Abstract Artist Louise Fishman Passes On Eve Of Retrospective
Just a few weeks before the opening of a rare gallery show at the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, painter Louise Fishman has passed at the age of eighty-two. The large retrospective of rarely shown work by Fishman opens Thursday, August 26, focused on her drawing practice. The gallery had planned an artist talk as its opening event, but Fishman passed away on July 26. The Krannert’s curator of Modern and Contemporary art, Amy L. Powell, curator of “A Question of Emphasis” who is close with the artist and her wife, Ingrid Nyeboe, wrote a remembrance in the form of a statement of her import as a feminist, Jewish, lesbian artist whose work affected the path of abstract art. “Fishman was a process-driven painter whose canvases often matched the reach of her arms, showing evidence of scrapers, trowels, and other materials that she applied to add texture or transfer wet paint away from the surface,” writes Powell. “Fishman’s devotion to such physical ways of working and her many references to literature, music, and queer life were inseparable from her efforts to transcend society’s restrictions on her various identities: Jewish, lesbian, feminist. Her work and life provide a model for an affirming practice and for making kinship among those one loves.” The full remembrance is here.
Supreme Court Denies Protect Our Parks; Amy Coney Barrett Won’t Stop Obama Center Construction
U.S. Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett rejected an emergency appeal to stop construction of the Obama Presidential Center that began this week, reports Crain’s. Protect Our Parks went all the way to the top with its hope to stop the $830 million (and cost climbing) Obama Center, reports Block Club Chicago. The effects on Jackson Park are just part of the suit. “Protect Our Parks has asked the United States’ highest court to halt the construction of the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park, after two lower courts declined to do so. The nonprofit’s attorneys petitioned the Supreme Court to stop the center’s construction… The motion was submitted to Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. As a federal appellate judge, Barrett rejected some of Protect Our Parks’ claims in a separate lawsuit last year before sending that case back to a lower court. Protect Our Parks sued the city, the Obama Foundation and federal officials in April, saying reviews of site plans did not follow regulations.”
Pullman National Monument Visitor Center and State Historic Site Opens On Labor Day
“The National Park Service and Illinois Department of Natural Resources invite the public to celebrate the Grand Opening of Pullman National Monument Visitor Center and State Historic Site grounds on Labor Day weekend, September 4 and 5,” cites the Chicago Defender. “‘The weekend will feature tours of the visitor center and historic Hotel Florence, interpretive programming, and a host of events and activities organized by partners throughout the Pullman Historic District. We are thrilled to celebrate with our partners and visitors the grand opening of the visitor center, which was restored and renovated in part through the generosity of the National Park Foundation and its donors,” Pullman National Monument superintendent Teri Gage says in a release. “As a partnership park, Pullman National Monument benefits from the thriving urban community we call home, including the many partners whose efforts over decades have made it possible to preserve and share this special place in Chicago and American history.”
Epworth United Methodist, Landmark Of Over 130 Years, Up For Sale
A historic Edgewater church that also is the site of a rare men’s homeless shelter is up for sale, reports Mark Brown at the Sun-Times. “Epworth United Methodist Church has been a neighborhood landmark for more than 130 years, its distinctive boulder walls dating to when the newly developing Edgewater community was annexed into Chicago… A once-thriving congregation that could fill a sanctuary built for 600 people now numbers only thirty-to-thirty-five members. And the surviving worshipers can’t afford the upkeep on the aging 22,500-square-foot structure.” Brown sees it as an increasingly common story in the city. “It’s a problem that crosses neighborhoods and denominations, as city dwellers turn away from organized religion, leaving church buildings underutilized and without resources for repairs… [O]ne of the church’s most important roles has been to provide space for a homeless shelter with beds for up to sixty-seven men who sleep in the building’s second-floor gymnasium. The shelter, operated since 2009 by Cornerstone Community Outreach, is one of the last homeless shelters for men on the North Side and the only one in Edgewater.”
