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Archive for the ‘LGBT’ Category

Chasity Chaos, NBC Chicago Street Team

Penny Starr Jr., producer of “The Velvet Hammer Burlesque” a self-titled documentary film on the Los Angeles neo-burlesque troupe, will be in town to conduct a burlesque workshop August 29 at Think Big Studios located at 2120 W. Grand Ave.Penny Starr Jr

The granddaughter of Philadelphia’s legendary burlesque performer Penny Starr, Starr Jr. decided to dedicate herself to uplifting the legacy of her grandmother after producing the film. “You can only live with the circus for so long before you want to join,” said Starr Jr.

The workshop boasts the following classes:

11am-12pm – A Burlesque Routine in 10 Moves or Less

12:15pm-1:15pm – Rhinestone Application & Design Principles

1:30pm-2:30pm – Take it Off: Pop vs. Peel Striptease Techniques

In addition to holding the workshops, Starr Jr. will also assist Chicago’s own burlesque production company Vaudezilla in celebrating the year anniversary of BROADZILLA!, a free burlesque show held the last Friday of every month at Exit, 1315 W North Av.

For more information on the workshop, visit http://vaudezilla.com/pennystarrjr.htm

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC Chicago Street Team

One of the greatest things about the Chicago LGBT community, as we all know, is the number of take-your-shirt-off-worthy events it churns out during the summer, the last major one of which is Market Days. However, not one to fall to complacency (or the temptation to start consuming carbs, of course), the LGBT community has put out one more Summer extravaganza for all to enjoy.

“Be The Change”, an event providing platform for LGBT and LGBT-friendly peeps to network, socialize, innovate and, yes, enjoy a drink or two will take place at Spin, on Saturday August 15th, from 6pm-10pm.

Put together by LGBT Change and Club 1948, two non-for-profit organizations promoting tolerance, love, and acceptance across all walks of life, the event will be kicked off by live DJ K, followed by a live power-swing band performance from Ever So Klever, a free drink (need we say more?), goodie bags (not a metaphor), nibbles (open to interpretation), but best of all–representation from additional Chicago-based non-for-profit organizations.

Cover charge will be $10, and all proceeds will go to local non-for-profits. With that much energy, flare and swing, you might find yourself having too much fun to notice that your shirt is long gone.

To find out what other mischief Shlomi has uncovered in Chicago, look no further.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC Chicago Street Team

The age-old adage “Behind Every Great Man Is a Great Woman” is just that—old. The key to success in any relationship, we now know, is support, regardless of whether the person behind us is wearing a pair of pants, a skirt or something by Marc Jacobs. Love is love; its origin should not matter, and the more—the merrier.

This is why Tel-Aviv’s show of love and support for Chicago’s LGBT community in the form of a beach-themed float is an empowering addition. The city that Time magazine has termed “the Mediterranean’s most unlikely capital of cool” becomes the first international city ever to publicly endorse Chicago’s LGBT community at the Gay Pride Parade.

Earlier this year, Tel Aviv was honored with the task of hosting next year’s International Gay Tourism Convention. By doing so, the city reinforces its status as one of the world’s most fun and easygoing gay capitals, alongside London, Rio, Berlin, New York and Amsterdam.

Helping Tel-Aviv spread the love for Chicago’s LGBT community is Club 1948, a local non-for-profit whose mission is to celebrate Israel’s arts and culture. Reflecting the organization’s emphasis on fun and diversity, twenty swimsuit-clad men and women, from different backgrounds and of different ages, will be dancing on the float to the live tunes of American, European and Israeli music.

In a time that gay marriage is a hot topic and opinions on gay rights are polarizing the country, it is nice to see that a foreign friend has got your back. This one never gets old.

To find out what else Shlomi does to live it up, click here.

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Cavorting on the Tel Aviv beach

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC Chicago Street Team

In order to be anybody who’s anybody (or is it anybody who is somebody? somebody’s anybody? nobody’s everybody? who cares, you get the gist), a true Chicagoanista must comply with the memo to prove their commitment to style. The first requirement, of course, is spending at least half their salary on a pair of shoes. The second, naturally, is making sure to have their picture taken on at least one yacht/boat/rhapsody party at some point during the summer. And the last, obviously, is being seen walking into the swankiest place in town, Minibar.

Do not let the name fool you, though, since Minibar has more than tripled in size since it first opened over three years ago. The newest expansion to the venue entails an uber-sleek bar with a glass gallery overlooking another sexy, cavernous bar, accessible by a floating staircase. Giant LED screens cast a lush glow over a newly furbished velvet-rope lounge, replete with croc-skin ottomans and tables. And just to prove that every single angle was meticulously integrated into the design, the better-than-Sci-Fi ceiling will leave you gasping in awe.

Furthermore, co-owners Stu Zirin and John Dalton made sure that Minibar would not be just another pretty face. To keep things happening, Sunday nights will be themed-nights, Wednesday nights will have drink-for-single-penny hour, Thursdays will be reserved for extra special occasions, and Fridays will be hosted by the grand empresario of beats, DJ Shawn Edwards. With a drinks menu that covers the best of bubblies, cocktails and martinis, chances are you will want to stop by every other day as well.

We caught up with the one and only, Mr. Perez Hilton, who showed up on Friday night to scope out Chicago’s hottest venue. As predicted, the self-professed Queen of Media sprinkled nothing but the best superlatives on Minibar–and its stylin’ patrons. Looks like someone got the memo.

To learn more about where else Shlomi finds style in Chicago click here.

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With Perez Hilton

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With Nadine and Minibar co-owners John Dalton and Stu Zirin

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Laura Lodewyck, NBC Chicago Street Team

Collaboraction upturns Theatre-with-a-Capital-T in their 9th Annual Sketchbook Festival, closing this weekend at The Building Stage. Formerly held at the Steppenwolf Garage, Sketchbook feels at home here with the casual party vibe provided by the space at The Building Stage — with tiers of open seating, live bands or DJs to accompany seat-shifting and meandering between pieces, and a byob policy (highly recommended) — Sketchbook careens through a weirdly haunting, high energy program of short, strange teeth1performance pieces. The visual elements, supported by performance-inspired artwork decorating the space, add striking images to the pieces: a forgotten Nazi hangs suspended from his “zeppelin” in the ceiling; a giant parachute descends to consume the stage; an enormous paper-mache head is worn by an actor in skin-tight, skin-colored leggings (with a lumpy-stuffed crotch). Sketchbook is indeed a show you have to see to believe. Even better is that the mixed program provides for entertainment that satiates the short attention span — each piece runs less than 10 minutes. Check it out this final weekend, tonight through Sunday

nudehipponbc_largeEmail me at llodewyck@nudehippo.com with any wacky, under-discovered events in Chicago, and check out my reports with Nude Hippo.

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Dave Leonard, NBC5 Street Team, (Video)
If you’re looking for great music and networking in a “chill-axed” atmosphere, you have to swing by “Groove Sessions” tonight at The Joynt (located at 640 N. Dearborn) in Downtown Chicago. This weekly event is hosted by Jessica Williams and Miisha McCullar of IGM Entertainment and features some of the hottest and most eclectic bands that range from Neo-Soul to Latin Jazz. This is definitely a sophisticated and sexy crowd, so make sure you bring your “swag” intact. Tonight’s guests will be treated to the soulful, Latin sounds of the Noguera Evolution Quartet. Doors open at 8pm and admission is complimentary until 10pm. There is a $10 cover after 10pm and the event goes until 2am. To get on the mailing list, make sure you hit up IGM at igmentertainment@yahoo.com.

