Category Archives: Movers and Shakers

Billionaire Philanthropist James Pritzker Comes Out as Transgender

 Col. James Pritzker, a member of a prominent and wealthy Chicago
family and funder of a study on transgender people in the military, has
come out as transgender, Crain’s Chicago Business reports.

Crain’s quotes an email sent to employees of the Pritzker
Military Library and Pritzker’s company Tawani Enterprises, saying, “As
of Aug. 16, 2013, J.N. Pritzker will undergo an official legal name
change, will now be known as Jennifer Natalya Pritzker. This change will
reflect the beliefs of her true identity that she has held privately
and will now share publicly. Pritzker now identifies herself as a woman
for all business and personal undertakings.” The business journal adds
that “a spokeswoman declined to answer questions about Col. Pritzker’s
sexuality or possible hormone therapy.”

Pritzker has a net worth of $1.5 billion, according to Forbes,
and has donated to many philanthropic efforts, including preservation
and restoration of historic buildings. Her family has a long history in
business. Pritzker’s father, the late Robert Pritzker, founded the
Marmon Group, a holding company for a variety of businesses, and her
uncles, the late Jay Pritzker and Donald Pritzker, founded Hyatt Hotels.
Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker is her cousin.

We are truly everywhere!


Out Gay Country Singer Steve Grand Comes Clean

Hey, Sex Sells. 

And the male body is a beautiful thing and NOTHING to be ashamed of.  
Last week we told you about our discovery, Steve Grand from Chicago who is the first openly gay male country singer. His first video is out and he is on his way. 

An awesome voice – and quite an awesome body!
Steve released his self-funded and deeply emotional music video “All-American Boy” on July 3 and already it’s been viewed 611,000 times on YouTube!
In his debut track, he sings about having a crush on his best guy friend, immediately striking a nerve with his new fans who could finally relate to a song written by someone like them.
 Back in 2010, Grand posed for DNA Magazine in a series of photos shot by Tom Cullis, under his model name of Steve Chatham.
He recently spoke to The Backlot about his modeling past: “I wasn’t sure how people would respond to the video; things on the internet never go away. I knew that my modeling pictures that I did previously — which I am absolutely not ashamed of! I don’t regret them or think they’re a bad thing; the human body is something to be celebrated.”
um…it’s not going to hurt your career!



Studio Paris T PARTY Returns June 16th

Studio Paris presents another Sunday afternoon T Dance. 
Since opening its doors, Studio Paris has redefined nightlife in
Chicago. Blending the allure of an exclusive cocktail lounge with the
vibrant energy of a premier nightclub, it’s become one of the most
sought-out hot spots and event spaces. Boasting a state-of-the-art
Funktion One sound system and an unrivaled audio-visual experience,
Studio Paris has hosted some of the biggest names in electronic music:
Tiesto. DeadMau5. Avicii. Kaskade. Calvin Harris.
 On any given night a mix
of celebrities, top athletes and influencers from the world of fashion
and entertainment can be found partying beneath the room’s signature  AMAZING retractable glass roof, making Studio Paris unlike any other venue in
The Sunday afternoon T happens several times a year.  With a mix of Men & Women of Power
& Intrigue. This Event is brought to you by “Key Host” Charles May, who  creates an atmosphere filled with like minded
people to set the bar high in a comfortable environment with the latest
in Design and Music! 

 A Sunday Fun-day
afternoon spent with the Entrepreneurs, Fashion Designers, Club owners,
Shop Owners, Designers in the Floral Business, Chefs, Salon Owners, The
City’s Leading Hair stylists, Restaurant Owners, Artist, DJ’s, and all
those that Contribute to this Amazing Gay Community in our Beautiful
City of Chicago. Networking is one of the key’s to great Success! You
Never Know who you might Meet! 

Come join us and share in a growing
effort to empower us All!! 
Having fun Is just the beginning!   3pm – 8pm 


Leading the helm of Paris Club’s kitchen is Executive Chef Alex
.  Ageneau spent his youth in France and at the age of eighteen
set out on a whirlwind culinary tour working for some of the world’s top
chefs in France, London, Los Angeles and Chicago.  Taking cues from his
French heritage, Ageneau brings a sense of whimsy to some of his
favorite traditional dishes. It truly is like a fabulous step into Paris  France, without getting on a plane!

Affordable and so delicious! $11- $20. Eggs Benedict, Norwegian
Benedict, Eggs Florentine, Parisian Crepes, Chocolate French Toast and
on and on! So many choices.  Flavors and tastes are amazing  and 
service is always  impeccable.

