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Dining Out For Life Chicago April 24th

unnamed dining out for life chicago


Michael Urie talks about Buyer and Cellar and Working for Barbra Streisand

buyer celler chicago michael urie

Michael Urie is finally getting out of the cellar — and hitting the road.

The former “Ugly Betty” star will kick off a mini North American tour with Jonathan Tolins’ critically acclaimed, utterly charming and often wacky one-man show “Buyer & Cellar.” The tour  makes it first stop in Chicago May 6TH!

Alex More has a story to tell. A struggling  gay actor in L.A., Alex takes a job working in the mall in Barbra Streisand‘s Malibu basement. (Yes, she really has a STREET of stores in her basement that display her various collections. She has photos of it in her book My Passion for Design.)

He is employed to watch over the collections  and keep things dusted. One day, the Lady Herself comes downstairs to play. It feels like real bonding in the basement, but will their relationship ever make it upstairs?

BUYER & CELLAR is an outrageous comedy about the price of fame, the cost of things, and the oddest of odd jobs. - The only factual element of Jonathan Tolins’s whimsical fantasy is the actual existence of a subterranean street of shops that Streisand had built in her barn to display her collections.


This is like a Fantasia!” exclaims Michael. “It’s not a real story. Alex is not a real person. And Barbra  Streisand probably DOES NOT have someone working in her basement. This whole story came from Jonathan Tolins imagination!”

Urie talked to us recently about what it’s like playing the fictitious store manager of Babs’s personal shopping mall.

It’s a pretty funny thing for we mortals to imagine. A  street of stores! Although I myself am a collector and have  lots of “stuff”   – I  wish I had a room or shop in my place to display everything!

Do you think the play is kind to her?
URIE: I do. I think there are snipes taken, mostly by Barry (Alex’s boyfriend, voiced by Urie), but I know Jon (Tolins) and I, and the director (Stephen Brackett), took great care in rehearsals to make sure it was fair and kind, and only what we found funny, as opposed to malicious. Barry is mean, and he says mean things, but the opinion of the piece and the narrator is love … with the caveat that having a mall in your basement is funny.


JONATHAN TOLINS (Playwright) is the author of Buyer & Cellar, which was named Best Unique Theatrical Experience by the Off-Broadway Alliance when it premiered at Rattlestick Playwrights Theater. He explains,”"What you’re laughing at is her need to control and to take herself so seriously. You’re not laughing at someone who’s actually a mess and endangering her life — she’s funny because she wants everything her way.”

barbra streisand chicaGO MICHAEL URIE


How did you set about portraying Streisand on stage?

Urie: “As I say in the beginning of the play, I’m not going to do an impression. Really good impersonators can be uncanny and really funny impressionists.

I wanted the comedy of Barbra to come out of her behavior and not from gags. So I didn’t want to cross my eyes for instance. I just don’t want to gild the lily when it comes to sharing the fun of her idiosyncrasies. I’m only emulating her. So it’s a few faces here, and a few cadences there, the fingernails. I think what I focus on the most is the rhythms. I really watched her and studied her in Meet the Fockers. It’s a modern Barbra but playful and a bit silly. 

Do you think that you will meet her some time?

Urie:If she ever comes to show I would probably poop my pants! I hope someday that I can meet her. I don’t know what she’s really like. I feel that in private she’s probably more like when she’s acting than when she’s being interviewed. I have the sense that she’s more truthful as an actor. I was able to take gems—the voice and some of the cadences—from some of her interviews, but I kept going back to the movies, because I felt that’s more her.

At the end of the day, she really considers herself an actor more than anything. And it would make sense that she would give the most of private part of herself as an actor.  She’s clever and witty at times in interviews and she makes good points, but she’s not alive and spontaneous, which is what I wanted for this show. She play-acts with my character. I didn’t want the withholding Barbra, because even in the in-depth interviews it feels like she’s withholding. I mean we all do—no offense! It’s still work when you’re being interviewed, whereas acting is more like play.”

michael urie and ryan spahn gay new york

Michael and his partner actor/writer Ryan Spahn have been together 5 and half years.  And he hinted marriage is quite possibly in their cards.”We first met at a karaoke bar in Burbank. I noticed him and thought he was interesting and cute, but Ryan says he doesn’t remember meeting me. Our mutual friend tried to set us up, but I cancelled because a good friend of mine died. He’d had some unlucky dating experiences, so my excuse—my friend died—was the straw that broke the camel’s back. The ball was in my court, I guess, and I never rescheduled. Part of that was me being a flake. Part of it was, I was on TV. I was never a “man-whore,” but I enjoyed dating; I was enjoying the attention of being on Ugly Betty. A year later, a friend mentioned Ryan, and I told her to set something up. She said Ryan wasn’t interested. That’s when I felt bad.

The show moved to New York, and Ryan did, too. We supposedly kept crossing paths, but I didn’t realize it because by this time I didn’t remember what he looked like. It was sort of cruel. One night we were both supposed to meet a mutual friend, and she never showed up, so Ryan and I ended up getting a drink together. Of course, once he finally met me, I was completely irresistible!”

 See more of the couple in OUT MAGAZINE

 EVERYONE is saying this is must see Broadway!  Even if you are not a Barbra fan, you will thoroughly enjoy this show!

Broadway In Chicago presents BUYER & CELLAR, starring Michael Urie.  In Chicago for a limited engagement beginning May 6, 2014 at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place (175 E. Chestnut). Producers Darren Bagert ), Dan Shaheen , Ted Snowdon and Daryl Roth (“Kinky Boots,” “Love Loss and What I Wore”) bring this hilarious new comedy to Chicago.

Sneak Peak on YouTube

Broadway in Chicago – Buyer and Cellar

Michael Urie

Michael Uri

More Proof Mom passes on our Gay Gene


A new study of gay men in the U.S. has found that male sexual orientation is influenced by genes passed on by the mother.
The British newspaper the Guardian reports that in a test of 400 gay men, genes on at least two chromosomes affected whether a man is gay.

