Big Gay Welcome Wagon

Who Reads? We read! Dr. Seuss's B-Day Storytime at Target

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There is one man who everyone knows, but probably can't put a face to.  Why is that?  Probably because he wrote some of the most timeless and iconic children's books of all time.  

I speak, of course, about Theodor Seuss Geisel...but you probably know him better as simply Dr. Seuss. His birthday is coming up on March 2nd, and his day is the inspiration for National Read Across America Day.

So, Target wants to celebrate!

This Saturday, February 26thevery Target store will hold "Who Reads? We Read!" a Dr. Seuss inspired story time for National Read Across America Day. An event sure to please kids of all ages with lots of stories, giveaways, and coupons!  

For those of you who can't wait and need your Seuss fix now, go take the 'What Dr. Seuss Character am I?' Quiz.

Six Queer Activists Arrested, Charged with Tresspassing At Marriage Bureau on Valentines Day

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This is a press release I received late last night:

Six Activists Arrested on Valentine's Day at Daley Plaza Marriage Bureau Demanding Federal Marriage Equality, Charged with Trespassing

Activists from Join the Impact Chicago, GetEQUAL and Video Action League were Arrested After Refusing to Leave the Bureau Without a Marriage License

 

Chicago, IL- On Monday, six activists were arrested at the marriage bureau office in Daley Plaza when they refused to leave without a marriage license for a queer couple. The activists, from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights groups Join The Impact Chicago, GetEQUAL and Video Action League, were part of a national narrative to raise awareness about the need for federal marriage equality.

 

Cassandra Avenatti, Lindsey Dietzler, Corrine Mina, and Noa Francis Shayden approached the marriage counter and asked for a license for the couple, Judy Heithmar and Danelle Wylder, who was adorned as Lady Justice. They took turns reading from the list of 1,138 rights denied to LGBTQ couples by the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

 

The activists were removed from the marriage bureau around 3:30 pm, after they had occupied the office for nearly six hours. They were hauled off in a paddy wagon to the Chicago Police Department located at 1718 S State Street. They were released around midnight. All six were charged with criminal trespass to state supported land, a misdemeanor, and released on bond. They are due in court on March 17th.

 

A video of the action is available on Video Action League's YouTube Channel-http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBNwZN-vy-8

 

Lindsey Dietzler, GetEQUAL IL State Lead and Co-Founder of Video Action League, said, "The message behind this action is that we must strive for justice and have a deeper commitment to it if we ever hope to be more than second-class citizens in this country. The state-by-state route to marriage equality is long, expensive and ultimately, without the repeal of DOMA, falls short of making us truly equal."

 

With the recent signing of the Illinois civil unions act just weeks ago by Governor Pat Quinn, the activists wanted to make a strong statement to local, state and federal governments that this measure simply is not enough. While the new unions, which will take effect June 1, 2011, offer some state level protections, they offer no federal rights and responsibilities to LGBTQ couples and carry the sting of second class citizenship as they deny the full recognition and respect that comes with the word "marriage."

 

A statement released by GetEQUAL IL on Monday said, "Although our community is deeply appreciative of the fierce advocacy of Governor Pat Quinn who helped make Illinois the sixth state to recognize civil unions for LGBTQ couples,  the reality is those distinctions do not carry the same societal value as "marriage" and cannot be enjoyed fully while states that surround us sit in deeper inequality because of marriage discrimination.  Action is taken today to highlight the need for the repeal of the Defense Of Marriage Act, nationwide state marriage rights and action from our former Senator, now-President Barack Obama to revert back to his previous position that marriage equality is the right thing to offer to our community."

 

Visit Join The Impact Chicago's website at www.jointheimpactchicago.com for more information on the rights Illinois's civil unions law cannot grant.

 

GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/GetEQUAL, or on YouTube athttp://www.youtube.com/getequal.