While I love the Lobster soft scrambled eggs – black truffled – a
variation I believe of the  dinner Lobster Crostini  – get one and share
it. It’s delicious – and rich.

While brunches are made for Bloody Marys – I still like my afternoon
white wine. I was pleasantly surprised at all of the affordable options.
There are not many 4 or 5 star restaurants that you can order a really
great glass of wine for $8-$12.

Brunch is available  10am – 4pm.

Benjamin Newby Shakes up Spring Drinking at Taverna 750

Benjamin Newby, a big name in the Chicago restaurant scene, he is one of Chicago’s most celebrated and recognizable operators and mixologists. When it comes to mixology, Ben’s cocktails embody his heartfelt, experience-led concepts. He is known for creating innovative drinks enjoyed by both the connoisseur and the person looking for a great libation.

It’s that eye for creativity and balance in his cocktails that has earned Newby numerous accolades. The UK transplant has lived in Chicago for the past eight years, and currently the Brand Architect for Hennessy Black.
 His latest creations shine at Taverna 750. He developed a  spring cocktail menu and did some tweaking on existing cocktails, to create perfection.  He has launched six seasonal creations available through the end of summer and will roll out a patio beverage menu when the weather FINALLY warms up – that could be any day now!

They are all good. Trust me, I tasted them all!  But I have to say I really like  the tequila-based “Smoky Paloma” is paired with Taverna’s  housemade grapefruitcello, bottled overnight, and served in a smoking glass over a vanilla-bourbon ice cube the size of a softball with a sidecar in a fishbowl of ice, of course.  Can you say FABULOUS?!

“Pisco 750” is a little sweet + a little sour, mixing housemade pistachio liqueur with egg white and frozen pineapple. Very refreshing.

Also you should check outSan Remo, made with Hennessy Black, Wild Strawberry Tea Syrup, Squeezed Lemon, Apertif, Topped with Wild Strawberry Tea Foam–  the foam topping is awesome!

And the desert drink for me!   “Italian Cream Soda” with Orange Vodka, Lazzaroni Amaretto, Passion Fruit Syrup,  Orange Liqueur, Orange Juice, Topped with Averna Infused Whipped Cream and a cherry. Decadent!
Taverna 750’s original cocktail menu was more martini-centered and tweaked by Charles Joly, who now runs The Aviary. Newby is also rolling out new cocktails also at the  neighboring Scarlet, around the corner on Halsted. 
The best of old school Italian with a contemporary flair.
750 W Cornelia Ave  
(773) 904-7466
Benjamin Newby
Twitter: @benjaminnewby   &    Facebook: benjamin.newby

Pamper Yourself with Great Personal Services in Boystown

In the last few months, some new personal service businesses
have popped up in Boystown, joining the ranks of long time style makers like
Tim Weber  of Restorations Salons .

We have been a fan of Tims Restoration salon since it’s
first opening in 1993, in Lincoln Park. (2151 N. Sheffield)  Tim steadily grew his business and
later opened 2 more locations, one in Andersonville (5349 N. Clark) and the newest spot in
Lakeview (3255 N. NBroadway).

What makes 
restoration different? or special? “Restoration Salons’ pride themselves on having experienced
professional stylists, a comfortable relaxed atmosphere, and the focus is on
hair and our goal is to restore
,” says Tim.

 Do guys in Chicago follow the trends?  or do their own thing, when it comes to

 “Trends can be tricky, by the time some of them catch on, its
time to move on… Some heads can pull off trends and some should never try
them… I usually try to make the client look there best; whether it is a trend
or timeless!”

How to choose a good salon or stylist?

“I  always say that a client needs to find 3 things: A salon that they like (the atmosphere,location,style) a stylist that they love (enjoy talking too, and happy to see them) and a stylist that can achieve a great cut/color. If you can find all three you will be happy for a long long time! Our staff is always ready with a friendly smile. We ensure you a great service and a high quality experience, that will leave you feeling relaxed, rejuvenated and restored!”

The new girl on the block is Kinley Preston, owner of the new VANITE‘  Paul Mitchell Focus Salon at  3161 N. Halsted. There are only 5 Focus Salons in the entire Chicagoland area and this is the 3rd such salon, in the city. 

So what is a “focus salon”? Kinley explained, “We carry the entire Paul Mitchell product line, including the pet products. The staff is Paul Mitchell trained and educated. 

