Threewalls Announces New Team Members
“We at Threewalls have been working on building our capacity as a Blk-led, ALAANA-focused art organization,” the group announces in their newsletter, and introduce co-directors of programs Lasondra Kern and Adia Sykes. “As our work continues to evolve and blossom, we are mindful of what is needed to execute our programs and scaling them up without burning out the team. This is one reason for creating a shared leadership approach to the position.” The co-directors “share individual and collective responsibility of Threewalls’ programs, engagements with artists, and our community. They, in partnership, oversee all aspects of programming in addition to the fellowship initiatives.” More here.
Open House Chicago Returns This Weekend
“One of Chicago’s unique weekends returns to an in-person event,” reports WGN-TV. “Marking its eleventh year, Open House Chicago is one of the largest architecture festivals in the world and remains free and open to the public.” Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center tells WGN: “We are excited to bring back one of the city’s biggest events for the fall season. Open House Chicago 2021 is now a month long. We’re excited to have your in-person weekend building festival back on October 16-17, featuring more than 100 sites once again throughout the city.” Here’s Block Club Chicago’s coverage of Open House. More details at the CAC site, including a downloadable app.
A Visit To Theaster Gates’ Kenwood Gardens
Theaster Gates is interviewed by Corli Jay at Chicago magazine: “I read that Kenwood Gardens is a $4.5 million project. What will it look like when it’s finished in 2025?” “So the area that we’re sitting in now, I’d like that to be a sculpture garden. And I’d like artists from all over the world to want their work here in this garden. We want to partner with organizations that are interested in growing food. Some portion of the space could be used for growing food and employing an employee in the community. And then we want artists to be able to occupy this space directly. Our hope is to build three studios where artists can work and then have the garden as their backyard.”
A First Official Look Inside The Former Tribune Tower’s Million-Dollar Condos
Chicago magazine has a thirty-five picture gallery: “Countless journalists have passed through the doors at 435 North Michigan. From famous Pulitzer Prize winners to humble copy editors, they often worked into the wee hours and pecked away at stories that played out on the streets below the crowned Tribune Tower. But the Chicago Tribune (and Chicago Magazine, which is owned by Tribune Publishing) left the building in 2018 and the bustle of the newsroom has since been replaced by the far slower pace of luxury condos. For between about $900,000 and $7 million a pop, you too can live where William Mullen covered voting irregularities, Mike Royko penned columns, and Gene Siskel critiqued films. You can TiVo episodes of ‘The Real Housewives’ where journalists once recorded history.” (As well as be near those passages where latter-day bosses like Randy Michaels were less well-behaved.)
Remembering The Shuttered Standard Club
Ron Grossman has a personal reminiscence of the defunct Standard Club at the Trib: “While Chicago was on lockdown, the Standard Club folded without the sendoff due a bastion of high society. There was neither a black-tie banquet nor a final masked ball at the exclusive 151-year-old club. A band didn’t play ‘Auld Lang Syne’ on May 1, 2020. Yet chapters in Chicago history were written in its ten-story quarters at 320 South Plymouth Court. It hosted a fifty-fourth birthday party for Albert Einstein and kept the University of Chicago from being stillborn. As I frequented the Standard Club in its golden age, allow me to offer a belated eulogy. In the 1950s, I was a florist’s gofer, delivering bridal bouquets and centerpieces to wedding and bar mitzvah venues. This one was different.”
DINING & DRINKING
Creepy Cocktails and Special Views at 360 Chicago
Through October 31, the 360 Chicago Observation Deck at the former Hancock Building introduces TILT Terror Nights with special tickets that include admission from 6pm until close, a terrifying ride on TILT, and a creepy cocktail (or mocktail) from BAR 94. Creepy Halloween cocktails at BAR 94 include “Buffy’s White Russian,” with house vodka, Kahlua, half-and-half, infused with pumpkin spice flavor and garnished with a stake through a marshmallow heart with cherry “blood” and a Cranberry Zombie, with three types of rum—white, dark and spiced—with pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine, dried cranberry brains, sugar eyeballs and passion fruit blood. Details here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Are Studios Adding Weekend Workdays In Anticipation Of Work Stoppage?
“In response to our strike deadline announcement this week, we are getting reports some studios are scheduling unplanned sixth and seventh days and additional overtime,” claims the IATSE Twitter account. “It is SHAMEFUL that during a negotiation focused on unsafe hours and other abusive working conditions, some AMPTP companies are intentionally choosing to risk the health and safety of our members to serve their own selfish interests. It highlights the urgency of our issues.” More here.
Music Box “Sound Of Music” Sing-A-Long Tickets Go On Sale Today
The Music Box Theatre “Sound of Music” Sing-A-Long returns for six showings, Friday, November 26 -Sunday, November 28. Along with the film with on-screen lyrics so everyone can sing along, there’s a pre-show costume contest and “interactive fun packs.” Tickets are on sale Friday, October 15 at noon here.
