WBEZ | nightlife http://www.wbez.org/tags/nightlife Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Love in this club: An etiquette guide to Chicago nightlife http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/love-club-etiquette-guide-chicago-nightlife-108447 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/deadmau5%20at%20Studio%20Paris%20Chicago.jpg" style="height: 399px; width: 620px; " title="DJ deadmau5 performs at Studio Paris, summer 2012. (Flick/Ross Images)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">At the risk of sounding like <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cIkaBwR8W14" target="_blank">Stefon</a>, Chicago&#39;s hottest club is...someplace unexpected. Maybe you&#39;re not a &quot;club person,&quot; but serendipitously find yourself dancing the night away at Danny&#39;s and having the time of your life. Perhaps your loyalty lies with Enclave or The Apartment, but a <a href="http://community-bar.com/?s=secret+disco" target="_blank">&quot;Secret Disco&quot;</a> DJ set at Maria&#39;s Packaged Goods &amp; Community Bar takes you by surprise.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p>Of course, the options for dance-y bars and clubs in Chicago are seemingly endless&mdash;Smart Bar, The Mid, Roscoe&#39;s, Studio Paris, Neo, Berlin, Spy Bar, Rainbo Club,&nbsp;Late Bar, Club Foot, The Shrine, Beauty Bar, etc.&mdash;and the crowds differ in personality from one neighborhood to the next. But whether you&#39;re out in Bridgeport or Boystown, River North or Ukranian Village, objectives stabilize at a universal constant: drink, dance like there&#39;s no tomorrow, and find somebody with which to do both of these things in very close proximity (and then some).&nbsp;</p><p>I&#39;ve seen the heady combination of alcohol, dubstep and strobe lights bring out the worst in people; but regardless of whatever form your music-and-dancing adventure may take, the experience doesn&#39;t have to be a painful one. In fact, grooving to Prince or Avicii in the blast of expertly-timed lazers and fog machines could become your new favorite way to spend an <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-02/everybody-gets-down-sustaining-appeal-smart-bar-105676" target="_blank">anything goes</a>&nbsp;kind of night.&nbsp;</p><p>So, for those wanting to make the most of Chicago&#39;s vibrant and eclectic club scene, here&#39;s some tips for enjoying your night out while also a) respecting the people around you, and b) creating a safety zone of guilt-free escapism for youself:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Be nice to the bouncers.</strong></p><p>The Golden Rule is a great life philosophy in general; but if applied to bouncers, could produce some immediate karmic wins. When told to form a line, agree with a smile. Cutting to the front or loudly complaining about the wait will not get you anywhere; in fact, behaving like an arrogant jerk could get you thrown out or even blacklisted (trust me: they <em>will</em> remember you for making a scene). Remember that bouncers have a job to do; and if you make that job easier for them, then you will be rewarded.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Tip well.</strong></p><p>I get the impression that bouncers, bartenders, and other bar staff are not particularly thrilled about serving hundreds of drunk clubgoers at 2 a.m. on a Saturday morning, so above-average tips often go a long way. Other simple courtesies, like knowing which shots you would like to order&nbsp;<em>before</em>&nbsp;flagging down a bartender, could result in both quicker service and stiffer drinks.&nbsp;</p><p><b>Respect personal space.</b></p><p>Obviously, staying out of personal &quot;bubbles&quot; can be bit difficult in a packed crowd with little room to breathe, let alone maintain a modest distance.&nbsp;Most club layouts are also specifically designed to squeeze as many sweaty, lustful people together as possible, whether they be out on the dance floor or waiting in the halls. Still, no matter how uncomfortably close you are to the people around you, there is no excuse for being the <a href="http://www.wikihow.com/Grind" target="_blank">phantom grinder</a>: the person who creeps up behind an unsuspecting stranger and starts grinding without their permission. If you want to dance with someone, <em>ask</em>&mdash;or at least make some &quot;How about it?&quot; eye contact.&nbsp;If someone is grinding up against you without your consent, either turn around and call them out for being creepy or casually shuffle away.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Wear your dancing shoes.</strong></p><p>Some people can dance all night in high heels without tripping constantly, and that&#39;s awesome. If you are not one of those people, swallow your pride and wear flats. And if you don&#39;t want to be mercilessly stabbed by stilettos on the dance floor, make sure that those flats are closed-toed.