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Competing Interests

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 6, 2005 2:56PM

Yesterday, The Mayor’s Office of Special Events announced the musical lineup for this summer’s Taste of Chicago. It’s the usual mix of artists that fall into two categories: it-would-be-cool-to-see-them-live and all-you-have-to-do-is-ask. 2005_04_06_musicdudez.jpg

The name that grabs your attention—for all the wrong reasons—is the Taste’s opener Lauryn Hill. Hill, whose 1998 debut album won five Grammys and kickstarted the "neo-soul" genre, has garnered more ink in the last several years for her off-kilter behavior than for anything resembling an oeuvre (her last album was a 2002 live Unplugged album that even the kindest of critics would describe as “rough”). She also recently reunited with fellow Fugee Wyclef Jean in a Malaysian concert for tsunami relief efforts. Whether genius or madness shows up on June 24th is anybody’s guess.

Santana and Los Lonely Boys will play on July 2nd and XRT’s traditional 4th of July show will feature John Hiatt and a yet-to-be-named headliner. Other than that, it’s a hodge-podge of acts that are a year or two away from being forced to utter the words “The Swine Fitting Workshop starts in five minutes by the Beef Breeding tent.”

In other summer fest news, Jim DeRogatis continues to chip away at the delicate façade erected by promoters of this summer’s Lollapalooza. After the launch of the Lolla website on April 1st (oh sweet irony!), DeRo pointed out that promoters had begun tossing scads of money around to attract headliners like Weezer, Green Day or Pixies. But Capital Sports and Entertainment has presented the two-day show as a fundraiser for the Parkways Foundation, an organization that raises money for Chicago park improvements. We know you have to spend money to make money but don't you have to make money to have something to give away? Lolla promoters will have to reach an agreement with Parkways before working their way through the gauntlet that is the city's park permit process. And it's telling that Lollapalooza isn't even on CSE's website event calendar.

So with city approval still up in the air (an “imminent” announcement from CSE has been promised since last Friday) and last year’s cancellation still on the minds of Chicagoans who believed the hype, a feeling of déjà vu hangs in the air. Two-day passes go on sale tomorrow for just $35 but the only announced act is someone named “DJ Spin Temple.” But we could be reading that wrong. We found this guy named “DJ Spin” who has been featured on B-96 and is “known for his unique style of bangin’ house music.” So maybe organizers have some quasi-rave idea about creating a temple for DJ Spin because their plans for a DJ Rotate Mosque or DJ Swirl Cathedral fell through.