“The study shows that there are genes involved in male sexual orientation,” said Michael Bailey, a psychologist at Northwestern University in Illinois, who set out the findings at a discussion event held in conjunction with the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago.
See more at best gay news

Howard Brown Town Hall Meetings on Health Issues


Howard Brown Health Center (HBHC) invites community members to participate in a series of town-hall meetings to discuss the health and wellness needs of Chicago’s diverse LGBTQ community. The sessions are part of HBHC’s community needs assessment, conducted every five years to gauge health-related concerns for HBHC’s patient populations.

“Respondents to the 2012 LGBT Community Needs Assessment overwhelmingly identified affordable health services and care as their leading concern,” said David Ernesto Munar, President and CEO.  “Our series is designed to dig deeper in order to better understand the community assets and barriers affecting the health of people in our community.”   


HBHC will rely on the community needs assessment for planning and quality improvement initiatives. Input from the meetings will be shared widely to spur public awareness and support for LGBTQ health promotion activities.


Sessions will be held at HBHC’s Brown Elephant in Lakeview at 3651 N. Halsted, 6:00 – 7:30 p.m. on the following dates: 


Monday, May 12: LGBTQ Older Adults

Facilitators: Medical Director Magda Houlberg, MD and Cecilia Hardacker, Manager of Geriatric Education


Monday, May 19: Lesbians, Bisexual and Queer Women

Facilitators: Betsy Rubinstein, Manager of Lesbian Community Care Project, and Michelle Wetzel, Sr. Vice President for Policy, Strategy and Business Development


Monday, June 2: Gay, Bisexual & Queer Men

Facilitators: Staff Physician Alfred Torrence, MD and Serette King, Health Educator


Monday, June 9: Transgender Individuals

Facilitators: Blue, Program Manager of the Transgender Women of Color Project, and Taylor Casey, Manager of Transgender Health


Monday, June 16: LGBTQ Youth Under 24

Facilitators: Imani Rupert, Director of HBHC’s Broadway Youth Center, and Kristin Keglovitz, PA, Director of Clinical Operations

Interested participants who cannot attend in person can join the discussion virtually on Twitter with the hashtag #HBHCTownHalls.


Equality Illinois Transgender Social May 4th


transgender chicago


Please join us for the EQIL Spring Transgender Community Social on the afternoon of Sunday, May 4th! Starting at 3 p.m., you can join enjoy socializing with friends old and new, dining on delicious hors d’oeuvres, and sipping cocktails at the elegant Mayne Stage Theatre (1328 W. Morse in Chicago). The suggested event donation is $10 and there will be a cash bar and raffle prizes also available.  

Get your tickets online today!  Then, join our Facebook event page and help us spread the word to your friends. At last year’s event, we had a packed house, so make sure you don’t miss out on an afternoon of fun.

Justin Jedlica Plastic Surgery Expert and Consultant

justin jedlica

If you could have free plastic surgery, what would you have done?

I think many gay people, especially gay men, pay A LOT of attention to their looks and to their body. Feeling good about yourself and getting compliments on how you look, give a person a boost of self confidence.

If I had the money, there are a number of things I would have done, trust me.

So why do so many judge Justin Jedlica, the human Ken doll,  which by the way, I hate that label.  Justin recently said, “I would say more of my inspiration stems from ‘manga’ or anime. I find that much more appealing in all honestly than a Ken doll. It’s sort of that over-stylized, cartoonish version of human form [that I like]. I have all these haters on my page being like, ‘Does that mean you want to cut off your penis?’ And I’m like actually, I wish it was dragging on the ground like anime. [Laughs] There’s actually this subgroup of people do that—they cut off their nipples and bellybuttons and castrate themselves!”

I have known Justin personally for about 2 years. He is very down to earth, very well traveled and educated. People assume he is a rich spoiled brat when in fact, he comes from a very simple lower middle class background. People who do not know him try to judge him and hate on him. I don’t understand that.

Justin and his husband of 5 years relocated to Chicago last year but Justin finds himself traveling all of time and most of his clients are in New York and Los Angeles naturally, where plastic surgery is more prevalent.

Your body is your temple, and Justin  can act as the architect–your design specialist. From his many years of personal experience within the body modification arena, Justin now retains an arsenal of the most skilled, accredited, cosmetic medical specialists who act with the utmost discretion. Through his discreet referral, consultative and coordinator services, Justin and his team can assure you the most direct and comprehensive route to achieve your desired result (whether subtle or more extreme).


He says, (and I totally agree), “Who are people to tell me that [my surgeries] looks weird? I mean, why is western culture the only correct perception of beauty? That’s just ridiculous. It’s a completely ignorant statement. There seems to be this overwhelming idea that you should be happy with what God gave you or what you were born with. There’s this weird stigma around allowing yourself to feel ownership over your own body and really take charge of how people view it. I don’t understand that at all.”

Don’t Hate! Appreciate!


Gerber Hart LGBT Library book sale Saturday April 26 – 27

gay book sale chicago gerner hart
Gerber Hart Library and Archives is holding its annual book sale Saturday April 26 and Sunday April 27.  Hours are 12-6 pm on Saturday and 12-5 pm on Sunday.  The sale is being held at the Gerber Hart Library and Archives, 6500 N. Clark St, Chicago.

Hundreds of boxes, thousands of books have been donated to Gerber/Hart making this year’s book sale bigger and better than ever! Hardcover books are $2 and paperbacks are $1 and everyone is invited to bring shopping bags and friends and have a blast!

We will have LGBT and non-LGBT books of all genres (including:  Anthropology & Sociology, Art, Bisexuality, Business, Children’s Literature, Drama, Fiction, Food, Foreign Language, Gardening,  Gay, Gay Fiction, Gay Art, Gay, Gender,  Health & Fitness, Heterosexuality, Humor, Lesbian, Lesbian Fiction, LGBT Non-Fiction, Male Erotica,  Math & Science,  Music / CD / Vinyl, Odds & Ends, Pets, Philosophy, Poetry, Politics, Reference, Religion, Science Fiction, Self-Help, Sexuality,  Youth Non-Fiction, videos and music, and even a few book cases for sale.

Chicago House will be on site Saturday, April 26, from 12pm-6pm to provide book sale attendees an opportunity to receive a free rapid HIV test.

Free parking is available in the lot adjacent to the 6500 North Clark Street bulding. Bus routes #36 Broadway and #151 Sheridan start and end at the turnaround across the street.  The #36 Clark Street bus going north stops directly across the street, the #36 going south stops in front of the police station next to Gerber/Hart.

