Graffiti Artists Asked Not To Tag Important Pilsen Murals
“Local artists are restoring two murals defaced along 18th Street in Pilsen, including one that was just finished last month,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Letters and tags were spray painted across parts of the Declaration of Immigration and Amor y Communidad murals near 18th and Blue Island. Artists from the Pilsen Arts and Community House nonprofit and Yollocalli Arts Reach, who helped create the murals, found out about the damage Monday and are working to fix the community art pieces. ‘We are fans of street and graffiti artists, but there are unwritten rules and guidelines that you follow and respect community art,’ said Teresa Magaña, executive director of Pilsen Arts and Community House.”
Museum Role in Police Mural Outside Detroit Draws Criticism
“They unveiled the mural outside the Sterling Heights police station with fanfare on June 1. The mayor of the city in the Detroit suburbs cut the red ribbon to mark the installation of the artwork, which had been three years in the making and depicts police officers bowing their heads and clasping hands in front of an American flag,” Graham Bowley and Zachary Small report in the New York Times. But in the week since, the work, sponsored by the Detroit Institute of Arts, “has become a touchstone for controversy as critics have denounced it as badly timed and overtly pro-police when they say the public discussion should be about police aggression. Some have called for it to be removed, and following the backlash, the artist herself said she no longer believes it is appropriate and that she feels used by the museum, which paid for the work as part of an initiative to work with surrounding counties whose tax dollars support its operations. ‘I absolutely regret making the mural,’ said the artist, Nicole Macdonald…. She said it should be taken down if it causes anguish for residents of the Detroit area. ‘The DIA’s number one priority should be serving the people in the city who are predominantly Black; instead, it represents those tenets of power that are historically racist.'”
127-Year-Old Vautravers Building Moving Thirty Feet West
“Moving day is fast approaching for a historic Lakeview six-flat apartment building that has stood by the El tracks for more than a century of cacophonous coexistence,” reports Robert Channick at the Tribune. “In August, the 127-year-old Vautravers Building, a three-story monument to Chicago’s residential history [in the Newport Avenue historic district], will be jacked up from its foundation and slid thirty feet to the west, sparing it from demolition as part of the CTA’s ambitious Brown Line flyover project. ‘It’s not every day you have to move a building,’ CTA spokeswoman Tammy Chase said. ‘It’s one of the more interesting quirks of this project.'” Channick quotes Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago, “The CTA demolished quite a few buildings, some of them really quite noteworthy to the Clark Street streetscape. Vautravers was the only one that survived this heavy-handed project.”
Lynn Becker Expands Tweetstorm on Preserving Chicago Modernist Architecture
“It can be said that a church is a community, not a building, but it also cannot be denied that the souls of Chicago’s early immigrants reside in the often spectacularly beautiful expressions of faith they built,” Lynn Becker writes for the Sun-Times, expanding on a tweetstorm about the imminent demolition of the Cenacle Sisters Retreat and Conference Center on Fullerton Parkway. “Like our secular historic structures, whether nineteenth century or twentieth, they cannot be cast aside without injury to our collective memory and spirit. A landmark is more than a legalism. It is an enduring marker, a reference point, a reminder of where we came from, and who we are. The twentieth century, and its architectural record, is now two decades in the past. It’s time, before more is lost, to weave it into the continuous fabric of Chicago history.”
DINING & DRINKING
Yanni Sanchez Summer Pop-Up at Takito Kitchen on Division
Renowned Chicago chef Yanitzin (Yanni) Sanchez has a pop-up through the summer at Takito Kitchen. “Known for her ability to elegantly combine the flavors and textures of multiple cultures into a single dish,” Takito Kitchen announces. “Chef Yanni has been a fixture on the Chicago culinary scene for years. Most Chicagoans will remember her from her days as the chef-owner of the now-shuttered Sabor Saveur, the award-winning restaurant that put a French spin on Mexican cuisine.” Among the draws: Crispy Shrimp Tacos with Strawberry Pico de Gallo; Chilean Sea Bass with Rice Flour & Crispy Chicharron Breading, Nori Beurre Blanc Sauce, Little Neck Clams and Lime.
Lobster Prime This Summer
Lobster is more expensive this season due to limited supply, high demand and the reopening of the economy, reports AP via the Sun-Times. “If you’re looking to have a little lobster to celebrate the start of the After Times after getting vaccinated, better be ready to pay extra for the pricey delight this summer… In Maine, where much of the lobster Americans consume comes from, stores charged $17 or $18 a pound in May for live lobster — about twice the price a year ago.” “It’s the strength of food service and trying to gear up for what they think is going to be a strong summer,” John Sackton, an industry analyst and founder of SeafoodNews.com told the wire service. “That’s pushing the price on a lot of these items that can draw traffic and are kind of must-have on a casino menu or something like that.”
