Can West Side Tourism Benefit from the Blues?

Left to Right:  Larry Taylor and Bonni McKeown pose with film director Darryl Pitts.

“Barrel House Bonni” McKeown and blues man Larry Taylor will be guests on the Nonprofit “U” radio blog talk show on Monday, June 19, 2017, from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm CST.  Nonprofit “U” is an online forum where nonprofit stakeholders can discuss the latest developments in the sector and increase their capacity to serve their clients and build sustainable communities. Valerie F. Leonard, an expert in community and organizational development served as the host. The episode will stream live from and listeners will have the opportunity to call in with questions and participate in live chats. The live call in number is (347) 884-8121. Nonprofit professionals, blues fans, community advocates, developers and other  community stakeholders are especially encouraged to call in and share their stories. The archived podcast will be available on,, iTunes Podcast Chart, Blubrry and Stitcher.

“Chicago area heritage musicians still play today, often in obscure holes-in-the-wall for very little money, competing for limited spots in downtown clubs, or exporting their skills overseas.  At home, blues is an undervalued cultural asset”, McKeown lamented not long after a recent discussion of strategies to use blues to jump start heritage tourism on Chicago’s West Side.

“Crain’s business magazine in January pointed out the city is losing money for failure to promote it. Chicago’s West Side has a deeply-rooted history of blues and soul music. What if we could promote it to help develop a local tourism industry?”, McKeown asked.


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