BUCKTOWN – A group of musicians, patrons and neighbors have started an online fundraiser to support the staff of the Hideout as it remains closed for the remainder of the year.
The Bucktown Bar and Club, 1354 W. Wabansia Ave, temporarily closed this month after former program director Mykele Deville made a series of allegations of a toxic workplace, symbolism and other problems at the company.
Deville’s social media posts detailing the allegations led to numerous bands and artists canceling upcoming shows.
In the aftermath, Hideout owners Tim and Katie Tuten and Mike and Jim Hinchsliff announced that the venue would be closing temporarily, with hopes of reopening in 2023.
“Over the past two weeks, a large number of our upcoming bookings have been cancelled. With a heavy heart, effective Nov. 7, 2022, the hideout will be taking time out to address this situation,” an Oct. 31 statement from the owners read. “As part of the process, we will explore options for providing support to our employees. It is our sincere hope that we will be able to reopen in 2023, with new leadership and a commitment to a healthy, supportive and respectful organizational culture.”
The statement did not specify what “new leadership” at the venue would mean. The owners of the hideout and Deville declined requests for further comment.
The GoFundMe supporting unemployed staff members can be log in here. He raised more than $5,000 of a $20,000 goal as of Wednesday morning.
Musician Angela James, one of the organizers, wrote in an email that the group behind the fundraiser “includes artists, former staff, patrons and other community members who care about the hideout and the damage that has occurred there.” . We have discussed and are discussing with current staff representatives about how the group and the wider community can support them in this uncertain and overwhelming time.”
All funds will go directly to Hideout’s current staff while the location is closed, James said. The owners are not involved in fundraising.
Deville was hired in the summer of 2021 as program director of The Hideout, in charge of booking shows and curating its entertainment lineup, he said in a Social media post from October 19th.
At the time, Deville was “excited” for the job but felt pressure to be what he believed was “the first and only black program director they ever hired,” Deville wrote.
When a customer spat on Deville for enforcing mask guidelines, “the leadership did nothing to support me,” she wrote. The same happened when an anonymous “longtime white resident artist cursed and berated me in front of staff,” she wrote.
In his post, Deville also said he believed he was only hired to give The Hideout “the appearance of being anti-racist” in the wake of the 2020 national racial justice movements.
“I realized that Hideout never had any intention of making me successful, but only wanted to trade my racial identity and the trust and respect I had built within the Chicago arts communities,” Deville wrote. “I understand now that once they figured out that hiring me meant actually evolving as a company, they just got rid of me and went back to their old comfortable ways.”
Deville was fired in the spring after the owners cited a “disparaging remark” he made about The Hideout and its job performance, he wrote. The owners of the hideout did not respond to Deville’s specific claims.
In an email, James wrote that she was inspired to help launch the staff fundraiser because the hideout has been a “creative home” for her for the past decade and that she cares deeply about the place and the surrounding community.
“I believe harm has been done there and I want to believe that if a community can organize among us – workers, patrons, artists and anyone else who feels connected to the Hideout – to work together to meaningfully address the harm, it is the community creativity that the hideout fostered,” wrote James.
Organizers hope to have the funds distributed to staff by mid-December in time for the holidays, James said. The group decided GoFundMe was the best way to publicize the campaign after speaking with current employees, James said.
The hideout has a show listed for January 20 on its website, but the owners have not made any official announcements about a possible reopening.
James said the uncertainty is why GoFundMe is so important to venue staff.
“It is unclear exactly when the hideout will reopen and resume programming. Even if this were to happen in January, it will be some time before staff are once again receiving regular wages and feeling secure in their jobs,” James wrote.
Listen to “It’s All Good: A Block Club Chicago Podcast”: