Category Archives: Art

Chicago House, Willis Tower and Absolute Wrapture Jan 24th

Chicago House & Co-Chairs Dennis Remer, Sean Kotwa, David Kaufman,Tom Segal, Christopher Hubbard & Sean Ward invite you to enjoy a fresh new fusion of  one-of-a-kind artwork up for auction and windy city views alongside the premiere of a tasty new tune from Absolut!

Thursday, January 24th

Willis Tower Skydeck   99th Floor
233 South Franklin (Building’s East Lobby Entrance)

5PM: VIP Early Arrival

6PM-9PM: General Guest Arrival

LIMITED VIP TICKET 50% Sold Out: $150, includes EARLY ARRIVAL at 5PM, a commemorative visit and photo opportunity on The Ledge, plus a VIP swag bag of treats from Garrett Popcorn, Kiehl’s, Teuscher Chocolates of Switzerland, and much more!  


New In 2013!
Expedited Entry through Willis Tower’s multiple passenger elevators!

Early arrival for VIP’s!

Paperless auction with cellular bidding!

More unique artwork!

 NEW year, NEW tune, SAME great cause

 Tickets at or phone (773) 248-5200 x. 303


Getting Into Face with JoJo Baby and Sal-E

Legendary club kid, doll maker, makeup artist, costumer, and penis-sculpture enthusiast JoJo Baby costars with his clubbing companion, Sal-E, in Bernard Colbert’s lush new  12″ x 12″ coffee-table book Getting into Face: 52 Mondays Featuring Jojo Baby and Sal-e

Bernard’s lifelong passion is to capture high energy, emotionally charged portraits of interesting people.

For 17 years, Bernard has been perfecting his craft, working in the field of commercial and advertising photography.

‘In the vibrant community where I live and work, I find what I have
always been searching for- a sublime energy. Nightlife activity blends
with the arts and diversity of self expression abounds. Here, I can
freely pursue my dream: to document and celebrate that spark within,
which defines the unique nature of our human experience.’

GETTING INTO FACE is a visual feast in the tradition of 1990s club kids. See
performance artists JoJo Baby and Sal-E use their bodies as canvases to
become inspired and whimsical conceptual characters, executed with
expert skill using original, theatrical makeup and costumes. In more
than 100 portraits, photographer Bernard Colbert rigorously captures
these two performance artists in genius moments as psychedelic Hindi
gods, comic book villains, fantastical creatures, astronauts, and much,
much more.

 Colbert’s stunning portraits document these delightful
transformations over a five-year period and are the same body of work
featured in the Clive Barker documentary titled JoJo Baby. Through
Colbert’s collaboration with JoJo and Sal, viewers can experience a
front row seat to an ongoing show which has been entertaining club goers
in Chicago for two decades. This is a portfolio for the visually
adventuress and fans of true creative vision.

Every Monday night, JoJo Baby with friend Sal-E have gone to work as
hosts of Chicago’s largest and longest running house-music dance party,
the Boom Boom Room, which is currently on hiatus from its usual location
at Green Dolphin St., 2220 N. Ashland Ave., while the building
undergoes renovation. It took the duo hours to prepare, and Colbert was
there every week to capture the endlessly entertaining process. He said
he usually only had 10 to 15 minutes to photograph them before they went
on stage.

“Sometimes they would show up and I would look at what they were
wearing and try and quickly comprehend what they were up to, because
sometimes it’s high concept and it’s not obvious right away,” Colbert
said. “It’s interesting right away, but it’s like, ‘What the heck is
going on?’ So I scramble and try and make it happen.”

Colbert, who took courses in commercial photography at Columbia from
1989–1991, said he loves portrait photography and has been drawn to
performers such as models, musicians and athletes—people who are both
interesting and like being photographed.

The combination of unplanned imagination and spontaneity kept Colbert
continually inspired. He said the most successful images captured an
indescribable magic that would often occur.

“It was something that would elevate it from an interesting time to
really high art, and it’s something that fascinates me,” Colbert said.
“It feels elusive, but when you find that you can do it time and time
again, it’s really fun to keep trying to do it.”

The book will also be available at local
bookstores in Chicago and
Getting into Face: 52 Mondays Featuring Jojo Baby and Sal-e


$500 Poster Contest for 2013 Gay Six Flags Event

“Out in the Park” at Six Flags Great America returns in 2013 with a BANG!  

A private LGBT event featuring unlimited riding of  ALL  Six Flags Great America’s amazing rides (X-Flight, Superman, Batman, etc.) , live music by an internationally sought after DJ who calls Chicago home, Matthew Harvat, delivering a complete party-celebration dance area everyone can enjoy! Plus some surprise celebrity guests and niche entertainment venues! and (Sponsor) are excited to return with an all new LGBT Celebratory event and fundraiser at Six Flags Great America. “We are very excited to be asked to return this year to Six Flags Great America and their excitement in allowing us this unique opportunity to produce such an awesome private event for our community at their park,” said Derrick Sorles, owner of “We are proud to have another charity benefiting this year.”
In preparation for the marketing campaign for Chicago’s 2nd Annual “Out In The Park”  2013, is seeking  artists interested in creating a prize-worthy poster and postcard design promoting the 2013 Six Flags Great America Celebration.

500 Posters and 30,000 Postcards will be printed and distributed in
Chicagoland, Wisconsin, parts of Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Indiana! 
Plus we’ll have ads and banners on websites everywhere including
Facebook. Your name will be on everything, giving the artist amazing exposure!