</p><p><b>Find the best fit for you, and embrace it.&nbsp;</b></p><p>Do you enjoy EDM (house music, techno, trance, hardstyle, etc.) or would you rather dance to cheesy throwbacks like Madonna and Depeche Mode? Perhaps you prefer mosh-dancing to punk shows at the Empty Bottle, or hanging out in dive bars with no dancing at all.&nbsp;Not everyone enjoys busting a move on the dance floor; but if you&#39;ve never experienced the diversity that Chicago&#39;s club scene has to offer, then what&#39;s the harm in finding a slice of nightlife that works for you? Be a friend to whichever bar or dance club you choose, and the magical nights will follow.</p><p>What is your favorite place for music and dancing in Chicago?&nbsp;</p><p><em>Leah Pickett is a pop culture writer and co-host of WBEZ&#39;s&nbsp;<a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels,</a>&nbsp;a podcast about the future of television. Follow Leah on&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">&nbsp;Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-08/love-club-etiquette-guide-chicago-nightlife-108447 With 1833, a nightlife scene grows in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/1833-nightlife-scene-grows-chicago-108022 <p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Z&amp;B-10.jpg" title="(Photo courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi)" /></div><p dir="ltr">Perhaps more than any other city, Chicago&#39;s music promoters must distinguish themselves to find success in this sprawling nightlife scene. In a city as diverse and segregated as ours, bringing people together is forever a challenge. But great promoters can foster an experience that is unique and particular, every time.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516"><strong><a href="http://www.1833presents.com/" target="_blank">1833 Presents</a></strong>&nbsp;is one such company well on its way to doing just that. Founders Blake Witsman, 27, and Zack Eastman, 28,&nbsp;log long hours every day to organize events from start to finish. Whether it&#39;s for a musician they&#39;ve invited to perform locally, or the Chicago act for a national tour, 1833&nbsp;manages booking, marketing, accounting, and everything in between for each show.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about the fan. It&rsquo;s all about the artist,&quot; Eastman said.&nbsp;&ldquo;Our goal is to become a brand in Chicago that you can trust.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">This means curating and organizing a series of nightlife events and concerts at venues across the city, spanning genres from rap to post-dubstep, and always pushing the envelope. Artists Eastman and Witsman have&nbsp;featured or booked recently include local hip-hop star Chance the Rapper,&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-family: Georgia, 'Palatino Linotype', 'Book Antiqua', serif; font-size: 15px; line-height: 22.5px; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">downtempo electronic duo&nbsp;</span>Beacon, and rapper and Three 6 Mafia member&nbsp;Juicy J.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">The Logan Square-based company, founded in February, makes it a point to be distinctly Chicago: their name is a shoutout of the year the city was founded, as well as an ironic nod to their targeted demographic, the 18 to 33-year-old.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/xheader-logo1.png.pagespeed.ic_.m-VM0G65np.png" style="float: left;" title="(Logo/1833)" /></p><p dir="ltr">And for every show 1833&nbsp;works to book, it aims to create a one-of-a-kind experience true to the tastes, expectations, and excitements of its audience.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We look at each show uniquely and give it a certain TLC that doesn&rsquo;t come with someone mass producing a show,&rdquo; Eastman explained.</p><p dir="ltr">Moreover, what the company is doing right, is tapping into the changing cultural landscape of the city. They recognize the shift and renaissance of local culture. Chicago is in a state of flux &mdash; one that can potentially radicalize the stature of the city as a place and incubator of culture &mdash; and suddenly, to foster nightlife in the city is both possible and a thriving business. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">Why? For one, artists of all fields are finally staying in the city.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span>&ldquo;In the past, I&rsquo;ve seen people wanting to leave here, and now it&rsquo;s not necessary,&rdquo; Witsman said.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>In the past, community was in many ways the deciding factor in whether or not an artist or creator decided to stay within the city. Two or three artists might thrive nationally or internationally, but there was little room for more to succeed, creating an uncomfortable, even unwelcome environment for artists who aimed to call Chicago their home. But now, community thrives on a larger scale.