DJ Paulo headlines gym gear dance party, My Coach, over IML weekend

Sun. May 19, 2019 1:02 PM by News Staff

Mother Nature has been fickle this spring, but Memorial Day weekend certainly is the kickoff of Chicago's gay summer. The annual International Mr. Leather (IML) is always the start of the fun season locally.

"No matter what your scene, there's something for everyone that weekend," Anthony DiFiore, president of Neverland Events & Artists Management, said of the upcoming weekend, which annually attracts thousands of visitors from around the world for the parties and pageantry, plus more leather and fetishes that any one person can handle.

Neverland, for the first time ever, is holding a Saturday night party over IML weekend. Then, on Monday, after the Victory Party, Neverland is throwing "Happily Never Afters" – a daytime dance party from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Fantasy Nightclub in Boystown.

The Neverland festivities kick off Saturday, May 25 with "My Coach" – a sports/gym gear dance party. The title "My Coach" comes from an iconic gay artist named Harry Bush, who pushed the boundaries of publishing homoerotic art in the 1960s, '70s and 80s, long before the days of the Internet, DiFiore said.

"Our party is kind of a tribute to him, and we're incorporating his artwork into the décor. He had a way of drawing and celebrating the male body and homoerotic encounters in a way that appealed to openly gay, closeted, and bi-questioning men of his time. He illustrated a series of drawings entitled 'My Coach' that portrayed older/younger eroticism coupled with a sports/locker room/coach vibe. The pictures and the history spoke strongly enough to me that I decided to build this entire party around them."

The 'My Coach' party will feature a new sound system, "which will provide the best sound experience we've ever had at a Neverland party," DiFiore said.

The 'My Coach' party at Fantasy Nightclub, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. at Fantasy Nightclub, is expected to draw 800 to 1,000 attendees.

DJ Paulo and DJ Alex Cabot will split the sound stage duties, with lighting from Joe Gillan.

"You can't go wrong with these two. DJ Paulo is one of the most talented and professional artists I've ever worked with, and he brings his A-game to Neverland parties, always. DJ Alex Cabot is Neverland's resident DJ, and will be headlining Happily Never Afters on Monday morning. That party has developed sort of a cult following for its laid back and welcoming environment, and its commitment to music, lighting, and sound," DiFiore said.

"Starting with the last Happily Never Afters on New Year's Day, we switched up the party's marketing because we didn't want to just advertise it with photos of lights and hot guys. The marketing for every Happily Never Afters is now 'Afterhours Motivational Posters,' which you can find on We post some on our @NeverlandParties Instagram as well. They're funny tidbits of wisdom, and create a feel-good mood leading up to the event," DiFiore said.

"Happily Never Afters is all about channeling the great afterhour's venues and parties of old, like Mecca in Miami. For some people it's a dance party, but for our team it's historical preservation. The Neverland management team is at the front door greeting people as they walk in, because we want our customers to be instantly comfortable upon arrival. We turn off Fantasy's lights and sound, and bring in our own equipment, and we fog up the club so that people can just focus on the music, dancing, and letting off steam. It's not about what you're wearing, or what you look like. Never Afters is a judgment-free zone that is meant to be a fun, stress-relieving experience."

When asked about the early-morning parties, DiFiore said they are simply, fun. "When we first started throwing these daytime parties, I was like, 'What am I doing to myself?' The doors are at 7 a.m., so you can imagine how early we have to be there to set up and test sound and lighting. But as soon as those doors open and the party starts, the time flies by."

Neverland presents "My Coach" (Saturday, May 25, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., at Fantasy Nightclub in Boystown)

DJ PAULO headlining / DJ Alex Cabot opening

Online Tickets:

Hard-Copy Tickets: Available at Men's Room in Boystown (General Admission only)

Happily Never Afters (Monday, May 27, from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Fantasy Nightclub)

DJ Alex Cabot headlining

Online Tickets: