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The Reader's 2011 Pride Guide 

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The Chicago Pride Parade, which first marched out of Washington Square Park in 1970, now attracts hundreds of thousands of people—revelers and spectators, queer folks, allies, and more than a few politicians—along its Lakeview route. The parade kicks off Sunday at noon, but the weekend, the culmination of Pride Month, also offers pre- and postparade parties, concerts and DJ sets, street fairs, block parties, and more.

THURSDAY 23

Birdhouse Art Auction and Cocktail Party Chicago House, which runs housing programs and support services for people affected by HIV and AIDS, hosts its 14th annual fund-raiser, with funky artwork, birdhouses, and cocktails. 6-9 PM, Room & Board Furniture, 55 E. Ohio, 773-248-5200 ext. 303, roomandboard.com, $70, $85 at door.

Chicago Sky Pride Night The Chicago Sky take on the Connecticut Sun. Tickets include a Sky Pride T-shirt and a donation to GLAAD, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation. 7 PM, Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim, Rosemont, 866-759-9622, allstatearena.com, $25.

Ladies on the Lake A sunset boat cruise for women on Chicago's Fair Lady, with cocktails and dancing, is hosted by Lambda Legal. Meet at the Michigan Avenue Bridge near the south branch of the Chicago River. 6:30-9:30 PM, Wendella Boats, 401 N. Michigan, 312-663-4413, wendellaboats.com, $65.

Steven Petrow Book Signing The Huffington Post columnist presents Steven Petrow's Complete Gay & Lesbian Manners: The Definitive Guide to LGBT Life. 7:30 PM, Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, 773-769-9299, womenandchildrenfirst.com.

FRIDAY 24

Backlot Bash The eighth iteration of this outdoor women's party will take place behind Cheetah Gym and feature three days of live music. Friday's festivities are 18+ and Saturday and Sunday are 21+. 6/24-6/26: Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 3-10 PM, Sun 2-10 PM, Cheetah Gym Andersonville, 5248 N. Clark, 773-728-7777, backlotbashchicago.com, $10 advance, $15 at the door, $30 weekend pass.

Beach Service and BBQ Join Congregation or Chadash in a barbecue followed by a Shabbat service at a nearby beach. Bring a kosher side dish (no pork, shellfish, or meat/dairy combinations) and a chair or blanket to sit on. 6 PM, Emanuel Congregation, 5959 N. Sheridan, 773-271-2148, orchadash.org. 

Chicago Pride Fest Food, arts and crafts, and live music on two stages dedicated to Chicago's gay performers. There are drag shows, a pet parade, and performances by the Personnel, Chicago Spirit Brigade, and Sixteen Candles, among others. Hosted by Northalsted Business Alliance. 6/24-6/25: Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 11 AM-10 PM, 3712 N. Broadway, 773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com.

Chicago Reader's Pride Cruise The Chicago Reader's gay booze cruise on the Tall Ship Windy includes appetizers and drinks; it's hosted by Jyldo (Alien Queen) with performances by DoubleDJ and DJ Erik Roldan (Chances Dances). Berlin will host the afterparty. Proceeds benefit About Face Theatre. 7-9 PM, Tall Ship Windy, 600 E. Grand, chicagoreader.com/cruise, $30.

GayCo Comedy Sketches This gay and lesbian sketch group performs "GayCo's Best Sex Scenes—Sexy Sketches From the Archives." 10 PM, Playground Theater, 3209 N. Halsted, 773-871-3793, gayco.com, $10.

Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow Authors Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen join Renslow himself at this book signing and discussion. Renslow is a bar owner, publisher, bathhouse operator, and founder of International Mr. Leather. 7:30 PM, Women & Children First, 5233 N. Clark, 773-769-9299, womenandchildrenfirst.com.

Naked July: Art Stripped Down A festival featuring plays about the human body, including Salome by Oscar Wilde; The Living Canvas: Rain, directed by Gabby Labotka and produced by the Living Canvas; and Beast Women, a cabaret and variety show directed by Jill Erickson and Michelle Power and produced by Beast Women Productions. Through 8/6: Thu-Sun, various times, National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077, nakedjuly.com, $20.

The Lies We Tell, but the Secrets We Keep Premiere of a film by MVP Productions about two women who become involved in "a dangerous love triangle," based on a book by Milon V. Parker. 8 PM, Portage Theatre, 4050 N. Milwaukee, 312-298-9298, themakingsofmvp.com, $15, $20 at door.

30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Seconds Pride-themed performance of Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind by the Neo-Futurists. Advance tickets required. Half of all proceeds benefit the Illinois Safe Schools Alliance. 6/24-6/25, 8 PM, Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-275-5255, neofuturists.org, $20.

SATURDAY 25

Backlot Bash See 6/24 listing. 6/24-6/26: Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 3-10 PM, Sun 2-10 PM, Cheetah Gym Andersonville, 5248 N. Clark, 773-728-7777, backlotbashchicago.com, $10 advance, $15 at the door, $30 weekend pass.

Chicago Black LGBT Authors Reception Terrance Dean, founder of Men's Empowerment, reads from his new novel, Mogul. 3 PM, Gerber/Hart Library, 1127 W. Granville, 773-381-8030, gerberhart.org.

