Backlot Bash, this year, is a 3-day PRIDE festival featuring some talented local and national bands and DJ’s. Over 8 years ago, the place to be after-pride for the queer ladies crowd was called, “Girls on Top”. It was a small HRC event, but it was there and it gave women a place to drink, flirt, canoodle comfortably, and just let loose. Well that event was no more and that’s when Christina Wiesmore took action. 12 years ago, Christina met Amie Klujian whilst working as a bartendar in Andersonville. Christina has a background in hotel management and event planning, while Amie has marketing experience from working with the Chicago Tribune, together they made Backlot Bash into a living, breathing party monster that was born 8 years ago. Both Christina and Amie have a passion for bringing people together and without hesitation reached out into the community and the community responded. The L Stop chatted with Christina and Amie to learn a little more about Backlot Bash.
Who is behind Backlot Bash events? Backlot Bash is literally supported by the community. Rezas, Cheetah Gym, Howard Brown, CMSA, and T’s (to name a few) have been big supporters of Backlot Bash, with major props going to T’s owners Mary Anne and Colm. In fact, the reason that Backlot was able to do a 3-day event for 2011 is all thanks to the support from T’s. Christina called T’s “the backbone of Backlot Bash.” Gotta love good ol’ T’s, always ready for the Backlot Bash crowd for the after-party too.
Why Andersonville? There are many reasons why the Backlot Bash takes place in Andersonville, and it’s not just because it’s known for the lesbian-kind. Since Christina and Amie both worked and played in Andersonville, they took note of the diverse community. Andersonville is not only LGBTQ-friendly, but also embraces its diversity. Many thanks for that are to the local businesses in Andersonville, “The GL Chamber has done a great job with local business….and we wanted to take things a little farther north than Boystown”, states Amie.
Why the name Backlot Bash? Amie’s ex co-worker, a gay-boy copywriter, came up Backlot Bash right away and as Amie puts “that was the one, we didn’t need to hear anymore.”
What inspires Backlot Bash every year? For Christina, one of the best things about starting BB was meeting everyone she’s met through doing it. “I meet people like Morgan Hildebrand… It’s a priviledge to meet so many great people in the community who come out to support. It’s an honor to work for our community and at the end of the night Amie and I get all these thank you’s and some women say things like ‘thank you for letting us be who we are for the weekend’ and it’s so worth it.”
What are the ups and downs of running Backlot Bash? “Stress and weather. It’s Chicago.” says Christina.
Craziest thing that happened at Backlot Bash? 2010 Dot Dot Dot was performing when they just stopped in mid-play. All of a sudden, the girls from the band Catfight come up to the stage and start performing and they’ve been broken up for a long time so that was amazing.” says Christina.
What is the future of Backlot Bash? Would you move locations if it go big enough? “We hope it gets that big. We want to continue and it would be a blessing if we had to change locations because it got so big.” says Amie.
So will it get to that point for Backlot Bash? Well, let’s see. 2004-2008 Backlot Bash was a Saturday only event, 2009-2010 it was a 2-day event, Saturday and Sunday. Now, for 2011 it’s a 3-day event. What does 2012 have in store? “We’ll see,” Christina says, “we’re always brainstorming.”
Quick fun fact: Catie Curtis remembers playing 10 or so years ago for the “Girls on Top” event, and this year she plays for Backlot Bash.
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Backlot Bash takes place June 24th, 25th and 26th behind the Cheetah Gym in Andersonville. Click for the lineup and more info.
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