Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2019-08-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Burlesque community mourns abrupt closing of Uptown Underground
by Jake Wittich

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

The speakeasy-style cabaret bar Uptown Underground was evicted Sept. 10, abruptly leaving performers to find a new home for their shows.

The venue, a staple in Chicago's cabaret and burlesque communities, owed more than $100,000 in unpaid rent and back pay to landlord Thaddeus Wong, leaving him no choice but to order an eviction, he told Block Club.

Jenn Kincaid, owner of Uptown Underground, notified its performers of the eviction in an email on Sept. 11, apologizing for the abrupt closure.

"Yesterday, I was served with papers from building ownership to close Uptown Underground, effective immediately. While that was happening, the locks on the doors were changed," she said. "I have spent today pleading with the landlord to reconsider, but it is done. And so, our doors are closed. I am gutted."

Kincaid is working with the building's management to make time for people to collect personal items from the venue, and refunds and deposits are being worked out, according to the email.

Neither Kincaid nor Wong responded to Windy City Times' requests for comment.

Uptown Underground's sudden closure leaves its performers scrambling to find new spaces for their shows and its staff unexpectedly out of work.

Brittany Meyer, producer of "Strip Joker," a body-positive comedy show that was held monthly at Uptown Underground, said they and other performers will struggle to find a venue as accommodating to burlesque shows as Kincaid's was.

"Uptown Underground was truly the only burlesque performance space in Chicago," Meyer told WCT. "Everything about that place was perfect for burlesque, from its regal stage, velvet curtains, multiple dressing rooms, full bar and security—[Kincaid] thought out every detail to make it safe and of quality."

Meyer said they are working on finding a new venue for "Strip Joker," but the show will have to evolve in order to accommodate its new space.

Jacob Green, a drag and cabaret performer known as Muffy Fishbasket, said he started performing at Uptown Underground when it opened in 2015. He said he watched the club grow from performing before crowds of three people to later receiving standing ovations after sold-out shows.

Green said he is mourning the loss of a performance space that fostered artistic growth for performers and strengthened city's burlesque scene.

"Uptown Underground was home," Green said. "That space and [Kincaid] helped me develop my cabaret persona and evolve as an artist. This was the only space dedicated specifically to burlesque, vaudeville and other things, and it was very accessible to the community. This is a big loss for our community."

In light of Uptown Underground's abrupt closing, members of Chicago's theater community have started organizing to find new homes for the bar's performances and jobs for its staff. Among them is now-New York resident Tamale Sepp, who created a Google form, in which people can submit leads on new jobs and venues. Its results will then be sent to all performers and employees on Kincaid's email list.

Jill Valentine, executive director of Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., said the performance art theater is taking resumes of people who lost jobs and booking shows in need of a venue due Uptown Underground's closure.

"When any theater in Chicago closes, it's sad for the whole community," Valentine said. "Not only were shows canceled immediately, but people lost jobs that day. Uptown Underground was a beautiful home, and I feel for Jenn Kincaid so much, so if we can help in any way, we'd like to."

The Block Club article is at ttps:// .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

BAC Announces Season of Inclusion, Productions to Focus on Diversity 2019-08-21 - ( Chicago, August 20, 2019 ) — The Beverly Arts Center announces the productions for their upcoming 2019-2020 season, dubbed the "Season of ...

Gay News

Muslim performers' event Aug. 30-31 2019-08-21 - On Aug. 30-31, at 8 p.m., the Muslim Writers Collective will host a program at Steppenwolf Theatre, 1650 N. Halsted St., with artists ...

Gay News

Bechdel Fest 7 set for Aug. 25-28 2019-08-21 - Broken Nose Theatre ( BNT ) has announced the full line-up for Bechdel Fest 7: Momentum—the company's annual festival of new short plays ...

Gay News

About Face names new associates 2019-08-21 - About Face Theatre has announced the addition of five new artists to the company's roster of artistic associates. Along with Artistic Director ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW You Can't Fake the Funk 2019-08-21 - Author: Daryl D. Brooks At: Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark St. Tickets:, 773-769- 4451; $55-65. Runs through Sept. 22 Enjoyment ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW All Quiet on the Western Front 2019-08-21 - Playwright: adapted by Matt Foss, from the novel by Erich Maria Remarque At: Red Tape Theatre at the Greenhouse, 2257 N. Lincoln Ave. ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW The Fly Honey Show 2019-08-21 - Authors: Erin Killmurray ( concept ), Mary Williamson and Shannon Matesky. At: The Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. Tickets:; $22.50-$45, ...

Gay News

Critics' Picks 2019-08-21 - The Band's Visit, Cadillac Palace, Sept. 3-15—Critics' Picks rarely promotes shows not yet open, but this disarming, tender, compassionate and entertaining musical must ...

Gay News

THEATER REVIEW Women of 4G 2019-08-21 - Playwright: Amy Tofte At: Factory Theater, 1623 W. Howard St. Tickets: and; $20-$28. Runs through: Sept. 14 It is ...

Gay News

Kinley Preston previews Lips Chicago dinner theater 2019-08-21 - Lips, billed as "the ultimate in drag dining," is locating its fifth location in Chicago. The South Loop venue, opening to the public ...


Copyright © 2019 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.







About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.