This was the first publication I ever wrote for, other than school newspapers and literary magazines. It all started in a small office just above the Mother’s rock club on Division and Dearborn in Chicago’s Rush Street area. I was a fresh-faced kid right out of grammar school (college, actually) when I was recruited by its publishers, Larry and Jim McManus. Metro Entertainment Calendar started as a monthly paper that was distributed throughout Illinois. Each issue featured a cover illustration by Chicago Tribune artist Kirt Weed, but that changed when we started coming out once a week. All together, Metro Entertainment Calendar lasted from August of 1977 to May of 1979.
The eight-page issue shown here had an article on WXRT, and that’s Program Director John Platt in a photo taken by our staff photographer Roger Johnson. As I wrote back then, WXRT had grown “from a relatively unknown progressive outlet that was only on the air a few hours a night, to its current status as the number two full-time station in Chicago.” It was one of my favorite pieces I did for Metro Entertainment Calendar. The air personalities I interviewed included Terri Hemmert, Garry Wright, Bob Skafish, Leslie Witt, Shel Lustig, Scott McConnell, Bob Gelms, and General Manager Seth Mason.
In addition to being one of the publishers, Larry McManus had a regular column that covered the local entertainment scene, called What’s Happening. In this issue, he noted that one of the female bartenders at P.O.E.T.S. had been featured recently in Playboy, and that B.B. Spin would be opening for Hurricane at Luigi’s in Chicago Heights. Some of the club ads showed Lovecraft at Mothers; Europe and Pin-Ups at The Rock Garden in Elmhurst, and Horslips at B’Ginnings in Schaumburg. There was an ad for O’Banion’s proclaiming New Wave Sounds 7 Nights A Week, and a full-page ad from Columbia Records for Amii Stewart’s Knock On Wood album.
In addition to Roger Johnson, we had a photographer named Linda Matlow, who would go on to quite a successful career. Our writers included Chris DeSalvo, who was into punk and new wave before most people (including me) in Chicago were; Jeff Kwit, and June Sawyers.
As I mentioned above, I had no interest in punk before joining Metro Entertainment Calendar. It was only when I started visiting clubs like O’Banion’s, The Exit, and Mother’s on it Punk Nights, that I was able to appreciate the full power of punk rock.