Category Archives: Event Photos

Chicago House Spring Fashion Brunch

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A sell-out year after year, the Spring Brunch and Fashion Show is an annual rite for Chicago House supporters and sponsors alike. After a lavish brunch,  attendees  were treated with a  runway fashion show  featuring  exclusive men’s and women’s fashions from local greats.

MANY MORE PHOTOS  HERE

In the early years of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US, nearly 100 activists met at the historic Baton Show Lounge to address the dire need for housing for Chicagoans living with AIDS. On September 9, 1985, Chicago House was incorporated in Illinois as not-for-profit the goal of providing housing for those with AIDS.

FOR 30  YEARS  Chicago House and Social Service agency  has served individuals and families who are disenfranchised by HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ marginalization, poverty, homelessness, and/or gender nonconformity by providing housing, employment services, medical linkage and retention services, HIV prevention services, legal services and other supportive programs.

 

Please visit  their site and be sure to LIKE them on Facebook!

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SuperHero Revolution was a Smashing Success

SuperHero REVOLUTION at House Blues this past Saturday, was a smashing success. 
Awesome costumes, eye popping go go gods and a show, that did not disappoint!

(Photos by Anthony Meade  Bear Lens Photography)

Hats off to CircuitMom Productions!  Watch  for Halloween Revolution coming soon!! 

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Whoopi Goldberg at Chicago House Benefit Luncheon.

Over 700 people came out to hear Whoopi Goldberg speak  this week and over $325,000  was raised for Chicago House.  It was the 3rd installment of the Annual Chicago House Speakers Series.

Whoopi Goldberg, award-winning actor, producer and television host, is an outspoken human rights activist who is also well known for co-founding and hosting Comic Relief in the United States to raise funds for the homeless. She donates her time and talents to DIFFA  and  Broadway Cares.  She is a vigorous advocate for children, human rights, education, substance abuse, and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

After doing 2 appearances on Thursday in other states, she took her red-eye bus across country to get to Chicago at 5am on Friday. – She does not like to fly!

Whoopi told how in 1983, she was  first touched by HIV and the spread of AIDS. I was in San Francisco and gay people were dying. Early on Liz Taylor came to me and asked my help to start fundraising. Our government didn’t care. And Ronald Reagan basically gave us the finger. I think when Rock Hudson died, people started to care.”

“Young people just don’t get it.” she said. “Young people are dumb. Parents are not having the proper discussions with their children. You know, Gaga speaks, and the kids listen. Young people listen to young people. It’s going to take spreading the message in new ways. You know Disney  has the power to reach a lot of young people.”

She also says, “I have great idea’s for commercials – but television would never run them.  You know, I would say, Don’t Put That In There! Kids are not talking about the issue. And I think we need to ask –  HAVE YOU EVEN BEEN CHECKED YET?

 “In 1985, a courageous group of community volunteers formed Chicago House, the first organization in the Midwest to provide housing for people with HIV and AIDS. In those early years of the epidemic, we rallied to support friends who had lost everything — their homes, jobs, even the support of their families. We volunteered our time and energy to restore dignity to the lives of these friends in their final days.”  Tells  Rev. Stan Sloan, CEO at Chicago House.

That spirit continues to drive our organization, from our board of trustees to our associate board to every volunteer and donor. Together, we continuously evolve Chicago House to meet the changing nature of the disease, and the needs of those who suffer from it.

Today, HIV and AIDS increasingly impacts people who are dealing with homelessness, mental illness, substance abuse, and extreme poverty. Even before being diagnosed, many of these families and individuals have never had homes, never had jobs, never had a support network of friends or family. Medical advances give them a chance to live longer, healthier lives, and to improve those lives, but the process is not easy. Nothing about AIDS is easy.”



I think we often forget how it easy it is to help. Whoopi made a comment about helping. And sharing. “A lot of folks think HIV is not an issue. But it IS. And it’s not going away. If people had paid attention 25 years ago, do you realize where we could be today? People don’t pay attention. They are more concerned with what the Kardashians are doing and wearing!   Chicago House is so great. And I tip my hat to them. They are doing something. They are getting things done. They are helping and making a difference. But the work is not done. It is not complete.”

Did you know that 83 cents, from every dollar donated, goes to work and help!
 
Chicago House is an amazing organization. And through the end of December, if you donate, you can really make a difference. Check this out – The Lea Charitable Trust is matching every Speaker Series donation, dollar for dollar, up to $15,000 now thru Jan 1st.

So donate NOW. Whatever you can. $5 helps. $10 helps.
Donations can be taken online at Chicagohouse.org, by phone at 773 248 5200
or by mailing a check to 1925 N Clybourn Suit 401, Chicago 60614.

(Reference Speaker Series Match)


Holiday Gift Giving – Treat yourself and do good! Sweet Miss Givings provides real-life job training for participants of our jobs program and gives back over 50% of proceeds, all while providing Chicago’s most scrumptious pastries, desserts, and gifts.

SAVE  THE  DATE –
January 26, 2012

Champagne Wrapture

@The  Fabulous Skydeck @  Willis Tower

The MUST ATTEND event of the Winter season!   Sponsored by Veuve Clicquot  and Belvedere Vodka.

