June is Pride Month for the gay community. And this particular Pride comes after a year of pandemic shutdown that has forced a community already adept at fighting for its survival to fight even harder and more creatively than ever. To talk about his struggle and that of the drag performers at his club, John Pepe, owner of Chez Est, joined Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered.
Chez Est bills itself as Hartford’s only LGBTQ restaurant, bar and cabaret -- an assertion that seems to check out upon further scrutiny. If you’re business owner, you might just be inspired by the risky gambit Pepe took during the pandemic -- against all advice -- which ended up being the key to survival for Chez Est.
Pepe also shares his thoughts on why gay bars are disappearing across the country, why this year's Pride celebrations won’t be as good as next year’s, and the increasing commercialization of Pride.