Windy City Media Group Frontpage News


home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-02-22



Des Plaines Theater cancels anti-LGBTQ hate group event after outcry from citizens
by Carrie Maxwell

This article shared 4647 times since Fri Jan 20, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

DuPage County-based Awake Illinois was set to hold an event called "Out of the Echo Chamber: Coalition for Kids" at the city-owned, but not city-operated, Des Plaines Theatre Wednesday, Feb. 8. This event has now been canceled following a negative reaction from numerous northwest suburban community members.

"BG [Buffalo Grove] Pride was thrilled to be able to help our allies at SPEAK Des Plaines to mount a pressure campaign to keep hate from being spread at their local theater," said the Pinta Pride Project's Carolyn Pinta; Pinta Pride Project organizes BG Pride activities.

Prior to the event cancellation, BG Pride, SPEAK Des Plaines and their allies were set to counter-protest Awake Illinois' event outside the venue. That has also been canceled.

During a Jan. 17 Des Plaines City Council meeting, some attendees opposed to the event noted that Des Plaines specifically states on its website that the city "embraces and honors diversity in all forms including race, ethnicity, gender, transgender, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, ability and disability."

Meeting attendees cited that statement as being one of the numerous reasons why the Awake Illinois event should not take place in a city-owned building. The Des Plaines Theatre was purchased by the city in 2018 for $1.3 million, with additional assistance coming from the nearby Rivers Casino, and the city spent $6.7 million for repairs and renovations. The space has been managed by Onesti Entertainment, which is based there, and is used for events such as concerts and film screenings.

The Awake Illinois event, according to its website, was set to have Gays Against Groomers Founder and President Jaimee Michell and 2022 GOP candidate for Lt. Gov. Stephanie Trussell as featured speakers. Sponsors included the organizations American Education, Chicago Log Cabin Republicans, Freedom Tunes, Ironclad Resolve, One God, Public Square and Turning Point USA.

"This was a rental by an independent organization that sought a venue to present their diverse group of speakers," said Des Plaines Theatre operator and Onesti Entertainment Corporation President and CEO Ron Onesti in a press release. "Neither I nor [the] Des Plaines Theater had any involvement whatsoever in the production or coordination of this event. I had no deep knowledge of the subject matter, or how controversial it may be. It was to be an innocent rental and nothing more."

"Mr. Onesti's decision to cancel the event was the right call," said Des Plaines Mayor Andrew Goczkowski. "Groups like AWAKE Illinois do not reflect the diversity and inclusivity of this city. Moving forward, I will work with the city council to establish clear standards to ensure that the Des Plaines Theatre remains open and welcoming to everyone."

In a response to Onesti canceling the event, Awake Illinois has posted a message on the group's Facebook page soliciting donations "to help us secure our very own First Amendment Arena for events. The time is now for free speech; or lose it forever."

Their message was posted above the letter informing the group's followers of the event being canceled, which said that "due to threats of physical violence directed at the venue and participants, this decision was made by Onesti Entertainment, which has no affiliation with our organization. We are grateful to all citizens who support the first amendment right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble."

Onesti maintained in his statement that his booking of the event was not intended to harm the LGBTQ+ community.

"People began accusing me of supporting anti-LGBTQ+ events which made me sick to my stomach. I hosted one of the first civil union ceremonies at my Arcada Theater in Illinois ten years ago this week. I was the best man at the wedding of a gay couple, my mom was their first dance. Homophobia is a disease [with] which I have not been afflicted.

"…What saddens me was the amount of hate that surfaced during all of this. People mailing bullets to me, asking their neighbors to fill my garbage cans with dog feces, countless hateful calls and outwardly targeting the Des Plaines Theatre, wishing its demise. And how would that have been good for the community?

"…I pray for the day when we can all come together and discuss these important issues, respectfully and with conviction."

Pinta, for her part, questioned why it took a community outcry to motivate Onesti to do the right thing.

"While I am happy to see the event cancelled, I was struck by Ron Onesti's being accused of being anti-LGBTQ as making him 'sick to his stomach,' Pinta said. "Honestly, if this were the case, he would have acted immediately upon finding out earlier this week that groups like Awake Illinois are hate groups. I very much hope that he will put a more rigorous vetting plan in place for who is able to rent the theater in the future."

This article shared 4647 times since Fri Jan 20, 2023
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Gay News

Hell in a Handbag Productions premieres intergalactic queer extravaganza 'I Promised Myself to Live Faster' 2023-03-29
--From a press release - Hell in a Handbag Productions is pleased to continue its 21st season with the Chicago premiere of I Promised Myself to Live Faster, an intergalactic queer extravaganza ...

