Aspect/Ratio Projects Announces Representation Of Edra Soto
Aspect/Ratio Projects has announced representation of Edra Soto [2016 Newcity Art 50 Artist of the Moment]. Based in Chicago, Soto is a Puerto Rican-born interdisciplinary artist and co-director of the outdoor project space The Franklin. Soto completed the public art commission, “Screenhouse,” on view at Millennium Park until spring 2023. Soto was awarded the Efroymson Contemporary Arts Fellowship, the Illinois Arts Council Agency Fellowship, the inaugural Foundwork Artist Prize and the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters & Sculptors Grant. Between 2019-2020 Soto exhibited and traveled to Brazil, Puerto Rico and Cuba as part of the MacArthur Foundation’s International Connections Fund. More here.
Database Highlights Over A Hundred Women Who Built Illinois
Landmarks Illinois has published an online database, Women Who Built Illinois, which includes information on over a hundred female architects, engineers, developers, designers, builders, landscape architects, interior designers and clients and their projects between 1879 and 1979. The first-of-its-kind database is the result of an in-depth survey of women in architecture, real estate and design-related fields that Landmarks Illinois publicly launched in 2020—a year that marked the hundredth anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment. The database calls attention to the women who helped to create places that are cherished by communities and property owners across Illinois, yet remain unprotected without local landmark status, or lack National Register designation that would provide opportunities for important financial preservation incentives. “This new database recognizes those who laid the path for women today and who continue to impact the built environment of Illinois and Chicago,” Lisa DiChiera, Landmarks Illinois director of advocacy, who spearheaded the project, says in a release. “We hope students and professionals in architecture, planning and public history will be inspired to study these women, their careers and built works.” The database is here.
DINING & DRINKING
Tamale Guy Relocates Production To Bangers & Lace
“Claudio Velez has a new home,” reports Eater Chicago, “closer to his customer base in Wicker Park.” The Authentic Tamale Guy will operate out of the kitchen of Bangers & Lace on Division Street. Velez had moved operations to the Randolph Restaurant Row last month. “The collaboration with Lone Wolf represented a comeback after a broken partnership led to the closure of a Ukrainian Village restaurant… This time, Velez’s departure is amicable… For more than twenty years, Velez has stopped at taverns around Wicker Park, Bucktown and West Town, selling his tamales to customers at dive bars in those neighborhoods. Moving from West Loop to Wicker Park makes things easier for Velez and his family. Velez hopes to remain at Bangers & Lace… as he saves money to eventually open his own restaurant.”
Dinner At A Wisconsin Supper Club Lightens Writer’s Heart
At Salon, for her first indoor meal in more than fifteen months, writer Maggie Hennessy visits Wilmot Stage Stop, a 173-year-old supper club inside an inn in western Kenosha County. “Going out to eat is a luxury. You pay two or three times for the same wine you’d buy at a shop and drink at home. Sometimes you over-order and waste food,” she writes. “And ever since the pandemic, this luxury now involves a much more tangible calculated risk for all involved… Two weeks to the day after my second Pfizer shot, I dressed up and walked to Webster’s Wine Bar, one of Chicago’s oldest wine bars and my favorite in the city, for al fresco dinner by myself. The CDC had just declared that fully vaccinated individuals no longer had to wear a mask inside… I sat at a corner table overlooking Logan Square plaza and fell a little in love with everyone walking by in their summery outfits. I cried when I hugged Catie, the server, artist and DJ I’ve known for years, who waited on me. I ordered oysters and crunchy fried Japanese eggplant that burned my mouth, and I drank probably four glasses of wine — each of which was described to me with luscious verbiage like ‘savory and juicy’ and ‘crisp and salty.'” More lucid musing on the restaurant experience here.
FILM & TELEVISION
CHF Celebrates Filmmaking On The South Side
Chicago Humanities Festival’s celebration of Filmmaking on the South Side is Saturday, August 21 at the Gary Comer Youth Center. The event will feature a conversation about community-based film resources on the South Side and how Chicago’s film scene is evolving to support local women and nonbinary Black and brown artists. There will also be a screening of short works, including an episode of “Spinning Home Movies” by Rae Chardonnay, “Save Our School” and “Change the Name.” The panel includes Michelle Kennedy, founder, co-producer and executive director of the Chicago South Side Film Festival; Yvonne Welbon, award-winning filmmaker and founder and CEO of Chicago-based nonprofit Sisters in Cinema; Justin D. Williams, a project manager and archivist who is a steward of culture and memory and a facilitator of multimedia projects that study personal and communal narratives in order to preserve and elevate their importance in our society; and Margaret Caples, executive director of the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Details here. The event is from 7pm-9:30pm; register here.
