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If you're one of the millions of people around the world who love a tight black rubber suit on a humid memorial day, gather 'round. This weekend a few of your loyal Racked correspondents headed down to the Hyatt Regency complex where the annual International Mr. Leather competition was taking place. Here, as part of the festivities, two levels underground, below the east tower in a large conference room, vendors from across North America set up booths, tables, slings and racks displaying wares you can buy that will enhance dark side. Buckle up, what we found was eyebrow raising to say the least.
Over 125 vendors sold specialty products priced from three dollars to tens of thousands of dollars. The selection ranged from buffalo, alligator, gazelle and horse tail whips to cuddly leather teddy bears, to tech and electronics and videos to pre-worn workout wear, rugs and beds.
The aisles of vendors were packed with curious novice-types and obviously experienced men and women looking for like-minded people to explore their sensuality with. That being said, we saw things that did not seem fine and dandy, oh on the contrary, we witnessed things that the human body was not originally intended to do.
Popular booths were B.A.R.E. Restaints Corporation from Toronto, Boy Butter from New York, Eagle Leathers from Chicago, Le Chateau Exotique from Pennsylvania and Tlctugger from the suburbs. The convention in recent years has been the fifth largest grossing convention in Chicago.
Admission to the market was a five dollar suggested donation to benefit the Chicago Leather Archives and Museum in Edgewater.
· International Mr. Leather [Official Site]