To many up-in-the-know, underground music hearts, this 3,500-square-foot, giant parachute-shrouded loft is simply the latest spot to catch all-day drone guitar festivals and indie buzz bands booked by the Empty Bottle. But for budding humanitarian/owner Marshall Preheim, the shows are just an attractive way to stream revenue into hometown environmental, social and cultural movements.
Originally housing a low-cost printing facility for local artists, Preheim dabbled in the philanthropic trade under the space's first title, Open-End, hosting a wide variety of gallery shows, as well as a few sold-out concerts. But shut it down because both the printing facility, eventually partnering with a corporate client, as well as the concerts, were fueling business engines he didn't care for.
Dubbed the AV-aerie, 'AV' for audio/visual, and 'aerie' a nod to his altruistic, nonprofit approach, the space now both draws the fresh, relevant acts while simultaneously funding everything from social work projects with the Chicago Conservation Corps to fundraisers for start-up fashion entrepreneurs. Yet is quickly becoming equally notorious for its PBR-stocked donation bar, and all-ages status.
Centerstage Reviewer: Gavin Paul