July 06, 2011

Music Venues

Classical to House Music
Chicagoan
We begin this post with a music venue that was popular during the Great Depression of the 1930's when a couples that would 'marathon dance' for money and prizes.
Merry Garden Ballroom
Opened on Labor Day 1921 at 3136 N Sheffield built by Ethel Kendal and Jack Lund and survived for 31 years. After that a the buildiing became a warehouse and then in 1961 demolished for a parking lot.
The Merry 'Dance' Gardens on the left
(Victoria Theater to the right)
1922 photo - Chicago History Museum via Explore Chicago
The Evolution of this Area
 This 1894 Sanborn Fire Map indicates a 'Summer Garden' space probably for a Beer Garden entertainment 
- name unknown
The area in 1923 with the Howard Line tracks with the main entrance on the south side of Belmont
the area by 1950

1922 photo - Chicago History Museum via Explore Chicago
Once located @ 3128 N. Sheffield Avenue
This ballroom that was built during the first quarter of the 20th century noted for its 'Marathon Dancing(scroll down) during the Depression years to make money for themselves and their families.
image - my personal collection

photography by G.E. Thornrose Jr.

(click on image to enlarge)

Days Later ...
 
 images and text - Ebay
This trophy was awarded to the World Championship Dance Marathon winner, First Prize, to Mike Gouvas, dated August 7, 1930, held at Merry Garden Ballroom in Chicago. His partner was Ann Gerry and the photo shows her collapsing in his arms. Mike lasted/danced for an incredible 2831 hours 
4 1/2 minutes! During the 1930’s, dance marathons weren't for the faint at heart but rather taken very seriously, competitively for cash and prizes, physically & emotionally exhausting.

 
images from my personal collection
One particular dance endurance contest began on August 29th 1929, and didn’t stop until April 1st 1931. 
Mike Ritof and Edith Boudreaux claimed first prize of $2,000 cash, and the marathon record. They danced for a total of 5,152 hours and 48 minutes. 
A Brochure

This booklet part of my personal collection


part of a purchased album from Ebay
Alan Halfen via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook 1950's
1961 photo - University of Illinois-Chicago 
via Explore Chicago Collection
Replaced by a Car Lot by 1961
(click on image to enlarge)
The Chateau Ballroom
within the Chateau Theater Building
 3810 N Broadway
photo - Explore Chicago Collection
This ballroom was operated by Andy Anderson located inside the Chateau Theater on the 2nd floor at 3810 N Broadway. The ballroom size was 6,660 square feet built in sometime before or just after the early 1920’s. The establishment featured mostly local bands. Across the street along Grace Street was the Bismarck (Marigold) Gardens that also featured live entertainment that included live stage performances and 'Big Band' groups from early 1890's til mid 1920's.
959 W Belmont Avenue
a Latin social club and nightclub where Cubans - followed by an immigrant population from Puerto Rico, the wider Caribbean and Colombia - gathered to dance, listen to the music of their homelands and speak their first language, Spanish. The club was opened by Luis “Witto” Aloma, a Cuban-born player for the White Sox in the early 1950's, who wanted his fellow Cubans to have a place where they could come to drink coffee and play cards and dominoes.  
Eventually it morphed into a more lavish operation with a beautiful dining room featuring Cuban musical acts and a full Cuban/Spanish menu. “Along the way the ownership changed hands as Tony Quintana, a very respected Puerto Rican radio and television personality, businessman and activist [host of the 1960's radio show “Tony’s Latin A-Go-Go”], took it over,” said Delgado. And then there was the matter of music, which, as Delgado explained, “changed over time at the club, moving from the original mambo, cha-cha and romantic boleros, and all the African rhythms of Cuban music, to the salsa sound that really was born in the U.S. & is kind of a multicultural baby.” It apparently closed in 1971.
The Quiet Knight
1970's photo - Saul Smaizys 
via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
once housed on the second floor of this building 

1975 ad
This venue was located 953 W. Belmont Avenue between the years 1969-1979 on the second floor of a vintage and still existing building on the corner of Belmont and Sheffield, a short walk from the Belmont station L stop. 
Join the conversation on Forgotten Chicago-Facebook!
Muddy Waters and Mick Jagger, The Quiet Knight, 1978
photo - Examiner 
 
the owner Richard Harding
This night club would entertain music personalities such as The Velvet UndergroundMuddy Waters, Bob Marley & the WailersMike Jaggar & The Rolling StonesJohn Prine
Kris Kristofferson, and Steve Goodman. The owner was an interesting character named Richard Harding.
Listen to Bob Marley perform at this location in 1975.

