Whatever you may have heard, the truth about Chicago is that you can pretty much make whatever you want to happen a reality here. With this secret blessing, Chicago has produced a thriving queer scene, most of which will welcome anyone with open arms. Below is a shortlist, broken down day-by-day, of people, places, and things on the periphery of the Midwest rainbow.
Chances – 3rd Mondays 10pm-2am @ The Subterranean– 21+
Chances is a monthly dance party which “functions to bring together the varied LGBTIQ communities of Chicago.” A very women- and trans-friendly environment with a rotating DJ lineup, so there is a bit of something for everybody.
@ The Subterranean, 2011 W. North Ave, FREE (Damen Blue Line Stop)
Yours Truly – 1st Mondays 10pm-2am @ Danny’s – 21+
Another awesome night at Danny’s Tavern. With the DJs taking monikers such as Jon Benet Ramsey, Walt Hitman, and Marquis de Sade (Shar-Day), you know you can expect some punchy faggotry.
@ Danny’s Tavern, 1951 W. Dickens, FREE (Damen or Western Blue Line Stops)
Chica-A-Go-Go – Tuesdays @ 8:30pm on CAN-TV (Channel 19)
This is probably the most beloved and well-known show on Chicago’s public access station, Can-TV – and with good reason. Hostess Miss Mia and her entourage of puppet rats (most notably, Ratso) welcome local bands who perform for a gaggle of dancing children, young and old. The show also shows on Wednesdays @ 3:30. To be a part of the live studio audience, email firstname.lastname@example.org. To check out old episodes, go to www.roctober.com/chicagogo/watchonline.html
Gerber/Hart Library Reading Groups – 2nd and 4th Tuesdays 7:30-9pm – All Ages
Chicago’s LGBT library and archive also hosts two reading groups: one for women on the 2nd Tuesdays, and another for men on the 4th Tuesdays. (Not sure about their policy on trans-identified folks) The next selections and meeting times are:
(Women’s) Loose Lips by Rita Mae Brown, September 9th.
(Men’s) Palimpsest: A Memoir by Gore Vidal, September 23rd
The library is also open for perusing Wed/Thurs 6-9pm, Fri-Sun 12-4 pm
Gerber/Hart Library: 1127 West Granville Avenue (Granville Red Line Stop)
Off Chances – 2nd Tuesdays 10pm-2am @ Danny’s – 21+
A 2nd monthly party brought to you by the folks behind Chances. This party is dedicated to creating a cruisy, laid-back, dance-optional safe-space for queers and allies.
The organizers and DJs make free Mix CDs and pastries on a first-come/first-serve basis, so come early. Don’t be too sad if you miss out on the mix CDs, the Off Chances crew has started to archive them on their very own podcast @ offchances.podbean.com.
OUTDanced – Every Tuesday 10pm -2am @ Funky Buddha – 21+
This pansexual, queer-friendly night functions equally as a dance party, rock club and fashionista scene, with such hip acts as The Ssion, Men, Peaches and Leslie & The Lys.
@ Funky Buddha, 728 W. Grand Ave (Grand Blue Line Stop), Admission Varies.
Smiths Night – 4th Tuesdays 10pm-2am @ Danny’s – 21+
A tribute night to the original pomosexual popstar (Morrissey) and his gang of musical superheroes (The Smiths). Duh. Totally!
@ Danny’s Tavern, 1951 W. Dickens, (Damen or Western Blue Line Stops) FREE!
Early To Bed – 18+
While not exactly an event, Early To Bed has become somewhat of a Chicago institution. As a feminist, “women-oriented, boy-friendly” sex store for all genders, Early To Bed is heavily involved in the queer and feminist communities, donating to fundraisers, doing sexy toy presentations and, recently, co-presenting a queer porn night at the Leather Archives. They truly have something for everyone.
Early To Bed is open Tues 12-7, Wed-Fri 12-9, Sat 12-8, Sun 12-6 and also does private parties and after hours shopping for very reasonable fees.
5232 N. Sheridan (Argyle Red Line Stop)
TYRA – Wednesdays 6-8pm @ Broadway Youth Center – 16 to 24
TYRA – Transgender Youth Resources & Advocacy – is a social group for trans-identified and gender-questioning folks aged 16-24. This event functions as a social safe-space and a place to learn about legal rights and health.
@ Broadway Youth Center, 3179 N Broadway (Belmont Red Line Stop) FREE!
