Bijou Theater to Host Jack Wrangler Film Festival

CHICAGO—From April 23-26, the Bijou Theater and Sex Club will present a special Spring Spotlight Film Festival showcasing the work of late gay adult star Jack Wrangler. Films to be screened include A Night at the Adonis, Hot House, Sex Machine and Gemini.

The festival also will include a screening of the Male Entertainment Network documentary Jack Wrangler: His Own Words at 8 p.m. each evening.

Wrangler, born John Robert Stillman but better known by his stage name in both adult entertainment and mainstream theater circles, died at age 62 in April 2009. The son of Hollywood insiders, he found early success as a child actor but migrated to porn as an adult after becoming disillusioned with the mainstream film and television industries. By the time he retired from performing in the mid-1980s, he had appeared in 85 gay films and several heterosexual titles. He was the first gay man to brand himself a porn star, the first to perform sexual roles in straight adult films, and one of the first openly gay activists.

After retiring from porn, Wrangler distinguished himself as a writer, composer, director and producer of Broadway musicals, and with his wife, Margaret Whiting, became a tireless patron of the performing arts. Shortly before his death, his life became the subject of an award-winning mainstream documentary, Wrangler: Anatomy of an Icon.

The Bijou began its monthly Spotlight Series in 2007 with a tribute to Wrangler’s adult work.

We had great success and a lot of interest in [the original three] Spotlight screenings, but we were only presenting one title for just one screening per night,” series host David Boyer recalled. “Several patrons voiced a desire to see more than one film per night or said they were unable to attend that particular day. So, we decided to rework this concept into a weekly program.”

The new Spotlight Film Festival format presents a series of films in rotation for the seven-day run, allowing patrons the opportunity to view all four films on the theater’s main screen any day during the festival’s run.

The Bijou Theater is located at 1349 N. Wells St. in Old Town Chicago. Opened in 1970, it is one of the oldest gay movie houses still operating in the U.S. The theater presents contemporary releases each Friday and offers a special Monday Classics program featuring some of the most influential gay porn flicks from the past. Live entertainment at the theater includes monthly shows by the Bijou Boys male dancers and occasional appearances by porn performers. The Theater and the Sex Club upstairs are open 24/7/365.

For more information, visit or call (800) 932-7111.