If you are a frequent or even occasional visitor to this site, it can be difficult to find what's new. Recent additions and modifications on the Web Site are listed here, by descending date (latest changes at the top).

Recent updates:

Bobby Rivers A biography and profile of entertainer Bobby Rivers, a Milwaukee radio and TV personality from about 1975 to 1984 when he moved to New York City, has been written by website curator Michail Takach for 'Our Lives' magazine, and is presented here. (March 2023)
The Queer Program A cable access program, The Queer Program, was on Milwaukee Warner-Cable channel 14, presenting live news, interview and call-in programs for the LGBTQ community for 25 years, from 1992 to 2017. Its primary producer and host throughout the entire run, Michael Lisowski and its original co-producer and co-host Dan Fons, are also profiled. (March 2023)
The Black Forest Legacy A total of eight LGBT bars and restaurants occupied a single space at 814 S. Second Street from mid-1976 to 1991. All of those businesses, and the legacy of the initial restaurant 'The Black Forest Inn', are profiled in The Legacy of the Black Forest Inn story by author Michail Takach. (February 2023)
Milw LGBT Film/Video Festival Pages for the Milwaukee LGBT Film/Video Festival, as well as its two primary Coordinators, first Carl Szatmary and then its primary director, Carl Bogner, were added. (January 2023)
The Tool Shed We were contacted by The Tood Shed and asked to update our information on that retail store, specializing in safe sex toys, clothing, books and gifts, which opened in 2004 and continues to operate on Milwaukee's East Side.. (January 2023)
Drag photos and information Work is underway to update the Drag scene information on the web site. Two collections of photos have been posted (the Annabelle Havlicek Collection and the Francisco Arcaute Collection). Most of the photos are unidentified; anyone recognizing someone is invited to contact us at email address "wislgbthistory@gmail.com". (January 2023)
Bar pages updated Late 2022 sees many updates and additions to the "Bars and Clubs" listings and section of the web site. Listings and pages for over 120 bars throughout Wisconsin have been either created or updated during 2022, including both Milwaukee bars and bars throughout the rest of the state. (December 2022)

Click on above image for more information.

Three milestone events in 2022 2022 sees the city and nation recovering from two years of COVID-19 pandemic mode. LGBT bars and venues (such as Pride celebrations) return to fully open mode with none of the restrictions (limited capacity, mandatory masks, proof of vaccination) that had hampered the prior two years. With that, we observe three important events in mid-2022. (1)- A series of podcasts, called "Be Seen" are launched. A partnership between the Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project and Radio Milwaukee, each week's podcast answers questions that explore different historical milestones, events and businesses that have fostered an inclusive community in Wisconsin’s LGBTQ history. (2)- A new smartphone App is being released: LGBT milWALKee. The app gives people walking tours of LGBTQ-specific landmarks throughout our city. Released in June to coincide with the beginning of Pride Month, every stop on the tours will produce a video, giving a historical recount of the location’s significance. (3)- A book "A History of Milwaukee Drag: Seven Generations of Glamour", is released, which examines drag as an unstoppable force in Milwaukee nightlife. (June 2022)
New Fiscal Sponsorship The Wisconsin LGBTQ History Project Inc. is pleased to become a sponsored project of the Cream City Foundation, Inc., one of the country's longest-running LGBT foundations, buiding Health, Equity and Prosperity within the LGBT community. We are able to accept tax-exempt donations through CCF as our 501c3 fiscal agent. (January 2022)