 

Join the Impact Chicago is a politically independent organization of Chicago-based grassroots activists fighting for full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) people in all matters governed by civil law in all 50 states. Through education, community organizing, and direct action, JTIC is working to eliminate federal, state, and local laws that codify discrimination on the basis of gender expression and sexuality. We will not settle for compromises or half-measures, and will not rest until we are recognized as fully equal. For more information please visit our website at http://www.jointheimpactchicago.com or find us on Facebook athttp://tinyurl.com/JTIChicago.

 

Founded in 2000, Marriage Equality USA  is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to secure legally-recognized civil marriage equality for all, at the federal and state level, without regard to gender identity or sexual orientation. For more information go to www.marriageequality.org.

 

Formed in November of 2010, Video Action League's goal is to create a fresh approach to the queer rights movement. VAL's mission is to settle for nothing less than full worldwide equality regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression and aims to transform, inspire, and educate through the use of new media. For more information please visit: http://www.videoactionleague.com. You can find Video Action League on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/videoactionleague on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/VideoActionLeagueand on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/vidactionleague.

SNOMG 2011: Why Bread?

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Did you hear?  We are supposed to get an apocalypse-esque snowstorm tonight that could drop up to two feet of the white stuff. Sorry Charlie Sheen, I'm talking about snow. Even if you haven't heard yet of our impending doom, there is always one way to know that inclement weather is coming.  Just check your grocery stores.

Last night on Facebook, Redeye Social Media Guru and ChicagoNow Blogger Scott Kleinberg made a great point about how inclement weather makes people buy up bread at the grocery right before big cataclysmic storms hit. 

We all know that winter weather equals great sandwich weather, but what else can you do with the popular snowstorm staples such as bread, milk, and eggs?  Let's find out, because every store is a Costco when it comes to preparing for snow.

Gallery sneak peek (7 images):

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What Your New Zodiac Sign Says About the Old You.

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You may have heard in recent days that based on the Earth's changing alignment with the Sun, the dates for our Zodiac signs have changed. Apparently, there is even a 13th sign called Ophiuchus.  While most may spend their time now re-evaluating themselves according to their NEW sign, lets take a moment to look at what this change means to the OLD you, shall we?

We've all dated that person that asks you their sign before they've barely learned your name.  Who knows, maybe you ARE that person.  Either way, you probably see yourself as so characteristic of the sign you thought you were that there is no way any other sign could be true.  But what if it turns out to be true.  Instead of being a Capricorn, you've actually always been a Saggitarius. 

Take that in for a moment.

Ok, have the violent self actualizations cease? Are you no longer in the fetal position in a corner somewhere?  Good. Now you can officially start living your life! No more basing the future of any given relationship on the compatibility of your respective signs, and no more forming your personality around what you think your personality should be. Because you've held control over your personality this whole time, not the stars.

I've always been a skeptic of astrology, and this new information is what us skeptics like to call "proof." Logic says that, if astrology is real, no one should have matched their signs previously and this should make more sense now.  Though most people i've seen have dismissed the information as false because there is no way they could be a (insert new zodiac sign).

As for me, I used to be a Capricorn, but now am a Sagittarius. I didn't know what that meant before, and have no plans to learn what it means now.

If you prefer a more scientific explanation as to why this is changing, Rachel Maddow summed it up nicely on her show Wednesday night.  See the video below.


Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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LEAVE CHRIS CROCKER ALONE!

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A few years back, Chris Crocker made viral gold when he posted his "Leave Britney Alone" YouTube Video defending the chronically troubled pop star's downward spiral. Well he's back, and he seems to be following in Britney's pop stardom footsteps.

With an album being released soon, several singles already available on iTunes, and appearances on shows like Tosh.0 & South Park. He seems to be doing pretty well for himself. Now, you can also add a pretty racy (and definitely NSFW) video to that resume.

Check out the video for "Freak of Nature" out below, and for added enjoyment go on over to the FeastofFun.com to check out his grandmother's reaction video...it's not to be missed.


Chris Crocker - Freak of Nature OFFICIAL (uncensored) MUSIC VIDEO!! from chris crocker on Vimeo.

