I've lost count of the number of people who've said it would be easier to call up the non-titleholders. One day an emcee is going to have the courage to do just that...

Brett, a leather tailor in Chicago, in his workshop

Sunday February 15th - Spent several hours with journalist Steve Lenius preparing our presentation for the Leather Leadership Conference in April. Went to the Chicago Eagle in the evening, and the next day met leather tailor Brett in his workshop (above).
Sightseeing in Chicago with SPO and Dan

Tuesday February 17th - My last day in Chicago was spent sightseeing with SPO (International Deaf Leather 2001) and Dan (above). It was freezing cold yet SPO didn't seem to need any gloves.

February 18th to 23rd - "Leather and Fetish Luau", Ottawa, Canada

Picture of a frozen canal

Wednesday February 18th - Flew to Ottawa for a Leather and Fetish Luau. Our plane went over one of the Great Lakes, covered in large sheets of ice (the lake, not the plane!) Had a bit of trouble getting into Canada. Immigration did not believe that my trip was for "pleasure" and not "business". I won the argument by asking "if you can tell me how standing in a bar helping a drag queen call bingo is 'business' I'll gladly change my form".

The canals in Ottawa freeze each winter (above) creating the largest ice skating rink in the world.

A mammouth ice sculpture as part of Winterlude in Ottawa

Thursday February 19th - Ottawa was in the third and final week of Winterlude, so one of the parks was full of giant sculptures made of ice or snow.
John calling bingo in Ottawa

Thursday February 19th @ 8pm - Attended "Beefcake Bingo" at ICON in aid of Bruce House.

Called the numbers for the last game (above), and enjoyed making up my own calls: "one lonely bear: 8", "two skinny bitches: 11", "chaser and bear: 18", "two slaves kneeling: 22", "two lovers spooning: 33" - you can probably spot a theme.

The Ms Ottawa-Outaouais contest judges, all wearing Hawaiian print shirts and garlands of flowers

Saturday February 21st - Woke up early to attend contestant interviews at Swizzles bar. This being a Luau (although I'm still not sure what a "Luau" is!) all the judges were required to wear Hawaiian print shirts and garlands of flowers (above).

After the interviews Alex Wisniowski presented the Canadian premiere of his film "My Leather Jacket".

The winner of the Ms Ottawa-Outaouais contest performing her fantasy during the contest
Photo credit: Eileen P. Murphy/To Be Publications

Saturday February 21st @ 6:30pm - Helped to judge the first ever Ms Ottawa-Outaouais 2004 Contest at the Crown Plaza Hotel.

In keeping with the Luau theme the entertainment included a certain IML 2003 finalist in a grass skirt, being a backing dancer for a drag queen impersonating Tina Turner! Here's Janice, the winner, along with her submissive performing during the fantasy round of the contest.

Two Swizzles staff with Douglas Connors

Sunday February 22nd - Filled up with an enormous brunch at Marbleworks. In the afternoon we returned to Swizzles for a couple of excellent workshops on "Communication or Conflict?" and "Is SM Pathological?". In the evening drove through the snow to ICON for a farewell/ victory party.

Above L to R: The Swizzles owners with Douglas Connors (minus grass skirt), who organised the whole weekend.

(For a list of my other diary entries please go to FULL INDEX)

To my home page To the full index To the next diary entry