Women’s Night – Every Other Wednesday 7-10pm @ West Town Bikes – All Ages
This bi-monthly workshop is a safe-space for women and women-identified folks to learn how to fix, maintain and soup up their bikes. Beverages and snacks are encouraged!
West Town Bikes, 2418 W North Ave – Door is in the alley behind the building. FREE!
Contact the instructors Emily or Kisha for info: email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Dyke Mic 2.2 – 2nd and 4th Thursdays 7:30pm @ Big Chick’s/Tweet – All Ages
An all-ages open mic for queer women of all gender persuasions hosted by JT Newman.
@ Big Chick’s/Tweet, 5024 N. Sheridan (Argyle Red Line Stop) FREE!
FKA – 1st Thursdays 10pm-2am @ Big Chick’s – 21+
FKA – Formerly Known As – is an immensely popular dance night for “trans men and trans women and their chasers, queers and allies, movers and/or shakers.” The crowd tends to be as welcoming and friendly as they are sexy and colorful.
@ Big Chick’s, 5024 N. Sheridan (Argyle Red Line Stop) FREE!
NewTown Writers – Every Other Thursday – All Ages
NewTown Writers is a gay and lesbian writers’ salon based in Chicago. To find out the meeting locations, send your email to email@example.com to be added to the mailing list.
Wayward Sisters – 4th Thursdays @ The Bijou Theatre – 21+
This monthly queer party takes place in Chicago’s very own Bijou – the oldest porn theatre and sex club in the U.S.! The sex club stays open, weird vintage porn plays in the theatre and DJ’s from Chances play records for a mulit-gendered crowd.
@ Bijou, 1349 N. Wells (Clark/Divison Red Line Stop) $10 with free beer and wine.
Amigatas Youth Group – 2nd Fridays 6-8pm @ Center on Halsted – Teens to 20’s
This youth group offers a space for LBTQQ Latina adolescents and 20-somethings to gather, socialize and strategize. Contact Zaida for more info: firstname.lastname@example.org
@ Center on Halsted, 3656 N. Halsted (Addison Red Line Stop) FREE!
Cake Chicago – Last Fridays 9pm @ Red Line Tap – 21+
This monthly variety show aims to bring “queer artistry into the general public.”
@ Red Line Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood (Morse Red Line Stop) $5 or more.
Leather Archives and Museum – 18+
Chicago’s bondage and leather communities are the proud beneficiaries of this museum which dedicates itself to “preservation and maintenance of leather lifestyle and related lifestyles, including but not limited to the Gay and Lesbian communities.
The museum is open Thurs/Fri 12-8, Sat/Sun 12-5.
6418 N. Greenview Ave (Loyola Red Line Stop) $5.
This is the all-but-officially gay beach in Chicago. Grabs some friends and a blanket and make it a day! I prefer to go on the weekends, when all types of bodies are splashin around.
Hollywood and Lake Shore–ish (Bryn Mawr Red Line Stop)
Saturdays @ Stargaze 10pm-3am – 21+
While the Stargaze staff may suffer from spasms of lesbian seperatism, the crowd on Saturdays – primarily women of color – could not be more open and friendly. DJ XL, the resident Saturday night DJ, plays a great mix of House, Hip-Hop and Old School jams and keeps the party moving all night.
Stargaze, 5419 N. Clark (Berwyn Red Line Stop) Admission is usually $5
Sunday Soup @ Incubate 1-4pm – All Ages
Every Sunday, the folks at Incubate, or a guest chef, make a delicious soup for anyone to stop in and enjoy ($5 for Pints, $7 for Quarts). The funds raised will be awarded as a grant, and the awardees are elected by Sunday Soup patrons.
2129 N. Rockwell (California Blue Line Stop) $5 Pint/ $7 Quart.
A NIGHT IN:
Chic-A-Go-Go on CAN-TV or online
ThinkPink Podcast @ thinkpinkradio.com
Off Chances Podcast @ offchances.podbean.com
Love FM @ 100.3 FM
QUEER FRIENDLY ARTS VENUES:
Mess Hall – 6932 N. Glenwood – messhall.org
No Coast – 1500 W 17th St – no-coast.org
Roots + Culture – 1034 N Milwaukee – rootsandculturecac.org
Swimming Pool Project Space – 2858 W. Montrose – swimmingpoolprojectspace.com