We are happy to be a flourishing Local
Independent Business and active
in giving to our community. 
As a “Paul Mitchell Focus
Salon” we have the opportunity
to receive advanced training
from Premier National Award
Winning Stylists several times
each year. We are committed to
keeping up to date and pleased
to deliver these techniques with
the latest ideas to you! 
Cut and Coloring is our
specialty. We don’t settle for
average and neither should you! 
We offer you more than just a
cut.. get an experience! We think we offer a better quality service for the same price as some of our competitors.

Kinley’s new salon is sleek and elegant. I was pampered with a shampoo and cut recently. The comfort experience begins with the chairs and shampoo bowls. Both from Japan. Both providing comfort and allowing the guest to fully relax and enjoy the 5 minute scalp massage in the dimly lit, LED glowing room!

Kinley herself was a graduate of the Paul Mitchell School but chose to be an owner and manager, instead of a stylist.  A great side story –  FYI – John Paul Jones DeJoria, the mastermind behind Paul Mitchell, was born the second son of an Italian immigrant father and a Greek immigrant mother in Los Angeles. His parents divorced by the time he was two years old, and at nine he began selling Christmas cards and newspapers with his older brother to support his family. When his single mother proved unable to support both children, they were sent to an East Los Angeles foster home.

DeJoria spent much of his youth in a street gang in East Los Angeles, but changed when he was told that he would “never succeed at anything in life” by a math teacher at John Marshall High School. He graduated in 1962 and spent two years in the United States Navy, after which he floated through a series of jobs ranging from janitor to insurance salesman.

DeJoria entered the world of hair care as an employee of Redken Laboratories. He was fired from this position and in 1980, he formed John Paul Mitchell Systems with hairdresser Paul Mitchell and a loan for $700. In 1989, Paul Mitchell died and was replaced by his son, Angus as company co-owner. As of 2011, John Paul Mitchell Systems had revenues of $900 million annually.

So DeJoria understands personal struggles and hurdles. And he in fact, played a key role in Kinley’s life and was instrumental helping making her salon, a reality. “Three years ago, I was destitute. Living in my car. He really took a personal interest in my story, at a time when I was going through a lot. I wrote a business plan, and the company loved it.”

Now Kinleys salon is a reality and she is very involved with the community and sits on various boards from the local Chamber of Commerce to the Joffrey Ballet Auxiliary board.

The world is all about pure, natural  and organic these days. People are willing to pay a little more, for better products and services. 

There has been a global shift taking place in the food, water and health sectors, as we face consequences of environmental damage due to pollution, global warming, agricultural trends and pesticide usage. 

Enter Vincent Dinh of Savon Spa. (3635 North Halsted Street) “Growing up in Vietnam, everything we ate was organic.” explains Vincent. “There were no chemicals used. Poop was used to fertilize! With that experience growing up and then moving to America, it was like culture shock. OMG, the cucumbers are so big here! And no taste. My food was growing up was small, beqautiful and SO MUCH TASTE.

At Savon Spa, Amy, Vincent and their staff strive to give clients a luxurious, purifying organic spa experience in an elegant setting reminiscent of old world Paris. In fact,  much of the furniture inside the spa is eco-friendly reclaimed and/or refurbished.

Indulgent, Earth-friendly, organic products, hand-made organic soaps, scrubs, masks, lotions and treatments.  In atmosphere of serenity, warmth, and beauty, Savon Spa offers a soothing array of services. From  various massages (60 minute deep tissue $110), advanced facials (24k gold mask or placenta treatment $200), body treatments (Hungarian mud wraps $80), manicure, pedicure, waxing for men and women and non-surgical skin rejuvenation services by cutting-edge aestheticism Dr. Randa Sawan. “We offer a great no lift, non-yellowing nail treatment. There is no chemicals and no odor. And it’s stronger than acrylic or gel nails,” explained Vincent.

Every experience can be customized to the guests’ desires to provide the perfect escape from the city, whether it’s for a quick massage or an entire day devoted to absolute bliss. 

Savon Spa even offers “Beauty on the Go”, a mobile spa, designed to pamper you at home, in the office, or wherever your travels lead you.

Savon Spa is committed to giving you a perfect, joyful spa day every time you come in. “I have always had expensive taste.  And when I was a computer consultant I was able to travel the world a lot and stay at 5 star hotels and spas. Our goal here is offer a high end experience and make it more affordable. You’ll leave Savon Spa with brighter, softer skin and a brighter, softer soul.”


SHY TOWN GIRLS Series of Books By Local Authors

A  group of four women authors
in Chicago were looking to share their  best tips on
the collaborative publishing process with you! 

Four Shy Girls

Four Big Dreams

One Awesome City

Novel 1 in the Shy-Town Girls 4- Book Series


When beautiful, but shy 24-year-old, Bobbie Bertucci, arrives at her
new digs, an elegant brownstone in Chicago’s historic Gold Coast
neighborhood, she has no idea what her new life will be like. Between
balancing her job as a modeling agent and escaping a bad relationship,
she’s hit rock bottom.

But things change when she moves into the same building as her close
friend Meryl. Additionally, her two new twenty-something roommates, Ivy
and Ella, help bring Bobbie out of her shell. Barbara, landlady and
mother-hen of the house, watches out for the girls while sharing sage

Bobbie, Meryl, Ivy, and Ella, all variations of shy girls, brave the
city of Chicago together, forming a powerful bond of friendship. Their
nighttime roof deck conversations over glasses of wine instigate
laughter and even some tears.

Bobbie takes a bold step to redesign her life completely to ensure
she doesn’t fall into the romantic trap she fell into before. But
there’s a new suitor in the picture, and she will have to decide between
an old flame or a new one, taking a risk, something hard for any
girl–even harder for a shy girl.

We’re passionate about
writing and creating a technique that you can learn to use yourself or
with other writing partners.

Listen to a recent interview
with all four authors to learn how we got started on down this writing
path. We hope you’ll gain some valuable insights on writing, publishing
and marketing your own books and products. You’ll get to know each
author individually as we’ll write from our own perspectives and share
our own experiences.

Feel free to contact us for collaboration and speaking opportunities, to talk to your book club or just a drop us a line to say hello!

Sign up now to get free updates on that latest publishing techniques and best practices for writing!”


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


Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame Event Nov. 12

Twelve individuals and three
organizations will be inducted Nov. 12
into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of
Fame, the country’s only known government-sponsored hall of fame that honors
members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities.


The inductees were selected by a
committee composed of former inductees, which reviewed nominations submitted by
members of the public. The names were released by Friends of the Chicago Gay
and Lesbian Hall of Fame, a section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


The chosen nominees will be
inducted at the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame’s annual ceremony, which
will take place from 5:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, at the Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark
St., Chicago. The reception begins at 5:30 p.m., and the program is scheduled
for 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. 


“It makes us proud that, even 21
years after our first ceremony, there are still important figures from the past
and a constantly growing list of current Chicagoans whose accomplishments and
community contributions merit being honored by the Hall of Fame,” said Israel Wright, executive director of Friends of the
Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame.


“We are grateful that individual
Chicagoans have stepped forward to assist us, through Friends of the Chicago
Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame, in maintaining a needed and historically
significant institution,” said Gary Chichester, a co-chairperson of the Friends




Harvey Fierstein Interviewed by Chris Jones Oct 16th at Music Box

On Tuesday, Oct. 16, the Chicago Tribune presents 

Press Pass: Chris Jones 
with Harvey Fierstein. 
Tribune theater critic Chris Jones will moderate a discussion with Fierstein about his life, work and longtime support for gay civil rights. 
Harvey is the author of the newly premiered “Kinky Boots”, “Torch Song Trilogy,” “La Cage Aux Folles,” and “Newsies” and, as an actor, has appeared in Woody Allen’s “Bullets Over Broadway” and many other movies. 
An audience Q&A will follow. This is a very rare chance to see Fierstein!!
 When: Oct. 16, 2012, 7:00 p.m.
 Where: Music Box Theatre 3733 N. Southport Ave, Chicago 
Tickets are $20.  GET TICKETS  ONLINE  NOW!
PS   We just heard Harvey Fierstien and Cyndi Lauper will make an appearance 
Oct 17th at Sidetrack,  at about 10PM!

Ride for AIDS Chicago $10,000 Matching Challenge

From Robert Garofalo: 

Preparing for the Ride for AIDS Chicago has been an extremely
challenging and rewarding endeavor for me and for the more than 250
other Riders who have been preparing for this two-day, 200 mile bike

 I think we’re ready. It’s the support of friends, family and
complete strangers that make this adventure worth it for me and the
entire team.

A good friend has offered to match dollar for dollar, up to $10,000,
every contribution posted on my page starting July 10, 2012.
contribution today will be doubled! Please show your support for me, my
fellow riders and for the people who receive services at TPAN.

100% of donations directly support services at TPAN. For 25 years TPAN
has empowered people living with HIV through peer-led programming,
support services, information dissemination, and advocacy. For friends
who rely on them, these services are vital.
The Ride for AIDS Chicago has already surpassed last year’s recording
breaking $535,000. We have a goal of raising $600,000. Please join us
in this challenge!