SEE MORE  OF  WHOOPI – she sits down with ABC’s  Cheryl Burton for a one hour interview!

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Matthew Harvat and Circuit Mom Productions 4th Installment Revolution Parties was AMAZING


(Top photos  Chadwick Cipiti  – see more  on Picassa)


WOW! 

Amazing, Awesome,  Beautiful, Spectacular, Eye-Popping, Rad, First Rate, Remarkable, Wonderful….these were just some of the adjectives people were saying last Saturday at House of Blues.

Matthew Harvat and Circuit Mom Productions did their 4th and final installment of Revolution for 2011  with  ZOMBIE REVOLUTION.  Amazing costumes, staging, production numbers and music – THE BAR HAS BEEN RAISED, Chicago.   The Saturday night Main Event we all miss, IS  BACK!




(Photos Above by Michael Snell – LIKE  BestGayChicago on Facebook –  and see more!)


Over 700 attendees – A cast on stage of 20+, 2 djs, Lasers, LEDs, professional choreography and staging – For $40, this is like nothing Chicago has ever seen.


Sergio Ceron is responsible for the 4 custom Zombie mask creations.  Plaster molds of  faces (and Matthews  whole head) were made,  then he poured silicon, let it cure and carved out the detail work which he detailed out by hand painting.  It is  the same techniques used for special effects in movies.  The Zombie dancers makeup were done by the team of 3  from Kryolan Theatrical Makeup company and their new Chicago boutique located at 2034 N. Halsted. WOW. WOW. WOW.


REVOLUTION will return in 2012.  With parties for Gay Prise and Market Days already set.  And probably 2 more TBA. If you missed this year, go see what everyone is talking about, next year!





Circuit Mom Productions

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Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Arrives in Chicago



In 1989 when the economy was unstable, Mitchell Gold and his partner, Bob Williams, naively created The Mitchell Gold Co. Since then, despite tough economic times and upheaval in the furniture industry, sales have reached in excess of $100 million. The combination of Gold’s years of marketing experience with Williams’ talents as art director set the course for Mitchell Gold and changed the furniture industry.

One of their earliest ideas, “Relaxed Design,” was based on trends they saw in the apparel industry. Designing furniture Bob Williams would want in his own home – comfortable, classic, affordable – he dressed his pieces in relaxed slipcovers of pre-washed fabrics like denim, khaki and velvet. He also addressed the need for a less-intimidating shopping experience by limiting choices to avoid confusing consumers. Along the way, Williams has received numerous awards, including Design 100 awards from Metropolitan Home magazine.


The company is now a leading home-furnishings brand, carried in such national chains as Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Williams Sonoma Home, and Bloomingdale’s, as well as in more than 60 independent retailers nationwide. In addition, there is a growing chain of Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams Signature Stores  –  and they have arrived now in Chicago at  1555 N. Halsted, Lincoln Park, across from the new Apple store.

The grand opening happened last week  was filed with hundreds of Chicago’s designers,  movers and shakers. And DJ Lady Bunny. Bunny is a longtime freind of Gold and Williams and spins at every store opening.

Also there was  very special guest: expert photog Tipper Gore, was there.  Since moving on with her spirited journey through life, she’s had the chance to document some of the most photogenic people and places. Mitchell and Bob have decided they just love her so much, they needed to share her talent with the world, and they now carry a signed collection of her work  in their stores.  To celebrate Tipper’s skilled camera work and introduce her to Chicago’s interiors crowd, they’re having a 20% promotion on all of Tipper’s work.


In the mid 90’s, Gold and Wiliams lead the way in gay media advertising. They were one of the very first companies, to stand up and place major ads in LGBT media. Here was a  nationally recognized furniture brand, portraying gay couples in ads!  Recently,   Mitchell Gold and Bob Williams  received the Public Visibility Award from GLAAD for including LGBT stories in the advertising for their company Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams, and for their personal efforts to advocate for LGBT equality. “As with other forms of media, advertising has the power to change hearts and minds,” said GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios. “Companies that promote fair, accurate and inclusive images of the LGBT community in advertising send an important message to their customers, to corporations and to any consumer who sees their ads. We will be recognizing those companies that do just that, and in so doing, set a standard to which other companies may aspire.”


Also in attendance was 2011 HGTV Design Star winner  Meg Caswell.  Her show GREAT ROOMS  airs on HGTV weekly  5pm (C)  on Saturdays.  

Her Design Studio is  at  1242 N. Wells, is  in an old firehouse with some antiques and accessories! You can see it, on some of her shows. Currently by appointment only. 773-883-6004












       



Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams

Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams
1555 N Halsted Street
Lincoln Park Centre
Chicago, Illinois  60642


312-397-3135


 

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Chicago Gay Pride 2011 – And Tips for Next Year



HAPPY GAY PRIDE 2011!

Chicago’s gay pride usually brings out about 500,000  people…but last weekend brought out about 750,000 people!  The BIGGEST Chicago pride ever. Thanks in part to perfect weather in a growing shift in heterosexual attitudes.

