Monday, June 25, 2012

A WIN! WIN! Day at the 2012 Chicago Pride Parade for Pride & Cubs! (c) J.Pritikin

Cubs Pride Brigade at the 2012 Pride Parade. (c) J.Pritikin
Two brothers and Cub's Sticker uppers! (c) J. Pritikin
Part owner of the Chicago Cubs and GLBT Activist Laura Ricketts and the rainbow movement moment . (c) J Pritikin

Responding to my beany! (c) J.Pritikin
WIN !WIN! Gay Pride/Cubs/ (c) J. Pritikin

If you ask, you will receive according to the old adage. I must admit that I have a good batting average for making things happen, especially when it concerns The Cubs, Gay Pride and the "Bleacher Preacher" side of the Triple Play. I have witnessed many Pride Parades, early in San Francisco and now in my hometown of Chicago. I really never marched in them, however on the sidelines I found many "photoglyphic moments". This year, I sent an email asking the Cubs if I could ride on their Trolley for the Pride Parade. Last year they had a float and Cubs legendary old time Cub Great Ernie Banks gracing the gay Chicago Event of the Year.

I did not plan any signs or notify any media what I was doing. Starting Saturday, at the Halsted Street- pre parade party I managed to get some timely images... to add to my collections of yesteryear's gay events and early gay pride parades. My request was granted. No pre-made signs and just my trade mark RAINBOW Interstellar Propeller beany cap. I had a couple extra in case I ran into Mayor Emanuel or famed Chicagoans. I arrived early, however the Cubs Trolley had a late start. Took a few shots along the Montrose St. staging area. The music was extremely loud, making any attempt for conversation a lost cause. Once the Cubs White and Blue Trolley Car took our place in the Parades Route line... I met some very lovable Cubs Pride Workers. The Trolley was not designed for Parades with seats on the inside facing each other instead of OUT at the crowd. Many in our brigade marched in front of the Trolley with Rainbow Flags and the Old faithful "W" Flag. Usually seen after a Cubs home- win flying from the Center-field scoreboard. The Trolley kept playing Steve Goodman's Hey! Chicago, What do you say? At first, I lipped sync and after a short distance was singing OUT LOUD, something that I do not even do in the shower! I hammed it up for the photographers that lined the paraderoute.

I had the opportunity to talk with Laura Ricketts, one of the Cubs owners and great spokesperson for the GLBT community. In late August, the Cubs will celebrate another "Out in the Ball Park" Game, however this year it's in the bleachers. Several times when Harry Caray broadcasted from the Bleachers... I appeared on his 10th Inning show. Once Harry introduced me as John, Q. Public- The Fan!

Bill Gubrud is the promoter for the OUT @ the Ballpark,and I asked him to get me involved. Yesterday I had a great time from beginning to the end of the parade. I loved the interactive play along the route with so many people having very good times. I managed to take some photos from before we started and then there after. I LOVED IT... It felt like a Jodi Davis Homer to knock the Mets out of the 1984 pennant chase.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Chicago: I have been wearing my Interstellar Propeller Beany Caps since 1981 when I first met Stacy Samules. Stacy created them during the late 1960s and since then has sold over a million of them. In '81, I was hired to do special promotions and publicity for the stage play "BLEACHER BUMS"in San Francisco. It was a 9 inning comedy about the Chicago Cubs instead of a 3-act play. Ever since I was a kid, the winds of Chicago always added to the adventure of a Cubs baseball game, depending if they were blowing in or out. I was hired by Director Lee Sankowich to do special promotions and publicity for the play. I discovered Stacy's product in the Yellow Pages of a telephone book. I thought a beany cap would capture the "Winds of Wrigley" for the actor playing the important part as the CHEERLEADER in the cheap seats of the Friendly Confines. Little did I know then that I would seldom leave home without mine. People will cross the street just to tell me "I LIKE YOUR HAT!" I kid you not, I hear that over 25 times a day, and even more when I walk along the beach or take in an art fair. There is an old expression that art imitates life. For me it has been just the opposite! The play was suppose to be a 6 week run that ran for over a year. I earned the moniker as the Bay Area Resident Cubs fan. That's when I started to wear my "beany". When the run of the play ended, I continued doing Chicago Tie-in promotions whenever the Cubs or Bears were in San Francisco. I evolved into a special-one-of-kind-fan that became a legendary figure at Wrigley Field. Beginning in 1984 I have been known as the "Bleacher Preacher". Like the Johnny Appleseed of Beany Caps, I've been helping Stacy spread the "Beany Revelution" here,there and everywhere. Lately it's been on the beaches of Chicago or the Summer Season's Art Fairs.

