Chances are you heard a fair amount this past spring about the so-called Chicago Promoters Ordinance, and about how -- after rapid grassroots mobilzation from the city's cultural community -- the Ordinance was tabled for a later date.
But in the face of the city's current budget woes, as municipal powers look for ways to fill a $496 million-dollar budget deficit, you can expect they'll be looking for a lot of ways to squeeze out revenue -- tapping into whatever resources that seem viable. Which most likely means that the Ordinance could be making a re-appearance at the earliest opportunity.
As Sun-Times music critic Jim DeRogatis describes it, the Chicago Promoters Ordinance (aka the "Event Promoters Ordinance," or Chapter 4-157) constitutes "a full-on war against the music community." But that's only one part of the larger picture. In case you hadn't followed the details very closely, the Ordinance would have a detrimental effect on culture in Chicago that would extend far beyond the indie music and dance scene. It would also affect the city's art and performance venues of every stripe -- including theater, comedy, literary events, as well as alternative arts spaces and galleries. In short, the scope of the Ordinance would effectively sever this city's cultural life at the roots.
By way of a recap, local multimedia producers JaGoFF and TheRecordIndustry have put together their own video documentary Chicago's Promoters' Ordinance Kills Independent Music. Shot over the past summer and quickly posted for viral circulation, the documentary features interviews with Jim DeRogatis and Chicago Tribune music journalist Greg Kot; as well as commentary by a bevy of other Chicago scene-movers including Shawn Campbell from CHIRP, DJs Derrick Carter and James Lauer, Galapagos4 hip-hop DJ/producer Maker, and plenty of other figures from Chicago's multi-faceted cultural landscape.
The video's long on testimonials, but also features some excellent info and commentary -- most notably an extensive walk-through of the Ordinance provided by Henry H. Perritt Jr. As a law professor and cultural advocate, Perritt subjects the Ordinance to a relentless critique in terms of its legal and cultural ramifications, and offers the verdict that the thing is both "unconstitutional" and "just plain bonkers."
Stay tuned, because we'll most likely be seeing more of the Chicago Promoters Ordinance in the future. And that'll probably end up being sooner than later.
More to come.