Behind  the scenes,  vandalism by haters struck the parade. Early in the day,  it was discovered that tires had been slashed on each of the 51 floats being stored at a float-building company several miles south of the parade route. The company’s owner discovered the damage about 5 a.m. Sunday; the floats were fine when he left the building at 8 the previous evening, so the damage occurred late
Saturday night or very early Sunday. The vandalism appeared to be an antigay hate crime.



The parade stepped off on time at noon in the heavily gay north side Lakeview neighborhood. Chicago’s new mayor, Rahm Emanuel, was at the head, receiving loud cheers from spectators. This was the first appearance in the parade by a Chicago mayor since previous mayor Richard M. Daley’s first year in office, 1989. Daley, who was the first mayor to participate in the parade, did not make a repeat appearance because he declined to work on Sundays, and he instead hosted a Pride-related reception on another day.


“Behind Emanuel was a kaleidoscopic collection of politicians, teachers, motorcyclists, drag queens and librarians, among many others,” the Tribune reported. There were about 250 total parade entries, including floats, decorated vehicles, and marching contingents.





Cute gay boys in t-shirts…YAY!
Cute gay boys in hats…..YAY!

Cute STRAIGHT BOYS giving me NIP!  BIG  YAY!
It is a known fact straight girls love the LGBT’s.  But more and more straight girls boyfriends are loving us. This year brought out record numbers of heteros, and everyone played along nice! Except for a couple bad hetero eggs I met near Addison, who started pushing and threatening us,  the day was bliss!

  



Straight A&F models and their friends….YAY!
Tan gay boys and their girlfriends…..Fun Fun!




  Families!

 and then…..



 

OK – HEAR  THIS  LOUD AND CLEAR!

NO STROLLERS!
NO FLIP FLOPS!
AND NO BIKES!

PLEASE!!

ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING?
IN THAT CROWD! GET A CLUE!









And WHY can’t you pick up after  your selves? 
You are seriously going to leave all of that trash in the streets?

Really? I am sure these people do not leave around here, and could care less.

But show some respect next year.


BEST(and WORST)GayChicago


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Chicago House Residents Say IT GET’S BETTER


Do you ever stop and count your blessings?
Take a moment and think about how lucky you are?
 Have a moment of gratitude?

I think many of us, rush through day to day life and forget there are a lot of people out there worse off.  Just this past weekend, hundreds of men and women came out for a festive gala brunch, thousands of dollars was raised, and we all get so caught up in the moment and the fun of it all, some of us, sometimes forget what it’s all about, if we don’t see it. We know it’s a good cause, but we sometimes may forget the face, the real people, attached.

At the annual Chicago House brunch this past week, I was personally humbled by Stan Sloan’s speech.  And I felt compelled to share it with everyone, in case you missed the event…..


Hi, my name is Stan Sloan, and I’m in my 11th year as the CEO of Chicago House. And I just wanted to start out my talk today by saying, “It gets better.”


It gets better. Hopefully everyone in here is aware of the importance of that phrase from Dan Savage and from the Trevor Project that has done so much great work with for the subject of LGBT youth and LGBT suicide. But last Sunday, Easter Sunday, I promised myself that I was going to work on this talk for today. And without a clue of what I was going to say, I decided to go and spend the day with the residents of our Supportive Living Program.


As many of you know, our Supportive Living Program is one of our five residential facilities for people who have HIV and AIDS and that have no where else to go. The Supportive Living Facility is the first step for our housing. The 16 residents who live there have come to us directly from the streets, from the shelters, from prison or detox centers, or directly from experiences of having been kicked out of the homes of their parents, friends or lovers…most often as a result of revealing that they have HIV.

Spending Easter with the residents of the Supportive Living Program may sound depressing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If Easter is about springtime and moving from death of winter into the life of summer, then there is no better place to spend Easter than with these 16 men and women who, for perhaps the first time since they were diagnosed with HIV, have hope for moving from the death of their past lives to the life of what’s possible. Hope for moving beyond the perception that their life with HIV meant that there was no new life to follow.

As many of you know, our Supportive Living Program is one of our five residential facilities for people who have HIV and AIDS and that have no where else to go. The Supportive Living Facility is the first step for our housing. The 16 residents who live there have come to us directly from the streets, from the shelters, from prison or detox centers, or directly from experiences of having been kicked out of the homes of their parents, friends or lovers…most often as a result of revealing that they have HIV. Spending Easter with the residents of the Supportive Living Program may sound depressing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If Easter is about springtime and moving from death of winter into the life of summer, then there is no better place to spend Easter than with these 16 men and women who, for perhaps the first time since they were diagnosed with HIV, have hope for moving from the death of their past lives to the life of what’s possible. Hope for moving beyond the perception that their life with HIV meant that there was no new life to follow.

 

As many of you know, our Supportive Living Program is one of our five residential facilities for people who have HIV and AIDS and that have no where else to go. The Supportive Living Facility is the first step for our housing. The 16 residents who live there have come to us directly from the streets, from the shelters, from prison or detox centers, or directly from experiences of having been kicked out of the homes of their parents, friends or lovers…most often as a result of revealing that they have HIV. Spending Easter with the residents of the Supportive Living Program may sound depressing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. If Easter is about springtime and moving from death of winter into the life of summer, then there is no better place to spend Easter than with these 16 men and women who, for perhaps the first time since they were diagnosed with HIV, have hope for moving from the death of their past lives to the life of what’s possible. Hope for moving beyond the perception that their life with HIV meant that there was no new life to follow.

