Overwhelmed by June's slew of GLBT events? We've rainbow-flagged a few likely standouts.
June 1: "A Chicagoan in Exile"
"I left Chicago because being gay was considered taboo among family, friends and in the workplace," explains Jerry Pritikin of his immigration to San Francisco in the early '60s. During his 23 years there, he fashioned a life as a freelance photographer and activist, documenting the heyday of Haight flower power and a growing gay influence in the Castro. His photograph of Harvey Milk at a 1977 rally (right), one year before his assassination, became one of the best-known images of the martyred city supervisor. The exhibition, timed to coincide with Pride Month, can be viewed for free all month long at Gerber/Hart Library, the Midwest's largest GLBT library and archives. Pritikin will attend a reception June 18 from 4 to 7pm. See listings (ongoing) for details. 1127 W Granville Ave between the El tracks and Broadway, 773-381-8030.
June 2: Bailiwick's Pride Series
Bailiwick Repertory's 18th annual Pride Series is an ambitious summer-long programming venture designed to showcase a variety of queer theater. True, the track record for gay work at Bailiwick includes plenty of misses to match its successes, but that's part of the risk when producing so many new works. The two June offerings in the series are both world premieres: Planet of the Bisexuals, a one-man comedy written by and starring the charming David Chapman; and Marlowe, a drama by Chicagoan Harlan Didrickson about the influential queer Elizabethan playwright. (Didrickson refers to Marlowe's Edward II as "history's first gay play.") See listings (ongoing) for schedule details. (1229 W Belmont Ave between Racine and Lakewood Aves, 773-883-1090.)
June 13: Women and Children First's Pride Reading
"There's such a spirit of community when you see seasoned poets and poets who are reading their work for the first time ever, together on the stage," says Linda Bubon, co-owner of Women & Children First. She calls the bookstore's ninth annual Pride Reading "one of our favorite events of the year." Veteran writers at the free event include Gregg Shapiro, Karen Lee Osborne, Kurt Heintz and Robert McDonald. Call ahead to book an open-mike slot for your poem or short prose piece, and show up early—the 7:30pm event packs 'em in. (5233 N Clark St at Farragut Ave, 773-769-9299.)
June 22: Proud to Laugh
Ever notice how really hearty belly laughs leave you feeling like you've been doing crunches? Then you won't be surprised by this marriage of comedy and sports: Three GLBT comedians will kick-start a Gay Games training program. Well, it's a fund-raiser, too, held at Joe's Bar. The Gay Games, an international sports competition (featuring athletes of all skill levels) and a celebration of queer culture, will hit Chicago in July 2006. Whether you're going to try to compete in figure skating, physique or the triathlon, for 20 bucks you can start getting in shape early with Chicago comics Jessica Halem and Sapna Kumar and Denver comic Bill Cruz, who will help you work those stomach muscles. Remember, knee-slapping also burns calories. (940 W Weed St between Kingsbury and Fremont Sts, 773-907-2006.)
June 25: Pride Fest
Two years ago, Chicago finally followed the lead of some other big gay cities by throwing a street bash in Boystown the day before the parade. It doesn't yet have the cachet of the Castro's Pink Party, but with this third iteration, Pride Fest is hitting its stride. Following complaints by local musicians about the number of het performers booked for a Pride event, two music stages this year will rightly feature plenty of queer acts of all stripes, including the Lakeside Pride Freedom Band, Jinx Titanic, DJ Matthew Harvat, DJ Lady Bunny and divalicious RuPaul. The block party's daylong schedule means you can attend other big Saturday 25 events, like the Dyke March in Andersonville, and still not miss this. (Halsted St between Waveland Ave and Grace St, 11am—9pm.)