MCA Announces Look Back At Nick Cave Career
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago announced “Nick Cave: Forothermore,” will run May 14 to October 2, 2022. A career-spanning retrospective of Chicagoan Nick Cave, “an artist celebrated for his projects that eloquently blend community building with vibrant works of art across disciplines, including immersive installations, textural sculptures, impeccably crafted fashions, and dynamic videos and performances,” it will include never-before-seen works, including a continuation of the artist’s Soundsuits series with the premiere of “Soundsuits 9:29” and a site-specific installation, “Spinner Forest,” comprised of thousands of kinetic spinners that will hang in the museum’s two-story atrium and fourth-floor lobby.
Dawoud Bey And Tonika Lewis Johnson Honored With Illinois Humanities Awards
Illinois Humanities will celebrate the public humanities and honor Dawoud Bey and Tonika Lewis Johnson at the Public Humanities Awards on Thursday. Dawoud Bey, photographer and educator [Newcity Art 50], will receive the Beacon Award. “For the past five decades, Bey has been committed to collaborating with his subjects, involving them, and revealing themes largely suppressed by popular culture or marginalized communities. He is known internationally for his street photography, large-scale art photography, and portraits that intimately showcase Black lives,” writes Illinois Humanities in a release. “Tonika Lewis Johnson, activist and artist, will receive the 2021 Public Humanities Award. Her work rewrites narratives on segregation and historical marginalization. She uses maps, photographs and other media to show connections and disconnections between people and communities.” Her Folded Map project consists of portraits of “map twins” who live on the North and South sides of Chicago at the same addresses and allows them to connect. The event will be live at noon May 20 on YouTube; the link will be on the Illinois Humanities website this afternoon.
The Chicago Janitor Behind Instagram’s “Pictures of Dives”
At the San Francisco Chronicle, Grant Marek salutes Chicago Instagrammer Brandon Hinke of @picturesofdives. “So we moved to Chicago, and we just assumed there won’t be any problems or A GLOBAL PANDEMIC, but then there was and the job I had lined up fell through immediately, and I was in a city I hadn’t spent a lot of time in, so I started driving around aimlessly, and I came across this place, Windy City Lounge.” Content? Goes viral. “I just knew I should do something with this, we’re not homesick, we’re barsick.” “Virtually every bar that’s been sent to him goes up on Pictures of Dives, save the one where he could clearly see a waiter wearing a tie (‘come on’) or some sort of blurry nonsense.” Hinke says, “My standards are pretty low.”
Lee Bey Honored For Photography
The Julius Shulman Institute at Woodbury University bestows its 2021 Julius Shulman Institute Excellence in Photography Award on Lee Bey. “Bey is a photographer, writer, lecturer, and consultant who documents and interprets the built environment. His work investigates complex political, social, and racial forces that shape spaces and places,” the JSI says. “Bey’s writing and photographic work have been consistent in creating public discussion on the importance of architecture as cultural expression and civic engagement.” Each year, the JSI Excellence in Photography Award goes to a photographer who challenges how we look at physical space. Bey joins past winners that include Iwan Baan (2010), Pedro Guerrero (2012), Catherine Opie (2013) and James Welling (2016). JSI Executive Director Barbara Bestor says that “Bey’s work embodies the mission of the Julius Shulman Institute, which is to engage architectural and social discourse through photographic images of the built environment — including architecture communities, industrial spaces, and beyond.”
Chicago Artists Coalition Awards Thirty Unrestricted Spark Grants
Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) announced thirty Spark Grant awardees who will each receive $2,000 in unrestricted funds in the 2021 grant cycle. In its third year, the SPARK Grant program is an annual, unrestricted award opportunity for Chicago-based visual artists “who identify as ALAANA (Asian, Latinx, Arab, African diaspora, Native), an artist with a demonstrated need, an artist with a disability or as a self-taught or informally trained artist who is striving to make their art practice a primary vocation.” With the support of the Joyce Foundation and an anonymous donor, the SPARK Grant expanded to thirty awards, to A.Martinez, Ariella Granados, Cherrie Yu, Cristian Roldan, darien R Wendell, Deborah Awwad, Elnaz Javani, Hankyeol Song, Jada-Amina, Jade Wong, Janelle Miller, Jennifer Villanueva, Jiayi Chen, Jon Veal, Jory Drew, Joshua Jackson, Kris Casey, Mercedes Cardenas, Miao Wang, Qais Assali, Sasha Phyars-Burgess, Shirien Damra, Sky Cubacub, Sungjae Lee, Sydnie Jimenez, Tariyawn Knighten, Tattiana Howard, Youree Kim, Yuge Zhou and zakkiyyah najeebah dumas-o’neal.
