Bears Sign Arlington Racecourse Purchase Agreement
“The Bears have taken a big step closer toward moving to Chicago’s northwest suburbs,” reports the Trib. “Days after the conclusion of what was likely the final racing season at Arlington International Racecourse, the NFL team signed a purchase agreement for the 326-acre property.” At the Trib, Bill Ruthhart on the financial implications of the owners creating and local government fashioning the Arlington Heights Bears. Mayor Lightfoot sounds resigned: “In a time where we’re going through a recovery from an epic economic meltdown as a result of COVID-19, we’ve got to be smart about how we spend taxpayers’ dollars and I intend to do just that… I would love that the Bears be part of our present and our future. But we’ve got to do a deal that makes sense for us in the context of where we are. I’m always focused on our taxpayers. Always, always, always. And maximizing the value for them.”
St. Nicholas Cathedral Looking For Money To Finish Restoration
Century-old St. Nicholas Cathedral in Ukrainian Village is undergoing extensive repairs, reports Block Club Chicago. “Administrators hope to finish by 2023 — if they can raise enough money.”
Refractory Design Line Launched
Refractory is a new American design brand, launching an inaugural forty-piece collection of artisan-crafted works. “The Chicago-based studio conceives, produces, and will purvey a range of rigorously crafted furniture, lighting and objects that introduce the studio’s distinctive language to American and contemporary design landscapes,” the brand says in a release. Refractory is Angie West from Texas, Alberto Vélez from Bogotá, and Tristan Butterfield from London, who collectively have worked with firms such as Holly Hunt, Tom Ford, Baker, McGuire, David Chipperfield and Studio Sofield, as well as artists such as Steven Haulenbeek, Paul Mathieu and Theaster Gates.
“The partners share a common sensibility, a fascination with materiality, a deep respect for craft as an integral aspect of design, and an obligation to participate in the shepherding of American making. They also share a sense that there were stories as-yet untold in design, both provocative and exploratory…. While inspired by the powerful and mysterious forces of nature, evolution, and transformation, the work also bears the mark of disciplined, classically trained designers… The studio’s debut collection includes consoles, dining tables, occasional tables, benches, lighting, and objects rendered from cast bronze, cast glass, solid black walnut, white oak, and cast resin. With nomenclature such as Promontory, Tributary, Okenite and Isthmus, the launch draws from a deep love and reverence for the terrain and geology of the frontier. Arid western formations, tectonic forces, and the rugged honesty of erosion all exemplify the harsh but sublime beauty of those that preceded us in civilization, a philosophical foundation for the studio’s ethos.” More here.
DINING & DRINKING
Portillo’s Plots 600 Locations Toward Global Chili
Portillo’s plans an initial public offering, reports the Sun-Times. “Most of Portillo’s sixty-seven restaurants are in the Midwest, though there are a handful in California, Arizona and Florida. The chain plans to increase the number of restaurants about ten percent each year to reach 600 restaurants in the U.S. in twenty-five years, according to the filing, [positioning] Portillo’s to expand globally.”
Inside El Milagro’s Tortilla Plants
A report from Jacqueline Serrato at South Side Weekly: “Workers feel as if they’re being worked like machines. ‘The machines are so fast that our hands are not quick enough to keep up… We try to do our best, but there comes a point where you say, “ya basta” (enough is enough), I can’t take it anymore. My arms, my back, my waist, are in pain,'” a worker told Serrato. “Jacinta Castro worked at El Milagro since 1979,” but “resigned because she was fed up with the mismanagement of the company… Castro said she noticed the work culture began to shift after the death of the founder, Raúl López, in the 1990s, who she said was hardworking and well-respected. She agreed that El Milagro overworks employees and has herself witnessed co-workers who have repeatedly fallen or hurt themselves and were expected to return to work.” More here.
Green City Market Lincoln Park Location Extends Outdoor Season
Green City Market has added three Saturday markets in Lincoln Park and will now run through November 20 on Saturdays from 8am-1pm. “Farmers will face another challenging winter season and so this outdoor extension is critically important to keeping them connected with shoppers,” GCM executive director Mandy Moody says in a release. “We don’t stop eating when the weather turns cooler and farmers don’t stop growing for us either. Delicious, nutritious, local food is abundant all year long. After our season extension ends, we’ll continue offering home delivery all winter long through our GCM Delivered program to keep farmers and those they feed connected.” More here.
Innertown Pub Fails Inspection; Closed
“The Innertown Pub has been shut down by the city after inspectors discovered a laundry list of building code violations at the popular dive bar” in Ukrainian Village, reports Block Club Chicago. The violations include “raw sewage leaking in the bar’s basement to hazardous electrical conditions… ‘There is so much extension cord wiring in the basement and 1st floor bar that it is, in fact, the primary mode of electrical wiring in this building,’ the inspection report said. ‘This is an Extremely Dangerous and hazardous condition. The bar has been closed and a ComEd disconnect has been ordered.'”
