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  BLACKLINES

LEATHERLIFE
Celebrations
by Cain Berlinger
2003-08-01

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On the heels of Gay Pride, Windy City Black LGBT pride quietly celebrated our blackness with a whirlwind weekend of fierce dances, BBQ's, activities and workshops. I say quietly because an event as important to the community as this was sorely under-advertised despite its impressive list of sponsors (including the Steamworks, a sponsor also of Mr. Ebony Leather in its serious outreach crusade). The Steamworks 2nd annual Black Pride 'Steam' Party had visiting Ft. Lauderdale DJ Willy Vela and co-sponsored m4m4sex.com Saturday, and the place was packed! 'Sources' tell me you didn't know whether to bump or boogie! Was it just me who discovered too late that the advertised flyer came with a $5 discount?

The very gay-friendly Hyatt Regency (Host to 2004's IML and EBONY events) played host to many of the participants, workshops and luncheons. Performers Frankie Knuckles. Otis Mack and Michelle Fleming (of 1st Choice) were among those who helped WCB/LBBT Pride celebrate. The handful of workshops I peeked in on were well attended (although there was a cancellation or two and CP/GP time played heavily into the festivities) and everyone, especially the men of ONYX, were pleased with their contribution.

At the awards luncheon, Steve Bailous accepted the community service award on behalf of ONYX. Congratulations are to be extended to Deborah Bedford for winning 'Activist of the Year.' The weekend fully emphasized that while we certainly have our foot in the door, we have a long way to go until we can do it together, respecting one another's differences, fetishes, and even who and how we choose to love; before the city will see WC/BP as an inclusive 'community' event and not just another Black event. Then perhaps ALL of Chicago's gay press will cover ALL the events that highlight diversity, and the community will speak out as one voice when they do not.

Final award for the most debated workshop title of the weekend: I'm Young; I'm Fierce; and I'm Ovah; So why Ain't I got no Man? Talk amongst yourselves.

What's going on with the MACHINE SHOP, that venerable institution next to the CELLBLOCK? Open? Closed? Condemned? There are a lot of folks who are missing their favorite … watering … hole.

If you're kicking yourself over having missed Chicago's Black Pride, NYC's version should be coming up this weekend! (Aug 2) Featuring Loleatta Hollaway and Jennifer Holiday, that girl gets around! For details: www.prideinthecity.com; it'll be a great time for the Beach!

IN MEMORIAL

This summer we have lost a lot of showbiz greats including '70s icon Barry White. I may be revealing my age but I hustled and bus stopped my way all through the '70s courtesy of Mr. White. I'm more of an Isaac Hayes lover when it comes to love makin' music, but let's face it—Barry was the man in and out of the bedroom!

In the meantime there's a ton of stuff out there that needs to be written, let some of it be by you. Have a Great summer!

Got something to say … etc, www.mrcain.com .


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