Nick Cave Installs $1.8 Million Mosaics In Times Square
“On Friday, M.T.A. Arts & Design will officially unveil ‘Every One,’ the first of a three-piece installation by the artist Nick Cave, inside the new 42nd Street connector. The other two parts—’Each One’ at the new shuttle entrance and ‘Equal All’ on the center island platform wall—will be installed next year,” reports Laura Zornosa at the New York Times. “The $1.8 million budget for the project, commissioned by M.T.A. Arts & Design, is part of the overall project to rebuild and reconfigure the 42nd Street Shuttle, which cost more than $250 million… Cave—a sculptor, dancer and performance artist—is known for his Soundsuits, wearable fabric sculptures made of materials such as twigs, wire, raffia and even human hair that often generate sound when the wearer moves… Walking along the new and improved corridor, figures on the wall are depicted leaping and twirling in mosaic Soundsuits… ‘It’s almost like looking at a film strip,’ Cave said in an interview from his studio in Chicago. ‘As you’re moving down that from left to right, you see it in motion.'”
Bruce Nauman Joins Artists At Neon And Light Museum
Mid-century conceptual artist Bruce Nauman joins the roster at the Neon and Light Museum pop-up in River North. Nauman’s “The True Artist Helps the World by Revealing Mystic Truths” will be among the works on show, “an example of the artist’s self-described ‘signs,’ neon works consisting of visual puns and alliterations that became political polemics meant to provoke and challenge the norms of the day.” 325 West Huron. Individual $25 tickets are on sale for the limited eight-week run starting Thursday, September 9. More here.
Restored Art Deco Des Plaines Theatre Reopens As Music Venue
A former vaudeville theater is reopening after a $6.6 million renovation partially backed by the city of Des Plaines to drive more development, reports AP. “The Des Plaines Theatre has been closed since 2014. The Pioneer Press reports that the city bought it for $1.2 million in 2018 and signed an agreement with an outside operator to manage it, including live music bookings. The theater’s hundred-year-old interior has been restored to highlight its art deco style and reveal a stage that was covered by movie screens. The renovation also added a restaurant space and a speakeasy-themed bar.”
Affordable Housing And Street-Level Theater Breaks Ground In Humboldt Park
“About a decade ago, Puerto Rican Cultural Center leader Jose Lopez approached then-freshman Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th) about building affordable housing for Latino artists on Humboldt Park’s Division Street,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Lopez, a longtime advocate for Chicago’s Puerto Rican community, pestered Maldonado for years to make the development a reality. Now, it’s finally coming to fruition as the local leaders joined a ceremonial groundbreaking Thursday for the Nancy Franco-Maldonado Paseo Boricua Arts Building at 2709-15 West Division, the former home of the Ashland Sausage Company.”
Pullman National Monument Celebrates Labor Day Weekend Grand Opening
“The story of the Pullman railcar factory in the Far South Side neighborhood is one of workers, and that was on full display at Saturday’s Labor Day weekend grand opening of the Pullman National Monument’s visitor center,” reports Nader Issa at the Sun-Times. “Inside the former administration building of the sprawling Pullman company factory, which closed in 1982, the National Park Service’s visitor center features an exhibit with plenty of labor history, including stories about union movements at the factory, the Black Pullman sleeping car porters and a Black women’s council that helped organize workers.” More at the link.
Golf Course Operators Near Site Of Obama Presidential Center See Opportunity
Backers of a plan to turn two facilities on Chicago’s South Side into a Tiger Woods-designed course find renewed hope in Obama Presidential Center, reports Crain’s.
Landmarks Illinois Announces 2021 Preservation Award Winners
Outstanding preservation efforts in the Illinois communities of Aledo, Chicago, Nauvoo, Paris, Towanda and Waukegan are recipients of the 2021 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. The nine award-winning preservation projects and people who made them possible will be honored at an in-person and virtual ceremony on October 22 at the Davis Theater. “Our 2021 award-winning projects are models for what preservation can and should be: the creative, inclusive and sustainable reuse of our built environment promoting local job creation and community driven economic development,” Bonnie McDonald, President and CEO of Landmarks Illinois says in a release. “The courageous and visionary people behind these innovative projects deserve recognition for transforming places to serve as equitable housing, accessible art and education centers, and lively gathering spaces that bring awareness to Illinois’ diverse history.” Learn about the nine award winners and how to attend the awards ceremony here.
