News about 53rd St. in Hyde Park, Chicago

Eric Williams

Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, named as 2018 Harvard Graduate School of Design Loeb Fellow

The Loeb Fellowship at the Harvard Graduate School of Design recently named Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room on 53rd Street, one of nine members of its 2018 class of “midcareer practitioners whose work has influenced the built and natural environment.” The fellowship consists of a year of independent study at Harvard.

Since relocating The Silver Room to Hyde Park at 1506 E. 53rd Street in 2015, Williams has partnered with the University of Chicago to bring several activities and spaces to Hyde Park, including the Harper Court Summer Music Series, kicking off with Poi Dog Pondering on Wednesday, June 28; the CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival, recently named “Best Public Art Event” by the Chicago Reader; the CONNECT Gallery at 1520 S. Harper Court, now exhibiting “100 Canvases;” the upcoming 14th Downtown Hyde Park /Sound System Block Party on July 15; and other projects in the works.

The Silver Room will continue to operate during Williams’ fellowship.

“It’s been a great asset to have The Silver Room as one of 53rd Street’s most vibrant businesses,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “Eric Williams is a respected creative force in the community, and we’ve been honored to collaborate with him on a number of projects."

In making the announcement, the LOEBlog noted, “Eric Williams is the founder of the Silver Room on the South Side of Chicago, for 20 years an influential retail and community art hub in the city. The Silver Room Sound System Block Party attracted more than 15,000 attendees in 2016, and the three-day CONNECT Hyde Park Arts Festival, a collaboration with the University of Chicago, activated empty storefronts with pop-up art exhibits organized by some of Chicago's leading curators. During his Loeb Fellowship Williams will focus on strategies for replicating the Silver Room model nationally and methods for measuring the social and economic impact of arts entrepreneurship.”

The year-long Loeb Fellowship program has been in existence since 1971, offering participants the opportunity to “…strengthen their ability to advance positive social outcomes and to make the world a better place for all.”

Williams found out about the program through his longtime friend, Emmanuel Pratt, a 2017 Loeb Fellow, and executive director of Chicago’s Sweet Water Foundation – teaching kids how to grow sustainable businesses through urban agriculture and other programs. Participants in Pratt’s foundation built displays for use in The Silver Room, learning construction and interpersonal skills in the process. Based on Pratt’s recommendation, Williams was asked to speak at Harvard this past fall on alternative models of retail, and he was then invited to apply to the program.

Williams starts class on August 22, and will be eligible to audit any class at Harvard or MIT. He plans to focus on leadership and business courses as well as urban planning and looks forward to connecting with the students and professors. Williams will share housing with several of the other Fellows, and they will meet weekly to discuss their coursework and future plans.

This will be a big change for Williams, who was last in school nearly 25 years ago as a finance major at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to continue my education, and to take a step back, reflect, and plan the next phase of my career,” he said.

It will be business as usual at The Silver Room, with Jenny Stites as manager, and Carter Dorsey as weekend assistant manager, with Williams working remotely and coming back to Chicago on a monthly basis to check in at the store and spend time with his daughter. Williams’ longtime business associate, Rob McKay, will continue to manage the CONNECT art gallery.

 

Harper Court Summer Music Series back for third year, kicking off with Poi Dog Pondering on Wednesday, June 28, from 6-9 p.m.

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, presents the third year of free, open-air summer concerts with the Harper Court Summer Music Series – starting in just three weeks. Located in the courtyard area at 5235 S. Harper Court off 53rd Street, the series includes three concerts scheduled for the last Wednesdays of June, July, and August – June 28, July 26, and August 30.

The music series will begin with the inventive and eclectic band, Poi Dog Pondering, on Wednesday, June 28, from 6-9 p.m. The show will open with DJ Lady D and House-O-Matics. Led by Frank Orrall and featuring 15+ band members, Poi Dog Pondering has been playing for 30+ years, incorporating orchestral arrangements and aspects of electronic, house, and soul music in their acoustic rock style.

The second concert will feature Res with DJ Joe Kollege, on Wednesday, July 26, from 6-9 p.m. Res’ musical style is a blend of indie pop, soul, and rock, and her third studio album, “Reset,” was released in late 2016.

The series will close with jazz great Dee Alexander, winner of NPR’s 2014 “Best Jazz Vocal” award, with DJ Duane Powell on Wednesday, August 30, from 6-9 p.m.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, and on the street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including AT&T, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Hyatt Place Hotel, Ja’ Grill, Native Foods, LA Fitness, NoteworthyNotes, Porkchop, Roti Modern Mediterranean, Sir & Madame, ULTA Beauty, and VILLA  – with new businesses Aloha Poke Co. and Vanille Patisserie scheduled to open in mid-summer.