Sistine Chapel Arrives At Oakbrook Center
Reproductions of the work of Italian artist-sculptor Michelangelo Buonarroti arrive in Oakbrook Wednesday in the form of “Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel: The Exhibition,” reports Miriam Di Nunzio at the Sun-Times: The exhibit displays “massive, life-sized reproductions of thirty-three frescoes in the iconic ceiling, the most famous being the nine scenes from the Bible’s book of Genesis, painted by the Italian artist over a four-year period in the early sixteenth century… Also on display will be life-sized reproductions of Michelangelo’s ‘The Last Judgment,’ a separate, five-year fresco project, which covers the entire altar wall of the chapel and was begun some twenty-five years after the ceiling was completed.” The “frescoes” in the traveling exhibition are high-resolution prints on special fabric. “Every brushstroke is visible, giving added depth and breadth to the scope of the paintings… The exhibit puts into perspective the enormous proportions of each of the figures in the frescoes, which make them clearly discernible to Vatican visitors forty-four feet below.”
Sun-Times Advocates Michael Reese Redevelopment
“It’s good to see a $3.8 billion plan to revitalize the largely vacant former Michael Reese Hospital site take another step forward,” writes the Sun-Times editorial Board. “A successful turnaround of the dormant Bronzeville tract could be just the grand slam the South Side needs after decades of occasional base hits and some absolute strikeouts in attempts to bring transformative development south of Roosevelt Road. The Chicago Plan Commission approved zoning for the project’s $600 million first phase in February, and the “Community Development Commission voted last week to sell the land to developers GRIT Chicago for $97 million. The group plans to build residences, offices, retail space and a medical research facility on the site.”
DINING & DRINKING
Ukrainian Village’s Rainbo Club Lit Again
In an Instagram post, Ukrainian Village mainstay The Rainbo Club announces its return on Wednesday after fourteen months dark. In the short video, the warm beacon of the neon sign at Damen and Division bursts into life to the familiar-to-patrons seven-second introduction to The Normal’s 1978 “Warm Leatherette.” Prior to the pandemic closing in mid-March 2020, the bar, accepted to have opened in 1936, prided itself on staying open 365 nights a year since its opening under current ownership thirty-six years ago, closed only for a few film shoots (including “High Fidelity” and “The Chi”) and events like weddings of friends of management. With drink prices historically lower than other nearby saloons, the featured cheap draft was Leinenkugel’s upon its 1985 opening, and most recently Pabst Blue Ribbon was the two-dollar draw. For 2021, it’s going to be $2 cans of Old Milwaukee.
Tamale Guy High-And-Dry
Even as 4am bars reopen, a familiar friendly face on the Chicago late-night bar scene remains out-of-pocket: Tamale Guy. Claudio Velez has recovered from COVID-19, but his business partnership is aground. He hopes for a new restaurant space, as he lacks a commercial kitchen. “The city, spurred by anonymous complaints last year from the West Loop, sent Velez a cease-and-desist letter warning him about making tamales at home for public consumption,” reports Eater Chicago. “Velez was shaken by the letter, and despite a history of making and delivering tamales to Chicago’s bars for decades. Fear has grounded Velez’s tamales operation as he’s worried about fines and concerns as an undocumented immigrant.” His partners in a Ukrainian Village storefront, Pierre and Kristin Vega, are in a legal battle with Tamale Guy over the rights to his nickname. “The next court date is June 2, according to Cook County. The lawsuit, reported by the Tribune, alleges the Vegas kept money and financial information from Velez while locking him out of the business. The practice started while he was hospitalized.” On Tuesday, handwritten signs at the Tamale Guy storefront shooed customers away: “we are closed for the Time Being Thank You For your Support” and “Closed for Maintenance… sorry!!”
Forbidden Root Opening Second Chicago Location In Former Band of Bohemia
The Trib reports: “The airy space that housed Michelin-starred brewpub Band of Bohemia became one of Chicago’s most eclectic places to experience food and beer before that restaurant filed for bankruptcy and went out of business last year. That building and the brewery will hum once more, as a second Chicago location for Forbidden Root.”
Jason Paskewitz To Be Executive Chef Of Pomeroy
“I plan to do the best work of my life,” James Beard Foundation Award-nominated chef Jason Paskewitz, patron of modern French fare says in a release about the opening of Pomeroy in Winnetka, set to open this summer. Ballyhoo Hospitality co-founder Ryan O’Donnell and Paskewitz will reunite for the first time since opening Gemini Bistro together in the Lincoln Park neighborhood in 2009. “He is a tremendous fit for the restaurant because of his extensive knowledge of French bistro cuisine,” O’Donnell says, noting Paskewitz’s time at The Blanchard, which included a James Beard Foundation Award nomination, a Jean Banchet Award, and “Best New Restaurant” by the Chicago Tribune and Chicago. “Sincerity is important to me,” says Paskewitz. “If there is one style of cooking you cannot fake, it’s French. This cuisine doesn’t allow you to cook any other way than straight from the heart.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“Handmaid’s Tale” Simulates West Town: Bean Detonation Too Costly
Chicago is a war zone in the fight against the forces of Gilead on Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” reports Tracy Swartz at the Tribune. June (Elisabeth Moss) and Janine (Madeline Brewer) “hide out in a Dante’s Pizzeria; swap their handmaid’s cloaks for a Cubs hat at the Field Museum; and wander past Do-Rite Donuts in a deserted West Town… The production team studied Google images of real West Town blocks to create its fictional streets in the southern Ontario city of Brantford… Last week’s episode ends with a major blast. June and Janine are in the West Town area when it happens, [but] the script initially called for the bomb to drop on the Cloud Gate sculpture.” The team had “designed a portion of The Bean. We didn’t start building it because it had been taken out of the script by the time we were ready to start building. But we had actually designed, basically, the interior structure of The Bean. The reflective material had fallen off because a bomb had fallen on it. We would have had a skeleton of the structure, and then visual effects would have… put the cityscape behind The Bean.”
