I've got a whole city to hold down

October 01, 2004

New Checkerboard on the way

From Crain's Chicago Business:

"The thrill is coming back for the storied Checkerboard Lounge. The shuttered Bronzeville hot spot, where Blues legends like Buddy Guy and Muddy Waters once performed, is reopening in Hyde Park in November, according to owner L.C. Thurman. The blues club is moving into Harper Court, a retail center owned by the University of Chicago. 'All my customers were from Hyde Park and the North Side anyway,' says Mr. Thurman. 'So it's a great location for us.'"

As you may remember - and as Crain's goes on to note - Bronzeville preservationists and community activists protested the move when it was first discussed. They saw it as a wealthy institution (the U of C) co-opting the cultural heritage of a hardscrabble community, and most basically and crudely as another example of whites stealing the blues from blacks.

For a recent - and, coincidentally, Chicago-centric take on that subject, we recommend this piece by David Hajdu (author of the Dylan-Baez-Farina bio). It was first published by Mother Jones last fall.