In an ever-aging, ever-gentrifying, ever-expanding city like Chicago, it can be hard to keep up with the changes in a specific place and time. Our fluctuation of history, and renovation comes with nostalgic confusion on encouraging new spaces to open up while needing to make sure they are run by the right people, and remain conscious of the areas they are in. Take the Lincoln Yards project, for example. On the surface, as we discussed a few months ago, the Lincoln Yards project seems an important staple in the music community. With increased venue space, and modern architecture, had The Lincoln Yards project not come with realities of displacement, and monopolization of the industry, the project would have full support.
Similarly, many of us have mourned the sale of Wicker Park’s original Double Door, and Door No.3 since it’s closing last year. An iconic venue that dated back to 1994, the Double Door housed decades of shows and lived through the growth and evolution of Wicker Park, through an era of punk revolution. But succumbed to Wicker Park’s intense rise in property value and overall change of atmosphere. Although the owners petitioned to move the venue to Logan Square in 2017, the new location has found a way to reopen its doors a little further northeast of its origin. Combining two important staples here in the city, The Wilson Theatre is to become the new Double Door. The Wilson Avenue Theatre first opened its doors in 1909 and prospered as a venue until 1919 when it was converted into a bank. Now, the historical building is being reverted back to its original intended use. Although there has been public outcry in the industry and amongst music lovers about its locale, the new location seems to make the best of an unfortunate evolution of property, giving us some hope.
The same fluctuation comes with DIY spaces across decades. Some permanently close their doors while others change their purpose. For various reasons, whether it be renters growing up and out of the idea of living in large warehouse spaces, and throwing parties full of strangers every other weekend, or a crack down on the ability to own spaces like this, the DIY scene is always changing. With this, we are forced out of our comfort zones and into new spaces hoping to be the best new spot, or not.
In this time of expansion, and aging, is there less space for possibility? Less encouragement than there once may have been to find an empty space and fill it with art, music, and audience chatter throughout the night? In a recent reading with Jessica Hopper, author of Night Moves, and music critic, the conversation alluded to this question and although her book is set during a specific time period (2004-2008), in a specific neighborhood (Ukrainian Village), she seemed to claim that you can’t find the spaces and attitudes you used to find more than 10 years ago here in Chicago. My critique lends a different hand. She grew up, out of her 20s and amateur writing just as the Fireside turned back into a bowling alley, and warehouse spaces closed, but the attitude remains as it likely always will in Chicago. We learn to work with those changes, accept the new spaces, and reversions, while also loving the places we hope will always be there.
Got new DIY spaces to look out for this summer? Let us know below!