LGBTQ dance party goes digital amid coronavirus pandemic

Ryan Chiaverini Image
Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Chicago dance party keeps going amid COVID-19 pandemic
One Chicago event organizer is keeping the party going in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Slo 'Mo party is a monthly get-together that celebrates Chicago's LGBTQ community. There was no get-together this month, but also no problem - they got creative and still captured that party spirit.

"Slo 'Mo is joyful, it's family, it's inclusive, it's fun, it's movement, it's dance, it's energy, it's hope," said Kristen Kaza, who co-founded and produces the event.

Slo 'Mo is short for "Slow Jams for Queer Fam." Now in its ninth year, the party's purpose is to celebrate the city's LGBTQ community. Slo 'Mo is held on the third Thursday of every month.

"This month's party was a really new one," Kaza said.

Slo 'Mo organizers adapted March's event in accordance with CDC guidelines about social distancing and Illinois Governor JB Pritzker's stay-at-home order.

"We called it 'Slo 'Mo From Homo,' and it was held in my living room and we live streamed it on both Facebook and Instagram from our account, @SloMoParty," Kaza said. "It was incredible. We had over 5,000 people tune in but I think it still had all the energy, vivaciousness and affirmation that Slo 'Mo parties usually have but we had it happening in homes across the world instead this time."

Kaza is still going through all the feedback on social media. Knowing that many are taking a financial hit as a result of the novel Coronavirus crisis, Kaza said organizers "wanted to be able to get some people paid," so they set up ticket prices on a sliding scale on the event's website and accepted donations via Venmo.

If experts advise to stay home again next month, the party will continue from home, Kaza said.

"Everything that's happening right now is obviously day by day," Kaza said. "I think we definitely want to have more in the future, having more livestreams so we can make parties and events more accessible to people who can't be there."