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February 9, 2017

Gay Chicago Rewind:
February 15-22, 2017

BY
SUKIE DE LA CROIX

1985

The Chicago Tribune review:

"'The Times of Harvey Milk' is anything but a dispassionate documentary. It was intended to be a portrait of a man who advanced the cause of homosexual rights in San Francisco in the 1970s and paid for that victory with his life when he was shot down in cold blood, along with Mayor George Moscone of San Francisco, by a disgruntled arch-conservative politician angry that supervisor Harvey Milk and the mayor had worked together to oust him from his job.

"The film achieves exactly what it sets out to do: We are charmed by Harvey Milk's passion for the oppressed (which included more than just gay men and women); we are outraged at his murder; and we are stunned at the light sentence the killer received. Supervisor Dan White, found guilty only of voluntary manslaughter by reason of diminished capacity (because of his so- called "Twinkie" defense of having eaten too much junk food), received a 7 1/2 year sentence and served just five years in prison before being released one year ago.

"As the film recounts the gay-led riots that followed the verdict, we are led to the conclusion that had Milk not been gay, the jury might have been tougher on the killer.

"The documentary does not go the extra mile to interview the jurors about their astonishing verdict and it does not get into the widely reported issue that a lousy prosecution was at least partially to blame. And yet we do not doubt for a moment that the film's thesis is essentially true: Harvey Milk died not for his sins but for his good deeds. Can you imagine the killer of the mayor of Chicago and a key alderman being sentenced to only 1/2 years in prison?

"Politics is a funny business, to say the least, in that even the most idealistic politician has a public and personal agenda, and the personal agenda must come first; without being elected first, they can't do much for anyone else.

"And Harvey Milk, a camera store owner, is shown in the early part of the film to be a natural politician with a sure sense of how to concoct a media event–purposely stepping in dog droppings while being interviewed about a pooper-scooper ordinance.

"But his genuine idealism also is on view as we listen to all sorts of his friends and colleagues relate stories about Milk's dedication to the poor, the Oriental and the aged of San Francisco. Sure, he may have been trying to build a power base, but at least he was doing it with people who genuinely needed help. How much more venal it is for a politician simply to sell himself out to serve as spokesman for an already established power base--big business or big labor.

"By stimulating such thoughts, "The Times of Harvey Milk" works best as a civics lesson. Here we see the forces–personal and financial--that shape a city and its leaders. And with its breathy, emotion-laden narration by playwright Harvey Fierstein, 'The Times of Harvey Milk' also is very sad.

"Dan White, who lived to kill, is alive and roaming Southern California; Harvey Milk and George Moscone, who lived to serve others and themselves, are dead.

"Even writing about what happened to the three of them makes one sad.

"'The Times of Harvey Milk' is playing only at the Fine Arts Theatre, 418 S. Michigan Ave."

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February 15-22, 2017
IMAGE: Woke Up Black – Windy City Times October 27, 2010

An article in Gay Life reads:

"More than $9,500 was raised at last week's 'Chicago Sings Against AIDS' concerts at the Park West. At least 1,000 people attended the concerts, which featured all three of Chicago's gay and lesbian choruses as well as several individual entertainers. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the Howard Brown Memorial Clinic's AIDS Action Project, into a fund to benefit needy AIDS patients. Besides ticket sales, benefit organizers Dewey Harrington and Dan Moon solicited donations from Treasure Island, Illinois Masonic Center, St. Joseph's Hospital, and other local businesses and organizations."

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Extracts from Street Talk column in Gay Life:

"OUT AND ABOUT: 'Lust in the Dust' is hitting the trail for Chicago. The Western spoof, reuniting that 'Polyester' couple Divine and Tab Hunter and also starring Lainie Kazan will open in Chicago March 8. This time, Divine is being directed not by discoverer and longtime collaborator John Waters but by Paul Bartel ('Eating Raoul'). The original music is by Peter Matz, who arranged Barbra Streisand's early records, and Divine and Tab Lainie perform a couple of songs together."

1992

An article in Gay Chicago begins:

"The Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), Chicago's largest non-profit support and information network for those impacted by HIV, presents 'Positive Option,' a free monthly early intervention and positive living workshop for those considering testing or already living with HIV. The first workshop will take place Feb. 22 at 10 am."

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February 15-22, 2017
IMAGE: Fire Island – Windy City Times July 31, 1986

Article in Gay Chicago begins:

"The Keith Haring Foundation has generously donated a set of five embossed screenprints entitled, 'Icons' (consisting of Haring's most identifiable symbols) valued at $20,000 to the AIDS Foundation of Chicago (AFC).

"AFC will hold a benefit raffle of this important work during the month of February, culminating in a drawing to be held March 6th at 'Not Just Song and Dance,' AFC's benefit gala starring Harry Hamlin, Nicollette Sheridan, Kenny G, and more. The winner need not be present to win."

2003

In the clubs and bars, the Kit Kat Lounge, 3700 N. Halsted, is serving half price martinis; Cell Block, 3720 N. Halsted, presents LeatherFest; LeatherFest breakfast is served at Buddies, 3301 N. Clark St.; the Boofont Sisters perform at Gentry, 3320 N. Halsted; there's a Full Moon Party at Touche. 6412 N. Clark St.; hundreds of porn titles for sale at the Lucky Horseshoe Lounge to benefit the Center on Halsted; and Julia Knight & The Men of Adonis Dancers at Hideaway, 7301 W. Roosevelt.

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February 15-22, 2017
IMAGE: Man from La Mancha – Windy City Times October 31, 1991

So, this gay guy walks into a bar ...Laughing Out Loud, a night of gay comedy, an HRC Illinois event, takes place at Park West, 322 W. Armitage.

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In Billy Masters' Filth column in Gay Chicago:

"Could it be that Ryan Seacrest's campaign to be seen as an all-American heterosexual male is having the opposite effect? Judge for yourself–he recently told reporters, 'I started to get my eyebrows waxed to please the women in my life. Then I got my eyelashes tinted. Don't they just pop? Then the manicure and the pedicure.' First off, it sounds like HE is the woman in his life. And let's not even talk about his sun-damaged skin–he's starting to look like an old bleached blond saddlebag! To further assert his interest in the ladies, Seacrest admitted his lust for Trista 'The Bachelorette' Rehn by saying that she has 'one of the tightest asses in reality television – tighter than Simon Cowell's' I only know one kind of guy who notices a 'tight ass' – a gay guy (and I do love a tight ass)."

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February 15-22, 2017
IMAGE: Emerald City Night Club – Gay Chicago August 14, 1997

Gay Chicago's Calendar of Events for February 21, 2003:

"Human Rights Campaign's 'Laughing Out Loud: A Night of Gay Comedy,' will be presented at Park West both tonight and Saturday. Buddies has Great Lakes Bears and 'Black Bra' specials. The Edge in Blue Island presents 'Women Who Rock' at 11 p.m. The Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club presents performer Jareja for dinner entertainment. Berlin holds a CD release party for Fischerspooner's new single, 'Emerge.' Allan Nichols performs at Gentry on Halsted, with Kerry Kincannon and Jeff Roscoe taking over for the later show. Kathryn Payne is at Gentry on State, with the 2003 Mr. Gay All-American Talent Showcase starting at 9 p.n. Grant Robbin is in the cabaret at Davenport's with his 8 p.m. show. The Office in Rockford holds Cody's CD release party."

Homework

Whatever happened to the Boofont Sisters?

Who, or what, is Jareja?

Is the Edge still open?

Gay Chicago Photo Rewind

February 15-22, 2017
Jason Smith photographs Chuck Renslow for Windy City Times November 9, 1995

February 15-22, 2017
The Open Hand Benefit Brunch in Windy City Times November 9, 1995

February 15-22, 2017
Hal Baim photographs the 15th anniversary of Affinity in Windy City Times October 27, 2010

February 15-22, 2017
Genyphur Novak photographs Sidetrack and Vortex for Windy City Times October 31, 1991

Thanks go to publishers Michael Bergeron for Chicago Gay Crusader, Ralph and Craig Gernhardt for Gay Chicago, Grant Ford and Chuck Renslow for Gay Life, Malone Sizelove for Babble/Gab, David Costanza and others for Chicago Free Press, Jeff McCourt for Windy City Times, Stacy Bridges and Mark Nagel for GRAB, and Tracy Baim for all the publications at the Windy City Media Group, which aided the above research. St. Sukie de la Croix is an internationally published reporter, playwright, photographer and historian. He is also the author of Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

 
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