Chicago Sun-Times
Tuning in with Thomas Conner

Is Chicago losing two of its coolest under-the-radar venues?

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UPDATED TUESDAY A.M.: Cal's alive and well (see below).

Though I hate to post rumors as news, the local music scene has been buzzing that two underground venues may be shutting its doors in the near future. (Calls to confirm both went unreturned.)

Cal's 400 Liquors on S. Wells has been serving as one of the cooler dive bars on the punk-rock underground for several years now, but several musicians who frequent the place say it's going out of business, and its MySpace page doesn't list any shows after Nov. 25 (which is not in itself unusual, as Cal's has never exactly been on top of publicizing its calendar).

According to Mike Feirstein of Cal's, the punk-rock dive is alive and well. He emailed:

Hey Jim, I don't know what local musicians feed you information, but they're wrong about Cal's closing. I love rumors though. Peppers (the little burger joint next door to us) closed this past week after being in business for over 20 years. Maybe that's what is fueling these rumors. A lot of Board of Trade morons are spreading stuff also. It's nice to get the press from you even though it's an ill rumored falsehood without any legitimate facts other than what 2 musicians who frequent the bar report. In fact I urge you to come down some weekend and see a show. ... Thanks for caring. I think I'll update the myspace page for the next few months.

Meanwhile, the calendar is equally empty for the coming weeks at Sonotheque, the hipster venue at the cutting edge of electronic dance music on Chicago Avenue at the fringes of Wicker Park.

It would indeed be a loss to the local music scene if both venues are going under. Anyone out there have the facts? (I'd love to be proved wrong on both counts.)

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Glad to hear the Cal's rumor was not true!

Actually, when I saw this headline I thought it might refer to two other venues whose (potential) closing concerns me:

1. Bill's Blues in Evanston (technically not Chicago but close enough):,evanston-bills-blues-101009-s1.article

this link states that Bill's is now closed. I'm still hoping for a miracle. They offered a variety of musical offerings in a comfortable atmosphere, run by very nice people.

2. World Music Company in the Beverly neighborhood:

It appears that they haven't closed yet. I'm unsure of the status. They are like a smaller version of the Old Town School, in that they offer community, concerts, open mics, music lessons, and a music store.

In both cases it appears that the economy has had an adverse effect on these venues. It's always a shame when we lose smaller, friendly venues and I hope we don't lose either of these.

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This page contains a single entry by Jim DeRogatis published on November 9, 2009 11:27 AM.

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