Chipotle Prices Rise As Employees Get $15 An Hour
Chipotle plans to raise menu prices across the board by up to four percent as wages rise to an average $15 an hour, reports WGN-TV. CEO Brian R. Niccol: “It made sense in this scenario to invest in our employees and get these restaurants staffed and make sure that we have the pipeline of people to support our growth.” Chipotle is looking to hire an additional 20,000 workers. “Even with the price increases, Chipotle executives argued that the price of their food items remained reasonable,” adds the New York Times. “Excluding higher-priced markets like New York, the price of a chicken burrito remains below $8, Mr. Niccol noted, and that a price increase of three to four percent equates to ‘quarters and dimes that we’re layering in.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
“A Mystery To Me” Takes Brand Film Award
The partners behind “A Mystery to Me,” an original documentary series produced to raise awareness of the rare neuromuscular disease myasthenia gravis (MG), won this year’s Brand Film Award for their project, in the sixth annual program’s Unbranded Healthcare category. The award was presented to global immunology company argenx, along with Sarofsky Pictures, Kartemquin Films, Museum + Crane, full-service digital agency Closerlook, and Syneos Health. The award honors the film as the best creation of awareness of a healthcare issue or disease or condition in regulated markets. “A Mystery to Me” features three stories of individuals living with MG: Vanetta Drummer-Fenton, Teresa Hill Putnam, and Glenn Phillips, and was directed by Ben Strang and produced by Chicago’s Sarofsky Pictures in association with Kartemquin Films and Museum + Crane. A trailer for the series is here. More information here.
R. Kelly Ready To Get This Show On The Road
“R. Kelly confirmed for a judge Wednesday that he wants to move forward with his federal racketeering trial in New York without the Chicago-based attorneys who had been leading his defense,” reports Jon Seidel at the Sun-Times. “U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly did not immediately rule during a status hearing on a request from defense attorneys Steve Greenberg and Mike Leonard to withdraw from the case. However, the judge asked Kelly directly whether he wanted to move forward with two other members of his legal team, Thomas Farinella, of New York, and Nicole Blank Becker, of Michigan. ‘Absolutely, yes ma’am, your honor… I apologize for the confusion. I’m thankful that you’re giving me a chance to say something about it.’ But the judge decided to cut off the conversation, telling lawyers to instead file paperwork.”
Goodman Sets 2021-2022 Dearborn Street Season; Ten Productions Include Four World Premieres
The Goodman Theatre welcomes audiences back, starting July 30. Artistic director Robert Falls and executive director Roche Schulfer announce a ten-play lineup, beginning with Jocelyn Bioh’s “School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play,” director Lili-Anne Brown’s Chicago premiere production that was suspended only days before its March 2020 opening night. Eight plays are part of the Goodman’s 2021-2022 “Homecoming” Season Membership—four world premieres, including a major musical adaptation; a Chicago premiere; two classic revivals and one play to be announced. “A Christmas Carol “returns for its annual production, the forty-fourth. The line-up includes “American Mariachi” by José Cruz González, directed by Henry Godinez; a revival of “Gem of the Ocean” by August Wilson, directed by Chuck Smith; and “Good Night, Oscar” by Doug Wright, directed by Lisa Peterson and starring Sean Hayes as Oscar Levant, the exuberant depressive humorist. The new musical: “The Outsiders,” based on the novel by S.E. Hinton and Francis Ford Coppola’s film, with book by Adam Rapp, music and lyrics by Jamestown Revival (Jonathan Clay and Zach Chance) and Justin Levine, choreography by Lorin Latarro, directed by Liesl Tommy. Among the other attractions: a major new production of “The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci,” adapted and directed by resident director Mary Zimmerman nearly thirty years after its Goodman premiere. Further productions and details are here.
American Players Theatre Announces Fall Season And $10 Million Gift From The Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation
American Players Theatre (APT) in Spring Green, Wisconsin, has announced the plays for its fall season: “Oedipus” by Sophocles, adapted and directed by APT Core Company member David Daniel in the Hill Theatre, and “The Taming of the Shrew” in the Touchstone Theatre, adapted and directed by Shana Cooper, and featuring a cast of five actors playing all of the roles. One more late autumn play will be added. APT announced a gift of $10 million from the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation, the largest in the organization’s forty-one-year history. “It is hard to put into words what this gift means to APT. Just months ago, in the middle of the pandemic, we thought our plans for the future would need to be put on hold, frozen in time,” artistic director Brenda DeVita says in a release. “We worried that our well-considered strategic plan would be delayed indefinitely or, worse, scrapped. This gift will be a game-changer.” APT plans to use the bulk of the gift toward initiatives to further artistic programming. $7 million of the gift will be directed to the endowment held with the APT Foundation. The other $3 million will be used as major capital funding for additional artist housing and renovation to APT’s administrative offices to create more workspace. More information here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Longtime Nomenclature Sticks In Northalsted Neighborhood
“More than six months after the Northalsted Business Alliance said it would abandon the name Boystown for the city’s principal queer enclave, business leaders in the community have made few changes and continue using the moniker that many have called misogynistic and transphobic,” reports Adam M. Rhodes at the Reader. ” The neighborhood’s chamber of commerce, the Northalsted Business Alliance wrote at the time, “To acknowledge and welcome all members of the LGBTQ+ community, the chamber will discontinue using the name Boystown in marketing and revert to the long-standing name Northalsted.” Rhodes writes, “But banners bearing the Boystown name were removed from light poles throughout the neighborhood only days ago. Businesses still use the name in marketing materials, even those seemingly disseminated by the chamber. Some critics also told the Reader that the group has privately encouraged businesses to continue using the purportedly retired moniker.”
