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Art 'N' Stuff

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Dec 9, 2005 5:37PM

Some arty-farty Chicago stories we’ve been checking out on the internets today:

2005_12_09_art.JPG* The National Endowment for the arts awarded $1.1 million in grants to various people, places and things that make life worth living in Illinois. Recipients include some Chicago heavyweights like the Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra as well as the Mexican Fine Arts Center and Tribune columnist Dawn Turner Trice. To our mind, the Chicago Jazz Orchestra Association is putting the money to the best use with a February 19th tribute to Ella Fitzgerald.

* AOL has started its own music downloading service to compete with iTunes with its acquisition of Chicago-based MusicNow. The service will offer one million songs from four major labels at 99 cents a track or through a subscription program.

* Spamalot will return to Chicago with a run at the Cadillac Palace Theater from April 19th through June 4th. While spring might seem a long way off, advance tickets go on sale today if you’re an American Express Gold cardholder. Tickets are priced at $35-$80.

* The Georgia Straight, an entertainment magazine out of Vancouver, has a feature piece with DJ Heather, a mainstay of Chicago’s house scene. She’ll be releasing a single on her Black Cherry label with plans to feature in during the Winter Music Conference in Miami.

* Finally, we know that “Queen of the Blues” Koko Taylor hasn’t always been in the best of health as of late so it’s good to know she’s still out touring. She recently headlined “Chicago Blues On Harrison Street,” a free blues festival in Hollywood, Florida. Other Chicago acts included Big James and the Chicago Playboys and Pistol Pete. But a member of the South Florida Blues Society might be getting a bit ahead of himself in the last graf when he states: "South Florida could become the next blues capital, after Chicago.” Sure, totally possible. If Memphis and New Orleans are swallowed up by craters in the Earth.