Since the weather will be much warmer, there’s plenty to get into this weekend…On Friday, Chicago Bulls Superstar, Ben Gordon, will be hosting this month’s “First Fridays Chicago” for the “All Black Attire Affair” kindred2at Alahambra Palace (located at 1240 W. Randolph). This upscale event will also feature a special guest appearance by husband and wife R&B/Soul duo, Kindred. Meanwhile, the sounds will be pumped throughout the night on two luxurious levels by DJs: Timbuk 2, Mark Fullaflava, Maurice “Ice” Culpepper, and 33 1/3. The event runs from 9pm-2am.

CHICAGO HIP-HOP CLASSIC
In a city where many claim “doesn’t support it’s hometown artists”, the Chicago music community will unite on Saturday, March 7th at the Harold Washington Cultural Center (located at 4701 S. King Drive) for the Chicago Hip-Hop Classic. This celebration of Chicago’s local hip-hop scene will be comprised of a concert and music symposium where artists, music executives, and music lovers can come together for positive inspiration. Artists such as Pheave, Que B.I.L.L.A.H., Gemstones, Polie Da Great, Twone Gabz, Jak Frost and dance troupe Final Phaze will all be performing. Doors open at 6pm and the show starts at 7pm. Tickets for this all ages show can be purchased in advance for $10 at www.amusicexperience.com, or $15 at the door. The Chicago Hip-Hop Classic is presented by GO Sity Entertainment and Bo Beniz.

CHICAGO TAKES OFF

If you’re looking for something a little different and want to support a great cause, check out Chicago Takes Off, an annual burlesque revue-style show where Chicago’s Dance community struts their stuff in support of the TPAN (Test Positive Aware Network), a support group that empowers individuals living with HIV and AIDS and educates the community as a whole about HIV and HIV prevention. These colorful and flamboyant shows will take place this Saturday at the Park West (322 W. Armitage) at 7:30p and 10pm. Seats are limited and can be reserved at http://www.chicagotakesoff.org.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

At first glance, it seems that with the holidays and the awards seasons officially over, all major excuses to indulge in delightfully hedonistic activities have been exhausted.

However, a closer look at the calendar reveals that one more indulgence — and the most delectable one — is left. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s time for Mardi Gras.

As the most festive day of the year, Mardi Gras celebrates anything hopelessly addictive, senselessly decadent, and outrageously pleasurable. So whether you like boys, girls, or both, here are just some of the events going on in Chicago this Fat Tuesday.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
Chicago has been the breeding ground for some of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ biggest names: Jennifer Hudson, Bill Murray, and Frances McDormand to name but a few. Therefore, it only makes sense that some of the hottest and hippest LGBT locales will be honoring the event, unofficially recognized as the Gay Super Bowl.

Click here to read the rest of this post on nbcchicago.com.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

The other day I was in a particularly profound and introspective mood, which got me thinking about the truly important things in life: finding one’s true voice, figuring out the meaning of happiness, and trying to imagine what Ellen would look like if she got a red perm, or, perhaps, a short, spritely Jewfro. With each sip of my Chicagotini (vodka, crushed ice, organic snow flakes, giant ice cubes and natural hail), I could feel myself getting smarter. It was not until Andy came home, turned off the strobe lights, opened a window to let out the smoke, and demanded that I “put on some normal clothes”, that I got off cloud nine and realized that one of the most truly important things in life is finding someone who’ll take you just the way you are.

And a great place to find that special someone is Flirting For Disaster at Hydrate, on Thursday, February 5th. The event benefits the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago , which has been hosting a series of the Flirting events throughout the city since 2001. Advance tickets are $20 and will buy you delicious hors d’oeuvres by HB Home Bistro and Halsted’s, performance by the beautiful divas of Kit Kat , a leather fashion show by Shel-Don, and oh yeah–a room full of potentials! All proceeds from the event will go to facilitating response to disasters in the Chicagoland area, which should be enough reason to get anyone to put on their finest, look their cutest, and start getting their flirt on.

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To learn more about Shlomi’s take on the greatest city in the world click here.