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I'm Back!

I know what you're thinking, its been about 3 months since I've blogged about, well, anything. I know you've missed me. One of my New Year's resolutions was to commit to my blog a little bit more and catch up. After all, a lot has happened!  Some good, some bad. Stay tuned 

Count Me Out! A Grassroots National Coming Out Day 2010 Social Media Ambush

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The closet is a horrific place to be. The feeling of not knowing who would accept you if they knew the "real" you. Feelings of loneliness, anger, and a general sense of not knowing where you fit into your own life.

Every October 11th, the nation comes together to celebrate National Coming Out Day. This year with the recent heart-breaking stories of all the LGBT individuals who ended their own lives to escape the bullying, the day has a special meaning.

So, to honor individuals like Tyler Clementi, people all across the nation will be changing their profile pictures to "come out" as a gay person, or as an ally.

I encourage you to check out this movement and change your profile picture along with me. You can read up a bit on this social media ambush here, along with links and directions on how to alter your profile picture.

Won't you join me in making it safe to blow the doors off that closet?

What Gets You Naked, Illinois?

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That's the question being asked today. No, get your mind out of the gutter, I'm talking politics!  Let me explain. 

Occasionally, something comes along that makes me giggle.  Akin to the noise you hear from school girls. Well I had one of the these "tee-hee" moments today when I heard about Vote Naked Illinois.

For those not in the know, Vote Naked Illinois is a campaign to make all Illinois citizens aware of their new found right to vote via mail. In other words, anyone can request an absentee ballot...whether they are absent or not!

Check out some of their upcoming events on Vote Nake Illinois' Facebook page. It's the perfect opportunity to sign up for your absentee ballot!

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Highwood Street Market Festival Goes Gay This Weekend

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What do Drag queens, antiques, and martini's have in common. I'll give you a hint, its not Joan Crawford. Give up? It's the Highwood Street Market Festival's "Martini's & Drag in the Park."

If you're free this weekend, Highwood, IL will be kicking off its Highwood Street Market Festival with a drag show, martini's, and an upscale antiques market. 

Fabulousness is bound to ensue. 

Plus, Big Gay Welcome Wagon readers can also receive a pass good for two free admissions to both days of the festival (9/18 and 9/19) and the Vintage Drag Fashion Show. 

To get the pass, send an email to BigGayWelcomeWagon@gmail.com with "Free Pass" in the subject line and I'll send you a pass.
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Photos from The Flesh Hungry Dog Show at Jackhammer with Tom Goss

As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Tom Goss was in town last night performing at Jackhammer for The Flesh Hungry Dog Show. It was a rockin' night and it reminded me why I love Tom and his music. Gay or straight you have to check out his music!

Here are some pictures I took of the performance. Unfortunately, I had forgotten my actual camera at home, but no worries. Hipstamatic App for the iPhone was there to come to the rescue, some are a little blurry due to the low pixelation.  Regardless, they still look neat!

Enjoy!

Gallery sneak peek (17 images):

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Tom Goss Performing at The Jackhammer on 9/3

 

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Tom Goss

If you recall, in my post last night, I had mentioned there was another musician for you to see this week! As promised, the next gay singer is Tom Goss.

On Friday night, The Flesh Hungry Dog Show presents Tom Goss with The Heatbirds and Brown Lazer starting at 9pm at The Jackhammer.

Tom Goss is no newbie to Chicago. He's performed here several times, and even recorded several podcasts with the boys from the Feast of Fun. His music is loved by many (including me) and definitely worth checking out for its soulful sounds and poetic lyrics.

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Vincent Minor Performing at Dark Room on 9/2

 

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Vincent Minor

A few weeks ago, I blogged about the Matt Alber/Jen Porter performance at Jackhammer.  This week, I have two musicians for you to check out. Stop by tommorrow night to find out who the other musician is and where you'll be able to see them! It's going to be a very musical week for this big gay welcome wagoneer! But first, get ready for Vincent Minor!