**I know many of you are being directed to my page due to the generosity
of other riders. KNOW that we are all raising monies toward the same
goal and please make note of who you are honoring with a donation. I
have met some of the most remarkable, generous and talented people as
part of this ride and I know TOGETHER we can reach this challenge

Please make a donation now.


The Abbey of West Hollywood Buys Property on Halsted in Chicago Boystown

I have been told by a very reliable source – that the owners of the  world famous ABBEY in West Hollywood have purchased the Pink Parking lot at 3514 N Halsted St. for something like $10 million plus!  And they will be bringing something quite fantastic to Chicago’s Boystown!!

The Abbey Food and Bar  has been voted #1  gay bar  in North America and the World, time and time again, by many magazines and sites including  Best Gay Cities, Best Gay Travel Guide and  Logo’s Trip Out Awards.

David Cooley is the master at the art of work and
play. Over the past 20+ years, his creation, The Abbey Food and Bar,
has grown from a small, West Hollywood coffeehouse to one of the most
popular hotspots in the country. Locals, tourists and celebrities
alike all flock to The Abbey for its famous Martinis as well as its
stunning, open-air ambiance and truly relaxed elegance.

“Over the past 22 years, The Abbey
has been a place that accepts everyone, gay, straight, lesbian,
transgender, bisexual and everything in between. We love our straight
girlfriends and they are welcome here, just not for bachelorette

It has long been a policy at The Abbey
to deny admission to groups in costume, including bachelorette regalia.
Bachelorette parties had previously been allowed inside if they removed
their costumes.

The Abbey’s 
recent  Bachelorette Ban comes on the heels of a ban on gay marriage in North
Carolina and a number of other states across the south. The Abbey
encourages other gay-owned and operated establishments to institute
their own bans as a sign of solidarity until marriage is legal
everywhere for everyone.

The girls are completely unaware that the people around them are
legally prohibited from getting married,” said David Cooley, founder of
The Abbey. “We love our straight girlfriends…just not for bachelorette
parties anymore.”

Founded in 2002, Los Angeles-based sbe
brings exquisite balance to the worlds of hospitality, real estate
development and entertainment. As a privately-held company founded and
helmed by Chairman and CEO Sam Nazarian, sbe acquires, develops and
manages exceptional projects through its divisions – Hotels,
Restaurants, Nightlife and Real Estate.

With a mission to
redefine the standards of excellence in hospitality, sbe has harnessed
the creativity and innovation of the best minds in the business,
including design visionary Philippe Starck, with whom the company has an
exclusive agreement for the creation of hotels, restaurants and lounges
in North America.


I Heart Red party – A Pre Red Dress Party Feb 9th

Check this out!  $20

 Hosted Bar for 3 hours, plus small bites,
plus a raffle drawing, plus fun people!

PLUS, you’re helping a great cause!

Join Chicago Red Dress Party and our host Clive Christian Studios for I {HEART} Red. This design filled event will take place on Thursday February, 9, 2012 from 6:00p-9:00p at Clive Christian Studios, 222 Merchandise Mart, Suite 143.

Registration includes an open bar, small bites, and a “red” raffle.

Check out Facebook for more details. 

 $20 in advance   $25 at the door.  is a proud sponsor
of the 2012 Red Dress Party!  4-21-12


UBER New Chicago Black Car Service Taxi

Going to a nice party and you’re all dressed up…and you have to crawl into a dirty smelly yellow cab? ICK!

What about fighting for a cab on a busy Saturday night? How fun is that? Especially if it is freezing cold outside?!

 Personal car service has arrived in Chicago!  UBER.  Everyone’s private driver. A black car service, on demand, from your phone!  What could be easier? While most black car or executive car services require a 24 hour advanced notice, this is on demand.

For years I have used black car services in New York City. But still, you usually need to give some kind of advance notice.

Now you can request a car from any mobile phone—text message, iPhone and Android apps. Uber will send the nearest driver to pick you up, and text message you an estimated arrival time. Cars usually arrive within 5-10 minutes. You can even track your driver right from  your phone.

Your licensed professional driver will park curbside in a sleek black car. Uber will text you again when the car arrives. Hop in the car, tell the driver your destination and you’ll be on your way.

The fee’s are automatically charged to your credit card on file, and  tip is included.  No fuss with money and change. It is the law in Chicago, a cab driver MUST take your credit card. But how many times do they grumble or say their machine is broken?!