“Whole Foods Is Charging For Grocery Delivery—But Free Delivery Was Always A False Promise”
Eater Chicago looks at the new grocery delivery charges with Amazon Prime and Whole Foods: “The thing is, grocery delivery never should have been free in the first place. Or at least, not if the outcome is consumers thinking they have a right to groceries dropped on their doorstep, while workers during the pandemic face incredible pressure to meet demand, and risk their lives in return for paltry health protections and low wages. Labor costs money, and services like free delivery might be appealing, but they gloss over the working conditions for the shoppers and drivers who make it possible to have a bag of eggs and produce dropped off within hours (or as some now promise, less) of placing an order. While this new delivery fee might be an important reminder that ‘free’ delivery has always had a human cost, the actual humans doing the delivering aren’t receiving an increase in wages.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Patrick Wimp Named Program Lead Of Second City Film School
Cinematographer, director, writer and producer Patrick Wimp [Newcity Film 50] will be program lead of Second City Film School, reports Screen Magazine. “I want to help students get where they’re going faster,” Wimp says. “I want to teach them some of the things that I only learned through working in the industry.”
WBEZ, Sun-Times May Partner
“The Chicago Sun-Times and public radio station WBEZ 91.5-FM would combine ownership under an agreement that could be announced this week,” reports Robert Feder. “The board of Chicago Public Media, nonprofit parent company of WBEZ, is expected to vote on the plan in a closed meeting Wednesday night. Board approval is not assured, sources said, and the deal could still fall through.”
Primary mover? Michael Sacks, the paper’s principal investor since 2019. WBEZ reports an email from Chicago Public Media’s interim CEO Matt Moog: “I can confirm that we are currently exploring partnerships and opportunities with the Chicago Sun-Times to strengthen local journalism in the city and our region. These conversations are an important part of our commitment to serving Chicago and ensuring local news continues to thrive.” The Sun-Times: “Sun-Times CEO Nykia Wright emphasized in a memo to staff that ‘we are not close to any deal.'”
Chicago Tribune Managing Editor Out
“Months after an exodus of journalists at the Chicago Tribune through buyouts under new hedge fund ownership, the leadership shakeup continues,” reports Crain’s, as managing editor Christine Wolfram Taylor leaves the paper, according to an email sent to newsroom employees by executive editor Mitch Pugh.
Chicago Magazine Queries Fifty Years Of Chicago Reader
In a fists-in-pocket history of the Chicago Reader, Chicago magazine house query artist and former Reader writer Edward McClelland writes: “Despite the Reader’s twenty-first century struggles, it has outlasted many of its alt-weekly peers: Boston Phoenix, Village Voice, Minneapolis City Pages. Although its corpus has been reduced from a fat broadsheet to a slim tabloid, the Reader continues to occupy its own indispensable niche in Chicago journalism.”
Frank Sennett Elevated To Crain’s Director Of Research
“Frank Sennett, director of digital products and strategy at Crain’s Chicago Business and its counterpart publications in New York, Detroit and Cleveland, has been named director of research,” reports Robert Feder. Sennett will “develop, lead and create sales opportunities and products for the four-city unit of Crain Communications. Sennett, an acclaimed journalist, author and former editor of Time Out Chicago and Newcity, joined Crain’s in 2014 as director of digital strategy.”
Abdon Pallasch: Why Did No One Else Report On R. Kelly?
“It was 21 years ago that Chicago Sun-Times rock critic Jim DeRogatis and I started ringing doorbells around Chicago, inviting Kelly’s victims to speak to us. Our first story ran in the Sun-Times December 21, 2000,” writes Abdon Pallasch at the Sun-Times. “How did this sexual predator manage to get away with it all for 21 years? Over and over again, the victims told us: ‘Nobody matters less in our society than young Black women. R. Kelly was a hometown hero. Who was going to believe me?’ It was hard getting victims to talk to us when we started ringing doorbells. Some had signed non-disclosure agreements with Kelly and risked having to pay back hundreds of thousands of dollars if they agreed to be interviewed… We broke our first big story in 2000, revealing the accusations of girls who said that Kelly had lured them into sexual relationships when they were as young as fifteen and encouraged them to quit school. We braced for other media to jump on the story. It never happened.”
“As an artist, one who is gifted, I think [R. Kelly will] be welcomed back into Chicago as a person who can be redeemed,” Rep. Danny K. Davis told TMZ (via The Grio). “I’m a big believer in what is called second chances and I actually have a bill that we got passed called The Second Chance Act, which gives individuals the opportunity to be redeemed and to redeem themselves. So, it really will all depend upon him.”
Looking At “Soul Train”‘s “Legacy Of Black Joy”
At NPR, Sam Sanders, Hanif Abdurraqib and others look back at Don Cornelius, “Soul Train,” its founding in Chicago and its release via syndication fifty years ago.
