Out on the town
From beach bashes to black-bra parties, these cultural events prove there's more to the Gay Games than what happens on the field.
FREE Photographer Victor Skrebneski unveils black-and-white images of 14 local Gay Games athletes (and yes, two are “physique” category competitors). Meet Skrebneski and the featured gladiators at the “Athletes: Skrebneski Portraits” opening reception (5–7pm). City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower, 806 N Michigan Ave (312-744-2400). Mon–Sat 10am–8:30pm; Sun 10am–5pm. Through Oct 9.
Taking your lifestyle a little too seriously? Watch as gay couples time-share a baby and a fag-hag support group spins out of control when the musical sketch-comedy troupe GayCo trots out its favorite numbers from the past decade in DaVinci GayCode: 10 Years of Heresy. Theatre Building Chicago, 1225 W Belmont Ave (773-327-5252). $25. Thu–Fri 7:45pm; Sat 7:45, 10:30pm; Sun 7pm. Through Jul 23.
In the ’90s, Esera Tuaolo was a NFL defensive lineman who undoubtedly kicked some Chicago Bear ass. He was also desperately hiding his homosexuality from his teammates. He’ll tell his riveting story at the Sports Equality Day Conference. Roosevelt University, 430 S Michigan Ave (www.gaygameschicago.org/special). $25 includes lunch. 10:30am–5pm.
If your home decor needs some butching up, check out the hundreds of pieces at the Leather Archives & Museum’s Gay Erotic Art Sale. The collection includes early work by Colt Studios founder-photographer Jim French and hypermasculine fetish art by Bill Schmeling, known to insiders as “The Hun.” 6418 N Greenview Ave (773-761-9200). $5. Fri 14 noon–8pm; Sat 15, Sun 16 noon–5pm.
FREE If you prefer family values over fetishes, consider the opening reception (5–8pm) for “We Are Family: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Parents.” Maternity photographer Jennifer Loomis flips a figurative bird at the religious right’s claim that only heteros are capable of creating happy families. (Haven’t they seen Mommie Dearest?) Navta Schulz Gallery, 1039 W Lake St (312-421-5506). Tue–Sat noon–6pm. Through Jul 23
"We are Family: Portraits of Gay and Lesbian Parents" by Jennifer Loomis, at Navta Schulz Gallery
In Some Like It Homo: An Evening of Solo Works, Joe Stieff remounts his show, Golden Corral, about growing up gay in rural Appalachia. Brian Lobel’s Other Funny Stories About Cancer explores queer identities, virginity and mortality (9:30pm, also Sat 15, Jul 21 and 22). And Erika Lopez describes her experiences in Nothing Left but the Smell: A Republican on Welfare at 8pm on July 21 and 22. Live Bait Theater, 3914 N Clark St (773-771-1212). $15 or $20 for a two-show pass.
FREE Celebrate the first official day of the games with Let the Gaymes Begin, an afternoon party featuring bigwig Lady Bunny, former Deee-Lite frontwoman Lady Kier, Chicago’s own ROTC (Righteously Outrageous Twirling Corps) and many others. 3012 N Broadway in the parking lot of the former Dominick’s (www.gaygames.org). 11am–6pm.
FREE Don your Bermudas and head to Hollywood Beach for Reeling at Gay Games VII: Shorts on the Beach. You’ll be rewarded with award-winning short films such as “Sissy Frenchfry,” J.C. Oliva’s comedy about high-school politics; and “Dinner Conversation,” Jim Cashman’s four-minute gem about a slip of the tongue that causes a third date to go haywire. 5800 N Lake Shore Dr (773-293-1447). 8pm.
There’s no dress code at Black Bra International, but it’s recommended that you at least wear shoes. The dance segues into a late-night affair, with an all-grrrl DJ lineup led by L.A.’s Sandra Edge and San Francisco’s Gray. Erotic aerial acrobats Gravity Plays Favorites kick up their stilettos on brass poles, and surprise guests from the pages of Curve magazine are expected. Transit, 1431 W Lake St (312-491-8600). $20. 6pm–2am.
Sandra Bernhard’s Off Broadway show hits Chicago later this year, but in the meantime, she’ll perform politically driven stand-up comedy tailored specifically to the Gay Games. HotHouse, 31 E Balbo Dr (312-362-9707). $65–$75. 8pm. (See “Top brash,”.)
It’s a little ways from downtown, but the Pride Pool Party is well worth the trip. You’ll walk through Daniel Burnham–designed Park District building, then find an outdoor wonderland with a walk-in pool for 500, complete with a 36-foot water slide. The event also features a performance by former Arrested Development singer Nadirah Shakoor, dancing to an all-lesbian DJ lineup, complimentary appetizers, a dessert buffet and nonalcoholic tropical drinks. Washington Park Aquatic Center, 5538 S Russell Dr (www.gaygameschicago.org). $48. 8–11pm.
Steppin Out brings together 350 musicians from around the world for an evening of classical music under the stars. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan Ave between Monroe and Randolph Sts (www.gaygameschicago.org). $30 pavilion seating, lawn seating FREE. 6–9pm.
FREE More than 300 participants from around the world will flex their vocal chords tonight in Sing Out, a choral concert that will mix male, female, gospel and youth choir groups under the leadership of artistic conductor James Knapp. Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, Michigan Ave between Monroe and Randolph Sts (www.gaygameschicago.org). 6–9pm.
You definitely won’t want to miss miss the well-heeled international crowd at the Peninsula Hotel Party. Nosh on complimentary gourmet appetizers, sip (okay, gulp) a Raspberry Truffle martini at the cash bar and groove to the DJs at this world-class hotel. 108 E Superior St (312-337-2888). $20. 6–10pm.
With Gay Standard Time in mind, the boarding starts at 7:15pm for the fourth annual International Pride Cruise featuring French cellist Cecile Savage, DJ Sheron, music mix-ologist DJ Tyson, appetizers, a cash bar, a FREE raffle and karaoke. Even the perpetually prompt should still arrive unfashionably early, as there are two ID checks required before boarding. Spirit of Chicago, south side of Navy Pier, 600 E Grand Ave (312-836-7899). $60. 8pm.
The athletes may get medals, but the winning-word nerds split a $5,000 cash prize at the International GLBT Poetry Slam. The judges and guest performers include poets Staceyann Chin, Tim’m West and avery r young, as well as Poetry Slam creator Marc Smith. DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E 56th Pl (773-947-0600). $20–$30. 6–10pm.
Cap off your week with a night out at the ballpark. Watch the 2005 World Series champions duke it out with the Texas Rangers from an upper box seat at Gay Games Night with the White Sox. Manager Ozzie Guillen will be on his best behavior. U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W 35th St (312-674-1000). $27. 7pm.
At Move!…The 2006 International House Music Festival, you and 7,500 of your closest friends can bust out old-school moves to beats from Frankie Knuckles, Maurice Joshua, David Morales and more. Wigstock’s Lady Bunny, fashion stylist Phillip Bloch and NBC Channel 5’s LeeAnn Trotter host. Charter One Pavilion at Northerly Island, 1300 S Lynn White Dr (312-223-0165). $30–$35. Jul 22, 23 1–11pm.
For more gay- and lesbian-interest events beyond the Games, see the Gay & Lesbian section and listings marked GLBT throughout the issue.