Gapers Block has ceased publication.

Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
 Thank you for your readership and contributions. 


Monday, June 24

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Interview Thu Aug 31 2006

Really Quick Interview: Thax Douglas

Thax is a Chicago music institution, whether you like his poetry or not. You knew you were at a "real Chicago show" when, after the lights went down, he stepped quietly out on stage, pulled out a piece of paper and read a poem in honor of the night's entertainment. Most of his live poetry has been brief (read in under 30 seconds) but the impression he left behind lasted much longer (there's even a documentary). Chicago adopted him as "ours", but no longer. In a short while, Thax will pack his poems and head out to New York City. In honor of his legacy, tonight, Chicago musicians will say farewell at a special show at the Hideout featuring Sybris, Tight Phantomz, Dick Prall, and Daniel Knox. I had a chance to ask Thax a few questions about the show and his poems and Chicago music venues, and below are his responses.

ASH: You started reading poems before bands in 1997, what got you to first step on stage?

TD: I'd been stepping on stage since 1987 when I first started reading at the Green Mill open mic on Sundays, so I was used to that. I ran poorly attended variety shows at Lounge Ax that would feature poets, "performance artists", films and curiosities, and a band at the end. I would be introducing the band anyway so I wrote the poem as a curiosty. I had been writing "poetry portraits" of people since 1990, the poem being an abstraction of a person. A band is already an abstraction so my poetry portraits of bands were an abstraction of an abstraction-in other words, pure art, or "white on white" art as St Petersburgers used to say. This with the bonus of getting to read the poem in front of an audience as part of the "abstraction".

ASH: Whose idea was the Farewell Party at the Hideout? How did it come about?

TD: It was my idea, I wanted to go out in style — and Tim Tuten has always been a supporter of mine.

ASH: Are you friends with the bands playing (Sybris, Tight Phantomz, Dick Prall, Daniel Knox)?

TD: Yes. This show booked itself.

ASH: At the party are you reading before each band, what's planned?

TD: I will introduce the bands as always — and a couple of my best friends will perform, John Connors will sing lounge songs and Brian Potrafka, who published [my book] Tragic Faggott Syndrome will do anti-comedy.

ASH: What was your favorite venue in Chicago to hear music in? (least favorite?)

TD: My two favorite venues have been the Double Door and Schubas, as well as the Hideout — I have felt most comfortable and the staff have been the most welcoming over the years at these three places. My final public readings in Chicago, bands willing, will be at Double Door for Mudhoney and Radio Birdman Sept 1-2. I have also been welcomed at the Beat Kitchen, Subterranean, and the old Bottom Lounge and the Metro. The Riviera has always been welcoming and respectful- I've read at every venue in town tho […] I shall not miss the Empty Bottle.

ASH: Are there any music venues/bands you wish you'd seen in Chicago?

TD: Believe it or not there are some bands I have never seen in Chicago even tho they have existed for years. Who knows, I may have liked some of these bands. I had meant to do a poem for Fallout Boy but unlike Van Allen Belt or Welcome to Ashley they got famous before I got a chance to do it. Generally I've read for every band I've wanted to read for in Chicago. And I've read every venue from Allstate Arena to the Big Horse.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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