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&ldquo;There&rsquo;s so many different people and scenes,&rdquo; Eastman said. &ldquo;I just think it&rsquo;s growing and it&rsquo;s robust and it&rsquo;s exciting.&rdquo; </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>A larger network means more professionals and more artists to showcase. When organizing shows with global acts, 1833 often brings in local performers to complement the act and surprise the audience.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Untitled drawing (3).jpg" style="float: right;" title="(Photo courtesy of Chuck Olu-Alabi)" />Simultaneously, the city itself is growing exponentially. Artists here are finding more outlets for their work, be&nbsp;it a new independent art gallery or a new theater company. In terms of music, the increase of venues (legal and not, traditional and nontraditional) allows musicians of all backgrounds to perform.</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">This plays directly into 1833&#39;s&nbsp;<strong><a href="http://www.homebaseparty.com/images/header-white.gif" target="_blank">Home Base</a>&nbsp;</strong><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&mdash;</span>&nbsp;a series of&nbsp;parties and events featuring underground and experimental electronic music of the post-dubstep and future-bass variety. Past performers include Nguzunguzu, Groundislava and Teen Witch.&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>Witsman describes the project as a &ldquo;home for music that didn&rsquo;t have a home.&rdquo;&nbsp;</span></p><p dir="ltr"><span id="docs-internal-guid-5091819e-cc04-1b7f-f2f2-dfa954930516">&ldquo;One thing we try to push for is to be on the forefront,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;They might not be a slam dunk the first time, but in a year, they&rsquo;ll be huge.&rdquo; </span></p><p dir="ltr"><span>For Home Base, that means booking acts that are growing locally, nationally, internationally, or online, but have yet to find large audiences.</span>&nbsp;In many cases, the fans for the music are here, but they have yet to find outlets that cater to their tastes, and many musicians go unnoticed. &nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are creating something that houses a certain sort of artist,&quot; Eastman said. &quot;It could be broad, but it&rsquo;s a brand that you can trust even if you don&rsquo;t know the artist.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><span>In the end, that is what a party should be: a place for good expectations and even better surprises.&nbsp;</span>Knowing friends who have left the city because it lacked the cultural drive they wanted, it is a heady experience to attend Home Base knowing that there are others out there who are excited by these new sounds&#39; bubbling weirdness and beauty.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And because Chicago is of a size that means a hundred things could occur at one time, 1833 knows they have to foster experiences like these that are memorable long after they end. So far, they&#39;re well on their way to doing just that.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr"><em><strong>Britt Julious</strong>&nbsp;writes about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms" target="_blank">@britticisms</a>.</em></p></p> Wed, 10 Jul 2013 17:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-07/1833-nightlife-scene-grows-chicago-108022 The simplicity of Danny's http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/simplicity-dannys-106607 <p><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/46162458_ef203b7e20_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/Tim Brown)" /></div></div><div>Close to where I rest every night, I did not realize that a little house would instead feel more like a home. Chicago is a unique environment in that some of the most interesting venues for traditional nightlife culture &ndash; the dance floor, the dive bar, the music venue &ndash; are located on desolate streets and residential blocks. In the case of Danny&rsquo;s (1951 W Dickens Ave.), a still-thriving bar that turns into something of a club on the weekends, the nondescript storefront is located right off of Damen and on a block full of family homes.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I first went to Danny&rsquo;s for a friend&rsquo;s birthday a couple of years ago. She had been especially excited to go to the venue as it was her first time in the space. However, after only an hour or two, she left underwhelmed. But my experiences were markedly different. Despite the fact that it was a cloudy, rainy evening, a line formed outside. Since then, I&rsquo;ve noticed that this is one of the greatest signifiers of the space. And inside, the bar was beyond packed.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>I can never really recall what music is being played at Danny&rsquo;s. Danny&rsquo;s is not a venue for national and international touring DJs and performers. It is not a Smart Bar or a Primary. This is not a bad thing, though. Not everyone can appreciate what those venues give Chicago ears. And those places exist for a different reason than Danny&rsquo;s. For my friends who want to dance, but do not want to experience the River North culture and are not familiar with more experimental lineups, Danny&rsquo;s is their respite.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s popularity endures because it is democratic about who comes into and what can be heard in the space. The music found at Danny&rsquo;s is some of the best in the city, further cementing Chicago&rsquo;s status as a music hub. It is selective about the music, but not so much that its core audience would be turned off and new customers would not have a good time. More often than not, local DJs host theme nights (such as <a href="https://www.facebook.com/Night999Moves" target="_blank">Night Moves</a> or Loose Joints) ranging in genre from 80s new wave to mutant disco to 90s rap and r&amp;b to reggae and everything in between. In many ways, it is (most) anything goes, making it a welcome venue for all walks of life. It is accessible, both in price, customer base and space. It is not too cool, but rather, like many of Chicago&rsquo;s dive bars, a place that does not take itself too seriously.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/4811699746_ce169a6c0b_z.jpg" title="(Flickr/Andrew Zahn)" /></div></div><div>Danny&rsquo;s is not only about the dancing. I have begun and ended my evening there by going to the bar for different purposes. At the beginning, Danny&rsquo;s has that perfect combination of a calm evening out: low lighting, a comfortable bar, cheap drinks, and a smart beer list.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s gets packed later, perhaps too much so, but that only highlights its appeal. It is popular for the non-dance club fan. Not everyone is comfortable enough to go into such spaces, especially if they are unfamiliar with the music. No cover means that anyone can try it out (if they get there quickly enough).&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Calling it a neighborhood bar, I feel, doesn&#39;t do it justice,&rdquo; began Sarah Chandler. &ldquo;Yes, it is in a neighborhood, but once you walk in, it almost feels like you went back in time.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>We were discussing the appeal of the venue, why it continues to translate for different age groups and different crowds. Sarah and I are friends, but we don&rsquo;t regularly get together outside of work. But when thinking about what makes Danny&rsquo;s so great, I realized that she had probably been there.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;One of the things I enjoy most is the diverse crowd. Anyone and everyone can feel comfortable there,&rdquo; she continued.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>And when I began asking friends old and new, ones I only spoke to online and ones I saw everyday, a common thread of understanding and appreciation filtered through our discussions. They had been there and they liked it, plain and simple. It is perhaps not the bar they always turn to because they don&rsquo;t live in the neighborhood or because they have a regular spot, but it is one that can turn to, again and again, and have a good time. It is reliable and true.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Danny&rsquo;s is a gathering point, at least on a small scale. I have friends who listen and participate in different activities. But we can come together in this small place, if only for a few hours. My idea of the city growing up was one that served as the coming together of people and places and ideas. But the longer I&rsquo;ve been here, the less certain I am of that ideal. Danny&rsquo;s does not represent the entirety of the city. It is mostly young, for one. But it does represent a certain mindset that feels entirely Chicago. It is unpretentious and accepting. We come back because the stakes are low. It takes very little to foster a good time and Danny&rsquo;s adheres to this mindset, reminding us that the best nights out are often ones that require little effort.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Britt Julious blogs about culture in and outside of Chicago. Follow Britt&#39;s essays for&nbsp;<a href="http://wbez.tumblr.com/">WBEZ&#39;s Tumblr</a>&nbsp;or on Twitter&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/britticisms">@britticisms</a>.</em></div></p> Thu, 11 Apr 2013 12:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/britt-julious/2013-04/simplicity-dannys-106607