Capitol - Your Illinois News Radar » Awake Illinois, Keith Pekau team up to halt library’s drag bingo event
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Awake Illinois, Keith Pekau team up to halt library’s drag bingo event

Thursday, Sep 1, 2022 - Posted by Rich Miller

* No taxpayer resources are being used for the event, the Daily Herald reports. Keith Pekau press release

The Downers Grove Public Library has announced a drag performance planned as part of a “Drag Queen Bingo” event on Tuesday, Oct. 11 at the library. The event is targeted to children in grades 7-12.

Keith Pekau, Mayor of Orland Park and GOP nominee for Congress (IL-06), released the following statement in response: “I join parents across the district in denouncing this event, just as I would denounce a library introducing kids to straight sex by holding a burlesque show. To be clear, I have no interest in regulating the private, consensual activities and decisions of adults. This event, however, targets children. It’s inappropriate, and an unacceptable use of taxpayer funds.

“Furthermore, I call on Sean Casten to join me – as a public official and as a father – in denouncing this inappropriate event and unacceptable use of public resources.”

Casten says he supports the event.

* Proft paper

Awake Illinois has issued a call of action and started an email campaign in its drive against a child-friendly drag show scheduled at Downers Grove Public Library.

The parent rights group raised the issue of the appropriateness of a “Drag Queen Bingo” show to be held at the Downers Grove Public Library on Oct. 11. The event is to be hosted by drag queen Aurora Devine.

Awake IL is suggesting concerned community members engage in an email writing campaign and attend the next Downers Grove Library Board Meeting Wednesday, Sept. 28 at 7:30 p.m.

“The last thing I want is for our community children to be exposed to sexually charged content simply because they visited their local library. Lewd adult content doesn’t belong at a public library event for any age group,” an Awake Illinois form letter reads. “As a taxpayer and concerned citizen, I urge the Downers Grove Library to cancel the event and discipline the staff involved in planning and hosting the event. Additionally, I request a response to questions on why this event allowed minors to register, provide their contact information and share their grade level without parental notification.”

* The event is completely booked

The library says registration is full, and that there’s now a waiting list. The library says it’s gotten lots of feedback and questions from the community about the program, but insisted that the performance will be age-appropriate and has been discussed at length with librarians specially trained and educated to work with teens.


The event falls on National Coming Out Day on Oct. 11. Supporters have praised the library for its dedication to diversity and inclusion, while some—including Orland Park mayor and GOP candidate for that congressional district Keith Pekau—have called the event inappropriate and unacceptable use of taxpayer funds.

* Daily Herald

The gathering also has been condemned by Awake Illinois, a Naperville-based group that has made queerphobic social media posts and encouraged people to protest a recent drag show at a Lake in the Hills bakery.

The group’s government affairs director, former GOP lieutenant governor candidate Kathleen Murphy, handles communications for Pekau’s campaign.

Neither Pekau nor Awake Illinois leaders have responded to interview requests. […]

Library officials are speaking with Downers Grove police about extra security.

* ABC 7

The library announced it would host an event on October 11 called Drag Bingo, set to coincide with National Coming Out Day. The event is geared toward seventh to 12th grade students.

“We want to create a safe environment where teens can see difference being celebrated first-hand with a performance that is accessible and age-appropriate,” said Julie Milavec, director of the Downers Grove Public Library.

According to library officials, the event will include a drag queen hosting a bingo game, who will then offer a brief performance where they will lip sync Katy Perry’s song “Rainbow.”


  1. - Nathan - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 10:49 am:

    The library is hosting this event for the people of the community. Not everyone needs/wants all of the programs the library is hosting, but this is a relevant event to some. This event is no more “sexualized” than if the library was hosting a fashion show.

  2. - Commissar Gritty - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 10:50 am:

    Are we still pretending that Awake Illinois is anything other than low-rent Proud Boys?

    Don’t want your kids to meet drag queens? Don’t bring your kids to meet drag queens. These people act like their doors are getting kicked in.

  3. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 10:54 am:

    –sexually charged content–

    If clothes are sexually charged to Keith, it might be time for Keith and a professional to sit down and address these internal thoughts.

  4. - rtov - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:03 am:

    Just call it a fashion show.

