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What Made Thax Douglas Famous Has Made A Loser Out Of We

By Scott Smith in Arts & Entertainment on Aug 31, 2006 6:47PM

Tonight at the Hideout is the final show in the “Farewell To Thax Douglas” mini-tour of Chicago. Thax 2006_08_thax.jpgwill perform his signature brand of poetry before sets by Chicagoist fave Sybris, Tight Phantomz, Dick Prall, and Daniel Knox. According to a recent interview at Transmission, some friends of Thax will also throw down some musical stylings and spoken word.

We’ve been following the ups and downs of Thax for the last several months, from the documentary about his life to his threat of retirement to his MySpace-announced departure for the Big Apple. In a recent article in the Chicago Tribune (that also discussed some of the Thax-bashers on this site), he said “when someone from Chicago is successful, it's because they're validated outside of Chicago.” After the article appeared was published, Thax posted the following to MySpace:

“my life isn't that bad-the happiness of aesthetic fulfilment [sic] overrides and illuminates everything else in my life. I do live in a small squalid room and sleep next to a garbage bag but you know what-I would live like that if I had money.

And here’s where we’re scratching our heads over his move to NYC.

We here at Chicagoist wish Thax the best of luck. As far as we’re concerned, he’s been a welcome addition to the Chicago rock scene and a check on those who take music too seriously, and forget that music fandom is just as important as music criticism. If moving to NYC means that Thax can take his art and turn it into a livelihood then he’ll be living the dream, and we’ll be wicked jealous.

But his rise as Chicago’s only rock poet was possible because of Chicago, not in spite of it. Only a city that nurtured an Algren could nurture a Thax Douglas. We often take it on the chin as being less culturally-minded than other large cities or less accepting of the different, the weird or the out-of-place. But despite the haters, Thax had a home here.

So take care of Thax, big sister. Prove that we’re the rubes we’re so often accused of being here in “the Midwest” by making Thax a big star on your scene. Do for him what we apparently couldn’t. But if you can’t, let him know we can still spare him 30 seconds before some shows here. It’s what we do.