Deaths of Gregg Fitzpatrick and R. Richard Wagner In December 2021, within a day of each other, Wisconsin lost two leaders. First, owner of the Harbor Room bar, Gregg Fitzpatrick, died. Gregg had in June lost his life partner and husband, Eddie Carver, so that bar saw the loss of its two owners within six months. Then historian and political leader and LGBT activist R. Richard "Dick" Wagner passed away. Dick had recently finished two books documenting Wisconsin's LGBT history. Bio pages for both individuals have been updated, with more information to follow as tributes come in. (December 2021)
Publication Scans: In Step, Wisconsin Gazette Q-Life and and Q-Voice We have scanned and added newspaper-size issues of the 'IN Step' publication (a few issues of vols. 16, 18, 19, 20/ 2001-2003); Wisconsin Gazette (volume 9 issues/ Dec. 2017-Dec. 2018); Q-Life newspaper (volumes 1 thru 4/ Dec. 2004-Dec. 2008); and Q-Voice magazine (volume 1 issues/ Oct. 1995-Oct. 1996). We also added two missing issues of Wisconsin Light newspaper (14-03 and 15-07). All issues scanned are saved as PDF's and are also OCR'd (optical character recognition) to make searchable PDF files of each issue. (December 2021)
New and Updated Bar Pages We have been on a crash project to add or update pages for many LGBT bars and clubs, some of which are long closed, and others which are still going strong; and we have are still actively working on more. Check out the new or updated pages for Walker's Pint, D.I.X. Milwaukee, TempT, and Geraldines in Madison-- a total of 12 Bar pages have been added or updated in the past 3 weeks. (September 2021)
Black Nite Brawl 60th Anniversary On August 5, 2021, a press conference was held to recognize the 60th anniversary of the 1961 Black Nite Bar brawl in Milwaukee. Mayor Tom Barrett and other dignitaries attended, presenting proclamations and resolutions recognizing Milwaukee's own 'Stonewall' type event 8 years prior to New York's Stonewall riots. Check out what the Black Nite Brawl was all about, and the coverage at the press conference on the site 60 years later. (August 2021)
  • What is the Black Nite Brawl?
  • Information on the 60th Anniv press conference

  • New and Updated Organizational Pages We have been asked to add or update pages for several existing organizations, and we have completed several of those. Check out the new or updated pages for Diverse & Resilient, Milwaukee Metropolitan Community Church, Angels of Hope MCC in Green Bay, and Milwaukee Pride, Inc. (the parent of PrideFest).
    There's always much more work to do, including working on pages for all active LGBT bars in Wisconsin, and continuing with newspaper and magazine scanning to fill in gaps. (August 2021)
    Publication Scans: Wisconsin Light and IN Step newspapers The project to scan all Wisconsin Light newspaper issues is largely completed, covering issues from volume 1 thru volume 13. The paper was briefly resurrected from Sept. 2001 to April 2002 as volumes 14 and 15; we are still trying to locate copies of those 12 or so issues. Also, certain issues in volumes 4 and 5 are not yet available.
    We are now beginning to scan all newspaper-size issues of the 'IN Step' publication after it switched to newspaper format with volume 14-issue 11. All copies of In Step prior to that are already scanned and available.
    As with all other issues of 'In Step', and those of 'Quest', all issues scanned are saved as PDF's and are also OCR'd (optical character recognition) to make searchable PDF files of each issue. (April 2021)
    Interactive Business Map The Wisconsin LGBT History Project web site has a new interactive LGBT business map. See where gay bars and other LGBT businesses existed at any point in time in the past! The default view shows every LGBT business in the state, then you can zoom into a Geographical area, filter by type of business (Bars only, Bars with Dancing only, Restaurants only, Spas only, or any combination), and then use a time filter (businesses only in the 1980s, or 1990 to 2005, or any date range).
