One Queer Roof Interview

From left: Scott Cramer, Lauren Widor, Andrew Hensley, and Rita Bacon

Chicago queers are getting ready for a fantastic kick-off party for Pride week with a big number of the hottest dance parties all collaborating together. I got to sit down with Scott Cramer of Stardust at the Berlin Night Club and CULT, Lauren Widor the event coordinator, Andrew Hensley of A/S/L Media and CULT, and Rita Bacon of Chances Dances. I later got in touch with Sierra Berquist of Queerer Park, and Ali McDonald of FKA (Formerly Known As). We talked on getting the underage crowd, party spaces, fundraising, and the future of the Chicago queer scene.

You can still get tickets HERE!

So how did this project get started?

Scott Cramer: Well, it was an idea that I’ve had for a while, that I’ve just wanted everyone to work together. We’ve all done our individual parties and sometimes we’ve collaborated on smaller levels, like, sometimes have each others DJ’s on particular nights. In order for us to come together I thought it’d be fun to have a much larger party and make it 18+ because there really isn’t – well, what goes on, at Victor Hotel there’s an 18+ gay party space – but there’s nothing alternative, I suppose?

I feel like we’re going to produce something with more art value to it, to bring all our forces to it and do something that the city doesn’t have.

Rita Bacon: Yeah, I think last year Chances did an event at the Hideout where we had Trannika from Berlin host, we had CULT and FKA, and we had a representative from every project DJ that night. And I think it was the most fun I’ve ever had.

You don’t realize you know people, but you do know people. It’s kind of cemented this visible circle that we’ve created. I’m just excited in that way. I’m excited to allow a chance for underage kids a window hopefully into their future. You know? You don’t just have to hang out on Halsted.

Ali McDonald: My main motivation is remembering what it was like for me at age 18 and not having a fun and social space where I could be myself. I love that Chicago has such a vibrant queer party scene and I’m proud to be a part of it. Now that I’m in a position to help make this happen, I jumped at the opportunity. Nako Okubo (FKA co-organizer) and I have wanted to do something like this for quite a while so when this collaboration started coming together; we were very excited to be involved.

Sierra Berquist: Carlin, Kara and I had talked about how great it would be if we could throw one amazing event with all the queer party thrower powers combined and then, boom! Big daddy Scott called for us!

Lauren, what about your role as the event coordinator?

Lauren Widor: Scott, he put it together at Lincoln Hall and kind of handed it over to me. So I’m doing a lot of the press stuff, securing the media sponsors.

So far, we have The L Stop, UR Chicago, Stuff Queer People Need to Know blog, and The Qu. I’ve also been doing all the press push out’s.

Trandroid is going to be hosting the event, which is really exciting for us. And he does Nuts and Bolts, so that’s kind of bringing that part in as well.

Great, so what else is going on at the event? What else do you have planned as far as the space?

Scott Cramer: Well, the premise of the event is one part bringing together all the individuals and groups who do parties, and the other part is that we want to be very equal with every group having a vote as to how this party is done. So one of those things is that we pick a charity every time. So we’ll see how this goes, and if we have another one, we’ll obviously vote in another charity. Fifty percent of all the revenue is going to that charity. We voted in the Young Women’s Empowerment Project to be the beneficiary for this one.

Outside of that, I think it’s going to be a straight dance party. We talked about doing some performance… [Others laugh]

Well… It’s going to be a queer dance party. We are going to have a matriarch host, Trandriod, I think Queerer Park is going to line up some face painting.

Other than that, I’d like to see us grow into other things, like, maybe some installations, but that’s going to be something we’ll have to grow into.

Ali McDonald: The party was intended to serve two purposes from the start: 1) Create a space to bring together queer Chicagoans and 2) To benefit an organization we believe in. Young Women’s Empowerment Project (YWEP) is the perfect organization for us to give to, as it is one of the most progressive and underfunded groups dedicated to serving youth in the city.

Sierra Berquist: The best face painter in town… Shaina Hoffman, lady of the brush!

What else is on the horizon do you think?

Scott Cramer: The idea is to give it a go and if everything goes well, of course I’d like to see this continue.

I think as we’re getting older it makes it easier for us to get together and be more organized. You know, when we were younger and doing these events it was just like “well, I’m just doing this,” you know, whatever. I think everybody is a little more serious about it now. We’re also trying to do something that’s providing for the community.

Rita Bacon: I mean definitely why not? I mean, duh. It’s just we don’t have anything planned as of yet. I can only see that this is gonna be super hella fun.

Andrew Hensley: We have talked about collaborating with other parties, because there are more parties every year. Especially with the 18 and up crowd. Like, that’s an opportunity to come here, have a safe space, possibly start working with us because we’re gonna get old and fugly soon—

Rita Bacon: Not any time soon!

Ali McDonald: Hopefully, One Queer Roof will snowball into more collaborations, more opportunities for youth, and of course, more dollars and awareness going toward important organizations like YWEP.

Scott Cramer: I think it’s a very loose, and growing, and undefined situation. The future is uncertain, but there definitely is a large potential for things to continue.

Sierra Berquist: Hopefully we will rock people’s pants off and the event will continue.

One Queer Roof!!! – 18+ –

Saturday, June 16, 2012
Lincoln Hall
2424 N Lincoln Avenue
Click here for tickets

You May Also Like:

Back to blog

About Dee

Dee is a transgender woman, queer dyke, and political activist who lives in the Andersonville neighborhood. She has worked at Early to Bed as a sex educator, and is a writer who performs at All the Writers I Know, a monthly queer literary event. She loves movement-building and organizing for civil liberties, accessible education, queer liberation, and against U.S. wars. One day she hopes to bring home a hairless cat to live with her and her girlfriend.


No comments yet.

Post a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.