Spreading the Word

Thank you to everyone who’s sharing the story of ART AND PEP. Check back here for news and updates about our filmmaking efforts.


At its core, Art and Pep is an inspiring reminder of what the LGBTQ+ community can be at its best, and a tribute to the vital role that our cherished bars continue to have at the centre of it.


The entire ART AND PEP team is thrilled to announce the film’s world premiere, taking place at Outfest on Sunday, July 17 at 11:00 am. Like Sidetrack, this year is Outfest’s 40th anniversary and we can’t think of a better film festival to share this love story on the big screen for the very first time.


'In finding each other we started developing power': A look at Midwest’s largest gay bar

At 40 years old, Sidetrack is a social and political force,and its owners are the subject of a new documentary.


Chicago Pride History Makers: Art Johnston And Pepe Peña, Founders Of Sidetrack Bar And Advocates For Justice

Art Johnston and José “Pepe” Peña were just two guys who met at a bar and fell in love. The problem was that society had a problem with them. 


‘Carrying The Torch’: How Sidetrack Owners Paved The Way For Chicago’s Gay Community

When Art Johnston moved to Chicago to finish his graduate degree in the 1970s, he said he only planned on staying a year. Then he met the love of his life: José Pepe Peña.


‘Sidetrack’: décadas de diversión, amor y activismo en la comunidad gay

Pepe y Art son los dueños de la discoteca ‘sidetrack’ y conocidos líderes de Chicago por los derechos de la comunidad LGBTQ.


A Love Story That Birthed an Iconic Gay Bar and a Lifetime of Activism

Chicago activist and bar owner Art Johnston and his partner in life and business, Pepe Peña, star in the upcoming film Art and Pep.


'Art and Pep' spotlights the life and love of Chicago civil rights leaders

'ART AND PEP is the love story behind the long battle to love – and live – freely,' says director Mercedes Kane


Upcoming Film ‘Art And Pep’ Tells Decades-Long Love Story Behind LGBTQ Bar Sidetrack — And The Fight For Gay Rights In Chicago

The documentary chronicles the 40-year relationship of LGBTQ civil rights leaders Art Johnston and Pepe Peña, owners of Sidetrack in Lakeview.