Chicago Leather History Timeline
The Chicago Leather History Timeline was researched and compiled by Michael S. The purpose of this timeline (as a subset of the Leather History Timeline found at the Leather Archives & Museum) was to focus on the history of leather within Chicago, and research/include as many sub-communities to be found within.
As an ongoing service to the Chicago community, CLC will host the Chicago Leather timeline and update it periodically.
For more information on the timeline sources and items that need to be researched further, click here.
The Timeline1950, June 15: Chuck Renslow and Dom Orejudos start Kris Studios (Chicago) to publish male physique photography. Orejudos begins sketching some of the models.
1952: First publication of Tomorrow's Man. A tiny physique magazine Published by Irv Johnson in Chicago, which combined the look of Physique Pictorial with articles on body building and staying in shape. It quickly became the #1 physique publication.
1958: Both Federal and Chicago authorities charge Kris studios with censorship violations. Renslow fights back, surprising the prosecution. His defense uses the simple stand that nudity is not obscene. In support his attorney shows photos of nude male sculpture in the courthouse where the case is being held. Kris was found not guilty, prosecution appealed and eventually the same decision came from the US Supreme court.
1958, June: Chuck Renslow becomes manager of The Gold Coast in Chicago and creates the first Leather Bar.
1960, March 16: The Gold Coast, Chicago's first leather bar, (opened June 1958) is purchased by Chuck Renslow and Associates.
1962, Jan. 1: Effective this date Illinois repeal its sodomy laws and behavior between "consenting adults in private" is no longer subject to criminal prosecution.
1963, May: Mars magazine, a male physique publication with leather leanings, begins publication. It is designed and edited by Chuck Renslow and Dom Orejudos of Kris studios
1963, Sept. 15: Second City Motorcycle Club founded in Chicago.
1965, Apr.: Second City MC founded in Chicago. The first such club in the Midwest.
1968, Aug.: A dedication to militant law reform and a formalization in structure sweeps thorough the North American Conference of Homophile Organizations (NACHO) which meets in Chicago.
1969: The Leather Cell (a leather and toy shop) opens in the basement, "The Pit", of the Gold Coast in Chicago.
1969, June 28: New York City Police raid the Stonewall Inn, a gay bar on Christopher St. near 7th Ave. triggering riots that last several nights, and becoming the seminal event in public awareness of the fight for gay rights.
1970: Formation of The Lake Riders of Chicago;
1970, June: Celebrating the first anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, the first gay pride parades/marches/rallies are held
1971: Formation of Chicago Knights MC;
1971, Apr. 30: Richard Chinn and John Cantrell are arrested in downtown Chicago for kissing each other in public.
1971, Aug.: In Chicago: Thirteen men decide to organize a group specifically to hold gay male SM play parties and the Chicago Hellfire Club is created.
1972, Oct.: In a contest held at the Chicago Leather bar, the Gold Coast, John Lunning becomes Mr. Gold Coast, the first leather title holder.
1972 A DignityUSA chapter was chartered in Chicago and was incorporated by the State of Illinois on Nov. 11, 1972. However, its origins were in an earlier home Mass group for gay and lesbian Catholics. The new chapter had its Mass at St. Sebastian's Church (Wellington east of Halsted), which no longer exists. (from http://www.dignitychicago.org/General.htm)
1973: Formation of The Pride Chicago
1973, April 28: Mid-America Conference founded during the 8th anniversary run of 2nd City MC in Chicago.
1974: Formation of Rodeo Riders, Elkhart, IN (later Chicago)
1974, Feb 14: Sally Rand Fan Dancer Sally Rand performs at Man's Country Music Hall in Chicago (she is in her 70's) setting a precedent that years later allows for nude performances in this theatre.
1975: Formation of Chicago Cossacks Brotherhood; Rodeo Riders, Chicago; Trade-Winds of Chicago;
1975, July: The first Prairie Fire run jointly sponsored by 2nd City MC, Chicago Knights MC and The Pride Chicago.
