On March 31, the Underground nightclub hosted a benefit for the Frankie Knuckles Foundation, marking exactly a year since the passing of the Grammy-winning DJ. Complimentary appetizers and Bacardi drinks were provided while guests danced to house-inspired tunes from DJ Lady D for two hours.
The idea for the movie titled The Warehouse was officially launched that evening to celebrate the Godfather of House Music's legacy. Originally planned as a documentary, the feature film is slated to have Bob Teitel of Barbershop and Men of Honor fame producing, as he collaborates with Billy Dec from Rockit Ranch, Randy Crumpton from The Truth, and Joe Shanahan owner of Metro, Double Door and Smart Bar.
Frankie Knuckles Foundation Executive Director Frederick Dunson was on hand to announce that the first major endeavor of the new organization will be a joint venture between the foundation and local artist Theaster Gates, with his Rebuild Foundation. Rebuild will manage Knuckles' complete record collection at the Stony Island Arts Bank opening this October. Dunson spoke to Windy City Times that evening, saying, "We are going to support the causes that Frankie supported, AIDS awareness and prevention, diabetes, LGBT youth, and music in schools, all the things that were dear to his heart. We want Frankie to be remembered for his love, generosity, and kind spirit."
Dec has created Elston Films to produce more Chicago-made movies such as this one. "This is a team effort with the owner of The Warehouse Robert Williams and Frederick Dunson," Dec said. "I'm very excited about working with Randy Crumpton, who had this idea for many years before this. He brought us all together and wanted to make this movie to tell the story of The Warehouse when Frankie was alive."
Knuckles died of Type II diabetes complications at age 59 in 2014. All of the proceeds from the Underground event went to his foundation. Visit the donation page at thefkfoundation.org .
Photos and text by Jerry Nunn