Long Haul Ahead For Pullman As Historic Site?
“After years of dreaming and planning, the Pullman National Monument gets its official grand opening next week,” reports Crain’s, “but much more work awaits backers positioning the historic site as a big tourist draw and economic development engine for its Southeast Side neighborhood.”
Forty-Three-Story Mixed-Use Skyscraper In Fulton Market Gets Permits
Construction is about to begin on a forty-three-story tower at 906 West Randolph, reports YIMBY. Co-developed by Tucker Development and Related Midwest, “the development will provide both ground-level retail and 300 apartments on the upper floors, of which twenty percent will be affordable under the Affordable Requirements Ordinance. The developers will also contribute nearly $5 million to the neighborhood opportunity fund, which supports infrastructure and commercial projects in Chicago’s West and South Side neighborhoods.”
Plan Commission Approves Mixed-Use Development In Gold Coast
Also from Chicago YIMBY: The Chicago Plan Commission approved a mixed-use development at 1130 North State, on a corner lot at the intersection of State and Elm, which is occupied by a parking lot and a former Barnes & Noble location.
Ogden Corridor Gets “Lawndale Redefined” Project
“A vacant swath of land on the West Side will be developed into a community arts and tech center, an affordable housing project and a grocery store with a rooftop bistro,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The $31.4 million plan is part of the latest round of Invest South/West, which is aimed at spurring development in communities of color that have been neglected historically. The Lawndale Redefined project — planned by GRE Ventures, Imagine Development and 548 Development — was selected from a pool of six teams competing to redevelop vacant land at 3400 West Ogden in the neighborhood’s historic business district.” More here.
DINING & DRINKING
Arami Owner’s Got A Bottle Shop For Lincoln Square
“Restaurant owner Ty Fujimura has been sorting out the future of his venues,” reports Eater Chicago. “Fujimura owns Arami, one of the city’s most respected sushi restaurants. He’s also behind Entente, the Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant that’s been closed for more than a year in River North.” Fujimura recently announced “a hybrid coffeeshop that also sells beer and wine near where CTA Brown Line cars are street level in Lincoln Square. Fujimura says Rockwell Bottle Shop & Coffee, a 1,500-square-foot space, is not a bar. It’s where friends can hang out, have a quick conversation with friends or a barista, and then come home with a few bottles from the store’s curated selection of craft beer, wine, and sake.”
Buck Russell’s Bakery & Sandwich Shop Coming To North Shore
Buck Russell’s Bakery & Sandwich Shop is Ballyhoo Hospitality’s newest neighborhood joint, set to open this fall in downtown Wilmette. Buck Russell’s is one-half bakery and one-half sandwich shop. “Guests can expect an array of bakery classics and hand-crafted deli sandwiches, making it the sweetest stop on the North Shore,” the forthcoming restaurant says in a release. “The bakery will feature classic American baked goods with modern twists, like freshly-baked sticky buns, cupcakes, and ice-box cakes. The sandwich shop will showcase a dozen classic and original sandwiches as well as a Lil’ Bucks menu, perfect for kids looking for a spot to gather after school or grab a snack before their sports practice. Designed by Ballyhoo Hospitality founder Ryan O’Donnell, the interior is a modern nod to the classic American diner and an old-school pastry shop, featuring a retro blue-and-white lunch counter with stools, vintage wallpaper, Pullman-style booths, chrome accents, schoolhouse-style pendant lighting, and warm wood floors.” More here.
Toast Plans Public Offering
“Toast, the Boston-based restaurant tech company with offices in Chicago, signaled plans to go public by filing for an initial public offering,” writes Eater Chicago. “The decade-old brand aims to raise $100 million, catching a wave of significant investment in hospitality-focused technology companies—a niche that has [received] nearly $3.5 billion through investments, IPOs, and acquisitions since the start of 2021… Initially founded as a mobile payment app, Toast has become ubiquitous in restaurants through a host of features including point-of-sale systems, delivery software [and] marketing tools.”
