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Gay Games Closing Ceremonies (& celebutante dinner)

From my Sirius OutQ @ Gay Games Blog:

What a great show. Gay Games Chicago organizers took account of the feedback from the Opening Ceremonies, which many people felt were too long and boring. They ruthlessly cut speeches and other ‘fat’ from the Closing Ceremonies rundown, so it really zipped right along, actually ending slightly under its planned three-hour run time. And unlike the Opening Ceremonies, the weather at Wrigley Field was bee-youtiful — clear, relatively dry, and about 79 degrees, with a slight breeze off nearby Lake Michigan.
Cyndi LauperThe performances were uniformly good. I especially loved Cyndi Lauper, dressed as a rainbow Statue of Liberty, accompanied by Honest Abe on solo violin (or was that a viola?). And I, myself, was also in a better head-space to enjoy it all. At the Opening Ceremonies, I couldn’t help but be anxious about the challenges posed the week of Gay Games coverage ahead. But on Saturday at Wrigley, that was all behind me. My only job was to do my best to convey the ‘color and excitement’ of the Closing, so I could relax a little and enjoy it more.
Then following the Ceremonies, our air team (myself, Derek Hartley, and Kathy Sanchez) had a little extra fun. We joined several of the Ceremonies performers (and their friends) for a Chicago-style stuffed pizza dinner at the legendary Giordano’s. It was a bit of a hike from Wrigley, but Gay Games (and Hollywood) announcer Ben Patrick Johnson had the map and flogged us forward like the big gay Boy Scout he is at heart.
As we chowed down on too many pizzas, Ant (the comedian, not the insect) kept us laughing, and even revealed his real birth name (though I’m not telling). I sat next to Ari Gold, who’s pretty funny too, in a quiet way, and just as cute up close. And there was even a sort of touching moment as we all parted afterwards. Ben probably wouldn’t want me saying this, but it seems he makes a practice of giving any leftover restaurant portions to homeless people — which requires a much more deft touch than you might think. So that’s what he did when we left Giordano’s. There was a guy with a shopping cart right there on the corner, and Ben asked him, “Have you had dinner?” It wasn’t so much that he fed a homeless guy, as it was how he did it, with genuine caring, that was moving in a small way. It was an example to me, and a fine, fine way to end a wonderful experience at the Gay Games in Chicago.

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