Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band

I was at the Cubs game yesterday doing video work for a project, and I grabbed a few moments of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band, who nearly brought a tear to my eye.

My late Uncle Jim Snyder, who lived and worked in Chicago for all of his adult life, was widely regarded as the best Dixieland trombonist in the world. He began playing as a teenager, joined the now legendary Salty Dogs at Purdue University in the 1950’s, toured the world for decades, and recorded dozens of albums. He was a very sweet man who passed away shortly before I moved to Chicago.

At his funeral, his fellow musicians testified that his love for his art was so powerful that simply playing with him made them all better musicians. At that time I was still struggling with a long-delayed desire to finally move from my hometown to Chicago pursue writing and comedy, and witnessing the effect that my uncle’s love for his music had on his life and those of others was very inspiring to me.

But I digress. Here’s a bit of Ted Butterman’s Cubs Dixieland Band:


As an added bonus, I’m going to include this 1991 clip of Uncle Jimmy performing at Fitzgerald’s in Berwyn, Illinois, with the Chicago Salty Dogs. As the videographer admits, the picture quality isn’t great, but I defy you to listen to this tune and not find your toes tapping a happy little rhythm:


Help me get on Comedy Central!!!

Don’t Spit the Water is going to Hollywood, CA to audition for Comedy Central. That’s right! We are an amused programmer away from being on basic cable which is my glib nonchalant way of hiding the excitement of possibly doing comedy for a living.

However, traveling to LA is expensive. And we don’t make any money doing the show in Chicago, and we don’t make gobs of money working for a (from left to right in the picture) homeless shelter, Chicago public radio, and the Chicago public school system. In case you were wondering, I’m the guy in the lucha libre mask sans shirt.

That means we need your help to make this trip less expensive for us. All you have to do is join us for drinking, eating, and karaoke at Trader Todd’s this Thursday 8pm-10pm for Blewt! Sings! Your $40 will help send us on our way to stardom and on your way to all you can drink and eat and sing. The crazy characters from Don’t Spit the Water (recently featured on WGN morning news) will be there performing special songs just for the night.

If you can’t make it out on Thursday, then go our website anyway and donate what you can to help us out. Help Chicago’s favorite live comedy game show become America’s favorite live comedy game show!

Huzzah! (For Now)

According to Sun-Times columnist Jim DeRogatis’ blog, the “Event Promoters ordinance” has been tabled, at least temporarily. Alderman Eugene Schulter, Chairman of the City Council License Committee, decided not to present the ordinance to the full council after meeting with members of the Chicago Music Commission and local promoters and venue owners. According to Mr. DeRogatis’ blog the ordinance will return to committee for at least another month, during which time the committee will hear more input from the public.

I note that it is the local music community that has taken the reigns here, and I applaud them for it. I would like to remind the theatre and stand-up scenes that they have a stake here as well, and they need to make sure their representatives have a place at the table while this ordinance is reworked.

Well done, everybody who voiced their concerns.

City Council Votes on Event Promoters Ordinance Tomorrow!

The Event Promoters ordinance will go before the city council at 10:00 AM, Wednesday, May 14th. I received an e-mail about a campaign to flood city hall with opponents of this ordinance. The campaign is being organized through The Point, and the goal is for 100 people to commit to attending the council meeting tomorrow. Save Chicago Culture will present a petition opposing the ordinance at the meeting.

Because the proposal was fast-tracked through committee, the Chicago arts community has had very little time to respond. I, for one, will be attending the council meeting tomorrow. If you care about preserving Chicago’s theatre, music and comedy I expect to see you there too. If you can’t make it, please e-mail your alderman today and express your opinion.

Otherwise, I suppose you could just pay a hundred bucks a pop and go see Wicked again.

The Event Promoters’ Ordinance

Well, this is appalling.

This Wednesday the city council votes on the so-called “Event Promoters’ ordinance.” If this thing passes it could mean that any artist wishing to produce or promote his own work would have to pay up to $2,000 for a license. He or she would have to be over the age of 21, must get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and inform the police seven days in advance of an event. This ordinance is aimed directly at small venues and new artists who have yet to develop an audience. Larger spaces that seat over 500 — in other words, places that can actually afford the license — are exempt.

The weblog Save Chicago Culture is collecting signatures in opposition to the ordinance. On their site you can find a .pdf of the complete text of the ordinance, as well as links to the city council site, and your local alderman. The Sun-Times’ Jim DeRogatis has an in-depth analysis on his blog.

The problem is, blogs are the only place this thing has gotten any attention. So, if you don’t want to lose the Double Door, Schuba’s, Martyrs’, the Vic, the Riv or the Metro, get a message to your alderman at once.

I Can’t Hear You! I STILL Can’t Hear You!

My ears are ringing.

Last night at the House of Blues the wife and I finally saw the Ministry concert I wrote about getting tickets for a few months ago. At that time it was the first of two final U.S. shows for the band; it became the first of four. For those of you who are interested, there are apparently still tickets available for Sunday.

I must confess, I am getting old. No more jumping around in the pit for this guy. We found comfortable seats along the rail in the mezzanine section, near the bar. We had a great view, and managed to avoid all the crap getting thrown around down on the main floor. Being slightly removed from the action did not stop me from getting up and doing a little headbanging when the moment called for it though. Now, of course, my neck is sore. Like I said, I am getting old.


Art + Bikes = Rad


Ooh wee! My calendar just got a little happier with the addition of the Manifest Urban Arts Festival on May 16 and Andersonville Bike Week, May 12-18.

Manifest is a smörgåsbord of artsy amazingness created by Columbia College seniors and graduate students, including a two-hour live broadcast, Going Green For Our Future; an Animation Production Studio Screening; You Gotta Hear This: A Fiction Writing Department MFA student reading; Music! Music! Music!; and so much more.

Andersonville Bike Week packs in Yoga for Cyclists, Bike Maintenance 101 clinics, jazz, hip-hop, and spinning classes, art exhibits and body cleansing, along with tons of discounts at local merchants when you bring in your helmet. You’ll definitely find me heading over to La Cocina de Frida with my bike helmet to receive 15% off their yummy, plantain filled enchiladas. Oh yeah.


[youtube][/youtube]If nothing else, Kanye West‘s new video is a nice tour of downtown. 

(Via Coudal Partners)

I’m with the DJ

And she’s awesome.

This week is the Winter Music Conference in Miami and all my friends are there warm and happy, while I am here, in the shoe store, cold in Chicago, with a cold…..

I figure if I gotta be here, I might as well promote my friends via blogging. Let’s start with the ladies….. Kate Simko. Kate produces a night at Sonoteque called Wake Up! (She used to do this with Sassmouth, who is sadly moving to London)April’s will be on the 16th and I highly recommend it. Derek Plaslaiko, who is not only a great DJ, but also a super funny and nice guy will be a guest. I will also be there if that is any incentive for you to go……
We also have Sam One or SR-71. Or just Sam which is what I call her. You should check her out, she’s awsome, knows how to jack, and she LOVES the turntables!! It’s pretty fukin awesome.
And last but not least we have G. Her upcoming event, Sprung will be awesome!
Alright I’m getting sleepy seeing as I am SICK. On another note all together, if this weather doesn’t get better, I’m moving to LA. Srsly.

If I had more (read: any) money, I’d go to shows…..

But I don’t.

So I can’t.

And my inbox is constantly filling up with news of upcoming shows and gigs, and right now I can barely afford to get on the bus (moving will do that to you)!

So, I figured I’d share some of them. At least somebody will get to go….

Eddie Izzard!! – Eddie is playing the Chicago Theatre  on May 15th – 17th.

Spoon  is coming to the Vic on April 4th

 Rilo Kiley is coming to the Riviera on May 24th

Jim Gaffigan is playing the Genesee Theatre on August 22nd. Yeah, I realize that’s not “technically” in Chicago. And yeah, I realize that one is pretty far out – I got excited!

And last, but not least, THE KIDS IN THE HALL!!!!! This one I may actually try to go to, but I figured it was worth mentioning (again). They’re going to be at the Chicago Theatre on May 29th!!!

There you have it, folks. Five random gigs, plucked from my inbox, just for you. If anyone plans on going to any of these shows and you happen to have an extra ticket, lemme know…

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