Actual athletic events were played in venues scattered throughout Chicago and its suburbs, all participating in the Gay Games through special permissive votes in their respective town or village councils. Cultural events included concerts and performances by the likes of Cyndi Lauper, Margaret Cho, Megan Mullally, among others added to the festival's feel and charm. Contemporary artists also provided exhibitions as part of the Gay Games.
Cyndi Lauper sings at Gay Games VII's Closing Ceremony at Wrigley Field.
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Soldier Field hosted the opening ceremonies of Gay Games VII.
The concept for Opening Ceremony, conceived and directed by Kile Ozier [kileozier.com], was to tell the parallel stories of the evolution of the GLBT Community as community and as individuals; giving it a global context and relevance. The four acts represent the four stages of this evolutionary process as envisioned by the Director: Exclusion - that moment when we discover that we may not fit into the world as we might have thought, growing up...the moment of discovery of difference; Oppression - the manifestation and formalization of the dynamic initiated in Exclusion...homophobia, gay bashing, contemplation and execution of suicide out of despair...ending with the embracing of self and the beginnings of hope; Expression - the power of community and standing up for oneself, of coming out of the closet, finding Like Others, celebration of individuality and difference within even our own communities; Ignition - the taking of all this powerful energy and philosophy and lighting the world with the ideals of enlightenment and acceptance.
At the midway point of the Ceremony was the "Exhortation to a Weary Army," a reinvigoration to the community in the worldwide fight against AIDS, given from the AIDS Memorial Quilt, and tribute to Tom Waddell, the founder of the global Gay Sports movement and the Gay Games.
The ceremony took place on July 15, 2006 in Chicago's Soldier Field and consisted of five parts: