Scene: Chicago

Scene 4: Role Play
Holiday Club, Aug. 21

A new queer dance party, Role Play is held in the backroom of a mostly straight, Rat Pack-themed bar that has a great jukebox and photo booth. What's special about this night in particular is that the proceeds benefit local filmmaker Ky Dickens and her documentary on homosexuality and religion, Fish Out of Water.

For $5, attendees were treated to drink specials (like massive $3 schooners of PBR), music from DJ Alena and, of course, a theme. The very first Role Play theme was Down on the Farm, and popular ensembles included cowboy hats and boots, as well as overalls and bandannas. Old westerns played on the televisions strewn about the room, and the only thing that could have made it better was some actual country western music.

Ky, normally decked out in jeans and a ribbed tank, was switching up roles tonight and wore a cut-off jean skirt, tied-up flannel top and makeup. Next to her, it was certainly apparent that I was, once again, not into theme dress. But I did, eventually, steal my friend's cowboy hat so I could be in the spirit for a photo op.

"Role Play is a double entendre dealing with costume dress-up as well as gender bending and gender playing," Ky explained. "Especially in the queer community, people often get forced into an assumed role or take on a certain role. This party will hopefully give people a forum to bend their normal identity, dress in costume and have fun."

It certainly seemed like Ky was having fun, and as she counted the money she'd made toward the end of the night, I joked that we were just paying her bar tab. A good sport, she told me it was actually going toward a plane ticket to Los Angeles.

Ky also said that Role Play will continue at the Holiday Club every third Tuesday of the month, and proceeds will "consistently go to a queer-oriented cause."

"Currently the cause is my film, but in the future it will be something different," she said.

Though similar to FKA, this fundraising party had more of a conversation vibe, and attendees preferred to mingle rather than hop on the dance floor. That is, except for myself and a few other brave dancers — evidence of the strength of a $3 PBR schooner.

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