SATURDAY, JUNE 30
On the second night of my farewell tour through Chicago's gay bars, I was joined by my partner Kito and our friend Melinda, whom I enjoy hanging out with because she looks like Michelle Williams and so when I'm with her I can pretend I'm Jack McPhee from Dawson's Creek. Plus, she's always got a lot of stories about banging hot black guys, which happens to be exactly what I would do if I were Michelle Williams. Or, for that matter, Jack McPhee. [Confidential to Kito: kidding!]
4. Parlour. 6341 N. Clark St. 9.02pm.
On the last Saturday of each month, Parlour hosts "Northern Lights," a queer performance salon and dance party. When we were there, they were projecting short films onto a bed sheet hanging over a little stage. We only stuck around for the first movie, a mostly silent, black-and-white affair set in a creepy co-ed bathhouse where the patrons performed ritualistic movements in their underpants. Something about the solemn earnestness of the whole thing, combined with the tomblike silence in the bar (broken only by one guy's cartoonish ringtone, which won him several outraged glares from the artsy-fartsies in the audience), gave me an acute case of the giggles. It was sort of like when you're in Sunday school and you know you're not supposed to laugh and so that's exactly what you want to do.
When the rubber ducky floated across the screen, I thought I was going to lose it.
5. Granville Anvil. 1137 W. Granville Ave. 10.34pm.
The closest gay bar to my new apartment. I remembered it from past crawls as being one of the skeezier, scuzzier establishments this side of Little Jim's, but I do believe they've repainted the place. I fully expected Melinda to be the only female on the premises, but to my surprise there was a kind of off-brand Chita Rivera in one corner, and seated across from us was Patty the Pin Lady, that round little person who's always at queer nightspots, selling ribbons and candy and such to raise money for AIDS charities.
As it happens, Kito and I had run into Patty at Jackhammer the night before, when we asked her to estimate how much money she'd raised over the more than 20 years she's been doing what she does. $50,000 was her answer.
I couldn't decide if this was an impressive figure or not, but Kito thought she should hire some sort of fundraising consultant to maximize her revenue streams or whatever.
6. Lizard's Liquid Lounge. 3058 W. Irving Park Rd. 11.55pm.
Formerly the site of Chicago's oldest lesbian bar, Lost and Found, where you had to knock and get buzzed in--a legacy from the days when LGBT hangouts needed to protect themselves from police raids. Now it's been made over into an all-purpose neighborhood tavern, or, as Melinda put it, "This is just a regular ol' bar."