Jason Orne, Author of Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago, at Unabridged Bookstore

We're excited to be hosting Jason Orne at Unabridged Bookstore, where he'll be discussing his excellent new book, Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago.

From neighborhoods as big as Chelsea or the Castro, to places only as big as a club like The Shamrock in Madison or Sidewinders in Albuquerque, gay areas are becoming normal. Straight people flood in. Gay people flee out. Analysts call this transformation assimilation. Some argue that all of us, gay and straight alike, are becoming Post-Gay. Jason Orne thinks otherwise. His closely detailed, and exceedingly lively, look at Chicago's Boystown stands in for gayborhoods around America, places where differences are created and celebrated, not assimilated, and he shows you up close (and at times, very personal) that in gay clubs around America, an alternative culture flourishes: it's a queer culture that celebrates sex. This book takes us into the night, with Jason (and his partner, Austin) as your tour guide, where sex (at least in the spirit of the night) functions as a vital center, an antidote to assimilation. The dark backrooms of raunchy clubs (like Lucky Horseshoe) contrast with the gay Disneyland aura of Cocktail, both on Halsted street, the one with go-go boys at Horseshoe exhibiting sleeze, the boys at Cocktail exhibiting Chippendale's buff masculinity.

Orne documents sexy communities where people hook up, forging what he calls naked intimacy; this contrasts with the genteel clubs, often patronized by straight white women on safari, where becoming normal means becoming white. The queer sex lessons of the night encourage diversity, by contrast. Orne spent three years doing fieldwork in Boystown, searching for ways to ask new questions about the connective power of sex.

The reading starts at 7:00 and is free and open to the public!

Boystown: Sex and Community in Chicago Cover Image
By Jason Orne, Dylan Stuckey (Photographer)
ISBN: 9780226413396
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Chicago Press - January 20th, 2017

Event date: 

Thursday, March 9, 2017 - 7:00pm

Event address: 

Unabridged Books, Inc.
3251 N. Broadway
Chicago, IL 60657
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