EVERY PICTURE TELLS A STORY, DON’T IT?
“Perseverance and research.” Paul Natkin spells out the secret to his success as one of Chicago’s, nay even rock’s, most celebrated photographers. The old cliché might claim a picture is worth a thousand words, but Natkin’s images sing. Prince, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Madonna – the 61-year-old spent the last 37 years huddled in the pit at the edge of the stage capturing these superstars. He’s rubbed elbows with living legends and the dearly departed (he caught Stevie Ray Vaughan on film the day before the guitarist perished in a helicopter crash). But no one measures up to Keith Richards. Natkin calls the Rolling Stones guitarist, “the best person to photograph ever.” And he’s pointed his lens at rock ‘n’ roll’s consummate pirate on at least two solo tours and a trilogy of cross-country Stones outings. The Glimmer Twins pop up in an interactive exhibit showcasing Natkin’s extensive reach at the Elmhurst Historical Museum. “Shutter to Think: The Rock & Roll Lens of Paul Natkin” features the shutterbug’s most brazen images outfitted for a three-dimensional experience (a 10-foot tall print of Pete Townshend, a create-your-own-Rolling Stone magazine cover display, and the stories behind the frozen poses, written by our Chicago Sun-Times bud Dave Hoekstra). Thanks to the proliferation of camera phones and restrictions placed on credentialed photogs, the likes of Natkin won’t be seen again. “If you start out today, there is absolutely zero chance that you can earn a living doing what I do,” he claims. The exhibit is free and closes on Aug. 25. Go to Elmhurst.org for more info.
WHAT’S BEHIND DOOR NO. 3?
“For the first time you can go to the Double Door and actually sit at a table and have a waitress come up to you and say, ‘Can I get you something?’ For 19 years, if you ordered a drink at Double Door, you had to walk to the bar,” Sean Mulroney, co-owner of the Wicker Park institution, says. Oh, and no more plastic cups. “We’ll have glassware downstairs,” he adds. Before you start panicking that your favorite place to double-fist PBR and get sprayed with guitarist sweat is turning into a spot where Chuck Taylors are not on the approved list of footwear, take a deep breath. Yes, the downstairs area once “affectionately” known as the Dirt Room, makes its official debut as Door No. 3 Music & Cocktails this month (a few teaser events notwithstanding). And yes, the transformation takes on a speakeasy vibe complete with leather booths, an extended bar, and a separate steel-door entrance with a peek-a-boo window found under the Damen Blue Line. However, the only thing changing about the main room is that you now have somewhere to hang out before and after the show without leaving the building. “Like any concert venue, when the band’s last chord is ringing in the air, everyone turns around and they leave . . . It’s just the nature of a performance venue,” Mulroney reasons. “We’re going to encourage people, instead of going to our lovely neighbors and their fine drinking establishments, [to] stay with us.” The speakeasy concept also flows with the building’s history. “During Prohibition, the main floor was a furniture store by appearance, but the drinking was in the back room in the basement.” Door No. 3 will serve as a separate ambient DJ-driven entity on nights without big,sold-out ticketed shows upstairs. Mulroney despises using the term “craft” to describe cocktails and beer, but expect some lovely concoctions.
FLIGHT OF THE CONCORDS
The name sounds like a slam-dunk for an interior heavy on mounted antlers, but the three local, independent promoters at the helm of Chicago’s newest concert venue, Concord Music Hall, chose the moniker because of its harmonious definition. The folks behind Riot Fest, who share the same name with the three-day event, the masterminds of Spring Awakening, React Presents, and electro-friendly Silver Wrapper bring in Adam Ant on Aug. 1 for a soft opening, while Gogol Bordello officially christens the space on Aug. 17. Both concerts were originally scheduled at the beleaguered Congress Theater just a few blocks away from the Concord’s address at 2047 N. Milwaukee Ave. in the Wicker Park/Logan Square neighborhood. With the Congress’ status still up in the air, no doubt many acts falling within the venue’s programming aesthetic will now call the Concord home. Once the site of Latin dance club V-Live, the Concord boasts a capacity between 700 and 1,600, depending whether the balcony area is open, and has a curfew of 4 a.m. Sunday through Friday and 5 a.m. on Saturdays. In addition to being the hub for North Coast Music Festival and Riot Fest aftershows (Disco Biscuits on Aug. 31!), the schedule is brimming with funk (Dumpstaphunk on Oct. 19 and Lettuce on Dec. 12), punk (The Misfits on Oct. 20), and coveted DJs (Boys Noize on Oct. 18 and Laidback Luke on Oct. 31). We’re not sure Hallmark sells a card that offers a whimsical congratulatory message for the birth of a new venue. Perhaps we’ll just cross out the word baby on the note we picked out for those gushing royals. Tickets are on sale for the shows listed above at concordmusichall.com.
— Janine Schaults