 


So I went to SLP to be with those 16 residents on Easter, only to find out that none of them were there. One of our donors, who shall remain anonymous, had beat me there that day, and had left our staff member with money to take them all out for Easter pizza at Leona’s just down the street on Augusta. So I got back in my car and went to Leona’s to find four tables pushed together with 17 of the most diverse people that you can imagine packed next to each other. The oldest was 72. The youngest was 20. They were black and white and brown. They were men and women. They were gay and straight and transgendered, they were drop outs from Jr. High School and downtown executives who had lost everything to crystal meth and HIV. And they were laughing and eating together like brothers and sisters.




At least until I walked up. Nothing can ruin a party quite like the CEO walking in unannounced. “Listen,” I said as they pulled up a chair for me, “next Sunday I am giving a talk to 400 donors of Chicago House. What do you think I should tell them?” Most of them shrugged their shoulders until one of the women spoke up. “Tell them,” she said, “tell them that it gets better.”

At least until I walked up. Nothing can ruin a party quite like the CEO walking in unannounced. “Listen,” I said as they pulled up a chair for me, “next Sunday I am giving a talk to 400 donors of Chicago House. What do you think I should tell them?” Most of them shrugged their shoulders until one of the women spoke up. “Tell them,” she said, “tell them that it gets better.”

 


What gets better?


“Living with HIV…” she said. “Tell them that at Chicago House, living with HIV gets better.” “Is that what I should tell them,” I asked the rest of the group, and different people spoke up. A young intern from Sweet Miss Giving’s bakery who is only 21 and who was born with HIV from a crack addicted mother said how she had stopped taking her medication because she thought it was hopeless before arriving at our door. In her short time with us she has gone from a viral load of over 2,000 to being undetectable.

A man spoke up about the death of his partner and of the depression and drug abuse that left him homeless that followed. One of the older men spoke about how he had lived at Chicago House ten years ago and left because he didn’t want to follow the rules. “It took me 10 years,” he said, “but I finally realized that the rules weren’t near as bad as the rest of my life, so I came back and…” “It gets better” the original woman chimed in, and the whole table went up for laughs.





Today Chicago House provides housing and support services to over 1,100 people a year. Over the last 11 years we have worked hard to change the dynamic of that housing and services from a system that helps people get on benefits and supports that will let them live the rest of their lives with HIV in comfort to one that helps them move from those benefits and supports to lives that are fully engaged in the world and independent.

Over 500 people city-wide have been through our Employment Program which is the only program specifically targeting those with HIV and AIDS who are unstably housed in the nation. Our placement rate for the employment program is over 60% even in this economy. Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery, Unquestionably Kind, Unreasonably Good! has a 100% placement rate for those trained in baking, packaging, customer service, and delivery through its internship.

Our prevention and medication adherence programs are stopping the spread of HIV in the LGBT and other at-risk communities, and they are helping those who are already impacted live long healthy lives. And, of course, our housing programs which serve over 200 adults and 50 kids annually are helping people develop the skills they need to gain stability and eventually independence, so that they can move on to open a space for someone newly infected and in need of hope.


It gets better. For Dan Savage and the Trever project the simple message of “it gets better” only makes sense in the context of encouragement and support. A struggling LGBT kid may not be able to imagine a better life on his or her own, but now he or she doesn’t have to. Now they can simply go to Youtube and find people…from Lady Gaga and Ellen to President Obama…imagining it for the. The clients of Chicago House most often come to us…black and white, men and women, homeless and white collar executives, gay, straight and transgendered…but with one thing in common…they have lost their ability to imagine a hopeful life with HIV, but At Chicago House it gets better. It gets better because Chicago House believe in them, and that is possible because you are here and believe in us.


It gets better. With your help and support it gets better.
Chicago House. We were there at the beginning.

We will be here till the cure.

Chicago House can always use volunteers.
Maybe this is your year to lend a hand?

CHECK OUT ALL OF THE GREAT EVENT PHOTOS AND
 FASHION MODELS
ON OUR FACEBOOK PAGE and  LIKE US!


BestGayChicago.com


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Chicago Takes Off Raises Over $150,000 for TPAN




They started out  fully clothed…..
     and the clothes  gradually came off!

The 5th annual Chicago Takes Off / Lido des Boyz was a HUGE SUCCESS.

More than  $150,000 was raised  for TPAN  with 2 SOLD OUT back to back shows!




It was an AMAZING production produced by Todd Kiech and Keith Elliott. The annual burlesque revue-style show  featured over 125 talented male and female dancers, who donate their time and energy to strut their stuff in support of TPAN. Colorful and energetic choreographed performances and entertainment engage audiences in this sexy celebration of life. It was so well done and some amazing costumes!



Much more photos on Facebook  and some of the more risque shots are in a slide show.

MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR NEXT YEAR!
March  3rd, 2012

BestGayChicago.com

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Center on Halsted Raises $50,000 from Oscars Party


Over 83 BILLION
people watched
 the Oscars this year!


