“Chicago Avant-Garde” Showcases Five Women Who Pushed Boundaries
The Newberry Library’s “Chicago Avant-Garde” exhibit, opening September 10, spotlights Chicago for historic, boundary-pushing experimentation in art, literature and dance. The exhibition takes a look at five women whose lives and careers embodied a Chicago style of avant-garde creativity in the 1930s, forties, and fifties: artist Gertrude Abercrombie, poet Gwendolyn Brooks, dancers Katherine Dunham and Ruth Page and curator Katharine Kuh. More here.
Quilt Exhibition To Commemorate Twentieth Anniversary Of 9/11
In commemoration of the twentieth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks, the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky, will display an exclusive exhibition of quilts from the 9/11 Memorial & Museum in New York. The quilts were created to help people all over the world mourn the tragedies and losses that occurred in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania. More here.
A New City Agency Could Save Chicago’s Four Million Trees, Maybe
“In June, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to create the Urban Forestry Advisory Board — an unfunded agency tasked with coordinating efforts between the numerous departments that deal with trees on a daily basis,” reports Mariah Woelfel at WBEZ. “It won’t have a budget, but advocates say it’s a major step for the future of Chicago’s tree canopy. ‘We cannot do this by ourselves,’ said Daniella Pereira, vice-president of Community Conservation at Openlands. ‘This really needs to entail a group of people thinking about policy, especially in light of climate change. I think everyone is stretched so thin, that if it is not mandated, it’s not going to happen.’ Dugan and Pereira, along with the Chicago Region Trees Initiative, the Morton Arboretum and others, for years have been pushing leaders to create a city-wide department to oversee the city’s green canopy — a small, and shrinking ecosystem compared to other major U.S. cities. And advocates say they have some major, but for now manageable, hurdles ahead of them.”
DINING & DRINKING
Michelin-Starred Elske Shutters Again
Staffing is the key cause of a second hibernation for Elske, reports Eater Chicago. “‘Due to staffing shortages, we are unable to execute Elske at the level of service and hospitality we strive to uphold,’ an announcement that went out Sunday afternoon via a newsletter reads. ‘We will take some time to renew the restaurant, focusing on how to become more sustainable and successful in this new chapter of the service industry,’ the announcement also reads. Anna and David Posey’s Elske was among the first restaurants in Chicago to go into hibernation through the winter.”
L.A.’s Dave’s Hot Chicken Comes To Chicago
The first of a planned sixteen Chicago-area locations for Dave’s Hot Chicken opens in Naperville this Friday. “Dave’s Hot Chicken, the scrappy late-night pop-up turned hot chicken sensation” will open at 2736 Showplace Drive in Naperville on July 30. “The fast-casual concept specializes in Hot Chicken Tenders and Sliders, along with sides of house-made Kale Slaw, creamy Mac n’ Cheese and crispy French Fries,” the company reports in a release. “Offered at seven spice levels ranging from No Spice to Reaper (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare), each piece of juicy, hand-breaded chicken utilizes a proprietary spice blend crafted specifically for its heat level. The brand began a few years ago as a parking lot pop-up and drew lines around the block, with rave reviews by its fanatic Instagram followers.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Midwest Film Festival’s Only Summer Drive-In Event Is Wednesday Night
The Midwest Film Festival presents their “Summer Bash at the Drive-In” on Wednesday, July 28. “We’re taking over Chi-Town Movies to bring you a great line-up of comedy shorts and some groovin’ tunes provided by DJ CA$H ERA,” MFF reports. “Roll up early with your crew to visit our sponsor and vendor tables while networking with filmmakers and industry creatives.” Tickets here.
Showtime Donates $500,000 To Greencorps Chicago and Chicago Public Art Group
Funding of half-a-million dollars will support and invest in Chicago’s South and West Sides, which have provided key locations for the Showtime’s series “The Chi,” reports the Sun-Times. “The grant funding will help support programs and community clean-up and beautification of thirty-two empty lots on the city’s South and West sides where the Lena Waithe-created series has been filming for four seasons.”
