Chicago Public Media, Inc. and WBEZ Podcasts present five unique live podcast experiences for you to enjoy.
The much anticipated WBEZ New Year's Eve Party is entitled "Live from the Sunset Cafe" and this has caused some confusion.
The party will be taking place at the Victory Gardens Biograph Theater in Lincoln Park (just north of the DePaul University campus) but we decided, given our decision to re-introduce WBEZ to Jazz, that offering a tribute to one of the legendary jazz clubs in both Chicago's and America's history was fitting.
Why the Sunset Cafe?
The Sunset Cafe, also known as The Grand Terrace Cafe, was a jazz club in Chicago, Illinois operating during the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s. It was one of the most important jazz clubs in America, especially during the period between 1917 and 1928 when Chicago became a creative capital of jazz innovation and again during the emergence of bebop in the early 1940s.
There are lots of lists that indicate the things that make Chicago a special city out there. Hot dogs. Deep dish pizza. Our sports teams. The architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright. The University of Chicago.
My own list includes:
The Biograph Theater.
Storytellers (we are the home of Studs Terkel, This American Life, and The Uptown Poetry Slam).
and WBEZ.Sure, I'm leaving out a host of things that make us unique but, as I said, there are plenty of lists out there. Chicago is a town I've lived in for just over 25 years. A transplant from both the South and the Midwest, I made Chicago my home in pursuit of a jazz career. I've played at the Green Mill, the Get Me High Lounge, The Underground Wonder Bar (the old one). Chicago jazz is in my blood.
I saw Pulp Fiction in the Biograph long before I knew its history as the last place John Dillinger was spotted before Melvin Purvis and the Chicago FBI gunned him down.
The scene was set—a contentious election season, tons of money pumped into the Dark Arts of campaigning, a hotly contested Illinois Gubernatorial race, and delicious Haymarket Pub beer.
On November 4, WBEZ hosts Niala Boodhoo and Melba Lara, along with producers, technicians, politician wranglers, event staff and over 200 locals descended upon the corner of Randolph and Halsted and covered the elections from 6 p.m.
Since coming to work producing events for Chicago Public Media, there have been two things missing from the tapestry of live experiences we put together for our loyal members: Jazz and a blow-out New Year's Eve party.
The party component is a strange omission from our annual experiences for the Chicago community of public radio die-hards. We host our Annual Board Meeting, our Evening Inside the Broadcast Studio, and the WBEZ/Vocalo Open House. We've produced the Chicago Chef Battle for seven years in a row and, after a year off, are revitalizing the Vocalo Winter Block Party for Chicago's Hip Hop Arts.
The Year in Review is a week away and reflections on our recent year have been percolating amongst our super talented cast of reporters and, what I have taken to calling "interesting people."
2013 was one of those years when so much happened: Edward Snowden was either a hero or a traitor by revealing the underlying truth of the effects of the Patriot Act, the shutdown of the government and the showdown between Obama and the Tea Party, the Supreme Court turning back Civil Rights Voting Legislation and striking down DOMA, the typhoon in the Phillipines. "Selfies" makes the dictionary and Breaking Bad went out with a bang.
Although 2013 is quickly fading, join WBEZ at the first annual Year in Review where six of our reporters and six Chicago poets and comedians will take on the year that was from a different point of view. Hear Lauren Chooljian share what turning 25 meant to congressmen, and the shock Shannon Cason had when he realized his hometown, Detroit, was bankrupt. And that's just two of twelve months!
"The Year in Review was inspired by The Moth and the idea that WBEZ is a storytelling institution," explains Don Hall, Chicago Public Media's Director of Live Events. "It's a tongue in cheek review of an entire year in stories, from both the news of the day and from a personal standpoint. We are excited to present our folks in a way audiences have never seen them."
Shannon Cason is a writer and storyteller. He has shared his stories on large stages, dive bars, and small living rooms all around the country. Shannon is a Moth GrandSlam winner; a contributor to NPR’s Snap Judgment; and hosts his own storytelling podcast called Homemade Stories.