NeoCon 2021 Says: Design Anew
NeoCon, the world’s leading platform for commercial interior design, returns October 4-6 at theMART, reuniting the industry to share ideas, products, knowledge and inspiration necessary to “Design Anew.” “Spanning eight floors and nearly a million square feet of exhibition space, NeoCon 2021 will showcase game-changing products and services from nearly 500 leading companies and emerging talent across a spectrum of use: Workplace, Healthcare, Hospitality, Retail, Residential, Education, Public Space and Government, Events and Programming. The NeoCon 2021 experience will include daily keynotes presented onsite live as well as streamed to all registrants, a new virtual CEU programming series, an onsite Best of NeoCon Awards event, unique installations including a Danish design exhibit and the Metropolis Sustainability Lab, and the new River Park, presented by Haworth. NeoCon registrants will also be automatically registered for the ‘NeoCon Hub,’ which will provide an online connection to NeoCon 2021 with virtual access to exhibitors, floor plans, CEUs, keynote livestreams and in-platform networking with the NeoCon community.” Register here.
DINING & DRINKING
Chicago Declared Meaty Birria Hot Spot
Trib food critic Nick Kindelsperger declares Chicago in a meaty moment: “Halfway through a bowl of birria at the recently opened La Birrieria, Tribune food critic Nick Kindelsperger experienced a meat-induced realization. It’s happening, he thought. Chicago is turning into a birria hot spot. Sitting in front of him was a small bowl of birria brimming with fat chunks of goat, braised until tender, yet still juicy. Some pieces came with spindly rib bones still attached, which somehow made the meat even more luscious.”
Takin’ On The Ritz: Mondelez Strikes Test Conglomerate At Critical Moment
Union workers at Mondelez’s Chicago bakery and Addison distribution join the nationwide strike against the makers of snack food like Chips Ahoy!, Oreos and Ritz crackers, the Tribune reports. The workers “went on strike this week to protest company demands for concessions in contract negotiations. The strike at Mondelez’s bakery in the Marquette Park neighborhood, where about 500 employees produce Nabisco cookies and crackers such as Wheat Thins and Nutter Butters, [follows] similar strikes by Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union employees in Oregon, Virginia and Colorado.” Reports AP: “Hundreds of workers at a Mondelez International bakery in Virginia are on strike, seeking to block the company’s demands for concessions in contract negotiations and end what the union calls the outsourcing of jobs to Mexico….Mondelez, one of the world’s largest snack companies, and the union have been negotiating a new four-year contract since the old one expired at the end of May… The plant continued to make cookies and crackers despite the strike as salaried employees and plant leadership ensure that the company continues to supply customers, Mondelez spokesperson Laurie Guzzinati said. Adds Food & Wine, “One major point of contention is reportedly Mondelez’s plan to remove overtime and weekend pay and instead opt for a forty-hour week that could result in longer shifts without any premium compensation. ‘We’re not on strike to secure huge gains. We’re on strike to keep what we’ve already got. The job they want to give us wouldn’t even be worth fighting for.'”
Evanston’s Double Clutch Brewing Company Showcasing German Beers, Smoked Meats, Vintage Cars
“A suburban brewpub three years in the making [will] debut in October with an assortment of German-style beers and a display of rare and vintage cars,” Eater Chicago reports. “Double Clutch Brewing Company — an expansive bar, restaurant, and event space with a stage for live music — is aiming for a fall opening at 2121 Ashland Avenue in Evanston. ‘It’s been a long haul,’ says general manager Steve Milford, [who] worked toward this opening since 2016. ‘We’re very fortunate and have worked hard to keep it going.'”
Sandbox Beach Cafe Reopens After Sidelining By Pandemic And Erosion
Sandbox Beach Cafe was closed all of 2020 and much of 2021 because of the pandemic and Lake Michigan erosion, which tore up that stretch of the beach, reports Block Club Chicago, but it’s back now on the lakefront near Fullerton.
FILM & TELEVISION
Black Harvest Deadline Extended
The submission deadline for the November edition of Black Harvest Film Festival at the Siskel Film Center has been extended until Friday, August 27. Submission requirements are listed here.
“My Little Renaissance Girl,” Feature With A Ninety-Percent Female-Led Team, Shot In Chicago
Reel Chicago reports on “My Little Renaissance Girl,” a comedy feature from Amy Heller that will shoot in Chicago with Full Spectrum Features as fiscal sponsors.
Larry Ruehl, 71, Longtime Photographer And Photo Editor At Daily Southtown
“As a photojournalist, Larry couldn’t—and wouldn’t—be beat,” former Tribune reporter Richard Wronski said of the longtime photographer and photo editor at the Daily Southtown. The Trib reports on the passing of photographer Larry Ruehl: “He captured the moment better than anyone, and this was when photographers actually loaded 35mm film and before cameras had the digital features we now take for granted.”
Chicago Journalist William Recktenwald Was 79; Led The Legendary Chicago Sun-Times Mirage Project
The obituary published by Vickery Funeral Chapels for legendary journalist and committed mentor William Recktenwald is overwhelming: “William Ames Recktenwald, 79, of Karbers Ridge, Illinois and formerly of Chicago passed away peacefully following a brief illness. ‘Reck’ had been the senior lecturer in journalism at Southern Illinois University Carbondale for more than two decades before his retirement in 2021. Prior to that, from 1978 to 1999, he had a storied career as an investigative reporter and deputy bureau chief at the Chicago Tribune, winning acclaim for work that often saw him going undercover in daring journalistic stings that exposed graft, corruption and malfeasance in the city.” Recktenwald was part of two Pulitzer-winning teams. “In 1962, he went to work as an investigator for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. Just twenty-one, he proved useful as an undercover agent, posing in taverns and bars to gain information that led to warrants and arrests related to illegal gambling. He served six years with the National Guard as a military policeman during events that included the riots following the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. and the 1968 Democratic National Convention… In 1967, be began a long tenure with the Better Government Association, providing investigative support to journalists. Reck stayed with the BGA for nearly a dozen years, investigating allegations of voter fraud in Chicago [and] the city’s shady building inspectors…. He continued to go undercover, including once as an ambulance attendant. He eventually became the BGA’s chief investigator… In 1976, Reck partnered with Chicago Sun-Times reporters Pam Zekman, Zay Smith and others for one of the most sensational journalistic stings in the city’s history. Reck and Zekman posed as husband-and-wife to purchase a run-down tavern on Chicago’s North Side. Their new corner watering hole, slyly named ‘The Mirage,’ opened and operated for about four months, with Reck himself often working the bar and slinging cold brews as bartender. But using hidden cameras and microphones, the team captured abundant evidence of bribes, shakedowns, kickbacks and corruption proposed by public officials and building inspectors, revealing a network of payoffs and schemes baked into the city’s bureaucracy.” In the wake of the Mirage, he began a new career at the Tribune, as an actual reporter — “a fact that astounded him, given that he had little advanced education, had been diagnosed as dyslexic, and typed with only one finger despite the clear presence of nine others. Bill challenged himself and worked to develop his writing skills, and he also took on increasingly bold undercover work. Following a 1978 prison riot at the Pontiac Correctional Center, Jones convinced Reck to apply for a job at the prison and go undercover as a guard to suss out the conditions that led to the riot. Bill got the job, much to his surprise and growing apprehension, and began work on his first night as a corrections officer in the prison’s violent segregation unit. The danger was clear, and Reck admittedly grew more concerned — so much so that he even began sending his notes each night to Jones and the Tribune’s city editor, Bernie Judge, just in case something were to happen to him.” Much, much more vital history of a full life and twentieth-century Chicago journalism here.
Nexstar Buys The Hill For $130 Million
The New York Times emphasizes the right-leaning work of both online volume-aggregation firehose The Hill and Nexstar, the country’s largest owner of local television stations, in its report on the $130 million buy of the site. “Nexstar, the largest operator of local TV stations in the country, said in a news release that the deal would expand its digital reach and coverage of political news,” writes media reporter Ben Smith. Nexstar, based in Irving, Texas, became the country’s largest local TV operator when it acquired Tribune Media in 2018 in a $4.1 billion deal, gaining forty-two television stations and a cable network. It now has 199 stations across the United States, including NewsNation, a cable outlet based in Chicago… previously named WGN America. The deal also unites two companies that have sought, with mixed results, to present themselves as neutral arbiters in a partisan moment… Nexstar executives said they saw ‘tremendous synergies’ between The Hill, which has more than a hundred journalists, and NewsNation, as well as its local TV news stations.” Smith writes that the Hill “is best known for fast aggregation and a steady stream of links from The Drudge Report… During the 2020 presidential campaign, a columnist for the publication, John Solomon, played a central role in Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to link Joseph R. Biden to corruption in Ukraine, prompting an internal investigation.”
