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One Step Forward, Two Steps Knocked Back to the Stone Age

May 12, 2008 By: Nick Keenan Category: Uncategorized

Thanks for the link, RZ.

The Chicago Promoter’s Ordinance is up for a vote, and it includes a new requirement for insurance that could be devastating to small event promoters. It’s aimed at the music industry, but since they’re aiming a legislative bunker buster, this kind of legislation inevitably impacts small theater venues as well. From what I understand in the ordinance, it looks like the legislation is so unclear that it may be another situation where some Chicago Theaters get thrown into aKafkaesque licensing limbo, and some may wrangle out of it politically. Looks like some larger theaters already have, like the Auditorium and the Chicago theater – which have both wrangled an exception for venues of over 500 seats.

Exclamation Point.

Glad the big guys got the hand up, and the notice. Well played.

This vote goes down WEDNESDAY, so let’s get informed, get the word out, and take whatever action you can … now. Three major resources to get informed: The ordinance itself is posted on Jim DeRogatis’ blog on the Sun Times site, there’s an an excellent TOC interview with Alderman Scott Waguespack and the lobbyist site on the promoter’s side, has some specific calls to action.

Waguespack claims that this will only saddle most performance venues with a $700/year insurance bill. He clearly hasn’t seen my annual budget and how devastating even that expense can be. I can produce certain shows for less than $1000 – so it may mean that I produce one fewer show a year.

Sometimes the transparent-as-dirt Chicago machine system of doing business works for the art, and sometimes it hobbles us with poorly written legislation. And theaters are rarely prepared enough to spring into action with the three days notice we receive.

So let’s spring.

And since Chicago has an Olympic proposal in, any words of support from national international readers on the comments section are welcome. Chicago’s leadership is new to the whole international community idea, and they tend to listen to outsiders before they listen to, you know, constituents.

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1 Comments to “One Step Forward, Two Steps Knocked Back to the Stone Age”

  1. It is all very convoluted, but this (below) is an excerpt. Nonprofits are exempt, as long as they are performing in a licensed venue and doing their own promotion. If you hire a promoter (e.g., Carol Fox & Associates, an independent contractor for marketing/p.r., or the like), then you would have to jump through the hoops. At least that is the way I understand it. I’m no lawyer…

    (B) If a not-for-profit corporation promotes an amusement or event at an establishment licensed or required to be licensed under this chapter, and such amusement or event is open to members of the general public, and an admission fee, minimum purchase requirement, membership fee or any form of donation or other fee is imposed for the privilege of attending such amusement or event, and the person promoting such amusement or event on behalf of the not-for-profit corporation does not hold a valid event promoter license or proper class of such license issued under Chapter 4-157 of this code, it shall be unlawful for a licensee under this chapter to present such amusement or event at the licensed establishment unless the not-for-profit corporation provides the licensee with: (1) acceptable documentation establishing its not-for-profit status, and (2) a dated letter, on its letterhead and signed by its authorizing
    official, (i) stating that the not-for-profit corporation or bona fide member(s) or employee(s) thereof is promoting the identified amusement or event at the licensed establishment on behalf of Draft Ordinance–April 28, 2008
    14 such not-for-profit corporation, and (ii) confirming that the not-for-profit corporation has not used, hired, employed or otherwise availed itself of the services of an event promoter licensed or required to be licensed under Chapter 4-157 to promote such amusement or event. Such
    documentation and letter shall be kept on site by the licensee throughout the duration of the promoted amusement or event, and thereafter shall be maintained on file by the licensee for a period of three years. Upon request, such documentation shall be made available for inspection
    by any authorized city official.


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