“Ray Johnson c/o” Forwarded To Art Institute
“Dubbed New York’s most famous unknown artist, Ray Johnson was a pioneer of mail art, a groundbreaking figure in the worlds of Fluxus and Conceptual Art and an early Pop artist whose use of celebrity imagery heralded Andy Warhol’s own appropriation in the 1960s,” the Art Institute relays in an announcement. “Indefinable and prolific, he circulated much of his work outside official channels, questioning the boundaries of where and when art occurred. On view from November 26, 2021 to March 21, 2022, ‘Ray Johnson c/o’ brings together more than 200 works from across the artist’s multidisciplinary practice in the most exhaustive exhibition of Johnsoniana in over two decades. Emphasizing collaborative authorship as key to the artist’s perennial self-reinvention, ‘Ray Johnson c/o’ draws from the recently acquired William S. Wilson Collection of Ray Johnson—the original archives of the New York Correspondence School, an international mail art network established by Johnson in 1963. Johnson’s informal group of friends, acquaintances, and strangers would engage in what some have called a ‘postal performance’ that eventually spread across the nation and around the globe. That web of choreographed communication included creative exchanges with NYCS archivist Wilson and secretary Toby Spiselman, publisher Dick Higgins, and, among others, artists Karl Wirsum and Robert Warner, the latter the recipient of Johnson’s ‘Bob Boxes,’ which entered the Art Institute’s collection in 2020. ‘Ray Johnson c/o’ spans the breadth of the artist’s oeuvre. ‘Ray Johnson c/o’ encompasses the artist’s wide-ranging virtuosity, reflecting his belief that art transcends physical limitations, the restraints of time, or even identifiable goals.” More.
Weinberg/Newton Gallery Announces Virtual Programming
Weinberg/Newton Gallery (688 North Milwaukee), the non-commercial gallery dedicated to promoting social justice causes, has announced two virtual programs on October 21 and November 8, featuring MacArthur Fellows Wendy Ewald and Amalia Mesa-Bains. The programming is in affiliation with Weinberg/Newton Gallery’s collaboration with the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago as an exhibiting gallery for the multi-venue exhibition “Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change, and the MacArthur Fellows Program at 40.” The installations at Weinberg/Newton feature commissioned works by Mesa-Bains and Ewald. “Ewald and Mesa-Bain’s projects provide a glimpse into the historical and contemporary realities of life within the Latinx communities of Chicago and beyond.” Weinberg/Newton’s participation in the exhibition will run from September 24 through December 18. More here.
Chicago Tribune Tours Former Chicago Tribune Tower And The Amenities Provided To Million-Dollar Condos
“Tribune Tower Residences are complete. Feelings too complex for a Tweet,” tweets Chris Jones. “Stepping inside the historic Tribune Tower… one is faced with a lot less construction, and a lot more polish,” reports Darcel Rockett at the Trib. “A seventy-five-foot indoor lap pool on the seventh floor (south wing), with a sun deck and terrace beneath the Chicago Tribune sign, adjacent to an outdoor and grilling area? … A third-floor gathering space for residents that overlooks Nathan Hale Court in the front and offers a one-third-acre private park in the back? … Catering kitchen, lounging, gaming, and dining area… Lounge area amid the neo-Gothic spires on the twenty-fifth floor with 360-degree views of the city, complete with fire pits, outdoor grilling, chef’s kitchen and herb garden? …’All these potted plants are actually herbs, so instead of going to Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to get your rosemary, just come to floor 25,’ said Shannon Gibson-Giampa, Tribune Tower Residences sales consultant.”
The Struggle To Preserve Hyde Park’s Tenth Church Of Christ, Scientist
“A former church in Hyde Park commands attention. But despite its outward beauty, owners have struggled to redevelop the building,” reports WBEZ.
CTA Conversion To Electric Buses Moves Along
Chicago will “convert all buses to be electric-powered by 2040. The rollout began in April of this year, with nine buses,” reports Free Spirit Media. “With over 2,000 operating busses, Chicago has one of the largest public transportation systems in the U.S.” More details at the link.
Does Iowa Crisis Presage Cities And States Running Out Of Water?
“On an unseasonably warm day last month, I stood atop a concrete valve that inhales millions of gallons of river water and spreads it through the faucets, showers and lawn sprinklers of some 600,000 people around Des Moines, Iowa. Thanks partly to climate-related weather changes, that water is now at risk,” a report by Adam Minter at Bloomberg opens. “Just around a bend from where I was standing, the sandy river bottom was exposed, due to a second consecutive year of drought; below me, at the lip of the intake, a film of gray-black foam and a hint of algae undulated near the water’s surface. This unplanned-for combination—extreme weather and surging pollutants—is imperiling water supplies well beyond Iowa. The troubles here reveal a long-term and insidious threat to many cities: a quality crisis that emerges as water ebbs and heats up, boosting the concentration of agricultural waste and micro-organisms. Across the U.S., communities that once took clean, safe water for granted are having their expectations upended by climate change. Without meaningful efforts to address the problem, more American towns and cities will face crises just like this one.”