Jennifer Lyons New President And GM Of CBS 2
“Jennifer Lyons, who’s been one of Chicago’s most honored and respected broadcast news executives for more than two decades,” reports Rob Feder, has been named president and general manager of CBS-owned WBBM-Channel 2… Lyons, 53, replaces Derek Dalton, who was fired last month in the wake of an external investigation into allegations of misconduct among top management at CBS-owned stations.”
Dispatches From The New York Trial Of R. Kelly
“A former tour manager for R. Kelly testified under a grant of immunity Friday that he bribed an official at a Chicago public aid office in 1994 to get a phony ID for 15-year-old Aaliyah Houghton so the budding superstar could marry Kelly.” Megan Crepeau and Jason Meisner are on the R. Kelly trial beat for the Trib: “I went to the welfare office, I went in, and [said] like, ‘Hey, want to make some money?’ ” Demetrius Smith testified in a federal courtroom in Brooklyn, dropping his voice to a theatrical whisper. Smith told the jury that Kelly flew back to Chicago in the middle of a tour because he found out Aaliyah thought she was ‘in trouble.’ He said Kelly’s associate, Derrel McDavid, was pushing the singer to marry Aaliyah to protect himself.’Protect the defendant from what?’ Assistant U.S. Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez asked. ‘Jail, I guess,’ Smith said.” “The ‘Predator’ Of Pop Is In The Dock” is the UK Daily Mail spin on the trial. Here’s Abdon Pallasch and Jim DeRogatis’ groundbreaking original reporting at the Sun-Times from December 21, 2000—over two decades ago, and after many years of Kelly’s alleged serial transgressions, headlined ” R. Kelly accused of sex with teenage girls”: “Chicago singer and songwriter R. Kelly used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as fifteen and have sex with them, according to court records and interviews. The author of ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ met two of the girls on a return visit to Hyde Park’s Kenwood Academy where he got his start, one of the girls said. The girls were singing in the choir… He headlines tomorrow night before 22,000 fans at the United Center as part of WGCI’s annual Christmas concert, which is sold out.”
Marie Osmond, David Archuleta Cancel August 25 Ravinia Show
As COVID-19 cases rise across the country, Marie Osmond and David Archuleta have canceled their August 25 Ravinia outing, reports WGN-TV. “We look forward to rescheduling for a future date and can’t wait until we have everyone back together to experience this wonderful show,” the duo said in a statement.
Beverly Phono Mart Brings Records To The Far South Side
“Mallory McClaire and Chantala Kommanivanh came out of lockdown with a brick-and-mortar space on 103rd Street,” writes Leor Galil at the Reader. The couple met on Tinder. Mallory says, “I maintain that we probably crossed paths and didn’t know it—we would go to the same shows and hang out in the same places.” Chantala: “I have an art studio on the south side, and I’m from the north side, so if I didn’t swipe when I was in my studio, we wouldn’t have matched.” Mallory: “It was a very long, long first date, and the second half of it was probably all just talking about what we listen to and what we like to do . We also like to travel and started doing that pretty early on; when we travel, we eat and we buy records.”
Jason Isbell On Vaccination Mandates For Concerts
“Some of us saw the building was on fire,” musician Jason Isbell tells Variety. “I know there were other people doing it before I did. And if me speaking out about it and putting these restrictions in place helps some people feel more confident about doing it themselves, that’s a great thing… We are trying to talk everyone into following us to the exit so we don’t get burned. It’s pretty much as simple as that. And also, I just don’t think that our business is going to be able to continue this way unless we put some restrictions in place. I know my crew and my band might not be able to withstand another shutdown, and I think a lot of people are in that same situation.”
