Friday, July 14, 2006

HEATER- Cultural events affiliated with Gay Games

HEATER- Cultural events affiliated with Gay Games
By Web Behrens
Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune
Published July 14, 2006

In addition to athletes from around the world, the seventh Gay Games bring a plethora of cultural riches to Chicago, with artists of all stripes hitting the city's stages, screens and galleries. There are cultural performances Tuesday and Wednesday in Millennium Park under the Gay Games title, and many more affiliated events--including these home-grown offerings:

Ten Years Of Heresy: The Best Of GayCo

Through July 23 at the Theatre Building, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.; $25; contact 773-327-5252 or www.gayco.com.

Sketch comedy shows can be a bit uneven, that just comes with the territory. Happily, GayCo has a strong, 10-year track record. Even better, the Chicago comedy ensemble now celebrates its first decade with a greatest-hits revue, following on the heels of last month's "The DaVinci GayCode." Whether aiming for provocative (drawing minstrel parallels to mainstream media's gay celebrities) or merely clever (a rousing rewrite of "Ya Got Trouble," using "G for gay" instead of "P for pool"), GayCo knows how to leave 'em laughing. After the yuksters' last anniversary show five years ago, the audience stumbled home with big smiles and sore stomach muscles.

Reeling's Summer Film Festival

Friday through July 23 at various locations; admission ranges from free to $8-$15 per screening; contact 773-293-1447 or www.reelingfilmfestival.org

There's normally a November chill in the air when Reeling, the Chicago Lesbian & Gay International Film Festival, gets under way. In light of the global audience here for the Gay Games, Chicago Filmmakers offers a mini-Reeling, with 40 films in 16 programs from the U.S., Europe, India and Australia. Most screenings are free, including all programs at the Chicago Cultural Center and the sure-to-be-lively Hollywood Beach Party Shorts ( 8 p.m. Sunday at Hollywood Beach, bring your own beach blanket). Films include "Be Real: Stories from Queer America," which features a Chicagoan among its six subjects; "Queer Duck: The Movie," expanded from the animated cable comedy; and the popular German sports comedy, "Guys and Balls."

Sticks + Stones: From Pink Triangles To Gold Medals: Reclaiming Our Identity

Through Aug. 5 at Gage Gallery, 18 S. Michigan Ave.; free; contact 773-871-7610 or www.sticksandstonesexhibit.com.

For everyone wondering why the gay community formed its own version of the Olympics 24 years ago, a local non-profit brings together three distinct exhibits to provide an answer, providing an overview of 20th-Century GLBT history. The first component to this free show, curated by the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., documents how Nazi Germany targeted an emerging gay and lesbian community. By rewriting German law, Nazis criminalized not only sex but mere affection between gay men -- even "simple looking" -- and sent thousands to concentration camps, where they wore pink triangles. For part two, Red Ribbons assembles more than 500 pieces of AIDS-awareness memorabilia from local collector Norman Sandfield; the final third, Gold Medals, visually relates the history of the Gay Games.Founded in 1982 by Olympic decathlete Tom Waddell, the Games were originally dubbed the Gay Olympics until the United States Olympic Committee sued. The quadrennial Games have spanned the globe, finding host cities as far away as Amsterdam and Sydney.

The Home Project

Through July 30 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave.; $10-$40; contact 773-871-3000 or www.aboutfacetheatre.com

In 2005, after six years of examining gender and sexuality, the About Face Youth Theatre expanded its perspective to tackle a new topic: the drastic rates of homelessness among gay youth. (About 40 percent of homeless youth identify themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.) Last summer's compelling workshop of "The Home Project," performed by the youths themselves, now receives a full production with new true-life tales. The company also expanded its storytelling methods by working with two choreographers.

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For complete listings of the Games' affiliated arts festival: www.gaygameschicago.org.

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