The other day, I was able to get the 3 young guys in the attached photos to join the BEANY REVOLUTION at Oak Street Beach. Their life will change, and they will bring smiles wherever they go... and they will constantly be hearing I LIKE YOUR HAT! And that's a never ending source of smiles for anyone wearing an Interstellar Propellar Beany Cap.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Orange Tuesday June 7,1977 and PRIDE MONTH 2012 (c) J. Pritikin

I recommended, and Randy Shilts named a Chapter in his book "ORANGE TUESDAY"
Jerry Pritikin With Harvey Milk 3/9/78 The day Harvey was the Acting-Mayor of S.F.
Winds on Castro Street December 1978 a sign posted of the B0A on Market & Castro St.
(c) Jerry Pritikin

CHICAGO: June 7,2012

Keep in mind, that in the 1970s, there were no digital cameras, and the WWW was not even a pipe dream. The only way for a story to reach national news was via the wire services. Back then, they seldom reported on gay news or events. Yet, in a span of 3 weeks in 1977, I managed to place 3 gay theme-stories nationally.Happy Pride Month! I was recently inducted into Chicago's Senior Citizen Senior Hall of Fame. I'm a 75 year old walking museum of gay history. During that 3 week period in 1977, I became a footnote in gay history. It started with a friend who challenged me to create something to fight back against Anita Bryant. So I went home, smoked a joint, and came up with a t-shirt idea.It was: Anita Bryant's Husband is a Homo Sapien! I had 72 made, wound up selling 30 of them, and gave away most of the others. I wore one to the United Press International's San Francisco bureau and they ran a photo story about the T-shirt. While waiting for a bus to go there, a little old lady read my chest. Puzzled, she asked, "If that is true, why did she mary him?" The next day Paul Harvey used the UPI story to end his ABC Radio News and Commentary show. A few weeks later, I was able to get Jane Fonda to wear the shirt at a gay fund raiser at a S.F. Disco. That event made the Associated Press wires.

Then on June 7,1977 I was on hand for an impromptu S.F. march in response to the Anita Bryant-led victory to rescind a gay rights ordinance in Dade County, Florida. Shortly after 5P.M. San Francisco time, the news from Dade County Florida indicated that the gays were going to lose that election. I grabbed my camera and walked down to the Castro. Within a short while there were about 200 people milling around and as more time past it became a much larger crowd. By 10:30, KTVU was the only local media to be seen. They were getting ready to do a live feed back to the Oakland based station. I spotted newscaster Tom Clancy, at the corner of Castro and Market(Now known as Harvey Milk Plaza) and asked him if he had a lead-in for his "spot" and he nodded "No". I recommended it be called "Orange Tuesday". He liked it,and used it to open his segment. Harvey Milk arrived holding a bullhorn. We all walked a block away on Eureka in front of a Catholic Church. The march started going up 18th St. and we turned on Castro St. past the Castro Theater,and went down Market Street to Polk Street, passed City Hall,and downtown in Union Square. Over 5,000 people joined in listening to Harvey Milk chanting "OUT OF THE BARS AND INTO THE STREETS! Because it was an impromptu event, there were no microphones set up. There were just a few speakers, however Harvey used his Bullhorn to warn the crowd, "If it could happen in Dade county, it could happen anywhere and even in San Francisco!" While Harvey was speaking, I took 2 frames with my Canon AE1. I did not know if the those images came OUT. After the impromptu event ended I walked over to the Associated Press office in Fox Plaza to see if they might be interested in seeing if I had anything that could be put on their wires. At first they refused but I insisted the photos were national news worthy since 5,000 people had taken part in a march responding to an election several thousand miles away. So they developed my roll of film and ran with an image that is now part of our gay history. Ironically, in the recreation for the MILK movie, Harvey was shown with his bullhorn talking to a crowd in front of the Castro Theater. There were lots of signs were in the crowd. This was not the real story as the march had been impromptu and only a few signs were on hand. As well Harvey was shown talking at the end of the march in front of City Hall which had not happened. There were a few other mistakes in the movie, but the important fact is it introduced Harvey Milk to millions and millions of people, young and old, gay and straight, here in America and around the world.

So 35 years ago on this date my photo of Harvey Milk and Orange Tuesday became a major footnote in gay history. As radio commentator Paul harvey used to say... AND NOW YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Chicago 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith with HoF Inductee Jerry Pritikin

Jerry Pritikin with Brother Allen

CHICAGO: June 2nd,2012

About a month ago, I received a call from Chicago's 43rd Ward Alderman Michele Smith's Office. It was from her administrated assistant, Emma Rosenberg asking me if I would mind if Alderman Smith nominated me for this year's Senior Citizens Hall of Fame. I hesitated for a brief moment, and replied I would be honored. There has been some friction between myself and Alderman Smith since finding out that my precinct will be relocated into the 27th Ward, due to the Chicago's new Ward boundaries.

Yesterday, the Award ceremony took place at the Sheraton Chicago's Grand Ballroom. To get ready, I had a haircut, and was donning a suit for the first time in the 21st Century. I even left my trade mark "Rainbow" colored Interstellar Propeller Beany at home. There were over 1,000 people invited for the luncheon. Awards were given several categories, beside those given representing 26 of the 50 City Wards. Before the program started, Alderman Smith came to shake hands and we established a truce. We posed for a few photos. The affair lasted for several hours and I enjoyed meeting some of the other nominees, and a few other Chicago Aldermen and politicians. My brother Allen,and his girl friend Joanne, and a couple of my friends from the Maple Point Senior Apartments enjoyed the event. I was honored, especially being the only nominee listed as an activist from Chicago's LGTB Community. (June is also Gay Pride Month)
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