Top picks for Pride Month

(Tribune File Photo )
June 04, 2012|By Tony Peregrin | for RedEye

June in Chicago means more than turning on the air conditioning or hitting the beach. June is also Pride Month in Chicago, and those familiar with the annual LGBT Pride Parade--an explosion of color and camaraderie in Boystown--may not know there is also a Dyke March, several Black LGBT pride events and, new this year, a Trans pride rally and picnic.

The following list highlights this year's month-long pride events. This list isn't comprehensive (there are more than 100 events scheduled this year), but it features some of the most anticipated parties, events and general merriment happening this year to commemorate LGBT pride.

Steamwerks: The Musical
June 1 to June 15 (previews)
June 22- August 3
The Annoyance Theatre & Bar
4830 N. Broadway
A wide-eyed gay boy comes to Chicago looking for live in all the wrong places when he stumbles on a popular bathhouse, Steamwerkz. Hilarity ensues, as it usually does in these situations. To order tickets by phone, call 773-561-HONK (4665) or go to: 10th anniversary party
6:30 to 10 p.m., Thursday, June 14
3458 N. Halsted
This cocktail party--a toast to Pride month as well as the news organization's 10th anniversary--features "live" red carpet coverage by GayChicago TV, as well as the public debut of this year's roster of hunky Bud Boy competition finalists. Be on the lookout for a colossal mosaic photo of the Lakeview neighborhood's iconic rainbow pylons composed of nearly 20,000 photos from recent Chicago Pride festivals and parades.

An RSVP is recommended and is currently being accepted online. A suggested donation of $5 at the door will benefit the Legacy Project, a permanent memorial of bronze plaques affixed to the 22 rainbow pylons across Halsted Street and paying tribute to LGBT pioneers and leaders.

Swallow Your Pride
8 p.m. June 15 to July 7
Stage 773
1225 West Belmont Ave.
GayCo  Productions celebrates its sticky-sweet 16th year with a raucous new Pride month revue, Swallow Your Pride!,  featuring dancing muscle studs, rowdy dykes on bikes, puking twinks, protestors with poor spelling skills, and Aldermen waving stiffly from the back of an Acura, desperate for gay love and support. GayCo Productions was formed out of the famed Second City in 1996. For 16 years, it has produced thought-provoking and irreverent sketch comedy revues where "gay is always the given and never the punchline."

Windy City Gay Idol Finals
2 p.m. doors open; 3 p.m. start Saturday, June 16
3349 N. Halsted
Produced by Windy City Media Group, the 10th annual competition has grown into one of the largest talent competitions in Chicago, with past winners performing at Wrigley Field, Soldier Filed, Allstate Arena, Market Days and festivals around the state. Past guest performers have included a then-unknown Lady Gaga in 2008.

Back Lot Bash 2012
June 21-24
Cheetah Gym parking lot
5238 N. Clark
"Where the girls come out and play," is the tag line for this popular outdoor live music and entertainment festival, launched in 2004 by three Chicago women.  New this year is the event's limited-ticket Thursday night Comedy Kickoff featuring out stand-up comic Fortune Feimster—the popular guest host and hot-topics panelist for the Chelsea Lately show. Friday's sunset concert will be headlined by the nationally-acclaimed singer/songwriter Chely Wright. For more information, go to

Test Positive Awareness Network (TPAN) 25th Birthday Party and Pride Celebration
5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, June 21
220 S. Wacker Drive
The two-day 190-mile bicycling event designed to raise money for TPAN its community partners.
TPAN's 25th Birthday Party and Pride Celebration happy hour is hosted by the organization's partners at MillerCoors, who will be providing an assortment of their products at the function. (Note: there will be no hard liquor or wine at this event.) General Admission is $25. There is free admission for all TPAN volunteers, Ride for AIDS participants, Chicago Takes Off performers, etc. RSVP required.

2012 Dyke March
3 p.m., Saturday, June 23
Margate Park
4921 North Marine Drive
The Dyke March--organized by the Chicago Dyke March Collective--is a "grassroots mobilization and celebration of dyke, queer, bisexual, and transgender resilience." The 2012 Dyke Mark will take place in the Argyle neighborhood. The proposed route includes two wards (46th and 48th Wards), and organizers are waiting for the city to confirm the event's march permit. Gather at 2 p.m. at Margate Park.

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