The Perfect Urban Order Of The Chicago Grid
“It is right to compare Chicago’s street network to something obsessively exact,” Edward McClelland observes at Chicago magazine. “A recent academic study, “Urban spatial order: street network orientation, configuration, and entropy,’ by Geoff Boeing, looked at the maps of one hundred major world cities, and found that Chicago’s ‘exhibits the closest approximation of a single perfect grid.’ Nowhere else have urban planners been so successful in imposing Euclidean order on natural surroundings. On a scale of 0 to 1, in which 1 is a perfect grid, Chicago scores 0.9… Why are Chicago’s streets such a near-perfect arrangement of 90-degree angles? The reason has to do with both Midwestern practicality and commerce. The values that shaped us as a city also shaped the streets on which we walk and drive.” More history here.
Rediscovered Mies van der Rohe Design Under Construction at IU Bloomington
Indiana University President Michael A. McRobbie welcomed Sidney and Lois Eskenazi, IU alumni and principal donors, and architect Dirk Lohan, grandson of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, to the dedication ceremony for the new facility for the IU Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design on June 17. The building, now under construction, realizes a rediscovered 1952 design created by Mies for the IU Bloomington campus. As adapted for contemporary use by the architectural team of Thomas Phifer and Partners, the Mies Building for the Eskenazi School of Art, Architecture + Design is scheduled to open in fall 2021. Thomas Phifer and Partners is also the architect for IU’s new Ferguson International Center, under construction directly across Jordan Avenue from the Eskenazi School. More history and details here.
Alderman Calls For June 23 Vote On Renaming Lake Shore Drive For DuSable
“Alderman David Moore has filed a notice with the city clerk to say he’ll call for a vote on the proposal to rename Lake Shore Drive to DuSable Drive at council next week,” reports WBEZ’s Mariah Woelfel. “The proposal’s staunch opponent, Alderman Brian Hopkins, who delayed it last time, says he won’t try to do so again. Hopkins says he expects a roll-call vote on the renaming proposal, but that some aldermen are in talks trying to find an alternative before Wednesday. The mayor has a plan that includes renaming the riverwalk after DuSable, but Hopkins says people aren’t excited about that. Moore says he believes he has the twenty-six votes needed to pass the measure, but unsure about the two-thirds majority he’d need to override a mayoral veto. Though Mayor Lori Lightfoot opposes the measure, Moore said he’d be ‘surprised if the she decided to make this her first veto.'” Former Tribune transportation reporter Mary Wisniewski has a take on the Trib op-ed page: “As a student of Chicago history in general and transportation history in particular, I’m neutral on the subject of whether to rename the drive. Lake Shore Drive is certainly descriptive — it’s a drive along the lakeshore. It’s familiar and has its own song. DuSable Drive would be a unique name, and an appropriate way to honor the region’s history, since Black Americans have played such a major part in building Chicago…. The real issue with the drive is more basic: Why do we have a high-speed, eight-lane highway next to the city’s most valuable natural public asset — Lake Michigan and its jeweled string of lakefront parks? Why do we have pedestrians and cyclists in often tight quarters on narrow lakefront paths, when polluting, mostly single-passenger cars take up so much valuable scenic real estate, and occasionally crash through barriers into a park?”
DINING & DRINKING
Gordon Ramsay Opens First @&*!! Chicago Restaurant
Gordon Ramsay Burger will open its third location after London and Las Vegas, taking over the former Wahlburgers space on the northeast corner of Ontario and State in River North in late 2021 or early 2022, with 120 seats and 5,000 square feet of space, reports Louisa Chu at the Trib. “Chicago is such an incredible city for restaurants, and I know Chicagoans love their beef. So it was a no-brainer to bring it to River North,” Ramsay exulted quietly in an email to Chu after turning down a phone or Zoom interview. How do you order your burgers at a restaurant? “At mine? Just as we’ve perfected. Anywhere in America? The way the chef wants it, and medium-rare. I absolutely love a burger after a really productive day.”
Culver’s Franchisee Expands in Chicago
“Chicagoans used to have to head to the suburbs for Culver’s burgers and frozen custard, until a North Lawndale native brought the Wisconsin-based chain to the city’s Bronzeville neighborhood,” three years ago, reports Lauren Zumbach at the Trib. The success at that location led franchise owner Baron Waller to build. “You bring them the service, and they’ll come,” Waller tells Zumbach. “That’s how I felt about Bronzeville, and it’s proven to be true.” “Waller owns seven Culver’s, including one that opened in Chicago’s North Center neighborhood on Memorial Day weekend. Another is under construction in Pullman, on the South Side, and expected to open this fall… He plans to open more restaurants, including in predominantly Black and Hispanic communities that need more jobs. Each location employs fifty to sixty people.”