Chicago Comics Pride Signing Local comic creators Kris Dresen, Tony Breed, Edie Fake, Marian Runk, Dale Lazarov, Beck Kramer, and Ed Choy Moorman gather for a Pride-centric signing. 4 PM, Chicago Comics, 3244 N. Clark, 773-528-1983, chicagocomics.com.

Chicago Dyke March The Chicago Dyke March will be held in South Shore for its second year. In 2008, CDM organizers decided it was time to move around to different communities every two years. Compared to its more corporate cousin, Dyke March is smaller and way more political: its mission statement describes it as a "celebration of Dyke, Queer, and Transgender resilience." There's a rally afterward in Jackson Park (63rd and Hayes). 2:30 PM, starts outside Urban Partnership Bank, 7054 S. Jeffery, chicagodykemarch.wordpress.com

Chicago Pride Fest See 6/24 listing. 6/24-6/25, Fri 4-10 PM, Sat 11 AM-10 PM, Chicago Pride Fest, 3712 N. Broadway, 773-868-3010, chicagoevents.com. 

Naked July: Art Stripped Down See 6/24 listing. Through 8/6: Thu-Sun, National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077, npt2.com, $20.

Pride Liturgy Dignity/Chicago invites all to participate in lay-led liturgy followed by an informal social. 5 PM, Broadway United Methodist Church, 3338 N. Broadway, 312-458-9438, dignity-chicago.org. 

Proud to Run 2011 The 30th annual run/walk is presented in association with Frontrunners/Frontwalkers Chicago, Chicago's LGBT running and walking club. There are 10K and 5K runs and a 5K walk. An awards ceremony and raffle follow the race. 8:04 AM, Montrose Harbor, 4400 N. Lake Shore, 312-742-5121, proudtorun.org, $30.

30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Seconds See 6/24 listing. 6/24-6/25, 8 PM, Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, 773-275-5255, neofuturists.org, $20.

SUNDAY 26

Backlot Bash See 6/24 listing. 6/24-6/26: Fri 5-10 PM, Sat 3-10 PM, Sun 2-10 PM, Cheetah Gym Andersonville, 5248 N. Clark, 773-728-7777, backlotbashchicago.com, $10 advance, $15 at the door, $30 weekend pass.

Block Party Food, drinks, and all-ages entertainment are the highlights of this block party near the Pride Parade. Admission gets you a wristband good for two drinks and proceeds benefit Lakeview youth services. 4 PM, Lake View Lutheran Church, 835 W. Addison, 773-809-6971, lakeviewlutheran.com, $5 suggested donation.

LGBTQ Solidarity Service All are welcome to celebrate LGBTQ solidarity in honor of Pride weekend. 10 AM, Wellington Avenue United Church of Christ, 615 W. Wellington, 773-935-0642, waucc.org

Naked July: Art Stripped Down See 6/24 listing. Through 8/6: Thu-Sun, National Pastime Theater, 4139 N. Broadway, 773-327-7077, npt2.com, $20.

Preparade Worship Service Catch services before the parade, and come back afterward for a block party benefit in the same location. 10 AM, Lake View Lutheran Church, 835 W. Addison, 773-809-6971, lakeviewlutheran.com. 

Pride Liturgy Join guest preacher Rev. Jacki Belile for a Pride-themed service titled "Cultivating a Rainbow Heart." 10 AM, Peoples Church, 941 W. Lawrence, 773-784-6633, peopleschurchchicago.org. 

Pride North This street festival, sponsored by Gay Chicago and held on Glenwood between Lunt and Morse, features performances by Sixteen Candles and Moosebox. No cover, but any proceeds benefit PFLAG. 4 PM, the Glenwood, 6962 N. Glenwood, 773-764-7363, theglenwoodbar.com

Pride Parade At the heart of the weekend's celebrations is the 42nd annual Chicago Pride Parade, which kicks off from Boys Town at the corner of Halsted and Belmont and proceeds north on Halsted to Broadway, then south on Broadway to Diversey, then east on Diversey to Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park. Thousands will gather with floats, decorated vehicles, marching bands, performance vehicles, and walking contingents to celebrate gay pride. Noon, 3200 N. Halsted, 773-348-8243, chicagopridecalendar.org

TUESDAY 28

Gay Men's Book Discussion Group The group discusses the work of Larry Kramer, including his book Faggots and article "The Tragedy of Today's Gays." 7:30 PM, Gerber/Hart Library, 1127 W. Granville, 773-3381-8030, gerberhart.org

WEDNESDAY 29

Good Boys and True Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa's drama focuses on a popular prep-school student caught in a scandal that provokes questions about adolescent sexuality. Reservations recommended. Wed-Thu 6/29-6/30, 8 PM, Theater Wit, 1229 W. Belmont, 773-975-8150, goodboysandtrue.com, $22.

Pride Service Rev. Jacki Belile will lead a Pride-themed service titled "A Healing Parade." 7:30 PM, Living Well Ministries, 6554 N. Rockwell, 773-655-4357, livingwellministries.net

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