MCA Appoints Laura Herrera Senior Director Communications And Content
Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, has announced the appointment of Laura Herrera as senior director of communications and content, a newly created position that advances the museum’s values, mission and efforts across all digital, interpretive, marketing, press and publication platforms. “Herrera will catalyze the museum’s vision to spark meaningful engagement with art, artists and ideas, provide forums for new perspectives, and build bridges between people and communities,” the MCA says in a release. “Herrera will focus on shaping a future MCA audience that reflects the ever-evolving cultural fabric of Chicago while maintaining the museum’s international reputation for featuring influential and emerging artists and defining its work through the perspective of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Herrera was most recently director of communications at the Chicago History Museum where she led strategic integrated communications, audience research and data analysis, digital strategy, and content development. She will assume her position at the MCA on September 13.
Tony Fitzpatrick Talks 2021 And Beyond
Artist Tony Fitzpatrick talks at length with Chicago Gallery News. “Fitzpatrick is really never just making art. He’s also designing puzzles, publishing books, collaborating on public art—he unveiled a large-scale mural for Steppenwolf Theatre Company this summer—and preparing for what he says will be his final museum show this fall, at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art.” Fitzpatrick tells CGN, “The museum thing, for sure it’s the last… It’s time to get out of the way for people who don’t look like me. If I deal myself out of that equation, then some institutional wall space becomes available for somebody else. I think it’s important for us to create some equity, and it starts with every single artist… The one thing the community has to realize is the most valuable assets we have are each other. Most things one artist cannot do by themselves. You put four or five of them together, and you can move mountains.”
Restoration Of Louis Sullivan-Designed Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral Nearly Done
“One of the few houses of worship designed by famed Chicago architect Louis Sullivan is wrapping up a months-long exterior restoration this week,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Holy Trinity Orthodox Cathedral leaders have made smaller fixes and updates over the past few decades, but they said the latest restoration is the property’s biggest facelift so far.” The Ukrainian Village cathedral opened in 1903.
Chicago Architecture Biennial Finalizes Plans, Opens September 17
The fourth edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB), free and open to the public, will open on September 17, responding to an urban design framework that proposes connecting community residents, architects, and designers to develop and create spaces that reflect the needs of communities and neighborhoods. Over eighty contributors from more than eighteen countries will respond to this framework through site-specific architectural projects, exhibitions, and programs across eight neighborhoods in Chicago and in the digital sphere. Curated by the Biennial’s 2021 artistic director—designer, researcher, and educator David Brown—”The Available City” will present projects and programs that ask and respond to the question of who gets to participate in the design of the city by exploring new perspectives and approaches to policies. “The Available City” illuminates the potential for immediate new possibilities, highlights improvisational organizers of the city, and underscores the exponential impact of small elements in aggregate. The event will be on view at sites and in locations throughout the city, through in-person and online programming through December 18. The full release is here.
City Plan Commission Signs Off On Four New Downtown High-Rises
David Roeder reports at the Sun-Times on four new downtown projects with an investment of more than $700 million. “The Chicago Plan Commission, plowing through an unusually long agenda… approved a two-tower proposal for a hotel and residences at 525 South Wabash. The buildings, to be connected by retail space including a food store, would replace a parking garage and a surface parking lot.” The commission reviews major zoning proposals before submission to City Council, and “also backed two residential towers totaling 1,053 units at 601 West Monroe, currently a parking lot. The Wabash project, across Ida B. Wells Parkway from the Auditorium Theatre… calls for 777 residential units, and the developer plans to meet requirements for seventy-eight affordable units as defined by city ordinance by providing them on-site. For the Monroe towers [the developer] plans buildings of forty-seven and forty stories. Their 105 affordable units include twenty-six on-site.”
Sun-Times Keys Amazon Lockers In Public Parks To Larger Park District Problems
The Sun-Times editorial board sees more amiss than the long-hidden contract with Amazon to place branded lockers in city parks. “The Chicago Park District should be our city’s proudest institution — a $480 million agency in charge of maintaining and programming an enviable collection of parks and green space, plus holding sway over the best public lakefront in the nation… But lately, the park district seems intent on lousing up everything it has going for it, from its abysmal handling of a female lifeguard’s complaints of sexual harassment by Oak Street Beach lifeguards, to the agency’s nutty decision to allow Amazon to install huge retail lockers in city parks… [Superintendent Michael] Kelly and his team also are behind a wrongheaded deal to put more than 100 ungainly Amazon Hub lockers — some of which are fifteen feet wide — in parks across the city… ‘Amazon should not be occupying public space regardless of what they offer,’ Ald. Rossana Rodriguez said Monday on Twitter. “But we have to note that 137K is a slap in the face… [Corporations] like Amazon that don’t pay taxes impact our ability to fund public services, like parks.” The district has issued a release that, among other things, quotes indicted Alderman Patrick D. Thompson as finding the lockers to be a way to “creatively generate new revenue.”