Bloomberg News Insists Michigan Avenue Must Be A Chicago Priority
“More than a fifth of retail space on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is vacant after shoppers were driven away by the pandemic and unrest,” advocate Shruti Singh and Jordyn Holman at Bloomberg CityLab. “The reopening city urgently needs them to return. The corridor, one of America’s quintessential big-city shopping experiences, bolsters Chicago’s finances — the zip code where it’s located generated about $150 million from sales taxes in 2019. Last year, that plunged to around $60 million, according to local Alderman Brian Hopkins… The empty storefronts are emblematic of the crisis facing cities around the world as they contend with emptied downtowns and the rise of e-commerce. But the Mag Mile’s decline has been even more dramatic than other downtown slumps — Chicago has emerged more vulnerable than most… ‘The vacancies are a concern,’ said Chicago Alderman Scott Waguespack, who chairs the city council’s finance committee. ‘Those sales taxes pay for our programs. If someone buys stuff, that is funding for our budget.’ Samir Mayekar, Chicago’s deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development, said the corridor is ‘crucially important to the future of the city’ and acknowledged the urgency of reinvigorating it.” Pointing to the article on Twitter, Reader writer Leor Galil commented, “idk, what if we transformed these empty storefronts into community spaces that serve the city of Chicago rather than find another high-end retail chain tourists can visit almost anywhere else in the country?”
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library And Museum Reopens To Public
The library building at the Lincoln Presidential Library reopens June 14. “Our entire staff of ALPLM professionals are excited to move toward normal and welcome guests who want to visit this world-class research facility,” says Director of Library Services Lisa Horsley. “We’ve labored hard to ensure visitor safety and comfort is a priority by continuing to require appointments for all researchers – a system that is efficient and convenient for scholars and enthusiasts alike.” Visitors will rediscover the library’s atrium and find a new room and new exhibit dedicated to presidential candidate Adlai Stevenson II and his history-making family, reports the library. “We are especially proud to showcase the Stevenson Room where visitors can explore one of Illinois’ most influential political families.”
2021 “Leaders For A New Chicago” Named
“Some are organizers, artists, producers, activists and some are part of collective or shared leadership models. Some are executive directors, some are co-founders,” writes the Field Foundation. “Like our 2019 and 2020 cohorts, these ten individuals include a diversity of age and expertise, ethnicity, gender identity, different geographies and income levels. All of them are redefining leadership in Chicago. This award recognizes past accomplishments in the fields of Justice, Art, or Media & Storytelling and promotes and advances a range of leaders whose influence will inform decision making across the city of Chicago. Each leader will receive a $25,000 cash award in recognition of past accomplishments, and their affiliated nonprofit organizations will each receive an additional $25,000 general operating grant.” The 2021 awardees are Tony Alvarado-Rivera, executive director, Chicago Freedom School; Brandon “Chief Manny” Calhoun, co-founder, The Era Footwork Crew; Malik Gillani, co-executive artistic director, Silk Road Rising; Monica Lynne Haslip, founder-executive director, Little Black Pearl; Maira Khwaja, director of public strategy, Invisible Institute; Meida Teresa McNeal, artistic and managing director, Honey Pot Performance; Grace Pai, director of organizing, Asian Americans Advancing Justice, Chicago; Aislinn Pulley, co-executive director, Chicago Torture Justice Center; LaSaia Wade, founder and executive director, Brave Space Alliance; and Damon Williams, co-director, #LetUsBreathe Collective. The Sun-Times adds that the initiative of the Field Foundation and MacArthur Foundation is dedicated to individuals and organizations addressing systemic racism in underserved South and West Side communities. “Launched in 2019, the award — a no-strings-attached $25,000 grant for each winner, plus another $25,000 for their organizations — is a more accessible spin on MacArthur’s lauded ‘genius grants’ awarded annually to nationally known figures boasting lofty achievements.”
Chicago-Based Disability Artists Join Conversation On Community
For the past two years, multidisciplinary artist Perel has presented a talk show throughout Germany featuring interviews with writer Kenny Fries. “Life unworthy of life” is an official designation used by the Nazi regime to decide who would be killed or spared. It was used to justify the killing of disabled people under the Aktion T4 program. Perel changed the construction of this term to create a space for the open discussion of legacies of oppression. Eleven Chicago-based disability artists, scholars, and activists will join Perel and Fries on June 27 to discuss how to move forward as a community. Details here.