    Our thanks to the Geospatial Information Specialist at UWM's American Geographical Society Library and his student team for developing this interactive map and agreeing to host it. We will continue to maintain a spreadsheet which the mapping program uses to present the map contents, so the map will be regularly updated with new business dates and other information. (February 2021)
    Publication Scans: Wisconsin Light newspapers We are thrilled to announce that nearly all issues of the "Wisconsin Light" newspaper are in the process of being scanned, OCR'd, and added to this web site. These papers, published from 1987 to 2000, were the primary source of hard news in Wisconsin and Milwaukee for most of that time, covering both national and local news with more in-depth articles than 'In Step' or 'Quest' magazines. The scanning was made possible by the donation of a larger-format high-speed scanner, and we have been given exclusive permission by Jerry Johnson, who had been the Publisher and copyright holder (along with his deceased partner, Dr. Terry Boughner, Editor), to display PDF's of every issue on the web site. To my knowledge, these newspapers have never before been available on the internet or in electronic form, where they are text-searchable. Thus far, the following issues are on-line: volumes 1 and 2 (1987-1989), the first half of volume 4 (1991), much of volume 5 (1992) and nearly all of volumes 6 thru 8 (1993-1995). Work continues on the remaining issues.
    As with all the issues of 'In Step' and 'Quest', the 'Wisconsin Light' issues are also OCR'd (optical character recognition) to make searchable PDF files of each issue. (November 2020)
    Bar info updates continue The webmaster continues to go through his source files and emails, as well as recently scanned periodicals, using information and images collected to update various Bar pages as well as create new pages for bars that did not previously have adequate information. Over 50 new bar pages have been created, and others updated, and many more will continue to be worked on over the coming weeks and months. (October 2020)
    Excellent books by R. Richard Wagner The webmaster of this site has found a new book especially fascinating. It includes many comprehensive histories and delves into areas and analyses which I have only begun to touch on within this website. The book is: "Coming Out, Moving Forward: Wisconsin's Recent Gay History", the second volume in R. Richard Wagner’s groundbreaking work on gay history in Wisconsin. This revealing book outlines the challenges that LGBT Wisconsinites faced in their efforts to right past oppressions and secure equality in the post-Stonewall period between 1969 and 2000. In both this book and his previous one, "We've Been Here All Along", Wagner draws on historical research and materials from his extensive personal archive to not only chronicle an important movement, but also to tell the stories of the state’s LGBT pioneers—from legislators and elected officials to activists, businesspeople, and everyday citizens. The book documents the rich history of Wisconsin’s LGBT individuals and communities as they pushed back against injustice and found ways to live openly and proudly as themselves. Both books are highly recommended for anyone wanting to delve into the nuances of Wisconsin's LGBT history. (September 2020)
    Wisconsin LGBT Timeline From 2006-2011, the PrideFest History exhbibit included a year-by-year Timeline of significant LGBT events and activities in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. Due to both time and space constraints, the Timeline has not been displayed at PrideFest the past several years. We have instead created an on-line Timeline, which follows year by year activities and major events. The timeline also helps research, as for any given year, we have linked to all on-line LGBT publications that printed during that year. Find the timeline with the red "Timelines" button on the left side of major pages throughout the web site. (July 2020)
    Bar info updates With the "Safer at Home" suggestions due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the cancellation of the 2020 Milwaukee PrideFest (along with nearly every other festival and all sports and other large gatherings in the U.S.), the webmaster has had more time than normal on his hands. In addition to undertaking more publication scanning, I am also going through my source files and emails, and using information and images collected over time to update various Bar pages. Already over 20 bar pages have been updated, and many more will continue to be worked on over the coming weeks and months. (July 2020)
    Publication Scans, continued Scanning and OCR (optical character recognition) to make searchable PDF files of older Wisconsin LGBT publications is actively continuing. To date, the following publications are largely scanned to PDF and on-line: Milwaukee Calendar volume 1 (1978) through volume 3 (1980); Gay Milwaukee (1981); select RAGG magazines (1983); In Step magazine volume 1 (1984) through volume 10 (1993), and volumes 13 and 14; Quest magazine volume 1 (1994) through volume 25 (2018); and Edge magazine volume 1 (2003) through volume 4 (2006). Efforts continue to scan and OCR PDF files for additional volumes of Quest, In Step, OutBound, and other Wisconsin LGBT publications. (April 2020)
    Publication Scans part 1 We are sorry to hear of the ceasing of publication of Wisconsin's longest running LGBT publication, Quest Magazine. However we are starting a project to scan the full contents of many or most issues of Quest and many other LGBT publications (wherever we have the right to do so). The long-time publisher and owner of Quest, Mark Mariucci, has given us full permission to reproduce his Quest issues on this web site, and you can begin to access some of those scanned issues at Quest Covers for volumes 1 through 4 by clicking the "View PDF issue" link under each issue's cover image. More issues will be added over time. (April 2019)
    Woody's Bar Woody's bar changed ownership effective January 1, 2019, prompting long-due updates to that page to bring it up to date. (February 2019)
    Bar page updates Michail Takach and Jamie Taylor continue to send information prompting updates to various bar pages, including: 1000 East, Leaded Shade, Riviera, Royal Hotel bars, and Tazzbah. (December 2018)
    Bar page updates Michail Takach and Jamie Taylor continue to send information prompting updates to various bar pages, including: Lost and Found, Leaded Shade, Red Corvette, Factory, M&M Club, Nikos, This Is It, and Red Corvette. (October 2018)
    Bar page updates Michail Takach's continuing research, and Jamie Taylor's Facebook page, continue to yield results of both hard fact and recollections of former employees and patrons. A large number of bar web pages are being updated using information uncovered, including: River Queen, Just Us, This Is It, and Black Nite. (July 2018)
    New book "LGBT Milwaukee" Michail Takach, who has been doing extensive research on early LGBT hangouts and life, has authored a new book titled "LGBT Milwaukee". A large number of bar web pages are being updated using information uncovered for that book, which is being sold as a fundraiser for Milwaukee Pride, Inc. and PrideFest. (August 2016)
    Older and Lesser Known Bars In collaboration with Michail Takach, who is doing extensive research on early LGBT bars and clubs for a book as a fundraiser for the PrideFest History Exhibit, some older and lesser-known or lesser-documented "gay" bars are having their web pages either updated or created where they hadn't previously existed. These include: Alex's; Cheri's Back East; Belmont Hotel Coffee Shop; Bridgeport; Bourbon Beat; Buckskin Inn; Castaways; The Fox Bar; Gay 90's; Gaytime Bar; Godfrey's 1800; Grand Prix; Legion Bar; Loop Cafe; Mickey's Cove; New Yorker Lounge; Nite Beat (3 locations); Pink Glove; Pink Pony; Plains Hotel Bar; Prologue; Regency East; Tony's Riviera; The Rooster; Seaway; German's Wildwood; and White Horse Inn. (December 2015-February 2016)
    Amazon Covers The full run of Amazon is now available online as a digital archive. The project was undertaken by Independent Voices, a web site subtitled "An Open Access Collection of an Alternative Press". The issues scanned are from the archives of ALFA, Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance, Atlanta, GA 30309. The Amazon Cover Gallery on this web site has select pages from a few issues native on this site, but each cover also has a link to the new digital issue on the "Independent Voices" site. (February 2014)
    2014 There have been no major sections added to the web site recently. The webmaster has been working several consulting jobs and been very busy. However, there are regular additions, corrections, and improvements made incrementally on a continual basis. For example, new issues of Milwaukee Calendar, Gay Milwaukee, and Escape magazine have been added as a result of an individual who loaned those issues to us. Please send correspondence to the Webmaster any time to submit information on a person, place, or organization.(January 2014)