Illinois Humanities And National Endowment For The Arts Announce 2021–2022 Big Read Program
Illinois Humanities, in partnership with Arts Midwest, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Haitian American Museum of Chicago, the Blue Island Public Library, and the Brighton Park Public Library, will host the free community book group and event series “Rememory: haunting, trauma, and historical fiction” between November 2021 and April 2022. The series is part of and funded by the NEA Big Read initiative. Programming and events will showcase three novels: Toni Morrison’s “Beloved”; Octavia Butler’s “Kindred”; and Alejo Carpentier’s “The Kingdom of This World.”
The Atlantic Takes Pulse Of Alden Global Capital’s Chicago Tribune
McKay Coppins is relentless at The Atlantic in his descriptions of the dilemmas faced by the Chicago Tribune, its workers and readers: “To find the paper’s current headquarters one afternoon in late June, I took a cab across town to an industrial block west of the river. After a long walk down a windowless hallway lined with cinder-block walls, I got in an elevator, which deposited me near a modest bank of desks near the printing press. The scene was somehow even grimmer than I’d imagined. Here was one of America’s most storied newspapers—a publication that had endorsed Abraham Lincoln and scooped the Treaty of Versailles, that had toppled political bosses and tangled with crooked mayors and collected dozens of Pulitzer Prizes—reduced to a newsroom the size of a Chipotle… The hollowing-out of the Chicago Tribune was noted in the national press, of course. There were sober op-eds and lamentations on Twitter and expressions of disappointment by professors of journalism. But outside the industry, few seemed to notice. Meanwhile, [the] remaining staff, which had been spread thin even before Alden came along, struggled to perform the newspaper’s most basic functions. After a powerful Illinois state legislator resigned amid bribery allegations, the paper didn’t have a reporter in Springfield to follow the resulting scandal… ‘They call Alden a vulture hedge fund, and I think that’s honestly a misnomer,’ [former Metro reporter Charlie] Johnson said. ‘A vulture doesn’t hold a wounded animal’s head underwater. This is predatory.'”
Failed Trib Bidder, Hotel Mogul Bainum, Plans Banner Against Baltimore Sun
Maryland hotel mogul Stewart Bainum, Jr. is planning a rival to The Baltimore Sun, reports the New York Times. “The planned digital news outlet, The Baltimore Banner, will have an annual operating budget of $15 million, and Mr. Bainum is looking to hire an editor-in-chief and a staff of fifty journalists, the newspaper consultant Imtiaz Patel, an adviser to Mr. Bainum, said.”
Questions About The Reader’s Fifty-Year Celebration Issue
“I’ve been on the receiving end of it enough to know that it’s fruitless to nitpick about what’s left out & what’s gotten wrong about a story you know more intimately than the reporter,” Martha Bayne writes on Twitter. “But a few thoughts about this Chicago Reader history. It’s an institutional history & as such it’s fair to rely on the founding fathers <ahem> as primary sources. But I find it… perplexing that the most prosperous, lucrative period of the Reader’s history is glossed as a bunch of (mostly) nameless women carrying out Roth’s vision. I cannot overstate, as someone who was there, the degree to which the owners were uninvolved in editorial ops during that period of bounty, and how much the editorial vision evolved. But what really strikes me, in reading this, is how much of the texture of life at the Reader is missing. There is a reason so many people loved working at the Reader, and never left. It was a blast; an exhausting, challenging, creative joyous project. It was fucking fun, in other words. And when you’re not making much money, it better be. I don’t know who or what got left on the cutting room floor, but talk to any former staffer not up in the executive suite… and that will be blisteringly clear. Also: the omission of longtime art director Sheila Sachs, who took over from McCamant in the early 90s, from this story is unforgivable… ” Jessica Hopper: “The lack of Kiki Yablon in this history is wild to me… the Reader’s ‘golden’ era was under the watch of Kiki Yablon, Alison True, Martha Bayne and Phil Montoro. Those women/editors were the only ones who gave me real opportunities there.”
Indicted For Murder Of Rapper FBG Duck: C Thang, Los, Muwop, Kenny Mac, C Murda
Five alleged street gang members were charged in last year’s murder of Chicago rapper FBG Duck, according to a federal indictment, reports NBC News. “Charles Liggins, also known as ‘C Murda,’ 30; Kenneth Roberson, also known as ‘Kenny Mac,’ 28; Tacarlos Offerd, also known as ‘Los,’ 30; Christopher Thomas, also known as ‘C Thang,’ 22; and Marcus Smart, also known as ‘Muwop,’ 22, are charged with murder in aid of racketeering and federal firearm violations and assaults in aid of racketeering. A statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office Northern District of Illinois said the five men, members of the O-Block street gang, ‘publicly claimed responsibility for acts of violence in Chicago and used social media and music to increase their criminal enterprise.'”
