Mencoff Family Endows $1 Million in SAIC Internships For Historic and Cultural Preservation
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago has received a gift of $1 million from Sam and Ann Mencoff to establish the endowed Mencoff Family Internships in Historic and Cultural Preservation Fund. The investment, which builds off of a previously established Mencoff Family Fellowship in Historic Preservation Fund, aims to preserve, conserve, and protect culture and history by expanding opportunities in the field. Previously concerned with the built environment—for example, skyscrapers, homes, zoning, streets, and sidewalks—the field of preservation now plays a key role in preserving culture: sacred spaces, artifacts, decorative arts and changes to landscapes. “With projects ranging from urban planning and park development to documenting cultural histories and interpretive centers, it is critical that artists can collaborate with individuals most affected by historic and cultural preservation, particularly those who have been underrepresented,” SAIC says in a release. The Mencoff Family Internships in Historic and Cultural Preservation Fund will primarily support paid, hands-on internships for students, whether interning at a preservation organization or working alongside faculty on historic and cultural preservation projects. The internships are available to students studying in any discipline.
Allison Glenn New Senior Curator at Contemporary Arts Museum Houston
Contemporary Arts Museum Houston on Tuesday announced Allison Glenn as its senior curator and director of Public Art. Glenn begins working at CAMH on August 1. (Glenn [Newcity Art 50] was previously director of Monique Meloche Gallery.) She tells the Houston Chronicle that she will work to “advance the museum’s world-renowned contemporary art program, broadening it to include collaborative engagements within and across museums, institutions, and publics in Houston and beyond. Working with multiple publics and diverse communities continues to be an important part of my work, and this leadership role at CAMH will afford the scope of vision to include directing a public art program that expands, decenters, and relocates the museum as a site.” Glenn’s most recent gig was as associate curator, contemporary art, at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas.
“North Union” To Supplant Moody Bible Land
“The plan to plant five blocks of downtown Chicago with seven skyscrapers and high-rises has been approved by the Chicago Plan Commission,” reports Chicago Architecture. “Look for the project name North Union to start popping up on construction barriers. This land was formerly owned by Moody Bible Institute, which sold it to JDL Development. Construction of phase one is expected to start this year, and includes a 300-foot-tall residential block on the corner of North Wells and West Chestnut Streets. Along with two smaller buildings, this part of the project will have 486 new homes, 5,765 square feet of retail space, and 23,000 square feet of public open space.”
Another Step Toward Thompson Center Sale
“The city’s Committee on Zoning unanimously approved a proposal to return the property at 100 West Randolph to its original zoning,” reports Block Club Chicago, “which would allow for a high-rise to be built at the site. Former Alderman Burton Natarus downzoned the property in the 1980s.” Alderman Brendan Reilly: “Redeveloping this site, whether it’s by preservation, adaptive reuse or new construction would end its tax-exempt status and bring this entire city block onto the city’s tax rolls.”
Graham Foundation Grants Over Half-Million Dollars
The Chicago-based Graham Foundation announced the award of seventy-one new grants to 113 individuals worldwide that support projects on architecture. Grantee projects “represent diverse lines of inquiry engaging original ideas that advance our understanding of the designed environment,” the foundation says. “Selected from nearly 700 proposals, the funded projects include research, exhibitions, publications, films, digital initiatives and other inventive formats that promote rigorous scholarship, stimulate experimentation and foster critical discourse in architecture.” “This year, as the pandemic forced communities, cities, and countries to close down, the inequities of design and the built environment only intensified,” Graham Foundation director Sarah Herda says in a release. “Through this dynamic grantee cohort, the Graham continues its sixty-five-year commitment to supporting individuals to realize ideas that have the power to change the field of architecture.”