On September 21st, openly gay musician, Vincent Minor, will release his debut album. To promote his new album, he's embarking on national tour to spread the joy, and he's coming to Chicago on 9/2!

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Logan Square's Lula Cafe Named One of the Ten Best Pancake Places in America

 

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Photo from Lula Cafe Website.

Everyday I find a new reason to love living in Logan Square, rather than one of the gay mecca's like Boystown or Andersonville. This weeks reason is a small place just up the road called Lula Cafe.

According to a recent article in Travel + Leisure Magazine, Lula Cafe at 2537 North Kedzie Boulevard is among the top ten pancake places in America. Those of us who call Logan Square home, however, have always known this. Lula's is a great place for classics and gourmet fare alike. It's not a "big name" restaurant, but it is big on taste.

To make the ranking even sweeter, it was the only place in the midwest to make the list. Sorry Boystown, I know IHOP is great at 3am after you've stumbled up Halsted , but when it comes to truly great pancakes during the non-drunken hours, Lula's is the place to be!

What do you think? Where do you like to 'om nom nom' on some delicious flap- jacks? 

Top 10 Cartoons From the 90's

 

With the Emmy's on my mind, I decided to go flipping through channels the other day and happened upon some of my old "haunts," like Nickelodeon, MTV, etc. It's pretty well known that television has gone downhill throughout the years, what with the reality show virus that has spread like an overzealous T-virus (for all you Resident Evil fans out there). This is especially the case with cartoons.

I remember the days when cartoons were awesome, even emmy-award winning in some cases. So, to reminisce a bit, I decided to create my list of the top ten animated series from the 90's.

Consequently, these are also some of the shows that may or may not show your age. So be forewarned of your impending feelings of being old.

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

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Sherry Wolf Debates "Ground Zero Mosque" on MSNBC's "Hardball with Chris Matthews"

 

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Sherry Wolf (me in the background)

Whether your active in Chicago's "activist scene" or not, you're bound to have heard the name Sherry Wolf at some point. Originally from New York, Sherry has lived here in Chicago for several years now.

I had the pleasure of meeting Sherry earlier this year at the May Day Marches. She is an amazing person, author, and inspiration. On Monday evening, she appeared on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews giving insight on why there is nothing wrong with the 'Ground Zero Mosque.' 

What are your thoughts on the whole situation?  Chime in below in the comments.

Watch the clip below. 

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Pictures from Matt Alber and Jen Porter's Live Performances at The Jackhammer

 

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Matt Alber

This weekend Matt Alber performed live at The Jackhammer with Special Guest Jen Porter.  Both gave amazing performances, and fun was had by all!  

 

Take a look at some of the pictures I took!  It was a hoot and a half!

Gallery sneak peek (16 images):

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Matt Alber Performing Tonight At The Jackhammer

 

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Let's look into our crystal balls for a moment...

You could either spend it on the couch watching re-runs of the Real Housewives, or maybe even go have a drink at any random bar.  Sounds.....exciting?  Maybe not.

Here's a thought! Instead of wasting away a perfectly great Friday night, you could go see an awesome performance! Tonight at The Jackhammer, as part of The Flesh Hungry Dog Show, Matt Alber will be performing live with special guest Jen Porter.

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A Gay Target Team Member's Open Letter To Target, Its CEO, and Those Protesting on Saturday

To those mentioned above and all other affected by this situation,

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Thank you for taking the time to read this. Yesterday, I received word that local LGBT groups plan to protest at the newly opened Wilson Yard Target Store on Saturday morning over the retailers recent corporate donation made to MN Forward. As a Wilson Yard team member, I feel torn between my job and my gay lifestyle. While I cannot in good conscience insert my raw opinion either way into the matter as I have a personal stake with both sides, I do feel my unique position allows me an opportunity to bring in a third perspective that until now has remained fairly silent over this unfortunate situation.