Gay News

Book of Mormon's Sam Nackman knocks on Cadillac Palace door 2023-03-28
- The Book of Mormon is returning to Chicago on a mission to convert new followers into the musical fold. The masterminds behind the satirical cartoon series South Park, Matt Stone and Trey Parker created a smash ...

Gay News

The Jeff Awards announces recipients of 49th- anniversary non-Equity theater honors 2023-03-28
--From a press release - MARCH 27, 2023 — CHICAGO — In its 49th anniversary celebration of non-Equity theater excellence, the Jeff Awards recognized 35 award recipients selected from among 167 theater artist nominees across 28 artistic and technical categories. Awar ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ 'Joy Ride,' Cynthia Erivo, David Bowie, March Madness, Kevin Bacon 2023-03-25
Video below - The first trailer for the upcoming comedy Joy Ride has been released, Out noted. The movie stars Ashley Park, queer Oscar nominee Stephanie Hsu (Everything Everywhere All At Once), bisexual comedian Sherry Cola (Good Trouble) and ...

Gay News

Kokandy Productions announces 2023 Season 2023-03-22
--From a press release - CHICAGO (March 22, 2023) — Kokandy Productions is thrilled to announce its 2023 season, including two fully produced musicals, plus plans for the return of the Chicago Musical Theatre Festival. This summer, Kokandy will dive into ...

Gay News

Opera Preview: Life of gay World War II hero Alan Turing transformed into a world-premiere opera 2023-03-17
- It has taken a decade for The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing to grow from an idea into a full- fledged opera. Chicago Opera Theater stages the world premiere of composer Justine F. Chen and ...

Gay News

Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project to present dance concert 'Sans Pareil' 2023-03-14
--From a press release - Deeply Rooted Dance Theater joins the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project again to take the stage in a dance concert entitled Sans Pareil—French for "unparalleled," a nod to the Haitian lineage of Chicago's founder, Jean-Baptiste Pointe ...

Gay News

House Musical, Coming of Age in the Age of House, coming to Hoover-Leppen Theatre 2023-03-14
--From a press release - Campsongs Productions presents the world premiere of House Musical - Coming of Age in the Age of House, with book by Marcus Waller, music by Scott Free (with Michael Foley) and lyrics by Scott Free and ...

Gay News

RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD in Chicago Aug. 4 2023-03-12
--From a press release - RuPaul's Drag Race WERQ THE WORLD, the largest drag show on earth, returns in 2023 with a show in Chicago Aug. 4 and in 100+ cities across the United States, Canada, Australia, Asia, Europe and Mexico! ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Little Richard, Indigo Girls, Rodriguez's honor, dance film, Pedro Pascal 2023-03-10
Video below - Produced by Bungalow Media + Entertainment for CNN Films and HBO Max, in association with Rolling Stone Films, director Lisa Cortes' Sundance opening-night documentary Little Richard: I Am Everything will debut in theaters and on VOD ...

Gay News

Steppenwolf Theatre Company's 2023 Gala May 13 at The Old Post Office 2023-03-06
--From a press release - CHICAGO (March 6, 2023) — The Steppenwolf Ensemble and Board of Trustees are pleased to host Steppenwolf 2023 Gala—an unforgettable evening celebrating 47 years of powerful and thought-provoking storytelling. Emceed ...

Gay News

Center on Halsted presents annual Intergenerational Talent Show 2023-03-06
- On March 2, Center on Halsted hosted its Fifth Annual Intergenerational Talent Show, featuring performances from participants from the Youth and Family Services and the Senior Services programs. Participants in the free event presented a program ...

Gay News

SHOWBIZ Wanda Sykes, Jonas Brothers, 'Queen of Versailles,' 'Bloodshed' 2023-03-04
Adam Lambert video below - Award-winning comedian Wanda Sykes' new comedy special, I'm An Entertainer, will premiere globally on Netflix on May 23, a press release announced. The special, directed by Linda Mendoza, was filmed in early February 2023 at Philadelphia's ...

Gay News

Theater Review: one in two 2023-03-01
- Playwright: Donja R. Love. At: PrideArts at Pride Arts Center, 4139 N. Broadway Tickets: 773-857-0222; $35. Runs through March 19 Playwright Donja R. Love stresses that lower case letters should be used for the title of ...

Gay News

The Jeff Awards to honor Myrna Salazar with special non-Equity honor 2023-03-01
--From a Jeff Awards press release - (March 1, 2023 - Chicago) — Recognizing a lifetime of theater excellence, the Joseph Jefferson Awards will honor the late arts activist Myrna Salazar at the organization's 49th Anniversary Non-Equity Awards celebration on Monday, March 2 ...


Copyright © 2023 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      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

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.