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Chicago Rocks! Music Series

musicGrab your dancing shoes and groove with us this Spring for a slew of events that celebrates Chicago’s rich musical past.  Over the course of four weeks, we’ll explore various genres that have dominated the Windy City’s sound scene.  From lectures and concerts to tours and dinners, the series will have something for any music aficionado and lover of Chicago history.


Punk ‘n’ Brew Beer Dinner

Monday, April 9, 7:00 p.m.

Location: Revolution Brewing, 2323 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Join us for an evening of history, punk music, and rockin’ good food. We’ll enjoy four courses and beer pairings inspired by punk music. Learn about Revolution Brewery’s punk connections while rocking out to a kickin’ playlist. Price includes four courses, beer pairings, tax, and gratuity.

Cost: $60, $55 members

This event is sold out

History Pub Crawl

Drink To The Music!

Tuesday, April 10, 7:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m.

Windy City bars have historically been a hotbed for the city’s often edgy music scene. Chicagoans have been jammin’ to an assortment of tunes in various taverns ever since we blew out this town’s first birthday candle.  Join us on this trolley excursion to local bars that have played pivotal roles in Chicago’s rich music scene.

Cost: $30, $25 Members

Lecture and Concert

smartbarOur House: A Retrospective of Chicago's Dance Music

Thursday, April 12 
Doors open at 7:30 p.m., Lecture 8:00 p.m.-9:00p.m., Music 9:00p.m.-10:00p.m.
Location: Smart Bar, 3730 N. Clark St.

Since its emergence in the1980's, Chicago House Music has universally influenced dance music from the industrial landscapes of Detroit through the fogs of London and around the European Empires.  House was a movement that began in the basements and bedrooms of teenagers who purchased second hand electronic instruments to achieve self expression. These DIY producers created atmospheric and textural qualities which became the cornerstones of individualism and experience. Art, literature and music generated and championed by subcultures shape and mold the social structures and nuances of the metropolitan landscapes. Join us with local DJ aficionado and SmartBar resident Justin Long as we investigate and explore the foundations of Chicago’s most celebrated and yet unknown House Music sound. A dance genre that is specific in nature, characteristics and form.

Concert: Following the discourse, pioneer spin artist, Justin Long, will perform a DJ set comprising of producers and labels that were key to the constructions of the Chicago House scene.

Cost: $25, $20 members. Ticket price includes admission to this private event and free cover for the entire evening.

This event has been cancelled.

Bus Tour

Journey to the Center of the Chicago House Sound

Saturday, April 14,  1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.

The Chicago House sound is synonymous with its urban topography. Chart-breaking dance tracks materialized from modest recording studios, attained prized positions in local disk jockeys’ milk crates, and eventually influenced the shape of dance music across the globe. DJ, producer, and longtime SmartBar resident Justin Long leads this expedition exploring the physical landscape of Chicago House, from specialty record shops to the sites of legendary musical events.

Cost: $45, $40 members

This event has been cancelled.


The Music of John Cage: Concert (2) of A John Cage Festival

Saturday, April 14,  1:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m.

John Cage (1912-1992), was one of the most unique and influential composers of the 20th Century. Cage had a special connection with Chicago, having lived here early on in his career, later returning to Northwestern University, and finally putting his collection of scores, correspondences, and recordings at the Northwestern University Library. The Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble presents Living Room Music (1940), scored for percussion and speech quartet and Amanda DeBoer interprets Cage’s Aria (1958) a piece for solo voice which employs a graphic notation of curved lines in various colors marked with vowels, consonants and words from 5 different languages. In addition this concert will offer a unique opportunity to hear Four (1989) for String Quartet, one of Cage’s Number Pieces.This second concert is part of a three day festival devoted to celebrating the music of John Cage. Presented by a.pe.ri.od.ic.

Cost: Free with Museum admission

> Make a reservation

Chicago Rocks! Film Fest

On Sunday, April 15, three films round out our Chicago Rocks! music series.

Location: Films are shown in the Rubloff Auditorium.

Cost: Free for members; Free with Museum admission for nonmembers.

Chicago Blues

Sunday, April 15, 12:00 p.m.–1:00 p.m.

Filmed in 1972, this groundbreaking film looks at the history of Chicago blues. Artists discuss the importance of migration, the rise and fall of Delta Blue, and the conquering heavy electric Mississippi sound that followed. Featuring Muddy Waters, Johnnie Lewis, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, and J.B. Hutto.

Heavy Metal in Baghdad

Sunday, April 15, 1:00 p.m. –2:30 p.m.

During the 2006 insurgency, filmmakers Eddy Moretti and Suroosh Alvi traveled to Baghdad to interview Acrassicauda, Iraq’s only heavy metal band. From 2003 to 2006, as Iraq disintegrated, the band struggled to stay together and stay alive, always refusing to let their heavy metal dreams die. Their story echoes the unspoken hopes of an entire generation of young Iraqis.

I Am Hip Hop: The Chicago Hip Hop Documentary

Sunday, April 15, 2:30 p.m.–4:30 p.m.

Featuring interviews with 130 artists and 500 live performances, I Am Hip Hop offers a snapshot of rap music in Chicago between 2004 and 2009. In Chicago’s subterranean scene, lyrical wars are waged nightly by hungry MCs. Socially conscious backpackers, hardcore gangstas, and everyone in between appear to explore universal themes of class struggle, violence, stereotypes, and authenticity.

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