My Private Chef of Chicago – Bloomingdales Event April 19th


Get a Taste of Spring with Chef Tong at Bloomingdale’s Home and Furniture Store

Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store is celebrating the approaching warm weather.

In anticipation of Spring, Bloomingdale’s welcomes Chef Christopher Tong to demonstrate the preparation of a savory Spring menu.

A favorite with Bloomingdale’s shoppers, Chef Tong will prepare a Spring focused menu featuring:

Cold Cucumber Soup with fresh Dill
Herb-Marinated Chicken Breast, Orzo Pasta Primavera tossed with Arugula Pesto
Strawberries marinated with Balsamic Vinegar, fresh Mint and ground Pepper.

The demonstration will take place on Saturday, April 19, 2014 from 2-4 p.m. at the Bloomingdale’s Home & Furniture Store at Medinah Temple, 600 N. Wabash Avenue, Chicago.

For more information about this Bloomingdale’s event, contact 312.324.7678.

My Private Chef is enjoying popularity as one of Chicago’s favorite private gourmet dining services. Trained in European-style fine cuisine,Chef Tong established his reputation at fine restaurants and hotels in Florida, California, and Chicago. Now he has adapted his impressive skills to the world of private entertaining. My Private Chef offers enticing cuisine for a wide range of events, from intimate dinners to weddings to corporate parties.

Chef Chris says: “Every event is different and I’ve met some wonderful people including many celebrities. Being part of very special occasions makes my work worthwhile. I also love conducting cooking demonstrations where I get the feeling that audience members will go home and try some new dishes!”

For more information about My Private Chef, contact Event Services at 773.370.8131 or visit our web site:

Spring Arrivals at J Prince Studio in Boystown

j prince studio boystown chicago

One of Chicago’s top interior designer and event planner, Ramsey Jay Prince  has set up a permanent shop, J PRINCE STUDIO,  on North Broadway, and has something for everyone.

The boutique is a beautiful mélange of Prince’s trademark, luxurious style with carefully selected one of a kind vintage and salvaged pieces with seasonal couture items also for sale. This is the urban Fashionista’s one stop shop for their home, fashions, and gifts.


Lots of new spring arrivals!  Including one-of-a-kind mens swimsuits, shorts and shirts!   Check out the Spring Fashion Show and Sale!  Friday  April  25th at MiniBar.

Spring Fling Fashion Show and Sale. See the hottest looks in Spring/Summer sportswear and swimwear. You will be able to  purchase some of the looks right off the runway in the  pop up shop with a portion of all sales to benefit Chicago House ! Doors at 8 show at 9
new swim suits mens clothes chicago new swimsuits chicago ramsey prince


new swimsuits ramsey prince chicago

Besides lots of wonderful gift items and decor for the home, the store has gotten a very unique line of swim suits, underwear and summer clothes that no one else in the city is carrying.

Cute shorts and fun shirts plus hot swim suits!

Stop in and see what’s new!

3744 N Broadway.   

b/t Waveland Ave & Grace St in Lakeview. 

  • Phone number (312) 547-0958



mens swim suits chicago

Chicago Gay Mens Chorus Upcoming Shows


chicago gay mens chorus 2014

Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus (CGMC)

celebrates the best of last decade of Broadway with “Bouncing of the Walls: Broadway Our Way.”

CGMC reimagines audience’s favorite modern day musicals of Broadway from the last 10 years with dazzling dances and sensational songs.  This show brings the Great White Way to the Great Middel West. “Bouncing of the Walls: Broadway Our Way” will revisit memorable Broadway shows including:  “Wicked,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Kinky Boots,” “Newsies” and many more.

WHEN/WHERE: Chicago Gay Mens Chorus

  • Saturday, May 3, 2014 – 7:30pm
  • Emmanuel Lutheran Church – 920 3rd Avenue; Rockford, IL 61104


  • Saturday, May 17, 2014 – 8:00pm
  • North Shore Center for the Performing Arts – 9501 Skokie Boulevard; Skokie, IL 60077


  • Saturday, May 31, 2014- 8:00pm
  • Harris Theater – 205 East Randolph Street; Chicago, IL 60601


  • Sunday, June 1, 2014 – 8:00pm
  • Wentz Concert Hall – 717 East Chicago Avenue; Naperville, IL 60540


Tickets range from $20-$50 depending on the venue and service fees. For ticket information and general information about the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, please visit or call 773-296-0541.



About Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus

Now celebrating its 30th anniversary, Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus (CGMC) was founded in 1983 and has grown to become one of the Midwest’s largest volunteer LGBT arts organizations. The chorus has entertained audiences across North America with innovative musical programming, original musical revues, five popular productions celebrating the Sidetrack showtune experience, full-length book musicals including The Wizard of Oz, The Mikado and H.M.S. Pinafore, and traditional choral concerts, all punctuated with its signature joyous irreverence. Inducted into the City of Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2001 and under the artistic direction of Patrick Sinozich since 1997, CGMC continues to be an integral part of Chicago’s civic and cultural community by carrying out its mission to entertain, educate, comfort and motivate.

Chicago Gay Mens Chorus is also the beneiciary of this years  HEATWAVE event in November.

This will sell out!   Book your room early!

About Face Theatre Chicago WONKA BALL May 9th

Wonka Ball RGB_FNL

About Face Theatre invites guests to “come on down” and celebrate its 18th year with a throwback to daily doubles, Plinko, free spins and lifelines at WONKA BALL 2014: The Gayme Show! on Friday, May 9, 2014 at 8 pm at Macy’s on State Street in the  9th Floor Event Center, 111 N. State St. in Chicago.

AFT’s annual fundraiser will celebrate TV’s iconic game shows with an evening of classic challenges, live entertainment, music and dancing, sumptuous edibles and an open bar with signature cocktails. Guests will be tempted to “make a deal” with a raffle and silent and live auctions – all with exciting prizes worthy of a Showcase Showdown!  Like Lets Make a Deal and Price is Right!

The evening will also include the annual presentation of the prestigious 2014 Leppen Leadership Awards and the About Face Youth Theatre MVP Award. Tickets are currently available at or (773) 784-8565.