DINING & DRINKING
Mayor Lightfoot Demands Permanent Curfew On Package Liquor
Mayor Lightfoot introduced a proposed 10pm curfew on packaged goods sales, “part of a package of changes her office said would help businesses recover from the pandemic. The proposed change says no person with a package goods license can sell or give away packaged goods 10 pm-7am daily,” reports Block Club Chicago. “‘This initiative will address public safety and nuisance issues by limiting the nighttime sale of packaged goods,’ the Mayor’s Office said in a news release. When Lightfoot created the curfew in April 2020, she said the move was meant to be ‘protective’ amid the pandemic. She threatened business owners that didn’t comply would be subject to fines, arrests and losing their liquor license. ‘Far too many have been congregating at stores that sell alcohol, especially in the evening hour,’ Lightfoot said at an April 8, 2020, news conference… It’s unclear why Lightfoot is pushing for a permanent curfew… The change would need City Council’s sign-off to go into effect.” Here’s the legislation. Adds the Sun-Times: The ninety-four page ordinance “would ban sales of packaged liquor products between the hours of 10pm and 7am every day except Sunday, when sales wouldn’t be allowed to begin until 8am. It would bring an end to the days of liquor stores remaining open into the early hours of the morning, although sales would begin several hours earlier on Sundays… Another part of the ordinance would give the green light for both delivery and carryout of cocktails-to-go, a practice that began during the pandemic.”
The curtailing of liquor sales has been in the works since at least June of 2020, according to a leaked email exchange: the proposal affects “all alcohol for consumption off premises which would include bars and restaurants selling incidental packaged goods, growlers/crowlers and cocktails to go. If we are just looking at packaged goods licensees, then I think we should include an equitable distribution of aldermen from around the City. This will [affect] supermarkets, target [sic], boutique wine shops and other specialty liquor shops beyond what is considered a problem ‘liquor or convenience store.’ There is also the chance that such a drastic limitation of hours of liquor sales may force some of these stores to close permanently. In some areas these convenient [sic] stores may be the only food source for the community, so this should also be considered. I also flagged a legal issue about limiting the hours of operation, because 4 packaged goods licensees hold separate late hour licenses (2 are true liquor stores one in Ervin’s ward and one in Tunney’s ward ). We would need Law to weigh in on how to handle what could be seen as a ‘taking’ of those additional late hour licenses.”
Building The Perfect Pickle Crunch And Selling It On Instagram
Mike Sula profiles Vargo Brother Ferments at the Reader: “Sebastian Vargo is the brother behind Vargo Brother Ferments, which has been churning out a prodigious variety of lacto-fermented pickles, krauts, kimchi, condiments, and kombuchas since last summer when the furloughed chef and his fiancée started selling his signature garlic dill pickles on Instagram. What later became known as the ‘G-Dilla’ is an extraordinarily crunchy, sour pickle suspended in a cloudy salt-brine teeming with probiotics. ‘I did work hard for that crunch,’ he says, also crediting the tannins in the brew, lent by black tea, bay, and grape leaves. ‘You gotta build a foundation, like making a stock. I approach my pickles the same way I would any dish.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
Fawzia Mirza Reads Luke Wilson In “Legally Blonde”
A live-read pegged to “Legally Blonde”’s upcoming twentieth anniversary “will honor Pride Month by featuring an all-LGBTQ+ cast” for NewFest Pride, a four-day event in New York, Entertainment Weekly reports. “‘Empire’ and ‘MacGyver’ actress Alexandra Grey will lead an all-trans-and-queer cast as sorority-girl-turned-Harvard-Law-student Elle Woods for the virtual event.” Also in the ensemble: Rain Valdez as Vivian Kensington, Jen Richards as Warner Huntington III and Fawzia Mirza (Newcity Film 50) as Emmett, the love interest originally played by Luke Wilson.
AFI Docs Programs Joan Jett Blakk, Obama, “In Search of Our Fathers,” “Stevie”
The American Film Institute announced its 2021 slate of films for AFI Docs. Included: the world premiere of “The Beauty President,” directed by Whitney Skauge. AFI synopsizes: “‘If a bad actor can be president, why not a good drag queen?’ In 1992, Joan Jett Blakk made a historic bid for the White House as the first openly queer write-in candidate.” The first two episodes of the series “Obama: In Pursuit of a More Perfect Union,” directed by Peter Kunhardt are world premieres as well, portraying “the journey of Barack Obama from his early upbringing to the forty-fourth U.S. President, set against the backdrop of the country’s unfolding racial history. The “Cinema’s Legacy” section salutes two Chicago-area filmmakers. Marco Williams’ 1992 “In Search of Our Fathers” is described as the filmmaker’s “searing seven-year journey to track down the father he never knew. Thirty years on, the film remains a brilliant and powerful evocation of the personal documentary form.” Steve James’ self-excoriating masterpiece 2002 “Stevie” began as “a straightforward film about the man he had once mentored as a Big Brother. To James’ surprise, he would end up making his most complex and personal documentary.”
