Tag Archives: marvin gaye

Portraits of Black Chicago: The Beat Goes On

black_bongo_playerBlack bongo player performs at the International Amphitheater in Chicago as part of the annual PUSH [People United to Save Humanity] ‘Black Expo’ in the fall of 1973. October 1973

Chicago’s PUSH Black Expo was a powerful tour de force for Black Businesses nationwide at the time this photo was shot.  Time magazine stated in a 1971 article: When the five-day trade fair opened in Chicago last week, there were representatives of nearly 400 black firms on hand to prove the premise. But before the week was out, Black Expo proved to be more than a display of the products of America’s fledgling black capitalism. It turned out to be an unofficial convention of entrepreneurs and politicians in search of power at the polls as well as in the marketplace. Wow.   There was even a major motion picture shot to document one year’s occurrence, entitled “Save the Children” (after that year’s theme).  So what happened?

Almost exactly twenty years after the above photo was shot, the following was published in the Chicago Reporter:

Black Expo: Taking Care of Business?

(originally published in the Chicago Reporter in September 1993)

When about 250,000 people, most of them African Americans, turned out for this year’s Chicago Black Expo, many were offered fried chicken and menthol cigarettes…

(click the link below for original footage of Marvin Gaye at the PUSH Expo)

marvin gaye live at the expo after the jump

The Shrine is coming…


shrinelogo(n.): A new music venue bringing entertainment back to Chicago nightlife, expected to open Memorial Day weekend 2009.

Joseph Russo, The Shrine’s founder and principal, has a number of legendary nightlife establishments in Chicago, including: The Funky Buddha, Thyme Restaurant, and its upscale lounge component Sinibar.  The Shrine’s Myspace page promises: “A fusion of a sensuous nightclub, state-of-the-art live performance space, and high-end lounge, …a next generation nightlife venue.”

I am ready to stop fantasizing about 63rd street back in the day….

excerpted from

“Chicago In Song: Street Signs”

by Robert Pruter (as published in the Beachwood Reporter)

Chicago city limits, that’s what the street sign on the highway read
I’m going to keep moving, until I get to that street called 63rd
…”  from “Hitch Hike” by Marvin Gaye

kitty-kat-adSixty-Third Street was bisected by Cottage Grove Avenue, and for a couple of decades it was the dividing line between the black and white sections of Woodlawn. The black nightclubs first arose on the west side of Cottage Grove, south and north of 63rd, and then a string went from Cottage Grove along 63rd west to South Parkway (now King Drive). When the color line of Woodlawn broke in 1951, black nightclubs then blossomed on the east side of Cottage Grove and east on 63rd to Stony Island Ave.

One of the most famous clubs on 63rd Street was the Kitty Kat, established in 1953, and which featured King Fleming, John Young, Ahmad Jamal and other more art-oriented jazz musicians. On the west side of Cottage Grove could be found another legendary jazz club, Basin Street, with such stellar acts as Johnny Griffin and Eddie Vinson, and about a block south at 64th Street was the Pershing Hotel complex of venues – the ballroom, the first-floor lounge and the basement club called Budland, which at first was a jazz club featuring such acts as Arnett Cobb, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday, but later was booking rhythm and blues acts.

On the west side of the Cottage Grove was the Trianon Ballroom, where teenagers saw huge rhythm and blues stage shows, and McKie’s Lounge, which booked a host of great sax blowers. Further east on 63rd Street was the famed Crown Propeller Lounge, which booked both jazz and rhythm and blues acts. The 63rd-Cottage Grove intersection was anchored by the largest theater on the South Side, the Tivoli, which put on rhythm and blues shows as well.

The 63rd Street Stroll also emerged as the South Side’s new “sin strip” during this period. The attraction of the area was “the forbidden,” where one could find not only jazz and rhythm and blues, but smoking, drinking, dope dealing and women. The area attracted not only ardent music fans, both black and white, but also those on the lookout for “action.”

My most rhythmic sisters, The Shrine is holding open auditions for dancers next weekend (I wanted to give you time to prep)…. Here’s the deal:

We invite young, passionate, creative female dancers willing to commit to four to six short performances a week (2-3 nights) to participate in our open call process.

Location and Time:

Visceral Dance Studio
2820 N. Elston Ave
12pm, April 11th, 2009


– Female Dancers who are 21 years of age or older by May 15th, 2009
-Must provide one non-returnable headshot and one non-returnable full-body shot including height and weight (5″x7″ or larger preferred). Photos are used for identification purposes.
-Professional photo is not mandatory. Photos should be a current representation of what you look like or will look like at the audition.
-No street shoes.

What we’re looking for:

– Athletic build, personality, energy, enthusiasm!
-Professionalism and maturity
-Background in african, modern, or jazz a plus
-Ability to improvise with confidence
-Ability to pick up dance choreography quickly
-Consistent positive attitude
-Strong teamwork skills