WONKA BALL 2014: The Gayme Show! Co-Chairs are Benjamin Sprunger and Betsy Sylvester.


Proceeds from the WONKA BALL 2014: The Gayme Show! will support About Face Theatre’s award-winning mainstage programming, new play development series and nationally-recognized educational program. Since 1995, About Face has created exceptional, innovative, and adventurous plays that advance the national dialogue on gender and sexual identity and have entertained and challenged audiences in Chicago, across the country and around the world. Support from Wonka Ball enables About Face to thrive as Chicago’s celebrated center for LGBTQA arts, an inclusive home where diverse artists, youth, audiences and community partners come together for artistic exchange and cultural dialogue.



Event: WONKA BALL 2014: The Gayme Show!

Date: Friday, May 9 from 8 pm – 11 pm;

Location: Macy’s on State Street, 9th Floor Event Center, 111 N. State St. in Chicago

DetailsFeaturing games, music and dancing, sumptuous edibles, an open bar with signature cocktails, a raffle and live and silent auctions.

Tickets:  $150.

Sad News for Gay Illinois Teens – Conversion Therapy Ban Shot Down

Conversion-therapy gay non gay chicago illinois

Illinois House Shoots Down Ban On Gay Conversion Therapy

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – An effort to ban the controversial practice of “conversion therapy” to turn gay, lesbian and bisexual youth heterosexual has been defeated in the Illinois House.

The proposed legislation, sponsored by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) lost on a 44-51 roll call vote Thursday.

Cassidy, a lesbian who helped spearhead the legalization of same-sex marriage in Illinois, told her colleagues people are born heterosexual, homosexual or bisexual, and so-called “conversion therapy” can only harm the youths it purports to treat.  SEE MORE  AT  CBS

New Brunch Launched at Revolucion on Broadway


Brunch Done with a Mexican Twist!


Every Saturday & Sunday! Brunch at Revolucion! They have a new Spring Brunch & Cocktail Menus full of amazing new flavors! Both Sweet & Savory dishes with a Mexican twist to please anyone’s palate. In addition to our $3 Mimosas & Bloody Mary’s, they also offer innovative beverages including Sorbetsmith’s Salted Lime Sorbet Michelada Float- that’s muy sabroso!

3443 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657

Phone: 773-661-9893


Legacy Project Teams with Equality House to Showcase LGBT Contributions

Victor Equality House

This coming weekend, the Legacy Project will officially unveil its first-ever satellite-installation at Equality House in Topeka,Kansas – across the street from the infamous Westboro Baptist Church.

The event is part of a series of planned weekend festivities — following GLSEN’s National “Day of Silence” on April 11th — to protest the bullying and harassment faced by Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) students and their supporters.

            The grand opening of the Legacy Project installation at Equality House will begin with a two-hour reception starting at noon on Saturday April 12th. Following the open house, those gathered will join the anti-bullying march to the Kansas State Capital, sponsored by the Unitarian Universalist Church.

            “We’re very proud and excited to be part of this important occasion,” said Victor Salvo, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the Legacy Project in making the announcement. “This ground-breaking initiative in America’s heartland is a natural extension of our continuing mission to redress the redaction of LGBT figures and events from history, which is central to the Legacy Project’s comprehensive strategy to challenge the ignorance which fuels anti-gay bullying.”

            The partnership with Equality House began in the spring of 2013 when the Legacy Project honored Aaron Jackson for his bold and pioneering work in creating Equality House. After touring the Legacy Walk in person, Jackson proposed the Legacy Project’s first-ever exhibit outside of Chicago be located at Equality House in the shadow of the Westboro Baptist Church – renowned world-wide for its unbridled anti-gay hatred and “God Hates Fags” mantra. After nearly a year of planning, the installation of the new permanent display in Kansas was completed in mid-March 2014.

            “Most people learn about people like themselves all the time,” said Salvo. “But the selective editing done to the lives of LGBT historic figures forces LGBT youth to grow up without any historically significant role models – leaving them unaware of the contributions people just like them have been making for centuries, unable to see that they are among the newest generation of a long line of gifted people who have made a difference in the world we all share.”

            “Public ignorance about the accomplishments of LGBT people forces sexual minorities to exist in a void – socially isolated, culturally marginalized, without historical relevance, and subject to the political and cultural biases that permeate our society — leaving them vulnerable to the violence such ignorance can incite.”

            “Recent statistics have revealed that every hour fifty (50) teens attempt suicide in the United States. The majority of them are LGBT youth bombarded by the message that they are ‘less than’ others,” continued Salvo. “That is why the Legacy Project is urgently committed to making sure our kids know that people like them matter – and have always mattered – even if nobody has ever bothered to tell them. The significance and symbolism of bringing that message to the doorstep of the Westboro Baptist Church – of all places – should be lost on no one.”

            The Legacy Project is funded entirely by donations. Its permanent exhibit at Equality House will be open to the public year-round, free of charge.

            Included in the Equality House installation in Topeka are tributes to:

            Jane Addams | Social Justice Pioneer

            Bayard Rustin | Civil Rights Visionary

            Alan Turing | The Father of Computer Science

            Alexander the Great | King of Macedonia/Greatest Soldier of All Time

            David Kato | Ugandan LGBT Activist/Martyr for LGBT Civil Rights

            Frances Perkins | U.S. Secretary of Labor/Architect of FDR’s “New Deal”

            Fr. Mychal Judge | Roman Catholic Priest/”The Saint of 9/11″

            Leonard Bernstein | Renowned Conductor of the New York Philharmonic

            Sally Ride | First U.S. Woman in Space

            Michelangelo | World Famous Artist and Sculptor

            Tchaikovsky | Legendary Composer

            Barbara Jordan | Iconic U.S. Congresswoman

            George Washington Carver | Renowned Agronomist

            Eleanor Roosevelt | First Lady/Influential Activist and Diplomat

            Two Spirit People | Indigenous North American LGBT People

            Sumner Welles | Asst. Secretary of State/Founder of N.A.T.O.

            Baron Von Steuben | Secretary General of the American Revolutionary War

            Josephine Baker| World War II Hero/U.S. Civil Rights Activist

Brown Elephant Resale in Boystown Is Moving


Sad news today….