We’re changing the way people are getting around by offering a convenient, cashless, and stylish on demand car request service from your mobile phone.”

Sign up with and download the app. It’s that easy!

Sign up at UBER  or by downloading the app and inputting “BESTGAY”. These special promo codes for our readers will get your $10 off your first ride.

Sure it’s a few dollars more than a cab. But it’s worth it to arrive in style and comfort. For me, I found it most economical to ride from Boystown to downtown for events, via Lake Shore Drive.  If the cars have to cut  through the city,and zig zag in traffic, the bill can get a little higher. But it’s about convenience. And a luxury ride.

 Uber takes GPS data from your ride and charges for distance or time depending on your speed. When your Uber is traveling over 11mph, they charge a distance fee. When your Uber is traveling at or below 11mph, they charge a time fee. There is never  extra charges for late night rides, weekend rides, extra passengers, or luggage fees, it’s always the same rate.

“We carefully select which fleet partners we work with and ensure that they have all the proper licensing. We’ve also implemented a rating system for drivers. If his or her rating goes beneath a certain level, we will no longer do business with them. We’re careful to maintain a standard of only doing business with quality, licensed drivers.

When Uber was started it was a service used by us and our friends. We will never allow our friends to be put into an uncomfortable or dangerous situation because of our service.  One of the most important points about Uber service is to get away from those types of situations when looking for transportation around the city.

Currently “UBER – Your Private Driver” in 7 cities:
San Francisco, NYC, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC, Paris   and now  Chicago!


Hollywood to Dollywood and the Lane Twins Arrive in Chicago!


Everybody has a dream. Most of us are only willing to go so far to see it materialize and often find ourselves waiting for the right opportunity to come to us. Not so for the Lane twins -they were not content to send their screenplay Full Circle to Dolly Parton’s manager or publicist. No, they were determined to get it into the hands of their idol and on the 25th Anniversary of Dollywood, no less.

“WE  grew up listening to Dolly’s music and always thought she was an amazing person. So why not write a screenplay about her, and go on a cross country roadtrip to try to put it in her hands! “       say the Lane Twins, Gary and Larry.

And that’s just what they did.

And the result is An amazing film and journey   about courage and acceptance.

Now in 51  Film Festivals Around the World  …They won 6 Awards so far!

Dolly Parton herself Is 100% behind Our Movie and Gave us 15 Of Her Songs Free For the Documentary  and Her Image for the Movie Poster!”

 Hollywood to Dollywood Plays in CHICAGO!!           
 Nov. 9th!        7pm      ONE NIGHT ONLY!  Landmark Theater. 

With a  Question and Answer   Directly  after the Screening   With  The TWINS   Gary  and  Larry  Lane!


The twins are hosting an after-party at  SPIN, right after the movie.

ALSO  the guys  taped the Rosie show  NOV  8th   “she has just seen HOLLYWOOD TO DOLLYWOOD   and wants to Chat about it!!  WE ARE SO EXCITED!” say the Lane Twins! –  The show airs  NOV. 9th! Rosie   LOVED  the film!


Hollywood to Dollywood
Hollywood to Dollywood blog
The Lane Twins


Rosie O’Donnell NOW PLAYING in Chicago on OWN Gives Interviews Today


Rosie O’Donnell is  bringing her wisdom, talent and brilliant sense of humor (and don’t forget NICE!) to THE ROSIE SHOW.  Airing begins October 10th on OWN.

At the heart of the show is Rosie’s genuine desire to entertain, inspire and connect with America.  As a down-to-earth mother, passionate advocate for children and all-around inquisitive individual, Rosie will relate to her audience in meaningful ways-touching their hearts, sparking their minds and making them laugh.

The out, proud mom of four is ever funny, packed with high-energy and AUTHENTIC – a talk show with a heart – no two days of THE ROSIE SHOW will be alike. Rosie will cover current events, spotlight hometown heroes and newsmakers, showcase the arts, celebrate kids and families, as well as feature well-known and upcoming talent. All done here in Chicago at Harpo Studios.

I caught up Rosie today in between press meetings. Shows will be taped and aired the same day to be relevant.

I am very excited to be here in Chicago. I really didn’t know much about Chicago. I had only been here a few times. BUT WOW!  Chicago is EPICALLY BEAUTIFUL!  I  got a  Segway tour last week and we covered about 10 miles.

