Chicago Music Venues in Trubbs?

May 13, 2008

Dear Anyone Who Cares about Culture in Chicago,

On Wednesday 5/14, Chicago City Council is planning on (quickly and quietly) voting on an ordinance that would “severely impede small music venues from hosting and promoting live music.”

The ordinance would require all venues with a capacity of over 100 people to:

  • Purchase an event promoter license that could cost as much as $2000 every two years
  • Possess liability insurance of $300,000.
  • Subject the possesor of the license/insurance to finger-printing and background checks.

The idea is to crack down on illegal promoters and make venues safer for the public, but the steps involved seem poorly thought-out, and hastily assembled.

The new ordinance will make it even more difficult for DIY promoters,and smaller/non-established venues to put on a performance (be it music, theatre or art) without some very expensive regulations.

As written elsewhere, “It could effectively nullify Chicago’s music scene, fracture our creative communities and send young artists to other cities that are more supportive of local […] events.”

From Sun Time music critic Jim DeRogatis’ blog:

“’The language of the ordinance as drafted unnecessarily and perhaps prohibitively increases the cost of doing business for any promoter seeking to work with PPA- [public place of amusement] licensed music venues, including, among many others, Schubas, Buddy Guy’s Legends, the Vic Theater, the Riviera Theater, the Metro, the Hideout, Uncommon Ground and Martyrs,’ said Alligator Records founder and CMC board member Bruce Iglauer.”

Spread the word, call your Alderman, do whatever but DO IT FAST please.

Gracias,

-B

Find your Alderman here: http://www.chicityclerk.com/citycouncil/alderman/find.html

Offical Website: http://savechicagoculture. org/

Jim DeRo’s Blog: http://blogs.suntimes.com/derogatis/2008/05/update_musical_advocates_gear.html

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Wilco Watch 2008

February 19, 2008

(originally on URChicago here.)

Did you know that Wilco loves Chicago and Chicago loves Wilco? It’s true! If you’ve been holed up for the week not reading, nor internet-ing and just concentrating on staying warm, you may not be aware the Jeff Tweedy & Co. have pledged to perform every song they’ve ever written in a five-day stint at The Riv. Don’t you love ambition?!

This is very exciting for half the fans of Wilco who have followed the rock pioneers since their twangy debut and describe them as “alt-country” (whatever that means). It’s also exciting for the other half of their fans that prefer the more-recent tangential works like Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, A Ghost is Born and Sky Blue Sky and describe them as “po-mo” (whatever that means).


(Nels Cline eking out a sweet “Impossible Germany” solo)

Though, if any modern band is up to this challenge, it’s Wilco. The band’s showmanship is as renowned as their songbook and so far the performances haven’t disappointed. The early shows, according to my pal Ruthie, focused heavily on the aforementioned “late period”. But, those ravenous (and computer-literate!) Wilco fans are tracking the set lists compulsively. Here’s a pie chart that would impress any indie rock chart-maker:


(Charts from WilcoBase.com)

During their stint Andrew Bird has stopped by twice to give a ‘lil whistle and a ‘lil fiddle and whoever else pops in for the last two shows is anyone’s guess. Though, I would guess it won’t be any artists Tweedy has dismissed from Wilco Island over the years: Ken Coomer, Max Johnston, Brian Henreman, Bob Egan, Jay Bennett, Leroy Bach. Jay Farrar’s prolly not stopping by either.