1975, Oct.: Drummer #3 includes the publication's first masthead listing Robert Payne as Publisher, Jeannie Barney as Editor in Chief, and V. C. Kuemmel as Art Director. And it includes the Magazine's first centerfold, a collage of Target photos from "The Pit" series shot in the so-named lower floor of Chicago's leather bar, the Gold Coast.
1976, Sept.: Chicago Hellfire Club celebrates its 5th anniversary by holding a weekend long event featuring a Saturday night SM party at a remote campground. Called Inferno 5, this is first of what are to become the most infamous and exclusive male SM play events.
1976, Sept.: The Gold Coast, Chicago's premier leather bar, celebrates it's 15th anniversary with a week long party detailed in Drummer #9.
1977: Touche opens (Source: inferred from 25th anniv in 2002)
1978: Chicago Conference of Clubs first chronological note (by oral notes of Tony DeBlase) (http://www.leatherarchives.org/collections/oral/tony.htm)[need disband date]
1978: Mid America Fists In Action (MAFIA) formed. (from: http://www.mafiaff.org/main.htm) (Stated Oct 1979 in Tony Deblase oral notes)
1979: Formation of Chicago MOB (Men of Brotherhood);
1979, May: David Kloss, of San Francisco, is named the first International Mr. Leather at the contest in Chicago.
1979, Sept. 14-16: Chicago Hellfire Club's Inferno 8 goes to a two night SM party and Tony DeBlase creates a schedule of demonstrations, contests, and a flea market to fill the intervening day. It is covered extensively with text and photos by John Preston and Tony DeBlase in Drummers #34 and 35. This is the first real publicity on Inferno.
1980, Aug. 8 - 10: Chicago Hellfire Club's Inferno 9 is held near Chicago. It is the year of the "Gang of Four" but all goes well.
1981, Sept.: Chicago Conference of Clubs holds first Wild Onion run near Chicago.
1982: Bizzart Show (Oldtown) - first het "public" S/m display in Chicago (source: interview - interviewee is not sure of the date - need to establish the name, date and location)
1984, May: Ron Moore of Denver becomes the 6th International Mr. Leather at the contest at Park West in Chicago. He is the first black man to hold an international leather title. (Died: Feb. 25, 1997)
1986: Chicagoland Singles Club (forerunner to Chicagoland Discussion Group) begins. (source: interview, interviewee is not sure of the exact date)
1987 - Chicagoland Singles Club moves to Han's "attic" in Aurora (het S/m playspace, Hans was founder of Leather Rose in 1994) (source: interview)
1988, Feb. 10: The Gold Coast, Chicago's best known leather bar, closes after 28 years of operation.
1988, Mar: Chicagoland Discussion Group formed - first het S/m group in Chicago. (source: interview)
1989: Formation of Leather United, Chicago; Great Lakes Bears of Chicago (http://www.glbears.com/index.html)
1990, Mar. 3: A fire destroys Touche, a prominent Chicago Leather Bar.
1991: Chicago Council of Clubs formed (source: http://www.leatherarchives.org/collections/catalog/ORG0003.html) [Date unsure]
1991: Outer Limits BBS (Pansexual BDSM Bulletin Board Service) starts. (http://184.108.40.206/search?q=cache:UpJUWFUIkeIJ:bbslist.textfiles.com/630/630.txt+outer+limits+bbs+chicago)
1992, May 23: The first meeting of the Board of Directors of the Leather Archives and Museum is held during the IML weekend in Chicago. LA&M is officially founded.
1993: Trident International Windy City founded by John Schultz, Rob Ridinger and Ed Luisi.
1993, May 28: Leather Archives and Museum opens its first display of collected materials during the International Mr. Leather weekend in Chicago.
1993, May 30: David Morgan is selected as the first International Boot Black during the IML contest in Chicago.