FireLake Grill House Executive Chef Takes Radisson Blu Internal Prize
FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar executive chef Leonard Ventura took top honors after competing against the other executive chefs from Radisson Blu’s four U. S. restaurants in a “FireLake Face-Off.” His winning dish was presented to each judge with an iron skillet of vegetables charred in bourbon and honey, with a grilled steak and an oversized knife and glass jar with creamy polenta and an invisible rosemary smoke that revealed only when the lid opened. Radisson Blu is promoting a “Revenge Traveler Package,” with a private four-course meal and cooking lesson with each hotel’s executive chef, with fifteen percent of proceeds donated to local food banks.
FILM & TELEVISION
Netflix Shooting $100 Million Noah Baumbach Don DeLillo Adaptation In Ohio
Netflix chose the Cleveland area to shoot “White Noise,” reports Screen, and here’s a good reason why: “According to the Ohio Development Services Agency, this Netflix feature film production was approved for state tax credits valued at an estimated $23.8 million.” The adaptation of Don DeLillo’s National Book Award-winning 1985 novel about the effects of an “airborne toxic event” on a Midwestern academic family’s lives features Greta Gerwig, Adam Driver and Jodie Turner-Smith (“Queen & Slim”).
“The Future of Film is Female” Discussion On Horror Features Jennifer Reeder
Chicago’s Jennifer Reeder (“Knives and Skin”) joined kindred filmmakers Karyn Kusama (“Jennifer’s Body”) and Prano Bailey-Bond (“Censor”) in an installment of a recurring “The Future of Horror is Female” panel form the Future Of Film is Female. Reeder (Newcity Film 50 Hall of Fame) talks about why she loves genre: “It allows for a kind of internal logic. I love being able to play with that internal logic and building a kind of frequency in the film. I know that for me in particular, my films are not for everybody, but if you can get into that frequency, then those people really like it.” The hour-plus video of the conversation is here.
Zorn Takes Buyout; Steinberg Driven To Swearing
Too Much, Too Little, Too Soon, Too Late? Ever Just Right?
Making A Scene Out Of Nothing: Punks In Peoria
“If you’ve even heard of Peoria, it may be due to a century-old vaudeville adage that if a stage show could successfully ‘play’ there, it could play anywhere in the country,” write Dawson Barrett and Jonathan Wright at BandCamp Daily. “The U.S. is full of cities like this: agricultural and industrial hubs of a bygone era, a few years behind the coasts, working feverishly to reinvent themselves with varying degrees of success. Neither ‘cool’ nor hip, their music scenes are rarely celebrated. When punk rock arrived in the 1980s, Peoria was a difficult home for young people who didn’t fit the accepted mold. The city’s earliest punk bands railed angrily against mass consumerism, against the perceived failures of the prior generation’s counterculture, and—performatively, even nihilistically—against humanity in general. Central Illinois’ limitations provided them with consistent lyrical fodder. In 1983, the teenagers in Peoria’s first punk band, Electric Cool-Aid, lamented being surrounded by ‘farm boys’ and roasted their hometown with a line that living there would ‘bore ya.’ Two decades later, folk-punks Scouts Honor depicted life behind ‘cornstalk prison bars,’ while power-pop soloist Adam Widener sang of following the lead of Richard Pryor, another homegrown Peoria misfit, by leaving town for greener cultural pastures. This feeling was commonplace.” More wide-ranging history and talent census here.
Muti Returns To CSO; Partial Season Set
“The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association announced part of the orchestra’s upcoming 2021-22 season in Orchestra Hall at Symphony Center,” reports Doug George at the Trib, “as well as the news that Riccardo Muti would be returning to Chicago for a three-week residency,” from September 23 to October 9, his twelfth season as CSO music director. “I am delighted to rejoin my Chicago Symphony Orchestra family once again to share the sound of this great Orchestra with audiences in Chicago,” Muti said in the announcement. “As it has for many years, the spiritual food of culture will bring us together, but this time with a special poignancy after being so long apart.” Full CSO programming will be announced July 13. More here.
Black Ensemble Theater Receives $5 Million MacKenzie Scott Gift
“In MacKenzie Scott’s announcements of the grants that she awarded, it was said that the purpose of her gifts was to enable the work of the organizations. She also stated that it was ‘a signal of trust and encouragement, to them and to others.’ This statement gave me great pride in knowing that our work to eradicate racism and its devastating effects was being recognized, supported, and respected in such a significant way,” says Black Ensemble Theater founder, executive director and CEO Jackie Taylor in a release. “MacKenzie went on to ask a very important question: ‘Would these organizations still benefit from more (more advocates, more money, more volunteers)? Yes.’ That YES was music to my ears. I think it is vitally important that funders, philanthropists, and others understand that the impact we make at Black Ensemble Theater is directly tied to their continued support.” Ongoing fundraising, Taylor says, “are necessary to sustain programming, systems, structures and staff. The gift will assist us in our recovery… We are in our second year of having no earned income. It is going to take at least another two years for full and complete recovery. This gift will indeed help us through that recovery process.”