By Mike Skiff (guest writer)
“Kink Crusaders” is the story of the world’s oldest Kink/Fetish competition – the International Mr. Leather contest. And as Mistress Eve says: “It’s not just for ‘white gay males’ anymore…And I like that!” IML has grown from a beauty pageant in 1979 – where muscles and masculinity mattered more than a solid Kink soul – into the public face of community leadership that it is today.
The contestants are a range of men who are straight, transgender, disabled, and senior – right along side in jockstraps with their gay brethren. Don Sir – Mr. Long Beach Leather – is a straight Dominant who takes a challenge to ‘go outside’ his comfort zone and learn about Leather’s queer history. But are the rigors of a titleholder already giving him cold feet towards a possible IML win? Richard – Mr. Ottawa Leather – let’s his rebellious spirit shine, as he becomes the first man to compete from a wheelchair. Mr. Guerneville Leather is Hunter, who proudly shows off his very first piece of leather, his black combat boots from when he served in Vietnam. He’s unconcerned if people think he is ‘too old to enter a contest’, because he’s up on the stage representing an entire generation that was lost to AIDS.
And it all began when IML founder Chuck Renslow opened the first Leather bar in Chicago during the 1950s. Chuck recounts payoffs to the police in those days to keep the bar in business; what it took to book a hotel for the first IML; and what a crucial public space International Mr. Leather weekend has become for the Kink community to gather. He attributes IML’s longevity and success to his commitment to inclusiveness within his Kink family.
“Kink Crusaders” is director Micheal Skiff’s first full-length feature documentary – and he doesn’t shy away from weighty subjects such as the difference between BDSM and the images of torture captured in the Abu Ghraib photos. Or the impact the ‘Spanner’ laws have had on the U.K.’s Kink community. Handling the heavy topic lifting are several of the pioneering voices of the queer Leather scene like, David Kloss (the first IML winner), Mr. Marcus (journalist), and educator Queen Cougar.
So spend a weekend with a family of kinky women and men as they select their next ‘crusader.’
This sexy, smart doc dares to ask: Is there a Kink Crusader in us all?
“Kink Crusaders” will be hitting the film festival circuit in 2011. It has already been accepted to the Gay Film Festival UK and is in consideration for such prestigious as Slamdance, CineKink and SXSW.
Director Skiff is encouraging the Kink/Fetish/Leather community to show support for this sex-positive documentary by checking out: