A Virtual Lecture By Shirin Neshat, Visiting Professor at SAIC
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago 2021–22 Bill and Stephanie Sick Distinguished Visiting Professor Shirin Neshat offers a virtual lecture and Q&A on October 12, which is free. Registration is here.
Hindman Auctions Sets Record With Martin Wong Painting
Hindman Auctions set a world auction record for Martin Wong’s “Persuit (El Que Gane Pierde – He Who Wins Looses)” (1984), which sold for $1.1 million in its Postwar & Contemporary Art Auction. Offered with an estimate of $500,000-$700,000, the work saw competitive bidding and received interest from museums and private collectors, with a U.S. institution emerging as the winning bidder. “Persuit (El Que Gane Pierde – He Who Wins Looses)” was the top lot in the auction and was among seven auction records set in the sale. The work is acrylic on canvas and measures forty-eight by seventy-two inches. Zack Wirsum, Hindman’s senior specialist for postwar and contemporary art, expressed satisfaction that “the work is going to an institution where it will continue to have widespread attention and can educate the public about the specialized magic of Martin Wong.” Wong, a stalwart of the East Village art scene of the 1980s, was “an openly gay man of Chinese ancestry, found acceptance in the open-minded hippie counterculture while working mostly in ceramics and performance art. Wong earned the most recognition in the Bay Area for his draftsmanship, as well as the nickname Human Instamatic for his ability to crank out $7.50 portraits at street art fairs. It was not until moving to New York’s Lower East Side in 1978 that he turned to painting as his primary creative expression.”
DINING & DRINKING
Trib Says Esmé $200 Tasting Menu Worth It
Trib food critic Nick Kindelsperger tastes Esmé, but he’s also into the bowls and industrial processes: “Just know there’s not much time for gawking when you first walk in, as you are whisked to a standing table where a server presents you with a glass of Drappier Carte d’Or Champagne, or the preferred nonalcoholic beverage of your choice. Shortly thereafter, three tiny canapes show up, including a crunchy cylinder affectionately known as the ‘cheeto.’ (This led to a whole other research hole, as I tried to figure out how a kitchen of Esmé’s size created something like this. Turns out they adapted a grain extruder with a 6-horsepower motor.)… [T]he pierogi also arrives draped in black truffle shavings, which get lost in the mix. I love truffles as much as the next food critic, but unlike the Mother of Pearl bowl, which upended traditional caviar presentation, this seems more like an excuse to justify the price tag.”
Adorn Bar Announces New Lead Mixologist
Adorn Bar & Restaurant at the Four Seasons Hotel Chicago names Slava Borisov, a 2021 Diageo Top 50 US Bartender honoree and Siberian native, as lead mixologist. “We are delighted to welcome Slava to Adorn Bar & Restaurant,” Stephen Wancha, Four Seasons general manager says in a release “He brings extensive high-end beverage industry experience to Adorn, and we know his creativity, expertise and leadership behind the bar will further support our property’s commitment to cultivating and celebrating craftsmanship and connections.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Filmmakers Chosen For Chicago International’s First CIX:LAB
Chicago International’s yearlong creative development track for Chicago-area narrative features in the works has announced its first five filmmakers. “After many years of giving filmmakers a platform through The Pitch, we’re very excited to give them more in-depth and substantive support for their projects through CIX: Lab,” Chicago International Film Festival senior programmer Anthony Kaufman says in a release. “At next year’s pitch event, they’ll be more than ready to go and make some incredible Chicago-made films.” After receiving close advising and preparation throughout the year, the projects will be unveiled publicly at The Pitch at Industry Days at the 2022 Chicago International Film Festival. There, filmmakers will pitch their projects in front of a live audience and a panel of industry judges as well as have private meetings with producers, financiers and distributors. The diverse films include comedy “The Predicament,” writer-director Andre Muir, co-writer Jake Hutton; undead “The Orchestra,” Curtis Matzke; “All Things Considered,” James Choi [Newcity Film 50], in which a Korean mother helps her son with depression; Hannah Welever’s “Beards,” in which “queer best friends Gwen and Gordon moonlight as a straight couple to survive a family reunion”; and “A Real One,” by McKenzie Chinn [Newcity Film 50], about the revelation of a teen’s secrets in a South Side high school the week before graduation. More here.
Eric In The Offing? Ferguson’s Co-Host Alleges “Unbearable” Conditions At The Mix
Report Tracy Swartz and Christy Gutowski at the Trib: Eric Ferguson’s former co-host Melissa McGurren wrote in a December complaint to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission: “I contend that Eric Ferguson is a serial abuser of women and that for many years, the management of The Mix has protected Ferguson in allowing him to continue in perpetrating his misconduct that goes far beyond the limits of decency despite ample notice from me and many of my co-workers that Ferguson’s behavior is unlawful.” … “The amended defamation suit against Hubbard includes details of McGurren’s ongoing efforts to seek compensation through the EEOC complaint and an arbitration process. McGurren’s complaints were added to the suit as evidence that station management ignored Ferguson’s alleged behavior.” Late Tuesday: “While embattled Radio Hall of Famer Eric Ferguson faces allegations of misconduct from a growing number of former co-workers, he’ll be off the air at least” through the end of October, reports Robert Feder.
“What We Lost When Gannett Came To Town”: The Decline Of The Hawk Eye Of Burlington, Iowa
“Even The Hawk Eye’s most passionate detractors would still cut out the articles about their granddaughter’s softball team and stick them on the fridge,” writes Elaine Godfrey of her hometown paper in The Atlantic. “The Hawk Eye isn’t dead yet, which sets it apart from many other local newspapers in America. Its staff, now down to three overstretched news reporters, still produces a print edition six days a week. But the paper is dying. Its pages are smaller than they used to be, and there are fewer of them. Even so, wide margins and large fonts are used to fill space. The paper is laid out by a remote design team and printed 100 miles away in Peoria, Illinois; if a reader doesn’t get her paper in the morning, she is instructed to dial a number that will connect her to a call center in the Philippines. Obituaries used to be free; now, when your uncle dies, you have to pay to publish a write-up.”
Details Leak On Potential Sun-Times-WBEZ Merger
Unanswered questions posed at Axios Chicago by Monica Eng: “What’s the future of the Sun-Times in print?; How does WBEZ explain buying a financially troubled newspaper weeks after hiking staff health insurance rates and a year after laying off a dozen staffers?; How does a paywall square with public media values to provide free content to all?”
Members Of Cheap Trick Play Ravenswood Backyard Set
“Cheap Trick’s Rick Nielsen, along with his son Daxx, who plays drums for the beloved band, surprised a small crowd at a backyard concert—even joining the scheduled band” for “Voices,” and “I Want You To Want Me,” reports the Sun-Times. “The scene was the home of music lovers John Culver and his wife Kathy Tynus, who during the pandemic found a way to provide some income to bands while providing themselves and their friends a safe way to get their music fix—by hosting small groups at Culver’s home” in Ravenswood. “They asked their guests for voluntary $20 donations to the bands, providing a boost to musicians largely cut off from playing anywhere else. Andi Aguilar, a staffer for local Ald. Matt Martin said because the fee isn’t mandatory, the concerts are on private property and the shows end by 10pm, no permit is needed.”
Vinyl Revival Stymied By Vinyl Shortage
Small record labels face yet another crisis: “There are just a few pressing plants of meaningful size globally, so there is little capacity for smaller labels who might need only several hundred to a few thousand records pressed for a single release,” reports the Observer.”The huge jump in demand – global sales of vinyl are up by more than 700% in the past decade… is coupled with typical… shortages such as a lack of [truck] drivers and hikes in customs costs. [T]here is also a lack of PVC after a storm in February halted Texan petrochemical plants, and a fire in 2020 at a lacquer plant in California left only one factory in Japan making the master discs that records are cut from.”
A&A Ballet Presents “The Art Deco Nutcracker”
A&A Ballet announces “The Art Deco Nutcracker” for its fifth annual performance on December 4 at the Athenaeum Theatre. Set in 1920s America and performed by young talent including gymnasts and dancers from American Ballet Theater, Houston Ballet and Bolshoi Ballet, the storyline is reworked to feature added scenes and characters, all inspired by the Art Deco era. “The Art Deco Nutcracker” is Alexei Kremnev’s eighth full-length ballet, and presents a new take on the beloved holiday tradition featuring Tchaikovsky’s score. More here.
Cast And Creative Team Of Porchlight Music Theatre Revisit “Nunsense”
Porchlight Music Theatre announces the launch of its eighth season of Porchlight Revisits. This series celebrates the rarely seen musicals of Broadway, off-Broadway and beyond. “Nunsense” is the first attraction, for three performances only on November 17 and 18 at The Ruth Page Center for the Arts, 1016 North Dearborn. Three-show discounted Porchlight Revisits subscriptions are available with single tickets for $49 here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Chicago America’s Best Big City?
Condé Nast Traveler magazine Readers’ Choice Awards for the fifth year names Chicago America’s Best Big City. “It’s no wonder Chicago is topping this list yet again. A world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs, and massive brewing scene, it’ll take several repeat visits to get through your list of must-dos. Most people start downtown—from the Magnificent Mile to the ritzy Gold Coast to funky Old Town—but there are seventy-seven neighborhoods to explore, where you’ll find cutting-edge restaurants, chilled-out corner bars, and, no matter where you go, some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.”
Hedge-Funder (and Cultural Donor) Ken Griffin, State’s Richest Man, From Citadel Of State’s Costliest Condo ($59 Million), Says Chicago Is “Like Afghanistan”
“Hedge fund billionaire Ken Griffin [claims] he personally saw ‘twenty-five bullet shots in the glass window of the retail space’ in the building he lives in, adding that someone ‘tried to carjack the security detail’ that sits outside his house,” reports the Sun-Times. “Billionaire Ken Griffin, founder and CEO of the hedge fund Citadel, hinted… that he might move his company’s headquarters from Chicago, saying the crime makes the city more akin to a war-torn country. ‘It’s becoming ever more difficult to have this as our global headquarters, a city which has so much violence,’ Griffin said. ‘I mean Chicago is like Afghanistan, on a good day, and that’s a problem.’ … Griffin owns a $59 million Chicago condo, the most expensive in the state, according to Forbes.” Quotes the Sun-Times: “It just tells you like how deep crime runs in this city. There is nowhere where you can feel safe today walking home at 9:30 at night and you worry about your kids coming to and from school. That’s no way for our city to exist.”
Author Of Forthcoming Book On Postal Service Looks At Postmaster General’s Ongoing Slashes
Christopher W. Shaw, author of “First Class: The U.S. Postal Service, Democracy, and the Corporate Threat,” writes about the damage to the nation wrought by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy: “Although the Postal Service exists to serve everyone equally, the coming changes in delivery standards will hit certain areas of the country hardest, notably the Pacific coast. Yet westerners deserve the same first-class mail service as the rest of the nation, not second-class treatment. The Postal Service faces serious challenges arising from unique financial burdens mandated by Congress, technological changes, and decades of underinvestment in its infrastructure. Reducing service will only discourage use of the U.S. Mail. Such a course of action does not offer a sustainable path forward for the Postal Service. Unfortunately, after more than one year as postmaster general, the tenure of DeJoy remains unimaginative at best and destructive at worst… DeJoy claims that lowering service standards offers an outstanding opportunity to cut costs because hauling mail overland on trucks will prove cheaper than using air transportation. Lost in this short-term calculus is the cost to American citizens and to the health of the Postal Service in the long run. Degrading standards of service and discarding competitive advantages is not a formula for long-term relevance.”
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