This was last year’s poster:

  • The competition is open to all interested artists and graphic designers.
  • All submissions must be received before the deadline to be considered in the competition.
  • There is no limit to the number of submissions entered.
  • There is no cost to submit.
  • Entries will be accepted from individuals, collaborative teams, or design firms, with prize money being split between the entrants listed on the submission.
  • The winner will be given credit for design on artwork to include a name or website reference on all printed material and on, and other websites that run the official press release.
All interested artists are asked to complete and submit their work for review and judging before 5pm, March 1st, 2013.

The winning design as chosen by will receive $500 and 2 tickets to the “Out In The Park” at Six Flags Great America 2013 Celebration ($80.00 Value).

There are also prizes of $39 complementary “Out In The Park” tickets from for their other favorites and Facebook fan favorite art designs. and the artist(s) will share equal rights to the uses of the image.

*This was the BACK of last years postcard – we’ll be looking to totally redesign the back, with much less information:


Information the artists need to know:

On Saturday, September 14, 2013, (from 9pm – 1am), the park will be closed to the general public for this private event. ALL the rides will be open. There will be NO LINES to ride rides – ride as much as you want. Ticketholders will  enjoy the music of DJ Matthew Harvat as it is heard live throughout most the park. Matthew will do what he does best as he creates a signature dance area experience never seen before at Six Flags Great America. This amazing event welcomes all LGBT friendly folks from the five surrounding states coming together to pride-fully celebrate on this once-a year extremely special Saturday night!

Tickets for admission to the park are $39 includes FREE PARKING!  A portion of all  tickets sold will benefit (Charity TBD 2/1/13).

Example below of artwork retooled for ad: is looking for artwork and a design that immediately grab your attention visually and look like something REALLY FUN that you feel compelled to buy a ticket for , grab some friends and get out and have a BLAST!

Entries must include:

  • OUT IN THE PARK official logo
  • official logo
  • All text necessary to create the sell message
  • Additional sponsor/media partner logos
  • Beyond bright and colorful!
  • Use of park ride(s) and feeling of fun and/or movement
  • The rest is up to you and your vision!

Entries will be judged using the following criteria:

  • Overall impact of eye-catching appeal
  • Visual attractiveness
  • Ability to draw the viewer in
  • Clear and concise messaging
  • Appropriateness of graphics used
  • Off the-chart creativity
  • Must be appropriate for all ages.

Include your name, address, email and phone number on with each submission to
BestGayCities (at) gmail (dot) com.
All submissions will be judged based on content, appeal and marketability. The decisions of the judges will be final.

Guidelines are as follows:
   – Size 11″ X 17″ Entries should be developed at least 300dpi, but can be submitted at a lower resolution.
 – Final winner will submit 300dpi  PDF – and be able to tool poster theme into postcard size and various sized ads.
   – Must be original artwork. Do not submit copyrighted work. BE CAREFUL using stock images for rides that do not exist at Six Flags Great America. We can not show a full ride image, of a ride that does not exist. However, you could  cut out portions of a generic ride and riders, if needed.

PLEASE call or email for more information needed or ANY questions!
Michael or Derrick   773-878-5323

Special Holiday Sale and Party Dec. 5th
invite you to Celebrate the Holidays and Shop LOCAL.

2 of our favorite new small businesses at one Boystown address!

MEBLE Design Studio & Vanite’ Paul Mitchell Focus Salon

Meet and greet the dynamic mother-daughter duo Agnes & Danuta at Meble Design where they sell antiques, artwork, unique interior design pieces, upholstery and accent items – all AMAZINGLY PRICED.

From pictures and accents to couches and chairs – it’s ALL HERE!
Need a custom piece created or have an item you would like refurbished, updated or bedazzled? That’s their specialty!
ALL guests will enjoy 30% off store items or services discussed during this special event!

ALSO, meet Kinley Preston and her staff at the brand new Vanite Paul Mitchell Hair Salon for men & women.

Kinley will be on hand showing off her gorgeous new salon space and you can pick up Paul Mitchell samples and ENJOY 30% OFF all Paul Mitchell products.

PLUS, everyone gets a swag bag of goodies, just for stopping by!

Come have some wine and cheese and shop and mingle!
Please RSVP, if you can.

Its an Open House event party 5-9pm, so stop in and peruse and mingle anytime convenient and bring a friend.
But if you do stop by during the day, just mention and the 30% off special will apply.

It is so important that we are aware of the small businesses in our community so that we can refer them to friends and support and shop local when we can so that they continue to be in business in the future.

3161 North Halsted Street Chicago, IL 60657


World Aids Day

                                            What does AIDS look like?

Sci-Fi Meets Theatre as Intergalactic Nemesis hits Chicago

How It Works:
Three actors voice dozens of characters, one artist creates hundreds of
sounds, and one keyboardist accompanies while more than 1,000
hand-drawn, blow-your-mind comic-book images blast from a large screen.

The Story:
The year is 1933. Pulitzer Prize-winner Molly Sloan and her intrepid
assistant Timmy Mendez have traveled to Transylvania to meet a key
contact for a story about illegal pelt smuggling. As the crackling
fireplace warms the room against the blizzard outside, their contact,
Vlad, tells them that their story is at a dead end: all of the smugglers
have either disappeared or been killed by … something.

 There are
rumors of monsters in the Carpathian Mountains. Vlad hands Molly and
Timmy a map of something called the Central Hive when suddenly an
assassin appears in the doorway and Vlad falls dead, a knife in his

Almost as suddenly, a mysterious and handsome stranger appears
behind the assassin, throws the assassin into the roaring fire, and
tells Molly and Timmy to run for their lives. Reporter Molly Sloan and
her assistant Timmy Mendez have stumbled upon the story of the century.

Saturday, Nov. 10th, 2012.  7:30 pm

Grab your seats now . . . before it’s too late!

“Totally nuts and a ton of fun! Do not miss it!” — The Austinist

“Something you simply must experience if you are a fan of awesome.” —

Moraine Valley Community College
Fine & Performing Arts Center
9000 West College Parkway
Palos Hills, IL 60465

Phone (708) 974-5500


Beautiful Art from Around the World – SOFA Nov. 2-4

If you want to see jaw-dropping eye-popping Art and Design
                                                 the SOFA exhibition is a MUST SEE!

The Art Fair Company, based in Chicago, presents the critically
acclaimed international art fair SOFA CHICAGO 2012 at the historic Navy
Pier Friday, Nov. 2 through Sunday, Nov. 4.

This popular three-day event
features masterworks of contemporary and modern arts and design,
sculpture, functional art, outsider, ethnographic, non-traditional folk
and visionary art, plus related special exhibitions and a lecture

SOFA CHICAGO enjoys the prestigious position of being the largest and
longest continually running art fair in Chicago, a mainstay of the
city’s cultural and social calendar. “In 2010 we added a new dimension
of art to SOFA CHICAGO with the Intuit Show of Folk & Outsider
Art,” says Donna Davies, Director of SOFA art fairs in Chicago and New
York. “We’ve been thrilled to see our collectors fully embrace the
Intuit galleries and artists, so this year we are integrating those
galleries under one unifying fair umbrella, SOFA CHICAGO 2012.”

“It really is a feast for the eyes!” says Derrick Sorles, of

Glass will be a major focus this year as SOFA will be celebrating the 50th
Anniversary of the Studio Glass movement. The pioneers of the movement
have Midwest roots that
has since expanded and developed to be international in scope. In fact
Chicago’s Floating World Gallery will be showcasing 10-12 works by a
Japanese artists who was so excited about SOFA the she created new works
which will be shown for the first time at SOFA!
There are special exhibits, lectures and more.

The Corning Glass Road
Show will once again be on site.

There are a couple of artists with Chicago connections that
might make for a fascinating chat:
Barbara Cooper,  (left) whose work is showcased by Chicago’s Perimeter Gallery, and
Brian Dettmer 
(below – who  grew up in Naperville and until 2006 resided in Chicago), who will be
featured by the Chicago’s Packer Schopf. 

Both create extremely
fascinating work using existing materials.
Both Cooper and Dettmer will be on site at SOFA.

PLAN TO SPEND A DAY at SOFA. There is so much to see and do.
Lots of Booth talks,
book signings,film screenings
and lecture series. There is something here for everyone’s taste.

There are some very special exhibits this year, including:

Eye of Mr I : A retrospective of artwork by legendary self-taught artist Gregory
Warmak, a.ka. Mr. Imagination (1948-2012), known for his transformation
of discarded objects into works of art.

Bags Across the Globe (BAG) is a global intervention conceived and
carried out by Ann Savageau from 2008 to the present. The large-scale
installation addresses the disastrous unintended environmental
consequences of one of the most widespread consumer products on the
globe, the single use plastic shopping bag.

Among Fellows : An Exhibition of Work by the 2012 College of Fellows.  Since 1975, the American Craft Council (ACC) has recognized significant
contributions to the field of craft by awarding the distinction of
Fellow of the Council.

Part of the ACC’s commitment “to honor those who
have made an outstanding contribution to the crafts in America,” this
special exhibit features significant works by 2012 elected Fellows
Sharon Church, Anne Currier, Andrea Gill, Lewis Knauss, Tom Loeser,
Dante Marioni, and Sherri Smith, and Gold Medalist Stephen De Staebler.

Dates & Hours
Friday, November 2   
    11 am – 7 pm

Saturday, November 3
    11 am – 7 pm

Sunday, November 4
    Noon – 6 pm

    Photography is not permitted. Cameras must be checked at coat check for a fee.

GET TICKETS ONLINE – 3 day passes  and  group tickets are available!

See you  at  SOFA 2012!


Chicago Lost and Found Benefit at The Victor May 24

Chicago Lost and Found is a not-for-profit organization
committed to art education and inspiring creativity throughout the city.

This organization re-purposes materials that otherwise become landfill, creating unusual art, fashion and functional furnishings. Sales from creations assist in funding art education throughout Chicago.

“Where most people see trash, I see possibility” says Mitch Pennell, founder and creative director.

The most recent creation from the CL&F studio is the clutch bag. This must-have bag is
fabricated from once fashionable men’s trousers or designer fabric samples headed for
the trash. Yesterday’s style relic becomes today’s chic fashion accessory.

Thursday May 24th, Chicago Lost and Found presents “The Big Picture” an annual
event where even the smallest contribution makes a huge difference.

Setting a new precedence in fund-raising, “The Big Picture” introduces a fresh concept
with a pop-up boutique presented by Andersonville Galleria, featuring an array of
hand-made goods by area artists and craftsmen. Total sales from the boutique will
be matched by pledges made prior to the event. This “shop-a-thon” allows guests to
purchase items they love or even gifts for someone special. In turn, each dollar spent is
multiplied through pledges to fund the mission of art education.

Top billing for this star-studded event includes delicacies from Chicago’s own Top Chef
favorite, Dale Levitski – Sprout/Frog N Snail
in cooperation with Pure Kitchen Catering
and A-list party planner, Debi Lilly /A Perfect Event. Entertainment includes international
cabaret duo Amy Armstrong and Freddy Allen with fashion illustrations by Rosemary
And a special appearance and performance by the fabulous Cyon Flare.
Plus signature cocktails from Patron and Ultimat Vodka.

