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 2018-09-19
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Shedd Aquarium jazzes with Pride
by Theresa Volpe

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

After 22 years of the Shedd Aquarium hosting its popular Wednesday night summer-event series "Jazzin' at the Shedd," it held its first on-site pride-focused event, LGBTQ Pride Jazzin' June 28 in an effort to connect new audiences with the aquarium.

At first glance, the event screamed pinkwashing, with its reception-style round tables draped in white linen encircling the aquarium's 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef exhibit, each table decorated with a pair of miniature Pride and Bisexual Pride flags while enormous rainbow flags swung from balconies at every turn. But the experience and message for the evening proved differently.

This gathering, where singles go to meet and mingle, had an LGBT-inclusive vibe to it. Amongst the diverse crowd of around 500 people were queer couples holding hands, stealing kisses, and wrapping their arms around one another as the relaxed tempo of cool jazz scattered soft sound bites throughout the terrace over looking the lake and city skyline.

One couple, Cheryl Cesario and Kim Beck, toting Sweetness, Beck's Maltipoo, in a roller-bag pet carrier, appreciated the welcoming LGBTQ-friendly atmosphere. The two danced closely, exchanging romantic glances as the band played Cesario's song request, "Fly Me to the Moon."

"It's nice the Shedd is doing a Pride event. I wanted to take my beautiful girlfriend some place spectacular and this is special," said Cesario.

"We go other places that are more straight," said Cesario. "I would still ask Kim to dance, but I definitely feel more comfortable dancing here," she said. "We know this event is for us and other [straight] people know it's LGBTQ as well, so they are going along with it."

The couple were touched to hear positive reactions from other attendees. "A mother and a daughter saw us at the Wild Reef Exhibit and commented on how wonderful it was to see our love for one another," Cesario said.

"People pick up on positive, loving intentions, whether your gay or straight. It's all about love," added Beck. "This event allows people to get to know the LGBT community."

The couple admitted a band member appeared taken aback when they made a song request. "Then the musicians saw we were having fun and we're pretty good dancers, so they got into it," said Cesario.

The evening included a Science Pub Chat, titled "Celebrating Diversity: The Living Rainbow," that Shedd Aquarium marine biologist Keoki Burton presented; it explored the beauty and importance of diversity in the aquatic world. The topics ranged from examples of sequential hermaphroditism—where marine life such as clownfish change sex at some point in life—to parental roles under the sea, citing how the male sea horse gives birth to babies.

"Diversity is needed in the animal kingdom for it to exist and for beauty to happen," explained Burton.

Based on follow-up questions, it was apparent audience members fell into the post-millennials category due to the numerous references to the Pixar film Finding Nemo. When Burton explained how the clownfish takes on the role of child-rearing while the female watches to make sure he is doing his job, the crowd roared with approval applause.

The Shedd thoughtfully and purposefully planned content for the presentation. "We wanted to provide information for the audience so they could make a connection to their own lives," said Johnny Ford, the Shedd's manager of communications.

The Shedd's new special exhibit, "Underwater Beauty," also emphasized the importance of diversity and individual beauty in the world. Signage with themes about "life working together in harmony" were evidence of inclusive content as was the "Discover a living rainbow" section of the exhibit.

James Horine attended the event with two friends. He came out to hear the Lakeside Pride Music Ensemble and was happy to support the Shedd. "It's important to support public places when they are aligned with inclusivity and diversity to the LGBTQIA community," said Horine.

The evening concluded with guests taking in Navy Pier's weekly fireworks display on the aquarium's terrace on the lake.

Illinois state Rep. Kelly Cassidy and Chicago Ald. James Cappleman ( 46th Ward ), both openly gay, also helped kick off the event at the start of the evening.

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

NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Lavender Country's Patrick Haggerty on family, comeback 2018-09-20 - Patrick Haggerty might not be a household name, but Lavender Country sure should be. It's the name of the band led by ...

Gay News

SPOTLIGHT Elider DiPaula 2018-09-19 - Out Brazilian concert pianist Elider DiPaula is launching a four-concert series that will bring out, internationally acclaimed musicians to Berwyn. The True Unity ...

Gay News

FALL THEATER PREVIEW Easy does it, A dozen classic plays and musicals 2018-09-19 - My gambit is to recommend revivals of works that have been staged and tested previously in Chicago and elsewhere, sometimes uncountable times over ...

Gay News

FALL OPERA PREVIEW Operas cover love, lust and lesbians 2018-09-19 - Replete with princes in crowns, queens in leather, women in love and womanizers in lust, the start to this year's opera season is ...

Gay News

Chicagoan raises money and pride walking to fight HIV/AIDS 2018-09-19 - Christopher Pazdernik was filled with fear and shame that day in 2009 when he learned he is HIV-positive. "I was so embarrassed and ...

Gay News

Holly Near in Chicago Sept. 28 2018-09-19 - Musician Holly Near will perform Friday, Sept. 28, at Old Town School of Folk Music, 4544 N. Lincoln Ave., at 8 p.m. Near ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Trans singer, Viola Davis, Jim Parsons, 'Wicked' 2018-09-18 - Filipino pop star Jake Zyrus—formerly known as Charice when he was on the TV show Glee—has released "Diamond," marking his first English-language crossover ...

Gay News

MUSIC Cris Williamson talks music, love and the industry 2018-09-17 - Cris Williamson—the legendary singer-songwriter, feminist, activist and trailblazer for women in the music industry—received the Jack Emerson Lifetime Achievement Award on Sept. 12 ...

Gay News

NUNN ON ONE MUSIC Tom Bailey takes 'Science Fiction' on the road 2018-09-12 - English singer Thomas Bailey will always be remembered as the lead vocalist and composer for the band Thompson Twins. Thanks to a string ...

Gay News

Spotlight on Banned Together 2018-09-12 - The Chicago Gay Men's Chorus kicks off its 35th season with Banned Together, a cabaret of songs that were banned or censored. Director ...


Copyright © 2018 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 produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.