    2012 Anniversaries 2012 is a year when Milwaukee and Wisconsin celebrate several anniversaries. It marks the 30th anniversary of Wisconsin's landmark Gay Rights bill becoming law. Originally known as AB70, with its signing into law in 1982, Wisconsin was the first state in the country to ban discrimination for sexual orientation. Also 2012 marks the 25th PrideFest, Milwaukee's trend-setting pride celebration. Although pride celebrations occurred prior to 1988, that was the first year of a central group coordinating the city's Gay Pride celebration. This is also the year that the Cream City Foundation celebrates its 30th anniversary, approaching a third of a century of grant giving to benefit the LGBT community in southeastern Wisconsin.(April 2012)
    PDF versions of publications In order to make more of the contents of historical Wisconsin LGBT publications available to researchers, as well as casual browsers, many of the scans of publication pages are being copied into text-searchable PDF files. In most cases, these PDF files are being added to the existing HTML views of publication issues, so users of the site can view a publication either by HTML or PDF. Google and other search engines should also be able to search and index both types of viewables. Some of the publications already converted to PDF are: Milwaukee Calendar (1978-80); Gay Milwaukee (1981); Ragg (1983); some In Steps (1984-2003); and all Pride Guides (1990+). (Due to OCR recognition technology, text derived via OCR can make much more content accessible to searches; but it has the tradeoff of being reliant on the accuracy of the OCR operation- which for some scans is less than desirable.) (June 2011)
    PrideFest updates With the 25th annual Pride celebration in Milwaukee approaching just a year away, we are updating all of the PrideFest pages, and especially the PrideFest Timeline, to show the annual ups and downs but overall progress in Pride celebrations over the years. You can see where each Pride celebration in Milwaukee was held year to year, information about any parades, the special events or new features at each PrideFest, and how attendance has grown from year to year. Also view each year's Pride Guide and see news articles and ads from each year's PrideFest. (April 2011)
    Chuck Cicirello Chuck Cicirello (known to many as Chuck Balistreri) was one of the most prolific bar owners and managers in Milwaukee's history. In addition to at least a half dozen other bars, he opened and ran one of Milwaukee's most legendary bars, The Factory, from 1973 to 1982: it was not only the largest gay bar Milwaukee had ever seen, it was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the beginning and height of the disco craze. Chuck died in February 2011; read about his history and contributions to the GLBT community in Milwaukee and Wisconsin. (February 2011)
    InStep and Quest excerpts Issues of InStep, Quest, and other periodicals continue to be actively scanned and indexed. Emphasis is to scan issues from 10, 15, 20, and 25 years ago; as well as the occasional special project. (A current special project is to better document Pride celebrations throughout the state in the 1970s and 1980s.) When viewing Cover Galleries of any publication, click on the words "view pages" below any cover to see actual pages from that issue. (July 2010)
    Bar Photos and Recollections Jamie Taylor and Josie Carter have been collecting a wealth of photos from inside bars in the 1960s through 1980s. Included are photos taken at 1100-Club, Ballgame, Beer Garden, Black Nite, Castaways, C'est la Vie, Factory, Mint Bar, Napalese Lounge (Green Bay), Phoenix, Rooster, Stud Club, Ten Hundred East, and Your Place. Those have been added to the appropriate web pages. (September 2009)
    Recollections on Restaurants Jamie Taylor has collected and organized recollections of restaurants of the past from several people. Included are tidbits of information about Ski Glow Cafe and Dirty Helen, Walkers Point Cafe, and the Loop Cafe. Those have been added to the appropriate web pages. (August 2009)
    Gregg Fitzpatrick info Jamie Taylor has exchanged emails with Harbor Room owner Gregg Fitzpatrick, documenting the background of how that bar came to be, as well as Gregg's history in the community. (August 2009)
    Northeast Wisconsin History Project The Northeast Wisconsin LGBT History Project hosted its first ever History Display at Pride Alive 2009 in Joannes Park, Green Bay. The Project focuses on gay and lesbian history in the Northeast Wisconsin and the Fox Valley area: an area roughly defined by Green Bay, Appleton and Sheboygan, and the surrounding area. This page documents the project and their first display. (July 2009)


    Credits: website concept, design and content by Don Schwamb.
    Last updated: March-2023.

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