For more information about the series, please go to http://harpercourtmusic.com.

53rd Street Hosts First-Ever CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival November 18-20

For the weekend of November 18-20, 2016, Hyde Park’s 53rd Street area will host the CONNECT Hyde Park Art Festival, as mentioned on the event website, “…a three-day, multi-sited arts festival that combines visual + performing art, designed objects, film, music, fashion and literary culture.”

Developed by Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room located at 1506 E. 53rd Street, in partnership with the University of Chicago Commercial Real Estate Operations (CREO) group, the free festival “…provides the opportunity to explore and engage with cutting-edge contemporary art and design by some of Chicago’s leading artists, designers, curators and art institutions.”

“Based on the success of Eric Williams’ Downtown Hyde Park/Silver Room Block Party on 53rd Street this July, we are excited to collaborate on this special cultural event for the community, highlighting the strength of the Hyde Park arts community as well as the vibrancy of the neighborhood,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University.

“We have nearly 100 of the city’s finest artists confirmed to participate in CONNECT, including graphic designers, painters, photographers, installation artists, furniture designers, musicians, and more,” said Eric Williams, creator of the event. “This is a great opportunity to showcase Hyde Park and celebrate all forms of art.”

Exhibition sites include the Collaboration Gallery at 1538 E. 53rd Street (near Starbucks), featuring artists and South Side institutions; the Community Gallery at 1520 S. Harper Court (near Native Foods), with “Permanent Record: Chicago Hip Hop Kulture;” the Collective Gallery at 1504 E. 53rd Street (between Modern Cooperative and The Silver Room), highlighting local and emerging artists; and the Creation Gallery at 1465 E. 53rd Street (near Rajun Cajun), with designed objects from fashion to furniture. Additional exhibition venues include the Harper Theater at 5238 S. Harper Avenue, showing the film “Shake the Dust,” produced by Nasir “Nas” Jones, documenting the transformative power of hip hop in Colombia, Cambodia, Uganda, and Yemen; Sir & Madame at 5225 S. Harper Court; The Silver Room at 1506 E. 53rd Street; Modern Cooperative at 1500 E. 53rd Street; A10 Hyde Park at 1462 E. 53rd Street; and Jojayden at 1457 E. 53rd Street.

Local artists are invited to submit their works for possible exhibition by Sunday, November 13. Artists may submit up to five pieces of art from two series of artworks; one published and one unpublished in categories including watercolor, charcoal, photography, graffiti, illustration, graphic design, collage, sculpture, or multimedia. Submissions will be evaluated by a panel of CONNECT Hyde Park curators, and selected artists will be notified via email by Tuesday, November 15, with artwork needed by Thursday, November 17 at the designated gallery space.

The event is garnering local press in the Hyde Park Herald, DNA Chicago, and was named by Time Out Chicago as one of the “9 Art Gallery Exhibitions to See in November.”

Festival hours are Friday, November 18, from 5-10 pm; Saturday, November 19, from 12-10 pm; and Sunday, November 20, from 12-5 pm. There will be an after party on opening night at The Promontory, 5311 S. Lake Park Avenue, from 10 pm -2 am, featuring jazz great, Kahil El-Zabar, with additional performers to be announced.

Parking is free in the Harper Court garage (entry on South Lake Park Avenue just south of McDonald's) from 5 pm on Friday, November 18 through 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 20 for the duration of the CONNECT event.  Parkers are instructed to pull into the garage as normal, pull a ticket, and as long as they enter and exit between those time periods, it will register as $0 being owed when they show the ticket at exit.

For more information, visit the event website and Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Jojayden Shoes opens on 53rd Street today

A new shoe store is coming to 53rd Street. On Friday, June 24, Jojayden Shoes will have a soft launch opening at 1457 E. 53rd Street from 5-9 p.m. with drinks and appetizers. The store, owned by Schaumburg resident Wale Nubi, will carry Nubi’s branded Jojayden men’s shoe collection and seven other brands of men’s and women’s shoes and accessories – including leather goods such as handbags and wallets, as well as sunglasses, bracelets and wristwatches, socks, and hand-made bow ties. Regular store hours are 11 a.m. - 8 p.m. Monday till Saturday and 11a.m. - 6 p.m. on Sunday.