What Do The Obamas Hope To Achieve With Their Media Empire?
Fast Company casts a skeptical glance. The Obamas’ Higher Ground has grown “from what might have initially been written off as a vanity production shingle—Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos was a big supporter of the Obamas, and his wife served as Ambassador to the Bahamas from 2009 to 2011—into [an] active content creation hub… Although most Hollywood producers follow their taste for material or work within a defined genre, there are a few who have sought to create a niche out of developing socially redeeming material… What change does the President-turned-mogul—and his ascendant mega-influencer spouse—want to achieve with this torrent of projects? Does the Obamas’ output add up to more than just extra tiles on the Netflix homepage?” More here.
Englewood Launches First Annual Music Festival
Community leaders kick off the first Englewood Music Fest on September 18 at 63rd and Halsted, reports Block Club Chicago, offering live performances, vendors, art and entertainment. “A virtual option will be available for neighbors who want to watch from home. ‘We want to celebrate the excellence of Englewood,’ said Ald. Stephanie Coleman, whose office is sponsoring the event. ‘We are exemplifying Englewood excellence. We are celebrating the past, present and future of our neighborhood.'” RSVP here.
First Witnesses Testify In R. Kelly New York Trial
“Indicted R&B star R. Kelly’s long-awaited racketeering trial may be proceeding 800 miles from his hometown,” reports the Trib, but opening testimony “as well as opening statements by both sides earlier in the day, placed many of the events alleged in the indictment squarely in Chicago, where Kelly got his start busking at the El stations three decades ago. In outlining their evidence for the jury… prosecutors described the hotel in suburban Rosemont where Kelly married underage Aaliyah in the 1990s, the old Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s in River North where he allegedly tried to pick up a teenager, and the studio on Chicago’s West Side that was the site of many of his alleged abuses.” In her opening statement, Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said “the trial against Kelly was about a predator who used his fame to entice girls, boys and young women before dominating and controlling them physically, sexually and psychologically. ‘This case is not about a celebrity who likes to party a lot,’ Melendez told the jury of seven men and five women… ‘This case is about a predator.'” Reports WGN-TV: Maria Cruz Melendez “said he distributed backstage passes to entice children and women to join him, sometimes at his home or studio, where he then ‘dominated and controlled them physically, sexually and psychologically.’ The prosecutor said Kelly would often record sex acts with minors as he controlled a racketeering enterprise of individuals who were loyal and devoted to him, eager to ‘fulfill each and every one of the defendant’s wishes and demands.'” The Daily Beast has the scurrilous details.
Will Streamed Theater Be Allowed To Linger?
“Theater is not beating a full retreat to the Before Days,” Elisabeth Vincentelli reports at the New York Times. “And those who believe that streaming increased geographic and economic access to an art form often seen as exclusive and remote vociferously contend that it shouldn’t. Spirited arguments have erupted over the relationship between theater and screens—down to an ongoing debate about what to call the new hybrid forms, if not theater… Digital theater’s greatest asset remains access — the one word which came up in every conversation on the subject… ‘Historically there are building-based companies that exclude audiences, and digital theater is a space where many are finding more hospitable and affordable ways of interacting with art,’ the playwright Caridad Svich, who has embraced new technologies, wrote… Expanded access also applies to theatermakers, for whom online can mean lower overheads. Ultimately, whether online theater endures ultimately depends on the X factor: creativity.”
Lyric Opera Film Production Of “Pagliacci” Free To Stream
Registration is open for a free link for Lyric Opera of Chicago’s new, original film production of Leoncavallo’s “Pagliacci,” filmed at the Lyric Opera House. The production was directed by Peter McClintock, with film direction by Matt Hoffman was conducted by Lyric’s music director Enrique Mazzola, and features members of the Lyric Opera orchestra and chorus. Lyric’s film is inspired by classics from the first Golden Age of television. During the show-within-the-show, the film’s aspect ratio is adjusted and images become black-and-white, evocative of shows like “The Honeymooners.” The cast includes tenor Russell Thomas (Canio), soprano Ailyn Pérez (Nedda), baritone Quinn Kelsey (Tonio), baritone Lucas Meachem (Silvio), and tenor Eric Ferring (Beppe). Scenic design is by Maria DeFabo Akin and Scott Wolfson with lighting design by Chris Maravich and costume design by Scott Marr. Link here.
ARTS & CULTURE
City Presents Blue Angels Ripping Across Lakefront
Along the lakefront between Oak Street and Fullerton Avenue on August 21 and 22, noon-1pm, the U. S. Navy Blue Angels will bring the martial roar to Chicago skies, in place of the Chicago Air and Water Show. Details here.
Details On The Mask Mandate, Effective Today
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