20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by mls267

Billy Corgan Performs At His Tea House Opening

Check out Patch's video of the Smashing Pumpkins frontman and Highland Park resident welcoming a huge crowd to Madame ZuZu's Tea House on Sept. 13 with an intimate acoustic set.

It was easy to mistake Billy Corgan's new tea house for a nightclub on the afternoon of Sept. 13.

Though the stylish walls and classy drinks inside of Madame ZuZu's, located in the Ravinia Business District of Highland Park, felt more upscale than any Starbucks, the long line of people waiting to get in was still an odd sight for a daytime hangout -- even one that sold Intelligentsia coffee and vegan cupcakes.

The people in line were eager to wait for the chance to try out the neighborhood's newest hangout, and for the chance to see the Smashing Pumpkins' frontman perform an intimate acoustic set.

"When they're motivated, they show up," Corgan told Patch at Thursday's opening.

Riverwoods resident Ali Harris enjoyed a cup of jasmine tea with her friend, Michelle Kriegel, who lives in Highland Park. Both are vendors in the Ravinia Business District.

"It's a nice vibe," Harris said. "I love the jasmine tea."

Kreigel agreed, and said she'd definitely be back.

"They need more of this kind of stuff here," she said, referring to the Ravinia Business District.

It's that sentiment that Corgan is hoping to hear more of now that his tea house has opened. Corgan has lived in Highland Park since 2003 and says his decision to open the tea house came after years of slowly deciding to get more involved in his community.

"We live here," he said about himself and his tea house co-owner, Sharon Mackin-Norberg, a friend of his who also owns the Ravinia Wine Shop. "We just wanted a place to hang out."

Though many people came to the tea house on Thursday to see him perform, Corgan is more concerned about those that don't know his music and want to give Madame ZuZu's a try because it fits a niche.

"The celebrity thing only goes so far," Corgan said. "At the end of the day the success depends on the locals."

The locals who showed up Thursday seemed overwhelmingly pleased with what they saw.

"It's the one little thing missing from our neighborhood," Lynne Sakanich said.

Mackin-Norberg thought so, too, which is why she was so eager to go along with Corgan when he suggested opening Madame ZuZu's. She lives in Ravinia and was excited at the prospect of having a place to go in town that wasn't a restaurant or a movie.

"This has been a crash course to learn how to run this," she said on Thursday, while watching the door to make sure people waiting in line didn't just start walking in. "We learned by doing, and we've learned a lot today."

Check out videos of Billy Corgan performing above, in addition to photos from Thursday's opening.

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