Chicago Snapshots Logan Square’s Lardon
At Chicago, Anthony Todd looks at the baby steps of Logan Square salumeria Lardon: “The first thing a visitor will notice when they visit Lardon is the charcuterie cave, a tiled room complete with a window for observing the deliciousness. That’s where all of Chef Chris Thompson’s housemade goodies — all of the charcuterie served at Lardon is housemade — will be on display. To get ready for the opening, Thompson worked with Salumi Chicago (which generously offered space in their aging room) to hang more than 2,000 pounds of cured meats, everything from genoa salami to nduja.” At the Tribune, food critic Nick Kindelsperger is pleased, too: “All of it, from the soppressata to the finocchiona, is made right there. In fact, you can view the curing room through a window from the dining room, allowing you to peek at the different meats hanging in the temperature-controlled room,” writes Kindelsperger. “‘I’ve spent more than fifteen years figuring out what salt does to meat when you age it,’ chef Chris Thompson said. Instead of buying specific cuts of meat, he prefers to purchase whole animals and break them down himself. ‘If you’re eating cured meat here, it starts with a whole animal on the back table.'”
Former Chicago Couple Wins Award For Best Madison Winery
Eight-year-old Rock N Wool Winery was named winner of a People’s Choice Award from Madison.com for “Madison’s Best Winery. Owners Shaun Lapacek and Maria Guerra Lapacek say in a release that they have worked hard ‘to make the best Wisconsin wines, and create a relaxing, family atmosphere for customers to enjoy our wines. We are grateful to our local Wisconsin friends, and our larger Chicagoland community for their treasured support.’ The win represents a significant and meaningful victory for the family-run establishment as well as Wisconsin viticulture: Rock N Wool is one of the few wineries in Wisconsin that grows, produces and bottles wines exclusively made from Wisconsin-grown grapes.” More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Actor And Activist Ed Asner Was 91
“Ed Asner, the burly and prolific character actor who became a star in middle age as the gruff but lovable newsman Lou Grant, first in the hit comedy ‘The Mary Tyler Moore Show’ and later in the drama ‘Lou Grant,’ was 91,” reports the AP. Asner, whose career began in Chicago, “had more than 300 acting credits and remained active throughout his 70s and 80s in a variety of film and TV roles. In 2003, he played Santa Claus in Will Ferrell’s ‘Elf’ [and] the voice of the elderly hero in the 2009 Pixar release, ‘Up.’ Asner told The Associated Press in 2009 that interesting roles were hard to come by. ‘I never get enough work. It’s the history of my career. There just isn’t anything to turn down, let me put it that way. I’d say most people are probably in that same boat, old people, and it’s a shame.'” One of Asner’s little-known accomplishments, back when he was at the University of Chicago, was as one of the undergraduates who would roust young Mike Nichols from recurrent tender slumber, as Mark Harris reports in his biography, “Mike Nichols: A Life”: “One of them was Edward Asner, then a senior. Initially, Asner was put off by Nichols’s arrant snobbery. ‘There were times when I resented him and thought he was acting too much the luftmensch. He was unusual—he was part of a coterie of would-be actors with a somewhat effeminate attitude. But it soon became very clear to me that he was the kind of man you had to watch your girl around—he dug women! His effeminacy was just that he had no beard, and he came off as something like a dilettante. But I think his direction was successful. He was having fun when he did it, and as time wore on, I realized there was a decent human being there.” The Hollywood Reporter had Asner’s last interview and photo session. CNN’s Brian Lowry has an overview, and the New York Times obituary is here. Lowry: Asner “served two terms as president of the Screen Actors Guild and remained outspoken about its affairs, last year joining in a lawsuit over cuts to the organization’s healthcare plan that would impact older members. His activism included such issues as gun control, the Equal Rights Amendment and capital punishment, and Asner later said that speaking out about El Salvador in the 1980s hastened the cancellation of ‘Lou Grant’ by CBS.” Click on this final portrait by Michael Buckner.
