I.M.L. used to mean more to me when I owned Rochester Custom Leathers and was a vendor there, and I like seeing all my friends from all over the world, but quite frankly, I have serious issues with the "contest circuit" -- read this conversation between myself and Jim (a friend of mine that used to go to I.M.L. every year) for an insight to how I feel...
Jim: "I have not decided yet about IML this year. In the last 20 years I've been to IML 14 times ... while I enjoyed it in the mid-80's and into the late 80's, since the early 90's the event has grown to include so many non-leatherfolk and so many circuit-party druggies that I cannot say that I really enjoy it that much any more. Either this year or some year soon I may go to IML just to see people I rarely see any more ... but I have not decided yet whether I'll go this year. While I will be at ABW this year, I might take 2006 off from ABW."
Chaz: Grown to include?? It's been that way since it left the Gold Coast!! Why do you think you don't ever see me at the "official IML events", yet I can be found at the host hotel? There are more guys there wearing leather that are not leathermen, then there are leathermen... I simply choose to go to meet up with friends, and new friends that believe in the brotherhood of the leather community. We play and party with ourselves and leave the users and "posers" to do their own thing...
Even in my communities, there are posers that seek out guys with "fisting" in their profile, as they know there is a big trend for fisting bottoms to be tina-addicts and hook up just for the use of their drugs. I have backed away from several groups, including the XXXXXXXXXX because of their use of "party favours." I have established N.E.M.O. (NorthEastern Men's Orgies - http://ne-mens-orgies.com ) and have been active with The Fall River Fisters, a drug-free (excluding pot, poppers and beer) fisting group in Fall River, MA. Also, I founded the Boston Bears, which is now the East Coast's largest bear club, with over 700 members. We attend AMCC meetings, although we're not members of AMCC at this time, and support other clubs' runs -- back to basics, eh?
This year, the Boston Bears are one of the host clubs for Bear Trek 2005 ( http://www.bear-trek.com ) which sold out three months before the event!! That's over 500 attendees!
It is, and for the most part has been a sad state of affairs in the leather contest circles -- the saddest thing is the younger generation that saw the leather contest community as their mentors for the leather-lifestyle, only to find that it was nothing more than a male "Ms. America" event with people saying what they needed to to impress the judges and not really practicing what they preached... Good news is that the "sash queens" are not accepted nor tolerated in the "old guard" leather communities as much anymore. I even saw former sashes for sale on e-bay!! What does that say about their sense of loyalty that some of the contest winners have?
Ohhhh... You hit one of my nerves... Sorry for the soapbox. Anyways, I'm glad to see a strong return of "old guard" leathermen and the slow demise of the "pleather" community!
It was nice to hear from you!! Maybe I'll see you around! I missed you at That Place's 20th anniversary!
Me opinionated? Perhaps... ;-)
Anyways, to all of you "old guard" leathermen, I look forward to seeing you at I.M.L. this year! To those of you that simply think leather is a fashion statement, be gone! You have no power here! (he he he)
I'm ALSO quite exctied that my new buddy, Dave, has decided (at the last minute) to come along with me to I.M.L.! WOOF! Now I won't be lonely!