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Chicago’s Boystown May Soon Be Site Of Reality Show

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Pride Parade 2008

The Chicago Gay Pride Parade in 2008. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Could the Boystown strip on Halsted Street soon be the setting for a new reality TV show?

The ball is already rolling, according to several reports. ChicagoPride.com says an open casting call was held over the weekend at the bar Scarlet, 3320 N. Halsted St., for a new reality show about Boystown.

Producers from “The Real World” and the Logo TV program “A-List” were among those conducting interviews for the casting call, ChicagoPride.com reported.

The Web site reports executive producer Dave Schlessinger wants to highlight what he calls the “beauty, cultural and artistic qualities” of the Boystown neighborhood, as well as the “fun, crazy and wild people” who live and play there.

The Chicago Tribune RedEye reported Schlessinger and his team first held a pre-casting party for Halsted Street GLBT club scene regulars between the ages of 21 and 25, then invited the top candidates back for a private casting call on Saturday.

The name of the reality TV program will be simply, “Boystown,” the RedEye and ChicagoPride.com say.

The planned reality show is a hot topic on the Boystown Facebook page, which polled readers on which Boystown bar’s staff the reality TV team should follow. Scarlet, the site of the casting call, got the most votes at 294, followed in a close second by Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted St., with 289 votes, and finally, Minibar at 3339 N. Halsted St. with 54 votes.

If the project goes ahead, it will be the only reality TV show called “Boystown,” but not the only reality show anywhere.

The firm Junction Entertainment produces a Web-only reality show called “Boystown,” which places seven gay men together in a house for one week in the gay enclave of West Hollywood, Calif., outside Los Angeles.

And on top of that, Chicago and West Hollywood might soon both have not only dueling “Boystown” reality shows, but dueling Boystown neighborhoods too.

The City of West Hollywood wants to rename a stretch of its busy Santa Monica Boulevard between La Cienega and Robertson boulevards “Historic Boystown.” In an essay called “Boystown for Everybody,” backers of the an official designation in West Hollywood acknowledge the Chicago Boystown, as the only official community using the name. But they say West Hollywood deserves a Boystown too.

The Chicago Boystown became the nation’s first official gay community in 1997. It is marked by rainbow-ringed art-deco pylons along Halsted Street between Belmont Avenue and Grace Street.

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