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 2019-11-13
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Knuckles Honored in Chicago

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

By Cleve Adkins

History was made in Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 25—at least in the eyes of those fans around the world who are drawn to the pulsating sounds of 'house music.'

In the company of two aldermen, a state representative and an official from the office of Mayor Richard M. Daley, among others, Chicago's adopted son and Grammy Award-winning DJ Frankie Knuckles was honored for his contributions to the music industry and his charitable contributions and support to the City of Chicago with a street being named in his honor and the day declared by the Mayor as 'Frankie Knuckles Day.'

The celebration took place at a site that was once one of the hottest dance venues in the City of Chicago—Jefferson Street, between Van Buren and Madison Avenues. It was in this location 'back in the day' that people gathered to unwind from a trying day, dancing into the wee hours of the night at the legendary Club Warehouse—a building that has since been demolished.

For Knuckles, it was a place where he, upon his arrival in Chicago in 1977, began to establish himself as one of the founding fathers of a new musical form that would later be referred to as 'house music.' Knuckles clocked thousands of hours at the Warehouse, serving as its resident DJ.

Today, after more than 30 years in the business, his peers and young followers refer to him as the 'Godfather of House.'

While Knuckles invited friends and relatives from as far as London and Japan to a small reception immediately following the naming ceremony, he gave something back to all of his fans, as he always does, by spinning sounds and electrifying a packed Grant Park Pavilion later that evening in a three-hour 'danceathon' featuring the hottest sounds in house music.

Despite the weather—intermittent rain showers and a typically humid Chicago summer evening—Knuckles' fans were not deterred, refusing to give up one inch on the dance floor while shouting affirmations in his name and literally dancing themselves out of their clothes.

But what impressed this writer the most was the fact that Knuckles attracted a diverse audience rarely seen on dance floors or at any other social event—straight and gay, young and old and people of all races, enjoying the festivities together without the hint of conflict.

Knuckles took a few moments to talk to this Windy City Times/Identity reporter, who was present for this once-in-a-lifetime experience, about his feelings following the day-long celebration.

WCT: When did you first learn about being honored with the street-naming dedication?

Knuckles: I learned of this by accident one evening when I was at a party with my best friend Frederick [Dunson of D/E Entertainment]. Someone came up to me and mentioned it but I thought they were trying to make small talk. When I mentioned it to Frederick the following day, while upset, he confirmed it. He also said it was supposed to be a surprise. I guess some girls just can't hold water.

WCT: How does this make you feel about your career and your many contributions to the citizens of Chicago?

Knuckles: I am so completely overwhelmed by it all. I am an extremely blessed and fortunate man to be able to work at something I love doing for 30-plus years, have the respect of my contemporaries and the community and to be honored in this way by the city. I'm thrilled!

WCT: I see that a lot of people traveled from across the globe to help you celebrate. Who were some of the people who came to show their support?

Knuckles: I've spent the better part of the past 12 years touring the world. My work is so global these days. I've made many great friendships along the way from as far away as Australia and New Zealand and a lot of these friends came to town just for the occasion. They've all wanted a reason to come to Chicago and have been planning to for a long time. This occasion was the motivation they needed to make that happen.

WCT: What's on your schedule now as the summer draws to a close?

Knuckles: My immediate plans are to wrap up my summer tour of Europe. During the Labor Day Weekend I'll spend my time in the South at my family reunion except for that Sunday when I'll play at SBNY [Slash Bar New York]. Then it's back home to Chicago where I plan to give my ears a much-deserved rest from all of the noise.

WCT: How would you assess the current state of house music?

Knuckles: Well, I can't really assess it here in the United States completely. But it is healthy here in Chicago. And because I spend so much time out in the rest of the world, I know that it's very happening now, especially the very soulful side of things. Songs and vocals and lyrics and melodies are having a major play on dance floors all over the world. It's like it's a new fad to some folks. But I don't care, as long as they get it and appreciate it.

WCT: The party at the park was phenomenal—a real blend of orientations, races, etc. You appeared to be the catalyst for all of that. What was it like spinning on stage and looking out at the crowd?

Knuckles: Describing it is very difficult. It was very emotional for me. Music is the one language we all speak. Everyone loves music and it really brings folks together. So, when it all happens like this and all the love comes back at you in huge waves, it's very hard to fight back the tears of joy. I do love this city and the people, beyond measure.

WCT: Why aren't there more places in Chicago like the old Warehouse?

Knuckles: I'm not really sure. The laws changed everything about clubbing in the city. The Warehouse was a very rare and unique situation in nightlife here in Chicago.

WCT: Are there any other comments you would like to add as we close?

Knuckles: Only that I've had so many people say to me at the ceremony and the celebration in the park, 'what took them so long in recognizing house music?' My answer has been, 'at least they've recognized [it].' Like gospel, house music is another major feather in Chicago's cap. It's nice to see something as big as the genre of music that is so global and loved by people around the world, to still be steeped in intimacy here. After all, like baseball is to American sports [fans], house music means everything to the people of Chicago. And the people of Chicago mean everything to me.

Bravo Brother Knuckles—let the music play.

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

ALMA marking 30 years on Nov. 15 2019-11-13 - The Association of Latinx Motivating Action ( ALMA ) will mark its 30th anniversary with an event Friday, Nov. 15, at the Puerto ...

Gay News

Halloween weirdness at Sidetrack 2019-11-12 - Photos by Jerry Nunn ...

Gay News

Andersonville holiday programming includes 100 businesses 2019-11-12 - CHICAGO ( November 11, 2019 ): More than 100 Andersonville businesses are featured in the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce's ( ACC ) holiday ...

Gay News

Drag star's "All I Want for Christmas is Attention" tour Dec. 10 2019-11-06 - Seattle sisters and drag superstars BenDeLaCreme and Jinkx Monsoon have joined forces once again to present a new holiday extravaganza, All I Want ...

Gay News

Chicago House holds Day of the Dead event 2019-11-05 - On Oct. 31, Chicago House, in concert with other community service organizations, held the Second Annual Fiesta! Day of the Dead at the ...

Gay News

Billy Porter drops in at Sidetrack 2019-10-30 - Musical Monday at Sidetrack blasted through the stratosphere when entertainer extraordinaire Billy Porter dropped in on October 28. ...

Gay News

Circuit Mom presents Haunted Hollywood at House of Blues 2019-10-30 - Hooray for Haunted Hollywood 2, presented by Chicago legend Circuit Mom. Joseph Stevens Photography ...

Gay News

DRAG PERFORMER OF THE WEEK Kalli Mauri 2019-10-30 - BEHIND THE NAME "I chose Kalli Mauri because I wanted to make sure I stayed true to my comedy roots it's a pun. ...

Gay News

Leather Archives & Museum opens A Wild Pack of Dogs 2019-10-23 - Chicago, IL, 23 Oct. 2019 — The Leather Archives & Museum is pleased to announce its newest exhibit in the Guest Artist Gallery, ...

Gay News

Howard Brown Health raises money, conjures Halloween spirit 2019-10-20 - Characters of all kinds gathered at Park West on Oct. 19 for Howard Brown Health's annual fundraiser Big Orange Ball. The Halloween ...


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.