  5. - vern - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:04 am:

    Public libraries are one of the most popular government programs ever devised. Attacking them is beyond bad strategy, it’s loser performance art. It’s almost dadaist. Are these knuckleheads ever going to try to win votes?

  6. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:07 am:

    Don’t want to see or have your children see drag queens? Don’t go see them. There, that’s easy.

  7. - H-W - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:10 am:

    If the library were to host an Awake Illinois event, I would be offended by the content of the meeting, and not attend. If the library were to host an Illinois Family Institute event, I would be offended by the content of the event and not attend. But I would respect the right of such bigots to meet and discuss their beliefs about inequality.

  8. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:10 am:

    When exactly is the ILGOP going to focus on the kitchen table issues that they claim voters care about the most?

  9. - bogey golfer - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:10 am:

    The Daily Herald says an anonymous donor is now funding the event, so the claim taxpayers are being used won’t hold water.

  10. - A Well-Regulated Commenter - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:15 am:

    Hate groups used to have the decency to hide behind pseudonyms and PO boxes /s -/s

  11. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:16 am:

    Isn’t freedom also the freedom to not attend or be forced to attend things?

    Like, I’m not forced to attend any Awake Illinois events, yet, I’m guessing they… happen?

    It’s confusing, freedom, to some.

  12. - Jocko - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:20 am:

    ::insert .gif here of Elton John telling Pekau to lighten up::

    Someone should tell Ward Cleaver that burlesque dancers have been on America’s Got Talent.

  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:21 am:

    Here’s an idea. If people don’t like it then don’t go.

  14. - Bud's Bar Stool - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:32 am:

    Had no idea that, as a straight male, I should be taking in more burlesque.

    But seriously, some earnest reporter really should ask him: “So Keith, exactly how often do you sneak into your basement, turn down the lights and watch gladiator movies?”

  15. - Sonny - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:33 am:

    Thanks for covering the Awake IL harassment campaigns here. There is some toxic synergy happening where they incite people and try to walk away like they are completely innocent. Not only are they twisted and hateful, they are completely cowards.

  16. - Louis G Atsaves - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:47 am:

    ===No taxpayer resources are being used for the event, the Daily Herald reports.===

    Uh, the event is being held at the public library. A taxpayer resource.

    I made no comments as to the appropriateness of the event at that location. My usual answer is to just stay home or turn the channel if watching on TV if you don’t care for it.

  17. - Techie - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 11:53 am:

    The entire point of libraries is to provide a community space to where people can express and explore all kinds of expression/ideas.

    If you don’t want your kids exposed to this kind of expression, don’t bring your kids. But clearly a lot of families want to attend this kind of event.

    Today’s GOP is pitiful.

  18. - Rational dad - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:02 pm:

    This will be in schools next year and you all will be saying, but parents can opt out. Bookmark it.

  19. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:04 pm:

    ===This will be in schools next year and you all will be saying, but parents can opt out. Bookmark it.===

    What is this blathering.

    Use your words.

  20. - City Zen - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:05 pm:

    Has the drag queen pai gow tournament been rescheduled as well?

  21. - Because I said so.... - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:08 pm:

    It must be sad to go through life being afraid of people who are different from you.

  22. - Roadrager - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:08 pm:

    ==When exactly is the ILGOP going to focus on the kitchen table issues that they claim voters care about the most?==

    Three or four million people are being told every night for three solid hours that this is an imminent threat to American society, as if a tactical drag queen team is going to bust down their door and start dancing on their kitchen table. It’s not even about expanding that bubble, I think, just sustaining it. And if the occasional bakery gets its windows busted out, or the occasional children’s hospital gets a bomb threat, well, that’s just personal responsibility. Lone wolves. Can’t blame us for that.

    They’ll keep coming for the books, too.

  23. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:11 pm:

    =Uh, the event is being held at the public library. A taxpayer resource.=

    Not even close to what some might deem “legitimate political discourse” at our taxpayer funded U.S. Capitol. And for a party that’s fond of quite publicly proclaiming “lets go Brandon” and “JB S#$*ks” I would say, don’t get your panties in a bunch (pun intended).

  24. - Jerry - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:13 pm:

    I wonder if Mrs Doubtfire will get banned?

  25. - Dotnonymous - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:22 pm:

    Humans remain most afraid of their own shadow…pity.

  26. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:38 pm:

    “Keith, do you like movies about gladiators?”