Muddy Waters Kenwood Home Landmarked
“The Kenwood home, which also hosted music legends Howlin’ Wolf and Chuck Berry, was one of three projects to receive landmark status Thursday,” reports Block Club Chicago. “City Council also approved landmark status for a group of four buildings in Lincoln Park at the corner of North Halsted and West Willow, described as a ‘gateway’ to the neighborhood.” The Monastery of the Holy Cross, 3111 South Aberdeen in Bridgeport, was also granted landmark status.
Newberry Consort Celebrates Holidays With Seventeenth Century Mexican Christmas Music
The Newberry Consort returns to live performances with its annual holiday “A Mexican Christmas” concert, in three separate events. “‘A Mexican Christmas” transports audiences back to seventeenth-century Mexico City at Christmastime, as a cast of nearly thirty musicians recreates the singing of cloistered nuns soaring over the walls of their convent and filling the square, and a street band plays villancicos—joyful folk music of praise and celebration. The concerts are December 2, 3 and 5 in Chicago’s River West neighborhood, Little Village neighborhood and Evanston. The music is from both Old and New Spain and features villancicos by Juan de Padilla from the Puebla Cathedral Archives, as well as other manuscripts, researched and edited by the Newberry Consort’s artistic directors. Exuberant singing and rarely heard instruments including the bajón (Spanish baroque bassoon), leona (large guitar from Veracruz) and the quijada de burro (a percussion instrument made from a donkey’s jawbone), will bring the sounds of a Mexican Christmas to Chicago. Tickets here.
Victory Gardens Theater And The Chicago Inclusion Project Announce Inclusive Casting Initiative
The Chicago Inclusion Project (TCIP) together with Victory Gardens Theater has announced a season-long collaboration: the companies will partner on an inclusive casting process for Victory Garden’s 2021-2022 season, offering Chicago theater artists access to roles from which they might traditionally have been excluded. The Chicago Inclusion Project will handle casting for “Queen of the Night,” “In Every Generation,” “cullud wattah,” as well as the Ignite Chicago reading series and 20/50 Play Festival. “When offered the chance to work with incoming Artistic Director Ken-Matt Martin, The Chicago Inclusion Project’s casting team was thrilled,” TCIP founder Emjoy Gavino says in a release. “Victory Gardens Theater has always been a hub for innovation, accessibility and conversation, which is why we began our company’s journey in their space.” Victory Gardens artistic director Ken-Matt Martin says, “Victory Gardens’ commitment to new work extends beyond the page to include theater artists both on and off stage. To nurture new and upcoming talent, an inclusive and equitable casting process is essential. Our partnership with TCIP will ensure our continued forward motion as we strive to strengthen the Chicago theater community and create art that is a true reflection of the diverse audience we are proud to serve.”
Auditorium Theatre Announces 2022 Student Matinee Series
The Auditorium Theatre student matinee series will feature three hourlong shows for students in grades K-12: the concert “Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah”; an energetic folkloric dance performance by Ballet Folklórico de México de Amalia Hernández; and a presentation by the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. “I am greatly looking forward to welcoming students back to our historic venue in 2022,” Auditorium Theatre CEO Rich Regan says in a release. “Many of these young people are experiencing the power of a live performance for the first time, and we are hopeful that for many this will spark a lifelong love of the performing arts.” Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE
The Third CONNECT South Shore Is This Weekend
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area #42 have partnered with Eric Williams to host CONNECT, a two-day arts festival on the South Side. From noon to 7pm, both days will feature activities including live art, DJs, vendors and an outdoor skating rink. This year’s event is a nod to the Chicago Architecture Biennial theme, “The Available City.” The festival will be in a vacant lot, moving most of the activity outdoors with more family-oriented activities for kids, including a farmer’s market, interactive live art space and a Chicago Public Library free book table pop-up. “CONNECT is a South Shore festival series at the intersection of visual + performing art, designed objects, film, music, fashion and literary culture, allowing the audience the opportunity to explore and engage with leading-edge contemporary art and design constructed and curated by some of Chicago’s leading artists and art institutions.” Details here.
Chicago Postal Woes Get Friday House Hearing
“Chicago area members of the Illinois Congressional delegation have for months now been pressuring the Postal Service — run by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy, a Trump appointee — for improvements,” reports Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times. “Rep. Mike Quigley, D-Ill., a member of the committee, said in a statement, ‘In Chicago, USPS service standards have plummeted, with First-Class mail designated for three-to-five-day delivery arriving on time only 75.7% of the time’ and since the beginning of the year, Quigley ‘has heard from over 1,000 of his constituents who have been receiving mail only a few times per week, with some going a week or more without any mail delivery at all.’ The hearing will examine the root causes of these service delays and how the Postal Service plans to address them, while highlighting the need for… congressional oversight.”
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