DINING & DRINKING
Seoul Taco Names Michelin-Starred Chef Brian Fisher Culinary Director
Seoul Taco chef-owner David Choi has hired acclaimed Chicago-based chef Brian Fisher as culinary director. Fisher will oversee menu and recipe development and kitchen operations for the Korean-Mexican street food brand’s seven locations in the Chicago and St. Louis areas. “We’re very excited to welcome Chef Brian to the Seoul Taco team,” Choi says in a release. “A decade ago, I started Seoul Taco as a food truck, and now we’ve expanded to seven brick-and-mortar locations in two states. With Chef Brian’s talent and experience, we look forward to working with him to continue to grow the culinary side of the brand.” Fisher spent his career in notable restaurants throughout the U.S., from New York to San Francisco. His time in kitchens coast-to-coast led him back to his Chicago roots as chef de cuisine at the Michelin-starred Schwa in Wicker Park.
FILM & TELEVISION
Ebertfest 2021 Cancelled
Chaz Ebert announced the cancellation of the September 2021 edition of Ebertfest in Champaign via YouTube. (The 3:29 video is here.) It’s the second year in a row that health conditions have knocked out the event. “Perhaps we were destined to keep our springtime slot after all,” Ebert says in the video: Ebertfest is now slated for April 20-23, 2022. “An April festival will bring back our special guests and keep the dialogue with filmmakers central to the experience of the festival. The Champaign Park District will have completed the installation of a new HVAC system at the Virginia Theatre with the very latest ventilation technology to kill pathogens in the auditorium space.”
Two takes on the retake of “Candyman,” in theaters today. Jake Malooley on the origins of part of the legend at Chicago: “To get at the real horror behind ‘Candyman’ I knew I had to talk to Steve Bogira. Now 66, the veteran journalist covered race and poverty for the Chicago Reader from 1981 through 2016… While ‘Candyman’’s credits say that Rose based his script on the Clive Barker short story ‘The Forbidden,’ it was Bogira’s reporting on a chilling murder in one of the city’s housing projects that inspired what is perhaps the movie’s best-remembered detail: Candyman’s frequent mode of entry, a bathroom mirror.” From WBEZ and Natalie Moore, the only journalist allowed on set for the 2019 shoot of Nia DaCosta’s “Candyman”: “As the crew took a lunch break just after 7pm on the final day of shooting, Nia DaCosta, director of the updated ‘Candyman’ film, remained tightlipped about the plot. ‘I can’t tell you anything,’ DaCosta said. However, she said the film will offer an authentic voice for Cabrini-Green. ‘In film sometimes we’re so caught up in telling a story about a place instead of for a place or with a place,’ DaCosta said, ‘and that was really important to me.'” Newcity’s review of “Candyman” is here.
Netflix Drops Trailer For Animated “Chicago Party Aunt” Series
“Diane Dunbrowski has been the life of the party in her beloved hometown since the 1980s and has no plans on giving up the reins anytime soon. What she lacks in adulting skills, she makes up for with her heart of gold and stubbornly loyal determination to her family and friends,” Netflix writes of “Chicago Party Aunt,” its adaptation debuting September 17 of the Twitter account with 51,700 followers. “It’s clear Diane needs to adapt to the rapidly changing world around her unless she wants to become a relic of the past like her favorite Spuds McKenzie poster. Luckily her favorite (and only) nephew, Daniel, defers going to college and decides to ditch the suburbs and live with his aunt in the big city. She is Daniel’s blue-collar fairy godmother, ready to show him a good time, and he is her guide through the often treacherous perils of modernity that is shifting beneath her on a daily basis… The adult animated comedy follows Diane and Daniel as they navigate work, family, romance, and most of all, how to party their brains out in the best damn city in the world.” The trailer for the limited series is here.