Riot Fest Announces Six More Late Night Shows
Riot Fest announces its second batch of Late Night shows. Tickets for the aftershows are on sale now. Four shows have been added: Friday night: Motion City Soundtrack at Concord Music Hall, Emo Night Brooklyn at Metro, Living Colour at Reggies Rock Club, and Man on Man at Cobra Lounge; Saturday’s offerings include Gogol Bordello at Concord Music Hall; and Sunday night features The Bronx at Cobra Lounge. Big Freedia, who was scheduled to play The Vic, will now play at Martyrs’; New Found Glory’s Radius show will feature Less Than Jake and Hot Mulligan. The additions cap a late-night schedule that already includes sets from Taking Back Sunday, Bayside, Dinosaur Jr., The Sounds and a rare reunion show with Mr. Bungle at Chicago’s new Radius venue on Friday, September 17—the group’s first Chicago show in over twenty years.
LA Times Critic Charles McNulty Says The Unvaccinated Must Not Tread The Boards
“I don’t know about you but I don’t have the energy for a listening session with actors who want to explain, through fuzzy math and fuzzier logic, how they decided that it was the better choice for them to put their collaborators at risk than get a shot that has saved countless thousand lives,” theater critic Charles McNulty writes at the Los Angeles Times. “Delta has taken over, and the fall theater season is hanging by a thread. Or more accurately, it’s relying on the incomplete bulwark of vaccinations to allow us to move forward with some semblance of normality… Let me simplify matters for theater practitioners who feel their hunches and convictions aren’t being properly respected. Get over yourselves. You don’t have a starring role in this particular drama. The tragedy that’s been unfolding is an ensemble production. If this recognition has been lost on you, it’s time to consider a new calling. The theater is a public art form. Actors and other company members who don’t want to get vaccinated don’t have to get vaccinated. But they need to step off the public stage.”
National Endowment For The Humanities Grants Announced For August
Chicago-area grants from the National Endowment For The Humanities include $10,000 for the Chicago Dance History Project Digital Preservation, for preservation assessment and preservation plan for the digital archives of the Chicago Dance History Project, a collection of over 20,000 digitized items including oral histories, photographs, ephemera, and audiovisual materials documenting the history of dance in Chicago; $9,995 to Kartemquin Educational Films for assessment and recommendations for Kartemquin Films’ Digital Collections, encompassing over fifty-five years of independent documentary filmmaking. The collection of more than seventy films documents a range of topics such as health care, urban youth, race, labor, gentrification, immigration and gender, and includes “Hoop Dreams,” “The New Americans,” “Minding the Gap,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail” and “Edith+Eddie”; $60,000 to the Newberry Library for “Eye to Eye: Friendship, Art, and Collaboration in Mid-Century America,” for the research and writing of a book about artistic collaboration between writers, dancers, artists, and art collectors in Chicago from the 1930s-1950s, including Gertrude Stein, Katherine Dunham and Carlos Mérida; a $9,743 preservation assistance grant to the Japanese American Service Committee, to assess the Japanese American Service Committee Legacy Center’s collections and implementation of an environmental monitoring program. Collections consist of 800 bound volumes and 400 archival collections documenting the history and lived experiences of the Japanese-American community in Chicago and surrounding area, and the institutional records of the JASC; $198,332 to the Newberry Library for “Making Modernism: Literature, Dance, and Visual Culture in Chicago, 1893–1955,” a three-week, residential institute for 25 higher education faculty to study the modernist movement in Chicago; $275,155 to the University of Chicago for “Roman Statutes: Renewing Roman Law,” to prepare for print and online publication of translations and annotation of all surviving Greek- and Latin-inscribed legislation from classical Rome; in Lisle, $195,764 to Benedictine University for the “Khataynameh” (“Book of China”) Translation Project, for preparation for print and digital publication of a translation of a travel narrative written by Ali Akbar Khatayi, a Persian merchant who travelled to China in the sixteenth century; and in Skokie, $69,086 to the Holocaust Memorial Foundation of Illinois Inc. for planning of a 1,000-square-foot permanent exhibition on the global history of genocide and mass atrocities; and $343,944 for the Chicago History Museum to replace the museum’s HVAC controls with a unified building automation system and install variable frequency drives on the supply and return fans in nine of the building’s ten air handling units.
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