by WBEZ + photos
Art Johnston and his partner Jose “Pepe” Peña opened Sidetrack, one of the country’s first music video bars. It was a wildly novel idea at the time, and during the HIV/AIDS crisis and the legislative fights for equality, Sidetrack became a locus for the community to gather, organize political action and fundraise for causes. The same year the bar opened Mayor Jane Byrne became the first Chicago mayor to become outspoken against bar raids. She issued an executive order banning discrimination in city hiring or the provision of services. “It's time we put it on the books “Mayor Byrne said. It would take another six years before legislation was actually passed. - WBEZ
“I had this incredible experience of coming to activism through the bar scene, [but] we did not set out to become an activist bar. It was just a chance to do things that mattered to us … Gay bars were the only places of refuge. Bars were all we had.” — Art Johnston
Art Johnston above to the far right
and him below in 2019
A New More Inclusive Flag?
Communities are addressing the [LGBTQ+ senior housing] issue. With the opening of Town Hall [in Chicago], which had more than 400 applicants for 79 studio and one-bedroom apartments, Chicago became the third city in the USA since last year to open housing catering to low-income LGBT people. Similar housing developments in Minneapolis and Philadelphia, both of which opened late last year, also received far more applicants than they could accommodate. Two more LGBT-friendly projects for low-income seniors are in the pipeline for San Francisco and Los Angeles, which opened the first such development in 2007. – USA Today
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
photo - Lake View Patch
The most dramatic demographic changes are occurring outside large cities. According to the 2010 American Community Survey, one per cent of all coupled households in the U.S. are gay, and, of these, twenty per cent report having kids. Consequently, many gay parents are moving from gayborhoods to nearby suburbs, while still others are congregating in conservative states like Mississippi and Idaho. “Many same-sex couples are raising children in states that have a legal environment that is at best not supportive and at worst openly hostile toward them and their families,” Ghaziani writes. Surprisingly, perhaps, the cities with the highest percentage of same-sex couples raising children include Salt Lake City and Bismarck, North Dakota.
It’s the sort of contradiction that Ghaziani argues lies at the heart of contemporary gay life. The fact that gay families live in both conservative and liberal areas across the country is evidence “that we are post-gay,” he writes. But the fact that gay families in conservative states tend to cluster in cities like Salt Lake suggests that many gay men and women still seek safety in numbers. Ghaziani predicts that, as gayborhoods thin out in large, coastal cities like New York and San Francisco, they will grow in smaller cities like Albuquerque and Richmond, Virginia, where acceptance is not yet as strong.
photos - WBEZ
photos below - Jonathan Pizer
Supporting their Own
Orlando: one year later ...
article & photos - DNAinfo
via Owen Keehen
via Chicago Now
1986 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
3551 N Sheffield Avenue
image - David Ehrlicher
image - Bitter Old Queen
1983 image - Chicago Gay Bars Past & Present
image - Windy City Rewind
1979 image - Gay Chicago Rewind
The Closet Bar was launched in 1978 by 2 lesbians, Rose and Judi. The lesbian-operated and owned establishment was originally introduced as a place where women could proudly drink and be themselves, but later became a popular option for gay men as well. Nonetheless, The Closet is still a women-dominated bar today.
This small gay bar features a full-size bar decorated with Christmas lights, black vinyl high back bar stools near the wall, and an open spot for karaoke or dancing, depending on the night. Some of the walls feature pictures reminiscent of the bar’s heydays. Recently, during an event dubbed, “cutest pet contest” one of the walls at The Closet Bar was covered with delightful black and white photos of patrons’ pets. While you might at one time or another lack something to do at the bar. - their website
At this shoebox of a cocktail bar, the drinks are skillfully prepared, the crowd is kept to a minimum by the doorman, and the music never gets so loud that it drowns out your insights on Jean Genet. The clientele is mixed in age but not in gender, and everyone is on their best behavior, which makes it an altogether more sophisticated and adult experience than Elixir’s next-door sister, Hydrate. - Time OUT Chicago
BOYSTOWN — The developer of a proposed LGBT-focused boutique hotel still wants the project to happen despite months of silence regarding an updated design. Ian Reisner of Parkview Developers debuted his idea for The Out Hotel Chicago last April, and since Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) rejected the design in September, Reisner's stayed quiet on the project, leaving neighbors and business owners curious about whether the development will still happen.
The project even got a shout-out in an Out Traveler magazine write-up about why Boystown is the world's best gay neighborhood in 2013. Reisner, who already owns an Out hotel in New York, said he is still pursuing the $30 million Chicago project, but more details won't be available until at least February.
