Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2023-12-13
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  PRESS RELEASES

New 'Leatherman' book: The story of sexual renegade and businessman Chuck Renslow
2011-05-08

This article shared 14617 times since Sun May 8, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 10, 2011

Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow available May 10, 2011 on Amazon and at selected bookstores.

CHICAGO — A prominent Chicago gay activist and entrepreneur is the subject of an in-depth biography, Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow, by journalists and authors Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen. The book contains more than 300 images, including murals and drawings by Dom "Etienne" Orejudos, posters for International Mr. Leather ( IML ) , and photos from the Gold Coast, Pride Parades, IML contests, physique magazines and more.

The book is published by Prairie Avenue Productions, 414 pages, $24.99 black and white ( ISBN 1-46109602-2 ) , $79.99 color ( 1-46111908-1 ) . It is available on Amazon.com . People can search for the title or link: www.tinyurl.com/renslow or tinyurl.com/RenslowColor. It will also be available from Women & Children First and Unabridged bookstores.

Living as an openly gay man in 1950s Chicago was no easy task. For Chuck Renslow, that was only his first of many bold moves. Just out of high school he began what was to become a six-decade empire, starting more than two dozen businesses in Chicago, as well as a few in other cities. He has owned bars, discos, photo studios, health clubs, bathhouses, gay magazines and newspapers, hotels, restaurants, and bookstores. Throughout it all he dealt with Mafia and police payoffs, anti-gay political policies, harassment from censors, and even controversy within the gay community.

In the mid-1950s, after having a portrait and then cheesecake studio, Renslow began experimenting with beefcake photography and began Kris Studio. With his longtime lover, the artist Dom Orejudos aka Etienne and Stephen, at his side, Renslow created Kris Studio a leader in male physique photography, resulting in such magazines as Triumph, Mars and The Rawhide Male, producing thousands of erotic images as well as several films.

In 1959 Renslow took over the Gold Coast Show Lounge and transformed it into one of the most lowdown libidinous gay leather bars in the world. With Etienne's murals adorning the walls, a leather/Western/uniform dress code for patrons, and a dark Pit that featured all sorts of goings-on, the Gold Coast set the standard for raunchy kink and gay sexual liberation. It was the birthplace of motorcycle clubs and sex groups, but above all a place for people to meet, connect, and explore themselves and their sexuality.

The Gold Coast was also the birthplace of the first leather contest, which in the span of a few short years evolved beyond the bar's capacity and became International Mr. Leather in 1979. More than three decades later, it continues to be one of the world's most popular gay events.

Renslow was also one of the pioneers in taking a bathhouse beyond the borders of a mere sex club. Man's Country became something truly unforgettable in the 1970s - a sex-and-entertainment complex with a variety of rooms, shops, and a Music Hall that attracted top names touring in the "K-Y circuit," from Sally Rand to Wayland Flowers to Rusty Warren and Charles Pierce.

Renslow was a dynamic force in Chicago politics under mayors starting with Richard J. Daley, and he ran to be a delegate for Sen. Ted Kennedy's 1980 presidential run. He danced with another man at a 1977 inaugural ball for Jimmy Carter. Renslow helped protest against unfair policies, fought censorship and entrapment, and battled Anita Bryant. He even served as a field contact for the pioneering work at the Kinsey Institute, as well as performing sexual acts for Kinsey researchers. He knew entertainment celebrities from Marlene Dietrich to Rudolf Nureyev, from Divine to Grace Jones, and from Sylvester to Quentin Crisp. In their heyday Chuck Renslow's annual White Parties were celebrations beyond compare.

When Chicago's gay community faced the loss of its newspaper, Renslow bailed it out and ran GayLife. He gave the community a voice at the critical time when AIDS was first discovered and began its devastation of the community. Though Renslow had always donated to gay causes, with the emergence of the epidemic he drastically increased his contributions and helped host major benefits for AIDS organizations.

Seeing such loss and the frequent erasure of these vibrant lives, Renslow knew he had to do something more. His co-founding of the Leather Archives & Museum ( with Tony DeBlase ) and his tireless devotion to the institution have helped ensure that the voices of so many who have lived and loved and ultimately passed can be heard for ages to come by all those who wish to listen. It was but another way to serve his community.

Through it all Renslow has also been Daddy of the Family, a unique created group of lovers, tricks, and friends who were bound by sex and oftentimes love and by a goal of providing comfort and support to one another.

Unique and controversial, Chuck Renslow is still doing his work and activism, more than six decades after he first opened shop as a photographer.

Authors Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen uncover the truths and myths of a living legend in this compelling new biography about the man many know, but few understand.

Senior editors of the book are William B. Kelley and Jorjet Harper. Book design is by Kirk Williamson.

Leatherman: The Legend of Chuck Renslow, by Tracy Baim and Owen Keehnen, Prairie Avenue Productions, 414 pages, $24.99 black and white ( ISBN 1-46109602-2 ) , $79.99 color ( 1-46111908-1 ) .