In July, Howard Brown Health Centers (HBHC) flagship Brown Elephant Resale Shop in Lakeview will move to a new location at 3020 N. Lincoln Avenue. For over two decades, the popular Brown Elephant shop, currently on Halsted, has been an outlet for gently used vintage clothing, furniture, electronics, and other items in the Lakeview community.

The new location will offer our loyal customers a warm, inviting retail experience, said David Ernesto Munar, HBHCs President and CEO. The Lincoln Avenue space will enhance our ability to meet the health needs of LGBTQ people and our allies. The store is better suited for the resale operation and collection of donations.  A flexible floor plan and private offices will allow us to host community events and on-site services.

HBHC established the Brown Elephant in the 1980s to support a full continuum of affordable health-related programs and services for low-income LGBTQ people and allies. The revenue generated by donations and purchases support essential health care for thousands of uninsured and under-insured patients each year. 

The current location at 3651 N. Halsted will keep normal business hours (daily from 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.) until the end of June.  Effective July, HBHCs Brown Elephant locations will be: 

Brown Elephant in Lakeview
3020 N. Lincoln Avenue

Brown Elephant in Andersonville
5404 N. Clark Street

Brown Elephant in Oak Park
217 Harrison Street

Tax-deductible donations of household items, furniture, electronics or apparel can be made at any location.  To learn about pick-up options go to    or dial 773.549.5943 Ext. 1.


The Brown Elephant is much more than a resale store but a way for individuals to give back to their community, Munar said.

In the months leading up to the move, HBHC will host a series of community town-hall meetings at the store on Halsted and its new location to invite public input on LGBTQ health needs and topics. Public input will support a community health needs assessment, conducted by HBHC every five years. The schedule of discussion topics and meeting facilitators is forthcoming.

We are so grateful to the tens of thousands of shoppers and donors who have generously supported LGBTQ health via the flagship Brown Elephant for over two decades, Munar said. As we plan for the shops new location, there is not a more fitting use of the space on Halsted than to invite community input to help shape future health and wellness initiatives to better serve the community.

Chicago Gays Launch Web Series DUDES April 11th

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Chicago is the home to a new web-series, DUDES, which launches Friday morning April 11. DUDES is a wry, comedic story centered around three friends who are all on the wrong side of thirty – and they know it. This smart, witty, and lightly randy comedy has been compared to Sex and the City or Ugly Betty.

When Tyler (played by Oak Park’s Shaun Baer) discovers his long-term boyfriend Jonathan (Artistic Director for Chicago Dell’Arte Nick Freed) cheating on him, he moves in with his ex-lover David (Ben Burke), a well-bred socialite, and Miles (Brian Greer), an unemployable yet well paid escort. DUDES follows Tyler’s attempts to bounce back in the Chicago dating scene while David and Miles realize their friends are moving on – and no one’s getting younger.

dudes web tv series gay chicago men

Viewers can tune in to beginning Friday, April 11, the exclusive website in which the series will air. An autographed copy of the Episode One Script will be auctioned off at the end of the weekend.

A quick follow-up survey after viewing will automatically enter viewers into the contest. Join in the fun even more with behind the scenes footage, production blog, and constant updates on Twitter and Facebook. No matter what, you’ll always know what’s going on with DUDES.

For anyone who’s gone through the scary time of turning thirty and thinking life isn’t exactly where you expected, DUDES is the show for you. Visit the show’s official website for updates as content becomes available.

 This looks pretty cute and their substance +  skin!





Tips for Getting Lean for the Beach Body You Desire

summer beach body fitness

It’s good to have  fitness priorities but you cant use them as an excuse for bad nutrition. Whether you want visible 6-pack abs or not, its important to stay lean. Or height / weight proportionate. Obesity is the #1 health problem in much of the world. Carrying more weight then we should be is NOT GOOD for your overall health. Good nutrition is  hard work and it is extremely important for our bodies. Its also very important to point out that are many health reasons to reduce your body-fat other than getting visible 6-pack abs.
mens fitness abs Swimwear-

Many of us want the perfect beach body. Or a better beach body than we may have now. Everyone has  different criteria for their “beach body”. Some want  a six pack while others just want to shed a few pounds of winter weight, lower their body-fat and look better in their swim suit.

beach body doing crunches six pack abs

1,000 sit ups and still missing that perfect 6 pack?”  asks Chicago personal trainer and dancer Koby Grant (Koby G Fitness).

Hey,  if you can do 1000 sit ups – you are probably doing them wrong. I don’t know anyone who can do 1000 sits up a day and use good form.

If you are using good form, your abdominal muscles will start to hurt after a  while of working them. Focus on quality, not quantity. AND DIET.  If you can’t see your abs, it’s not an issue of “muscle development” at all. We all have abdominal muscles.  If you can’t see them, you simply have too much body fat covering up the ab muscles.

Maybe your goal is just to  get a better body or dropping a few pounds. Either way, it’s going to come down to diet and exercise. There are no shortcuts.

koby grant fitness trainer model dancer

We imagine what our bodies will look like laying on the beach after we just left the gym. Going to the gym is not a guarantee of the perfect body but more of an opportunity to obtain that dream,” says Koby Grant, performer, fitness trainer and owner of Koby G Productions. (right and below).

How much effort are you actually putting forth in the gym? Of that 100% effort level, where do you rank yourself? Creating short term goals is the best way to measure this. Creating yourself an obtainable, realistic short term goal is the best way to hold yourself accountable for how hard you’re working in the gym. For diet, beyond skipping pizza and ice cream, what gets you lean? what do you focus on? what do you stay away from? For a healthy well balanced diet, it is important to recognize that everything from fat to protein is an necessity for every diet.” Koby explained.

koby grant fitness trainer model chicago

Moderation is key, mapping out your diet for the week ahead is one way to do this. Using an nutritional chart or from the guidance of a licensed nutritionist of course. One misconception of getting lean is by not eating, which I can not  stress enough is more dangerous and in the end will not achieve these goals.

Think of your metabolism, which is burning calories, as a fire. Starting at the beginning of a day, you don’t throw all the wood onto the fire to keep it burning through out the day, no, you slowly feed the fire wood through out the day to keep it burning. It as important to feed your metabolism a well balanced diet, to keep it burning all day long for that perfect beach body. Weight training + Nutrition + Cardio Program!