He has "not abandoned" the proposed location, 3343 N. Halsted St., he said in an email. Local business owners supported the hotel with hopes that it would revive Boystown as an LGBT-destination. But many neighbors opposed the 79-foot, eight-story hotel for its size, saying the bulk didn't fit the character of the neighborhood. After months of community meetings and several redesigns, Tunney agreed and asked Reisner for a "more cohesive" design or to look at other locations. Reisner would not comment on whether he's focused on redesigning for 3343 N. Halsted St. or on finding a new location. - DNAinfo
Spin offers a variety of activities to keep its patrons busy all night long. There are pool tables for those who want to get their game on, big screen TVs for the anti social, a retro lounge for socializing and a dance floor for the bump and grinders. There’s definitely something to keep everyone occupied. Plus, there’s three full-service bars to help facilitate drink orders on busy nights.Spin has a very diverse crowd. It doesn’t give off a “LGBTQ+ only” vibe. There’s a mix of gay, straight, white, black, etc… I have many times brought my straight friends and they practically begged me to take them back to Spin. I wouldn’t categorize Spin as a bar with a certain age level. Depending on the night there could be a crowd of 40-year-old men or a crowd of twenty-somethings crowding the dance floor. Everyone in the club is friendly including the hardworking staff, as you never have to linger at the bar too long before you are served a drink. Better yet, everyone working there actually seemed to be enjoying themselves and looking like they wanted to be there. -Chicago Bar Project unknown date
Spin, which has been owned by local businessman David Gassman for more than 15 years, went up for sale in February. The 9,000-square-foot club at the high-traffic corner of Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street was known for its big dance floor, amateur drag shows and Friday night shower contests. - DNAinfo 2014
Spin's not returning to Boystown, but clubbers hunting for the latest incarnation of Manhole are in luck. The club, along with a new companion concept, The Den Cocktail Bar, is set to open next week inside the site at Belmont Avenue and Halsted Street that recently became a revolving door for establishments. They'll open on Thursday, May 14. Management's describing The Den as having a 1920s men's social club lounge vibe with cocktails curated by Elixir's Vlad Novikov, with recipes from the Old Waldorf Astoria Bar Book. There's not many details about the third incarnation of the Manhole except there's going to be a shop for those interested in sport, leather and rubber fetish offerings. That will be run by Full Kit Gear, which operates a storefront in Boystown. There's a bit of a complicated history for this site, so here's a primer. Boystown landmark Spin closed in May 2014, and new ownership came in and opened two neighboring joints: Chloe's and Whiskey Trust. After a few financially-trying months, Chloe's went away to make room in September for the second coming of the Manhole. The first Manhole closed in 2002 where Hydrate Night Club now stands down the street on Halsted. Still with us? Manhole and Whiskey Trust closed in December, as Spin's former owner, Dave Gassman once again gained control of the space. Gassman declined comment, only pointing out that LKH Management, which also runs Hydrate and Elixir, will run the new Manhole and The Den. The former owners of Chloe's and Whisky Trust brought in LKH last year to help when those establishments floundered. – Eatery 2015
it was long and narrow space
video of their evolutionphoto - by Sukie De La Croix
Sidetracks owners Art & Peppie - 1984
Making History Awards for the contribution to their community
tossing napkins in the air
Chicago, IL - An extra-alarm fire in the Lakeview neighborhood has severely damaged the three-story building that houses Scarlet Bar on the North Halsted strip of Boystown. At one point over 100 firefighters battled the 2-11 alarm blaze that erupted at about 7:15 a.m. on Friday in the commercial and residential building at 3320 N. Halsted. Chicago Fire Department spokesman Quention Curtis said there were heavy flames throughout the building. Paul D. Cannella, Scarlet co-owner, tells ChicagoPride.com that the fire appears to have started on the second floor and spread to the third floor. "While there was little or no fire damage to Scarlet, the water damage was quite extensive," explained Cannella. Go Pride
the photo gallery
leaders of the community
Aldermen James Cappleman 46th, Tom Tunney 44th, and Raymond Lopez of the 13th ward
owners of Roscoe Tavern and Sidetrack
Gregg Moreland via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
and below ....
Ron Erday's smartphone via Chicagopedia-Facebook
the year of the 50th anniversary of Chicago Pride Parades
a WTTW Report
On a typical Thursday night, businesses in the East Lakeview strip of Halsted Street would be full of people checking out the dozens of restaurants, bars and clubs. These establishments are more than just places of entertainment, they’re community anchors in a neighborhood that sees itself as a place of acceptance for people who might have not been accepted elsewhere. So the shutdown has not only hurt the local economy, but the sense of community.
“We definitely need to keep our street vibrant and healthy, because it tells people who we are,” said Ramesh Aryanayakam, president of the Northaslted Business Alliance. “It says we’re where people come as a place of refuge.”
Aryanayakam also owns the popular Kit Kat Lounge, which regularly stages drag shows and other performances. He says the neighborhood residents who work in the performance industry have been devastated by the shutdown.
“Boystown is known as a place for great entertainment,” he said. “We have our divas at the Kit Kat Lounge, most places have drag shows, entertainment, DJs. They’re all out of work,” he said.
Aryanayakam says small businesses in the neighborhood have lost anywhere between 70% and 80% of their normal income. The Chicago Diner, a local staple that is celebrating its 37th anniversary this week, has been able to keep on most of its staff members that have expressed a desire to keep working. Partner Michael Hornick says he has applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable loan fund offered by the federal stimulus to encourage businesses to keep workers employed. But he says that can only carry his business so far. - WTTW 2020
while adding some comic relief via gif's & photoshop's
Unofficially not Boystown
photo - Enjoy Chicago
article - Chicago Tribune