Red Carpet: Mayor Lori Lightfoot at 58th Chicago Intl. Film Fest

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CHICAGO – The honoring of an institution in the City of Chicago via the documentary “Art and Pep” – the owners of the iconic Sidetrack gay bar in Chicago’s “Boystown” LGBTQ+ neighborhood – was supported by Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who walked the Red Carpet at the 58th Chicago International Film Festival on October 14th.

Lori Lightfoot made history in 2019 by becoming the first female African American and openly gay mayor in Chicago’s history, after a career as an Assistant U.S. Attorney, city official and liaison with the Chicago Police Department.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot, City of Chicago
Photo credit: Joe Arce of Starstruck Foto for

Art Johnston and Pepe Peña of the “Art and Pep” documentary (Mercedes Kane, director) are civil rights leaders whose celebrated gay bar Sidetrack has helped fuel movements and create community on Chicago’s Halsted Street for decades. Bringing together a wealth of archival video footage, photographs, and lively animated sequences, the documentary is the story of Sidetrack, beginning with its humble origins in 1982 as a single storefront, and the lives of its proprietors.

In a Red Carpet interview with Mayor Lori Lightfoot by Patrick McDonald of, the significance of Art and Pep, lessons from the pandemic and DA BEARS are discussed …

The 58th Chicago International Film Festival runs through the 23rd, 2022. Click for tickets, schedules and details. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Editor & Film Critic/Writer

© 2022 Patrick McDonald,

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