“The Office” Experience Wrings Cringe In Chicago
The world of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company comes to Michigan Avenue starting October 15 when “The Office Experience” makes its debut. Visitors will be able to revisit their favorite moments and characters from the American TV series. “The interactive two-story experience features seventeen rooms filled with original props and costumes and set re-creations as fans visit Scranton Business Park and other sites… Guests will be able to take pictures throughout the Dunder Mifflin office including Pam’s desk, Michael’s office and Ryan’s closet as well as Schrute Farms. Fans will relive iconic episodes and memorable moments such as ‘Kevin’s Chili Spill’ and ‘Beach Day.’ ‘The Office Experience’ will celebrate all the series’ major characters and will also commemorate, among many other things, the Dundie Awards and Jim and Pam’s love story. An on-site themed retail store replicating the Warehouse, featuring exclusive products never before offered for sale will be open to both ticketed and non-ticketed guests.” “The Office Experience” will be at The Shops at North Bridge at 540 North Michigan; tickets go on sale Friday, August 27 at 10am here.
Colson Whitehead Joins Printers Row Lit Fest
Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, has announced two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and National Book Award winner Colson Whitehead—author of “The Underground Railroad” and “The Nickel Boys”—will appear on the closing day of this year’s festival and discuss his new book, “Harlem Shuffle,” in a conversation with Dr. Ivy Wilson. The event is presented by the American Writers Museum on Sunday, September 12 at 4pm with 400 pre-signed copies of “Harlem Shuffle” provided to attendees in advance of the book’s publication date, with the support of the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation. Advance registration is required, and all attendees must show proof of vaccination with a valid photo ID. Unvaccinated individuals will not be admitted to this event. Registration opens to the public on Friday, August 27 at 10am here.
Free Concerts Celebrate 100 Years Of Chicago Cabaret
Chicago was the first American city to nurture hundreds of clubs with the intimate and often improvised entertainment first found in Paris in the 1880s, Chicago Cabaret Professionals relays in a release. “Never before has there been such a collection of Chicago’s entertainers coming together to celebrate 100 Years of Chicago Cabaret. African American performers, prominent on the Southside of Chicago and in Paris, where Black expatriate performers flourished, as well as fringe LGBTQIA burlesque and drag performers who are often overlooked contributors to this art-form of storytelling through song, alongside Broadway and Great American Songbook hits.” The two-part series is free with registration. The series is made possible by a grant from DCASE, as part of the Chicago In Tune citywide festival. The hundred-year history of cabaret in Chicago will be performed September 19 and October 3 at the Haven Entertainment Center in Bronzeville. Details here.
Victory Gardens To Honor Original Ensemble And S. Epatha Merkerson
Victory Gardens Theater has announced its annual fundraising event, “Making A Scene: Gala 2021,” on Saturday, October 23 in the Ivy Room at Tree Studios, 12 East Ohio. The evening is in support of Victory Gardens Theater’s ground-breaking education department, new works programs, community outreach and impact work and the ACCESS project. Festivities will include an exclusive performance by Brian Quijada and Nygel D. Robinson from their new musical “Mexodus,”and the honoring of award-winning actress S. Epatha Merkerson. Victory Gardens Theater’s Original Playwrights Ensemble, including Claudia Allen, Gloria Bond Clunie, Dean Corrin, Lonnie Carter, Steve Carter (posthumously), Nilo Cruz, Joel Drake Johnson (posthumously), John Logan, Nicholas Patriccia, Douglas Post, James Sherman, Charles Smith, Jeffrey Sweet and Kristine Thatcher, will also be honored for their decades of contributions to the theatrical community. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Did Market Days Spread Coronavirus?
“The city’s health department is investigating possible coronavirus cases connected to Market Days,” which was August 6-8, reports Block Club Chicago. “The popular outdoor festival routinely attracts thousands of people as they celebrate LGBTQ pride with live music, dancing and more… Health department spokespeople did not directly answer questions about if the investigation was routine for events during the pandemic or if Market Days was being singled out. They also did not say how many cases have been connected to the fest. ‘We are interested in learning more about COVID-19 transmission related to large public gatherings where people congregate in indoor and outdoor spaces,’ spokespeople said in an emailed statement. ‘Learning more about these events will help us develop recommendations and guidance so that these events can continue to be held safely in the future. Due in part to this investigation, we have identified several cases among Chicago and non-Chicago, and out of state residents.'”
Andersonville Homecoming Fills September Streets
The Andersonville Chamber of Commerce announces Andersonville Homecoming, a three-night, two-day outdoor festival featuring live entertainment, local artisans and merchants, food and drink vendors and free kids’ activities. The end-of-summer celebration will be held Friday, September 24 through Sunday, September 26 on Clark between Catalpa and Summerdale. Attractions and details here.
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