Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Leather Archives & Museum - Chicago

While traveling in Chicago this weekend I found out from one of my partners that there's a museum in the northern part of the city called the Leather Archives & Museum. Naturally I had to go.

LA&S is a museum of the gay leather movement. The permanent collection there tells visitors all about the history of BDSM (for you neophytes, that stands for Bondage & Discipline, Domination & Submission, Sadism & Masochism) of all kinds, but most specifically of gay leather fetishists. There you can see all kinds of artifacts of kinky gay stuff from the time when the fetish was totally underground to the present day when it's only sorta underground!

By far the most amazing part of the museum to me, geek that I am, was the archive, which is a library of books and magazines. Some of them dating all the way back to the '60s when they were underground publications. The archive contains a huge collection of informational works, how-to manuals for all types of kinky sex, and an enormous collection of kinky erotica. A lot of this stuff is out of print so it's wonderful that you can check it out of the archive and read it at home ...if you're lucky enough to live in Chicago. I've never been so bummed to be based in New York.

If you live in Chicago, get a library card. If you're just visiting you still owe it to yourself to go and check out this out of the ordinary tourist attraction.


  1. As an artist myself, I enjoy reading Philip Koch's sensitive writing about Edward Hopper and Andrew Wyeth, who along with Whistler and Rothko, are my favorite American painters.
    I don't live in the United States but have traveled and passed a short time there. But even with the little time spent in your beautiful country, especially in small-town America, I can relate to some of the poetical feel that Hopper and Wyeth had captured in their art, which is for me part of the attraction of their paintings.
    Browsing at the other day, as I do now and then, I find a good selection of Edward Hopper's work, ,in the big archive of Western Art, that customers can order online for canvas prints and even hand-painted, oil-painting reproductions can be made and sent to them.
    Hopper's surrealistic and depersonalized world is there again. Timeless, yes, as it is still there now in the roadside cafes and diners that I ate at all over America.