Friday, June 03, 2005

Trouble Brewing in Liquor Park

Once deemed as an edgy and hip artists' neighborhood, Wicker Park has been the victim of mass gentrification over the past decade. For many, the arrival of the Starbucks at the corner of North and Milwaukee was the first proverbial nail in the coffin. Since then, the neighborhood has been invaded by MTV for a session of their Real World franchise, inundated with cheesy yuppy bars, mauraded by more chain joints like Potbelly and Chipotle, and accosted by expensive new condos and skyrocketing rents. Hell, corporate interests have even taken over the graffiti art in the area recently. (see this week's "Antisocial" column in the Reader) Obnoxious as all this has been, the neighborhood still has a bit of its old charm left thanks to such venerable institutions as Myopic Books, Earwax, Reckless Records and Double Door. These gems still make a trip to "the crotch" worthwhile, even if you have to dodge a few loud drunken yuppies along the way. However, it appears that one of these staples of the old neighborhood could be in serious jeopardy, and if closed, just might lead to that final nail being put in the coffin of Wicker Park's former bohemian life. Here's the story from Metroblogging (via Chicago Monkey): On June 9, 2005 Double Door, Chicago's preeminent small music venue, will be fighting for its very existence before Cook County Chancery Judge Billik. The trial, whereby Double Door is seeking to enforce an extension to its lease, is set to begin at 2PM at the Cook County Courthouse, Room 2601 in the Daley Center. The trial hinges upon Double Door's position that it appropriately notified the owners of the building, Harry and Brian Strauss, of its intention to exercise its option in its lease. The Strauss' dispute this claim. Double Door has become a fixture in Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and an integral part of the cultural and music scene in Chicago since its opening in 1994. The club has played host to some of the biggest bands in the world including The Rolling Stones, bringing national and international exposure to Chicago. Double Door served as the site for debut material from two albums of Chicago's own Smashing Pumpkins. Artists like Kid Rock, Macy Gray, The Strokes and The Killers have all graced the Double Door stage early in their careers. The club has nurtured the careers of many of Chicago's most successful local artists including Chevelle, Local H and Liquid Soul. The Strauss family has no interest in preserving the cultural integrity of the neighborhood or the Double Door. It is their intention to force the closure of Double Door and to replace it with a national retail chain. Double Door filed its suit against the Strauss family knowing that it has met its obligations under the lease. This trial will determine whether the institution that is Double Door will remain afixture in Wicker Park and a key part of the cultural and musical scene in Chicago.


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