Yes, Inauguration Day will be love-filled – at Sidetrack

Sun. January 15, 2017 9:54 AM by Ross Forman

sidetrack 'love is love'

photo credit // sidetrack

Show Tunes, frozen drinks and Chicago’s LGBT community come together while Trump is sworn in in Washington D.C.

Chicago, IL - Donald J. Trump is days away from being sworn in as the 45th President of the United States and Inauguration Day will, no doubt, be the capper of a wild, raucous, overly-opinionated, often out-of-control ride for all Americans over the past couple years.

We've seen animated debates, scandalous comments, bizarre press conferences and so much more. There's been hate on both sides, all sides – Democrats to Republicans, Republicans to Democrats, and also among independents and others.

Who knows what the next four years will hold?

Maybe we'll see a wall at the U.S.-Mexico border; maybe not. And who's paying for that monster?

What's the real deal, and relationship, with Russia?

What's the lifespan of Obamacare?

What about gay rights?

So many questions, so few answers ... but that will start to change on Friday, when Businessman Trump becomes President Trump. And there will, no doubt, be plenty of parties on Friday, too. Some to celebrate; some to cringe where the world, specifically the U.S., is heading.

Sidetrack, in the heart of Chicago's Boystown neighborhood, is taking a simple, positive approach to its plans for Inauguration Day: Love is Love. Just as Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda boasted.

Sidetrack's Love is Love party – starting at 3 p.m., and running all day and night – is the video bar's uplifting Inauguration Day alternative, said general manager Brad Balof, who noted that the event is a partnership with Lambda Legal Chicago and Absolut.

The Love Is Love party will hopefully "inspire people in our community to not lose hope from the gains we have made in the last eight years ... and to help inspire and direct people who are looking to take action for LGBTQ rights," Balof said.

The popular Sidetrack Krush (the purple one) will be only $4 from 5-9 p.m.

Lambda Legal representatives will be on hand to help make people aware to possible changes that may be coming with the new administration, "and how we can resist any threats posed to our community," Balof said.

Absolut will have a Love is Love photo-booth from Glitter Guts.

iCandee will be selling exclusive Love is Love hats and t-shirts, with proceeds going to Lambda Legal. Plus, there will be performances from RuPaul's Drag Race star DiDa Ritz and Chicago favorite The Vixen.

"We had great success with the Love is Love as a theme for the summer of 2016, and January 20th is a great day to remind everyone of this message and to come together and celebrate it," said Balof, who added that staff will be sporting Love Is Love shirts all Inauguration Day and night.

"What does Love is Love have to do with the inauguration? So much negativity surrounded the election. The debate viewing parties were very well attended and Sidetrack was packed on election night. For all the people who were with us for these events, and for everyone, we wanted to offer an uplifting, positive party to show that we might have a rough four years ahead, but our community has come through tough times before, and we can do it again. And we can do it best by remembering that our fight and our message is based in equality and love is love is love is love."

Balof added, "We all need to come together in solidarity on January 20. Public opinion is on our side and we will not ignore this major shift that is taking place in our country with the inauguration, however, we are determined to remain positive and motivated to create change together." 

Sidetrack's ever-popular Show Tunes will run from 5-9 p.m., on Friday, and culminate with a collection of uplifting dance and party music. And Jennifer Holliday will, most certainly, be played at Sidetrack – because she is not performing at the "Make America Great Again! Welcome Celebration" at the Lincoln Memorial.

An announcement from the Presidential Inauguration Committee said that, yes, the star singer would be performing, which shocked, upset and offended that LGBT community.

Holliday almost immediately rejected the inauguration-related appearance and also apologized to the LGBT community in a letter to The Wrap.

"My only choice must now be to stand with the LGBT Community and to state unequivocally that I WILL NOT PERFORM FOR THE WELCOME CONCERT OR FOR ANY OF THE INAUGURATION FESTIVITIES!" said Holliday, who added for the gay community, "Please know that I HEAR YOU and I feel your pain. The LGBT Community was mostly responsible for birthing my career and I am deeply indebted to you ... You have loved me faithfully and unconditionally and for so many years you provided me with work, even though my star had long since faded.

"I was honestly just thinking that I wanted my voice to be a healing and unifying force for hope through music to help our deeply polarized country ... Regretfully, I did not take into consideration that my performing for the concert would actually instead be taken as a political act against my own personal beliefs and be mistaken for support of Donald Trump and Mike Pence."

Other singers, meanwhile, will be singing on Inauguration Day, though in New York City – to raise funds for human rights organizations, such as Planned Parenthood, Southern Poverty Law Center, National Immigration Law Center and the Sierra Club Foundation.

Some of Broadway's biggest stars — including Chita Rivera, Kelli O'Hara, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Betty Buckley, Jessie Mueller and Billy Porter — will perform in a "Concert for America: Stand Up, Sing Out!" which will be held at The Town Hall in Manhattan.

Also slated to perform in New York at the event that will be streamed live on Facebook: Sharon Gless, Rosie O'Donnell, Rosie Perez, Judy Gold, Caroline Rhea, Stephanie Mills and Charles Busch, among others. The concert is the brainchild of Seth Rudetsky and James Wesley, who also organized the Broadway For Orlando fundraising concert.

"Hate comes from a lack of love, so we can't fight it with more of its own toxicity; we have to fill it with love, Mueller said in a statement. "There are really big things at stake. Things we can't save or solidify or safeguard alone. We have to think bigger; we have to ask for help; we have to reach out to one another and band together. I hope this concert can be an example of that."

Yes, there will be some love in the air on Inauguration Day, certainly at Sidetrack.

"Our Love is Love party is one of the many alternatives being offered for people to come together on Jan. 20," Balof said. "While many gatherings are not to celebrate the inauguration, Sidetrack's Love is Love party is to celebrate—our community, our strength, our resistance, and our love ... and to remain motivated and united in this time of seeming uncertainty."

Related: Sidetrack's Love is Love party (Calendar) | On Facebook