Not sure if meandering through a mass of sweaty, beer-guzzling gym bunnies is the best way to spend Pride? Looking for something to do that doesn’t involve getting wasted and hitting on the person standing next to you? This roundup of queer comedy, music and film offers another way to put the “homo” back into homosexual.
Windy City Gay Idol
Saturday, June 19, 1 p.m. at Sidetrack; $10 cover
Who has the best voice in the Chicago LGBTQ community? For singing — not catcalling down on Halsted, mind you. Windy City Gay Idol, the event that began eight years ago as a “fun promotion,” has since turned into a thrilling reality TV-like singing competition where audience members vote for the best singer. On Saturday, after nine grueling rounds, the Gay Idol will be decided at Sidetrack. In 2008, then-unknown Lady Gaga was a finalist in this event. So the winner of this year’s could be the next big pop sensation.
H.D. and E.M. in the A.M./P.M.
8 p.m. Tuesday, June 22 at Rehab; free
Chicago comedians Heather Dean and Ever Mainard realized something perhaps only few people are aware of: "There are a lot of daytime talk shows, but those shows are not at night," says Mainard. The solution? A daytime talk show for adult audiences that airs at night. “It’s like Kathy Lee and Hoda meet a gay pack of wolves.” Fun fact part one: Both Mainard and Dean dress up and host this wacky show in Tina Turner costumes. Fun fact part two: Throughout the show, Mainard and Dean — or should I say Tina and Tina? — bring in guests like Larry Bird (Mo Welch), who will appropriately deliver the weather forecast, comedian Carrie Callahan as the sex talk lady, stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito as, well, herself, and many others. Come for the queer comedy, stay for the drink specials: $3 domestic bottles and $3 premium house brand cocktails.
HOT D8 Campaign
8 p.m. Friday, June 25 at Mary’s Attic (Andersonville); $12
You got a HOT D8 for Pride Weekend? These two ladies and one cute boy do, and its name is comedy. Chicago’s Cameron Esposito, whose quizzical, astute comedic takes on the absurdities of everyday life make both boys and girls blush, Mo Welch, Chicago's "2010 breakout comedy darling," who combines a quirky sense of humor with a healthy dose of self-deprecation, and homo-tastic ukelele-playin’ comic Ben Lerman, kick off Pride weekend with their HOT D8 show at Mary’s Attic in Andersonville. This inaugurates their mini-summer tour, the HOT D8 Campaign, takes its cue from the NO H8 Campaign, a photographic silent protest created by Adam Bouska and his partner, Jeff Parshley, in direct response to the passage of Proposition 8. All subjects wear white T-shirts, duct tape their mouths shut as a symbol of the silencing by Prop 8, and paint NOH8 on one cheek. The HOT D8 Campaign celebrates white clothing, duct tape and the fight for equality. A portion of proceeds benefits Marriage Equality USA. The HOT D8 Tour begins in Chicago, and makes subsequent stops in Baltimore, Boston and Provincetown.
Genderblind Film Premiere
Friday, June 25 at Portage Park Theater; $15-$20; get tickets here
5:30–7:30 p.m.: Red carpet event hosted by Pat McCombs for VIPs only
8 p.m.: Screening
10 p.m.–1 a.m.: After-party in the lobby with DJ, cash bar and food
Chicago-based writer, producer and director LaNita Joseph premieres Genderblind, a feature-length film about spirituality, love, and personal redemption in the black lesbian community. Genderblind tells the story of Sincere, a young Christian woman who must ask herself how far she’ll go for love. As Sincere’s dance choreographer career starts exploding, she begins compromising her ideals until she meets Grace, a lesbian who makes Sincere question her beliefs about love. Says Joseph, the film is "inspired by some things I've lived, some things I've seen around the black lesbian community, and then the other part is from my imagination ... it runs wild." The film is Chicago to the core, featuring local actress Robyn Daniels as Sincere, and Danielle Jones as Grace. Joseph shot the film on Chicago’s South Side at legendary 34-year-old South Side gay bar Jeffrey Pub, Taste Entertainment, and Bronzeville Boutique, to name a few locations. Watch the trailer here.
Nightcaps: A Late-Night Cabaret
11 p.m.–12:30 a.m. Friday, June 25 at Berlin
Atlanta-based electro-queer comedic band Le Sexoflex headlines the Pride edition of Nightcaps, a regular showcase of live comedy, burlesque, music and other queer surprises (every last Friday of the month at Berlin), hosted by Adam Guerino and Chicago sisters in comedic crime, The Puterbaugh Sisters. Special performances by Double DJ and electric sexiness, DAAN. This party ends at 12:30 a.m., but Berlin hangers-on can keep drinkin’ and dancin’ to DJ Greg Haus till 4 a.m.
Decibelle, Chances & Stardust Present Pride
4 p.m. Sunday, June 27 at Berlin
Berlin is home to the late nights, dance parties, and glitter. On Pride weekend, the nightclub celebrates Dionysus, the Greek God of wine and excess, with LED projections of clouds surrounding Mount Olympus, giant grapes, and wine. Headlined by Brooklyn-born musician Nomi Ruiz, who is best-known for her contributions to Hercules and Love Affair’s debut album, makes music alongside ChancesDances DJs John Twatters, the Lady Speedstick, Butch Cassidy, Nina Ramone and the Lady Miss Navy Pier. With special guest host Jojo Baby, and photos by Glitter Guts. All proceeds benefit the Critical Fierceness Grant and Decibelle Music & Culture Festival.