High Shine Leatherfest
- Saturday, November 14, 2015 - 11:00am to 6:00pm
The Leather Archives & Museum’s “High Shine Leatherfest,” in a joint effort with Chicago-based filmmaker Christina Court, celebrates the art of bootblacking within the Leather, kink and fetish communities, and it is a one-day event that shows how Leather and leather care can be fun and sexy.
If you’ve ever sat in a shoeshine chair and been amazed at how your shoes look after that final buff, then come to the Leather Archives & Museum and learn how the art bootblacking keeps leathers clean and like-new…and how Bootblacks help make the Tom of Finland-style Leather Daddies and those “mistresses with whips” continue to look hot and spotless!
Before there were shoe shiners in North America, there were Bootblacks. The Leather, kink and fetish communities cherish bootblacking traditions, respect its military and motorcycle club roots, and consider this sort of leather care an act of service, a high art, and, at times, downright spiritual. In fact, they cherish their Bootblacks so much that they often have a resident Bootblack working the backroom of their Leather bars…and they even have annual competitions to see who are the “best” Bootblacks in the world!
“High Shine Leatherfest” is a mix of art exhibition, learning, performance, and screenings:
● A Bootblacking Workshop. Learn from a local Bootblack about the basics of bootblacking, including the products, tools, and processes to clean boots and shoes. Instructor: International Ms Bootblack 2015 slave tabitha
● A Leather Preservation & Conservation Workshop. There comes a time in a piece of leather's life that it must be retired--it is no longer worn, but it is a piece we don't want to forget or allow to succumb to dry rot. Care for a retired leather--and all of the personal and community history it holds--is different than the care we give to our everyday boots, vest, or chaps. Join us as an academically-trained museum preparator and Master Bootblack shows the differences between bootblacking and Leather preservation, and watch as a Master Bootblack teaches us how to keep a historic or sentimental leather garment "alive" for generations to come. Instructor: International Ms Bootblack 1999 Leslie Anderson
● On-Site Bootblacks and Bootblacking. Sit back and let a Bootblack take care of your boots or shoes! The main Bootblack chair at LA&M was once owned by Harry Shattuck, the founder of the International Bootblack Contest, and it resided in Chicago’s most beloved Leatherbars: the Gold Coast (the world’s first Leatherbar), AA Meat Market, and the Chicago Eagle. It was passed along to the second International Bootblack, IBB 1994 “Daddy William,” who mentored with Shattuck, and the chair has only been back in Chicago and part of the LA&M collection for a little over a year. The Bootblacks who’ve “worked” this particular chair over the years have been some of the best in the world...and your boots will be loved by some of the world's top Bootblacks:
11:00am-12:00pm International slave 2014 slave angie
12:00pm-1:30pm International Ms Bootblack 2004 Izzy
1:30pm-3:00pm International Community Bootblack 2015 Briar
3:00pm-4:30pm International Ms Bootblack 2015 slave tabitha
4:30pm-6:00pm Great Lakes Bootblack 2015 Meghan
(Bootblacking services are free, but tips are greatly appreciated!)
● A Leather Film “Double Feature.” Over the last five years, Chicago has produced two feature-length films about the Leather community:
1. Kink Crusaders (Third Rail Media, 2010). Since 1979, Chicago has hosted International Mr. Leather, a.k.a., IML: a four-day gathering of international LGBTQIA Leather, kink, fetish communities. The very first International Bootblack Contest (IBB, now IMBB) was held during the IML 1993 Weekend, and it remains a staple of IML, which occurs during Memorial Day Weekend. The event includes two contests, several parties, and an enormous, open-to-the-public vendor mart filled with BDSM and adult products. IML Weekend generates between $14 and $18 million annually for the city of Chicago. If you’ve never attended IML but were curious, "Kink Crusaders" shows exactly why everyone should come.
Screening: 3:00pm to 4:15 with Director Mike Skiff and Cameraman Dorjan Williams
2. CHICAGO PREMIERE: "High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack" (High Moo Production, 2015). Chicago filmmaker and LA&M Board Member Christina Court presents her first feature-length film, “High Shine: 15 Years of International Ms Bootblack,” which documents how female-identified Bootblacks found their way to the Bootblack Chair and into competing for the International Ms Bootblack Contest (IMsBB) that’s occurred annually since 1999. Filmed in 2013 during the 15th anniversary of the IMsBB Contest and now circulating internationally within the LGBTQIA film festivals, Court’s documentary shows how International Ms Bootblack titleholders also illustrate feminism and queer activism in action…and how the IMsBBs show how social activism occurs in many unique and unexpected ways, including the act of giving someone’s boots a spit shine in public.
Screening: 4:30pm to 6:00pm with Producer/Director Christina Court, Director of Photography Mike Skiff, and Camerafolk Dorjan Williams and Leslie Anderson. Stars attending this screening: IMsBB 1999 Leslie Anderson and IMsBB 2004 Izzy.
● A docent-led tour of the Leather Archives & Museum, its exhibits, library and archives. The Leather Archives & Museum, a Chicago educational destination for nearly 25 years, is dedicated to the compilation, preservation, and maintenance of leather, kink, and fetish lifestyles—and it is one of the only places in the world that houses these sorts of materials for its community members, researchers, and scholars. The LA&M collections are unique and rare—and they show that, indeed, there is something for everybody!
A "quick glimpse" of the High Shine Leatherfest event schedule is as follows:
10:30am: doors open
10:45am-11:00am: First Shine--watch IMsBB 1999 Leslie Anderson shine IMsBB 2015 slave tabitha's boots!
11:00am-12:00pm: Bootblacking Basics with IMsBB 2015 slave tabitha
12:15pm-1:15pm: Guided tour of Leather Archives & Museum
1:30pm-2:45pm: Leather Preservation & Conservation with IMsBB 1999 Leslie Anderson
3:00pm-4:15pm: "Kink Crusaders" documentary
4:30pm-6:00pm: CHICAGO PREMIERE: "High Shine: 15 Years Of International Ms Bootblack"
FREE for City of Chicago Residents and LA&M Members
$10 Non-resident student rate, with valid ID
$20 Non-resident general admission