    And come to think of it “Awake Illinois” remind me of a slogan used in the 1930’s in a certain European country that also campaigned about ‘degeneracy’ in their party platform..only they would have said it as “Illinois Awakened” and worn brown uniforms…naw, can’t happen here.

  27. - DirtLawyer - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    I am a library trustee. While I don’t see this program coming to our district anytime soon, if our director and staff saw a need and recommended it, I would back them. Whether or not it — or any program — is something I would attend is beside the point. Libraries are supposed to serve all of the community.

    I wonder where Pekau was when libraries were stocking dozens of copies of Fifty Shades of Grey? The Orland Park library has had enough issues of its own over the years than to start worrying about Downers Grove.

  28. - Norseman - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:42 pm:

    I object to Awake Illinois. Can we ban them too?

  29. - Donnie Elgin - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:55 pm:

    The Daily Herald says an anonymous donor is now funding the event, so the claim taxpayers are being used won’t hold water”

    Focusing only on the funding here - I would assume they have a regular “program” budget line and professional librarian staff that select programs on behalf of the community. I would further guess they have someone in charge of Adult/Teen/Kids programs. The program cost and the salary budget line item are typically highlighted in a public document or budget that must be passed once a year. Residents can attend that Board meeting with concern about how taxpayer dollars are used. Offering this program that is not paid for by the library budget but by a donation seems to bring two things to mind A taxpayer would have not even the ability to review the funding for these types of events if they were funded via donations, and secondly, if this group can offer to pay for a program I assume that they would allow other groups to pay for programs as well. Lastly if a group that donates for the program- is it automatically green lighted ? Or are staff that normally plan/schedule programs consulted and can they say no?

  30. - Old time Independent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 12:57 pm:

    Not at all surprised by Pekau taking this stance. The village is being sued by a former employee who was physically abused while working for the Parks and Recreation department. I will not mention his name out of respect for him and his family. The young man is gay and appeared at a board meeting and questioned Pekau on his lack of enforcement over masks. Pekau at the meeting referred to the young man as Village public enemy number one. A few days later he was attacked and abused while working. The person who attacked him was promoted and not disciplined the young man was fired.
    These are all facts and people should feel free to check into it.

  31. - Sangamo Girl - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 1:01 pm:

    ==if our director and staff saw a need and recommended it, I would back them==
    You mean you hire qualified professionals who both understand the issues and what is appropriate for their community and audience? And then take their recommendations? I didn’t think we did that any more.

  32. - Downers Grove Republican - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 1:28 pm:

    Pekau is just doing the bidding of his handler, Jeanne Ives, who has a long-standing hatred for transgender people. This Awake IL garbage is funded by her Breakthrough Ideas, and her toadie Kathleen Murphy sits on Awake’s board and also is Pekau’s communications director. Awake IL gave Pekau some “award” last spring, and Pekau is golf buddies with Awake’s founder’s husband.

    I’d be seriously worried about this Pekau guy, except that he is circling the bowl in polls.

  33. - Deja Vu All Over Again - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 1:53 pm:

    Ives crashed and burned when she launched that “Thanks Bruce Rauner” commercial in 2018. Now she is advising Pekau just the same.

  34. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 1:56 pm:

    ===Ives crashed and burned when===

    Ives lost, was never leading, and solidified the base’s distain for Rauner, guaranteeing that Rauner had no base come November.

    You think Ives failed… what was the goal of the exercise?

  35. - ArchPundit - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:07 pm:

    Why do these people hate Milton Berle so much?

  36. - Mary Poppins - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:22 pm:

    Oh so this is a Jeanne Ives production? Since harassing elementary school students going into school didnt get her “cause” picked up by the national media, I guess she thinks this is her ticket?

  37. - Ares - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:36 pm:

    Mayor Pekau is notorious for agitating against other mayors / local officials (such as Orland Park City Council resolutions calling for the removal of Cook Co. States Atty Foxx), while ignoring the issues in his own village.

  38. - Roadrager - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:39 pm:

    Awake’s Shannon Adcock has visions of the Naperville mayor’s office dancing in her head, apparently after a commission appointment from the current mayor was violently canceled by the Woke Mob.

    If you live in DuPage County, look for Jeanne Ives and Friends’ clown car rolling through your town this fall. It looks like an ice cream truck, but they’re constantly playing Anita Bryant on the loudspeaker.

