When a series of violent crimes took place in Chicago's Boystown, or East Lakeview, neighborhood earlier this summer, discussions of public safety quickly veered into tense territory as some in the area blamed the perceived spike in crime on the neighborhood's service providers for underprivileged LGBT youth who, they say, attracted loiterers to the area.
Such comments often brought healthy, constructive conversations on safety to a grinding halt as events at venues including a July Community Alternative Policing Strategy meeting quickly turned into shouting matches that pitted the area's business owners and residents against LGBT youth and those who advocate on their behalf.
But out of that ugly, divisive period in the neighborhood's history has also come a number of positive developments, including a variety show, "We Are Halsted," which comes into fruition Wednesday evening.
The event, which will be held at the Center on Halsted's Hoover-Leppen Theatre, will serve as a fundraiser for organizations -- including The Crib, Teen Living and Casa Norte -- who work to support homeless youth in the area. The event is being supported, along with the center, by the Lakeview Safety and Inclusion Coalition.
The event begins at 7 p.m. with a rooftop cocktail hour pre-party before the variety show begins at 8 p.m. The event will be hosted by Adam Guerino (Sidetrack's Laugh Track) and will feature music from Vallery Dolls (Night of 100 Drag Queens), Stephen Leonard ("With a Pen"), Manny Capozzi and Kyle Greer (Fatally Cool); comedy from Gwen La Roka (Zanies) and dance performances from Dizzy Lizzy Delicious (El Circo Cheapo) and a Jerri Blank celebrity impersonator ("Strangers With Candy").
Photo by TheeErin via Flickr.