Out Of the Loop: Exploring Boystown through the Pink Party!

OUTreach co-chairs pose after the incredible performances

OUTreach co-chairs pose after the incredible performances

If the amazing gifs in the promotion emails were any indication, OUTreach’s #PinkParty was bound to be a fun-filled evening. This Saturday, over 300 Boothies from the Full-Time and Evening / Weekend program ventured out of the loop and descended upon Sidetrack Video bar in Boystown. After briefly selling out earlier in the week, Pink Party managed to find tickets for those who were having no success on the secondary market. The second wave sold out quickly too and people on the waitlist continued searching for last-minute tickets on GroupMe.

Row 1 (L to R) The LEAD queens pose for the cheering crowd; “Adele” croons for the crowd; Krissy Feetface ready to own the stage. Row 2 (L to R) Tasha Fierce and Hay-Z ready to rock it; Winners of the Pink Party 2017 Crown; Rugby team celebrates a victory on the field, on the stage

Row 1 (L to R) The LEAD queens pose for the cheering crowd; “Adele” croons for the crowd; Krissy Feetface ready to own the stage.

Row 2 (L to R) Tasha Fierce and Hay-Z ready to rock it; Winners of the Pink Party 2017 Crown; Rugby team celebrates a victory on the field, on the stage

The evening featured tons of pink, a variety of frosty beverages (including Sidetracks’ slushies) and amazing, raucous drag performances! The emcees, Christine Groesbeck and Andrew Janiszewski (as his fuchsia-clad alter ego Alexa Playmusic), kicked off the evening by introducing Chicago Drag Queen Krissy Feetface, performing for the first time at Pink Party! Her stage shaking, fierce performance had the crowd screaming and applauding, and ready for the competition to follow.

The bar had been set. And the Boothies were ready to cheer on their classmates in the amateur drag competition. After a few words from the judges - Chris Collins, Associate Dean for Leadership Development, Jessica Jaggers, Senior Director Diversity Affairs & Student Life, Maria Ocasio, Director of Diversity Affairs and Thomas Winberry, Assistant Professor of Economics - the performances commenced. As one judge said, the crowd wanted the “queens to work it and kings to slay” and that they did.

Fresh from their win over Kellogg, the Booth rugby team made an appearance, trading out their short rugby shorts for shorter skirts and pink boas. Not to be outdone, the LEAD facilitators for 2017 stepped up with not just one queen on stage, but two! “Adele” represented the Evening / Weekend program and the audience joined her in her lip sync performance because she truly had “our hearts inside of her hand” as she crooned to Rolling in the Deep. And then Tasha Fierce stepped up with Hay-Z and as one of the folks up front, I can attest that we couldn’t hear the music over the screams of the crowd. However, it was the first ever Pink Party Drag King performance by the Cunning Linguists that stole the show, and the Pink Party 2017 crown, with their rolling, grinding and swagger, it was a (pun-intended) pants dropping performance.

The incredible entertainment aside, this evening was able to highlight and celebrate the diversity and LGBT allyship in the Booth community. This was step forward for Boothies who ventured out of The Loop, to a historically significant neighborhood in Chicago, and perhaps some, to a place outside their comfort zone.

Pink lights at Sidetrack Bar added to the evening’s festivities

Pink lights at Sidetrack Bar added to the evening’s festivities

For those hoping to explore Boystown more, a few recommendations from OUTreach co-chair Taylor Carson - “Wood is a great place to grab a bite. Hit DS Tequila for margaritas. Salsitas has THE BEST late night greasy, cheesy quesadillas. And if you want late night, sweaty dancing, Hydrate and Scarlet are great.”

One thing is for sure, looking back at that evening, we can definitely say, “Oh my Gaga, that was so good!” Major kudos to the OUTreach co-chairs who worked tirelessly to get this event together.