(click on article below to enlarge)



 
Rita Coolidge paid a visit in 1972
image - Obit of the Day
photo - ceebop via Flickr
Shawn Phillips at Quiet Knight 1973 
'Richard Harding’s club, The Quiet Knight, was only open from 1969 to 1979. But during that decade the 400-seat concert venue saw of the biggest names in music whether it was rock, jazz, or reggae. Located at 953 West Belmont in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood, The Quiet Knight occupied the second floor of an otherwise non-descript brick building; but what went on inside was music history. Herbie Hancock, John Denver, Linda Ronstadt (backed by Don Henley and Glenn Frey), Bob Marley, Arlo Guthrie, Muddy Waters and Loudon Wainwright all made appearances at the Knight. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band first performed in Chicago in Harding’s club. Jimmy Buffett performed outside of the South for the first time at the Knight.' Read more …
 
 
 


Neil Sedaka paid a visit in 1982
35mm Camera Original Negatives - Ebay

Venues after Quiet Knight

3730 N Clark Street
and then @
959 Belmont Avenue
New Years Eve 1980

(click on article below to enlarge)
Their First Location
 Its second location
same building as the Quiet Knight
1983 Richard and Linda Thompson

(click on article to enlarge)
 
via Calumet412
with 'The Crypt' - a bar within the bar
View more photos from the retro Facebook page
and then came ....

Avalon Niteclub
image - Avalon Nite Club-Facebook
959 W. Belmont Avenue 1987 - 1995
same building as the Quiet Knight and Tuts
1987 article: The ghosts of the Quiet Knight and Tuts have long since departed the premises. In their wake has arisen a comfortable neighborhood club called Avalon night club.
 
photos - Scotty Brown via Avalon Nite Club-Facebook
photo - Avalon Nite Club-Facebook
View more photos of this night club on Facebook
1980 ad - via Lethal Amounts
Echo & The Bunnymen at Tuts 1981
According to Christina Sybil Cary from Forgotten Chicago-Facebook,” It's was The Quiet Knight first then it became Tuts. Groups like the Echo & The Bunnymen, The Cramps & Bauhaus were notable bands that played there. The well know Punk Club played at the same location when the space was called Avalon. 
The Belmont Club - same location
Also in this building
image - Ebay unknown year
Wild Hare and the 
 Singing Armadillo Frog Sanctuary
photo - Loop.net
once located at 3530 North Clark Street
The Wild Hare, known for reggae, had a variety of national and international acts, music seven nights a week, and a huge space to 'groove in' were operated by Jamaicans and financed by venture capitalists. Such groups include Shabba Ranks, Rita Marley, Kwame & Wan Afrika, Aswah Greggorri and the Enforcers, Gizzae, Tony Reble, and Yellow Man. Doors open at 8:00 p.m., and bands typically take the stage around 9:30. Chicago Bar Project
"Most people in this neighborhood are great, but there are a few who don't like racial mixing and didn't think that black people belong here," says Zeleke Gessesse, a musician and part-owner of the club. "It's disturbing to think that these attitudes persist." - Reader 1993
Medusa's
1983-1992
by TimeOut editors and Joel Reese, 
complied by Laura Baginski 2014
 'The place that made the Belmont/Clark corridor a goth haven, this club was birthed by Dave Shelton in the early '80s on the corner of Sheffield and School. It opened its doors for all ages from 7:30–10:30pm, before the dance owls swooped in until 3am, at which point each night the speakers blasted the grinding synths of Severed Heads' "Dead Eyes Open" as a farewell alarm. The nascent Smashing Pumpkins took the stage here in black capes, as did much of the local industrial scene. It may have closed in 1992, but you can still buy black leather and spikes on Belmont.' - Laura Baginski
unknown photo source
This is Medusa's when it housed the Japanese American Service Committee. Before that, it was the Viking temple, a Swedish social club according to Matthew Nickerson, author of two books on Lake View.
1910 postcard of Swedish Viking Temple that apparently had a buffet on the ground floor
- Chuckman Collection
image - Richard Ragnar Sammartino
via Forgotten Chicago-Facebook
James Kulevick via Original Chicago-Facebook
photo from 'Jauers
Medusa's was this punkish rock club that apparently galvanized suburb kids to this building on 3257 Sheffield Avenue once known as a social club for Swedish immigrants during the turn of the 20th century. The well known Alley was nearby, a place to 'hang-out' before and after club hours. 
 
