Option Series

OPTION is a weekly music salon on Monday nights at Experimental Sound Studio. Its programming explores contemporary perspectives on improvisation and composition in a 'salon' format, enabling local, national, and international artists to publicly discuss their practice and ideas as well as perform—all in the intimate environment of ESS's Studio A. Organized by Chicago musicians Andrew ClinkmanTim Daisy, and Ken Vandermark, the schedule of concerts represents an insider's view of what is currently most exciting in music and the arts. Shows are professionally recorded by ESS staff, and are nearly always streamed live on youtube. You can view the live stream on this page in the video window below. We are continuing the process of assembling a library of archived streams that subscribers to the series may access at any time.

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Corbett vs. Dempsey LLC opened in its space on North Ashland Avenue in September 2004, founded by Jim Dempsey and John Corbett.

Corbett has taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) since 1988.  He was artistic director of Berlin JazzFest 2002, co-curated the Empty Bottle Jazz Series from 1996 to 2005, and was co-curator of Pathways to Unknown Worlds: Sun Ra, El Saturn, and Chicago’s Afro-Futurist Underground, 1954-1968 (Hyde Park Art Center, Chicago, 2006; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, 2009; Durham Art Guild, Durham, North Carolina, 2009). For over 20 years, Dempsey was the house manager and occasional programmer at the Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago. He is an alumnus of SAIC. Together Corbett and Dempsey have been involved in many independent curatorial projects, including Big Picture: A New View of Painting In Chicago (Chicago History Museum, 2007) and Touch and Go: Ray Yoshida and his Spheres of Influence (Sullivan Galleries, Chicago, 2010).

Corbett vs. Dempsey is located on the third floor of the Dusty Groove building, 1120 North Ashland Avenue in Chicago. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm, and by appointment.

Corbett vs. Dempsey is a member of the Art Dealers Association of America (ADAA).

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Video Subscription

$5/month (recurring)
Great for supporters outside of Chicago!

You get:

Access to the Video Library as it is built

Live Subscription

$20/month (recurring)

You get:

Discounted, pre-paid admission to EVERY OPTION SHOW
Preferred Seating
Access to the Video Library
Occasional Artist Meet-&-Greets

Already, there are hours of performances and discussions by William Parker, Chris Corsano, Dave Bryant, Jaimie Branch, and more available to watch on YouTube.


Donate Another Amount

Or, if you'd prefer, make a one-time donation to OPTION in the amount of your choice here:

Here's a preview of the contents of the content of the Video Library: WILLIAM PARKER live on September 12, 2016.

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Keep Your Options Open II Mixtape CD
Add to Cart

In celebration of the 2018 OPTION season, ESS has released a special, limited edition mixtape CD that highlights some of the best improvisers working today from around the world. This compilation showcases the breadth and diversity of improvised and creative music with rising starts like Lea Bertucci, Katinka Kleijn, Ben LaMar Gay, Matchess, The Few and Charmaine Lee as well as veterans of free jazz (Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy, Jeremiah Cymerman, Curt Newton, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten). These live sets from the 2017 OPTION season were beautifully mixed and mastered by our head engineer, Alex Inglizian. By purchasing a mixtape, you are supporting Experimental Sound Studio,  the OPTION programming, and keeping creative music alive and thriving in Chicago.

Featuring: Lea Bertucci, Matchess, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Curt Newton, Ben LaMar Gay, Charmaine Lee, The Few, Jeremiah Cymerman, Katinka Kleijn, Mats Gustafsson, Antonio Borghini, Tim Daisy

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About the programmers

Andrew Clinkman (guitarist, improviser and composer, active member of the creative music communities in both Chicago and Boston)

Tim Daisy (percussionist, improviser, composer and teacher, active participant on the international music scene since the late 1990s)

Ken Vandermark (multi-instrumentalist, improviser and composer, MacArthur Fellow, organizer of weekly concerts in Chicago at a diverse range of venues for 15 years starting in the early 1990s)


Support for Option is generously provided by: