Celebrate Pride Month with “The Valkyries: Badasses on Bikes”

CHICAGO — A new play inspired by the real life biker club, The Sirens of NYC (the biker gang that leads the Pride Parade in NYC each year), “The Valkyries: Badasses on Bikes” is a touching story concerning queer and trans characters forming their own biker club. “The Valkyries: Badasses on Bikes” performs Wednesdays at 8pm, through June 28, 2017, at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647). Please visit www.gorillatango.com or call 773-598-4549 for tickets and information. Smith has written a story about the family we choose, the family we don’t, and the development of an unlikely philanthropy for this motorcycle club that is able to unite them all together. We are thrilled to be producing The Valkyries: Badasses on Bikes as part of Gorilla Tango’s “Gorilla Tango Originals” Series.

Dionne Warwick joining Center on Halsted gala

CHICAGO – Center on Halsted in Chicago is proud to announce that legendary performer and Grammy Award winner Dionne Warwick is scheduled to perform live at the event on Saturday, May 20, 2017. TEN XUBERANT YEARS marks the 10th Anniversary of Center on Halsted and Dionne will perform an artistic statement of her support in the advancement of Chicago’s LGBTQ community. Dionne will be joined with the Human First Award recipient Fred Eychaner and other noteworthy attendees and elected officials. Attendees include Co-Chairs Michael and Cari Sacks, Laura Ricketts and Brooke Skinner Ricketts, Illinois State Senator Heather Steans and Chicago Alderman Tom Tunney. Is there a possibility of Dionne Warwick performing a special rendition of her iconic LGBTQ anthem song “That’s What Friends Are For”, a song that brought diverse communities together during the AIDS epidemic?

IML 2017 send off for Mr. Fetish Jackhammer, Mr. Leather 64TEN

CHICAGO — Jackhammer and leather store Leather 64TEN held an IML send-off for their contestants at Jackhammer on Saturday, May 13. Slade Travis, Mr. Fetish Jackhammer 2017, and TJ Howard, Mr. Leather 64TEN 2017, will be two of three contestants representing Chicago at International Mr. Leather over Memorial Day weekend. Saturday was also TJ’s birthday and chances to give him spanking were offered for $5 for two swats with a paddle. The send-off was hosted by the Emperor and Empress of the Imperial Court of the Windy City. A silent auction was held to help raise money for both Slade’s and TJ’s efforts at IML.

ILGRA names new Mr. ILGRA 2017

CHICAGO — The Illinois Gay Rodeo Association (ILGRA) named Shawn Bennett as their Mr. ILGRA 2017 on Saturday, May 13. Shawn will represent ILGRA and help promote the rodeo over the next year with Ashley Morgan, Miss ILGRA 2017. Ashley is also the owner of The Call, a bar at the northern edge of Chicago’s Andersonville neighborhood. They’ll be attending the International Gay Rodeo Association finals in Albuquerque, N.M. in October. The event was held at Charlie’s Chicago, a gay country music bar in Boystown.

26 at Pride Art Center, May 26

CHICAGO — Late-Night at the Pride Arts Center announces “26” Friday nights at 11pm, May 26th through July 14th at The Buena Theater inside the Pride Arts Center, located at 4147 N Broadway Ave. “26” features sketches written by the Chicago theater, sketch and improv community including: Sean Graney, David Cerda, Susan Messing, Rachael Mason, Lindsay Bartlett, Derek Van Barham, Becca Brown, Robert Bouwman, Tim Skau, Brittany Vogel, as well as the performing cast. “26” is the debut show as part of Pride Arts Center’s new late-night programming. The cast includes Savannah Cannistraro, Donovan Mullings, Edward Fraim, Amanda Forman, Alyssa Ratkovich, Matthew Lunt, Kallie Rolison and Ross Christian. It is directed by Brian Gore and assistant directed by Allison Heinz.

New Illinois Bear titles awarded

CHICAGO — The Illinois Bear Contests selected their new titleholders this past Saturday at the Leather Archives & Museum. Cipactli Croc Onyx is Mr. Illinois Bear 2017, D.J. is Mr. Illinois Cub 2017, and Michael S. is Mr. Illinois Bear Hunter 2017. The contest was a weekend event with a meet and greet at Jackhammer on Friday night with the Leather Archives hosting contestant interviews and main contest on Saturday. The victory party was at Touche afterwards. More than $800 was raised for the Windy City Empire’s charities. The other contestants were Tom W. of Chicago and Michael E. of Peoria.

Ride for AIDS Chicago Raffle on July 9

CHICAGO — A live drawing for each prize will be performed on July 9, 2017 at the Ride for AIDS Chicago closing ceremony. Drawn winning tickets will not be used for additional drawings. To have a chance of winning multiple prizes, multiple raffle tickets must be purchased. Visit http://bit.ly/rideraffle for more details and a listing of prizes. Need not be present to win.

GTO gets woke with its world premiere sci-fi/hip-hop mashup: #GETWOKE


CHICAGO — “Woke”: past tense and paste participle of “Wake.” Related: “Stay Woke” or “Get Woke” (adjective; slang) meaning a state of being self-aware, questioning the dominant paradigm, and/or striving for something better, especially as it relates to social injustice. E.G. “While you are obsessing about the Kardashians, there are millions of homeless in the world. GET WOKE.” #GETWOKE, written by James Jones and directed by Jessica N. Vann, performs April 7-May 28, 2017 at 7:30pm (Fridays in April and Sundays in May: April 7, 14, 21, and 28, and May 7, 14, 21 and 28), at Gorilla Tango Theatre (1919 N. Milwaukee Avenue, Chicago IL 60647). Tickets are $20.

New Howard Brown program expands support for sexual assault survivors

CHICAGO – Howard Brown Health has launched an innovative Sexual Harm Response Project called in.power* to better assist survivors of sexual assault in gaining access to needed medical, behavioral health, legal, and support services.  The program is designed to serve all people who experience sexual harm inclusive of diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people. in.power* is believed to be the first LGBTQ-specific sexual assault support program of its kind and the only resource in Illinois designed specifically for sexual and gender minorities. “Survivors of sexual harm deserve supportive services that are trauma informed and accessible,” said Dr. Paige Leigh Baker, in.power* Sexual Harm Response Project Manager for Howard Brown Health. “With the generous commitment from our funders, support from organizational leadership, and the exceptional skill set of Howard Brown staff, in.power* is uniquely poised to provide affirming, holistic care for survivors. Howard Brown is proud to be able to offer this vital service to members of our community who have experienced sexual violence.”

Through in.power*, patients are eligible to receive free STI testing and treatment along with supportive services including case management, support groups, acupuncture, legal support, linkage to community resources, and survivor support.