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 2019-11-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

PASSAGES Michael O'Reilly, aka Penny
By Web Behrens
2019-07-14

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Longtime Chicagoan Michael Francis O'Reilly—a queer artist, activist, Radical Faerie and sometime provocateur best known as Penny—has died at age 57. After surviving decades with HIV, he received a lymphoma diagnosis last autumn; he passed away peacefully June 10, surrounded by friends and family in his Rogers Park home.

Born in 1962 in Lansing, Michigan, Penny moved with his parents and four siblings to Wilmette in the early '70s. He attended New Trier East High School, where he was president of the 1980 graduating class. He studied engineering at Rice University in Houston, where he also came out. After college, he lived in Kankakee, Illinois, before settling in Chicago. Penny worked for many years as a phone installer for AT&T, then took an early retirement and worked for himself as a painter, handyman and declutterer.

Those varied professional skills abetted his artistic pursuits. For a 2001 large-scale public-art/activism project, he constructed and painted an enormous canvas with a pro-environment message, which he used to cover an abandoned billboard on Peterson Avenue just west of Ravenswood. Meanwhile, his penchant with telephone technology led to a few occasions of him performing in drag as Ernestine, Lily Tomlin's classic phone-operator character.

In 2002, Penny and his then-partner and dear friend Matthew Gleeman Long bought a home in Rogers Park that the pair envisioned as a small urban sanctuary for faeries. They dubbed it "The Castle," although it's known to most as as the leopard-print house, thanks to Penny's bold animal-print paint job. Penny and Gleeman welcomed dozens of faeries, queers and artists under The Castle's roof—both as permanent residents and as travelers. Some of those wandering through hailed from rural faerie communities in Tennessee and Minnesota, both circles in which Penny was active.

Penny Michael O'Reilly is survived by his siblings, nieces and nephews: sister Camille; sister Eileen, her husband Tom Gerspach and their children Ryan, Megan and Annie; brother Kevin and his son Dylan; and brother Steve, his wife Christine and their sons, Joseph and Eric. ( The middle child of five, Penny often joked that he was "the youngest girl, oldest boy." ) He is also survived by many aunts, uncles, cousins and countless friends.

In his final years and months, Penny found great joy and fellowship in the Queer Contra and Chi-Town Squares dancing groups. The Queer Contra group is dedicating its Saturday, July 27, dance gathering to Penny's memory. All are welcome; details are on Facebook ( at www.facebook.com/events/315922625977629/ ). A private memorial will be held Saturday, Sept. 14.

His family requests that donations can be made in his name to Howard Brown Health Center ( HowardBrown.org/donate/ ), where he long received care.


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.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

PASSAGES Shakers on Clark's Zdebski passes away 2019-11-06 - Jason Zdebski, who was a business partner in Shakers on Clark, 3160 N. Clark St., passed away suddenly sometime the weekend of Nov. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Richard Adams 2019-10-30 - Richard Adams, from Chicago, died Aug. 18. He was 73. He was a proud U.S. Army veteran. He worked for the State of ...


Gay News

PASSAGES: HIV/AIDS activist Rydwels remembered Oct. 27 2019-10-25 - The ashes of longtime HIV/AIDS activist Bill Rydwels, who passed away Oct. 3, were scattered from Belmont Rocks at 11 a.m. the morning ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Matthew Shepard, recall falls short, Out & Equal, Scotty Bowers dies 2019-10-22 - The parents of slain gay Wyoming man Matthew Shepard blasted U.S. Attorney General William Barr for failing to stand up for LGBT civil ...


Gay News

PASSAGES George Haas 2019-10-21 - George Robert Haas, formerly of Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood, passed away unexpectedly but peacefully at his new home in Las Vegas on Oct. ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Pride Parade organizer Richard Pfeiffer passes away 2019-10-06 - Richard Pfeiffer's entry on the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame—into which he was inducted in 1993—notes that Pfeiffer's "name is synonymous with The ...


Gay News

PASSAGES John Leonard Rent 2019-09-12 - John Leonard Rent passed away Sept. 9 after battling pancreatic cancer for two years—and, as many of you may be wondering, the money ...


Gay News

PASSAGES Disability rights advocate Bristo passes away 2019-09-11 - Chicagoan Marca Bristo, who was at the forefront of numerous causes relating to disability rights, passed away Sept. 8. She was 66. Bristo ...


Gay News

Foundation's ride/walk event about mental health, dedicated to late gay man 2019-09-04 - In honor of the late Michael James Dunlap, his family and friends created The Michael James Foundation to raise awareness for people with ...


Gay News

Remembering Michael Bauer, a call to pick up the baton 2019-09-03 - Remarks as prepared for delivery at the memorial service for community leader Mike Bauer, Sept. 3, 2019. I'm here to speak for ...


 



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.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



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.