Church of Beethoven salutes Val
Worked for many years at Flying Fish Folk Records. We had a record distributor who would show up in an old pickup and load up the milk crates with LPs. He was always talking about Val’s Halla in Oak Park. When I finally moved here, 15 years later, there it was — still selling milk-crate sized musical goodness! Val’s tales at the Lake Theater’s 25th Anniversary of the Blues Brothers movie were amazing. Now she graciously helps emcee Church of Beethoven at Open Door. What an amazing treasure.
Jean Lotus, 47, Co-Director, Church of Beethoven-Oak Park
It started out innocently enough… Beach Boys 8-track tapes and 45s from Ben Franklins, but it wasn’t long before I wanted to concentrate on the great format of 331/3 rpm records. Ben Franklins had it’s charms, but not the focus of a real, independent record store. My Freshman year of High School was all the horrors of the movies and TV shows we’ve seen for years and it became obvious the lunch room was no place for me. So, if I wasn’t hiding in the library I was roaming outside the school grounds during my lunchtime. It was on one of these walks I discovered Val’s Halla on South Blvd. One great thing about starting high school at OPRF was since I lived by Concordia College in RF, I was given money to ride the bus and buy lunch. Tho I’d never stepped on a school bus, my instincts told me it’d be every bit as bad as the lunchroom. Of course, as I started bringing home records weekly – at Val’s I could get a used LP for $2.14 tax included – my folks figured out I was neither buying lunch or riding the bus. After they argued whether I should still be given any money, my Dad thought I shouldn’t but my Mom stated that I was learning the value of money by sacrificing something to gain something of more importance to me, it was decided their youngest could develop much worst habits and I was allowed my vinyl stipend. There after I spent two to five lunch breaks a week in Val’s Halla for four years running. I bought my first Bob Dylan LP there, my first copy of George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, my first copies of The Beatles Revolver and The White Album (yes, I now own many copies of both) and so many more.
Val's halla, safe haven
Perhaps as great as the music I took home was the safe haven Val’s gave me. I may have been an outcast, scared and leery in the school hallways, always an easy mark for those in need of a chump to take their frustrations out on, but Val’s was my home turf. I loved music. I knew vinyl. I had home field advantage and no one ever dared to mess with me there. Unlike most male dominated record stores of the era, this one felt extra safe as a female run enterprise. I can’t thank Val Calimetti or her staff enough for that. I know the Oak Park Arts District is not the hub of activity North Blvd. & Oak Park Ave. were, after all I’ve had a gallery space there for ten years, but I am so grateful Val’s Halla has made it to the 40th anniversary mark. In this scary, crazy world I know there is a safe place for me. May every awkward, unhappy, adolescence find their Halla.
I don’t have any long history with Val, but I am happy to add my admiration and congratulations, too! Just a few months ago, actually, I was in there asking her about some particular dance rhythm. How can some novice like me today understand the popular dance rhythms of the early rock-n-roll era… She told me some fabulous history of her parents dancing on a bistro tabletop. “They just knew” what dance it was. “You could feel it and hear it. Not like today.” Righty-o, Val. Right you are, like usual!
Fantastic asset to the Arts District. We are so lucky to have her depth of knowledge, passion, and bright ideas!
Hope all the Val-a-palooza goes great (I’ll be out of town, alas).
Val’s Halla is the spiritual home for this unrepentant vinyl junkie. Personal highlights from the last year include finding old favorites by the Del Fuegos, Kinks and Thomas Dolby, which were subsequently signed by the artists. The covers are framed and hanging on my wall, while the discs spin on my turntable. Val and Shane have also welcomed my band Ping and hosted our CD release parties. I love the people and the place! Happy 40th anniversary and many happy returns!
Join us at hallaPalooza to celebrate Val’s halla’s birthday! Weekend of July 28-29 in the Oak Park Arts District. Cool bands and refreshments at the 40 year old music mecca…
Let’s show Val Camilletti how much her family’s business has meant to our community of music aficionados. Did you hang out at Val’s after school? Launch your band from the Val’s halla stage? What awesome music were you introduced to? Did it change your life? Please be specific. Send me a paragraph of your memories from the 1970’s, 80’s, 90’s, or 2000’s. Val’s Halla has provided four decades of musical influence and support in Chicagoland. Let’s return the love. Juiciest stories will be posted to my blog, the OPAD website, and other local e-news sites. All love letters will be forwarded to Val herself to celebrate hallaPalooza the weekend of July 28th in the Oak Park Arts District.
– Submit 1 paragraph (3-5 sentences).
– Include your name, age, occupation/student status/band name, city, & contact info.
– Date of your memory, especially decade.
– Plus: 1 extra line of well-wishes or birthday greetings.
– Subject header: “hallaPalooza”
– Digital photo if the spirit moves you.
– By submitting your memory-paragraph and/or photo, you are giving permission to have them published online and on other media to promote & celebrate hallaPalooza.
– Deadline: ASAP through 7/27/12.
– M.G. Bertulfo, firstname.lastname@example.org
– (708) 317-TALE
Thanks and rock on!