Competitive Bodybuilder and  personal trainer Aaron Guy  says, “I tell people that abs are made in the kitchen. You can  do crunches and sit ups till you are blue in the face but it won’t, I repeat, won’t do anything to spot reduce the fat around your abdomen, which is necessary to reveal the coveted six pack.

A beach body starts with weight training. If you don’t have any muscle under all that body-fat then you’re not gonna be left with much when you start shredding for summer.

Try doing a weight lifting split and working each muscle group at least once a week. Stick to moderately heavy to heavy weight that allows you to maintain proper form and stick with 3-4 sets of 8-12 reps. That is the ideal range for increasing muscle cell size, otherwise known as hypertrophy. Remember that all of the “growing” you’ll be doing happens when you’re not at the gym and sleeping or recovering. So be sure to give yourself ample rest in between body parts and even a complete day off once or twice a week. Once you’ve worked on building a strong muscular foundation you can move on to cutting or what we often refer to as “prepping for summer”.

I would add several days of cardio into your routine on top of your lifting schedule. My favorite cardio is StairMaster because it not only burns a lot of calories but it also works on building leg muscles. Big leg muscles burn more calories and that increases your metabolism which in the long run makes you and effective fat burning machine. If you find the StairMaster too rigorous in the beginning start with 5-10 min a day and work your way up. I guarantee you that you can be doing 30 minutes in no time.

Swimming is also a great full body cardio option as well as rowing. In place of running I usually tell clients to walk on a steep incline on the treadmill as it is easier on the joints and also builds up those leg muscles I talked about earlier. I avoid the elliptical machine. I think its too easy and its definitely too easy to cheat on.

For diet I like to keep things simple. I like a high protein, moderate fat and low carb diet. All of my carbs come from veggies and fruit. I do not eat any carbs from cereals, breads, pastas or refined sugars. I drink unsweetened green tea or water and never drink soda or sports drinks or flavored waters with calories.


My favorite protein sources are fish, chicken, eggs, greek yogurt and lean red meat. To incorporate healthy fats into my meals I eat lots of avocados and nuts, including peanut and almond butter and lots of olive oil and olive oil based dressings. Make sure that each meal contains a high level of protein including breakfast. Most people skimp on protein for breakfast. I also tell clients they should consume a protein shake with some carbs within one hour of completing a workout.

Remember to keep alcohol consumption to a minimum as it can inhibit weight loss. Also remember that after all this hard work you deserve a cheat meal here and there. So treat yourself once or twice a week but make sure its within moderation. It’s not going to derail all your hard work for the week and treating yourself every so often prevents the binging and over-consumption that generally results from extreme restriction over long periods of time. With all of these things combined you should be ready bathing suit season in no time.


Aids Foundation Chicago Women and HIV Luncheon



Please join

Aids Foundation  Chicago

and AbbVie for a candid discussion about the journey of HIV-positive women.  This luncheon will focus on HIV disparaties among people of color and the need for support and better adherence. Q & A session to follow.

Speakers will include Willis Steele, National Advocacy Relations Manager, AbbVie-Virology
and Kathy Bennett, HIV-positive patient advocate, University of Maryland

Join us so you can be inspired for your journey.

Friday, April 25th      11:30-1:30pm

Lawndale Christian Health Center – Skyline Conference Center
3750 W. Ogden Ave      Chicago, IL 60623

Free and open to the public – registration required.
Please click here to RSVP by Tuesday, April 22.
For more information, contact Carole Jakes at

Dining For Life April 24th in Chicago


Designer Mondo Guerra (Under the Gunn, Project Runway All-Stars), Ted Allen, host of Food Network’s popular show Chopped, Pam Grier (Foxy Brown, Jackie Brown) and chef Daisy Martinez from Food Network’s ¡Viva Daisy! contributed their images and voices to Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru® for the HIV/AIDS fundraiser’s new animated superhero-themed Public Service Announcement.

The fearless foursome encourage diners to “Take Action and Be a Hero” by participating in Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru, bringing food-lovers and restaurants together to help AIDS Service Organizations across the country on one incredible day of dining on Thursday, April 24th.  “We are all heroes in the fight. The important thing to keep in mind is that we need to continue the conversation about HIV/AIDS,” noted Mondo Guerra.

ShootersINC came to the table with production led by Mark Reidenauer and Matthew Licht. Senior Designer Mike Mullen created the retro-styled comic book look for the animation, and also created and animated caricatures of the four celebrity heroes. View the 2014 Dining Out For Life® PSA here.To find restaurants near you participating in Dining Out For Life hosted by Subaru, please visit  

To keep up with the latest event and HIV/AIDS news, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. For mouth-watering food photos, follow Instagram: DiningOut4Life.

On Thursday, April 24th, 2014,  celebrate food, friends and a great cause at our 20th annual Dining Out For Life! Last year, Chicago raised over $115,000 to continue its mission of providing housing with life services to men, women & children living with HIV/AIDS. This year we hope to raise even more! You can help make a difference by joining us along with 60 other cities throughout North America and Nigeria and dine out on Thursday, April 24th!

Dine Out. Fight AIDS.


About Dining Out for Life®

Dining Out For Life began in Philadelphia in 1991 and has since grown into an international event held in 60+ cities across North America – raising an average $4.25 million annually. The idea behind the single-day event is simple and effective: Dine Out, Fight AIDS. Each restaurant donates a percentage of the day’s food sales, which goes to local organizations to fund care, prevention, education, testing, counseling and other essential HIV/AIDs services. For more information, visit or Facebook/DiningOut4Life.

HIV Cure Research – Community Forum April 23rd



Learn about exciting scientific advances to bring about a cure for HIV disease, featuring Timothy Brown, a.k.a. “the Berlin Patient,” who once had HIV. Recovered from a deadly form of leukemia and now virus-free because of a difficult bone marrow transplant, Brown embodies the hopes of scientists and millions of people living with the virus. Brown’s road to a cure is unlikely to be traveled by many others, except perhaps some who also have both HIV and cancer. But his journey provides critical proof of a concept that just may help lead to the end of AIDS-by offering clues for how to develop a safe, affordable cure for all. He also offers inspiration and hope for the road ahead. The evening will also include information about Chicago’s efforts on the HIV cure research agenda, and time for Q and A.

