"Last Call Chicago" is like a trip home. It is a history of LGBT venues in Chicago going back in time as far as records of such venues exist.
Both before and after Stonewall, LGBT bars and hangouts served the purpose of bringing the LGBTQ together and served as informal community centers. They were and are part of the vibrant fabric of the LGBT community. Opening "Last Call Chicago" is like stepping into a time machine that transports us across the years to bear witness to the triumphs, challenges, and sometimes heartaches of the LGBT community in Chicago.
"Last Call Chicago" could not have been written by anyone but authors Rick Karlin and St Sukie de la Croix. Both are journalists with a keen eye for history, who reported on the events and comings and goings of Chicago’s LGBT-friendly bars and clubs. "Last Call Chicago" is a walk back in time from the Speakeasies of the 1920s to the latest hot spots, and all done without looking at a single app.
Rick Karlin was a fixture in Chicago’s LGBT press. For more than five decades he served as a gossip columnist, reviewer and editor for GayLife, Gay Chicago Magazine, Windy City Times, Outlines/Nightlines, Chicago Free Press, LesBiGay Radio, Boi Magazine and Grab Magazine. During that time he reported on life and events in Chicago’s LGBT bars and clubs, from the plush and posh to the down and dirty. His memoir, “Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volitile LGBTQ Press” was published by Rattling Good Yarns Press in 2018. He is currently the food and travel editor for South Florida Gay News.
St Sukie de la Croix has been a social commentator and researcher on Chicago’s LGBT history. He has published oral-history interviews, lectured, conducted historical tours, and documented LGBT life through columns, photographs, humor features, fiction and local LGBT history. He has had columns in local publications such as Chicago Free Press, Gay Chicago Magazine, Nightlines!, Nightspots, Outlines, Blacklines, Windy City Times and GoPride.com. In 2008 he was a historical consultant, and on-screen interviewee for the WTTW documentary “Out and Proud in Chicago.” His book, “Chicago Whispers: A History of LGBT Chicago Before Stonewall” received glowing reviews. He is also the author of “Chicago After Stonewall: A History of LGBTQ Chicago from Gay Lib to GayLife.”
The book’s foreword is by Chicago’s own Arthur Johnston and Pepin Pena, community activists and owners of Sidetrack, voted “Best Gay Bar in the World” by Out Magazine, and the subject of a new documentary, “Art & Pep.”
As Terri Phoenix, director of the LGBTQ Center at UNC-Chapel Hill said recently at a vigil for the victims of the Orlando Pulse shooting, “It is important for people to understand that for LGBTQ communities, a gay bar is often a home for members of a community that may not feel safe … anyplace else in their lives … the club is a sanctuary, a community center, a home.”
“Last Call Chicago is a treasure trove of LGBTQ historical insight! Rick Karlin and St Sukie de la Croix have undertaken a comprehensive exploration of Chicago’s colorful gay past, revealing more than a thousand of the safe havens and communal spaces that allowed us to evolve into the diverse and vibrant community we have become and presented it in a concise and well-executed tome. Their passion and enthusiasm for our queer journey are manifest in every entry. If only we had such far-reaching insight into all of our refuges.” - Art Smith, GayBarchives.com
"Last Call Chicago restores to life the vast world of bars that have been so vital to the queer community. It will release for readers a flood of memories and it provides future researchers a wealth of information." - John D'Emilio, author of Memories of a Gay Catholic Boyhood: Coming of Age in the Sixties
Available for pre-order from Amazon, BarnesandNoble, and the publisher: https://rattlinggoodyarns.com/product/last-call-chicago-a-history-of-1001-lgbtq-friendly-taverns-haunts-hangouts/