As the city continues dismantling the Dept. of Cultural Affairs, WBEZ blogger Jim DeRogatis is reporting that 20 more of the department's employees were laid off last week. Mike Orlove -- whose passion for great music enriched the city's World Music Festival and the free Downtown Sound concert series in Millennium Park -- is among the axed. (Not completely axed -- the positions are being shifted to a different dept., though it's not clear yet if they all will be rehired there. Awaiting some clarification. Orlove still has his city phone and email, but he won't comment quite yet.)
City spokesfolks assure that the events will go on, now under the umbrella of the Chicago Tourism Fund, and that the shift "should go unnoticed by residents and event participants." But after a few years of great Downtown Sound shows from the Feelies to Caribou to She & Him, if Steve Miller or Pat Effing Benatar show up on a New Music Monday I'll dismantle the pavilion myself.
UPDATE 4:30 p.m. -- Orlove lives. He just posted to his Facebook page this news: "I am fortunate to have the option of joining the Chicago Tourism Fund starting January 1 (2011). In this economy I feel extremely lucky. I am no longer a City of Chicago employee but (as far as I know) remain 100% involved in organizing events at Millennium Park, Chicago Cultural Center, Chicago SummerDance, World Music Festival, etc. along with the incredibly talented team of Brian Keigher, Carlos Tortolero and Helen Vasey in the new year."
The tourism fund is a private nonprofit. It's budget-cutting -- the city's shoving these jobs off its payroll (and benefits) in order to rack up more "savings." Hopefully the spirit of the work will continue, no matter who's counting the beans.