Smashing Pumpkins Celebrate Thirtieth Anniversary Of First Album
The Smashing Pumpkins will celebrate the thirtieth anniversary of the release of their platinum-selling, debut studio album, “Gish.” On Saturday, May 29 at 7pm, Billy Corgan and Jimmy Chamberlin will be part of a two-hour livestream featuring a Q&A, “Gish” vinyl listening party, and a world exclusive preview of unreleased music, hosted by Madame ZuZu’s Teashop in Highland Park. Tickets are $19.91 with a twenty-four-hour viewing window; “select proceeds” will be donated to the PAWS no-kill animal shelter in Chicago. Information here.
Chris Jones To Lyric: Take The Piss
Algren biographer Mary Wisniewski: “Bravo Chris Jones for pushing back on this silly idea. Not only do operagoers need to pee, they need to stretch their legs, get a drink, unexpectedly run into old friends, talk over the show, show off their outfit—all the delights of intermission!” Jones’ Trib sally: “The Lyric audience is a smart crew that follows scientific leadership. I’ll wager that near a hundred percent of them will be vaccinated by September and if Lyric were to ask its patrons now, as distinct from many weeks ago, they’d say they are just fine getting a drink or going to the bathroom… Standing in the spacious lobby of the Civic Opera House is no different from visiting any of the bars or restaurants in the city, most of which are rocking and rolling now, and surely all of which will be going full-tilt by the fall. So cancel the trims and pauses and, this fall, bring back operatic intermissions, say I. Vaccines protect us. Let the people pee without missing a note.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Pride Pushed to October
The fifty-second annual Chicago Pride Parade will be October 3 instead of on its traditional date on the last Sunday in June, reports Nina Molina at the Sun-Times. “Pride Parade coordinator Tim Frye and other organizers made the decision to reschedule the parade in anticipation [that] more people will be vaccinated by October.” “Pride in the Park” will be held on June 26 and 27. “I came out because I went to a Pride Parade. I’ve talked to many other people who stood on the sidelines at any given pride parade and said, ‘OK, I think I’m OK after all,’” Frye told the Sun-Times.
City Council Poised To Rename Outer Lake Shore Drive; Cost Estimated At Least $2.5 Million
The City Council was set Wednesday to rename seventeen miles of outer Lake Shore Drive from Hollywood Avenue to East 67th Street in honor of Jean Baptiste Point DuSable. The combined cost to the city, state and CTA would total $2.5 million, Alderman David Moore tells the Sun-Times. The mayor’s office “tried to block the ordinance with an alternative he views as having ‘racial overtones’—renaming the Dan Ryan Expressway in honor of Chicago first permanent, non-indigenous settler. Lightfoot has also offered to complete DuSable Park, create an exhibit honoring DuSable at the ‘most-traveled part’ of the downtown Riverwalk and rename the entire Riverwalk in honor of DuSable. ‘We were offered to rename the Dan Ryan… Keep it on the South Side. South of like 35th Street. Let’s be honest: Keep it in the Black community,'” Moore told the paper. “Those are racial overtones and ones that we have to move beyond in this city. We’re better than that.”
Tribune City Hall reporter Gregory Pratt: “Lightfoot opposes renaming Lake Shore Drive for DuSable, Chicago’s Black founder. The vote is likely to pass but will some aldermen push to delay? And if it passes, will she veto?”
Wednesday afternoon, two aldermen moved to “defer and publish,” which delays action until the next meeting. “The move was made by downtown alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Northwest Side alderman Ariel Reboyras (30th),” reports Fran Spielman of the Sun-Times. Alderman David Moore “was reduced to shouting from the floor. His microphone was turned off.” Ald. Sophia King (4th) had asked for a roll call. “Moore vowed to join King in calling a special City Council meeting to accomplish the name change. He also promised to retaliate by playing his own brand of hardball…’If they want to play politics, I take that personal and everything that comes before that Council, I’ll d-and-p. Everything that comes before that Council, I’ll ask for a roll call on. If they want to do this, then that’s what I’ll do.”