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August 17, 2017

Gay Chicago Rewind:
Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001

BY
SUKIE DE LA CROIX

August 17-23, 2017

Gay life in Chicago this week, back in...

1978

An article in Gay Life begins:

"A benefit birthday party week to celebrate the first anniversary of Crystal's Blinkers is scheduled for August 21 through August 25, at the club, 3153 North Broadway in Chicago. Owner Elly Cook and Manager Robie Crystal announced that the celebration will be a 5 days benefit week to support the efforts of the Gay & Lesbian Coalition of Metropolitan Chicago and Volunteering Human Resources. In 1977, Crystal's Blinkers produced a benefit week prior to the opening celebration."

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Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
IMAGE: Gay Life News Line – Gay Life July 22, 1977

John Waters' "Desperate Living" is showing at Midnight at the Village Theatre, 1548 N. Clark St.

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There's an open forum in response to street crimes at the Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington. Nancy Sidote and Jim Klein of the Neighborhood State's Attorney office are in attendance. These open forums are initiated by the 43 rd Ward/13th District Gay Caucus."

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The Village People appear at Park West, 322 W. Armitage.

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Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
IMAGE: Medinah Lounge – Gay Life July 22, 1977

An article in Gay Life reads:

"Gay Life has been informed that there have been a number of recent arrests in the forest preserves southwest of Chicago. At Maple Lake and the River Oaks area Cook County Forest Preserve rangers have been taking down license plate numbers of vehicles which frequent the preserves. In addition there have been reports of entrapment techniques being used by the Cook County Sheriff's Police to make arrests."

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August 20, 1978

A television movie "Sgt. Matlovitch vs. the U.S. Air Force" is shown on NBC-TV, Channel 5.

1986

In the bars and clubs, the cocktail hour at Paris Dance, 1122 W. Montrose, is between 5-8 p.m.; Dr. Sam Hill is the pianist at Dandy's, 2632 N. Halsted; every Wednesday you can play "Wheel of Fortune" to benefit Chicago House at Irene's Diamonds, 3169 N. Halsted; Diana McKay hosts a lip-synch contest at the Normandy, 3400 N. Clark; DANCE THE NIGHT AWAY at Windy City, 3127 N. Clark; Help Mikey Get His 41st Nut! Mikey's birthday party is August 23 at Bulldog Road, 2916 N. Broadway; and there's a Wet Jockey Shorts Contest at Fire Island, 1177 N. Elston.

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Obituaries in Gay Chicago:

"Greg Christian, 41, a former computer operator, died in Lakeside Veterans Hospital following a two-year battle with AIDS.

"Mr. Christian is survived by his mother and four brothers and sisters, and by Jim, his support manager.

"Funeral arrangements are being handled by the Veteran's Administration.

"Mr. Christian was a resident of Chicago House since March 28, 1986."

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Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
IMAGE: Petunia's – July 22, 1977

In Rick Karlin's column E.T.C. in Gay Chicago:

"While some folks were perusing the Broadway Art Fair or sunning on the rocks, the real action last Saturday was at Buck's, site of the Mr. Windy City Pet Contest. Congratulations to Napoleon, a native Chicagoan and poodle which was also named Best Dressed for his nautically inspired costume ..."

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Some of the headlines in this week's Windy City Times:

"19 more Chicago AIDS cases; 23,700 nationally; 590 in Illinois; 449 Chicago"

"California faces AIDS quarantine"

"Byrne appoints gay/lesbian liaison"

"U.S. FDA 'poppers' regulation proposed."

"Gay men more likely to have gay brothers"

2001

From Nightlines:

"Windy City Athletic Association. Registration and free bowling night to kick off the Wednesday Night Mixed Bowling League. New individuals and teams are welcome. $30 registration fee; league starts on Wednesday, Aug., 29. 6:45 p.m., Marigold Bowling Lanes, 828 W. Grace."

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Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
IMAGE: Kelly's – Gay Chicago July 9, 1987

Achy Obejas reads from her new novel, "Days of Awe" at Barnes and Noble, 55 Old Orchard Center, Skokie.

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In Quotelines in Windy City Times:

"I have a little crush on Britney Spears. I think she's pretty cute. I mean, there's just something so appealing about her. The whole outfit and the hair and the dancing. It's just the entire package" – Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon

And:

"Homosexuality has been with man since day one ...And the fact that it's being accepted more and explored more is the greatest thing that could happen in our society" Screen legend, Pam Grier.

And:

"It was the worst, most awful event in my life" – Ellen DeGeneres on her breakup with Anne Heche.

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From Street Walkin' With Sukie in Windy City Times:

"My friend Al Gossan suggested we go to the Mashed Potato Club last week. I remember going there years ago when it was up on Clark St. I also knew Barbie Doll was working there; I knew Barbie Doll before she was called Barbie Doll.

"We parked right on the street outside the club ...weird huh? Have you been to the Mashed Potato Club? It's the coolest place. I can't even describe it. Except to say it's a restaurant and bar with a drag show. There's a gay/ cool straight/ multi-sexual/ pansexual, polyamorous crowd. Noisy audience and lots of fun. Had a crazy time there."

Homework

Anybody go to Petunia's?

Fire Island, a gay bar on Elston. What was that place like?

Where's Barbie Doll now?

Gay Chicago Photo Rewind

Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
Terry Gaskins photographs at Spin. Mark Nagel visits the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus for Gay Chicago July 27, 1995

Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
Terry Gaskins photographs at Spin. Mark Nagel visits the Chicago Gay Men's Chorus.

Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
Seahorse II, a gay bar in South Bend, is in this year's Chicago Pride Parade in Gay Life July 26, 1977

Gay life in Chicago this week, back in... 1978, 1986 and 2001
Roscoe's, the Closet, Carr's Halsted Street Cabaret, and Foxy's in Windy City Times September 23, 1993

Thanks go to publishers Michael Bergeron for Chicago Gay Crusader, Ralph and Craig Gernhardt for Gay Chicago, Grant Ford and Chuck Renslow for Gay Life, Malone Sizelove for Babble/Gab, David Costanza and others for Chicago Free Press, Jeff McCourt for Windy City Times, Stacy Bridges and Mark Nagel for GRAB, and Tracy Baim for all the publications at the Windy City Media Group, which aided the above research. St. Sukie de la Croix is an internationally published reporter, playwright, photographer and historian. He is also the author of Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

 
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"all those people, all those lives, where are they now?"
Posted by James Scalzitti on Mon, 8/21/2017 11:28 AM
FBItem: 10154582189656370_10154582355966370
I went to Petunia's a few times with a lesbian couple I knew. As for Fire Island, I believe it was on the Chicago River and the place had a couple of names before becoming a stright bar. BTW, Mashed Potato Club had two locations. One on Clark just south of Irving Park, then it moved down to the Near North.River North area.
Posted by RKarlin on Mon, 8/21/2017 4:52 PM
Fire Island was on the Chicago river and was a short lived popular late night dance bar. Crystal's Blinkers was a legendary disco that had a Fabulous lighted dance floor and lightning. Late night and from what I heard lots of drugs. Very young crowd and their admirers.
Posted by Joe Pawloski on Tue, 8/22/2017 10:05 AM
FBItem: 10154582189656370_10154585145581370
I remember Barbie Doll. I saw her a couple times at Night of 100 Drag Queens a thousand years ago. I forgot all about her.
Posted by rcktmanil on Thu, 8/24/2017 10:58 AM
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