 
Nov/Dec 1986 booklet - Ebay
a notice indicating an issue on the hours of operation
image - Ebay
Read more about the history and the man who created it with this pdf link. Hear the sights and sounds of the entertainment with YouTube#1 and YouTube#2.
Pops for Champagne
2934 N. Sheffield Avenue
 
Above 2 photos - Ebay 
along with other night clubs in the area
This so-called sophisticated  club (click on page link) was established in 1982 and was once located at 2934 N. Sheffield Avenue and currently no longer in the hood. According to past advertisements for various sources this establishment at this location offered "hundreds kind of champagnes" to its live-jazz loving patrons. I wish I had some interior photos - just say'in. Pops also owned Starbar, a bar aimed at a younger crowd or simply a cheaper alternative to Pops

3145 N. Sheffield Avenue
The only online photo I could discover
This 'nightclub-within-a-nightclub' opened in 1986 within the Vic Theater. The Chicago Tribune wrote that "If Clubland is just a nightclub, then Earth is a mere ball of dirt." One year later the Trib expounded further. This video dance club had 75 25-inch video screens, one of first to use this type of medium in a massive scale in Chicago. The clubs' focal point was the main stage, used as a dance floor while the upstairs served as the balcony lobby with an additional bar along with two snack areas; one for hot appetizers, one for desserts much like a food/drink bar far away from the downstairs bar.  
2941 N. Clark Street
 Matchbook photo - Consumer Grouch
2014 Google Viewer
2015 photo - Chicago Real Estate Local
Sorry folks - working on a better photo of the place
For its 25 year tenure this club served a community of patrons apparently loved Greek culture or just liked the music it provided. Apparently, two-thirds of the clubs' visitors were non-Greek according to Chicago Tribune article. Apparently, folks like Anthony Quinn, Studs Terkel, Nana Mouskouri, Phil Donahue, Oprah Winfrey would stop by.
2858 N. Halsted Street
photo - Planet 99
Sorry folks - working on a better photo of the place
This neighborhood bar (google map current view) would typically cater to employees for neighboring theaters. Apparently, the bar was a comfortable, reasonably priced that offered a good selection of wines and beers that included German specialty liqueurs. In the basement, there was a huge ‘rathskeller’ with booths, fireplace, and a small bar. That room was rented for private parties. Oh, by the way, the definition of a 'rathskeller' is a German bar/restaurant that would typically be located in a basement level of public building like a city hall in Germany. Chicago Bar Project
Canned Music: A Jukebox Venue
photo - Donna Joyce, 1975 with sign on building
Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
 The Metro 
Metro was once known as the Cabaret Metro, 
and housed Stages Music Hall, Smart Bar. Before that known as Northside Auditorium - an Swedish community center 

Read the conversation from Forgotten Chicago-Facebook about this establishment - 1982
Northside Auditorium 1943
1990 photo - R Krueger Collection,Chicago Public Library
A New Craze 1983
How the Metro Began 

(click on article to enlarge)
 

 Northside Auditorium Theater opened in 1927 
as the Swedish Community Center 
when Swedish was the language of choice.

this photo produced an endless threads 
on Forgotten Chicago on Facebook
and view more photographs from this theater via Flickr.
House Music
House music was developed in the houses, garages and clubs of Chicago initially for local club-goers in the "underground" club scenes, rather than for widespread commercial release. As a result, the recordings were much more conceptual, longer than the music usually played on commercial radio. House musicians used analog synthesizers and sequencers to create and arrange the electronic elements and samples on their tracks, combining live traditional instruments and percussion and soulful vocals with preprogrammed electronic synthesizers and "beat-boxes". - read more from last fm
The Club LaRay

Once located 3152 N Halsted in a Spanish style building that was once one of the first Buick dealership in Chicago; opened in 1986 - the only pic of the building from the 1920's. 
According to former D.J Michael Ezebukwu “Back then Chicago was full of clubs. It was Den One; it was the Ritz; there was Le Pub, Broadway Limited, & Blinkers.
For true house music, Club LaRay was a hot ticket. However, it was common for us to sit around and complain about what LaRay could do better. In retrospect, he did the best with what he had which, considering the clientele was mostly black, gay men, was impressive. That dynamic doesn’t even exist today in Chicago. There was often a healthy helping of women, straight folks, and minor celebrities in attendance, on any given night. - Read more ...
Lakeview Orchestra
Lakeview Orchestra is Chicago's newest community orchestra and has been hailed for 'committed and energetic performances' according to Chicago Classic Review.
This orchestras was founded in 2013, the orchestra is dedicated to engaging and entertaining audiences through compelling performances. Lakeview Orchestra presents more concerts each year than any other community orchestra in Chicago, and regularly combines the orchestral repertoire with interdisciplinary presentations such as dance, video, and theater - Website
dress rehearsal at Nettlehorst Elementary 2015
The goals of this organization are for more concerts and more brainstorming in methods to convert more people to classical music. According to a Classical MPR contributor "Even though I have played hundreds and hundreds of concerts, there are few times I remember being overcome with emotion". They have a presence on Facebook
also photos from their first concert at Holy Trinity Church.
A Precursor Group Formed in 1929


Post Note:
More on Medusa's: 
a scholarly report
the link between the social experiment called NewTown and the reality that is Boystown
by Christinae Feldman-Barrett
via Carter O'Brien
(click to enlarge)
























Important Note:
These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!




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