Check out these LGBT-themed shows before the Pride Parade

It’s that time of year again when LGBT Chicagoans and all their allies wave the Pride flags high. But there’s more to Pride than just the parade—you can also celebrate with these seven shows, which span the spectrum from Obie Award-winning activism to a child pageant parody to straight-up (so to speak) comedy shows about all things gay. So strap on your rainbows and head out to these seven shows—because sometimes, all that glitters really is gold.

“Sexy Baby”
“Let us pray to the gods of All Things Tacky that there is enough blue eye shadow and bad wiggery in this town to sustain the high camp and lowdown-and-dirtiness…,” says Chicago Tribune theater critic Nina Metz of Hell in a Handbag’s newest production, a child pageant spoof that’s already been extended twice. Glam it up with VIP options ($35-$95), which include comfy seating, a cocktail and—of course—your own tiara.
7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, plus additional July shows, at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark St.
$15-$95; 800-838-3006;

Fortune Feimster
Yes, that’s someone’s name. The out queer comic and “Chelsea Lately” writer and panelist brings her Southern sensibilities and fabulous hair to six LGBT-themed sets at the venerable Old Town comedy club where she appears with local fave Larry Reeb, a regular on the syndicated radio program, “The Bob & Tom Show.”
8:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m. Friday; 7 p.m., 9 p.m. and 11:15 p.m. Saturday; and 7 p.m. Sunday at Zanies, 1548 N. Wells St.
$25; 312-337-4027;

“The Night Larry Kramer Kissed Me”
Pride Films and Plays ensemble member Chad Ryan performs a 20th anniversary edition of the Obie Award-winning solo show by David Drake about a young gay man’s coming of age and transition into LGBT activism.
7:30 p.m. tonight (preview) through June 30 at Luna Central, 3914 N. Clark St.
$15-$20; 800-838-3006;

“Swallow Your Pride”
Pride gets snide in long-running LGBT comedy troupe GayCo’s new sketch revue, which marches proudly through various aspects of Chicago gay life with snarky scenes and songs about overmedicated lesbians, anti-gay marriage activists with dark fantasies, a bitchy Al Capone and nightmarish attempts to dine out in Andersonville.
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday through July 7 at Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave.
$20; 773-327-5252;

GayCo’s also a guest ensemble at this queer comedy showcase, which this week features sets by stand-up comic and Cole’s Open Mic founder Rhea Butcher, sketch duo Drew Anderson and Ayala Skopp and host improv troupe 1, 2, 3, Fag! (Kellen Alexander, John Hartman and Seth Dodson). In honor of Pride Month, partial proceeds benefit the Howard Brown Health Center’s Broadway Youth Center program.
10 p.m. Thursday through June 28 at iO, 3541 N. Clark St.
$10; 773-880-0199;

2nd Story Pride
National Black Theatre of Harlem alum Fo Wilson and 2nd Story ensemble members Jessica Kadish and Ozzie Totten explore identity-defining moments—including learning intolerance-coping skills from an unlikely source and facing the need to overcome shyness in order to photograph a jazz legend—through original true tales with musical accompaniment in this LGBT-themed show. “The Everyday Gay” blogger Byron Flitsch hosts.
7 p.m. tonight at Hamburger Mary’s, 5400 N. Clark St.
$15-$20; 773-217-8679;

“30 Queer Plays in 60 Straight Minutes”
“Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind” goes gay as The Neo-Futurists present their annual LGBT version of Chicago’s longest-running show, a collection of extremely brief, weekly-changing plays. The Pride edition—which benefits the UCAN LGBTQ Host Home Program—features the ensemble’s favorite queer-sexuality and gender-bending vignettes from the past year’s shows.
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday at The Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland Ave.
$20; 773-275-5255; RSVP recommended.

Julia Borcherts is a RedEye special contributor.

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