Identity Of “Chicago Party Aunt” Twitter Account Revealed As Netflix Animated Series Announced
The person behind Twitter account “Chicago Party Aunt” is no longer a secret. The creator of such bon mots as “‘If life gives you lemons, turn that shit into Mike’s Hard Lemonade” is thirty-eight-year-old Chris Witaske, a Los Angeles-based actor. A sixteen-episode animated series debuts September 17. Netflix describes Diane Dunbrowski, the Chicago Party Aunt, as having “always been and always will be the life of the party, even when the party has long since been over. Her complete lack of adulting is perfectly balanced by her heart of gold and desire to help others. A die-hard Chicago sports fan and general fan of Italian beef to be washed down with plenty of Malört and beer, Diane would do anything for her city and continues to live every day like it’s a 1980s Styx tour bus.” Lauren Ash will voice CPA; other performers include RuPaul Charles, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ike Barinholtz, Jon Barinholtz, Katie Rich and Witaske.
Andrea Hanis New Editor of Chicago Daily Law Bulletin
Law Bulletin Media has named longtime Chicago journalist Andrea Hanis as its top editor. In a release, president and publisher Peter Mierzwa says that Hanis will be responsible for leading the newsroom’s digital expansion. “The Chicago Daily Law Bulletin is evolving and expanding to deliver news and analysis tailored to meet the growing needs of legal professionals and we are excited to have found an exceptional talent in Andrea Hanis to lead our newsroom and help us reach these goals,” Mierzwa says. Hanis has worked in the newsrooms of the Tribune, Crain’s and the Sun-Times. At the Tribune, she was editor of Blue Sky Innovation, which covered technology, entrepreneurship and innovation through business news, features, service journalism and live events. Hanis was most recently an editorial writer at the Tribune and was previously an editor on the Tribune Business section.
Lightfoot Retains Full Confidence In Safety Of Lollapalooza
“Lightfoot and Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Department of Public Health, announced the festival’s return after its cancellation in 2020, officials said attendees who are not fully vaccinated would have to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours of arriving at the event,” reports Heather Cherone at WTTW. “However, entry protocols outlined on the event website require a negative test within seventy-two hours — a period three times as long as originally announced that expands the time a music fan could contract the virus after taking the test and before attending the show, where revelers are packed together. Lightfoot added to that confusion Monday by telling reporters the test had to be taken within forty-eight hours of entry. Although Lightfoot acknowledged that she might have been mistaken, representatives of the Chicago Department of Public Health did not respond to questions from WTTW News seeking to clarify the issue. ‘It’s outdoors,’ Lightfoot said. ‘We’ve been having large-scale events all over the city since June without major problems or issues. The Lolla team has been phenomenal.'” Gregory Pratt of the Trib tweeted Tuesday afternoon that he hopes “Dr. Arwady will clarify why the city lowered the standard from 24 hours for negative tests from unvaccinated people to attend Lolla to 72 hours. The mayor’s office and CDPH have not addressed the question.” Later, Pratt added, “Arwady finally acknowledged they had a stricter standard at first but says 72 hours is the standard across the country.” Jim DeRogatis offered in reply: “Among other questions, like how security will assure valid proof of vaccination and what requirements were made of all workers and off-duty police hired for the event.” Local Twitter curmudgeon Mister Jay Em added, most curmudgeonly: “My fear is that lollapalooza will create a huge covid spike and then Lightfoot will respond by shutting down local bars and clubs. A second shutdown would kill local music venues, leaving the city wide open for lollapalooza‘s owners to swoop in.” Writes Block Club Chicago: “Lollapalooza will ‘almost certainly’ be associated with some people getting coronavirus, Chicago’s top doctor said as fears mount the massive music festival could turn into a super-spreader event. But health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said she is ‘hopeful’ the festival won’t turn into a major problem, as the event’s organizers have taken safety ‘extremely seriously.’ ‘Almost certainly there will be some cases’ of COVID associated with Lollapalooza, Arwady said at a news conference. ‘I’m certainly hopeful that we won’t see a significant problem. And I certainly know we’re being a lot more responsible than many other settings that are just as large that are gathering around the country.’”