Going Full Lolla
“Teens of Naperville Rejoice!” tweeted Trib City Hall reporter John Byrne as Mayor Lightfoot announces that Lollapalooza will return to Grant Park “at full, sweaty capacity” from July 29-August 1. The festival entry process won’t be announced until July, but full vaccination or negative test results will be required to attend, Lollapalooza announced. For concertgoers who are not fully vaccinated, a negative test result must be obtained within twenty-four hours of attending Lollapalooza each day. “Here in Chicago, the word ‘Lollapalooza’ has always been synonymous with summer, great music and four days of unforgettable fun – which made last year’s decision to postpone it all the more difficult,” Lolla quotes Mayor Lightfoot. “We are able to bring back one of our city’s most iconic summer music festivals. I want to thank the Lollapalooza team for working closely with the City to create a reopening strategy that prioritizes safety and can’t wait to see festivalgoers return to Grant Park this summer.” Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. adds that to ensure fun, “I encourage everyone to continue to be safe and smart; if you’re sick, stay home; wash your hands frequently; wear a mask if you’re traveling or using public transit; and most importantly get vaccinated if you haven’t already.”
Broadway-Bound “Paradise Square” in The Loop
Broadway In Chicago announced the pre-Broadway premiere of “Paradise Square,” a musical named for a saloon in the Five Points Lower Manhattan slum in 1863. The strictly limited engagement runs November 2-December 5 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre on Randolph.”Irish immigrants escaping the devastation of the Great Famine settled alongside free-born Black Americans and those who escaped slavery, arriving by means of the Underground Railroad. The Irish, relegated at that time to the lowest rung of America’s social status, received a sympathetic welcome from their Black neighbors (who enjoyed only slightly better treatment in the burgeoning industrial-era city). The two communities co-existed, intermarried, raised families, and shared their cultures in this unlikeliest of neighborhoods.”
And Speaking Of The Nederlander, Heeeeeeeeere’s Garth Drabinsky
“Paradise Square” marks the return of Canadian big-dreamer Garth Drabinsky, “controversial father of the Loop’s theater district,” reports Chris Jones at the Trib. “I am delighted to be back,” Drabinsky told Jones. “Without the return of the theater, great cities like New York and Chicago are just not the same.” Jones sketches the Drabinsky details: “In 2009, following accusations that he essentially kept two sets of books, one of which inflated box office receipts to cover expenses, he was convicted in Canada of forgery and defrauding shareholders of the company known as Livent, of which he was the chief executive. Drabinsky was sentenced to seven years in prison (later reduced to five years on appeal).” Drabinsky’s U.S. attorney, Gary Becker, relayed that on June 25, 2018, a United States federal judge dismissed all [United States] charges against Drabinsky “without the imposition of any penalties or stigma.” The Nederlander Organization “has been careful to insist on the show’s full financial backing [be] firmly in place.” Drabinsky told the Trib, “My life has been dedicated to the entertainment business. It is something I always have been compelled to do.”
Social Media Outpouring For Comedian-Producer Sam Berkman
Among the voices since Tuesday on social media, Reader managing editor Brianna Wellen posts, “The Chicago comedy scene lost an incredibly hilarious performer, producer, and friend today. Every time Sam Berkman was in the room, EVERYONE was having a good time. The community she fostered was unrivaled. So much love to all who had the pleasure of knowing her.” Comedian Rachel McCartney: “She was incredibly kind and silly and warm and beloved by every single person in Chicago comedy.” Producer Katie Johnston-Smith: “Sam Berkman was a resilient human who’s light, kindness, and talent were undeniable. So grateful to have witnessed her.” “Frankenstein’s Friend” tweeted, “at the mic my friend and I ran Sam Berkman would come all the time. One night we did ‘Ladies Night’ because she was often the only female comic and brought her up 4 times when there were only 5 comics total. She will always be an amazing and incredible person and missed forever.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Arts Leaders Ask $500 Million For Illinois Arts And Culture
“Funds from the American Rescue Plan must support the creative sector,” the Illinois Creative Future Fund campaign, a coalition of arts leaders advocate. The pandemic, the group says in a release, “has devastated our state’s creative sector, yet the arts remain an economic engine to power a resilient Illinois recovery.” the group estimates there are over 22,000 creative businesses and 250,000 culture workers. “The full vitality of our creative sector cannot come back without serious investment,” says Claire Rice, executive director of Arts Alliance Illinois. More details here.