DINING & DRINKING
Airline Food Is Different Now
“In-flight meals, drinks and airport lounges are not significant revenue generators but are essential to attracting first- and business-class fliers, who made up as little as 5% of all passenger traffic before the pandemic but generated about 30% of all passenger revenues,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “In the aisle, instead of pouring drinks into plastic cups from food carts, flight attendants are now handing passengers throughout the plane full cans or bottles of beer, soda, wine or hard seltzer to eliminate the pouring time… ‘AFA has pressed airline management on aspects of food and beverage to ensure procedures best support fewer touch points or inconsistent masking,’ said Sara Nelson, president of the association ‘The Delta variant has caused cases to skyrocket again, threatening lives, continued virus mutation, and recovery from this pandemic.'”
Funkenhausen Brings Funktoberfest To West Town
Funkenhausen, Chicago’s German West Town storefront, is offering diners their own version of the Oktoberfest celebration. Chef Mark Steuer draws on his German heritage and Charleston, South Carolina upbringing to create dishes that reimagine his meals and memories from childhood. The modern beer hall serves a mash-up of Southern and German flavors with dishes including Pretzel French Toast, Summertime Spaetzle and Riesling Steamed Mussels. “Funkenhausen is creating the ultimate Funktoberfest celebration filled with food, music, and of course, beer! Diners can expect specials including Oktoberfest beer in novelty mugs, apparel, and an Uber Piggy Plate featuring smoked pork chop, haus bratwurst, pork belly, sauerkraut, pretzel, mustard, and pickles. The festival will also have live music from the Oompa Band and will feature surprise pop-up acts. A variety of fall beers will be available for purchase including Pfungstädter Festbier, Maisel’s Amber Hefeweizen and Hirter Morchl Munich dunkel.” September 18-October 3. More here.
River North Gets Reimagined Supper Club
Chef Mark Sparacino joins Fame Supper Club in River North as chef-partner. At 157 West Ontario, the dual-leveled restaurant will offer modern American fare, classic cocktails and live music. The first floor features “a dramatic, yet intimate vibe”: dark lacquer floors, textured wallpaper and plush seating. A long, contemporary bar featuring gold panels and stone white top occupies the east side of the space, while the remainder of the room is reserved for dining. Solo and duo musicians and DJs with accompanying instrumentalists, including violinists and trumpetists, will be on hand each evening. Sparacino (chef-owner of Prosecco) created Fame’s globally influenced dinner menu, which includes interactive presentations such as Chorizo & Manchego-stuffed Medjool Dates presented under smoked glass, Tomahawk Prime Ribeye sliced tableside, and Cacio e Pepe finished in a Pecorino-Romano Cheese Wheel at guest tables. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Young Chicago Actor Wes Tian Gets “Dream” Role In “Doogie Howser” Remake
Twelve-year-old Wes Tian finds Disney+ role on “Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.” to be the opportunity of a lifetime, reports the Sun-Times. “Ever since I was little, I always wanted to direct something,” says Tian, whose passion for the craft led him to create a multitude of his own short films through the years, including the award-winning short ‘A Day in Pete’s Shoes’… ‘I’ve always loved making movies with my friends.’ Born and raised in the suburbs of Chicago, Tian spent much of… 2020 auditioning for various roles. And last February, he got a callback from Disney. ‘The next thing I knew, I was going to Hawaii,’ Tian says of the picturesque setting in which ‘Doogie Kamealoha, M.D.’ was filmed. ‘It was crazy. It all happened so fast.'”
Quimby’s Celebrates Three Decades In Wicker Park
“From the beginning, Quimby’s established itself as one of the few places in Chicago dedicated to buying and selling handmade zines, comics and an array of bizarre items and merchandise you couldn’t find anywhere else,” reports Block Club Chicago. “This month, Quimby’s is celebrating its thirtieth anniversary as a cultural landmark in a neighborhood that’s [now] one of Chicago’s… most expensive. ‘We’re still here. And it’s kind of weird,’ said Eric Kirsammer, who has owned Quimby’s since 1997… ‘This type of store, in a way, shouldn’t be in this neighborhood now, with designer boutiques around the corner and stuff like that.'”