Filmmakers And Theater Owners Hope For Return Of “Theatrical Experience”
The annual exodus of small and large theater owners to their Las Vegas CinemaCon was diminished this year, but several filmmakers spoke of the importance of movie theaters to the economic present and future of the industry.“I’m not a fan of day-and-date [releases with streaming services], and I hope to avoid it forever,” [“Wonder Woman 1984” director Patty] Jenkins said, to cheers from the lunchtime crowd. “I believe in the theatrical experience, and I don’t understand why we’re talking about throwing it away for 700 different streaming services that there’s no room for in the marketplace.” The Los Angeles Times reports, “Illinois has been open since June 11, but attendance has been around here,” said [Belleville theater owner] Dave Schoenborn, waving his hand down near his knee to show that business had not recovered. “We decided to come this year because we thought it was kind of important to kind of catch up, meet some people again and see what people are doing.” … “A major concern for exhibitors is the rate at which movies that premiere on streaming services are quickly pirated, with pristine copies of new studio films including ‘The Suicide Squad’ and ‘Jungle Cruise’ appearing on illegal sites [hours] after release. That has a significant effect on box office returns, theater owners said.”
Weekday Newspaper Circulation Topples
“America’s top 25 largest newspapers have lost twenty percent of their weekday print circulation since the COVID-19 crisis began,” reports the UK’s PressGazette. “America’s biggest three newspapers – the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and USA Today – together lost more than 500,000 of print circulation between the first quarter of 2020 and the latest reported period, which covers the six months to March 2021… The worst-performing titles since March 2020 have been the New York Daily News (down 29,000, or thirty percent), Arizona Republic (down 20,000, or twenty percent), and the Chicago Sun-Times (down 13,000 copies, or eighteen percent).”
City Of Chicago: A Music Promoter Above Them All?
At Artsjournal, Howard Mandel exudes exuberantly about the City of Chicago’s role as music impresario. Praise for departing DCASE boss Mark Kelly is followed by lists and lists of lists of what’s up in “The Year Of Chicago Music.”
Can National Music Tours Be Safe?
“Concert promoters, crews, artists and fans — who had enjoyed a brief window of optimism just two months ago — are trying to figure out what to do as the Delta variant circulates. While vaccines still provide a very high degree of protection against severe illness and hospitalization, worries over Delta’s increased infectiousness have already sidelined major tours,” reports the Los Angeles Times. Quoting a musician who was on a medium-sized Live Nation tour who was among the vaccinated who tested positive after an outbreak, “Every show we played was in a hot spot, and no one working backstage at the local venues was masked. If you’re a smaller artist dependent on live events, there’s no way to be able to afford to test every day. There’s so much secrecy around this and there might well be outbreaks happening within this demographic, but we’re all shooting in the dark.”
Anticipating Week Three Of The R. Kelly Sex Trafficking Federal Trial
AP looks back at week two of the New York City trial of R. Kelly for sex trafficking. “A prosecutor asked the woman what steps Kelly took to back up promises to help launch her career. ‘None,’ she responded.” The first testimony of Week Three, on Monday, according to the Tribune: “R. Kelly had naked ‘young lady’ waiting under a boxing ring in his garage for sex.”
Columnist Recalls Kanye’s Love For Donald Trump
“Chicago embraced West in all his self-obsessed, manically maniacal glory,” writes Laura Washington at the Sun-Times. “The famous-for-being-famous rap artist returned to Chicago, where he was raised, to treat his fans to a 90-minute, live ‘listening event’ at Soldier Field… An estimated 38,000 fans gleefully popped for tickets, costing $150 and up. Of course, there were no COVID-19 vaccine or negative test requirements to attend… ‘Kanye West gives fans a remarkable, bonkers experience,’ a Chicago Tribune headline blared. ‘Kanye West delivers shock and awe,’ the Chicago Sun-Times declared. The ardent coverage was virtually silent on West’s Trump love. Kanye West is many things. Entertainer, songwriter, producer, fashion designer, brilliant brand maven, controversy magnet. But one thing that Chicago should never forget — Kanye West is a Donald Trump embracer, apologist and flunky.”
