Mon May 18, 2015 9:00 pm Free Monday
For years, RAY ELLINGSEN was a beloved figure in the Chicago underground music scene. He attended hundreds of shows and was often one of only a handful in attendance at obscure house and basement gigs. Ray was an ardent photographer of the bands that he loved and was rarely seen without a camera at shows, forming a connection to his earlier years of Grateful Dead concert photography. Ray’s wide-ranging taste in art and music reflected a larger perspective on the DIY community, one that he stated to the Hairpin Arts Center, where he exhibited his music photography in 2012: “They aren’t trying to make commercial music to make money. They make music for the art. It is total self-expression.”
Ray will be long remembered for his spirited support of many transient underground music spaces, such as Mortville, Mr. City, The Mopery, Ball Hall, Situations, Roxaboxen, and The Plaines Project, as well as his fondness for the BitchPork Music Festival, and many other fittingly obscure art projects and exhibitions. His love for DIY music and shows extended to more “traditional” venues, as well, and we were always happy to see the kind, generous and enthusiastic Ray at the Empty Bottle. Tonight's Free Monday is a very special tribute to our dear friend Ray, who sadly passed away in October of last year. Chicago's underground community has put together a special show that will showcase Ray's photography, ephemera and memorabilia on the walls of the Empty Bottle. The evening will also feature The Grateful Ray Altar, a psychedelic installation crafted by Chicago tattoo artist and screen-printer Carrie Vinarsky, where attendees are encouraged to leave specially chosen offerings to Ray.