By 'third perspective,' I mean the perspective of the LGBT Target Team member.
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2010 NORTHALSTED MARKET DAY PHOTOS

Did you make it to Market Days this year?  No? Thanks to the advanced technology of my digital camera you can now experience all the Boystown fun via my blog. Check out the pictures below!

Gallery sneak peek (35 images):

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LOLLAPALOOZA VS. MARKET DAYS: One Event To Rule Them All

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This weekend, two MASSIVE local events converge on the same weekend. In Boystown, you have the Northalsted Market Days Street Fair giving you all the gay you need and more! Then downtown, Lollapallooza will drive the rich loop residents mad for three days straight.


I'm not sure which event set it's 2010 date first, but whoever did it second must've had a fail whale on the mind. As far as I know, these events may always fall on the same weekend every year, I honestly can't say I remember. But either way, for the purpose of this blog post, I've decided to play a little game of "One Event to Rule Them All" and see which is the ultimate event to lay claim as King (or Queen) of Chicago's first weekend in August.

Let's see who wins shall we?

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FOX News is 'Fair and Balanced' With a Biased Prop 8 Poll

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FOX News LOVES to tout itself as 'fair and balanced." Sure they have occasional news, but nine times out of ten its just one overtly biased mess that lacks context and, many times, fact. In all actuality, most people who have not given up free will to become "sheeple' will agree that the news channel is simply a mouthpiece for conservative rhetoric.

As you may know, earlier today a California judge has declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Proposition 8 is the voter upheld ban on same-sex marriage in California. All across the country, people celebrated this victory for equality. That is, everyone except FOX News. 

Shortly after the decision was made public, FOXNews.com took the "fair and balanced" approach by posting this poll.  Sure the idea of this poll would be a great idea, if they wouldn't have presented the poll with such biased language. First, the language used in the question is leading in that it suggests that you should question the authority and decision of this judge. Then  when you take a look at the choices, you have one pro-gay marriage option matched with two anti-gay marriage choices. I won't even go into why they thought it was a good idea to use the following as the wording, and basically come out as anti-constitution, anti-law, and anti-courts.
No -- Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I don't care what the judge thinks about the Constitution.
So what have we learned? Well since we're talking about FOX News, probably not much more than a bunch of opinion. But, I know one thing! I'm going to queer this poll. Would you kindly help?

'Stonewall Uprising' Showing at Music Box Theater

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It's a great weekend to be gay (and gay friendly)! Earlier today a California judge declared Proposition 8 unconstitutional. Prop 8 is the discriminatory voter upheld ban on same-sex marriage. Finally, I one step closer to marrying the man I love...once I find him. 

If thats not enough to celebrate, don't forget about that little shindig happening in Boystown on Saturday and Sunday, known fondly as Northalsted Market Days

Now you can add one more thing to your agenda, the Chicago showing of Stonewall Uprising, a documentary by Kate Davis and David Heilbroner examining the turbulent events of the Stonewall Riots. The gay rights movement has a rich history, and this is a great opportunity to see first hand what unfolded in the mid-1960's.

Gallery sneak peek (4 images):

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New Wilson Yard Target Store Open!

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You know that giant crater that sat on the corner Montrose and Broadway for like 10-12 years? Yeah, its not there anymore. I'll give you a moment to mourn the loss of said crater...

...Ok, feel better? Great! Because I have great news! Instead of that trendy crater to admire on your morning CTA commute you now have an awesome new Target store where that crater used to be! In fact, the Wilson Yard Target Store is having its GRAND OPENING today (Sunday, July 25th, 2010).

The Wilson Yard Target store represents just one piece of the big Wilson Yard "picture," which also includes affordable housing and senior living facilities just to the south of the retailer. While the housing to the South has had tenants for several months now, today's Grand Opening celebration marks the culmination of years of dedication & hard work and more than 150 million dollars.
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Lieutenant Dan Choi FIRED Under 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

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One year ago, after announcing on MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show that he was gay, LT. Dan Choi quickly rose to celebrity as a vocal opponent of the U.S. Military's discriminatory policy known as 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.' Now, one year later, he has been issued an official honorable discharge for that admission.

You may recall that in recent months Dan Choi has gone on hunger strike, been arrested multiple times for chaining himself to the White House, and more recently, Las Vegas, NV. 

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My Market Days Preparedness Kit

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Time flies during the summer months here in Chicago! It seems like just yesterday I was watching the stanley cup whiz by on a float of hot, gay hockey players. 

Well, get ready LGBT community, in just a few weeks Boystown will be turned upside down again. That's right, the second half of Boystown summer pride and revelry, aka Market Days, is coming soon. Are you ready?

It also occurred to me today, that every year I seem to be unprepared for the street fest. For example, as you can see from the picture, my friend Alyse and I had to wait out some rain a few years back under a awning since we forgot umbrellas. I always end up forgetting one thing or another, so I'm going ahead and making my list for this year of what I need to remember to take.

Did I forget anything? Hmmm....

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

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Time To Move the Gayborhood...Again. (Before It Moves You!)

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Someone once said that if we do not learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it. Too Cliche? Too bad! Because its painfully true. I'm looking your way, Boystown. In a recent article by SkylineNewspaper.com, writer Megan Cottrell highlights the fears of some Lakeview/Boystown residents that will be forced to move as a result of the dramatic decreases in affordable housing in the area. Rainbow pylons and gay bars aside, is it getting time to move the gayborhood again? Or have the pylons cemented the community in one place?

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Top Ten Celebrity Sex Tapes

I haven't posted anything in about a week.  So I was thinking to myself, what would bring back some readers, maybe even new readers. Then it hit me...

...CELEBRITY SEX TAPES!

Sometimes, the best judge of someone's celebrity is not in their acting/singing talent or what kind of work they've done, its in how good their sex tape was/is. Everyone who's anyone has a sex tape.  Check out who made my list for ten best celebrity sex tapes.

Gallery sneak peek (10 images):

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It Pays to Be Gay at Google!

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Have you ever heard of the "gay tax?" Google Has, and they intend to do something about it!  In a post to the official Google Blog, the search engine behemoth of a company has announced two new benefits for its gay and lesbian employees

These benefits include equal FMLA coverage as their straight counterparts, and additional pay to offset "imputed taxes."  

To find out more, read my post over FeastofFun.com for all the juicy details!

Big Gay Welcome Wagon Blogger Discusses the Pride Parade on the Feast of Fun

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This weekend was OUTrageous in Chicago.  Not only did we get the pleasure of having recently out country star Chely Wright as the Grand Marshall of the 41st Annual Chicago Gay Pride Parade, but we also had an appearance by recently traded Blackhawks defenseman Brent Sopel and, of course, the Stanley Cup.

I had the pleasure of spending the day with Fausto Fernos and Marc Felion of the Feast of Fun podcast, helping them cover the parade. I took a bunch of great pictures and had a great time.

Later that evening, we taped a show discussing all things Pride Parade.  Go have a listen here!


After 25 Years, Larry King Live Will End This Year

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According to a statement posted to his blog, Larry King followed Oprah and Tyra's lead by announcing that he will be calling it quits this year.

Before I start the show tonight, I want to share some personal news with you. 25 years ago, I sat across this table from New York Governor Mario Cuomo for the first broadcast of Larry King Live.

Now, decades later, I talked to the guys here at CNN and I told them I would like to end Larry King Live, the nightly show, this fall and CNN has graciously accepted, giving me more time for my wife and I to get to the kids' little league games.

I'll still be a part of the CNN family, hosting several Larry King specials on major national and international subjects.

I'm incredibly proud that we recently made theGuinness Book of World Records for having the longest running show with the same host in the same time slot. With this chapter closing I'm looking forward to the future and what my next chapter will bring, but for now it's time to hang up my nightly suspenders.

What do you think?  Were you a Larry King Live fan?  What were your favorite interviews?

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