Here in Chicago 300+ patrons raised $50,000 for Center on Halsted  programs and services, at their annual Oscar Extravaganza!

It was a first class production with Las Vegas style showgirls, televisions everywhere, delicious foods and drinks galore.

The rooftop at The Center was enclosed and heated to provide a very cool lounge type room. And a wonderful silent auction helped raise a lot of money!

Chicago has sure come a long way! 

Starting with Gay Horizons, founded in 1973 as a volunteer-run telephone helpline and meeting place for gays and lesbians, growing into The Center on Halsted, 175,000 square feet offering an abundance of services to the LGBT community . It is a world-class center we should be very proud of, and support any way we can.









 








 



 NEXT UP –

HUMAN FIRST 2011

May 14th  with  Wanda Sykes and 
Linda Eder at the Harris Theater.

Sure to be a great evening!

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Chicago House SnowBall 2011 Raises $35,000



SNOWBALL 2011  Champagne Wrapture

Last night on the 80th floor of the AON Building, Chicago came out to support Chicago House . Veuve Clicquot champagne, Grand Marnier and Belevdere vodka flowed! 

Wonderful live Jazz was supplied by Erin McDougald
and guests opened up their wallets and purses to bid on an artistic
assortment of  goodies!  $35,000 was raised !










LOTS MORE PHOTOS ON
 OUR FACEBOOK PAGE !
LIKE US and SEE MORE


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Chambord Launches New Chambord Luxury Vodka

LAST NIGHT
we were invited to the
new Chambord Vodka  launch party!

The party took place at EPIC downtown on their rooftop terrace area.  Chambord, the world-renowned black raspberry liqueur, introduces a groundbreaking new taste experience in Chambord Flavored Vodka.

The exquisite taste of Chambord Flavored Vodka is the result of fine ingredients and a delicate process that forms a perfect balance of premium quality French vodka and extraordinary black raspberry flavor.

Chambord Flavored Vodka delivers the floral aromatics of the hibiscus flower with notes of vanilla, white chocolate and the distinctive flavor of the original Chambord Black Raspberry Liqueur, delivering a unique and satisfying taste experience when enjoyed straight or in a wide variety of cocktails.

They sampled a delicious Fleur De Lis™, made with 2 oz Chambord Flavored Vodka, 
3/4 oz Chambord Liqueur,  2 oz Lemonade, 1 oz Cranberry Juice.  DELICIOUS!

They also served delicious food accented the rich raspberry Chambord liqueur!

DID YOU KNOW?
According to legend, in 1685 King Louis XIV visited Château Chambord, where he enjoyed a marvelous liqueur made from wild raspberries. This liqueur inspired the spirit that today is known as Chambord Liqueur Royale de France. The rich heritage of the Liqueur Royale is now celebrated in the reintroduction of Chambord, the world-renowned black raspberry liqueur for the modern mixologist.

Check it out  Chambord and Chambord Vodka !

Best Gay Chicago

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Chicago House 2 days of Brunch and Fashion

 

This past weekend CHICAGO HOUSE  hosted their Annual Spring Brunch and Fashion Shows. This hugely popular event is always well-attended and this weekend,  lots of money was raised for this awesome charity group.  Hot models, hot fashions, music by Phil DaBeatz ,  flowing brunch drinks and brunch food and a sunny warm day  made for a spectacular celebration!

Even with the best laid plans and  countless sound checks, fill a venue with 800-900 people and something is bound to go wrong!  The acoustics at the Harold Washington Library wreaked havoc on the speakers messages and sadly, most were not audible by all in attendance, depending on where you were sitting.

Rev.  Stan Sloan delivered a great speech, and we wanted to share it here, in case you missed it.

The author Elizabeth Srout says every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. I think what she is trying to say is that every one of us has aspects of our lives that we are proud of, and every one of us has aspects of our lives that we wish we could do over…and this time smarter, do better, do with more integrity .  Many of you may have read the obituary a few weeks ago for Jim Dohr. For those of you that didn’t know or read about  him, Jim became HIV+ in the mid 80’s when AIDS was a near immediate death sentence for nearly everyone who syro converted. His response to watching his friends and peers with HIV die while he was spared for over two decades was to spend his life making life better for men, women, and children affected by AIDS. Here are just a few lines from his obituary in the papers:

it was Jim’s HIV diagnosis which perhaps had the most profound impact on his work, and his desire to help others. Says Judith Johns, former executive director of Howard Brown and former assistant commissioner of health for the City of Chicago, “Jim was one of the men who survived for many years after diagnosis – this was encouragement and hope for others…For the last 18 years, Jim consistently provided outstanding services to co-workers, community-based organizations, and all persons living with HIV, he truly understood the impact this epidemic has had on individuals and our community as a whole.” 

 Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments, and that was easy to do for Jim Dohr. . Chicago House and our clients are just a small portion of the lives he touched in his work with the Chicago Department of Public Health, The HIV/AIDS communities will miss Jim and his life of better moments for decades to come.

Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. After seeing thousands of lives affected by HIV/AIDS over the last ten years at Chicago House one life stands out for me in haunting contrast to Jim’s. The beginning of that life  story is actually not atypical of most of our clients. It is the story of a woman who showed up at the door of our supportive living program exhausted, defeated, and finally ready to try working toward a different way of life. What made her story so unique, though, was not its beginning but its ending. Kirsten, our staff person on call that day, learned during the intake interview that the woman grew up on the streets of Chicago and lived her life hustling on those streets for her 42 years of life. Forty two years old and she had never had a job, or an apartment, or even a bed to call her own. She answered the questions honestly and completely until she was stumped toward the end of the interview when Kirsten asked her for the name and number of an emergency contact. 42 years old and not one relative, not one friend to call in the case of an emergency. Kirsten left those questions blank and showed the woman to her new room and home at Chicago House.

The rooms at our Supportive Living Program are our only ones that are just that: private bedrooms with shared living spaces and shared bathrooms, but Kirsten told me that when the woman first saw her room  she turned with tears in her eyes and said that it was the first home she had ever had. A few hours later Kirsten went to check on her and found her passed out on the floor. We called 911 and she was admitted to Cook County hospital. When she woke up later that day Kirsten was there at her bedside, and she asked Kirsten for the only other favor Chicago House was able to provide to her:  “please don’t let me die alone,” she said. And Kirsten kept that promise, staying with her until the next morning when she died. The Supportive Living Program held a service for her, and although none of our other residents had met her, they all attended.  Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. The silence that filled that room was deafening.  Could it really be that after forty two years of life there were really no “better moments” to remember?

In your bags as you leave today you will find a cookie from Chicago House’s Bakery:  Sweet Miss Givings :  Unquestionably Kind. Unreasonably Good!  As most of you know by now, Sweet Miss Giving’s is the best made from scratch bakery in Chicago, and over 50% of its profits go immediately back to help the men, women, and children in our care. But you will find something more about Sweet Miss Giving’s in your departure bag. The bag will also hold a one-page story of RJ, one of our recent graduates of Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery Internship program.  Before joining the SMG internship program seven months ago, RJ’s life was not much different from the woman who died in Kirsten’s care. He lived on the streets for his first 30-plus years of life, and after nine years in prison he had returned to those streets. But RJ, too, was finally ready to try a different way of life. Chicago House and SMG have provided that opportunity. Next month he will not only become a full time employee of Sweet Miss Giving’s, but he will move into his own apartment with his now life partner…an apartment  where the son he has never known will visit and fill in voids that he in his previous life never knew he had.

Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. It’s a nice thought and an easy one to fulfill when you, like Jim Dohr and I can only imagine most of us here, have lived a life full of moments encouraged by family and friends. Kirsten’s client lived without knowing those moments, and she died before Chicago House could help her learn how amazing it feels to have hope, and integrity, and sense of accomplishment. But thanks to Chicago House she died with a home to call her own, and she died in the company of someone who cared. RJ’s just now beginning a new life filled with better moments, but I am confident with the help of Chicago House and Sweet Miss Giving’s that life will continue to grow and unfold. And I am confident that one day…hopefully many, many years from now, there will be plenty of better moments to remember as his friends and family look back on his life. Your support here and your support of Chicago House and Sweet Miss Giving’s is what allows us to provide those better moments to those who have never had the chance to build them. So thank you from RJ and thank you from all of us. Life by life. Moment by moment, your support is making such a difference.  Chicago House. We were there at the beginning. We will be here until the cure. Thanks again.

In my talk I stressed the importance of being remembered for your better moments, and now it is time to do just that for a dear friend of mine and a dear friend of Chicago House’s and Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery, Brad Werner.  Brad Werner came to hear of Chicago House through our dear friends Mary and Larry Boeder, and he has been a source of constant blessings for us since that time.  Brad served Chicago House well as a board member and major donor until the time that we asked him to step down in order to assume an even larger role for our mission and our clients:  that of becoming the largest investor of Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery. 

Brad, Gus Atsalis, and Jay Deratany stepped up to the plate to help give Sweet Miss Giving’s its start, and Brad has continued to guide and nurture the bakery to assure its success.  In addition, he has brought additional friends and investors to Sweet Miss Giving’s, and it is safe to say that there would be no SMG without him.  Brad, the life of Chicago House and the lives of our clients are forever changed because of Sweet Miss Giving’s and because of you.  In recognition of your outstanding contribution the Chicago House Board of Trustees is making you the seventh…and when I say seventh…I mean seven out of our 25 year history…our Seventh Lifetime Trustee.  Know how grateful we are to you, and know how much we love you here.  Thank you Brad Werner!

(MORE  PHOTOS  FROM THE  EVENT  ONLINE   AT  FACEBOOK)

The events were a great success and  we look forward to the next  Chicago House event, 

Birdhouse Art Auction      June 24, 2010    @  Room & Board Chicago Store

The  Best  of Gay Chicago

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Chicago House 2 days of Brunch and Fashion

 

This past weekend CHICAGO HOUSE  hosted their Annual Spring Brunch and Fashion Shows. This hugely popular event is always well-attended and this weekend,  lots of money was raised for this awesome charity group.  Hot models, hot fashions, music by Phil DaBeatz ,  flowing brunch drinks and brunch food and a sunny warm day  made for a spectacular celebration!

