''It makes everybody laugh,'' says Andrew McCarty of COMMAND MC. This weekend, his Maryland leather organization hosts its annual Mr. Maryland Leather contest as part of a full weekend package. It's amusingly coined ''Erection 2012.''
In many ways, you can think of Erection 2012 as a Baltimore-style precursor to D.C.'s own wild, convivial Mid-Atlantic Leather, set for the second weekend in January 2013. Every year the first runner-up in the Mr. Maryland Leather contest is encouraged to compete for the title of Mr. MAL, while the titleholders Mr. ML and Mr. MAL compete against each other at Chicago's Mr. IML next May. MML offers other events similar to MAL beyond the contest, from various leather cocktail parties at the host hotel, the Wyndham Peabody Court, to a meet and greet at a local leather venue, Baltimore's Triple L Bar. This year, MML also adds a Leather Mart at its host hotel featuring leather goods from Le Chateau Exotique of New Hope, Pa. – a regular vendor at MAL.
All events are within walking distance of each other in Baltimore's gay Mount Vernon neighborhood. In fact, a tour of the neighborhood will be offered Saturday morning, weather permitting. McCarty says the Wyndham will house leather men and women visiting from New England, Atlanta, Florida and all over the mid-Atlantic region. There'll also be visitors from as far away as McCarty's native San Francisco, including the MML Contest's head judge, Mama Sandy Reinhardt. ''She's a big draw,'' says McCarty, noting that a fair share of those in what is called ''Mama's Family'' will come to Baltimore for the occasion.
Erection 2012 offers other draws, from a Saturday night banquet dinner to a Sunday morning parting brunch. There's also an educational session with former MML David Allen. A ''certified breathwork facilitator,'' Allen will offer tips and demonstrations on breathing techniques to improve and enhance everyday activities, not just sex.
Proceeds from the weekend will be donated to Brother, Help Thyself.
The Mr. Maryland Leather 2013 Contest is Saturday, Nov. 3, starting at 2 p.m. at Club Hippo, 1 West Eager St., Baltimore. Tickets are $20 for the contest, or $125 for a full-weekend Erection 2012 package. Visit mml.commandmc.org for more information.