Another wonderful part of Third Coast International Audio Festival’s Listening Rooms is their magnificent choice of venue. I’ve been going to their events for 4-5 years and they have chosen places all over Chicago. It’s a real treat.
My first Listening Room was at the Cultural Center in the Loop. It’s one of my favorite places in Chicago. The building itself is gorgeous with its tile work and soaring ceiling. And their programming (even after the gutting of the staff) is still great. The Listening Room was held in one of their theatres. I had never heard of it or of Third Coast so it was an eye-opening experience. The theme was Chicago. They even brought a street musician who played drums on stage. He really stole the show (actually, at one point, he wouldn’t stop playing).
Then they held a few at the Old Town School of Folk Music in their old auditorium (as opposed to the one in the new building). Old Town is another treasure to the City of Chicago. The room, unsurprisingly, is perfect for listening to sound. I don’t remember the themes but I do remember an amazing clip of a horse race where the results were unexpected. Also, they played what was supposed to be the first ever recording.
Later on, they held a Listening Room in the Unity Temple in Oak Park. The theme was spaces which was perfect given the venue. Unity Temple is a fascinating place of worship, not quite what I expected. But I’m glad that I had the opportunity to be in that room. One piece was about nighttime at the zoo. It included the howling of wolves. There are moments that you will remember for the rest of your life. I’ll never forget listening to wolves in Unity Temple.
Third Coast has held several in the Hideout, my favorite venue in Chicago. Go check out the Hideout and its amazing programming if you haven’t already. I remember the “Colors” themed show where it covered everything from the Purple Hotel in Lincolnwood (now demolished), a family’s racial identity, and Radio Lab’s piece on the Rainbow Shrimp. It was a mind exploding time learning about the amazingly evil Rainbow Shrimp (go listen to it if you can).
This past Listening Room took us to the Resident’s Dining Hall at the Hull House Museum. It’s the building next to the Museum which you may not have noticed. It’s the same room that AAUW held its Jane Addams Day event. It’s got wood floors and wood paneling. It’s a bit older than the rest of the venues. I think Jane Addams would have loved having the event in the room; Hull House had drama and literary clubs. Third Coast would have fit in well.
That’s all for now! Can’t wait to see where Third Coast takes me next!