(Details + great pictures soon)


 *Purchase Tickets on Line***

*Tenative Artist Schedule for Each Night

LOCATION: 1275 NORTH MILWAUKEE AVE  (Click  here) 8:00PM 
FOR INFO & TICKETS:  773-349-0689

January 30:
click here to see Dorothy Perry's photos of the evening

Duet1.jpg At about 1:00 PM on Friday, the 30th, the city informed us that we had to cancel the evening, and that there was little chance that we could even do the second event on February 6., and further informed us that we had in fact never filed an application for the permits/licenses we needed:  We have been talking with them for many months about these evenings, always assuring them that we wanted to follow their requirements exactly:   and after having gradually submitted the 23 or so documents they requested, they told us they had no record of us wanting the licenses required for these evenings.   And they lectured us about how these licenses should have been gotten months in advance. 

A Kafka-esque situation to be sure but one with a reasonable explanation:  It’s their ‘buearocratic or computer system that doesn’t acknowledge that you HAVE an application unless you have ALREADY paid them and submitted all the documents:  they just neglected to tell us that.  Certainly they handle thousands of licenses like this so they likely assume that everyone knows this.

There were more documents they wanted that we hadn’t been told about, and there were some mistakes in some of the documents we submitted, but the real hang-up point was that before the licenses can be issued, there have to be inspections by the fire department and other city departments.  And the city informed us those take weeks to to get.  When we pushed and said ‘no, really, if you call them now, they could out there and inspect the space this afternoon’, to which they replied, ‘well we can call over their but its very doubtful that they will go out today, they have other things to do."

We informed them that there were hundreds of people coming to the first Wicker Park Night evening, and that members of the press would be there, that the community was highly invested in this event, and that the event had received a neighborhood SSA grant, they still insisted that they didn’t think the inspectors could get out there for a week or so, and emailed us later that we should cancel the evening. 

After explaining the whole situation to Raymond at Alderman Manny Flores’s office, he informed us that he would go to work on it and call us back in a few hours:  by that time it was already after 2 or so. And they advised us to get down to City Hall and pay for the licenses ASAP.

Shortly thereafter, we got a call within a half hour  from an inspector who said he was in the Wicker Park Nights Room Opera space doing the inspections.   We are highly indebted to Raymond and Manny Flores's office for their help  and dedication to solving problems !!! 

So at that point we knew we were going to get the license, but what we did not know was that we would be kept at City Hall so long while we were needed to finish putting the evening together:  With Friday traffic we didn’t return from downtown till after 6:  The set up people were scheduled in the space by about 2:30, and all the volunteers and help arrived through out the afternoon to find a locked door with no way to know what was going on.  In addition, the pick up of the tables and chairs which the Pritzker School so graciously offered to lend us was impossible because now the school was closed for the weekend. .  And so it went:  The public attending the event arrived at 7:00 PM to find a stark completely empty space.. the sound guys arrived at about 7 or 730 and were set up by 8:30, but there were no tables and chairs in the space to set up anything else till close to 9PM.  A lot of people came and left deciding that in fact, the evening was not going to happen.

At 5:30 in City Hall, when their door were already locked for the weekend, they informed us that they would give us the permit only for the 30th, and that we are required to start the process all over again on Monday morning in order to get the right licensing for the next Friday nights.  I could hear Mr Kafka saying I told you so.

Prohibited from serving liquor:  Further, they asked us how we were serving the liquor, and we told them per their instructions, we had hired licensed bartenders.  The City then said, that because there was a misunderstanding about what was required, because that in fact we needed a licensed caterer, and not a licensed bartender, that therefore,  we could serve no liquor for the evening. NONE.  They said that we would have had to get a permit from the State to serve liquor and the State office was now closed for the weekend.  While we stood there talking to the official with the doors already locked, I was pretty sure that I caught sight of a disheveled laughing man with a journal darting in and out of the rows of the desks occupied by the licensing city officials. But I put the idea of Kafka actually now ghosting  Chicago’s City Hall out of my mind because I like to think that the point of Kafka's writings was similar to singing the blues: that you could free yourself by making the complaints, or singing your sorrows, and therefore then go on to an existence of larger richer dimensions.  I like to think that Kafka maybe now haunts/makes visits to artists the way veteran comedian  Geoge Burns did in his late years when he took his very famous self to visit many struggling performers just to say to them face to face: “You are great, you CAN do this.”  

Ok, back to the debacle at hand: For the evenings, we  had promised complimentary drinks all evening and for the after hours party events.  Soooooo, now no liquor, no tables, no chairs, no staff, (and now hundreds of cell phone minutes spent working on solving the problems with the city so that there are no minutes left to call the people who need to be called) ....nothing in the space more than an hour past opening time. Even the gregarious Yelp people who were so excited to sponsor us and have a booth at all our events and put us in their newsletter that went to 90,000 people, arrived  and decided we were to be avoided and quickly left the scene.  Lots of people told me that they had huge groups of friends planning on attending, but they had called them and told them not to come, that there was nothing going on....One of the now not needed licensed bartenders named Leo showed up and after waiting around for a half an hour with nothing happening, called all his friends who were planning to come and told them they better stay away.  Oh yes, and no point to sit at the door and charge people $25 to see an empty space. (though as a piece of performance art or conceptual art, the idea might just work.)  And even some of the artists came and left without even checking in.  

In the theatre world, they call actors who travel around with bad accommodations and put up with all kinds of hardships just for the chance (and love of) performing in front of audience, they call them troupers.   To succeed as almost any kind of artist, being a trouper is pretty much required, the sina qua non:  On Friday evening we had artist and audience troupers.  The people who decided to stay began to settle in, talk and joke about the situation, eat the great food from Sultan’s Market and Wingstop, and meet each other while they waited for the show to begin.  Musicians JusLOVE and Quiana Green had arrived long before there were chairs and they proceeded to find an area near one of the posts, got comfortable on  the floor and JusLove got out his guitar--and they camped out with excited anticipation of the night ahead,  Also among the troupers was singer and piano player Jennifer-Hjelmberg, who when she arrived at 7:00PM,  said that she was open to whatever was going to happen for the evening, and that these things happen on the way to the creation of art. At the end of the evening, she thanked us profusely for being part of the evening and said that she had never met so many great people in one evening.  Our plan has always been that at the end of the evening the audience would get to meet the artists and each other while the musical talents jammed together late into the night. 

Todd Miller, the young reporter from New City paid such intense attention to every performing talent that he was a kind of wonderful presence himself.  An even stronger presence was Dorothy Perry, our photographer  before she had taken off her coat began studying one of the artists, framing a potential shot, and who continued the whole evening to study and document the energy and performance of each of the artists. 
Probably about 9:15 or so, a unique young man by the name of dreamlogicc began to set up his electronic equipment and some 20 or 30 minutes later he began to play  by himself at first and then with a blues artist by the name of Dwayne Richardson who is from an entirely different generation in the blues tradition.  Their duet (pictured on the front page by Dorothy Perry) was mesmerizing, a combination of different time periods and different music genres. Their music seemed to float on the air several dimensions above us.....and had exactly the unusual freshness we were looking for when we gave the example of Pavarotti and James Brown singing together. And with that the show began.

***online ticket price will reflect price change later this morning



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