About the Authors

Tracy Baim is publisher and executive editor at Windy City Media Group, which produces Windy City Times, Nightspots, and other gay media in Chicago. She has won numerous gay community and journalism honors, including the Community Media Workshop's Studs Terkel Award in 2005. Baim is the author of Obama and the Gays: A Political Marriage ( Prairie Avenue Productions, 2010 ) . She is also the co-author and editor of Out and Proud in Chicago: An Overview of the City's Gay Community ( Surrey/Agate, 2008 ) and is author of Where the World Meets, a book about Gay Games VII in Chicago ( 2007, Lulu.com ) . Her most recent book is a novel, The Half Life of Sgt. Jen Hunter, about lesbians in the military prior to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Owen Keehnen's fiction, essays, erotica, reviews, and interviews have appeared in hundreds of magazines and anthologies worldwide, including the upcoming Windy City Queer from University of Wisconsin Press. His newest novel, The Sand Bar, is due in autumn 2011 from Lethe Press. Keehnen is the author of the horror novel Doorway Unto Darkness ( Dancing Moon Press, 2010 ) and published the humorous gay novel I May Not Be Much But I'm All I Think About ( e-gaymag.com ) . His upcoming collection We're Here, We're Queer features more than 100 of his best interviews from the 1990s with LGBT writers, artists, and activists who helped lay the groundwork for the current LGBTQ world. He is also co-editor of Nothing Personal: Chronicles of Chicago's LGBTQ Community 1977—1997 ( Firetrap Press, 2009 ) and contributed 10 of the essays in the groundbreaking coffee-table book Out and Proud in Chicago ( Surrey/Agate, 2008 ) . Keehnen has written for Penthouse Forum and Men's Style and was author of the Starz books, a four-volume series of interviews with gay porn stars.


This article shared 14617 times since Sun May 8, 2011
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Out and Aging
Presented By

  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Theater Review: Billy Elliot, The Musical
2024-02-19
Book and Lyrics: Lee Hall; Music: Elton John. At: Paramount Theatre, 23 E. Galena Blvd., Aurora Tickets: 630-896-6666 or Paramountaurora.com; $28-$79. Runs through March 24 Billy Elliot: The Musical may nearly be two decades old, but ...


Gay News

Mr. Chicago Leather 2024 at Touche, Vince Jay takes title
2024-02-02
A diverse group of people from around the world gathered at Touché Chicago for the Mr. Chicago Leather 2024 Contest the evening of Jan. 27. Ammar Houssamo hosted the event, at which Mr. Chicago Leather 2022-23 ...


Gay News

Mr. Chicago Leather contest returns to Touche following 2022 controversy
2024-02-01
The Mr. Chicago Leather contest returned this past weekend, January 26-28, to Touché Chicago, over a year after numerous community members were incensed by a racist incident. But the bartender who quit Touché following the incident ...


Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum announces 2024 Fetish Film Forum
2024-01-27
--From a press release - CHICAGO, Illinois—After a wildly successful inaugural year, including a 10-film series at the Leather Archives & Museum and a 5-film series at FACETS, the Leather Archives & Museum is thrilled to announce the continuation of Fetish ...


Gay News

USA Boxing adds policy regarding trans competitors
2024-01-04
Boxing's highest national governing body, USA Boxing, added a transgender athlete policy to its rulebook that requires genital-reassignment surgery and strict hormone testing for adults before competition, NBC News noted. ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Women's college, banned books, military initiative, Oregon
2023-12-29
After backlash regarding a decision to update its anti-discrimination policy and open enrollment to some transgender applicants, a Catholic women's college in Indiana will return to its previous admission policy, per The National Catholic Reporter. In ...


Gay News

NATIONAL School items, Miami attack, Elliot Page, Fire Island
2023-12-22
In Virginia, new and returning members of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Fairfax County School Board were inaugurated—with some school board members opting to use banned books on the topics of slavery and LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

Chicago author's new guide leads lesbian fiction authors toward inspiration and publication
2023-12-07
From a press release: Award-winning and bestselling lesbian fiction author Elizabeth Andre—the pen name for a Chicago-based interracial lesbian couple—has published her latest book, titled Self-Publishing Lesbian Fiction, Write Your ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Tenn. law, banned books, rainbow complex, journalists quit
2023-12-01
Under pressure from a lawsuit over an anti-LGBTQ+ city ordinance, officials in Murfreesboro, Tennessee removed language that banned homosexuality in public, MSNBC noted. Passed in June, Murfreesboro's "public decency" ordinance ...


Gay News

BOOKS Lucas Hilderbrand reflects on gay history in 'The Bars Are Ours'
2023-11-29
In The Bars Are Ours (via Duke University Press), Lucas Hilderbrand, a professor of film and media studies at the University of California-Irvine, takes readers on a historical journey of gay bars, showing how the venues ...


Gay News

BOOKS Owen Keehnen takes readers to an 'oasis of pleasure' in 'Man's Country'
2023-11-27
In the book Man's Country: More Than a Bathhouse, Chicago historian Owen Keehnen takes a literary microscope to the venue that the late local icon Chuck Renslow opened in 1973. Over decades, until it was demolished ...


Gay News

Photographer Irene Young launches book with stellar concerts
2023-11-20
"Something About the Women" was appropriately the closing song for two sold-out, stellar concerts at Berkeley's Freight & Salvage November 19, in celebration of the new book of the same name by Irene Young, the legendary ...


Gay News

Rustin film puts a gay pioneer into the spotlight
2023-11-16
The story of activist Bayard Rustin is one that should be told in classrooms everywhere. Instead, because Rustin was an openly same-gender-loving man, his legacy has gone relatively unnoticed outside of LGBTQ+-focused history books. Netflix hopes ...


Gay News

Billy Masters: The times Streisand failed to make a splash
2023-11-13
"Fame is a hollow trophy. No matter who you are, you can only eat one pastrami sandwich at a time."—Wise words from Barbra Streisand. You all know that Barbra Streisand's book is out. And I ...


Gay News

Charles Busch dishes on life as a storyteller
2023-11-09
Performer/writer Charles Busch, who recently penned his autobiography, Leading Lady: A Memoir of a Most Unusual Boy, said that collecting his most precious and salient memories in a book felt "inevitable." "Storytelling is such an essential ...


 


Copyright © 2024 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.

All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 
 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam     
Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.