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Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team

Okay, so let’s face it, you and I have much more in common than we realize. For one thing, we both go to NBCChicago to get our news and learn of the latest happenings around the city of Chicago. Secondly, we both wake up every January morning wondering why we’re not tuning in to NBCMiami instead. We both agree that when people tell each other “go to Hell”, Chicago Winter is what they have in mind. Like me, you are a strong believer that winter is the invention of an ugly angel who did not want people looking cute. And both you and I agree that if we hear one more sadist say “It’s not that bad” the population count in Chicago will have just decreased by one.

Oh, and neither one of us has a ticket for the Obama inauguration. Face it. And don’t lie about it, saying that you could have scored one but had a very important meeting with a client that day. Like me, you have no clients. So there.

Which is fine. Because a great place to catch the inauguration is Wild Pug. The new gay bar in the up-and-coming Uptown is hosting a fiesta to benefit the Illinois Safe School Alliance. The Alliance is dedicated to providing a safe and welcoming environment for LGBT youth around the city. Given the historic nature of the event, it only makes sense that the place to be that night is an event that celebrates difference and acceptance, both of which have propelled Chicago’s very own Barack Obama to presidency. So put on your favorite pair of snow boots, your most cherished parka, your most flattering pair of long underwear, and join in on the fun!

 

obamapride

To learn more about what Shlomi’s ttakes pride in click here.

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

Live long enough–or hear the theme song of “The Facts of Life” often enough– and you eventually learn “you take the the good/you take the bad/and there you have the facts of life.” Yes, more than 70% of the gay vote went to Barack Obama–more than went to Clinton or Kerry–and yes, 70% of our black brothers and sisters in California voted to deny gay men and women the fundamental civil right to marry.

Quite honestly, it’s been a bittersweet week for me.  While I fully share the abundant joy of the historical moment with my black brothers and sisters as we finally bore witness in Grant Park to Martin Luther King’s dream, 70% of the black voters in California embraced the nightmare logic of this country’s miscegenation laws that would have made the marriage of Barack Obama’s mother and father illegal in America and just applied it to gay people.

Thanks. Does Hallmark make a card for that? 

Early in June of 2002, I found out that the Cuban singer Albita was going to play at Ravinia so I called a good friend of mine, who happens to be Nigerian, and told her she simply had to go to the concert with me. I had seen Albita  perform two years earlier at RFK Stadium at the concert for gay rights which coincided with the March on Washington. Though much bigger names played that night–Melissa Etheridge, Chaka Khan, Garth Brooks, George Michael among them–Albita who came on early in the night simply blew me away with an amazing voice and an infectious Afro-Cuban sound. I came back to Chicago and immediately bought her CD “Son.” If it were vinyl, I would have surely worn it out in the first week.

Please, I implored my friend, come with me to hear this woman. “Ok, I’ll make you a deal,” she said. “I’ll go if you come with me to the Miriam Makeba concert later this month.”

Um. Sure. And who is Miriam Makeba? When is the concert? Wait a minute, the tickets I have for June 19 have some woman named Miriam as the opening act? It’s this Makeba person!

Amazed at the coincidence, I listened as she explained about “Mama Africa,” and why I had better get my skinny white behind to Ravinia even if Albita weren’t on the bill.

So we went to Ravinia together, curious about what we would each discover and just to make matters even more interesting we dragged along a mutual friend who had heard of neither woman.

Needless to say, it was a magical night of music. We went to see a concert but Albita and Miriam put on a celebration of life. Despite the fact that most of the songs were in languages we surely didn’t fully understand,  there was no mistaking the universal language of joy, heartache and exile in their music and in their voices. We all walked away that night not as people of different races, genders and sexual orientations but as celebrants of a common, and yes, a sometimes deeply flawed, humanity. I was deeply saddened to hear that the truly amazing “Mama Africa” died this week. But despite the sadness, I was able to find solace in the hope, fearlessness and tenacity of a life lived by example and against injustice.

Her struggle makes mine a little more bearable today. As Albita sang on that magical night, “Azuca’ pa’ tu amargura,” Tom.