Broadway Wants Locals To Return
The New York Times reports on the Oprah Winfrey-narrated push to get New York City regional audiences back into the big barns of Broadway. “Broadway producers and theater owners, concerned about whether fans are ready to return as dozens of shows prepare to start or resume performances, have banded together [to persuade] Broadway’s core audience to purchase tickets… As the longest shutdown in history nears an uncertain end, an anxious industry is more focused on bringing back fans from New Jersey and Connecticut.” The Broadway League is scattershotting a “This Is Broadway” campaign to cover not only the city’s five boroughs “at subway and bus stations, in taxis and Wi-Fi kiosks, and on a giant electronic cube in Times Square — but also through social and news media platforms with a broader geographic reach, including YouTube, Facebook, Hulu, Condé Nast, CNN [and] The New York Times… The campaign is anchored by a two-and-a-half minute video, featuring snippets of ninety-nine shows, [including] ‘A Chorus Line’ and ‘Hamilton,’ and narration by Oprah Winfrey. The spots will be excerpted in thirty-second, fifteen-second and six-second digital ads.”
M.A.D.D. Rhythms Celebration of Tap, The Chicago Tap Summit, Returns to Bronzeville
October 1-3 are the dates set for the live return of M.A.D.D. Rhythms’ Chicago Tap Summit as the tap collective continues its twentieth-anniversary season at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 South Dr. Martin Luther King Drive. The 2021 events, designed to celebrate the tap dance community, feature a hybrid format of classes, panels, performances and world premieres with M.A.D.D. Rhythms faculty, Chicago tap pioneers and dance boundary breakers. The summit is open to the public with options for beginner, intermediate and advanced dancers. Tickets go on sale Wednesday, September 1. “We are thrilled to once again be able to host our annual Chicago Tap Summit,” said M.A.D.D. Rhythms Founder Bril Barrett in a release. “Following last year’s fully virtual format, we are introducing a hybrid structure to allow our fellow dance lovers the ability to join us in Chicago or virtually from around the world. From in-person classes taught by our excellent M.A.D.D. Rhythms faculty to online workshops, panel discussions, tap jams and cutting contests, we cannot wait to celebrate and ‘Respect the Dance’ with the Tap community.” Tickets and more information here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Disney Explores $3 Billion From Gambling Via ESPN Subsidiary
While Chicago’s hope to rush into casino and corner-store gambling is stalled, The Wall Street Journal reports that entertainment conglomerate Disney is eager to get into gambling, via a little face-saving sleight-of-hand. “Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN is seeking to license its brand to major sports-betting companies for at least $3 billion over several years… aiming to capitalize on the fast-growing online gambling industry. The sports-media giant has held talks with players that own major sportsbooks, including casino operator Caesars Entertainment Inc. and online gambling company DraftKings Inc… ‘Daily Wager’ is a one-hour ESPNews channel show aimed at sports gamblers. A brand-licensing deal would allow ESPN to profit from the boom in sports gambling without taking bets and making payouts to winners.”
West Suburban High School Honors Legacy Of Graduate Fred Hampton
Proviso East High School in Maywood has noted the legacy of one of its graduates, the late Fred Hampton by naming a room for the activist, reports WGN-TV. “A dedication plaque says ‘The Social Justice Room’ was a breeding ground for Hampton’s leadership development. The honor comes on the eve of what would have been Hampton’s seventy-third birthday.” Hampton was the subject of 2020’s acclaimed film, “Judas and the Black Messiah.”
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