We sat down with Nubi to learn more about his business launch in Hyde Park:

Describe your background and how you got interested in fashion, especially shoes and accessories.

“I was born in Nigeria as the fifth of six children and youngest son, and everyone in my family loved fashion. My older brothers lived in London when I was a teenager, and since we all wore the same shoe size, they would send me their designer shoes when they were finished with them. I became known as the ‘shoe guy’ at school because here I was, just a teenager, wearing these expensive, fancy shoes when everyone else was just wearing sneakers. I come from a family of entrepreneurs and business owners. My father owns a hotel, my mother owns a gift store, and all my brothers and sisters have their own businesses, so I caught that same entrepreneurial spirit at a very young age. I was formerly an IT consultant for Fortune 500 companies including Siemens and Anixter, but my heart was always in fashion. I started doing research into shoe construction and went to several different countries to see their manufacturing processes – I even went to the Gucci factory in Italy – I wanted to see how their shoes were made and learn the best techniques. My brand name, ‘Jojayden,’ actually comes from my two sons’ names, Jayden, who is almost four years old; and Josiah, who is almost three. Jojayden was a side business for me in the beginning, but once my kids were born, I began to take it much more seriously, growing it into a full-time career.”

What led you to open your new store in Hyde Park?

“Eric Williams, the owner of The Silver Room at 1506 E. 53rd Street, is my good friend, and I used to sell Jojayden shoes in his Wicker Park store. When he moved his store to Hyde Park, I started selling them there as well, and noticed that I was selling twice the number of shoes in the Hyde Park location as I was previously selling on the north side – so I knew there was a market for my product. I was always hanging out in Hyde Park with Eric, and really fell in love with the neighborhood. Eric mentioned that a shoe store would do well in the area, and I started exploring retail leasing options on 53rd Street. In a way, I feel like Hyde Park chose me, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to open my first store.”

What types of products will you be selling?

“Jojayden will carry men’s and women’s shoes and accessories, including handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, socks, hand-made bow ties, and more.”

Why do you think your store will be a good fit in the Hyde Park community?

“My test run at The Silver Room in Hyde Park did very well, and I feel positive that my shoes will reach the right fashion-conscious audience here. I love the energy I see, and the people I meet around 53rd Street. There’s a unique family spirit here from what I have noticed – everyone seems to have everyone’s back – they say, ‘hi’ to you even if they don’t know you. My shoes are unique and hand-made – you can’t find these types of shoes at DSW, Nordstrom, or any of the larger retailers.”

What is your favorite part about being a small business owner?

“I love that I now have the ability to follow my passion and create my own destiny. I feel that you get out what you put into a business, and there’s a great sense of satisfaction that comes with seeing people wearing your product and really responding to it in a positive way.”

You offer an option for completely customized shoes – what can you tell us about this process?

“I offer truly customized shoes for my customers. They can come in with a picture and we can make it for them. We also offer a 'build your own shoe' function on our website. Customers can choose the shoe material (calfskin, suede, patent leather, crocodile, or fabric), the toe style, and the type of sole (commando, wedge, rubber, or three types of leather) for a look they won’t find anywhere else. Custom shoes can take six to eight weeks to create, but are often finished sooner.”

Harper Court Summer Music Series returns for 2016 season, starting with Blues & Steppers on Wednesday, May 25

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, will kick off the second year of free, open-air summer concerts, with the Harper Court Summer Music Series, starting May 25. Located in the courtyard area at 5235 S. Harper Court off 53rd Street, the event includes four concerts scheduled for 6 – 9 p.m. on May 25, June 29, July 27, and August 31.

The series begins with Blues & Steppers Night on Wednesday, May 25, with the legendary Chicago Rhythm & Blues Kings and DJ Eric “ET” Taylor, a member of the V103 elite mix team. Dance instructor Swan will help you brush up on your dancing skills, so bring a partner and your dancing shoes!

Jazz Night will be the feature on Wednesday, June 29, with jazz drummer sensation Makaya McCraven and his band, including Junius Paul on bass, Justefan on vibes, Matt Gold on guitar, and Marquis Hill on trumpet. Afterward, DJ Duane Powell will play the rarest grooves of jazz, funk, soul, and house music to get the dance floor moving.

Latin music is the theme for July 27, with DJ El Caobo and DJ Kamani Rashad serving up Salsa, Bachata, Meringue, and Kizomba music for an authentic sound experience. Dance instructors will be available, demonstrating the classic moves of these unique dance styles.

The series closes with an Afro-Beat Night on August 31, featuring Africa Hi-Fi, created by DJ Ron Trent and Sonia Hassan. This musical tribute honors Africa’s influence in world music and culture, fusing music and social consciousness with art and dance for a powerful experience.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on the street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including AT&T, Chipotle, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Hyatt Place Hotel, Ja’ Grill, Native Foods, LA Fitness, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, NoteworthyNotes, Porkchop, Sir & Madame, ULTA Beauty, and VILLA.

For more information about the series, please go to http://harpercourtmusic.com.

Faces of 53rd Street: Eric Williams

When you meet Eric Williams, the dynamic, creative owner of The Silver Room at 1506 E. 53rd Street in Hyde Park, you might not realize he was originally a finance major and a stockbroker – but that’s exactly how the career of one of Chicago’s most recognized retail entrepreneurs began.

As a student at the University of Illinois at Chicago in the early 1990s, Williams started selling t-shirts and sunglasses on the street to put himself through school.

A brief stint as a stockbroker turned him off the corporate world, and he started selling his products full-time around town, at street festivals, and in the basement of a Wicker Park boutique, Lit-X. A chance meeting with two New York vendors at Jazz Fest in New Orleans got him started selling silver jewelry, and with no comparable stores in the area, he opened The Silver Room – a hybrid jewelry, art, and apparel shop, as well as art gallery and event space – in 1997 in Wicker Park.

The ever-evolving nature of the store – both in the original Wicker Park location and now in Hyde Park – keeps Williams interested and engaged. He has honed his skills in creating a true neighborhood gathering place, where local musicians play and people want to take classes and spend time – one of the hallmarks of The Silver Room, or “TSR” as fans call it.

We visited Williams in his store to learn more about his continuing involvement in the Hyde Park area:

Q: What led you to move the store to Hyde Park from Wicker Park in 2015?

Williams: My lease was ending, and I was reevaluating whether or not I wanted to commit to another 10 years in Wicker Park. I felt like the neighborhood was changing, and it actually seemed to be losing some of the creativity and excitement that I had been so drawn to years ago. Hyde Park has actually turned out to be a better “fit” for The Silver Room. I get people thanking me for being here, and that is a great feeling. Also, Hyde Park seems to have a less transitory nature than Wicker Park. Many of my customers were born in the Hyde Park area and they are still here today. They bring their families and friends, and The Silver Room has become an extension of their living rooms.

Q: Originally a “pop-up” retail location, you recently signed a five-year lease for The Silver Room on 53rd Street – what factors guided your decision to remain in the Hyde Park community on a more permanent basis?

Williams: I wanted to stay in Hyde Park because I was welcomed by the community and everyone was so happy and excited for me to be here – that’s number one. Our employees are happy, we’re busier here, and it just makes sense from a business perspective. There’s a new energy for me here – something that I really needed.  I like the level of collaboration here with the University, the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, the South East Chicago Commission, and other groups. I see Hyde Park continuing to grow and grow in the next few years, and I’m excited to be a part of it.

Q: How many people does The Silver Room employ? Are any of the employees from Hyde Park or the South Side?

Williams: Right now we have six employees, and four of them are from the South Side. Two of them live in Hyde Park, and the other two live in Bronzeville and South Shore. Two of them worked with me at the Wicker Park location and are happy to have a shorter commute.

Q: What is your favorite thing about 53rd Street?

Williams: The authentic style of my customers in Hyde Park is so inspiring.  I also love the diversity. There's a wide range of ages here that I didn’t see in Wicker Park. Everyone is friendly and welcoming and they really seem to appreciate what the store adds to the community. 

Q: The Silver Room hosts French lessons, salsa dance classes, singles events, art shows, film screenings, spoken word nights, and more. How do you develop the programming for the community gathering aspect of the store?

Williams: I try to plan at least two of my own events each month -– usually an art opening and a spoken word event. Our upcoming art exhibit will launch during Black History Month and feature works by local artists inspired by the legacy of Muhammad Ali.

Many of the other events are dictated by the community. Probably 80 percent is community-driven, in response to what people in the area want to see. For example, right now we are collecting water for Flint, Michigan. We’ve already collected 50 cases of water – and this is all because of an idea from someone in the community. People see The Silver Room as a hub in the neighborhood, and we try to answer everyone’s needs as best as we can.

Q: Your collaboration with the University of Chicago on last year’s successful Harper Court Summer Music Series will be continuing this summer with four new events. What can the neighborhood expect in terms of performers, music styles, etc.?

