Daley bad for Windy City’s music?

Contrary to my paean to Richard M. Daley’s support of Chicago’s music and arts, Chicago Tribune rock-crit Greg Kot writes of the Mayor’s treatment of the local music scene as a “second class citizen.” It’s true the City has messed with club venues — Marguerite Horberg of  established the multi-genre Hot House years back and now runs the progressive culture initiative Portoluz regaled me last weekend with tales of fire inspectors evacuating theaters mid-show over petty infractions and other harrassments; Kot reminds us of Chi’s failure to get behind its indigenous rock, blues, pop and jazz as New Orleans, Austin and other U.S. cities have. Jury’s out on whether Daley’s been overall good or bad for music, but the issue deserves careful analysis, and I urge Jazz Beyond Jazz readers to take a look at Kot’s piece as well as this collaborative Trib report.

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  1. marguerite horberg says

    evacuations were a while back but a more current question might be regarding status of hyde park jazz society’s events at Room 43, just shuttered by the City for lack of providing parking — the society is circulating a petition and looking for signatures. It’s this kind of harassment of less endowed presenters, lack of opportunities for start-ups and the overall touristification of culture…downtown and corporate v. neighborhood and grassroots that is at the core of the issue. the little guys can’t navigate all the ever changing fine print in the minted-by-the-hour-municipal codes and the City doesn’t put too much of an effort into making sure they stay viable. Jim de Rogatis has written well elsewhere about the Lollapalooza contracts and nepotistic practices on park property but that is just the tip of that iceberg…fact is, downtown official events are gobbling up all the foundation dollars and the insiders are enriched answer to no one and outsiders are ….well outside and scambling — i’m sure it’s the same in NY, no?
    HM: Not quite the same, though similar. Too long to go into detail here, but sure, corporatization and touristic elements of the arts are prevalent. I think in NYC that’s always been the case, since this has been an arts-tourism center for a century at least and that’s been recognized all along as a major part of the economy, so worth nurturing centrally — hence the neighborhoods have seldom sustained strong venues that don’t have their eyes on the prize of becoming discovered and major international hot spots.
    NYC also has a Mayor who cuts arts organizations funds then contributes to the organizations out of his own deep pockets. There are some ridiculous restrictions in NYC, like no dancing in jazz clubs. But from what I’m gathering, Daley was good for the arts scene by promoting it widely to outsiders (much better than his predecessors), which round-about supports the locals, while overlooking serious support and understanding of what it takes to local entrepreneurs who have to navigate obscure and sometimes corrupt City ways.

  2. says

    Chicago has such a good music scene for this to be happening. I would still say that Chicago’s music scene is better than most cities. But this is a concern that these situations are happening.
    HM: NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, maybe Boston, LA?, SF Bay Area, Austin (for jazz? nah. . . ), Seattle. . .Miami? Atlanta? Detroit? Minneapolis? Kansas City? Portland OR. DC? Pittsburg? Where else in the US is there a constant active multi-venue jazz scene?