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News Thu Apr 18 2013

Bye Bye, Congress Theater?

6307806574_03e46c7315_z.jpg(Photo credit: Hane C. Lee under Creative Commons)If you're a frequent reader of WBEZ's Jim DeRogatis or just have a mild interest in the city's music scene, you're probably aware of the fact that Logan Square's Congress Theater has had some recent problems. That's actually an understatement. The 87-year-old, 3,500 capacity theater and its unpredictable owner Erineo "Eddie" Carranza could easily be the center of a drama fueled reality television show -- one that's about to have its season cut short.

Yesterday DeRogatis' blog "Pop N Stuff" reported that at 11am today, April 18, Cook County Circuit Court will rule in the case of an emergency injunction filed yesterday following the Congress' most recent round of inspections. If the court rules against Carranza, the theater's owner will be prohibited from "renting, using, leasing or occupying" the Congress and police force will be used if he does not immediately vacate the property. As DeRogatis notes in his report, this type of action by the city against a music venue is "without precedent."

In the past, complaints about the Congress Theater have ranged from poor condition of the bathrooms to rampant drug use at concerts to neighborhood safety to poor insulation. The city motion filed yesterday detailing the many, many safety violations puts the Congress' problems in a scary new perspective.

Reading through the list of 26 violations one thing is frighteningly clear: should the Congress Theater ever fall victim to a fire, its patrons are screwed. These violations could not only lead to fires ("There is water in the basement near an open live front electrical panel."), but they also confirm that suffocating potential flames would be an issue (fire extinguishers are absent throughout the venue). As if that's not bad enough, the motion also describes "...beverage dispensing stations and bars installed...which obstruct access to exit doors."

Motion by Chicago Public Media

The Congress' cosmetic shortcomings are apparent to anyone who walks through the doors but pale in comparison to these complaints -- especially when you consider the fact that this is a venue that consistently packs itself.

Should the city rule against Carranza today, weekend programming -- including a CIMM Festival appearance by the Funky Meters on Friday -- would be canceled.

UPDATE: Under an agreement reached at today's hearing the Congress will be allowed to remain open, but may not sell any additional tickets until the violations are remedied and the venue passes inspection, the Sun-Times reports.

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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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