Two days prior to an upcoming event and after four long years at the Wicker Well, without any notice, I was shocked and had the wind knocked out of me upon hearing that the Well was closing their doors.
Although there is no one to blame or find fault with for the Well closing – it was a devastating blow to those of us who have lived and breathed Doll House for such a very long time.
Why Devastating? In the incredible four years that the Doll House has been open – we had never been shut down. I take great pride in that fact. We are the longest running Lesbian Night in Chicago. Four Years, every single Friday the Doll House rock and rolled Chicago Lesbian night life. With the news of the closing of our host venue – I was lost and distraught. So much hard work and dedication, so many friends and faces – so much blood, sweat and tears – so much of myself had been put into Doll House that to consider it was gone in a moment’s notice shook me good. I had so many memories… and that part of my life was suddenly lost —– or so I thought.
The idea of Doll House all began because I was a bartender in a place that was really slow. With all that free time I got to talking to some peeps at the bar. The DJs that were working that night suggested starting a gay night. At the time I thought…”would these Lesbians really leave a gay area to party in the inner city?” I didn’t think too long but I did say to myself – “let’s do this thing.”
My first business partner was with me for 2 years. Between the both of us we worked our behinds off checking out lesbian nights in Chicago to see what worked and what didn’t. What we liked and what was a WOW factor. What we found was – there wasn’t a young urban night in Chicago. We wanted Hip Hop, House, R & B, Latin. We wanted sexy GOGOs and great drink specials. We knew we had the recipe for a successful event. When I look back at our very first event – it is clear that the lesbian community was hungry for what Doll House was cooking!!
In 2010 my business partner and I parted ways. I was left to take care of Doll House and all the responsibilities that come with it. It was then that I decided to take complete creative control and form a mega team. I call it my team of all stars. After a few hiccups and learning how to effectively manage a team of 10 people…Doll House became a staple in the community. When we hit our three year mark I knew we were here to stay – and the party only continues to get bigger and better!!
Let’s fast forward to 2012. I find out Wicker Well is closed. I am devastated and frantically call my sister. She handles all of our social media and networking, and she tells me the most amazing thing. It was eye opening really. My sister Kathy said, “Doll House isn’t Wicker Well, it’s a vibe, it’s all of us.” I knew in my gut that she was right. I finally understood that in ten years when people think about Doll House they won’t even think about what bar they were in. They will remember the amazing time they had. That realization was a powerful one for me.
When I walked into our new Venue – Cuna Sports Lounge – all I saw was how big the place was and wondered to myself how the hell would we fill it?? I had doubts and thoughts running around in my head like crazy. Luckily the loyalty of the Doll House crowd and the confidence my team instilled in me made me believe. They made me believe this could be our new home.
What I’m most grateful for is…having a great team. A team that has proved they will hang with me through good nights and the occasional bad moments. For a long time I didn’t want to be the FACE of Doll House. I don’t do this because I want to be cool or in the in crowd. I do this because I want to bring women together, I want to see a diverse group of girls having a blast and meeting new people. I love introducing people to each other. I love having a place I can call home. Most of all I love to hear Doll House Memories. I plan to throw Doll House until people stop coming. I love what I do.
DOLL HOUSE CELEBRATES 4 YEARS!
April 20, 2012 / 9pm-2am
1113 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Click here for more details!
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Nina is a Chicago native, of Puerto Rican decent. Four years ago she co founded Doll House, which is a weekly Lesbian night in Chicago. Nina is now running Doll House with a team of twelve people, and swears it’s been the best four years of her life. After 18 years of arroz con gandules, Nina decided to take on the city to see what the neighborhoods have to offer. Some people eat to live, and although she hates to admit it, she lives to eat. Spoiling herself with one, two…OK maybe four or five nights out a week. When Nina is not indulging in Chicago eats, you can find her with a colorbrush in her hand in a high end salon making Chicago more beautiful every day.