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Pride 2021: picnics, music, boat races, and (digital) performances

Last year, Pride events were mostly limited to online celebrations. But with half of the adults in the state now fully vaccinated, this year looks different, even though the parade won’t happen till October. There are still plenty of streaming performances if you’re crowd-hesistant, but you can also fly your flag at some outdoor events as well. 

Pride in the Park Chicago brings two days of music acts, drag performance, speakers, food and drink vendors, and more to Butler Field in Grant Park. Chaka Khan headlines on Sunday. The entire affair is open to all ages, but youth 14 and under must be accompanied by a ticket-holding adult. Sat 6/26, 2-10 PM and Sun 6/27, 3-10 PM, prideintheparkchicago.com, $45-$225

Chicago Urban Pride Picnic hosted by Otis Mack and featuring DJ Superman, DJ First Lady, DJ Chifeel, DJ Rae Chardonnay, DJ Tru, DJ Darryl, and MC Trina Tru Luv. A free, family-friendly picnic event featuring free food and games. Organizers will set up in Jackson Park near the basketball courts at 6300 East Hayes Drive. Chicago Urban Pride is also hosting a rooftop afterparty at the Promontory in Hyde Park later that evening; doors open at 10 PM for those 21 and over (tickets to the afterparty are currently sold out). Sun 6/27, noon-8 PM, facebook.com/ChicagoUrbanPride,  F

Rainbow Races, the LGBTQ+-focused sailing organization, hosts a Pride Flotilla sailing event for area boating enthusiasts. Rainbow flag-festooned boats will parade from 12th Street Beach at the Museum Campus north toward North Avenue Beach, and landlubbers are welcome to watch and take photos from spots along the route, including Navy Pier. Sat 6/26, 2 PM, rainbowracesinc.org/pride-flotilla-3,  F

Kickback, About Face Theatre’s anthology of digital performances about the intersection of queer and Black lives (inspired in part by the Rebuild Foundation’s collection of African American art and cultural artifacts), continues streaming online with About Face Theatre. Through 8/31, aboutfacetheatre.com,  F

Power in Pride at Home is a series of short digital pieces created by artists of color in the About Face ensemble for their education and outreach program in 2020. Streaming in an open run, aboutfacetheatre.com,  F

Whodunnit? A Groovy Queer Murder Mystery at Camp Forest Woods is this year’s production by About Face Youth Theatre. It’s 1971, and ten people receive invitations to a summer camp reunion at a remote mountain resort. Does it have anything to do with the mysterious death that happened when they were campers? Streaming through 6/30, aboutfacetheatre.com,  F

Romeo and Juliet gets a queer-focused take in Iris Sowlat’s episodic production (one for each act) through Accidental Shakespeare. The last act drops via Facebook (Facebook.com/AxShakes) this Saturday, but all the episodes are online via YouTube. Through July 31, accidentalshakespeare.org,  F

A Midsummer Night’s Dream with PrideArts also offers a queer vision of Shakespeare’s pastoral comedy, set in ancient Greece, in this live Zoom reading. Tue 6/22, 7 PM CDT, pridearts.org, $10

ComedySportz Chicago fields a variety of online queer-themed programming, including LGBTQ+ ensembles competing against each other in the company’s signature improv games show; CSz D&I Talks with Luis Cortes, director of diversity and inclusion for CSz Chicago; Queers the Question, a queer-themed trivia show hosted by Cortes; and Rainbow-A-Go-Go, a queer variety show. On June 25-26, the company hosts the CSz Virtual Pride Festival. Complete schedule and ticketing information at cszchicago.com.  v

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