Credit: Paige Wynne

The new Elastic Arts space


Last summer the Elastic Arts Foundation suffered many stifling nights thanks to windows that didn’t open and a failed HVAC system that left its space with no air-conditioning. In November the 13-year-old nonprofit pulled the plug on its lease at 2830 N. Milwaukee, its home since 2006, and in March it reopened around the corner at 3429 W. Diversey—with 240 percent more legal audience capacity and almost 70 percent more floor space. The new venue has a larger “stage” (not a raised platform but a section of the main floor covered by five living-­room rugs) and a classy art-gallery look, with a clean-lined white merch counter, tasteful track lighting, and handsome wooden benches and stools. An invaluable incubator for the avant-garde, Elastic hosts visual art, theater, film, readings, and other types of performance as well as music—but music is where it goes above and beyond the call of duty, devoting series to jazz, improvisation, electroacoustic music, experimental hip-hop, singer-songwriter fare, activist Latin American music, and more. The organization’s nonprofit status keeps commercial compromise at bay, and its all-ages admission policy—whose importance I can’t overstate—helps it nurture Chicago’s next generation of artsy, free-thinking weirdos.

Philip Montoro

Philip Montoro has been an editorial employee of the Reader since 1996 and its music editor since 2004. Pieces he has edited have appeared in Da Capo’s annual Best Music Writing anthologies in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, and 2011. He shared two Lisagor Awards in 2019 for a story on gospel pioneer Lou Della Evans-Reid and another in 2021 for Leor Galil's history of Neo, and he’s also split three national awards from the Association of Alternative Newsmedia: one for multimedia in 2019 for his work on the TRiiBE collaboration the Block Beat, and two (in 2020 and 2022) for editing the music writing of Reader staffer Leor Galil. Philip has played scrap metal in Lozenge, drummed with the Disasters, the Afflictions, and Brilliant Pebbles, and sung for the White Outs. He wrote the column Beer and Metal from 2012 till 2015, and hopes to do so again one day. You can also follow him on Twitter.