Streets & San Man Fan Of Ten-Cent Deposit On Cans
“Chicago’s newly appointed Streets and Sanitation commissioner, Cole Stallard, embraced the idea of adding a ten-cent deposit to the cost of bottles and cans,” reports Fran Spielman. “You’re putting all of these different water bottles, pop bottles, detergent, cups, straws [into landfills]. Where does it stop? … It’s time that these manufacturers using all of these things … that fill up landfills just work with folks like us and explore different options.” Writes Spielman, “Stallard fondly recalled the pocket change he earned as a kid after returning empty glass bottles of Coca-Cola to the grocery store in his Southeast Side neighborhood. ‘That was kind of an allowance for us. My mom would say, ‘Wash out the pop bottles because I don’t want to have ants all over the basement, and you take ’em back.'”
Former Chicago Joe’s Location Becomes Multi-Use Development
The Committee on Zoning approved rezoning for a mixed-use development in North Center, replacing an existing building which housed Chicago Joe’s and its parking lot on the corner of West Irving Park and North Oakley, reports YIMBY.
DINING & DRINKING
Coalfire Couldn’t Open From Lack Of Workers
On Sunday afternoon, Coalfire tweeted, “We are closed today. I simply do not have enough people to open. In nearly 15 years of selling pizza, this has never happened. I am sorry for any inconvenience this causes anyone. I look forward to being back open on Tuesday. Thank you for your support.”
Original Rainbow Cone Comes Up Pumpkin
The Original Rainbow Cone has introduced a rainbow of new flavors, including limited-time seasonal offerings. The ice cream shop is welcoming a pumpkin-flavored ice cream, available by the scoop or as a shake. The seasonal ice creams will also be available for delivery on Rainbow Cone’s website. The new menu will also introduce new year-round flavors like blueberry pie, birthday cake and salted caramel pretzel, which join favorites like New York vanilla, butter pecan and cookie dough and the five flavors—orange sherbet, pistachio, Palmer House, strawberry and chocolate—that make up the shop’s iconic Rainbow Cone. The seasonal pumpkin ice cream cone also joins the menu of Rainbow Cone’s ice cream trucks. More here.
Former John Barleycorn Space To Hold Huge Wrigley-Adjacent Pot Shop
“Sunnyside Lakeview, a dispensary owned by Chicago-based cannabis giant Cresco Labs, will move three blocks south along Clark Street to a large building formerly occupied by John Barleycorn,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The Zoning Board of Appeals granted Cresco Labs’ a special-use permit to sell medical and recreational weed at 3524 North Clark… Cresco officials said during the meeting they anticipate being able to accommodate 2,000 customers a day at the new location, up from the 1,200 it typically sees at its current spot.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Film Worker Contract Still To Be Approved By Union Members
“It’s not a done deal,” reports the Los Angeles Times of the IATSE-AMPTP contract proposal. “About 40,000 union members from 13 Hollywood locals must still approve the pact. Although union leaders expect a majority of members will support the proposed three-year contract, some IATSE members on social media lamented that the proposals didn’t go far enough. Several members said 3% annual raises were unacceptable when the inflation rate this year is 5.4%. Others argued the deal wouldn’t entirely eliminate grueling workdays. ‘I’ve had too many people weeping on the floor of my office in exhaustion,’ costumer designer Terry Dresbach said in an interview. Although she’s awaiting more details and unsure how she will vote, Dresbach said she’s leaning toward voting no. ‘I’m not seeing any improvement for quality of life for people.'”
Twenty-Seventh Black Harvest Film Festival Sets Slate
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gene Siskel Film Center has announced the full festival schedule for its Twenty-Seventh Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, which will be virtual and in-person at the Film Center Friday, November 5-Thursday, December 2. The festival’s monthlong showcase of Black stories will feature twenty-eight features; thirty-six shorts; free panel discussions; and tributes to Gordon Parks and Melvin Van Peebles. The festival will feature over twenty-five separate in-person and virtual filmmaker and cast appearances. Closing night: a thirtieth anniversary screening of Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever” on 35mm. Individual tickets and festival passes are here.
Early-bird Tickets For FACETS’ Thirty-Eighth Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival
FACETS’ Thirty-Eighth Annual Chicago International Children’s Film Festival, one of only two Oscar-qualifying children’s film festivals in the world, returns virtually, with limited in-person screenings November 5-14. “Each year, the CICFF is proud to present a diverse selection of high-quality films for children, teens, and adults, featuring over 250 films from forty countries. Since 1984, the CICFF has carefully curated films from around the world that break new ground in their approach to storytelling, offer unique or seldom-heard points of view, and demonstrate artistic and technical mastery.” Early-bird tickets here.
