Amid an uptick in COVID-19 and freezing temperatures, Chicago’s creative ecosystem took another hit this winter. As with much of the pandemic, the city’s reputation for world-class live music, comedy and theater is at stake.
Independent music and performance venues are cornerstones of trust, seen as inclusive gathering places for all forms of live music and artistic endeavours. We have seen the excitement of our audience as they walk through our doors for the first time since COVID entered our vocabulary, and it has only strengthened our resolve to endure setbacks and create a safe performing environment. and dynamic.
SEND LETTERS TO: [email protected]. We want to hear from our readers. To be considered for publication, letters must include your full name, neighborhood or hometown, and a phone number for verification purposes. Letters should be a maximum of 350 words and may be slightly edited for clarity and length.
After 18 months of quiet scenes and empty bars, grants to operators of closed venues have provided an essential lifeline for venues to reopen safely and responsibly. Ahead of the city’s commendable vaccination requirements, venues rolled out their own safety measures. These included showing proof of vaccination, wearing masks and implementing social distancing performances. The commitment to creating safe spaces for all continues unabated.
Our venues are proud to champion up-and-coming artists and we continue to take chances with newcomers because we believe the next generation of Chicago’s best and brightest artists should not go unnoticed.
But what happens on stage is only part of what we do: school fundraisers, weddings, birthdays and block parties, greetings from your favorite bartender – it all makes leaving home is worth it. We feel closer to returning to the experiences we had before the pandemic, and each newly vaccinated and boosted viewer brings us closer to fully reopening.
We see that passion rekindled in everyone who walks through the door of their favorite place for the first time in almost two years. For many, live performance feels new again. Nothing compares to the excitement the audience feels when the house lights go out and the performer takes the stage. As venue owners, we relish the opportunity to once again foster these experiences.
Hundreds of concerts are advertised and put on sale each week. Fans await news of their favorite artists returning to Chicago with as much anticipation as artists await news that they will be performing on Chicago stages again. Every day vaccinations go up and cases go down, and when you’re ready, we’ll be there. We’ll see you at the show.
Katie Tuten and Billy Helmkamp, Co-Chairs, Chicago Independent Venue League
Misconceptions about the fight against violence
It’s disgusting to see two strangers pitching ideas about reducing crime in underserved communities and still missing the mark. People are suffering, children and their parents are dying at an alarming rate, and we don’t have time to play politics with real situations. People shouldn’t be forced to leave the city they live in and raise their families elsewhere.
The answer is not to sue the gangs for their assets when those who pull the trigger have none. Violence is engendered by conditions that create an unstable mentality. Lawsuits will never change their way of thinking. Only an intentional investment will.
Spending millions on violence intervention programs like Chicago Cred is also not a long-term solution. We should focus on investing in young people so that they become productive citizens who will not need violent interventions in the future.
Police officers should be a support structure, not a system we depend on to deal with all the ills of a community. This leads to a drop in morale and an increase in suicides among officers.
Here are some common sense solutions: Increase the number of stakeholders in communities through home ownership. Provide incentives to develop vacant lots and build thriving small business neighborhoods. Reinvent the school day by starting with a full day of teaching for 3-year-olds. Increase funding for after-school programs. Be intentional about changing the food desert reality that neighborhoods face. Invest in a massive mentorship program by linking our first responders.
There are many more serious solutions that we must implement if we are to solve this problem, but it takes the right leader with an understanding that growing up in Massillon, Ohio, or with privilege simply cannot teach you.
Ja’Mal Green, former mayoral candidate
I just read Tim Norman’s letter in defense of Postmaster Louis DeJoy. I am glad there is a plan for the future success of the post.
However, I am more concerned about the current US mail disaster. I would like Norman to explain to me how eliminating overtime, banning late deliveries, removing mailboxes and destroying high-speed sorting machines help mail delivery.
Norman did not mention DeJoy’s ethical issues or his primary qualification as a major donor to former President Donald Trump. More importantly, I would like Norman to explain to me why I have not received mail for over 10 days. Maybe instead of wasting time defending Louis DeJoy, he can deliver my mail that’s been sitting in one of our postal facilities.
Bob Blitstein, Lakeview