Even with the best laid plans and  countless sound checks, fill a venue with 800-900 people and something is bound to go wrong!  The acoustics at the Harold Washington Library wreaked havoc on the speakers messages and sadly, most were not audible by all in attendance, depending on where you were sitting.

Rev.  Stan Sloan delivered a great speech, and we wanted to share it here, in case you missed it.

The author Elizabeth Srout says every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. I think what she is trying to say is that every one of us has aspects of our lives that we are proud of, and every one of us has aspects of our lives that we wish we could do over…and this time smarter, do better, do with more integrity .  Many of you may have read the obituary a few weeks ago for Jim Dohr. For those of you that didn’t know or read about  him, Jim became HIV+ in the mid 80’s when AIDS was a near immediate death sentence for nearly everyone who syro converted. His response to watching his friends and peers with HIV die while he was spared for over two decades was to spend his life making life better for men, women, and children affected by AIDS. Here are just a few lines from his obituary in the papers:

it was Jim’s HIV diagnosis which perhaps had the most profound impact on his work, and his desire to help others. Says Judith Johns, former executive director of Howard Brown and former assistant commissioner of health for the City of Chicago, “Jim was one of the men who survived for many years after diagnosis – this was encouragement and hope for others…For the last 18 years, Jim consistently provided outstanding services to co-workers, community-based organizations, and all persons living with HIV, he truly understood the impact this epidemic has had on individuals and our community as a whole.” 

 Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments, and that was easy to do for Jim Dohr. . Chicago House and our clients are just a small portion of the lives he touched in his work with the Chicago Department of Public Health, The HIV/AIDS communities will miss Jim and his life of better moments for decades to come.

Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. After seeing thousands of lives affected by HIV/AIDS over the last ten years at Chicago House one life stands out for me in haunting contrast to Jim’s. The beginning of that life  story is actually not atypical of most of our clients. It is the story of a woman who showed up at the door of our supportive living program exhausted, defeated, and finally ready to try working toward a different way of life. What made her story so unique, though, was not its beginning but its ending. Kirsten, our staff person on call that day, learned during the intake interview that the woman grew up on the streets of Chicago and lived her life hustling on those streets for her 42 years of life. Forty two years old and she had never had a job, or an apartment, or even a bed to call her own. She answered the questions honestly and completely until she was stumped toward the end of the interview when Kirsten asked her for the name and number of an emergency contact. 42 years old and not one relative, not one friend to call in the case of an emergency. Kirsten left those questions blank and showed the woman to her new room and home at Chicago House.

The rooms at our Supportive Living Program are our only ones that are just that: private bedrooms with shared living spaces and shared bathrooms, but Kirsten told me that when the woman first saw her room  she turned with tears in her eyes and said that it was the first home she had ever had. A few hours later Kirsten went to check on her and found her passed out on the floor. We called 911 and she was admitted to Cook County hospital. When she woke up later that day Kirsten was there at her bedside, and she asked Kirsten for the only other favor Chicago House was able to provide to her:  “please don’t let me die alone,” she said. And Kirsten kept that promise, staying with her until the next morning when she died. The Supportive Living Program held a service for her, and although none of our other residents had met her, they all attended.  Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. The silence that filled that room was deafening.  Could it really be that after forty two years of life there were really no “better moments” to remember?

In your bags as you leave today you will find a cookie from Chicago House’s Bakery:  Sweet Miss Givings :  Unquestionably Kind. Unreasonably Good!  As most of you know by now, Sweet Miss Giving’s is the best made from scratch bakery in Chicago, and over 50% of its profits go immediately back to help the men, women, and children in our care. But you will find something more about Sweet Miss Giving’s in your departure bag. The bag will also hold a one-page story of RJ, one of our recent graduates of Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery Internship program.  Before joining the SMG internship program seven months ago, RJ’s life was not much different from the woman who died in Kirsten’s care. He lived on the streets for his first 30-plus years of life, and after nine years in prison he had returned to those streets. But RJ, too, was finally ready to try a different way of life. Chicago House and SMG have provided that opportunity. Next month he will not only become a full time employee of Sweet Miss Giving’s, but he will move into his own apartment with his now life partner…an apartment  where the son he has never known will visit and fill in voids that he in his previous life never knew he had.

Every person deserves to be remembered for his or her better moments. It’s a nice thought and an easy one to fulfill when you, like Jim Dohr and I can only imagine most of us here, have lived a life full of moments encouraged by family and friends. Kirsten’s client lived without knowing those moments, and she died before Chicago House could help her learn how amazing it feels to have hope, and integrity, and sense of accomplishment. But thanks to Chicago House she died with a home to call her own, and she died in the company of someone who cared. RJ’s just now beginning a new life filled with better moments, but I am confident with the help of Chicago House and Sweet Miss Giving’s that life will continue to grow and unfold. And I am confident that one day…hopefully many, many years from now, there will be plenty of better moments to remember as his friends and family look back on his life. Your support here and your support of Chicago House and Sweet Miss Giving’s is what allows us to provide those better moments to those who have never had the chance to build them. So thank you from RJ and thank you from all of us. Life by life. Moment by moment, your support is making such a difference.  Chicago House. We were there at the beginning. We will be here until the cure. Thanks again.