Wednesday April 23, 6:00 – 8:00pm
Chicago Cultural Center
Cassidy Auditorium
78 E. Washington Street
Chicago, IL 60602

Free and open to the public – registration required by Tuesday, April 22.

AIDS Foundation Chicago IGNITES in May


Ignite Sparks a New Era for the AIDS Foundation of Chicago

Annual fundraising event takes on a new look and ignites hope for the HIV community


WHAT:          Light up your night at the AIDS Foundation of Chicago’s annual spring event Ignite: Light our Fight. Ignite Our Future on Friday, May 16. Kindle your creativity with live glass blowing demonstrations by top artists. Enjoy  drinking cocktails,  worldly cuisine and dancing the night away to music from DJ Moose. This year, the event will take place at a new location: Ignite Glass Studios, offering guests a chance to enjoy the modern space both indoors and out. The event will kickoff AFC’s 30th year of service.

AFC will honor two of distinguished advocates—Michael Bauer, Civic Leadership Award; and Robert Mink, Volunteer of the Year Award.

Funds raised through Ignite will support AFC’s policy, outreach and public education programs. AFC is the largest source of private HIV/AIDS philanthropic support in the Midwest. To learn more visit


WHEN:           Friday, May 16, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

WHERE:         Ignite Glass Studios, 401 North Armour Street, Chicago, IL 60642.

TICKETS:      Admission: $185 — Includes heavy appetizers, live glass-blowing demonstrations, open bar and dancing.

For tickets and information, or call (312) 334-0935.


Gay House Music Legend from Chicago Dies

frankie knuckles chicago house music

Frankie Knuckles

one of the major founding forces of house music, passed away yesterday at the age of 59. He died unexpectedly at his Chicago home on Monday.

When he was just 18, he got a job as a DJ at a major destination for gay men — the Continental Baths in Manhattan. That’s also where Bette Midler and Barry Manilow got their starts. In an interview with the BBC two years ago, Knuckles described it as a world unto itself.

“It was more than just a bath house,” he said. “There was a boutique. There was an Olympic-sized swimming pool. There was a theater room. There was a salon.”

“A lot of people would check in on Friday night and they wouldn’t check out until Monday morning,” Knuckles said. “They were on their way to work.”

Knuckles’ signature sets were not about explosive non-stop energy. He structured them, he once said, like stories with internal logic and a certain moody momentum.

In the late Seventies, the DJ moved to Chicago at the behest of Robert Williams, who had opened the late night club the Warehouse and needed a resident. Frankie didn’t just rise to the occasion, he created a way of playing music from disparate genres and making it seem cohesive — it became known as house music; and Knuckles became legendary through his edits, his grace and his style.

House spread from Chicago and Detroit to Ibiza and Berlin, and helped sweep in the drug-fueled rave culture in the U.K. in the ’90s. But Knuckles was never interested in hedonism. He saw the dance floor as a sacred space. The beat united everybody there. For Frankie Knuckles, the beat was a creed. Knuckles was inducted into Chicago’s Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 1996.


Center on Halsted and MINI of Chicago present Biggest MINI Wedding Ever


Center on Halsted has teamed up with MINI of Chicago to present the Biggest MINI Wedding Ever. This celebration to kick off pride month and celebrate the passage of marriage equality in Illinois will provide two couples with an all expenses paid wedding on the evening of May 31st into June 1st .

The passage of the Religious Freedom and Marriage Equality Act this past fall allows all of the benefits of marriage to be extended to same-sex couples. “Marriage Equality is a huge step forward for the LGBTQ community,” says Modesto Tico Valle, CEO at Center on Halsted.

“This event offers us a chance to kick off Pride Month, celebrate marriage equality, and show the community what these new benefits look like.”

Enter in person by visiting Center on Halsted – 3656 N Halsted -  MINI of Chicago – 1111 W Diversey – or online at All couples have to do is tell their story and why they deserve to win an all expenses paid wedding.

Sponsors include Sound Production Lighting LLC, e. melone, Robin Subar Lifestyle Photography, Thompson Chicago, Center on Halsted, Circuit Mom, Real Urban Barbecue, WCPT, Windy City Times, MillerCoors, MINI of Chicago, Roeser’s Bakery, OUT Chicago, Service is Us, Jan Dee Custom Jewelry, Miller Fortune.

Please visit for rules and regulations.

Chicago Gay Mens Chorus BIG PACKAGE Event April 5th



Shave your Head at Chicago’s VANITE Salon March 30th


Scarlet Bar – Chicago and Beyond

scarlet gay bar chicago

After the Chicago Fire of 1871, the city was reborn and rebuilt, bigger and better than ever before.

Similarly, after the fire at Scarlet bar in 2009, the bar was rebuilt and it was born anew.

General manager Robbie Baldwin remembers, “I was here helping with the new layout and the rebuilding and ended up just staying on as a full time employee and became General Manager.”

Year after year Scarlet places high on various top lists; Best gay bar in Chicago, One of the top 100 bars in Chicago,  Best in Boystown, and even the Best Gay Club for Straight Folks! It’s almost as if after the fire, new energy was brought to the space.

scarlet bar chicago johnny weir traver rains

It was in 2010 that Robbie crossed paths with designer Traver Rains, formerly of  the outrageously successful Heatherette  and currently of  T Rains designs. “I walked into Spin one night and saw him sitting at the bar and introduced myself to him, ” remembers Baldwin. “We started chatting, he was in town scouting a location for an upcoming fashion show.  We exchanged phone numbers and a few weeks later he called and said he wanted to come by Scarlet with then Chelsea Lately’s “Staff Homosexual” Guy Branum for a night of music, laughs and a great party to benefit the Trevor project. And they did!  It was great fun!” (Photo at Scarlet of Johnny Weir and Traver Rains)

scarlet best gay chicago

These days Traver is  frequent  fixture in Boystown, always hanging out at Scarlet and Taverna 750 when he is in town. “We’re kind of like family now, “  says Robbie. “He has designed shirts and hoodies for Scarlet but he really focuses his time on philanthropy and his photography.”

Another  Scarlet regular is model/actor Austin Armacost, who first came into the public eye by way of The A List -New York, reality show.  He dated designer Marc Jacobs for a short time.”After visiting Chicago for more than ten years, I find SCARLET to be the best place to just let loose!” says Austin.