Williams: Last year’s events included steppers, jazz, and Latin music, and the community really responded well to that mix. This year we’ll do more of the same, and probably add some blues.

Q: What are your favorite hangouts in Hyde Park? Where might people see you in the neighborhood?

Williams: When I’m not at The Silver Room, some of my favorite places are Rajun Cajun, The Promontory, and 57th Street Books.

Q: We’ve heard you even hosted a wedding at The Silver Room last year – how did that come about?

Williams: A long-time customer from the Wicker Park location got his wedding rings in Hyde Park and he really loves the concept of the store. He said he wanted to get married here, so we made it happen. It brought a tear to my eye that he would have one of the most important moments of his life at The Silver Room. It’s a retail store that’s more than just a retail store, and the wedding was one of the highlights of the year for me.

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"Faces of 53rd Street" is a twice-monthly series that profiles business owners, employees, and shoppers in the 53rd Street retail corridor in Hyde Park. To suggest someone for a future profile, send their name and place of business or contact details to us at 53rd@lists.uchicago.edu.

Season finale of Harper Court Wednesday night Summer Music Series features Jose “Papo” Santiago with Bossa Tres on September 30

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, is hosting the season finale of the open-air summer music series in the courtyard area at Harper Court at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street.

The upcoming event is a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres. Salsa dance instruction led by Roger Noel will take place from 6-6:30 p.m., with Bossa Tres playing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., DJ Kimani Rashaad spinning from 7:30-8 p.m., and Santiago playing from 8-9 p.m.

Santiago, a native of Ponce, Puerto Rico, studied music at Universidad Interamericana de Puerto Rico before being recruited by bandleader Joe Rodriguez to play baritone saxophone with him in Venezuela, Colombia, Peru, and New York. Santiago moved to Chicago in the late 1980s, where even as a newcomer, he was soon recognized by the most influential local musicians in the city. He is an expert musician in Afro-Caribbean, jazz, and experimental combinations of forms. In addition to mastering the saxophone, Santiago is an accomplished flutist, vocalist, composer, and bandleader. Santiago released his CD, “Infraverde” in 2012, and the song, “Viva Chicago” became the official theme song of The Latin Street Salsa Congreso 2012.

The Bossa Tres Quintet, who will be performing in the upcoming Hyde Park Jazz Festival, includes Marcos Oliveira, Dill Costa, Bruno Alcalde, Jack Zara, and Luis Ewerling. They bring an authentic taste of Brazil to their live performances in and around Chicago and pride themselves on their heritage and ability to play songs that demonstrate the diversity and intensity of Brazilian music.

The series began with a Steppers Night on July 29 and a Jazz Night on August 26. Each event has had approximately 700 people in attendance, some even bringing candlelit picnics and outdoor furniture, similar to concertgoers at Ravinia.

“The response to the Harper Court Summer Music Series events has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room. “People in the community have really been enjoying the setting in Harper Court, and we’ve seen that the venue is the perfect place to celebrate a summer night with great music, friends, and fun.”

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on the street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

Upcoming Harper Court Wednesday night Summer Music Series features the Kahil El’Zabar Quartet with Corey Wilkes on August 26

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, will host the second event of its open-air summer music series in the courtyard at Harper Court on Wednesday, August 26, from 6-9 p.m.

The upcoming event is a Jazz Night with jazz great Kahil El’Zabar and DJ Duane Powell.

El’Zabar has played with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Cannonball Adderley, Stevie Wonder, Donnie Hathaway, Pharoah Sanders, Neneh Cherry, Nina Simone, Ntozake Shange, David Murray, Nona Hendryx, and Lester Bowie, to name a few, and will be performing with his quartet featuring Denis Winslett on alto saxophone, Junius Paul on bass, and Corey Wilkes on trumpet.

A native of Chicago, El’Zabar is considered by his peers to be one of the most prolific innovators of his generation, with more than 60 well-received projects, numerous international awards as a musician and composer, as well as the scoring of major feature films and theatrical productions. He holds a doctorate in Interdisciplinary Arts from Lake Forest College, and has been an Associate Professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Illinois at Chicago. He served as past chairman for the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians (AACM), has been a panel member for the National Endowment of the Arts, and the National Task Force on Arts in Education.  He was named “Chicagoan of the Year” in 2006, and was knighted by the Counsel General of France, and christened as a “Chevalier Medal of Letters” in 2014.

