Photo Collection

Personal photo album of a special appearance by Bea Arthur while her visit to Chicago.

These are my most treasured photos because I took them myself. Some are not the greatest shots, because I was just snapping away… but they are all priceless to me!

I was very fortunate to get two opportunities to see Bea out and about in Chicago… thanks to the friends who tipped me off that Bea would be appearing at a select, few bars. I did miss her appearance at the Cubs game, however, I took some screenshots from the local news.


Here’s Bea at Sidetracks, a local gay video bar that is just down the street from me. This was the best experience of them all for me. It was Monday, May, 21st, 2001, the night before her opening show here in Chicago. I was also lucky to sit just a few feet away from her table. Of course, the best part was meeting and talking with her for a reasonable amount of time! She was so delightful!

This is the one and the only picture of Bea and I have taken, but so treasured. I think my shit grin says it all. There is a story behind this photo. My boyfriend, Matthew, had the digital camera ready at all times to take a picture of the two of us. However, when digital cameras are on too long, they automatically turn off. So, of course, at the exact time that I ask if I could have a picture could be taken, the camera shut off. Bea turned to me and said if he doesn’t take the picture soon, she’ll prune! As Matthew frantically tried to get the camera back on, Bea reached out and shouted, “take the fucking picture!” As always with her impeccable timing, the camera snapped this photo at the exact moment she screamed it! It was truly Bea!


Bea was still laughing after that when I took the picture of Matthew and Bea together. Matthew was proud that he was cussed out by Ms. Bea Arthur!


Here are a couple of other pictures I got when she was announcing to the crowd to come to see her at her show. The response from the crowd was overwhelming! I’m sure everyone there went because Billy said that ‘god will get you’ if you don’t!


Here are some screen captures that I got off from the video that I took when she was announcing. The video was only about a minute long, being that she speaks for herself by her presents, and didn’t have a lot to tell everyone.

These photos were from the Cubs game on May 27th, where she sang, “Take me out to the ball game”, during the 7th inning. I wasn’t fortunate enough to be there, however, I did grab these still from the local news.

After seeing Bea’s show for the 3rd time on her closing night here in Chicago, we darted out of the venue and ran to her dressing trailer that was parked outside. Soon, a crowd formed, waiting for Bea to appear. Knowing that Bea would be going to another local gay cabaret soon after, I knew that she wouldn’t have time for people to come in and visit with her as she does sometimes. However, she did come out and greet everyone warmly. The crowd sang the theme to the golden girls to her when she was inside, so when someone asked if she liked their singing, she asked everyone to sing it again! Bea then signed people’s pamphlets from the show, while I snapped these photos:

About 30 minutes from outside her dressing trailer, she walked into Voltaires, where we were waiting for her ahead (thank god for city cab drivers… they get you to your destination FAST!)

Here is Billy getting settled in:


This is the cabaret troupe performing for Bea, as she sits at her table, drinking her vodka on the rocks!


After the troupe’s performance, Bea gets up and performs a number from her show, “Some People”. Now, this was after a few drinks, and boy did she get into it! I thought for a second that she was going to hurt herself :)

Bea sings ‘Some People’ at Voltaire’s in Chicago

my mom trying to get Bea to sign a photo of my as a kid :)


The last time I saw Bea in Chicago :( But it won’t be the last time ever!!


 These pics were sent to me from Jessica in Springfield, Illinois that was with me when Bea was outside of her dressing trailer here in Chicago on May 31st, 2001… thanks for the pics… love Bea’s facial expressions!!