Back Alley Jazz Pops Up In Ten South Shore Locations August 7
Back Alley Jazz starts at noon on August 7, in ten locations throughout the South Shore neighborhood as pop-up concerts in residential yards and lots. “Inspired by the original jazz alley jams that took place on the South Side of Chicago in the 1960s and 1970s, Back Alley Jazz is a contemporary neighborhood happening that celebrates Chicago’s history and continuum of culture and art in communities” the event writes. The event includes performances by Chicago musicians including Maggie Brown, Ayodele Drum & Dance, Lenard Simpson, Alexis Lombre and Thaddeus Tukes, with focus on South Shore artists like Audley Reid, Samantha Gloria and Rashada Dawan. Full line-up and locations here.
Recorded Version Of Lyric Opera of Chicago’s “Twilight: Gods” Will Stream For Free
Lyric Opera of Chicago announced registration for a free link to screen a recorded version of the sold-out presentation of “Twilight: Gods,” a reimagining of Wagner’s “Götterdämmerung,” directed by Yuval Sharon, that took place at Millennium Lakeside Parking Garage in late April 2021. Audiences can secure a link for a free, on-demand viewing for screenings that begin on July 29. The film will be available to watch until October 29. Reservations here.
Chicago Shakespeare Announces Season, Starting With “As You Like It”
Chicago Shakespeare Theater announces the return of in-person performances at the Theater’s home on Navy Pier with the debut of “As You Like It,” filled with hit songs by The Beatles, beginning October 6. The line-up for the 2021-22 season also includes Academy Award-nominee David Strathairn in “Remember This: The Lesson of Jan Karski”; the Broadway-bound world premiere musical, “The Notebook,” from Ingrid Michaelson and Bekah Brunstetter; Shakespeare’s “All’s Well That Ends Well,” staged by Shana Cooper; and a new take on “The Tempest” by director Sheldon Epps. “We’re overcome with joy to be producing live theater again and sharing powerful artistic experiences with our audiences back where they belong at Chicago Shakespeare,” artistic director Barbara Gaines says in a release. “There’s never been a more important moment for all of us to come together—to gather with one another, to share music and laughter—and to bring back the magic we’ve missed over these many months apart.” More on the season here.
Winifred Haun & Dancers Set Season
Winifred Haun & Dancers will return to in-person events and live programming for the upcoming season, presented at the Pritzker Pavilion, Ruth Page Center for the Arts and Unity Temple. The first event will be the premiere of a new group work on October 1-2 at the Ruth Page Center for the Arts. The work, “When day comes,” is choreographed by Winifred Haun, and features original sound design. Other dances on the program will include: “Your nearest exit may be behind you,” “Bento” and “Finding the Light.” Banks Performance Project will show a work on the program as well. The evening will include a master class and a post-performance VIP event. More here.
Opera Festival Launches In Chicago
“Even in the best of times,” reports Hannah Edgar for the Trib, “it’s hard enough for a new opera company to get off the ground, much less one with a single-minded focus on Italian works rarely heard Stateside” like The Opera Festival of Chicago. “But festival president Franco Pomponi is adamant that the nascent company fills a void for audiences and artists. A Chicago native and longtime presence on the major stages of Europe, Pomponi says he often finds himself in a Catch-22 between his bel canto training and American companies’ usual warhorses.” Edgar’s report includes information on the festival’s “pedagogical” intent: “Young artists serve as apprentices at every level of production, from casting to direction… The creative team maintains that this year’s model — in which apprentices work as peers alongside laureled professionals — will remain a hallmark of the festival as it grows. They’re even hoping to scoot forward future iterations so they can better complement the academic calendar.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Donnelley Foundation Announces “Broadening Narratives” Grant Recipients
The Chicago-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation—which supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and the Lowcountry of South Carolina—announced ten recipients of the Foundation’s “Broadening Narratives” initiative, which aims to fund specific collections and projects that bring forward underrepresented stories. The five Chicago-based organizations, receiving between $20,000 and $100,000 to fund new projects are: Haitian American Museum of Chicago – hiring of a collections specialist to assess catalogue; Honey Pot Performance – creation of public archive exploring Black social history in Chicago; National Museum of Mexican Art – enhancement of permanent collection highlighting contributions of Mexicans to Chicago; South Side Home Movie Project – creation of exhibitions that provide visual history of Chicago’s South Side; and University of Illinois Chicago, College of Nursing – project to centralize Black nurses’ narratives. This announcement represents the first round of organizations to receive the “Broadening Narratives” grant, with the second round of awardees to be announced in November 2021. All projects illustrate BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences, as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints. More here.
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