Editor & Publisher Looks At Alden Global Capital
In an extended piece, Gretchen A. Peck takes a look at the stakes of hedge fund ownership of newspapers. “This summer, Alden Global Capital acquired Tribune Publishing and its titles, from small community newspapers to major metro titles like its flagship, The Chicago Tribune, and The Baltimore Sun. It wasn’t the first newspaper acquisition for this hedge fund firm, nor is it the only firm of its kind eyeing the nation’s newspapers. But this acquisition was profound, making Alden Global Capital the owner, in effect, of more than 200 newspapers across the land. It was a deal rife with drama, as the Tribune newsrooms publicly pleaded for some other savior. In the end, no eccentric billionaire philanthropist descended on the scene to save them. Instead, the newsrooms steeled themselves for the future.” Among the pungent quotes, from Jon Schleuss, president, The NewsGuild-CWA: “They say they want to invest, that they see this as a good business opportunity. But they’ve never invested. All the numbers of employment and balance sheets show they do the opposite. They collect properties and strip them. They’ll cut staff or sell real estate.”
Premiering The Video For Nicholas Tremulis’ Fist-Punch Of A Single
In the passing of a terrible year, Chicago musical diehard Nicholas Tremulis completed an album, “Rarified World,” as well as a video for the lead single, “J. Paul Getty.” While the record is described as an exploration of “the struggles of staying alive in a world that doesn’t often make you want to: a world overrun with both injustice and grief,” it’s also rarefied art drawn from grief. Tremulis offered frightful hints on his social media accounts of a fiercely incapacitating case of COVID, “and before he could begin to exit the haze of his monthlong fever, he was shocked back to life by the unexpected passing of his son. Out of his mind and uncertain how to proceed, ‘Rarified World’ took form, Tremulis’ way of returning to himself and holding memories of his son close,” the publicity for the album from Nicholas Tremulis and the Prodigals relates. The sardonic, propulsive video for “J. Paul Getty” was directed by Daniel Andries, shot by photographer Sandro Miller and edited by painter Matt Willis-Jones. Tremulis and his sixteen-piece band blend soul, R&B, funk and jazz, as is his custom, pushing at the envelope of what is taken as rock. On “J. Paul Getty,” Tremulis “recounts the infamy of an oil tycoon who refused to pay the ransom for his grandson, ultimately resulting in the youth’s suicide. As sax solos crash into disparate horns, an onslaught of imagery dances across the singer’s face: footage from ‘Birth Of A Nation,’ modern-day political figures, and split seconds of psychedelia warp his features into an absurdist tale of the evils of life and the cyclical inevitability of greed.” Have a look, have a listen here first.
Recording Engineer Steve Albini Hears Only One Reason For Retirement
Steve Albini talks definitions of success in a conversation with former schoolmate Neil Steinberg at the Sun-Times as well as retirement. “I have an organically-enforced retirement,” Albini tells Steinberg. “My hearing is going to go and at that point it would be irresponsible of me to keep working. My father’s hearing started going before he died. I’m already noticing in high ambient noise environments, I’m having a little trouble understanding conversational speech. I feel like my attention span and my acuity are still very good. This is a trick that I believe is sort of endemic in our industry; you compensate for any mechanical loss in hearing acuity which starts when you’re in your 30s. You focus your attention and use your powers to compensate for whatever small fractional loss in your hearing. I know a lot of engineers that did their best work in their 60s, so I’m not concerned, for the moment. But there will come a point when I won’t be able to hear well enough to do my job. That’s when I retire.”
Chicago Sinfonietta Announces Pay-What-You-Can Program
“Chicago Sinfonietta has stood for equity and access since our inception in 1987,” the group says in a release. Toward that end, the group is announcing a pay-what-you-can program. “Accessibility is a cornerstone of our mission,” says CEO Blake-Anthony Johnson and this program allows patrons to pay what they choose for a concert ticket, with prices starting at $5. Tickets are available starting September 6 for the first concert of the season, “New Folk” (September 18 and 20). “This is one of many ways Chicago Sinfonietta is working to create inclusivity within the musical arts, and within the Chicagoland area.” Details on the online-only tickets here.
