Well, this is a very familiar feeling: Eyes straining; stomach grumbling; muscles fatigued; brain somewhere between lurching for cleverness and stumbling upon the right words out of a kind of tired free-association. This is the feeling that overtakes me every other Sunday night ( or, up until 2007, every Sunday night ) as I've finally completed another issue of Nightspots and I settle in to write my column, which is always the very last step in putting together this magazine. However, as you may be able to imagine, something's just a little different tonight.
If you hadn't already heard, this Pride issue marks the final issue of Nightspots as a magazine. "Nightspots" isn't going anywhere; we will continue to provide the best goddamn LGBT nightlife coverage in the city ( a claim I will defend to my last breath ) in the pages of our big sister, Windy City Times, in addition to a beefed-up online/social media presence. But you are reading the last magazine, after a pretty-fucking-good-if-I-do-say-so-myself 25 years ( counting the first 11 years as Nightlines ).
It seems fitting to go out on a Pride issue. In preparing this issue and getting an overwhelming amount of support and requisite nostalgia from this community I call my own, I'm left feeling a radiating sense of pride over my 11 1/2 years as editor, in addition to my two years as assistant editor.
I vividly remember taking former editor Sukie de la Croix aside and confiding in him, "I can't wait to be recognized for my work." Of course, soon after that, St. Sukie decided to move on and the editorship fell into my young, young lap. It wasn't long before I began to receive that recognition I so craved, leading to constantly being barraged with shouts of Hey, you're that guy from the magazine!, which led to the title of my column, That Guy.
In the beginning, this yen for recognition may have been self-serving ( not that there's anything wrong with that ). Given the chance to look back, as proud as I am of the work I have been able to do on these pages ( Crotch or Bea Arthur, anybody? ), I am even more proud of the lives I have been able to touch. The drag careers we helped launch, the fundraisers we were able to help promote, the everyday members of the community who "felt like a star" the week we put them on the cover. I hope that my work on this beast has touched you in some way over the years. That's what it's all about for me.
I'd be remiss if I didn't thank a bunch of folks here. Thanks to Sukie, who took me under his wing ( or kilt, as the case may have been ) and taught me how to fight for my vision. Thanks to publisher Tracy Baim, who has trusted that vision for long enough to let me do pretty much what I've wanted in these pages. Pretty much. Thanks to the many photographers over the years who have crawled the clubs with me in the search of that perfect shot. I'm looking at you, Anthony Meade, graysong, Ryan Kolodziej, Kyle Henderson, Verdell Shannon, and many more. Thanks to our current spate of columnists, in particular our porno maven, Jerry Nunn, and our enthusiastic music writer, Marc 'Moose' Moder. Your voices have only amplified the mission of Nightspots magazine. Thanks to all the bartenders who have floated me a drink or two over the years. Let my liver be on your heads. Thanks to the advertisers, whose checks ( and faith ) have kept the whole thing going.
And thanks to you, the readers. Without you, I am a tree falling in the woods, not making a sound.
So Happy Pride, be safe, get laid, and see you July 8 as Nightspots "graduates" into the pages of Windy City Times on a weekly basis. You'll love it; we can print the pictures bigger in there.
Stay cool and havea great summer!