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Concerts Return To Millennium Park With Divas Through The Decades, A Queer-Led Celebration Of Women In Music

LGBTQ+ party Slo 'Mo will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the first concert in Millennium Park since the pandemic began. A video montage will highlight milestones people were unable to celebrate due to the pandemic. 

Akenya will headline Divas Through The Decades, covering songs by Janet Jackson, Whitney Houston and more.
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THE LOOP — The Millennium Park Summer Music Series returns to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion on Aug. 2 for its first concert since the pandemic started, and Slo ‘Mo is kicking it off.

Slo ‘Mo, the legendary LGBTQ+ party collective, will celebrate its 10th anniversary at the kickoff event, themed Divas Through the Decades. A 12-piece band assembled and directed by multi-genre artist Akenya will cover queer anthems from the 1970s onward. 

“It feels really powerful that we are kicking off the series with music that is all women powered,” said Kristen Kaza, Slo ‘Mo’s founder and event producer. “We’re talking about how that music is intrinsically connected with queer legacy and culture.” 

Kaza said the theme creates space for a highly celebratory event that also spans decades, catering to a wide audience. 

“This show is really a dedication to those divas that carried this music, which has been such an important part of our history since the 1970s,” Kaza said. “There will be disco, hip hop and house …. starting with Diana Ross and going all the way to Robyn. I think there’s really something for everyone.”

The show starts at 6 p.m and is free and open to all ages. 

Credit: Provided by Kristen Kaza
The Slo ‘Mo concert event poster, “Divas Through the Decades”

Akenya, the show’s musical director, will MC and perform in the 12-piece ensemble, which will cover the likes of Whitney Houston, Cher, Janet Jackson and more. 

“I hope that [the show] gives people something that they can feel like is a bright spot. Something fun, festive and celebratory amidst so much of the gloom and chaos that’s been so pervasive the past year,” Akenya said. “I think that’s why we went in the direction we went in for the theme … something that is very dance-centric, very upbeat, very uplifting. Basically a party of sorts for the whole city of Chicago to be able to come to and enjoy.”

In addition to a show through the decades by Akenya and the band, there will be opening performances by DJ VITIGRRL and folk duo Mermaid

Ahead of the festivities on Aug. 2, Slo ‘Mo is taking submissions for a video montage that will highlight personal milestones that many people were unable to celebrate due to the pandemic. 

“We’re going to play the photo montage and messages and take a moment to honor them all,” Kaza said.

Those who wish to have a photo or message included in the montage should submit them online by July 28. 

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