Bijou Theater (Chicago)

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The Bijou Theater was a gay adult theater and sex club in Chicago's Old Town neighborhood. The Bijou Theater opened in 1970 and it was the longest-running gay adult theater and sex club in the United States.[1] The Bijou Theater featured the "Bijou Classics"—adult films produced by Bijou Video in the 1970s and 80s—every Monday. The theater also hosted live shows including special appearances by porn stars. The theater permanently closed its door on September 30, 2015.[2]



The Bijou Theater featured a 15-by-18-foot silver screen and seats 77 people in anchored, theater-style cushioned seating. The theater's lobby hosted a DVD counter to purchase gay adult films. A desk and computer were set up for patrons who would like to peruse the Bijou's website listing over 14,000 titles. Titles found on the website were then available for purchase at the DVD counter.

Sex club[edit]

The Bijou Theater was widely recognized for its second-floor sex club. Travel magazines implored readers to explore the "gay man's fantasy playground" replete with glory holes, dark corners, and a BDSM dungeon with slings, crosses, and other fetish objects. Guests were invited to rent a locker to store their street clothes and change into their "play clothing." In warm weather, the club opened the Bijou Gardens, an outdoor playground.[3]


The Bijou Theater was owned and operated by American pornographer Steven Toushin. In 1989, at the Adult Video Awards show in Las Vegas Toushin received (while he was in prison) the Reuben Sturman Award "For Legal Battles on Behalf of the Adult Industry". In 2007, at the GayVN award show in San Francisco, Toushin was awarded the "Life Time Achievement Award" from the Gay Adult Industry. He is the 3rd person to ever receive this honor. In the June 2008 AVN (Adult Video News) magazine's 25th anniversary edition Toushin was acknowledged as one of the 25 pioneers who developed the Gay/bi Adult Film Industry. Toushin was inducted into the Founders Branch of the Adult Video News Hall of Fame at the 2009 AVN Award Show in Las Vegas, NV. Other Founders include Phil Harvey and Larry Flynt.

Notable dancers[edit]

  • Ricky Sinz, Raging Stallion Man of the Year for 2009

See also[edit]


  1. ^ U.S. v. Toushin, 714 F.Supp. 1452 at 1454 (M.D.Tenn. April 21, 1989).
  2. ^ "Chicago's Bijou Theater to close Sept. 30 - Gay Lesbian Bi Trans News Archive - Windy City Times". Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  3. ^ Mathrani, Matt (July 2008), Chicago: Big, brawny, friendly, The Guide Retrieved on March 9, 2009.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 41°54′26″N 87°38′04″W / 41.907169°N 87.634319°W / 41.907169; -87.634319