Museum highlights city's musical history

October 29, 2009 4:31:21 AM PDT
The DuSable Museum in Chicago is currently featuring an exhibit on the blues and the city's Bronzeville neighborhood.The exhibit features images, films, and artifacts that highlight the historic district of Bronzeville and its contributions to blues as an art form and a way of life.

"It's important because this shows not only a time and era, but you have problems in the community with the kids now. If they don't know their past, how are they going to have a nut?" said Gregg Parker, exhibit curator and founder of Chicago Blues Museum.

Some of the biggest names in show business appeared at the Majestic Regal Theater: Count Bassey, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washinton. The original seating and terra cotta of the Regal is on display.

Back in the 1960s at the Metropolitan Theater, you would see the likes of Little Richard, Smoky Robinson and Diana Ross.

The Rolling Stones often appeared in Bronzeville.

"This is an integral part of Chicago's legacy. You know, the Blues, this is where everything came from, the rock 'n' roll," said Billy Branch, Chicago Blues Musician.

From the 1920s to the 1950s, the city' first black entertainment district was lined with posh theaters and clubs such as the Savoy and Club Delisa.

Bob Hope, actor George Raft frequented Delisa when in town. Beautiful dancers also performed in Bronzeville.

Parker and his friends re-create the music that was played.

"If you really want to learn about the blues, come up here. This is the place," said Rockin Eddy, Chicago Blues Musician.

Chicago is the world capital of the Blues.

The exhibit highlights the popular Checkerboard Lounge, a favorite stop for performers.

"This represents everything about Chicago," said Parker.

The exhibit will be at the DuSable Museum until December 15.

For more information, visit www.dusablemuseum.org.


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