This Sunday marks the 41st Annual Chicago Pride Parade, and as the gay community in Chicago and across the country continues to work for equal rights, acceptance and mainstream visibility, Pride Weekend gives us a chance to be among thousands of like-minded and local queers, to celebrate who we are and make no apologies for it. Whether you go to Pride to be with friends, march with activists or dance in the streets--Chicago Pride Weekend has it all, and we compiled a list of the highlights below. Happy Pride, Chicago!
Starting at 4 p.m. on Friday, Halsted and Waveland will be the place to be for Pride Weekend festivities, beginning with Northalsted Pride Fest. For $7, you can see 80s pop star Tiffany AND drag shows (get the full lineup here). There will also be food, vendors and LOTS of fellow gays. Want a more lady-centric Friday night? Head over to Circuit Night Club for "All Girl Pride." The party will be hosted by Julie Mosier and Mariah Hanson of the Dinah/Club Skirts, and will involve go-go dancers as well as L.A. DJ Kathy Valenti. If you are saving your boozing and dancing for Saturday and Sunday, head over to the Portage Theater for the premier of "Genderblind." The film, which was made in Chicago, tells the story of a young, black Christian woman who meets a lesbian woman who "challenges her convictions about love." Wanna stay out (get it, out?) all night? Head over to Navy Pier for a Gay Pride Moonlight Cruise. The ship sets out on Lake Michigan just after midnight, and the dancing, drinking and skyline views last until 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Chicago drag phenom Miss Foozie will also be on board.
Every other year, organizers of Chicago's Dyke March choose a new location in the city to hold their annual march. This year, the march will take place in the South Shore neighborhood, in an effort to "build relationships and support the social justice struggles in South Shore in a more meaningful way." The march steps off near 71st and Jeffrey Blvd. and ends in Jackson Park, where there will be music and other performances. Everyone is welcome, but queer women will be the majority. (Read more about the history and mission of the Dyke March here.) Another female-centric Saturday activity is Andersonville's "BackLot Bash," featuring music from the Betty Fords, Crazy Rocket, Shy Violet, Black Betty and more. The prom you never had awaits you Saturday at Mary's Attic! After 9:30 p.m., you can attend Pride Prom for free. Fancy (or tacky) prom attire encouraged! We always knew prom would be better with gays and cocktails. If you want to be surrounded in fit, sweaty men before Sunday's parade, head over to Spin nightclub for their Beach Ball. Mystique Summers Madison from RuPaul's "Drag Race" will be in attendance--go-go boys, too.
Slam a Gatorade and get over that hangover--it's parade time. Chicago's 41st Annual Pride Parade steps off at noon Sunday and will likely draw thousands of people to North Halsted Street for bead throwing, dancing, public nudity and, of course celebrating all things gay with your fellow gays and allies. This year the Chicago Blackhawks' recently-won Stanley Cup will make an appearance as well. After the parade, there will be parties galore, but here are some to note: GirlBlast (in the Belmont Avenue parking lot of Ann Sather) drew more than 3,500 women last year. TimeOut lauds the party a "booze-and-boobs bash," which sells it for us. Nomi of (Hercules and Love Affair) will be performing at Berlin following the parade, along with the Chances Dances DJs John Twatters, Lady Speedstick, Butch Cassidy, Nina Ramone and Lady Miss Navy Pier. If you're looking for a fancier post-Pride parade experience, head over to the Gold Coast for "Glitter," at Le Passage, dubbed the "official" Pride after-party.
Going to any of these (or any other) Pride festivities this weekend? Send your photos to firstname.lastname@example.org!