This ticketed event is a party to celebrate the arts and invite the community to learn
more about the unconventional mission of turning junk into art and art into education.
This is an event you do not want to miss! Get your tickets now, space is limited and this event will sell out.

While funding for the arts and education is on a constant decline, it is paramount
community organizations like Chicago Lost and Found step in to fill the void. CL&F
offers a unique way to help while providing additional benefits for the city and

 YES! Just $30 for an amazing event of art, food, and drink!

But only until May 18th! Then $40 @ the door – with limited availability.

For tickets and more information about the event:

Chicago Lost and Found May 24, 2012 at 5:30 p.m.
 at The Victor, (311 N. Sangamon)


Chicago House Champagne Wrapture Benefit 2012 at Willis Tower

Champagne Darling, Champagne for Everyone!!
Notorious for its history of innovation! 
Through the centuries Veuve Clicquot has become known as The Champagne  House with cutting edge ideas!

Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin is both a champagne house in Reims, France, and a brand of premium champagne. Founded in 1772 by Philippe Clicquot-Muiron, Veuve Clicquot played an important role in establishing champagne as a favored drink of haute bourgeoisie and nobility throughout Europe. The 1811 comet vintage of Veuve Clicquot is theorized to have been the first truly “modern” Champagne due to the advancements in the méthode champenoise which Veuve Clicquot pioneered through the technique of remuage.

Each year Chicago House hosts a Veuve Clicquot benefit at a different venue. This year the event  reaches  the highest high!

On the 99th floor of the Willis Tower, high flying treats and bubbly drinks await you!

Artists from around the city present their  various interpretations of Clicquot and a fantastic silent auction keeps everyone bidding throughout the evening as bubbly flows.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Time: 6pm

Where: The SkyDeck, Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Drive, Chicago, IL



World Aids Day – FREE HIV Testing Today


observed December 1 every year, is dedicated to raising awareness of the pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection.

has killed more than 26 million people.   and an estimated 35 million
people worldwide live with HIV,  making it one of the most destructive
epidemics in recorded history. It is NOT OVER.

in the U.S. about 50,000 people become infected with HIV annually. New
numbers from the CDC indicate that nearly 1 in 5 people (about 240,000)
don’t know they are infected.

Today from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m., staff members from Howard

Brown will offer free HIV testing at the Brown Elephant

(Andersonville), 5404 N. Clark.

Model, actor,
athlete, designer  Jack Mackenroth
has quickly become the most visible,
out HIV+ advocate and educator in the country… if not the world. With the release of his  gorgeous, sexy 2012 calendar,
he is  raising  both money and awareness for AIDS research, and to
show through his photographs that a person living with HIV can be in top
physical form, healthy and sexy.All proceeds  Benefit  AMFAR.

His  AUTOGRAPHED, high-quality, glossy, limited  edition, 15-month calendar has been selling like hotcakes since September.

The calendar begins in January 2012 and continues through May
2013. Each month features a different photographer with a very different
style.  $14.95!!  Buy a couple. One for you and one for friends!  This
is sure to be a sell out!! And every calendar sold helps the fight!



SOFA Chicago Art and Design Show Nov. 4-6



One Ticket Admits Patrons To Both Fairs
And Related Lecture Series,
Special Exhibits And Events
Opening Night VIP and
Public Preview Thursday, Nov. 3

SOFA CHICAGO 2011, the critically acclaimed International Sculpture Objects & Functional Art Fair, will share the Pier’s Festival Hall with The Intuit Show of Folk & Outsider Art. SOFA CHICAGO, now in its 18th year, enjoys the prestigious position of being the largest and longest continually running art fair in Chicago, a mainstay of the city’s cultural and social calendar.

The Chicago Sun-Times hails SOFA CHICAGO as “amazing,” and Bradley Lincoln of Chicago Home + Garden raves, “This is one of my favorite art shows in Chicago – I guarantee you will see some flashy, jaw dropping works of…genius.” The SOFA CHICAGO and Intuit Show’s joint Opening Night Preview on Thursday, Nov. 3 will be open to the public from 7 – 9 p.m. with ticket purchase.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit


Chicago Poetry Foundation

The Poetry Foundation, publisher of Poetry magazine, is an independent literary
organization committed to a vigorous presence for poetry in our culture. It exists to discover and celebrate the best poetry and to place it before the largest possible audience.

Celebrating nearly 100 YEARS!!  When Harriet Monroe founded Poetry magazine in 1912, she wrote that her publication was “a modest effort to give to poetry her own place.” Now, nearly one hundred years later, poetry quite literally has that place. Opened to the public in June 2011, the  building houses a public garden, a 30,000-volume library, an exhibition gallery, the Poetry Foundation’s programming offices—including the offices of Poetry magazine—and provides new space for the Foundation’s extensive roster of public programs and events.  –  Their building on Superior is a MUST  SEE.  


Upon receipt of a major gift from philanthropist Ruth Lilly, the Poetry Foundation was established in 2003, evolving from the Modern Poetry Association, which was founded in 1941. The Poetry Foundation is one of the largest literary foundations in the world.

The Poetry Foundation works to raise poetry to a more visible and influential position in American culture. Rather than celebrating the status quo, the Foundation seeks to be a leader in shaping a receptive climate for poetry by developing new audiences, creating new avenues for delivery, and encouraging new kinds of poetry. In the long term, the Foundation aspires to alter the perception that poetry is a marginal art, and to make it directly relevant to the American public.

61 West Superior Street    Chicago, IL 60654

Building Hours: 11AM – 4PM

Garden Hours: 9AM – 5PM

Library Hours: See library information for details


Artview in Lakeview Oct. 21


Coyote Art Festival in Wicker Park Sept 30-Oct 2

The Coyote is back!

