Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-11-27
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



BOOKS Thomas Garguilo talks 'Stonewall Revival,' partner
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

When Thomas Garguilo retired from a 30-year marketing career at Philip Morris, husband Ron Leone encouraged him to try new things.

"He knew I enjoyed writing and pushed me to give it a shot," said Garguilo. "Initially, I did not have an idea I was passionate enough about to commit to the long process of writing a book. Then, in 2016, I was cleaning out a closet in our house. I stumbled across a collection of old photos from when my first partner, the late Jimmy Pisano, re-opened Stonewall in 1990.

"Jimmy was totally the opposite of me, gregarious and a bit of a showman, while I lived very much on the straight and narrow. I had been saving the photos, preserving them, for more than 20 years but had not really looked at them more than two or three times. After I went through the collection, I knew I had to do something with them."

Garguilo explained that, at first, he was looking to give them to an institution so they could be archived but during his search he did not find "any one place that felt just right" so instead he created his own historical website archive— .

"The book, Stonewall Revival: Tales of 53 Christopher Street & Other Theatrical Adventures, came about as a result of wanting more people to discover the photos other than those who visited the website," said Garguilo. "I wanted lots of people to learn about how Stonewall came back into existence and that Jimmy was the man who made it happen."

Since Garguilo is not an historian, he spent four months doing research on the parts of Stonewall's history he did not already know before he began the book and joined the James River Writers to learn about the writing and publishing process. He noted the whole process took about a year to complete. Garguilo explained that the events in the book happened at the same time as the height of the AIDS crisis. He said Pisano struggled to keep Stonewall open until he died of AIDS in 1994.

"Then I helped keep it open until I could not do that anymore," said Garguilo. "Most people assume that Stonewall was a goldmine when it re-opened. The opposite was true. The business was never strong enough to sustain itself, so Jimmy just borrowed, juggled and finagled to keep it open. It was not until 2000 that anybody paid it any notice. Then, it started to receive numerous landmark designations."

Some of the most surprising things Garguilo re-discovered while looking through the pictures include one image of a small group of people in the bar blowing up pink balloons.

"I had forgotten the details of that night until I saw the tiny print on one of the balloons in an enlargement," said Garguilo. "It said 'Gay Liberation 1990.' Then the memories came flooding back. It was the early morning hours before the 1990 Pride Parade. Jimmy's friends had all stayed after the bar closed to help him blow up thousands of pink balloon bouquets that were placed up and down Christopher Street to celebrate the fact that the site of the original Stonewall Riots had been re-opened. It was one of my most joyous memories because everything was still hopeful at that point."

Garguilo said that when he created the Facebook page and started posting the photos there his goal was to have others contribute their memories and fill in details that he might have forgotten. More than 2,000 people have liked/are following the Facebook page.

"One gentleman helped me remember the name of someone that appears in one of the best photos of the collection," said Garguilo. "It is a shot of a guy in drag bumping and grinding with a New York City police officer. To me, the entire change from 1969 to 1990 is encapsulated in that photo."

When asked why Pisano wanted to reopen Stonewall, Garguilo said it was a desire for Pisano to have his own space after managing many other people's bars and nightclubs over the years. Garguilo explained that Pisano found a space at 53 Christopher Street and at first called the place New Jimmy's to honor Jimmy Merry, the man who taught Pisano the bar business.

Another reason why Pisano did not call the place Stonewall right away, according to Garguilo, was because a prior attempt to resurrect Stonewall at 51 Christopher Street abruptly ended and that coupled with the fact that the famous Stonewall sign that hung outside the building was torn down in 1989 made him reticent to attach the Stonewall name to his new establishment.

"I am not sure how he would have reacted to seeing Stonewall receive all those landmark designations and become a U.S. national monument," said Garguilo. "You have to remember that he struggled so much over the last four years of his life keeping that place open. Just because it was Stonewall did not mean that the crowds came to drink there.

"In fact, Chelsea was the hot neighborhood at the time and most younger men were going there, not to Greenwich Village. While he did see support for his efforts from friends, business associates and a core contingent of loyal patrons, there were parts of the gay community in the 1990s that really did not seem like they cared if Stonewall existed or not."

Garguilo said he does not know how Pisano would have responded to the changes that have happened regarding LGBTQ equality since he always lived as an out and proud gay man who thought of himself as equal to everyone else.

This fall, Garguilo's book will be included in a course, "Literature of the Queer," that Professor T. Ross Leasure will teach at Salisbury University.

For more information about Stonewall's revival, visit and .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

December at Women & Children First to include Drag Queen Story Hour 2019-12-04 - CHICAGO, IL ( December 3, 2019 ) - As 2019 comes to a close, Women & Children First is proud to announce our ...

Gay News

Season's readings: Books to choose 2019-12-02 - So, it's a wrap. Everything's under paper and under the tree. You're done with all your shopping, except for one person. Or two. ...

Gay News

Pioneering gay cartoonist Cruse dies at 75 2019-12-01 - ( WILLIAMSTOWN, MASSACHUSETTS, Nov. 26 )—Howard Cruse—a pioneer in the LGBTQ cartooning movement and the author of Stuck Rubber Baby, a 1995 award-winning ...

Gay News

WINDY CITY TIMES 2019 Holiday Gift Guide Part One of Two 2019-11-27 - Feel the heat We all know the polar vortex may be revisiting sooner rather than letter, so be ready with Heat Holders ...

Gay News

NU professor talks about delving into the heart of 'Infectious Blackness' 2019-11-27 - The tale of Michael Johnson took a turn this past July—when he was released from a Missouri jail 25 years early. In 2013, ...

Gay News

BOOK REVIEW A Song for You: My Life with Whitney Houston 2019-11-26 - Author: Robyn Crawford. $28; Dutton; 319 pages You saw that coming. It was easy to anticipate because the signs were there. ...

Gay News

Historians seek LGBTQ responses for next work 2019-11-15 - Writers/historians St Sukie de la Croix and Owen Keehnen are again seeking responses—this time for a third volume of the Tell Me About ...

Gay News

Local podcast looks at horror from LGBT perspective 2019-11-12 - On their podcast FriGay the 13th, co-hosts Matty Zaradich and Andrew Huff use an LGBT perspective to discuss horror in entertainment, horror in ...

Gay News

Conversation on the myth of journalistic objectivity Nov. 14 2019-11-12 - On Thursday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m., Lewis Raven Wallace will be in conversation with Tracy Baim, discussing his book The View from ...

Gay News

Local LGBTQ activism topic of panel at library discussion 2019-11-04 - Chicago Public Library's Pride Heritage Committee and Brave Space Alliance hosted a panel discussion, "LGBTQ Activism's Past, Present and Future in Chicago," Oct. ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.