1 You’re Being Ridiculous: PRIDE
The quarterly storytelling showcase is back for June, and this time around the stories are queer-centric. (Even queerer than usual, which is saying something for YBR.) Stories at YBR range from devastating to romantic to downright gross, but they’ll always make you laugh, too. Each show this weekend has a different combination of performers — check out each lineup here.
Details:June 21 and 22 at 8 p.m. Lincoln Park. Steppenwolf Theatre. yourebeingridiculous.com
2 Steamworks: The Musical!
The Annoyance brings this show back June after June, and for good reason. The musical tells the tale of wide-eyed Al searching for love in the skeevy Boystown bathhouse, aptly around the corner from the theater itself. If boozy dance parties aren’t your thing, check out this hilarious celebration of Chicago’s gay history — in all its horny, campy, permanently half-naked glory.
DETAILS:Lakeview. June 21 and 28 at 8 p.m. Annoyance Theatre. $28. theannoyance.com
3 Chicago PrideFest
Pitch: a classic Chicago summer street festival, but — wait for it — make it gay. That’s pretty much what we’ve got with PrideFest. It’s two blocks of food and drink vendors, arts and crafts tents, four stages with live music, and drag shows. Oh, and bring your pup along — there’s a pet parade! Proceeds go to the Northalsted Business Alliance.
Details:June 22 and 23 from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Boystown. Halsted between Addison and Grace. $10 donation. northalsted.com/pridefest
4 Reader Pride Block Party
Chicago’s beloved alt-weekly is throwing its first-ever Pride bash this weekend. Hourly entertainment includes Drag Queen Story Hour, a house dance music lesson, a queer emcee showcase, a Janet Jackson live tribute, and much more. Plus, Marz brews and eats from local vendors will be available for purchase. And who says print media isn’t hip?
Details:June 23 from 1 to 9 p.m. Bridgeport. Marz Community Brewing. $10. chicagoreader.com
5 SilkySoul Pre-Pride Party
Chicago’s only black-owned gay bar is getting in on the Pride fun, with a special pre-Pride edition of its monthly soul party. SilkySoul starts mid-afternoon with free food and drink specials, and a drag show at 7 p.m. (Drag is serious business at Jeffery’s — after all, it’s the home bar of The Vixen, of Drag Race fame.) Queen Ebonii Ebonii hosts.
DETAILS:June 23 from 3 to 10 p.m. South Shore. Jeffery Pub. $5.
Chicago drag icon Lucy Stoole hosts this biweekly LGBTQ+ party, which has solidified itself as one of the city’s most reliable alt-queer events. Kick your Pride Parade weekend off early (Wednesday night can be the weekend if you just try hard enough) at this free fête, which includes drag performances, DJ sets, live music, and more.
DETAILS:June 26 at 9 p.m. Noble Square. Beauty Bar. Free. thebeautybar.com
7 Red Bull Presents: Renaissance One
Looking to turn way up on a Thursday? You’re in luck: Every tween pyromaniac’s favorite energy drink has partnered with Party Noire to throw this hip-hop bash, a 50th anniversary celebration of the city's first public gay and lesbian dance party. The lineup includes rappers BbyMutha, TT the Artist, Kidd Kenn, and Blu Bone, as well as Chicago-based DJs Rae Chardonnay, Hijo Pródigo and Professor-Wrecks.
DETAILS:June 27 at 8 p.m. Hyde Park. The Promontory. $15. eventbrite.com
8 HIGHFEMME: Pride Edition
This monthly party centering on queer and trans femmes of color celebrates “femme authenticity, expression, and glamour.” Translation: Your nails must be this on point to enter. Like each month of HIGHFEMME, the June party includes performance art, a video installation, and DJ sets.
DETAILS:June 27 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Loop. Cerise Rooftop at Virgin Hotels Chicago. Free with RSVP, $10 at door. eventbrite.com
9 Chicago Is A Drag Festival
Thanks largely to RuPaul’s Drag Race, the artform is more popular than ever — mainstream, even! — so it’s about time Chicago got its own drag fest. Watch over 40 shows from kings and queens throughout the evening. The fest is hosted by TS Madison and Tiffany “New York” Pollard (yup, as in I Love New York) and welcomes drag superstars Raja, Candis Cayne, and Spikey Van Dykey as special guests.
Details:June 28 from 4 p.m to 11 p.m. Andersonville. Cheetah Gym Parking Lot. $25. chicagoisadrag.com
10 Pride South Side
Want to avoid Boystown but still celebrate Pride? Just skip a few miles down the lakefront to Pride South Side. The inaugural, weekend-long celebration is a collection of events stretching from Bronzeville to South Shore, including film screenings, DJ sets, and even a beach party. The flagship event is the daylong Pride South Side festival at the DuSable Museum, which will feature live music all day long.
Details:June 28–30. Various locations. Free to $20. pridesouthside.com
11 Chicago Dyke March
This anti-capitalist, grassroots rally remains as radical today as it was in 1996. In sharp contrast to the Chicago Pride Parade in Boystown, Dyke March accepts no corporate sponsorships, welcomes no police officers, and invites no politicians to march. This year’s march will start at Little Village Elementary School and conclude at Piotrowski Park.
DETAILS:June 29 at 1:30 p.m. Little Village. Little Village Elementary School. Free.
12 Back Lot Bash
Looks like the parking lot of Cheetah’s Gym is officially one of the gayest spots in Chicago? This two-day music festival began in 2004 to combat the lack of women-centric Pride events, and the party’s still going 15 years later. This year, Australian pop duo The Veronicas headline night one, with Orange Is The New Black’s Jackie Cruz closing out the fest on Sunday.
Details:June 29 and 30 at 5 p.m. Andersonville. Cheetah Gym Parking Lot. General admission $20. backlotbashchicago.com
13 Chicago Pride Parade
In 1970, a group of about 200 queer people marched from the Gold Coast’s Bughouse Square to the Water Tower. Fifty Pride Parades later, over a million people flood Lakeview to watch 150 floats weave their way down Broadway and Halsted streets. If crowds aren’t a turn-off, it’s worth checking out this gigantic Chicago tradition. Study up on the full parade route here.
Details:June 30 at 12 p.m. Boystown. Montrose and Broadway. Free. chicagopride.com
14 A Queer Pride Presents: Emerald City/Pride Parade After-Party
Once you’ve had enough of corporations donning rainbow flags at the parade, pop over to the Annoyance Theatre for their annual day-to-night Pride party. Then buckle in for a nearly endless lineup of drag performances, DJ sets, live music, gogo dancers, fashion, and immersive installation. It goes until 10 p.m., so, if you’re going, you might want to plan to call in sick on Monday.
Details:June 30 from 12 to 10 p.m. Lakeview. Annoyance Theatre. $15. theannoyance.com
15 Chicago Pride Tea Dance
Looking to keep the party going post-Pride parade? You’ll have to dive deep into Chicago’s heterosexual capital, Wrigleyville, to find the best free bash in town. But trust us, it’ll be worth it. The afternoon version of the iconic weekly dance party, "Queen!", will be hosted by Lucy Stoole. It’ll also feature DJ sets from Michael Serafini and Hijo Pródigo, "BYOBeans: A Drag Lotería" (here, bilingual queens host the bingo-like game), and even a pop-up nail salon.
Details:June 30 from 4 to 10 p.m. Lakeview. Smartbar. Free. smartbarchicago.com