Final countdown to IML 2003


IML LogoCHICAGO – The world’s hottest leathermen will come together to compete for the title of International Mr. Leather 2003, as IML celebrates its 25th Anniversary, Thursday, May 22 through Monday, May 26, 2003 (Memorial Day Weekend) in Chicago.  The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe Street in Chicago, is the official host hotel for IML 2003.  Weekend event packages and hotel packages for International Mr. Leather 2003 are currently on sale.

About 400 gay leathermen gathered in Chicago in 1979 for the first International Mr. Leather contest.  Today, the event has grown to be an annual tradition for thousands in the leather community – drawing contestants and attendees from around the globe.  Once an event for “hardcore” leathermen, IML has expanded in recent years to include a more diverse crowd – from the experienced to the curious.   A complete listing of past IML winners and contestants can be found on the official IML website at

The Palmer House Hilton, official host hotel for International Mr. Leather 2003, is currently full, however guests are encouraged to check for room cancellations.  A new block of rooms is available at the nearby Chicago Hilton and Towers, 720 N.  Michigan Ave.  Reservations for both hotels can be made by calling (800) HILTONS or online at  Room rates are also available on the IML website,

International Mr. Leather has announced the annual Black and Blue Ball (hosted by The Chicago Eagle) will be held this year at Metro, 3730 N. Clark Street in Chicago.  IML 2003 will also include:  the 25th Annual International Mr. Leather Competition, the 11th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition, the Leather Market featuring the world’s best collection of leather/fetish vendors, plus numerous celebrations including Salute (post-contest celebration) at the Palmer House Hilton and the annual IML Victory Celebration Party at Chicago’s House of Blues.

The International Mr. Leather 2003 Contest will be held Sunday, May 25 at 6:30 p.m. at The Congress Theater, 2135 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago.  Pre-contest events include: IML Opening Ceremonies (Thursday, May 22 at 9 p.m. at the Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom) and Physique Competition “Pecs and Personality” (Saturday, May 24 at 9 p.m. at the Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom).  All IML 2003 events will be signed interpreted for the hearing impaired.

The 2003 International Mr. Leather Competition will be hosted by Frank Nowicki.  Hailing from Washington, D.C., Mr. Nowicki returns to the IML stage for his 7th appearance as IML Master of Ceremonies.

The 2003 International Mr. Leather Judges include:  Stephen Weber (International Mr. Leather 2002), Pete Fiske (San Francisco, CA – Honorary Member, The 15 Association and Chicago Hellfire Club), Joe Harnett (Sallinis, Ireland – Founder, Leather Uniform Bear Encounter (LUBE) – Ireland), Chris Holmgren  (Toronto, Canada – Mr. Leatherman Toronto 1999), Michael Horowitz (Forest Hills, NY – Member, Chicago Hellfire Club, Delta International and The 15 Association), Bob Maddox (Chicago, IL – Founder, Male Hide Leathers of Chicago),  Andy Mangels (Portland, OR – Founder, IN UNIFORM Magazine), Larry Manion (St. Louis, MO – Founding Member, St. Louis Leather & Lace) and Judy Tallwing McCarthey (Forks, WA – International Ms. Leather 1987).  The 2003 IML Tally Masters include: Phyllis Darcy (Thornton, CO – American Leather Woman 2001) and Jim Dohr (Chicago, IL – Chicago Department of Public Health).

The winner of the IML 2003 Contest will receive a prize package consisting of donations from businesses and organizations supporting the leather community.  The winner will also receive a black Harley Davidson 100th Anniversary XLH Sportster 883 motorcycle, courtesy of International Mr. Leather.   The motorcycle is currently on display at the Chicago Eagle, 5015 N. Clark Street in Chicago.  Complete contestant information, including contestant applications, can be found at

Stephen Weber (Mr. Texas Leather 2002) was awarded International Mr. Leather 2002.  Borisz Mos (Mr. Leather Holland 2002) was the First Runner-up.  Herb Kaylor (Mr. D.C. Eagle 2002) was the Second Runner-up.

The 11th Annual International Mr. Bootblack Competition will be held Friday, May 23 through Sunday, May 25 in the Leather Market at The Palmer House Hilton.  The winner will be selected by the vote of IML Weekend Package-holders.  Each paid weekend package includes a ballot for the competition which can be cast for the bootblack of the holder’s choice.  The winner will be announced at the International Mr. Leather Contest on Sunday, May 25.  Michael Lanzini (Eagle, New York City) was awarded International Mr. Bootblack 2002.

The Leather Market, located at The Palmer House Hilton, will feature the world’s biggest collection of leather/fetish vendors.   More than 15,000 people visited the Market in 2002.  The Leather Market will be open to the public during the following hours:  Friday, May 23 from 12 p.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday, May 24 from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Sunday, May 25 from 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.; and Monday, May 26 from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  Admission to the Leather Market is included with all Weekend Packages.  For all other visitors, a suggested donation of $2.00 will benefit The Leather Archives and Museum in Chicago.  A complete list of vendors can be found at .

Official IML celebrations include:  Salute (post-contest celebration – Sunday, May 25, directly after the contest at the Palmer House Hilton, Empire Room), IML Victory Celebration Party (Sunday, May 25, after the contest until 4 a.m. at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn in Chicago) and the Black and Blue Ball (Monday, May 26 at 8 p.m. hosted by The Chicago Eagle at Metro, 3730 N. Clark Street in Chicago).

IML Weekend Event Packages are still available.  The $140 cost includes:  admission to the International Mr. Leather competition, admission to all other official IML events (Opening Ceremonies, Physique Competition, Salute, IML Victory Celebration Party and the Black and Blue Ball), free admission to the Leather Market, free shuttle bus service, an official IML 2003 t-shirt and poster plus special yearly giveaways.  IML Weekend Packages can be purchased online at ; by calling (800) 494-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0288); or via facsimile at (800) FAX-TIXS (Intl. (503) 245-0290).  Weekend Packages should be picked up at the Palmer House Hilton beginning Thursday, May 22 in the afternoon through Sunday, May 25.

Tickets to individual IML 2003 events are available at and will be sold at The Palmer House Hilton throughout IML Weekend.  Single tickets to the IML Victory Celebration Party are only available through the House of Blues, (312) 923-2000.

International Mr. Leather 2003 is sponsored by Miller Lite, Bacardi, Wet and Folsom Street Events (Folsom Street Fair/Up Your Alley).  American Airlines is the Official Airline of IML.  For fare discounts, travelers should contact American Airlines at (800) 433-1790 and identify themselves as IML attendees with Star File #A1953AB.

For more information on International Mr. Leather 2003, log on to the official IML website,

David Rosenberg
International Mr. Leather