Saturday, May 30, 2009

IML Leather Market

I spent last weekend visiting my partner Annabelle and her fiancé R. in Chicago and had a wonderful time. Last weekend in Chicago is what has been referred to a "Kinky Christmas" because both Shibari Con and International Mr. Leather are happening simultaneously. Unfortunately I didn't get to go to the first one (maybe next year) but I did spend a wonderful afternoon at the IML Leather Market which Annabelle tells me is the largest sale of kinky products in the world.

Imagine a hotel convention room full of nothing but BDSM paraphinalia -- floggers, ropes, S&M porn, hot clothing made of leather and rubber and vinyl, elaborate whipping posts, dudes getting laced up in leather body bags or trying on straitjackets -- and a whole bunch of gay men wondering around in fetish gear shopping. And then, just when you think you've been through it all you discover there's another convention room the same size with even more stuff. I woke up really early to catch my plane out there so it might have just been sleep deprivation but I was overwhelmed. I went there planning to splurge and buy some stuff but there was just so much selection I found myself making mental notes of what I might want to come back for -- and then forgetting! It was a bit like being a kid and suddenly being turned loose in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Where do you start? I did get a wooden paddle and pair of SAP gloves, basic items that I've been looking for, so it wasn't a total loss. I also tried on a vest from North Bound Leather that I really liked and found a flogger I was particularly fond of at Mr. S (couldn't find a picture or link, unfortunately). So I definitely have an idea for a souvenir I'd like to buy on my next trips to Toronto and San Francisco.

As an added bonus I ran into and got to briefly talk to Cunning Minx from the Poly Weekly podcast but didn't get to talk to her too much. Annabelle and R. know her so much better than I do that I barely have anything to add when they're together! Dan Savage was also at the Leather Market that day but I didn't see him (Annabelle might have). He wrote a great article on Slog about IML that drives home one of the reasons it's so great.

Speaking of Annabelle and R., take a moment to read Annabelle's newest article at Sexgenderbody which is about why a poly person such as her would possibly want to get married.

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