As he faces a Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance Hearing at City Hall, Congress Theater owner Erineo â€śEddieâ€ť Carranza maintains that his frequently criticized venue is â€śno better in condition or no worse in conditionâ€ť than other Chicago music halls such as Metro, the Aragon Ballroom and the Vic and Riviera theaters.
As reported here Friday, music-friendly 1st Ward Alderman Proco Joe Moreno has called the hearing on April 17 because of what he says is Carranzaâ€™s recalcitrance in addressing serious problems at the 86-year-old Logan Square/Wicker Park landmark (which has a capacity alternately reported as 3,500 and 4,690), including shoddy security, unabated noise difficulties for neighbors and underage drinking and drug use.
Although Moreno has emphasized that the Congress was not responsible for the nearby sexual assault and brutal beating of a young woman whoâ€™d been turned away from the venue for lack of an ID on New Yearâ€™s Eve, Carranza says the alderman has called the hearing because of that incident; that the theater has been working to correct many problems cited by neighbors and that the cityâ€™s intensified
Though it can be admired for filling a void in the local music scene by booking underground sounds and hosting independent concerts that might not otherwise find a home in Chicago, the Congress Theater is notorious among local music fans as a bad-sounding, poorly maintained and horribly managed dump.
Now, frustrated in what he says have been countless attempts to work with owner Eddie Carranza to address problems at the 86-year-old, 4,690-capacity venue on Milwaukee Avenue near Western, Proco Joe Moreno, the First Ward alderman hailed by many as the elected official most supportive of the local music scene and most sympathetic to the challenges its businesses face, has scheduled a Deleterious Impact/Public Nuisance Hearing at City Hall to force the Congress to clean up its act.
â€śWeâ€™ve been working for a long time to come up with a plan they can implement, and I just donâ€™t feel itâ€™s moving fast enough,â€ť Moreno says. â€śWe continue to have people drunk in peopleâ€™s front lawns, and people urinating and defecating on those lawnsâ€¦ They havenâ€™t put any money into sound reduction.
It's official: After his job as this city's best ever programmer of free live music was twice eliminated by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events in the span of less than a year, Michael Orlove is moving on to greener--and hopefully more grateful--pastures. Here is the press release from his new employers.
National Endowment for the Arts Welcomes New Director of
Presenting and Artist Communities
Michael Orlove joins the NEA from the Chicago Office of Tourism & Culture
Washington, DCâ€”The National Endowment for the Arts is pleased to welcome Michael Orlove as its new director of presenting and artist communities. Orlove has extensive experience organizing performing arts events, most recently as the director of music programs for the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture. Previously, he spent 18 years as senior program director for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs.
Austin, TXâ€”Another long day and night at SXSW started out with my Sound Opinions colleague Greg Kot and I sitting on a panel called â€śAdult Rock Music Meetingâ€ť with several legendary radio programmers, including Norm Winer of Chicagoâ€™s WXRT and former Chicagoan Sky Daniels, now of L.A.â€™s KCSN, listening to a minute and a half of mystery tracks and evaluating their meritsâ€”or lack thereof)
This is the second time Team Sound Ops has done a session like this, and each time Iâ€™ve felt compelled to point out that this is not how critics listen to music. Once an artist has pinged the radar as someone of interest from a number of sourcesâ€”blogs and other press, streaming radio stations or podcasts, good word of mouth, and so onâ€”this reviewer almost never listens to an album less than four times through, and often much more. But itâ€™s a fun game, and it yielded one discovery.
No one else on the panelâ€”and few in the audienceâ€”really liked Chic Gamine, a quintet from Winnipeg/Montreal fronted by four harmonizing young women working in a style they call â€śnot a cappella...
AUSTIN, TXâ€”Sharing a place on the short list of rockâ€™s very best â€śdark night of the soulâ€ť masterpiecesâ€”right up there with Neil Youngâ€™s Tonightâ€™s the Night and the third album by the Velvet Undergroundâ€”Big Star Third (a.k.a.
AUSTIN, TXâ€”Weâ€™ve gotta give the Boss this: Though his much-anticipated keynote address at SXSW 2012 was rife with as much mawkish sentimentality as his music at its absolute hokiest, the man alone at a lecternâ€”armed only with an acoustic guitar, a self-deprecating sense of humor and an epic text that carried him through a full hourâ€™s talkâ€”was much more engaging and affective than heâ€™s been in at least two decades, either with the E Street Band or backed by the over-produced folk sounds that propelled his new album to the top of the Billboard chart on Tuesday.
In fact, Bruce Springsteenâ€™s talk on Wednesday not only drew the largest crowd for any SXSW keynote in the eventâ€™s 25-year history, it instantly became a contender for the bestâ€¦ at least since Johnny Cash in 1994.
AUSTIN, TXâ€”Musical highlights on my first night in the clubs were few and far between, but I was mightily impressed by two high-energy acts from Los Angeles that were my first great finds of the festival.
Fidlar is a pop-punk quartetâ€”â€śslackers at heartâ€ť who â€śonly really care about skateboarding,â€ť as they describe themselvesâ€”reworking yet again that familiar fast-moving, highly hummable formula patented by the Ramones, honed by Screeching Weasel and Green Day but sounding fresher than ever as part of indelible originals and a well-chosen nigh-octane cover of Warren Zevon's â€śCarmelita.â€ť (â€śCarmelita hold me tighter, I think Iâ€™m sinking down/Iâ€™m all strung out on heroin on the outskirts of town.â€ť)