Chuck Renslow sent off in style at memorial 2017-08-27
Longtime Chicago businessman, activist and philanthropist Chuck Renslow was remembered during a spirited, musical and photo-filled memorial Aug. 27 at the Metro, the location of one of Renslow's many businesses over the years, Center Stage.
Among those addressing the crowd were longtime gay activist Gary Chichester, former Chicago Ald. Cliff Kelley, Ald. Tom Tunney, U.S. Rep. Mike Quigley, former bar owner Marge Summit, retired judge Tom Chiola, Windy City Times Publisher Tracy Baim, and Renslow's partner, Ron Ehemann, who spoke on behalf of the Renslow family.
Tunney read a resolution that had passed unanimously in Chicago's City Council, paying tribute to Renslow and all of his businesses and community work. At times, Tunney laughed, thinking how interesting it was to read some of the details of Renslow's colorful life in front of the City Council. Quigley plans to pay tribute to Renslow in Congress.
The evening was punctuated by beautiful photo and video tributes, lovingly edited by Christina Court and Jeffrey Roscoe, with DJ Jeff Berry, visual orchestration by T.L. Noble, a musical performance by Sammulous from America's Got Talent singing Sylvester songs, producer Gary Chichester and stage manager Dean Ogren.
Hundreds of people packed into the Metro for the memories of Renslow and then they danced the way Renslow would have wanted them to, wearing mostly white for this final White Party ( what had been an annual tribute Renslow started in the late 1970s ) and enjoying male dancers on stage and heavy beats under their feet.
Renslow, 87, a longtime pillar of the LGBTQ community in Chicago and around the world, died after multiple long-term health issues June 29.
Renslow reigned over a seven-decade empire, starting more than two dozen businessesbars, discos, photo studios, health clubs, bathhouses, gay magazines and newspapers, hotels, restaurants and bookstores. He fostered organizations and dealt with Mafia and police payoffs, the Chicago Machine, anti-gay government policies, and controversy within the gay community. He co-founded International Mr. Leather, the Leather Archives & Museum, and many more groups and businesses.
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