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The largest hotel in Chicago, The Hyatt Regency on Wacker (yes that's a street name for those of you not living here) will be packed with leather daddies and their teddy bears, among others, this weekend as International Male Leather [IML] happens for the 34th year. The title of International Male Leather is awarded to the gentleman who impresses a panel of judges the most with his leather outfit, pecs & personality and interviewing skills.
The festival has expanded beyond the "Male" and "Leather" bits incorporating kink, BDSM, rubber and other fetishes. It now also caters to straight and lesbian women. There are several off-site events and parties within the hotel with particularly cheeky names like the Black & Blue Ball, a roast of Mr. Leather 2011, and a massive market of vendors. Additionally, according to Red Eye, this year's convention will include a 12-step meeting, a Shabbat service, and two weddings.
UNITE HERE protesters at the Hyatt Regency Chicago in 2010.
As has happened in the past (but for different reasons), this year, a major national union may picket the convention. The hotel workers union UNITE HERE has demanded that the convention abandon the hotel because of poor year-round working conditions for employees. Related Video: Park Hyatt Turns Heat Lamps on Strikers. Basically, the employees want the Hyatt to buy long handled mops and to give them better job security.
· Fettisheers Take on Union In Chicago [Buzzfeed]
· International Male Leather [Official Site]
· What it was Like at Hyatt Regency Chicago's International Male Leather Convention [Hotel Chatter]