Early in 2008, the Around the Coyote organization set sail on a new course. No longer was the “Around the Coyote” art festival to be an open, Wicker Park Bucktown, neighborhood festival.  Around the Coyote was to transform into a professional, serious, curatorial organization, “convincing the broader art community that they have moved up in quality and that they were becoming something more edgy and interesting”.”

The end result…… early 2010, Around the Coyote “Bites the Dust”…… But the Coyote remained alive.

With the support of the neighborhood, in the fall of 2010, The Flat Iron Artist Organization brought the  Coyote back by sponsoring “Beyond the Coyote”, drawing several thousand visitors to the neighborhood.

This fall the Coyote is alive in Wicker Park. We continue to honor the artistic spirit of Wicker Park Bucktown and invite you to join us September 30th, October 1st and 2nd. 

$10 donation at the door.
Start at 1579 N. Milwaukee @  Flat Iron Bldg.

More than 150 neighborhood artists pay tribute to the Around the Coyote art fest with a showcase of works spanning painting, sculpture and photography. The fest also features performances, a silent auction and refreshments. Grab an event map to find out which local bars and galleries host live music, exhibits and giveaways in conjunction with the fest.


Flat Iron Artists


Lakeview East Festival of the Arts 2011 Sept. 10-11 in Boystown

The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce is proud to present the seventh annual Lakeview East Festival of the Arts. The Festival takes place Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11 on Broadway Avenue, just north of Belmont.

Lakeview East is a dynamic and diversified neighborhood community rich in culture, history and the arts. The Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce works hand in hand with their local residents and business owners and is pleased to offer its neighbors and the Chicagoland area with one of the premier fine art outdoor festivals.

The 2011 Lakeview East Festival of the Arts showcases more than 150 juried artists featuring world class original paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, jewelry and more.

Artists in almost every medium will be represented including photography, printmaking, mixed media, ceramics, clay, collage, fiber, glass, sculpture, furniture and more. Unique and original artwork is on sale in all price ranges.

In addition to the art on sale, the Festival features live demonstrations and entertainment stages where some of Chicago’s favorite musicians play throughout the weekend. This year, sculpture artist Lucy Slivnski will contribute her designs to the Chirsty Webber urban garden.

September 10 & 11      Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 10am-5pm
Along Broadway • Belmont to Roscoe

Over 150 Juried Artists Showcased!


Jack Mackenroth Does Super Sexy Calendar for Charity


New Yorker Jack Mackenroth competed in the fourth season of  Project Runway. Mackenroth was the first openly HIV-positive contestant in the show’s history.

This month he  launches his 2012 Calendar with 100% of

Proceeds Benefiting amfAR —
The American Foundation for AIDS Research

As the first television personality since Pedro Zamora to be vocal about his HIV status, Jack Mackenroth has quickly become the most visible, out HIV+ advocate and educator in the country. . . if not the world. With the release of his 2012 calendar, he hopes to raise both money and awareness for AIDS research, and to show through his photographs that a person living with HIV can be in top physical form, healthy and sexy. All proceeds from the calendar will go to amfAR ( to help find a cure for AIDS. Mackenroth has been living with the disease for 22 years.

Designer, athlete and HIV/AIDS activist and educator Jack Mackenroth has had the priveledge of shooting with some of the best photographers in the business. Each month of the 15 month calendar will feature a different photographer with a very different style. Jack is a role model to many people in the HIV community and a fitness model that many aspire to emulate.

Photographers taking part in the project include Adam Bouska, Rick Day, Carsten Fleck, Frank Louis, James Franklin, Karl Giant, Tommy Synnamon, Mattheus Lian, Richard Gerst, Ray John Pila, Sonny Tong, Thomas Evans, Krys Fox and Preston Cros.

“I have amassed such an amazing collection of images that I wanted to put out a calendar that will help to combat the silence and stigma associated with being HIV-positive,” says Mackenroth. He adds, “If I can raise money for HIV/AIDS research, it’s even better.”

Jack has been a vocal and visible advocate of the HIV community, touring the country through numerous speaking engagements and special appearances at events. He continues to speak around the country and will be planning calendar signing events in the upcoming months. His memoir, “Making Lemonaids” will be released this winter.

The autographed calendar is available for pre-sale   NOW, with shipping starting Sept. 15, 2011. All proceeds benefit amfAR—The American Foundation for AIDS Research. ( The calendar’s dimensions are 8.5 x 11 inches, and are available through (ONLINE NOW) for $14.95 (plus tax and shipping).

For additional information, please visit


Center on Halsted Artist Reception Aug 19th

Join us for the opening of two exciting art galleries at Center on Halsted!  Brian Hofmeister will present his collection, titled “free/ not free,” in the second floor gallery with Ron Reason displaying his collection, titled “Everything’s Going (to turn out just fine),” in the third floor art gallery space.  Both shows will run from August 19th to September 27th.

EVENT DATE     Friday, August 19, 2011     7:00 PM – 9:30 PM   $5  donation

For Free / Not Free, (left,  by  Brian Hofmeister)  “the pieces I’ve created consist entirely of works on panel, utilizing the media of oil painting, screen print and collage. The intersection of the imagery in this work, specifically birds and either corsets, text or nature, reveal for me an allegory of my exploration of beauty and my attempt to capture it.”

