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In the 4,357-part series, Everything You’ve Ever Loved Will Become Condos, the sublime slice of nightlife real-estate at 1951 W. Dickens, Danny’s, is said to be closing at month’s end. Managers and spokespersons are said to be working towards a resolution that will keep the house-shaped dive bar in operation past month’s end, but inside sources say the outlook is grim. Danny’s is many things to many people, least of which, home to Sheer Magic. Piloted by Courtland Green and Numero ally Dante Carfagna, Sheer Magic has served as both a showroom for serious 45s and a nonjudgmental sanctuary for regular humans who appreciate the off-grid selections. Oh, and the dancing! When asked his thoughts on the closing of Danny’s and the series finale of Sheer Magic (tonight, Wednesday, November 4th), Dante Carfagna had this to say:
It was a good run. When we started it, there were no other nights in the US like it, except for [Matt] Weingarden’s Botanica thing in NYC (and that shit never got as buck as Sheer Magic, ever). Now there are fuggin’ soul nights in Lafayette, Des Moines, wherever. It was a perfect case of right time, right people, right venue, right music. This was pre-Youtube, pre-Discogs, pre-Shazam, pre-everything really. You came to our night and heard sounds you simply could not hear anywhere else, much less find. Another factor was that there was no firecode installed, so you could pack as many people as you wanted in there. The marshal finally came in around 2009 to institute a limit. Throw in Shirley selling $5 weed muffins to the whole place and it was Kismet as fuck. So many of the records that are now “classics” across the globe were first played at Sheer Magic to utter enthusiasm. I remember playing Scorpio & His People at the peak of the night in 2004/5 and the whole place literally lifted off the ground several feet. When shit was on full throb, the floor would actually be waving from wall to wall to the point that they needed to reinforce it from the basement. I will also proudly admit to pioneering the slurred, heavily delayed mic style that came to be our signature. The key to a sick funk party was a healthy dose of psychedelia, a facet that EVERY current party misses.
The soul party that we’ve come to know as Sheer Magic was initiated in 1997 by Courtland Green and Scott Craig. Held the first Wednesday of every month, Dante Carfagna came aboard in 1998 following Craig’s return to Detroit. Originally referred to simply as “Soul Night,” the reoccurring event was dubbed Sheer Magic in 1999, in honor of the Ice Cold Love 45 used to close each affair. Guests have included all manners of world class DJs, whose names and resumes don’t really matter because everyone was simply there for Sheer Magic, which was always just about a one-of-a-kind vibe. Tonight, we say farewell to a Chicago institution.
Sheer Magic // TONIGHT // Danny’s // 1951 W. Dickens // Bucktown // 10pm-2am // Free
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