Illinois Philharmonic Announces Composer-In-Residence
Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra announced Juilliard School graduate Jonathan Cziner the winner of their third annual Classical Evolve Composer Competition, a program conceived by IPO music director Stilian Kirov “as part of his vision to encourage the development of new musical voices and expand the canon of classical music for current and future generations.” Jurors for the event included Kirov and composers Kyong Mee Choi, Jim Stephenson and Augusta Read Thomas. Cziner’s “Four Lakes,” a traditional four-movement piece he describes as a “micro-symphony,” was declared as the winning composition and Cziner was named IPO composer-in-residence for the 2022-23 season. More on the orchestra here.
Hubbard Street Dance Announces Forty-Fourth Season
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago has set its forty-fourth season under the umbrella RE/CHARGE. After a year of virtual performances, the company will return to the stage to premiere works by critically acclaimed choreographers as well as to revive repertoire favorites. Hubbard Street kicks off with a world premiere by Jermaine Maurice Spivey, alongside the radiant “Jardí Tancat” by world-renowned Spanish choreographer Nacho Duato and the company premiere of Aszure Barton’s “Busk.” The fall series will run November 18-21 at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. “It’s thrilling to bring the company back to the stage,” Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, the newly appointed artistic director of Hubbard Street says in a release. “This is a prime opportunity to further our efforts to create a more accessible, exciting and diverse future for the company and combine contemporary dance with much-needed community-building in a post-pandemic world.” More here.
Reggio “The Hoofer” McLaughlin Receives 2021 NEA National Heritage Fellowship
Chicago’s Reginald “Reggio the Hoofer” McLaughlin, who takes his distinctive style of “hoofing” to theaters, classrooms, community centers and tap festivals throughout the U.S., received the nation’s highest honor in the folk and traditional arts: a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts. McLaughlin is the only Midwest artist and the only dancer among the nine 2021 honorees. The NEA National Heritage Fellowship recognizes recipients’ artistic excellence and supports their continuing contributions to our nation’s traditional arts heritage. Each of the nine recipients will be featured in a film debuting on November 17 on arts.gov. Upon learning he was a 2021 recipient, McLaughlin shared his motto: “If you are true to your art form, it will be true to you.” More here.
Redtwist Theatre Announces Season Eighteen
“The Humans” will open the 2021-22 season for Redtwist Theatre, and include Anne Carson’s translation of “Antigone.” More here.
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble Kicks Off Two-Year Twentieth Anniversary Celebration
Chicago Danztheatre Ensemble’s two-year, twentieth anniversary retrospective season will open with a live remount of its September 2003 production of “The Yellow Wallpaper,” choreographed and directed by executive artistic director Ellyzabeth Adler with the cast. This show will be performed on a split bill with RE|dance Group’s “The Attic Room,” choreographed by Michael Estanich. More here.
“Moulin Rouge!” Cast For Nederlander Theatre Premiere
Producers Carmen Pavlovic and Bill Damaschke have announced Broadway veterans Courtney Reed and Conor Ryan as Satine and Christian in the North American Tour of the Tony Award-winning Best Musical, “Moulin Rouge! The Musical” when the show premieres February 26 in Chicago at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. More about the original production here.
Shattered Globe Theatre Names Associate Artistic Director
Shattered Globe Theatre has announced Amber D. Montgomery as the company’s first associate artistic director and Emma Durbin as its marketing and community engagement director.“As a woman director and a lifelong supporter of emerging theater artists, nothing gives me more professional satisfaction than to have an opportunity to contribute to the careers of young, exciting women directors and playwrights,” producing artistic director Sandy Shinner says in a release. “The new perspectives they each bring to SGT will enrich our work and strengthen our organization. Amber, already active in Chicago as an excellent freelance director, will be a strong artistic voice in this new leadership role. Emma’s skills as an up-and-coming playwright will enhance our marketing and engage our community and audiences.” More on the theater here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Magazines, Other Mail Slowed On Purpose By USPS
“A U.S. Postal Service plan to slow down some of its mail deliveries goes into effect this week,” WGN-TV reports of changes approved by Postmaster Louis DeJoy as part of a larger plan to worsen quality standards for mail, which will affect publishers nationwide. “The USPS said earlier this month that the move, set to start Friday, would cut costs and increase reliability. The new service standards mean USPS will increase the delivery time for 39% of first-class mail and 93% of periodicals such as magazines. USPS will increase transit time by one to two days for first-class mail traveling longer distances. That means mail sent out of state will likely take five days instead of three days.”
Adler Planetarium Raises Nearly $1.5 Million With Virtual Celestial Ball
The Adler Planetarium’s twenty-seventh annual Celestial Ball, its biggest fundraising event of the year, raised nearly $1.5 million on Saturday, September 18. “Over the course of the last year, the Adler set out to create digital spaces where everyone on the planet could feel connected—to us, to each other, to the sky, and to the farthest reaches of our collective imagination,” the Adler writes in a release. “By creating innovative experiences and accessible opportunities, the Adler Planetarium’s impact now reaches further than ever.” Adler president and CEO Michelle B. Larson says. “The Adler’s mission has always extended outside the walls of our building. We connect people to the universe and each other, anywhere they are. Our ability to deliver on that promise, combined with the generous support of our global community, made this year’s virtual gala a resounding success.” More here.
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