Two blocks from FitzGerald’s Nightclub a 33-year-old spot that draws local and national acts,, four Chicago-area music professionals are partnering to open Wire, a venue, school and recording space described as an incubator for musical ideas. The endeavor is the latest in a procession of dining and entertainment destinations opening on Roosevelt Road, sparking some big hopes for the area. “The idea is, down the line, this could be Austin, Texas,” said Chris Neville, the principal investor in Wire and musical director of Tributosaurus, a popular Chicago group that pays tribute to well-known musical acts. As the city of Berwyn uses colorful billboards to encourage Chicago-area residents to “make the move” to the western suburb, FitzGerald said he is seeing results. In the last few years, diners from new restaurants such as Autre Monde and Capri have been showing up at his club, he said. He predicts Wire concertgoers and students also will fan out to other neighborhood businesses. “That whole destination thing, there’s something to that,” said FitzGerald, who compares what he is seeing to the game “Monopoly.” “This little strip here from FitzGerald’s down to the Wire you’re starting to see some houses on those monopolies,” he said, referring to the board game’s development options. “I think Berwyn wants to see hotels.” Boosted by a recent $10 million streetscape improvement project, Roosevelt Road is being developed as the town’s “entertainment corridor,” said Berwyn Development Corp. Executive Director Anthony Griffin. “We do have some thoughts of building upon the music scene of Roosevelt Road,” Griffin said. The corporation, which contracts with the city, dedicated about $230,000 in local taxes toward the $1.2 million Wire renovation, Griffin said. The money came from a tax increment financing program, which diverts tax dollars from the city and schools toward economic development projects, he said. Wire is projected to generate nearly $50,000 per year in property and sales taxes, he said.
Club drug ‘Molly’ taking a toll on electronic music party scene
The drug is accessible and marketed to recreational drug users who believe it to be less dangerous than its predecessor, which was often cut with other substances, from Ritalin to LSD. Like ecstasy, Molly is said to give a lengthy, euphoric high with slight hallucinogenic properties. In reality, however, the promised pure MDMA experience “doesn’t exist,” said Payne. RELATED: UVA SCHOLAR DIES FROM ‘MOLLY’ OVERDOSE Most of the Molly is one of several synthetic designer drugs that have been flooding the U.S. and European marketplace from chemical labs primarily based in China, Payne said. “A lot of people are missing the boat here,” he said. Molly could be anything … 80 to 90 percent of the time we are given a chemical or substance believed to be Molly, we’re finding most of the time it is something completely different.” Four recent deaths attributed to Molly have thrust the club drug into the national spotlight. On August 31, a 23-year-old Syracuse University graduate and a 20-year-old University of New Hampshire student died after taking what they believed to be Molly during an electronic music concert in New York City. The deaths, and several other reported overdoses, prompted the Electric Zoo festival to cancel the final day of the concert. RELATED: ELECTRIC ZOO SUED FOR NOT REFUNDING TICKETS AFTER OVERDOSE DEATHS A University of Virginia student died at a rave in Washington, D.C., the same weekend, after taking what her friends said was Molly. Days earlier in Boston, a 19-year-old woman died in a club and three concert-goers overdosed at the waterfront, police said. In Atlanta, this weekend’s TomorrowWorld music festival organizers warned on its website of zero-tolerance for MDMA use, but noted: “If you or someone around you has taken something that you are concerned about or need help, it is important that you tell our staff. We are here to help and never judge.” The number of visits to U.S. emergency rooms involving MDMA has jumped 123 percent since 2004, according to data compiled by the Drug Abuse Warning Network.