  39. - Concerned dad - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:55 pm:

    There are zero concerns in this group (men posting online daily all day long) with grown men dressed in women’s clothing hanging with kids on tax paper dollars. Fascinating.

  40. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 2:59 pm:

    - Concerned dad -

    You’ve yet to declare what you concern is exactly.

    You’ve got the trolling down cold, lol

  41. - Rich Miller - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:00 pm:

    ===grown men dressed in women’s clothing hanging with kids on tax paper dollars===

    One person doing a supervised presentation for teens at a library, paid for with private money. Maybe take a breath.

  42. - TheInvisibleMan - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:04 pm:

    –with grown men dressed in women’s clothing hanging with kids–

    I’m sorry to hear your childhood was deprived of the movie “Labyrinth”.

  43. - LakeCo - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:21 pm:

    grown men dressed in women’s clothing
    So? What about this, exactly, is making you clutch your pearls?
    Brad Pitt wore a skirt to his last movie premiere.

  44. - Ron Burgundy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:23 pm:

    - Concerned dad is concerned -

    You’re not paying for it. Don’t go.

  45. - I wonder if Mrs Doubtfire will get banned? - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:34 pm:

    “I wonder if [fill in blank] will get banned?”

    - Bird Cage
    - To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
    - Kinky Boots

    Just to name a few drag queen movies in which very well known and strong male actors dress in drag.

  46. - Old time Independent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:40 pm:

    Strange how Pekau is upset over this but still endorsed his good friend Sean Morrison for County Commissioner even after Morrison kept a accused Pedophile on his payroll for two years. Then the Pedophile tried to hook up with 15 year old in Colorado while working for Morrison. Google Mark Brown / Sean Morrison/ Anthony Martin.
    I suggest Mayor Pekau get his priorities in line before running for Congress

  47. - chitruth - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:42 pm:

    Wow, the left-leaning tilt of Rich’s subscribers is in full evidence here. One doesn’t have to be a right winger to wonder if it makes sense for a public institution to sponsor a drag show where children will attend. It gives the weight of adult authority to a way of dressing that is not exactly mainstream or accepted. Not many drag queens walking the streets of Downers Grove, or working in the banks, cafes, or law firms, I suspect. There’s plenty of time for kids to learn about this when they grow up.

  48. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:46 pm:

    ===It gives the weight of adult authority to a way of dressing that is not exactly mainstream or accepted===

    So you’re saying hate is acceptable in Downers Grove, forcing others to fear to be different?

    That’s an odd self-own

  49. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:54 pm:


    Are you a subscriber?

    What makes you assume everyone subscribed, especially if you don’t.

    ===I suspect===

    So you don’t know. Speaking from ignorance?

  50. - MisterJayEm - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 3:56 pm:

    “There are zero concerns in this group (men posting online daily all day long) with grown men dressed in women’s clothing hanging with kids on tax paper dollars. Fascinating.”

    Your fascination with this subject is well established.

    – MrJM

  51. - Demoralized - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 4:20 pm:

    ==It gives the weight of adult authority to a way of dressing that is not exactly mainstream or accepted==

    Just because you don’t accept it doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be accepted.

    And if you don’t like it then don’t go. Your problem with it is solved.

  52. - Old time Independent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 5:40 pm:

    Ted Slowik from Chicago Tribune just wrote a blistering article on this it’s a must read

  53. - Pundent - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 6:27 pm:

    =There’s plenty of time for kids to learn about this when they grow up.=

    So we’re now in the business of determining what and when other parents choose to clue their kids in on things? I appreciate your concern but I’m fully capable of knowing what my kid can or can’t handle.

  54. - thisjustinagain - Thursday, Sep 1, 22 @ 6:43 pm:

    “I like to wear women’s clothing, and hang around libraries”. (Parody of Monty Python’s Lumberjack Song).

    The Awake Illinois folks are the complaint letters shown after the sketch (even in the German version).

  55. - Da big bad wolf - Friday, Sep 2, 22 @ 8:53 am:

    Why do people lose it when men dress as women but not if a woman dresses like a man? Anyone?

  56. - Just Me 2 - Friday, Sep 2, 22 @ 10:22 am:

    So when Robin Williams does a drag movie it is adorable, but when others do it they are immoral? K, that makes sense. Got it.

Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.

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