Everything’s Going (to turn out just fine) Ron Reason (right)

The exhibit will give a glimpse into the unusual experience of art, music, survival, fashion and fun the two Chicago residents shared at the annual Burning Man festival. (This year’s installment of Burning Man, the first ever to sell out, begins one week after this exhibit’s opening.) The festival is a unique, impromptu experiment in creating art, culture, and community, whereby an ad-hoc “city” of 45,000 pops up for one week each year, inhabiting campers, tents, and RVs in harsh federal desert land in Nevada. The by-products of the interaction of daring souls from around the world are some of the most unusual art, music and fashion seen anywhere.  

Find out More online about the artists and the event!


Carlton Gardens…A unique Gift shop in West Michigan Just Past Saugatuck

 Saugatuck and Douglas
are filled with all sorts of little gift shops and art galleries…but once you have seen them all, then what? 

On a recent trip  to Saugautuck someone told me about CARLTON GARDENS. This is West Michigans Best Kept Secret!  But not for long!

Just about 40 minutes from the Saugatuck area, this is an amazing little piece of land, beautifully landscaped and full of all kinds of gifts and art., in Grand Rapids.

Carlton Gardens is much more than an enchanting gift shop with unusual wall hangings, floral arrangements, antiques, and garden décor—with nooks and crannies around every corner. The main house is the first stop.  Lot’s of clothes, jewelry,  purses and accessories, mostly all for women, but also lots of lamps, lights and home decor.

In the surrounding yard and gardens you with find walkways leading to a vast array of yard art, benches, baskets, and unique gifts.

Here in this acre of country hidden right inside the city are 4 gazebos, 2 ponds, 2 bridges and 9 out-buildings: the Barn, the Garden House, the Christmas House, the Potting Shed, the Outhouse, the Coop, Breton Cottage, the Apple House, and Chapel by the Bridge, complete with stained glass windows.

Gifts and trinkets and yard art everywhere. You can literally spend a couple hours here.

In fact, owner Ruth Tucker told us she encourages folks to pack a basket lunch and come on out and spend an afternoon.  One of the lovely screened gazebos has great lawn furniture inside, and shoppers are encouraged to come and hang out and enjoy this hidden gem.

While I find many of the galleries and gift shops in Saugatuck and Douglas, a bit overpriced, I found Carlton gardens  EXTREMELY reasonable!  Huge pieces of metal yard art ran $15-$350.  With many in the $60-$80 range.  It is  so beautiful and very affordable.

The property is filled with all of these little  “sheds”  and buildings, each filled with more art and more gifts!

There is even a little Halloween  building and a Christmas building.

Ruth runs the shop and keeps the grounds up with her husband John. Ruth is actually quite the trailblazer!  (Google her!) 

Ruth A. Tucker was for six years a professor of missions at Calvin Theological Seminary in Grand Rapids, and before that taught for seventeen years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. She is the author of seventeen books, including From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, Another Gospel, Women in the Maze and Walking Away from Faith.

Ruth was the first full-time woman professor in  Calvin Theological Seminarys 125-year history.    
In 2003, less than 3 months after Cornelius Plantinga, Jr. was installed as the new president,  “I was, without warning, removed from tenure track and given a terminal appointment. I have repeatedly asked that all the evidence be opened only to be blocked by a dishonest cover-up. When independent mediators were retained by the seminary board in 2005, they called for “retroactive pay to 2003,” among other things. That report was buried. I finished my second terminal appointment on August 31, 2006.”   Talk about an emotional roller coaster!


 So these days she and her husband devote all of their time to  the gift shop and all of its grounds. It really truly is enchanting! I have never seen anything like it. And I encourage anyone looking for unique gifts to give, or for yourself or your yard, make the drive to see Ruth and her amazing gardens!  Plan to spend a couple hours, and bring your checkbook. I don’t see how anyone could possibly leave this place without buying something. Four of us went to the shop and all left with bags of gifts!

Ruth said a lot of gay people have discovered her little shop over the last few years and word has been spreading. 

Her and her husband have actually had the store since 1996. But in recent years have made a lot of changes and additions. They are ALWAYS working on it. In fact, since I was there in July, they have made more changes and additions!

 And they are always getting in new merchandise.
“Much of unique yard art comes from various artists around Michigan.

Ruth says, “Sure, we sell sculptures (and chimes, bird houses, furniture, floral, baskets, pillows, paintings, clothes, collectibles, jewelry and much more). But you need not purchase a thing. Just come and enjoy our wonderful grounds. Bring a lunch and eat it in one of our four gazebos, two of them by waterfalls. Wander over the bridge into our sculpture garden where magic unfolds! 

Hope to see you soon!”

3140 Breton Rd. S.E. ,  3 blocks south of 28th St. S.E.
See lots of  photos on the website  and on Facebook.
Phone: 616-974-1062
Hours: Mon-Fri: 10 am-5 pm ,   Sat: 10 am-3 pm

*PS –   While you are in Grand Rapids, you might want to visit  Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park. Comprised of 132 acres of natural wetlands, woodlands, meadows and display gardens, Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is a year-round experience with indoor tropical, arid, carnivorous, Victorian and seasonal gardens, changing sculpture galleries with exhibitions by international artists, and outdoor acreage featuring an internationally acclaimed Sculpture Park, Children’s Garden, Michigan’s Farm Garden, amphitheater for summer concert events, nature trails and boardwalks.


Dance for Life Chicago on PBS Wttw 11 on August 11

Dance for Life 

Brings Twenty Years
of Strength and Community
in the Fight Against HIV/AIDS
to the Big Screen

Moving Documentary on Two-Decade Journey Premieres on WTTW-11 on Aug. 11, 10 p.m.

In its 20-year journey, the original small grassroots dance performance event, Dance for Life, has evolved to support HIV/AIDS services in Chicago and financially assist those living with HIV/AIDS within the dance community into the Midwest’s largest, must-see performance, raising nearly $175,000 annually for the cause. Now, a new, riveting documentary, which debuts on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. on WTTW 11, follows the emotional journey and shares the passion of Dance for Life in a style that can best capture its essence: dance.  
The hour-long film paints the story of Dance for Life through electrifying choreography and personal stories. Shared in one-on-one interviews with the dancers, founders and supporters, these narratives convey the significance and evolution of Dance for Life throughout the film.  It will premiere only nine days before the twentieth anniversary performance in Chicago on Saturday, Aug. 20 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway.
Produced by Emmy Award-winning HMS Media, the documentary is a poignant look at the need for renewed hope and for a cure. Chronicling the 30-year impact of HIV/AIDS in Chicago and its large dance community, the film illustrates the evolution of the fundraiser. Founders Harriet Ross, Keith Elliott, Danny Kopelson and Gail Kalver, as well as beneficiaries, choreographers and dancers recount the impact of HIV/AIDS and their desire for continued progress.

(Photographs by Sando)

Dance for Life initially empowered the dance community in Chicago to take care of itself,” said Elliott, a former dancer with Joseph Chicago Holmes Dance Theater. “The documentary empowers Chicagoans to understand the power of the HIV/AIDS movement and offers a way to get involved while experiencing the best dance the city has to offer.”
From flamenco to Fosse-style jazz, performance excerpts serve as a backdrop for the emotional, yet triumphant story of Dance for Life’s origins and its future. Participants featured in the documentary include Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater, Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago, Thodos Dance Chicago, The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago and River North Chicago Dance Company.  Archival clips illustrate the event’s meteoric rise, having grown from the first sold-out performance at the former 400 seat Organic Theatre to this year’s event at the 4,000 seat Auditorium Theatre.
Dance for Life began as an effort to promote the art of dance in Chicago, while raising awareness of and supporting HIV/AIDS services in Chicago. Later, the Dance for Life Fund was formed as a program to ease the financial burden of Chicago dancers dying of complications of AIDS. As treatment for HIV/AIDS has evolved, so has the Dance for Life Fund. It now helps dancers battling any life-threatening condition to get back on their feet and continue to pursue their passion for dance. Proceeds from this year’s performance will exclusively benefit the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Dance for Life Fund.
“The dedication of staff, dance companies and volunteers is as astounding as the level of artistry,” said Harriet Ross, co-founder of Dance for Life. “Though its purpose is practical, the performance enlightens and educates. We sincerely hope that life will continue to mirror art as survival rates improve and as Dance for Life continues to flourish.”
Dance for Life the documentary will air on Thursday, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m. on WTTW 11. 

The live, on-stage performance of Dance for Life will be held on Saturday, August 20 at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, in Chicago. Tickets are $50-$75 for the 7:30 p.m. performance, with tickets for the 4:30 p.m. gala and performance ranging from $175-$500. Tickets are available at or by calling 312-922-5812.

Since 1992, Dance for Life has raised more than $4 million in the fight against HIV/AIDS; showcased Chicago’s top professional dance companies; financially established a fund that provides assistance to dancers living with HIV/AIDS; helped to support and produce five spin-off pre-events; and helped raise money for many of Chicago’s leading AIDS organizations.


OUT IN CHICAGO opens at Chicago History Museum

The Chicago History Museum
has presented the history of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Chicagoans since 2004 through the Out at CHM programming series.

Now, in its eighth year, the Museum will continue this educational programming and  will also present the exhibition Out in Chicago opening May 21, 2011. (this past weekend) and runs through March 26, 2012.

 The exhibition will explore how the evolution of these Chicago communities mirrors broader changes throughout the city over the past 150 years. Out in Chicago is the latest in the Museum’s ongoing series of exhibitions addressing Chicago communities and neighborhoods. 

Out in Chicago takes a new perspective on Chicago’s history through historical artifacts, documents, and individual testimonies. Based on research and new scholarship, the exhibition encompasses four thematic sections that reflect the evolution of the LGBT communities over the past 150 years: from the stories of individual Chicagoans, to the building of families and home life, to the evolution of communities and city neighborhoods; and to the communities’ expansion into political activism.

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago

LATER  THIS YEAR – special  events  include –

Secret Historian   Thursday, September 8
Author Justin Spring visits the Museum for a lecture and book-signing about his recent award-winning book, Secret Historian. Drawn from the never-before-seen stories of Chicagoan novelist, poet, tattoo artist, and university professor, Sam Steward, Spring re-creates a sensational reconstruction of one of the more extraordinary hidden lives of the twentieth century. Tickets are $12/10 members.

In the K/Now: Gays in the Military   Thursday, November 10
This conversation about gays in the military led by community leaders and military veterans is presented in partnership with an array of gay military alumni groups. After more than a decade of debate, this is still one of the most controversial issues facing the LGBT community. FREE.

Chicago in Leather    December 1
The LGBT leather community in Chicago has made a historic, cultural, and meaningful impact on the city in a variety of ways. A panel will discuss these contributions to LGBT history, Chicago history, and leather history. This program is in collaboration with the Leather Archives & Museum. Tickets are $12/10 members.

Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St., Chicago


Fred Garbo’s Inflatable Theater Comes to Chicago Jan. 23

A 10-foot cylinder slithers
onto the stage and implodes.

A globulating red cube
takes on a life of its own.

The ballerina’s skirt grows
and grows until it engulfs her
and spirits her away.

The duo of pneumatic wizard Fred Garbo and Brazilian ballerina Daielma Santos has performed around the world with their inflatable inventions. You  will be mesmerized by the artistic imagery and creative foolishness as Garbo and Santos perform fast-paced, energetic, clever, and universally engaging theatrical pieces.