The other day in Chicago, I went to Millennium Park, to a Broadway concert. I’m acting as if I’m allowed to live like this, and the people in the city are allowing me.  It feels good to be here.  I even had to wait for a table at Gino’s East. I walked in, and they said, “Name?” I said, “Rosie.” They said, “Hi, Rosie. Welcome to Chicago. Sit down, it’ll be 20 minutes.” It wasn’t like there was a line outside—and there were empty tables, too!  I thought, Well, this is going to take some getting used to, but it’s a good lesson!”

I was stuck in a hotel downtown for my first couple months here, but now have purchased a condo in Lakeview. One of the producers had owned the condo, it was totally redone and I told him I wanted it. Furnished. Leave me a couple night shirts and even some toilet paper. Everything!  So I bought it!”
  she  laughs!

 “It’s in a cool neighborhood, I can walk everywhere, walk to restaurants…I love it. Eveveryone keeps warning me about  the WINTER. The COLD. My new place has a heated garage and even the roof deck has this melting device – so I think I am ready! I am just very excited to be here. The outpouring of love and support has been truly wonderful!”

Lucky for Chicago, Oprah grabbed Rosie when she did. Rosie had an offer on the table from NBC for a show. “Something kept me from signing on the dotted line. I had the contract on my desk for over week.  But network TV didn’t feel right. And then,  Oprah and I had a 4 hour meeting, and that was it.”

The Rosie Show is destined for greatness. This is just what OWN  needed. The network has gotten off to slow start but the Rosie Show is just the shot in the arm, the network needs.   O’Donnell isn’t worried about her new home on OWN. “I have tremendous faith in Oprah’s  ability to do almost anything,” she says. “When she puts her mind to anything, it gets down. People ask if I feel pressure. I feel nothing but privilege, really.” She lated added, “If you look at the launch of any cable channel, it takes three years. The people are just waiting for us to fill up the programming. Its going to be a huge hit like everything else Oprah touches.”

OPRAH  SAID, “In 25 years of doing my show, only one competitor ever seriously challenged me in the ratings: Rosie O’Donnell. From the day Rosie took her place among the crowded field of talk show hosts, I knew she had that “It” thing: She was as sharp as she was authentic, as forthright as she was funny. During six seasons of NBC’s The Rosie O’Donnell Show, she not only won 11 Emmys—she knew how to use her screen time to truly connect.”

One thing that sounds really great about the new show, is its not about quantity, but quality of guests. Rather than trying to cram in 3 guests a day for 5 minute spots,  the show will feature one guest on for several segments. 

Since I’ve been off the air, television has become saturated with celebrities. In America we’re addicted in a way that’s embarrassing. So it’s not going to be all about celebrity. It’ll be a celebration of humanity, of connection, of authenticity and love.

Because it’s on at 7, we’re going to do a hybrid between a late-night show and a daytime show. We’ll incorporate the audience. We’ll use Twitter. We’ll use Facebook. We’ve come up with a new kind of talk show that mixes the old single-topic format with fun and social media. So it will have a reality feel. We’ll have to get the kinks out, but the same way I knew the first one would work, I know this will work

Watch for a star studded opening week including a who’s who list of stars! Appearances by Salma Hyek, Lisa Kudrow, Gloria Estefan, Roseanne Barr, Sharon and Kelly Osborne, Ricky Lake, Gloria Steinem, Wanda Sykes, the cast of Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Kevin Bacon, Fran Drescher , but she still has a wish list of other stars. “Adele has throat issues but as soon as she’s up and healthy she’ll be on,” she says. “I want to have Melissa McCarthy on. Never seen anyone as funny their first time as host of ‘Saturday Night Live.’ Emma Stone… Ryan Gosling I think is an amazing actor. I have a huge wish list.”

I’m going to come out and do stand-up with a mic. I don’t really tell jokes and my stand-up was always more about stories, so I need a mic and a stand. I felt like Henny Youngman [without it]. I’ll do about ten minutes of stand up, then take questions from the audience like Carol Burnett did. So we’re gonna have a real lengthy sit down interview, not always a celebrity with something to promote. Then we have a human interest segment and we play a game at the end of every show…. This will be more fun than anyone imagined. I cheat, but it’s still fun.”

Whether it’s hilarious comedy and game segments, (Rosie LOVES The Price is Right) a live performance by a major recording artist, a celebrity visit, or a discussion of an issue important to Americans, THE ROSIE SHOW’s candid exploration of a wide variety of subjects will encourage all of us to laugh, love and live our best lives.

JERRY NUNN, freelance writer in Chicago, asked Rosie if we would see her at Sidetrack for  Sunday ShowTunes anytime soon. “OH MY GOSH, WHEN?   I didn’t know about it!! Will they play THE RINK with Chita Rivera and Liza Minnelli?? Very few people know the words to that. I could have a solo.  I know all of the words!  I could perform it!”  –  so keep an eye out for Rosie at Sidetracks!

