Ann Arkees

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Ann Arkees (often mistakenly called Anarchies or Anarchys) was a short-lived club that existed somewhere around August of 1979. It was on Broadway just north of Diversey and lasted sometime into 1980 when the owner was beaten and put in a coma. The spelling of the club has been a topic of dispute, but the You Weren't There movie showed a clip with an ad using the name Ann Arkees. There are MANY different stories about what happened to the club and it's owner Nino. See below for an accurate recap of what happened.

The strange story of its owner

The rumors about the club and the death of its owner, Nino, are varied and mostly untrue. In an email from his nephew, the true story goes like this:

  • The owner Nino came from Detroit and opened up a punk rock bar with a partner who fronted most of the money
  • Said bar had underworld connections, Nino allowed them to use his credit card machine to launder money
  • At one point Nino dressed up in drag and stole 30 grand from a mob bagman
  • They found out and robbed his place and beat him into a coma
  • After said beating, they sodomized him with a mic stand
  • He remained in a coma for 6 years until passing away
  • While the bar did burn down later on it wasn't related to Nino or Ann Arkees

So sometimes the truth is stranger than fiction! All the info was from Nino's nephew who got the info via his mom, after watching You Weren't There he realized that there is so much false information and wanted to set the record straight. Thanks Chris!

Details from Thurnau

Note from Thurnau: The correct spelling was "Ann Arkee's". They never used the other 2 spellings. It's true the club was on Broadway, but not near Diversey. It was a couple of doors south of Belmont on west side of Broadway. The club was unique for it's large store front windows facing the street. At that time, most punk clubs in Chicago were windowless. This may have been one reason the club didn't last, since the goings-on inside were plainly visible to the "shocked" locals walking by. Chicago was more conservative then. I'm guessing the same type of political pressure which later brought Oz down, probably played a roll in in shutting down Ann Arkee's.

I saw the Dadistics play Ann Arkee's. The Dadistics were a new wave band, loosely associated with Immune System and Poison Squirrel - two other popular new-wavish Chicago bands at that time. New Wave later became synonymous with "lame". But in 1979 new wave hadn't gone fully commercial yet, and some of those early new wave bands were not that bad. In any event, there wasn't a real local punk scene in Chicago yet, so we all made do with bands like the Dadistics. A lot of people who later acquired "serious" reps in Chicago punk/industrial/alternative circles, started in that early new wave scene. When Al Jourgensen started Ministry, it was kinda new-wavy, synth-poppish music. And before Big Black, Steve Albini was in "Special Affect", which leaned towards the synth-y, poppy, dancey end of the spectrum. BTW - I used to see Steve Albini hanging out at Club COD wearing his trademark new wave blazer and skinny tie - don't tell him I told you.  :)

The night I saw the Dadistics play Ann Arkee's in '79, lead singer Audrey Stanzler sang from on top of a circular pink riser, in a day-glo mini. Jeff Pezzati was in the audience. He wasn't in a band yet; Naked Raygun was still a few years off. He was wearing white pants with red duct tape wrapped around the legs for a barber pole affect.

Can't comment on the rumors about the death of the club owner. Those rumors didn't surface until years later. I tend to doubt they're true, but who knows. I wouldn't be surprised if the rumor was started by the alderman's office to discourage others from starting punk clubs. Oct. 2014 - "Thurnau"

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