 Simple showmanship that is absolutely captivating!  Garbo & Co. inflatables are magic, deftly bouncing between grand silliness and living sculpture…The way the audiences scream their approval…you would have thought they were seeing the comeback of the Beatles.


“…skillful…joyful…buoyant entertainment!”

-The New York Times
“…it’s visual, it’s sensual, it’s full of life, it’s pure fun and always shakes you with laughter.”
Montreux/Riviera Switzerland


CHARO !!       coming  May 14th !!  $35

Charo is a household name. Instantly recognizable for her witty humor, loveable accent and her mastery of the flamenco guitar, it is Charo’s trademark expression, “Cuchi-Cuchi,” which has endeared her to the world and made the name Charo synonymous with fun and excitement.

Moraine Valley Community College 
9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills, IL 60465-0937 



School of the Art Institute of Chicago Holiday Art Sale

The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) Campus Life and Student Association proudly hosts the annual Holiday Art Sale on Friday, Nov. 19 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the MacLean Center Ballroom (112 S. Michigan Avenue).

The immense talent and creativity of more than 120 SAIC students is on display at this unique sale, which offers exquisite one-of-a-kind gifts such as photographs, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, prints and drawings, jewelry, fashion accessories and handmade paper designs.

Prices of works for sale range from $1 to $1,000+. Participating students receive 85% of their total sales; the remaining 15% goes to the SAIC Student Association to support the Art Sale and to fund future projects and educational programs.

SAIC Holiday Art Sale admission is FREE and open to the public. For more information, please call (312) 629-6880 or visit SAIC . SAIC’s New Artist Society also hosts a special Holiday Art Sale Preview Party Thursday, Nov. 18 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $35/person or $60/couple.

For more information about the New Artist Society Preview Party or to purchase tickets, call (312) 899-5158.


Chicago Red Dress Party Moved to 2011

The hottest event of the Fall season
is being delayed, just a bit! 
The new date  is 
APRIL 16th, 2011

While it’s hard to trace the roots of a long standing tradition we’ll do our best to bring you the history of this grand standing event. In the early 1990’s two gentlemen were dating when they both contracted HIV/AIDS.

To show their love and dedication they vowed when one of them passed away the other would attend their funeral adorned in a red dress. From this promise the concept of the Red Dress Party began. Currently there are Red Dress Parties all over the United States from Seattle, Washington to Chicago, IL. Oh and yes… You must wear a red dress to attend!

Equality Project (EQPR) was founded in 2008. EQPR sets out to create innovative social interactions that focus on social consciousness and advocacy. Since the inception we have produced such events as StonewallForty, Equalityoga and Equalitybowl. EQPR is proud to have worked with many organizations and individuals including Lambda Legal, Equal Rights Washington, Gay City Health Project and State Senator Ed Murray. In 2009 Equality Project relocated to Chicago, Illinois.

More details later this year.

Best of Gay Chicago


Lightning Strikes 3 Chicago Buildings At The Same Time

Stunning  photo from Craig Shimala .

For the third time in the last 6 days, another line of nasty storms rolled through Chicago on Wednesday evening. I love coming home and being able to watch and capture nature’s beauty from my balcony. ‘Wed’s storms towered up to 63,000 ft, unleashed 80 mph gusts, local 3″+ rains and 15,000 cloud to ground lightning strikes in a single hour.”


“A Hero Comes Home” — an Exhibit on the Life and Times of Daniel Sotomayor

Daniel Sotomayor, an inductee in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame — A HERO COMES HOME , an exhibit on his life and times,  is on display until March 5, 2010, at the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, 3015 W. Division Street, in Humboldt Park, Chicago, Illinois.

Sotomayor was a cartoonist and one of Chicago’s most explosive AIDS activists. The exhibit includes cartoons by Sotomayor, photos, T-shirts, the AIDS Quilt panel created in Sotomayor’s honor, and more. 

Daniel Sotomayor was born on August 30, 1958. He grew up in the Humboldt Park area of Chicago, at troubled youth of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. He attended Prosser High School, studied acting at the Center Theatre, attended the American Academy of Art and graduated from Columbia College with a degree in graphic arts. He began to pursue a career in acting and graphic design.
Daniel’s HIV seroconversion and sudden diagnosis with AIDS in 1988 shattered his personal and professional aspirations awakening in him the activist who changed forever the standard by which our community leaders are judged. After joining ACTUP/CHICAGO, Daniel proceeded through sheer force of will to propel that organization to its highest effective visibility. Daniel became widely known for his public confrontations with Mayor Richard M. Daley to bring attention to the AIDS crisis, the Chicago Health Department’s responsibility to implement the City’s AIDS Strategic Plan and inadequate education, prevention and media programs.
Daniel also established himself as the first nationally syndicated, openly gay political cartoonist. During his brief but brilliant three1year career, he created over two hundred scathing, and often humorous, cartoons illustrating his anger with AIDS, with government inaction, with the insurance industry, the health care system, pharmaceutical companies and, frequently, with AIDS activists themselves. Daniel has left his indelible mark on the AIDS movement, on our community’s awakening as a political force, on the minds of “leaders” who have had reason to fear his unblinking honesty, and on the hearts of those who came to know the human being behind the headlines. Daniel’s relentless pursuit of the truth helped him to live his life with a consistency of ethic that most of us can only aspire towards. In doing so, he changed forever our definition of “leader”. Daniel passed in 1992. But his spirit and efforts made an impact on many!

The institute is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.
 It is closed on Wednesday and Sunday.

The  Best  of  Gay  Chicago