An ongoing collection of contemporary interviews related to LGBTQ culture and history.

George Platt Lynes Discussion

On Wednesday, February 8th, 2023, Gerber/Hart hosted a virtual book conversation with author Allen Ellenzweig about groundbreaking photographer George Platt Lynes. Allen discussed his biography, George Platt Lynes: The Daring Eye, with Professor James Polchin, author of Indecent Advances: A Hidden History of True Crime and Prejudice Before Stonewall. A precocious American youth who entered the orbit of American and British expatriates populating Paris and the South of France in the 1920s, George Platt Lynes went on to become a supremely assured portrait photographer documenting the great figures of literature, painting, opera, and dance of mid-twentieth century. This new biography tells his story in full. This virtual conversation with Allen was moderated by James Polchin

Amigas Latinas Discussion

A conversation with the founders of Amigas Latinas Mona Noriega and Evette Cardona, and former Amigas Latinas board member Lourdes Torres about the Amigas Latinas archival collection and how artists and scholars continue to use this dynamic collection today. The discussion is facilitated by artists Amanda Cervantes and Jose Luis Benavides, who have make use of the collection for their own art exhibit.

Founded in 1995, Amigas Latinas was a volunteer-run organization that specifically served the LBTQ Latina community through monthly discussion groups, support groups, workshops, educational training, public programs, and events. The group advocated to ensure that legislators, funders, and other not-for-profit organizations consider the intersection of issues faced by LBTQ Latinas, who often struggle within Latina and Latino communities and within larger LGBTQ organizations.

Recorded January 29, 2022.

Yvonne Zipter and Gregg Shapiro Reading and Discussion

Chicago authors Yvonne Zipter and Gregg Shapiro provide a reading and discussion of their works Infraction and How to Whistle. The discussion was moderated by Carrie Barnett, who was co-owner of People Like Us Books.

Lesbians & Feminism in Chicago

Panel members Pat McCombs (Executive Sweet), Linda Bubon (Women & Children First), Kathy Munzer (Mountain Moving Coffeehouse), and Mona Noriega (LLENA & Amigas Latinas) discuss Lesbians & Feminism in Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s. Tracy Baim (publisher of Chicago Reader) moderates the discussion. The panel was held in conjunction with the “Lavender Women and Killer Dykes” exhibit which ran in 2020. This event and exhibit was cosponsored by the Chicago Women’s History Center.

Chicago’s Lost Lesbian Bars Panel

A screening of the short documentary film Disappeared: Chicago’s Lost Lesbian Bars by Jacob Pieczynski followed by a panel discussion about the lesbian bar scene in Chicago in the 1970s and 1980s with Pat McCombs, Carla Harrigan, and filmmaker Jake Pieczynski. Ruby Western, curator of the 2017 exhibit, Lost & Found: An Exhibit Exploring Chicago’s Dyke Spaces of the ’70s and ’80s, moderates the discussion.

Discussion on Chicago LGBTQ Press

Rick Karlin, author of Paper Cuts: My Life in Chicago’s Volatile LGBTQ Press, discusses his experiences in the Chicago LGBTQ press as presented in the book. The discussion is moderated by Owen Keehnen.

Q: Activism on the Margins of Identity

A virtual tour and a panel on the “Q: Activism on the Margins of Identity” exhibit, which focuses on a new wave of advocacy that sweep through queer communities in Chicago and across the country in the 1990s.

Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame Panel

Founded in 1991, the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame is both a historic event and an exhibit. Through the Hall of Fame, residents of Chicago and the world are made aware of the contributions of Chicago’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender communities and the communities’ efforts to eradicate homophobic bias and discrimination.

Inductees Dalila Fridi, Caprice Carthans, Gary Chichester, Carrie Barnett, and Rick Karlin discuss their inductions to the Hall of Fame, their contributions to Chicago LGBTQ history, and the importance of institutions like the Chicago LGBT Hall of Fame and Gerber/Hart to preserving the legacy of Chicago LGBTQ history.

Discussion with John D’Emilio on Queer Legacies

Co-hosted by Unabridged Books and with Owen Keehen, historian John D’Emilio discusses Queer Legacies: Stories form Chicago’s LGBTQ Archives.