Sugar for your bitterness, Tom. 

tomkolovos.com

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Tom Kolovos, NBC5 Street Team

“Are you sure you’re just a fashion writer?” reads one of the comments on my  recent blog about Michelle Obama’s appearance on “The View.” I’ll take the compliment, thank you very much, but I’ll feign outrage: Just a fashion writer? Just a fashion writer? Just?

Just as Harper’s Bazaar produced it’s worst issue ever, just as Christie Brinkley can’t resist another ugly public divorce, just as I’m waiting for Steven Meisel’s 100 page photoshoot in Italian Vogue which exclusively features black models to arrive on these shores, my copy of the July issue of W has arrived at my door.

This issue is a must read for anyone concerned about the intersection of image, politics and the corporate world, (even if only a handfull of Bruce Weber’s photos in the otherwise cliche 36 page photo shoot are worth your time. Check out the real treat of David Slijper’s photographs instead.)

First up is “Party Time,” pp. 46-50, an exceptionally thoughtful piece on how international political leaders use and understand the power of dressing.  The deputy mayor of Paris, Christophe Girard, makes the point I make all the time. (Smart guy, he. And not just a fashion writer.) “Political life is no longer separated from real life, and political women and men know their image matters like [those of] a model or an actor to attract the public. But it’s a real danger when politicians are more concerned about their image than their ideas.”

Next, there’s “Money Honeys,” starting on page 64, about the hedge fund industry’s use of pretty young women and even models as “marketing executives”  which “has  become all but synonymous with a blonde in Theory trousers.” It’s a fascinating read into what amounts to the semi-prostitutional nature of “corporate work” for women in the financial sector.

And finally, the always fabulous and priceless pseudonym protected Louise J. Esterhazy, p.116, will confess that she “can never be president. Of course, the main stumbling block is that I’m Austrian. But it turns out there’s an even greater impediment: I’m an elitist. And what’s wrong with that?”

I suggest you spend your weekend catching up on your reading, especially since the gay Pride parade this year won’t be worth attending  just because Dick Devine retired (from his position as Cook County State’s Attorney and thus will not be atop anyone’s float. Alas, hope floats–away. Dick, you will be sorely missed!).

TheBestDressedList.com

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Slap Happy


Shlomi Rabi, NBC5 Street Team
(Video)

“So”, Carl said, “when we got there we were already pretty drunk.” He was telling us about his excursion to Saugatuck (aka Homoville, Michigay) with his partner Jeff. “The club wasn’t even that full so the strippers were pretty desperate. This one zebra-thong-wearing stripper, who was obviously straight, told us that ‘For twenty dollars I’ll give both of you the lap dace of your life’, so off we stumbled to the back, and little did we know.” Carl stirred his drink and added more vodka to dilute any remnants of the strong cranberry flavor. “Ohmygod, his dance was the lovechild of Awkward and Slutbag. Apparently his stripping mentor was epileptic. He wouldn’t stop slapping his thighs and his ass. Then he began slapping our thighs. It was agony.” Carl proceeded to take another sip of his bucket-size refresco and added “He then told us ‘For another twenty dollars I’ll take you guys to The Next Level.’ We assumed he was going to upgrade to bitchslaps so we got the fu[dge] out.” Unfortunately for us and future generations of homoettes, we will never know what ‘The Next Level’ was. Sad.

But who cares! Because if there is one thing that we do need to know is that next Saturday, June 2nd, anybody who’s doing everybody in Chicago will be going to the Stoli Promise at the Hilton Towers. The event is sponsored by Stoli Vodka (aka Shlomi’s Headache Medicine) and promises to be the Only place in Chicago worth attending that night. The theme is Prom Night and includes appearances and performances by Gun Julie Brown, Terri Hemmert of 93XRT and comedienne Jessica Halem. The event is open to anyone with style and fun- be it straight, gay, bisexual, bicurious, biquestioning, or bicycles. So go right ahead, look for that white polyester tux and the puffy-sleeved green number with the bow on the butt, and thank your lucky stars that you’re not getting your thighs spanked in Michigan.

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