June 1994: KBA (Kinky By Association) pansexual discussion group formed (http://home.comcast.net/~kba-chicago/history.htm)
1994, Summer: Leather Rose opened by Hans at Cornelia location - first public S/m dungeon open to public in Chicago. (source: interview)
1995: Chicago Council of Clubs disbanded. [unsure of exact date] (source: interview)
1995: Formation of The Dedicated and Safe Club (het BDSM support group) (Chicago); ONYX/Chicago
1995, Nov: The Leather Archives and Museum moves to a storefront at 5007 N Clark St. and opens its first permanent exhibition gallery.
1995: The Not Quite Chicago (NQC) Munch begins meetings at Lincolnwood Town Square Mall and (in 1996) at Standard India restaurant on Belmont. First public/het munch in Chicago, still running today. (source: interview emails)
1996, Mar: NQC/CTSM holds its first play party. (source: interview email)
1996: Leather Rose moves to Fullerton St. (source: interview)
1997: First incarnation of Galleria Domain created from Black Market Chicago loft parties. (http://www.galleriadomain.org/%5CFounder.asp)
1998, Mar: AOL Munch group (predecessor to Chicago Slosh) meets for first time. (source: interview)
1998, July 14: Chicagoland Discussion Group, a long running pansexual leather/SM organization holds its last meeting.
1998, July: Chicago Slosh group formally created. (het AOL munch group open to public) (source: interview)
2000, Feb. 17-20: The Leather Archives and Museum opened its doors
2001: Windy City Boys Troop formed
2002, Jan: Leather Rose shut down by City of Chicago, reorganizes and reopens under different organization. (source: interview)
2002, Jan: Galleria Domain 1 shut down by City of Chicago. (source - interview email)
2002, Oct: Galleria Domain 2 opens - club reorganized from Galleria Domain 1 - under new management (source - interview email)
2002, Dec.: The Chicago Leather Club (CLC) was formed in Chicago. CLC's primary goals were to support good causes for those less fortunate and to support the Leather community. Among the causes CLC supports are Toys for Tots, the Chicago Hellfire Club's McAdory fund and the Leather Archives and Museum.
2003: Chicago Rubbermen formed by Rubberwilli, Mr International Rubber 2003. (http://chicagorubbermen.com/about.html)
2003, Jan: (month may be incorrect, recheck) Leather Rose shut down by City of Chicago, Fullerton location closes for good. (source: interview)
2003, Mar: Chicago Leather Leadership Council formed. (source: interview) [need disband date]
2003, Jul. 25-27: Trident Windy City holds its first run, Neptune 1: Pirates on the High Seas, in Chicago.
2004: LRA (Leather Rose Association) formed and opened on Clark Street. (source: http://lra-chicago.org)
2004, May: Shibaricon in Chicago first held
2005: Dedicated and Safe Club disbands. (source: interview)
2005, Aug. 5-7: Rodeo Riders Chicago celebrated their 30th Anniversary with The Antique Rodeo Run in Chicago, IL
2005, Sep. 3: The Chicago Leather Club held its first Back To School Dash.
2007, Jan. 24: The Chicago Leather Kennel Club is formed
2008, Apr. 12: Mistress Simone Worthington of Chicago, IL is awarded the title as the first Illinois Ms. Leather Pride (Source: http://www.powerplayacademy.org/faculty/miss-simone.html)
Timeline sources and Topics requiring researchSources include:
- The Tony Deblase Leather History Timeline as posted to the LA&M museum's website, as of May 2009.
- Research via websites of Chicago leather organizations.
- Interviews with various Chicagol leather/BDSM/kink community members and elders.
- Chicago Eagle club (formation)
- Confirm Leather Rose history (before Cornelia)
- Tina's Place formation (get dates, info)
- Lesbian related events/groups - CLAW, clubs?
- Trans related events/groups - Hecks? other clubs/organizations?
- Leatherquest - MM, VV - dates, locations, notable events
- Further research on the "Bizzart" show in early 1980s - if it's relevant.
Would you like to get involved, or contribute an interview on Chicago Leather history? Please contact us at email@example.com or contact the LA&M for more information.
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