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Art and Pep

  Mercedes Kane

  United States     88 minutes


Art Johnston and Pepe Peña are civil rights leaders whose celebrated gay bar Sidetrack has helped fuel movements and create community on Chicago’s Halsted Street for decades. Bringing together a wealth of archival video footage, photographs, and lively animated sequences, Art and Pep chronicles the story of Sidetrack, beginning with its humble origins in 1982 as a single storefront, and the lives of its proprietors. The couple fought on the frontlines of the AIDS crisis, helped co-found Equality Illinois, and have continued to serve as a beacon for equal rights through the pandemic and beyond. Mercedes Kane (2015 Festival hit Breakfast at Ina’s) returns with another loving tribute to an iconic Chicago establishment and the individuals who have transformed the site into a haven of joy and solidarity.

Screenings & Events

Virtual Screening

Available to stream Oct 13 @ 12:00pm CT through Oct 23 @ 11:59pm CT for a 48-hour watch window. Available in Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin only.

Accessibility options for this screening:
  • Closed Captions
Learn more about accessibility options...


Film Credits

  •   Nate Freyman, Sanghoon Lee
  •   Mercedes Kane
  •   C.J. Arellano
  •   Sanghoon Lee
  •   Arthur Johnston, Jose Pepé Peña, Cleve Jones, Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Rep Greg Harris, Senator Mike Simmons
  •   Fred Kron, Jesse Case
  •   Daisy May Films
  •   https://www.artandpep.org


Documentary Sponsor

Logo: WTTW (2019)

Documentary Patron

Cynthia Stone Raskin

Captioning provided by

Logo: Caption Consulting 164x150