Video available to view on Unabridged Books YouTube channel:

The variety of LGBTQ life in Chicago is too abundant and too diverse to be contained in a single place. But since 1981, the Gerber/Hart Library and Archives has striven to do just that, amassing a wealth of records related to the city’s gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer-identified people and organizations. In Queer Legacies, John D’Emilio digs deep into Gerber/Hart’s collection to unearth a kaleidoscopic look at the communities built by generations of LGBTQ people. Excavated from one of the country’s most important, yet overlooked, LGBTQ archives, D’Emilio’s entertaining and enthusiastic essays range in focus from politics and culture to social life, academia, and religion. D’Emilio gives readers an inclusive and personal look at fifty years of a national fight for visibility, recognition, and equality led by LGBTQ Americans who, quite literally, made history.

Artemis Singers Panel

Founded in 1979, Artemis Singers was the first women’s singing ensemble in the U.S. to explicitly identify as a lesbian feminist chorus. Artemis Singers is dedicated to performing music written or arranged by women and thus highlights historical, political, and personal events and experiences common to women. The panel includes past and current members discussing the past, present and future of Artemis Singers as well as performance clips.

Hot Wire Journal Panel

Hot Wire: The Journal of Women’s Music and Culture was first published in 1984. Hot Wire covered all aspects of lesbian feminist women’s entertainment and especially highlighted these spaces in Chicago. The journal grew out of an organization called Not Just a Stage which was formed by Toni Armstrong Jr. who had been publishing an annual directory of women’s music resources since 1977. Eventually, Toni and three other partners, Ann Morris, Etas Michele Carria, and Yvonne Zipter joined to form Not Just a Stage which published Hot Wire. The primary goals of Not Just a Stage were to be a catalyst to develop and maintain a network of creators of women’s culture. Throughout its 10 years of existence, Hot Wire published 30 issues, with its final issue printed in September 1994.

On the panel are Toni Armstrong Jr. one of the founders of Hot Wire, and Bonnie Morris, PhD, women’s history lecturer at UC-Berkeley, and and Jorjet Harper, journalist and author. The interview was recorded May 27, 2020.

10% Show Panel

The 10% Show was a cable access Chicago-based LGBTQ monthly newsmagazine which ran 21 episodes between 1989 and 1991. The show covered the wide diversity of LGTBQ life in Chicago, including politics, entertainment and community organizations. Jack Ryan (Executive Director), Sarah Seigel (Co-host and segment producer) and Tom Rowan (segment producer and production crew) are interviewed by Lauren Herold (PhD candidate at Northwestern whose research is focused on LGBTQ cable access shows). Recorded May 13, 2020.

Mountain Moving Coffeehouse Panel

Mountain Moving Coffeehouse for Womyn and Children was founded in 1975 by a group of lesbian activists and regularly held concerts that attracted large crowds as well as readings of lesbian writings and panel discussions. The Coffeehouse closed in 2005, and it served as a critical gathering space for women in Chicago for over 30 years. Collective members Kathy Munzer and Jean Durkin, and poet Yvonne Zipter (who performed at the Coffeehouse) held a discussion about the importance of Mountain Moving Coffeehouse and and its role as a vital part of Chicago’s lesbian history. Recorded May 9, 2020

LGBTQ Cable Public Access Shows Discussion

Lauren Herold, PhD candidate at Northwestern University whose work is focused on LGBTQ cable public access shows and Gerber/Hart director Wil Brant held a discussion on the role LGBTQ cable access shows from their beginning in the 1970s. The interview occurred on April 30, 2020.

Owen Keehnen and Saltine Interview

Historian Owen Keehnen and drag performer Saltine will interview each other about Chicago LGBTQ history, drag, and their current projects. Owen Keehnen is a grassroots gay historian and author. His most recent book, Dugan’s Bistro and the Legend of the Bearded Lady, highlights Chicago’s downtown glitter disco scene. Owen has contributed to several other books on Chicago LGBTQ history. Saltine lives in Provincetown but performed for several years throughout Chicago and has various podcasts.

Invisible Histories Project Interview

Invisible Histories Project is designed to be a repository for the preservation of the history of LGBTQ life first in the state of Alabama and then the entire Southeast ( People from Invisible Histories Project had a conversation with people from Gerber/Hart to discuss as part of their series of informal talks with folks around the country working in LGBTQ history, archiving, and community organizing.