Maximize your rainbow-filled weekend with these five tailor-made itineraries.
Our recession-proof guide to the weekend kicks off Friday 25 at the two-day Chicago Pride Fest, where $7 gains you access to hours of live music including Tiffany. Also on Saturday, down three-buck Buds at Hydrate’s free Pride Bowl, a party for the Chicago Metropolitan Sports Association. After 9:30pm, dress in your tackiest tux or gown for the Pride Prom at Mary’s Attic, a free fund-raiser for the LGBT-inclusive Holy Covenant Church. And on Sunday 27, bring your own BBQ to the ebullient Pride on the Rocks, an afternoon of food, vendors and live music that attracts thousands of the city’s black and Latino queers.
It’s anchors away for Chicago lesbians when gay civil-rights org Lambda Legal celebrates with its annual Ladies on the Lake, a floating party with skyline views on Thursday 24. Pride floats again on Friday 25 at the Miss Foozie–hosted Gay Pride Moonlight Cruise, an after-hours party with booze, boys and an almost-full moon. Stay on dry land Saturday 26 for Spin’s sunny Beach Ball party featuring Drag Race diva Mystique Summers Madison.
Women, often relegated to weekly and monthly bar nights, exact their revenge on Pride weekend. On Thursday 24, South Side chuckle hut Jokes & Notes hosts a smorgasbord of sapphic jokesters at She Laughs OUTLoud, headlined by Karen Williams and also featuring local comics Sapna Kumar and Cameron Esposito. On Friday 25, zip over to Circuit Night Club for Julie Mosier and Mariah Hanson of the Dinah/Club Skirts as they present All Girl Pride with go-go girls and L.A. DJ Kathy Valenti. Saturday 26 brings the Dyke March and rally at its new South Shore location. Rock out afterward at Andersonville’s BackLot Bash, a two-day music fest behind Cheetah Gym, but save energy for Sunday’s Girl Blast in the Ann Sather parking lot on Belmont Avenue. This post-parade booze-and-boobs bash last year boasted more than 3,500 ladies.
On Thursday 24, get your ass to the Gene Siskel for a final performance of the stellar 8: The Mormon Proposition. On Friday 25, the world premieres of Genderblind at the Portage Theater and Woke Up Black at theWit offer insight into the black gay experience. But if you’d rather laugh than cry, check out The Hot D8 Campaign, a night of queer stand-up at Mary’s Attic, or Qweirdo, 1, 2, Fag and Hag’s showcase of improvised and sketch comedy at iO.
The parade isn’t the only place to see lads and lasses at their most scantily clad. At Mary’s Attic’s Girlie-Q Pride Show on Thursday 24, the burlesque troupe’s queer babes put their naughty parts front and center. Porn star Tommy Defendi will coax you out of your clothes as the host of Spin’s Pride Shower Party Friday 25. Down the street, enjoy the battle of the bulges as Hydrate hosts its Andrew Christian Fashion Show, an underwear extravaganza. Rise and shine for shirtless men and women in sports bras at the Frontrunners’ annual Proud to Run Saturday 26. And if the Pride Parade isn’t fleshy enough, try a meet and greet with June Playgirl cover model Ronnie Kroell at Got Pride?, a post-Pride booze bash at Cesar’s on Broadway on Sunday 27 (Kroell makes another appearance Sunday night at Le Passage’s sweaty and debaucherous club night Glitter).