Why Must The Show Go On?
“The pride-in-resilience, show-must-go-on attitude has started, at last, to be paired with other questions: Whose show? Why must it go on? Last year’s reckoning revealed the shoddiness of the American theater system: baked-in racism, pay scales that undershoot the cost of living, a rigid gerontocracy,” writes Helen Shaw at New York magazine. “So the theater is trying to rebuild itself into a more ethical shape, even as it’s trying to rescue itself from its greatest existential crisis. Thank goodness it’s a form accustomed to starting fresh with every show. But the audience also has its own work to do… Do we attend the flashy show that charges more than $400, or nah? Are we excited by the new young writers? Or are we going back to the old chandelier-swinging workhorses because it turns out we missed them? Do we value thought? Or technical wizardry? Or a tune? I’ve never actually experienced a New York theater that wasn’t distorted by the pressures of the tourist trade, and I’m eager to see what we can make of it. Even though we’re still all a little frightened, there’s a banquet laid out. So what do we want?”
Northlight To Produce “Songs for Nobodies” With Music of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf, Maria Callas
Northlight Theatre opens its season with” Songs for Nobodies,” written by Joanna Murray-Smith, directed by Rob Lindley, with music direction by Andra Velis Simon and featuring Bethany Thomas. This one-woman tour-de-force celebrates the iconic work of Judy Garland, Patsy Cline, Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Maria Callas. Featuring such favorites as “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Crazy,” and “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do,” “Songs for Nobodies” illuminates the power of song to share a story, heal a heartbreak, and inspire a dream, Northlight says in a release. “We missed the laughter, the gasps, the murmurs of audiences beginning to unwind the dramatic knot the playwright has tied. We missed the applause of appreciation for our work, and the observations at post-show discussions. It is the interaction between audiences and artists that fuels our passion for this art form; it is our oxygen, and in the last year and a half we have been fighting for breath,” artistic director BJ Jones says. “Songs for Nobodies” runs September 23–October 31 at Northlight Theatre, 9501 Skokie in Skokie. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Chicago Organizer And Storyteller Malik Alim Remembered As Builder Of Community
Community organizers are mourning the death of storyteller and activist Malik Alim, 28, who died in a boating accident, report Elvia Malagón and Evan F. Moore at the Sun-Times. “He was able to see a path forward,” [friend Kevin] Cao said. “He never gave up. He always stayed optimistic in an environment that really did not want him to be.” “A resolution mourning Alim was adopted by the Illinois Senate. He was lauded as a community organizer and storyteller who ‘cultivated and nurtured community where he went; he encouraged people to envision a better world and to unite together to make it possible.’ Alim worked as a campaign coordinator for the Chicago Community Bond Fund, organizing more than two dozen events leading to the passage of legislation that will end the cash bail system by 2023… Keisa Reynolds, the transitional executive director of the Chicago Community Bond Fund, said Alim was a thinker who was also a welcoming person and valued a sense of community.”
Brookfield Zoo To Vaccinate Its High-Risk Animals
Chicago Zoological Society veterinarians are administering a COVID-19 vaccine to animals at Brookfield Zoo. Veterinarians are vaccinating species known to be susceptible. The novel COVID-19 vaccine was designed specifically for animals. “The health and well-being of the animals at Brookfield Zoo is always our leading priority, and the threat of COVID-19 to humans and animals is interconnected,” Dr. Mike Adkesson, vice president of clinical medicine for the Chicago Zoological Society, which manages Brookfield Zoo, says in a release. “We know a variety of animal species can transmit and become sick from coronaviruses. Vaccinating animals is not only important for their own health, but healthy animals help keep humans healthy too. The health of humans, animals, and the environment are intertwined. Most emerging infectious diseases have an animal origin. Ensuring animals in professional care are protected from the virus is another step toward curbing the pandemic here in Illinois, the U.S., and globally.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]