* I have RCN and OWN is part of a news and information package I had to buy, for an additional $5.95 a month. But hey, it’ll be worth it!


Whoopi Goldberg to Speak at Chicago House Luncheon

  There was a time I played on
both sides of the street.

Now I just go straight down
the middle of the street.”

That surprising remark was made by Whoopi Goldberg to the audience at the Absolutely Fabulous 2002 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered Pride Awards in  2002. Given Whoopi’s history of public support for gay, lesbian, and bisexual issues, and the multiple lesbian and bisexual characters she has played on film, the announcement that Whoopi is bisexual probably shouldn’t come as a big surprise.

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 is a vigorous advocate for children, human rights, education, substance abuse, and in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Goldberg will be in Chicago Friday, November 4, 2011
for The 3rd Annual Speaker Series Luncheon
to benefit  Chicago House.

Time: 11:30am-2:00pm
Where: Palmer House Hilton, Grand Ballroom
17 East Monroe Street, Chicago, IL



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




Ronnie Kroell and Mom Charlene Sonenberg Talk with Feast of Fun

was in Chicago this week and we had the opportunity to hang out with him over dinner and drinks. Ronnie is humble, sweet, and wise beyond his years!

He also did a podcast with Feast of Fun, with his mom,  Charlene Sonenberg. They talk about coming out and acceptance.

Ronnie was discovered by his mom snuggling in a sleeping bag with his high school boyfriend in his back yard, at the age of 16.

His mother  was shocked and didn’t react well, splashing cold water on the boys, sending Ronnie crying to his dad’s house.

Since then, they have patched things up and become best of friends and his mom is now his biggest advocate and fan.

They offer some good advice for young people and parents everywhere about coming out and supporting your gay teen.

LISTEN TO Ronnie and Mom  on FEAST OF FUN

Watch for Ronnie in the upcoming EATING OUT 4. Rumor has it there may be just a dash of nudity!  Gasp! –  Ronnie really enjoys acting and he and his boyfried Taylor Proffitt are considering moving to Los Angeles to pursure more acting. Ronnie has his  eye on a role as a super hero! 

We’ll be doing a feature on Ronnie and Taylor next month for gay pride!


DOT429 LGBT Gay Networking Event in Chicago April 29th

If you are Web 2.0 savvy and playing in the Social Media sandbox, you better be on dot429!

Often referred to as an LGBT LinkedIn,  dot429 is a multi-platform network connecting LGBT professionals and allies online and in person.

Founded by 500 of the most successful and influential LGBT entrepreneurs, business people, designers, and entertainers, dot429 serves as a go-to destination for the LGBT professional set. dot429 provides an opportunity for this community to connect and expand their business networks, further their careers, stay current on the latest happenings in the LGBT professional community, and more.

Online members communicate through profile pages, updates, messages and online introductions. 429Magazine provides exclusive articles written by industry insiders, politicians, and key LGBTA leaders, covering everything from finance and business to leisure and entertainment. dot429 provides members with a fresh take on current issues: the queer professional perspective.

Adding to the success of the online network, dot429 hosts sophisticated monthly social events across the country for members to connect in person.

They will be hosting their next Chicago Event – April 29th at the James HotelCheck it out on Facebook
Over 100 people have already RSVP’d! 

The Scoop –

Chicago Networking Event

JBar in The James Hotel

610 North Rush Street     Chicago, IL 60611       ( 6:00PM – 8:00PM)

dot429 returns to the windy city on April 29, launching a networking cocktail series at a new venue, JBAR at The James Hotel. This event will feature a hosted vodka and Hum spirits. dot429’s Chicago members are active and vibrant enthusiasts of networking and the dot429 mission. $25.00 in advance / $30 at the Door


Johnny Weir April 30th Discount Tickets for Readers

The 2nd Annual
Johnny Weir
comes back to Chicago April 30th!

Edge Ice Arena in Bensenville
735 East Jefferson
Bensenville, IL  60106

an exclusive offer for Best Gay Chicago readers, if you type in promo code “johnnyweir” you can receive half off the ticket price!

There is also VIP seating available which will provide on-ice seating and access to Johnny’s intimate after party where they can meet him!


$1 from every ticket sale goes to American Red Cross: Japanese Disaster Relief fund.

Johnny has even 
created a special t-shirt to help raise needed monies for Japan.