Saturday, August 22, 2009

National Kiss Off / Join the Impact-Chicago

I attended my first event since joining... on August 15th. Together with 41 other cities, it was time to fight back the recent arrest of several gay people in Utah and Texas and elsewhere, just for kissing in public. I loved the spirit of these young activists. The rally was very successful. It was held at Millennium Park in front of Cloud Gate (aka The Bean). I volunteered to be a Gay Flag bearer. Other volunteers handed out candy kisses.

It was a beautiful day... while several million people took in the Air Show at North Avenue Beach, there were the many tourist visiting the free attractions at the downtown park. I was stopped by quite a few tourist, asking "what the celebration was all about"? Many were with their children. I explained about the arrest... and the need to let people know, even though it is the 21st Century... these things are still happening. I also added my own reasons for getting involved. Over 50 years ago, at the same location (when it was called Grant Park) I was walking with my first lover, and remember thinking to myself... why can't we hold hands? Who would we be hurting just doing so? Well, that was long ago... It's sad to know... in some places, some people are still getting arrested... just for being themselves.

It reminded me of my friend Leonard Matlovich, (who was kicked out of the Army, for being gay and it made the cover of "Time" Magazine back in September of 1975. (His official web-site LEOARDMATLOVICH.COM) He died in 1988, and on his tombstone at the Congressional Cemetery in Washington D.C. it is engraved... WHEN I WAS IN THE MILITARY THEY GAVE ME A MEDAL FOR KILLING TWO MEN AND A DISCHARGE FOR LOVING ONE.

This is also one of the reasons for marching in October.
Equal rights for gays, in the Army, in marriage... here, there and everywhere, and until that happens, there will always be a need to SPEAK OUT AND FIGHT BACK!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Lee Balterman Update

For the friends and fans of Lee, here is the latest good news. He is at the Birchwood Plaza Rehab Center. He is making good progress... but it will be awhile before he's shooting "The Streets of Chicago".
If you can... send him a card:

Lee Balterman
% Birchwood Plaza
1426 West Birchwood St.
Chicago, Il. 60626


Over the years, I have seldom joined any organizations, and operated as a one man army.
However, I am glad to say that I recently joined JOINTHEIMPACTCHICAGO.COM after going to a meeting.

They are c0-sponsoring "AN EVENING WITH CLEVE JONES" on August 29th.
On the 40th anniversary of the birth of the gay rights movement...As the fight over equal marriage and "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" continues under the Obama administration...
Those of you here in Chicago, please join us. I first met Cleve in 1978, when he was a protégé of Harvey Milk. I tried talking him into writing a column for a new gay newspaper "The Gazette" as the "voice" of the younger gay activist... but he declined. (I took this photo of Cleve in 1978 at the meeting with the publishers of "The Gazette")

From the early days with Harvey Milk's activism, to the founding of the AIDS Memorial Quilt and today's struggle for equal marriage, veteran activist Cleve Jones (as portrayed by Emile Hirsch in the Oscar-winning movie"MILK") has been at the center of the LGBT rights movement for the last 30 years.

Now, as the promise from the Obama administration to be a "fierce advocate" of equality for gays and lesbians continues to go unfulfilled- with both the Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell unchallenged since the administration took office- Jones and other activist from across the country are planing a National Equality March in Washington (Oct 10-11) as a show of mass support for LGBT rights and equality.

Please join us at this fundraiser for buses to the National Equality March. See Cleve Jones and performances by the Young Chicago Authors on the theme of LGBT rights.

Day of the event tickets will be available, but reservations are strongly encouraged as space is limited.
Reserve your tickets online at
$5 suggested donation

For information to make the "GAYHOUND BUS" trip to Washington from Chicago... Please join me for special upcoming fund raising events, visit: JOINTHEIMPACTCHICAGO.COM

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Salute to Uncle Don...

Since it's release last November, The Movie "MILK" has introduced Harvey Milk to millions of people... by recreating the history of the early gay rights movement during the 1970's in San Francisco.

For over a dozen years the pioneer photographer known as Uncle Donald has collected and expanded web-site into a National Treasure. It's a collection of images and stories, by many gay photographers of that era... they were part of the gay rights movement... not recreating history... just recording it.

Prior to my blog... I have had an on going exhibit at Uncle Don's site... and today, he's added the latest chapter of our history. Uncle Donald is a master curator, and his web-site has put together another great exhibit, featuring Efren Ramirez. Do yourself a favor... check out to see the real Castro of the 70's. I salute Uncle Don... for treating all of us to his ongoing cyber museum. His repository of historic and everyday Castro images and stories are the best on the web. I never met him in person... we are part of a group of gay photographers who's images of Harvey Milk are now part of the Harvey Milk Plaza . Please take a peek, after looking at my blog.

Cheers... Jerry
ALL of the © JERRY PRITIKIN images on this blog
cannot be reproduced, re-posted elsewhere or published without PRIOR WRITTEN PERMISSION