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Potentially devastating Chicago arts ordinance called to a vote on May 14, 2008

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A potentially devastating Chicago arts ordinance will be called to a vote on May 14, 2008. This text appeared on May 9, 2008 at SaveChicagoCulture.org, and as of this posting, 3,177 comments have been left in response:

Imagine a Chicago with no Metro or Double Door or Schuba’s. Imagine a Chicago with no Royal George or Bailiwick or Athenaeum. Imagine a Chicago where local music is only heard in the suburbs and theater is limited to Wicked and Jersey Boys.

Scary thoughts. But if the City of Chicago’s City Council doesn’t hear your voice by Wednesday, May 14, they can become reality.

On that date the council will vote to approve an ordinance that has the power to stifle creativity in Chicago’s musical, theatrical, and general cultural scenes. With no public discourse or commentary, this proposal has been approved by the City Council Committee and is on the fast track to be pushed into law. It is up to us to let our elected officials know that Chicago’s creative scene is too rich, too varied, and too vital to be regulated in such a blanket fashion.

The details:

The “Event Promoters” ordinance requires any event promoter to have a license from the city of Chicago and liability insurance of $300,000, but that’s just the start:

  • The definition of “event promoter” is so loosely defined it could apply to a band that books its own shows or a theater company that’s in town for a one-week run.
  • “Event Promoter” must be licensed and will pay $500 - $2000 depending on expected audience size.
  • To get the license, applicant must be over 21, get fingerprinted, submit to a background check, and jump over several other hurdles.
  • This ordinance seems targeted towards smaller venues, since those with 500+ permanent seats are exempt.
  • Police must be notified at least 7 days in advance of event.

    For the complete ordinance, check out Jim DeRogatis’ blog on the Chicago Sun-Times.

    We are collecting signatures to present to the council voicing our opposition to this ordinance. YOUR VOICE IS NECESSARY TO ENSURE CHICAGO’S CULTURAL SCENE CONTINUES TO THRIVE. Please leave a comment as your expression of disapproval. These will be presented to the City Council and to all Chicago Aldermen prior to Wednesday’s vote.

    Thank you for helping to protect Chicago’s Culture.

    Sincerely,

    Theresa Carter, The Local Tourist: THE Website for downtown Chicago
    Michael Teach, Chicago Acoustic Underground
    Michael Narvaez, Chicago Acoustic Underground

  • HollywoodChicago.com's picture

    Follow-up Chicago Sun-Times story on deadly proposal

    Following his blog post, Jim DeRogatis of the Chicago Sun-Times has on May 13,2008 followed up with a news story on this proposed ordinance.

    HollywoodChicago.com's picture

    Link to text of this proposed ordinance

    This is a link to the text of this proposed ordinance.

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