In my talk I stressed the importance of being remembered for your better moments, and now it is time to do just that for a dear friend of mine and a dear friend of Chicago House’s and Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery, Brad Werner.  Brad Werner came to hear of Chicago House through our dear friends Mary and Larry Boeder, and he has been a source of constant blessings for us since that time.  Brad served Chicago House well as a board member and major donor until the time that we asked him to step down in order to assume an even larger role for our mission and our clients:  that of becoming the largest investor of Sweet Miss Giving’s Bakery. 

Brad, Gus Atsalis, and Jay Deratany stepped up to the plate to help give Sweet Miss Giving’s its start, and Brad has continued to guide and nurture the bakery to assure its success.  In addition, he has brought additional friends and investors to Sweet Miss Giving’s, and it is safe to say that there would be no SMG without him.  Brad, the life of Chicago House and the lives of our clients are forever changed because of Sweet Miss Giving’s and because of you.  In recognition of your outstanding contribution the Chicago House Board of Trustees is making you the seventh…and when I say seventh…I mean seven out of our 25 year history…our Seventh Lifetime Trustee.  Know how grateful we are to you, and know how much we love you here.  Thank you Brad Werner!

(MORE  PHOTOS  FROM THE  EVENT  ONLINE   AT  FACEBOOK)

The events were a great success and  we look forward to the next  Chicago House event, 

Birdhouse Art Auction      June 24, 2010    @  Room & Board Chicago Store

The  Best  of Gay Chicago

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Best Gay Chicago Celebrated 2nd Anniversay at Roscoes

A BIG Thanks

to everyone who came out to help us celebrate our 2nd year anniversary of Best Gay Chicago.com!

Thanks to Absolut 100, ROSCOES and their amazing staff, and Sugar Hills Bakeries, who brought a magnificent cake! The inside was filled with fluffy chocolate and pear mousse!

We raised about $200 for TPAN and
everyone had a great time. (I think!)

Best Gay Chicago.com  is now attracting
over 13,000  readers each month and growing!

Watch for more events in 2010!


                                                                                                                            Michael  Snell  &   Derrick  Sorles

MORE EVENT PHOTOS ON FACEBOOK     BE OUR FAN ON FACEBOOK


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Reeling Festival Closes with OY VEY, MY SON IS GAY! Hit Movie and Party with Director Evgeny Afineevsky and Jai Rodriquez and Steve Kmetko



Last night was the closing film and party for the Reeling 28 – The Chicago Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.
This years season was a smashing success!  150 films were showcased over 10 days.  Innovative gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender films from countries as diverse as the Philippines, Sweden, Mexico, and Puerto Rico. Reeling continues to demonstrate the expanding breadth of gay-themed work being produced today by showcasing films representing multi-cultural perspectives and in genres ranging from musical comedy to horror to serious drama to compelling documentaries to introspective experimental, and more. Over 100  filmmakers and talent made appearances throughout the 10 days as well. 

The closing film  was  OY VEY, MY SON IS GAY!  A  hilarious comedy starring  the Mom of all Moms, Lainie Kazan! It is the story of the Hirsch’s, a Jewish family living in the North Shore of Long Island, where every Friday night Shirley Hirsch (Lainie Kazan) invites another “perfect” girl for Shabbat dinner in hopes that her son, Nelson (John Lloyd Young), will marry a nice Jewish girl. When Shirley and Martin (Saul Rubinek) once again set him up on a date, Nelson reveals that he is already seeing someone. Shirley and Martin are thrilled and can’t wait to meet the lucky lady. Turns out their is no “lucky lady”  but  instead,  a  “lucky guy”.




The movie also features a star-studded cast that includes, among others, Jai Rodriquez (Queer Eye for the Straight Guy – and also recording artist with a new album out!), Vincent Pastore (The Sopranos), comedian Bruce Vilanch, and Carmen Electra. It is a must see and something families will get a kick out of too!




Director Evgeny Afineevsky and Jai Rodriquez were at the film and the after-party, along with now Chicago resident Steve Kmetko, which took  place at  beautiful Architectural Artifacts. Many party people in attendance had a great time thanks in part  to the many foods sponsors kindly donated and to the Vodka creations of SKYY INFUSIONS, Vodka infused with real fruit taste!

SKYY  created  a  special  drink just for the Reeling Festival. Get the recipe  on  Best  Gay  Chicago.












See more  photos online from the Chicago Premiere.
See more  photos online of the LA Premiere of OY VEY, MY SON IS GAY.



Best Gay Chicago

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Warm Weather on Friday Night Helped Make Halloween in Boystown a Smashing Success

65 degrees on a warm Friday night, made Halloween in Boystown a smashing success this year!

CLAY AIKEN was out showing off his new gayby, 4 Batmans, 3 Supermans, 1 Wonder Woman and 1 Robin kept the streets safe, and  since I don’t eat candy, there was plenty of skin for my eyes to feast on!



 

    



The Best of Gay Chicago  and the New Gay Travel Guide


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