Fun crowd, fun staff, they are not cunty like some of the bars! I have celebrated my last three birthdays at SCARLET and I will be there on March 27th! I love the team there. I can dance on a speaker in my underwear and everybody is just like that’s SCARLET!

You never know who you might see there. Brad Goreski, Jaslene Gonzalez, Candis Cayne…

scarlet with cazwell chicago gay

Originators of The First Ward Ball, Frat Night, Liquid Brunch, Red Cup Party and Dance-off with Your Pants off, Scarlet strives to keep things fresh. “The gay community is constantly changing and evolving and you have to keep offering them something different to keep them interested. So we are always doing different themes. People know when they come here they can expect a crazy, fun, unique and memorable experience!”
Scarlet prides themselves on their list of DJ’s and their sound.


The Examiner once said, “If you’re a gay or female, chances are a drink doesn’t feel complete without dancing. And if it’s been a rough week, that preference becomes a legitimate need. If your preferences run to techno or rap, well, you can head to just about any club in the city. But if you’re looking for a DJ who will mix infectious top 40’s so seamlessly you won’t experience one of those annoying I’m-going-to-bob-my-head-because-I-have-no-idea-what-this-song-is lulls, then head to Scarlet.”

The Scarlet/Red Bull  stage is always packed for Chicago PrideFest and Market Days. “Our internal motto at Scarlet is “We sell FUN” and that’s exactly what we try and do when we have our acts at these bigger events. The Djs will be playing great music you want to dance to, the Scarlet boys will be jumping around on stage and Trannika Rex, as always will be screaming into the mic and MC’ing. It’s over the top and it’s ridiculous!”  says Robbie.


scarlet mike and brryce chicago

Scarlet throws numerous off site large scale events and the manage a team of Djs and talent. They have done several events with Macy’s and  last year they were invited to Milwaukee PrideFest for a 2 hour DJ set and brought along Traver Rains who did a fashion show of his clothes. This year Scarlet will be doing 6 hours at Milwaukee Pridefest  with DJs, dancing boys and the Trannika Rex Show plus ….who knows …maybe a surprise guest? At press time, contracts were still being negotiated. Don’t Miss Scarlet bar and friends Friday June 6th in MKE.

“It’s all very exciting!” exclaimed Robbie. “This year we are returning to Six Flags Great America OUT IN THE PARK private night and we have been invited to the St Louis Six Flags for their very first OUT IN THE PARK. Two of our DJ’s  will also be playing the HEATWAVE  LGBT charity event at Key Lime Cove in the Fall AND possibly we might be doing something in San Francisco later this year,” tells Robbie.

We have really worked hard to develop a brand and we enjoy taking the brand on the road into other markets. One day it would be great to have several Scarlet bars in several cities.”

 Scarlet Bar Chicago

3320 N Halsted St, Chicago, IL 60657  773-348-1053   FACEBOOK

(773) 348-1053

Austin Armacost will Celebrate Birthday at Scarlet March 27th



Model and Actor AUSTIN ARMACOST will be in Chicago next week celebrating his birthday at his favorite bar SCARLET for what is sure to be a fun night of drinking, dancing and debauchery!

Fun starts about 9pm!

Remembering Vernita Gray

vernita gray grey chicago

Vernita Gray, who passed away last night after a tenacious battle with cancer, served Chicago’s LGBTQ community with distinction for over 40 years as was one of its early leaders and strongest advocates. She organized a gay and lesbian hotline in 1969 and hosted support groups from her home. She was instrumental in forming the first Lesbian Caucus of the nascent Gay Liberation organization and the first Chicago lesbian newspaper – Lavender Women.

ville, Center on Halsted’s community newszine, had a chance to sit down with Vernita this past winter about the future of the LGBTQ movement.



“In 1969, I didn’t really have a clue about a career, what I wanted to do with my life. As an African-American woman coming out as a lesbian, I knew I wanted to be free and wanted to be afforded all the opportunities in our culture to be who I really was. I knew that I did not want to be a closeted lesbian,” Gray told the Times’ Tracy Baim as part of the Chicago Gay History project in 2007. “I knew that I wanted to be gay and wanted to enjoy my life with other gay people.”

It wasn’t long before Gray immersed herself in activism. That same year she helped develop a telephone hotline, and started organizing support groups for gay and lesbian Chicagoans at both local colleges and in her own home, according to her biography on the website of the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, into which she was inducted in 1992.

Out of State Couples Coming to Illinois for Same Sex Marriages

gay wedding cakes chicago

SAME  SEX MARRIAGE is Officially Legal in Illinois  and many neighboring states are going to be running here to be married.

Why are they doing this? Even if their state will not recognize a marriage from another state, the Federal Government WILL.

No one is breaking any laws  because same-sex marriage is legal here. The couple just need to know how their state will treat them when they get home, each state is different, but on a federal level, they are married.

Based on number’s of last year same-sex couples doing civil unions, I would say my business has increased 50% from out-of-state same-sex couples. Also, keeping in mind everyone was waiting for Illinois marriage equality, this is year is going to be a huge rise in numbers” said Rev. Pamela who handles a lot of LGBT weddings and services in Arlington Heights at the Charming Pine Manor – or she can come to you.

There are lots of lawsuits all over the country right now involving states that currently do not recognize gay marriage.  As of  3-15-2014:

Wisconsin has been challenged;

Tennessee is being ordered, temporarily, to recognize out-of-state gay marriages;

Kentucky is trying to get out of recognizing gay marriages;

Indiana is being challenged;

Michigan has not decided yet;

Ohio is still being challenged – unless you die!

Judges around the country are striking down same sex marriage bans!

St Baldricks Benefit at Scarlet bar March 27

st baldrics benefit chicago

Vanite’ Paul Mitchell Focus Salon is hosting a benefit at Scarlet on   MARCH  27th, from 7-9PM. Kettle One & Nolet’s Gin will be providing cocktails for 2HRS & My Fit Foods will be providing “Cancer fighting foods” for the event.

This is a fundraiser for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation—proceeds to benefit cancer research, development and services for children in Chicago.


Tickets are $30 per person  – - Tickets are available here