I hate how laws that are so important to the underground music scene fly so far under the radar. Are we willing to let the creative culture that's built an entire city die so a bunch of bureaucrats can make an extra buck? Do we have any faith in the democratic process anymore? Are the people of the greatest city in the world going to continue letting local government rape and pillage every aspect of our daily lives?
The City of Chicago's City Council is trying to destroy every thing holy about our music scene. When did we vote to let local government become a business? A new proposed city ordinance is shaking my faith in the American democratic process and threatening to destroy a crucial component of underground music, a scene that's been thriving for years, a musical community that's knit tightly and has bred some of the best music the world has seen.
Please PLEASE PUHLEASE read the following if you have any love/respect for Chicago music.
Taken from SaveChicagoCulture.org:
"The 'Event Promoters' ordinance requires any event promoter to have a license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000, but that’s just the start:
- The definition of 'event promoter' is so loosely defined it could apply to a band that books its own shows or a theater company that’s in town for a one-week run.
- 'Event Promoter' must be licensed and will pay $500 - $2000 depending on expected audience size.
- To get the license, applicant must be over 21, get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and jump over several other hurdles.
- This ordinance seems targeted towards smaller venues, since those with 500+ permanent seats are exempt.
- Police must be notified at least 7 days in advance of event."
Reading this makes me want to puke. In the midst of rising oil prices, a flattening real estate market, foreign wars and an all-around American receding economy, the last thing we should have to worry about is the systematic destruction of one of America's most revered diversions.
I've seen a lot of Chicago venues come and go; most notably, underground icons the Fireside and the Bottom Lounge hit the bricks a few years ago.
I remember crowd surfing as Alkaline Trio rocked the Riv years back; I remember the chaotic unity that the Dropkick Murphys provided at the Vic; I remember the crowd gyrating to the Lawrence Arms at the Metro; I remember the Smoking Popes breaking hearts at Schuba's; I remember the Tossers rocking face at the House of Blues.
This is my life. This is your life. You can't, JUST F***ING CANNOT, let this happen, or it's going to haunt you for the rest of your life.
I'm talking to you, fellow music lover. I'm talking to you, fellow Chicago resident. I'm talking to YOU, fellow free-speakin', flag-bearin', red-white-and-blue donning democrat and lover of the U S of A. Exercise your freedom of speech. Keep local government in check. Let them find money some other way.
Most importantly, SAVE THE DAMN SCENE.
Visit SaveChicagoCulture.org to let your voice be heard. Visit Jim DeRogatis' Sun Times Blog to learn more. And do it quickly, because the ordinance could be passed as soon as THIS WEDNESDAY, MAY 14th, if we don't act soon. If we let this happen, say goodbye to all that is holy about Chicago underground culture.
Graciously yours, red-faced and fuming, breathing heavily the sweet fumes of the underground,
"The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives."
- William James, American Philosopher and Pragmatist