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International Mister Leather Returns to Party at Hyatt's Largest Hotel

May 24, 2012 at 3:44 PM | by | ()

Ball gag, anyone?

It's that time of the year again, when thousands upon thousands from the LGBT and leather/BDSM communities come together for International Mister Leather, a long weekend convention in Chicago that's part tradeshow, part beauty pageant and mostly party. This will be the 34th annual if you can believe it, and the massive event returns to entirely take over Chicago's largest hotel, the 2,020-room Hyatt Regency (which is also the largest Hyatt in the world).

Typically the event is all fun (and it's the fifth most profitable convention that happens in Chicago) and a Chicago contact reveals that two weddings will be held at this year's shindig. Ah, but there's a dark side as IML falls into the midst of a heated debate between the Hyatt hotel and its union staff who've repeatedly protested, including this big walkout.

According to Buzzfeed's Shift blog, the union is really putting the heat on International Mister Leather to move venues. Alas, IML has a contract they can't afford to break and IML will continue like normal.

Still, as someone who's dropped in on the conference both of the last two years, we know that not only does the IML book up the whole place, but the visitors from around the world even spill over to other hotels. And, during the conference, the hotel operates with a skeleton crew since its daily services are limited with a huge variety of guests. There's simply no other option for IML, short of relocating to another city. But would Chicago let that happen? No way, José.

[Photo of whips: Jared Hatch, from IML 2011]

Archived Comments:

There Are Other Options

IML was held successfully at two other hotels before it came to rest at the Hyatt.  Its previous homes were The Palmer House(can you even picture it??) and The Chicago Hilton.  I think if Hyatt's Union really doesn't want the business, there are other options for them to move elsewhere and still have the city reap the benefits.

Split hotels

Yep, we remember it at the Palmer House, but it outgrew that hotel. So the only option would be to split it up...probably out among the convention hotels near O'Hare, and then it'd lose all the fun of being downtown!