Trumpeter Corey Wilkes, also a Chicago native, has established himself as one of the best improvising trumpeters in the modern era. Having the skill and maturity to approach mainstream repertoire of jazz standards with his own unique sensibilities, he combines them with his deep appreciation of hip-hop. Wilkes has played with jazz masters such as Wynton Marsalis, Roy Hargrove, James Moody, Kurt Elling, Von Freeman, Greg Osby, Roscoe Mitchell, Marcus Belgrave, Clark Terry, Harry “Sweets” Edison, Mulgrew Miller, and many more. It is truly an honor to have this caliber of musicians on the Harper Court stage.

The series began with a Steppers Night on Wednesday, July 29, with approximately 700 people attending, and will close with a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres.

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on street.

Harper Court, located at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street, is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

Harper Court to host Wednesday night Summer Music Series, kicking off with DJ Herb Kent on July 29

The University of Chicago, in collaboration with Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, is hosting an open-air summer music series in the courtyard area at Harper Court at 5235 S. Harper Court just off 53rd Street, with three events scheduled for July 29, August 30, and September 30.

The series begins with a Steppers Night on Wednesday, July 29, from 6-9 p.m., hosted by radio legend Herb Kent (The Cool Gent) and DJ Calvin Haynes. Haynes will spin records while Swan provides dance instruction from 6-7:30 p.m. Wallace E. Goode, Jr., president of the Hyde Park Chamber of Commerce, will present Kent, a graduate of Hyde Park High School, with a key to Hyde Park in honor of his 70+ year long radio career and many other accomplishments at 7:30 p.m. Kent will close the event by spinning his favorite “dusties” from 7:40-9 p.m.

The second event is a Jazz Night on Wednesday, August 26, from 6-9 p.m., with jazz great Kahil El’Zabar and DJ Duane Powell. El’Zabar has played with legends such as Dizzy Gillespie, Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone, and more, and will be bringing his band with Denis Winslett on alto saxophone, Junius Paul on bass, and Corey Wilkes on trumpet.

The series closes with a Salsa/Brazilian Music Night on September 30, from 6-9 p.m. with Jose “Papo” Santiago and Bossa Tres. Salsa dance instruction led by Roger Noel will take place from 6-6:30 p.m., with Bossa Tres playing from 6:30-7:30 p.m., DJ Kimani Rashaad spinning from 7:30-8 p.m., and Santiago playing from 8-9 p.m.

Since launching The Silver Room on Hyde Park’s 53rd Street in April 2015, Williams has proven to be an inspired creative resource for the neighborhood, and the organization of the summer music series in conjunction with the University of Chicago has been a great opportunity to combine his passion for music with his community event planning skills.

“The 53rd Street area, particularly at Harper Court, has become an epicenter for retail and dining activity, and the courtyard area is a great place for the community to come together, as we’ve seen with the Farmers Market,” said James Hennessy, associate vice president for commercial real estate operations for the University. “The Harper Court Summer Music Series is a new way for the neighborhood to come together and enjoy this vibrant space, and we’re very excited about it.”

“A big part of my store is the event aspect,” said Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room,“ and I’m really happy to be able to partner with the University to curate these three events for the community. Harper Court is a wonderful resource, and I can’t wait for music lovers and dancers to fully experience it.”

Food and beverages will be available for purchase from Harper Court restaurants, and paid parking is available in the Harper Court parking garage, the surface lot on Harper Avenue, as well as on street.

Harper Court is a mixed-use retail development with businesses including ULTA Beauty, VILLA, AT&T, Chipotle, Nancy Krause Floral Design and Garden Antiques, Red Mango, Native Foods, Porkchop, Ja’ Grill, the Hyatt Place Hotel, and LA Fitness, with Sir & Madame and Einstein Bros. Bagels opening in the near future.

For more information about the series, please go to http://HCmusic.splashthat.com/.

 

DNA Chicago reports The Silver Room coming to 53rd Street

DNAInfo Chicago recently profiled Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room, who will be moving his Wicker Park store to 53rd Street in Hyde Park at the end of March. Similar to its original location, The Silver Room in Hyde Park will feature jewelry and clothing as well as an art gallery, and “will bring (Williams) closer to his sister and 100-year-old grandmother who live together on the South Side.” Williams said, “Right now the University of Chicago neighborhood is making a push for diversity in retail. I feel like my energy is needed there.”

Read the article at http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20150303/wicker-park/silver-room-leaving-wicker-for-hyde-park-says-hood-no-longer-respects-art