Remembering Timuel Black
From WBEZ’s notice: “Timuel Black liked to tell the story of how he arrived in Chicago. When he was eight months old, he looked around at the oppression in his Birmingham, Alabama birthplace and said, ‘Shit, I’m leaving here.’ His mother said to his father, ‘That boy can’t even change his diapers — we’d better go with him.'” The New York Times’ obituary for Black is frank about the Great Migration: “When he was an infant, his parents moved to Chicago, hoping to find better work opportunities and to escape the terror of Southern racial oppression.”
Common Unveils Music Program At Stateville
Common is spearheading Rebirth of Sound, a music production program at Stateville, reports the Triibe. “Rebirth of Sound is the first of its kind at an Illinois Department of Corrections facility. It aims to rehabilitate incarcerated people by teaching them the ins and outs of music production, songwriting and audio engineering.”
Sweary Second City Mainstage Show Tells Crowd To Stifle Bigoted Scene Suggestions
“The actors open the revue with friendly waves and then a blunt declaration that ‘we’re fucked!,'” reports Darel Jevens at the Sun-Times. “(It’s the first of many naughty words in a show with a serious swearing problem. Artful cussing has been a Second City staple ever since Del Close dropped the f-word the day after the JFK assassination, but in this show the profanity is seldom there to enhance the joke. It’s meant to be the joke. And the joke gets old.)” As for audience suggestions: A sing-a-long ending “seems fitting for a kinder, more inclusive Second City, where audience members now are told individually, face to masked face, before the show that bigoted suggestions aren’t welcome. That’s a goal that’s noble, and surely can coexist with being smarter and funnier.”
Athenaeum Center For Thought And Culture Announces Plans
The newly formed Athenaeum Center for Thought and Culture, home to Chicago’s oldest continuously operating off-Loop theater, announced its reopening under new leadership with “a reinvigorated mission and a renewed commitment to the community.” The building at 2936 North Southport will undergo a $4 million renovation, to include a state-of-the-art events space on the ground floor. The Athenaeum will offer a unique, state-of-the-art event space in the heart of Chicago for pre- and post-show events, conferences, lectures and other gatherings. The event space, designed by John Ronan Architects, is expected to be completed in the spring of 2022. The hardwood space will hold up to 168 seated guests and will include a bar and AV systems. Renovations to the historic Main Stage Theatre, as well as new black box studios designed by Charcoalblue are planned for coming years as part of a broad philanthropic endeavor. More here.
Performers Announced For ICONS Gala Honoring Chita Rivera
Porchlight Music Theatre’s ICONS Gala honoring Chita Rivera and the Bayless Family Foundation will be held this Wednesday, October 20 at Galleria Marchetti with NBC5’s Matthew Rodriques as host and includes a cocktail reception, three-course dinner, presentation of awards, an onstage conversation with WGN’s Paul Lisnek and performances directed by artistic director Michael Weber. Attendance requires advance purchase of tickets; single tickets are available for $350. The VIP meet-and-greet ticket is $500 and includes an exclusive cocktail reception with Ms. Rivera in attendance. Sponsorships are available for $5,000, $10,000 and $15,000, including tickets for up to ten guests. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
3Arts Awards Nearly $1 Million To Chicago Artists
3Arts, the Chicago-based nonprofit grantmaking organization, will award Chicago artists with nearly $1 million in unrestricted cash grants during the fourteenth annual 3Arts Awards, live on YouTube on Monday, November 1. The virtual event is free to the public. (Registration here.) Since 2007, 3Arts has supported more than 1,200 artists—representing seventy-percent women artists, sixty-seven-percent artists of color, and fourteen-percent deaf and disabled artists—and distributed $4.5 million in grants and services. 3Arts will be awarding 134 artists including ten 3Arts Awards recipients who will receive $30,000 in cash grants; 121 artists selected by past 3Arts awardees will receive $4,000 each in unrestricted grants, through a major one-time expansion to Make a Wave—3Arts’ artist-to-artist grant program—with support from Make a Wave Presenting Partner The Joyce Foundation; recipients of the second annual 3Arts Next Level/Spare Room Award—a $50,000 unrestricted cash award given to three women visual artists who are past awardees. These announcements—together with $230,000 in emergency relief grants given to 3Arts artists in 2021—make this the largest award year in 3Arts history. “Our annual celebration is a call for our community to give more, do more, advocate more, and invest more in the creative heart of our city,” executive director Esther Grisham Grimm says in a release. More here.
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