Tanya Aguiñiga Named Twenty-Sixth Annual Heinz Award Winner
The Heinz Family Foundation has named visual artist Tanya A. Aguiñiga as a recipient of the twenty-sixth Heinz Awards for the Arts, which annually recognize a handful of outstanding individuals with a $250,000 unrestricted cash award. “Tanya Aguiñiga’s visual artworks blend contemporary craft, sculpture and performance to address issues of migration, gender and identity. Born in San Diego and raised in Tijuana, Aguiñiga draws on her life experience as a binational citizen, who as a child crossed the border daily from Tijuana to San Diego to attend school,” the group relays.
“Aguiñiga’s work speaks of the artist’s experience of her divided identity and aspires to tell the larger and often invisible stories of the transnational community. Often incorporating cotton, wool and other textiles, Aguiñiga blends traditional Indigenous weaving practices and materials and contemporary design into elaborate and colorful works that hang on walls, form immersive performance installations, incorporate film and more. ‘My hands translate and record human emotion through craft,’ says Ms. Aguiñiga. ‘My arms and back labor in movements, from large-scale textile projects to recorded performance pieces that center the immigrant experience and amplify marginalized voices so we may find more humane ways of being.’ She adds: ‘Using my skills and techniques as a craftsperson, I create dynamic, lively works that offer touchstones for me and others on which to begin new ways of community building and healing.'”
Teresa Heinz, chairman of the Heinz Family Foundation says, “Through her installations, visitors are called to learn and to make deeper connections with people whose lives and cultures are often misrepresented because they feel unfamiliar. In the true spirit of the Heinz Awards, she demonstrates both artistic excellence and a body of work that is grounded in compassion for others.” Aguiñiga is represented by Volume Gallery, Chicago.
Jeff Bezos Gives $100 Million To Obama Foundation
It’s the largest chunk of change yet turned over to the Obama Foundation; $100 million from one of the world’s richest men, Jeff Bezos, reports the Sun-Times. “As part of the deal, Bezos… asked for the plaza in the Obama Presidential Center to be named for the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights icon who died in 2020… As with most institutional fundraising, the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park is using naming rights as a carrot for donors. The center will have a museum tower, plaza, a Chicago Public Library branch, a forum and a combination athletic/meeting center. There is also the potential of naming rights for exhibits within the museum. PowerPoint PDFs with naming rights opportunities—and the donation amount required—were sent to donors and potential contributors.” This marks only a modest portion of the fundraising goals: After the Obama Presidential Center groundbreaking, the Obama Foundation released the names of its $10 million mega-donors from corporations and foundations with Chicago ties. “Earlier this year, Valerie Jarrett announced a $1.6 billion fundraising goal. The funds are for building the center in Jackson Park at a cost of about $830 million; an endowment of an unspecified amount; plus money to pay for domestic and global programs.”
A Further Look At Chicago, Loo-less City
When it comes to public restrooms, writes Courtney Cobbs at Streetsblog in a survey of the history, “the United States is an outlier among industrialized countries, and not in a good way. Almost every [other] industrialized country… provides an adequate to abundant number of public restrooms.”
City Council Approves Affordable Housing Development In West Pullman
The Chicago City Council has approved rezoning for a residential development at 517 West 119th in West Pullman. The new building will replace a vacant lot next to a small one-story structure, reports YIMBY. Rezoning will allow developer West Pullman LLC to move forward with a HED Architects-designed affordable-housing apartment building.
Edith Farnsworth House Holiday Tours Return
“Edith Farnsworth’s Holiday House” finds the iconic Edith Farnsworth House “brightly dressed for the holidays in midcentury color and kitsch!” These tours are the last chance to see the temporary refurnishing of the house, circa 1955. “Edith Farnsworth Reconsidered,” a two-year celebration of the life and legacies of Dr. Farnsworth ends December 19. Beginning Friday, November 26, guided tours will be offered Friday-Sunday at 11am and 1pm through Sunday, December 19. Tickets for the $25 tours are here.
DINING & DRINKING
Labor Shortages Lead To Fat Turkeys
“Labor shortages at meatpacking plants prompted many turkey suppliers to extend the birds’ lifetimes before slaughtering and processing them. So there are more big turkeys—sixteen pounds and up—than smaller ones this year,” reports Axios. “Labor shortages and global supply chain issues… pushed the cost of a turkey ‘through the roof’ this season, Andrew Neva, owner of Northwest Meat Co.” told the Sun-Times. “Our meat industry is built on putting as many people as you can in a facility as tightly packed together and breaking down animals as fast as possible. If you don’t have the resources and people to meet that volume, it’s a recipe for disaster.”
Boka Converting Southport Lanes Space To Three Restaurants
“One of Chicago’s most successful restaurant groups, Boka, plans [to open] three restaurants in Lakeview inside the 118-year-old former bowling alley space that belonged to Southport Lanes,” reports Eater Chicago. “Boka should debut all three over the summer, but the company is only ready to reveal details about one of its entries. GG’s Chicken Shop, a fast-casual pop-up that debuted during the pandemic as a ghost kitchen operating out of the Boka’s Michelin-starred namesake in Lincoln Park, will serve fried chicken sandwiches, salads, and more. Executive chef Lee Wolen is kind of a chicken whisperer known for his roast chicken at Boka.”
Black-Owned Restaurants Earned More Than $1 Million On Juneteenth
“Black-owned restaurants in Chicago and Atlanta successfully generated more than $1 million on Juneteenth, meeting the goal set by Black People Eats, an Instagram account and database that highlights hospitality businesses owned by African Americans, according to the group’s founder,” reports Eater Chicago.
Ever Ranks Second On Esquire’s Best New Restaurants In America List
Write the editors, “Chef Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser’s fantastical slow burn of a tasting menu… even with the serious modernist hijinks, is delicious and playful. (Yes, that’s Matthew McConaughey reading from his memoir on the bathroom’s speaker.) The pairings of esoteric wines are downright magical, an extra dimension to what feels like a mellow acid trip.”
Fooditor Flicks Fat Rice Flak
“I figured that writing about Fat Rice last week would result in the same kind of flak that I got for doing it last summer—if less of it, as the moment of anger directed at chefs last summer seemed in many ways rooted in the concerns and even panic that the pandemic raised in its earliest days, which has surely subsided,” writes Michael Gebert. “Well, clearly it’s not enough for some of these people for me to say that they don’t have to read it—they think I had no business writing it, as well… Forget Fat Rice, I think there’s an interesting story about the post-pandemic restaurant business there, that you haven’t read before—and that’s all the justification that I need for writing it. Telling the reader factual things they don’t know yet is kind of the point of journalism; if you find a conflict between actual reporting, and obeying the party line of the social media mob… well, let’s just say I could not disagree more… To me, all this has the air of too much reporting on politics today—it exists not to uncover truth, but to hype whatever helps one side and bury whatever helps the other. I’m sorry if part of the audience sees food writing as properly following this kind of Fox vs. MSNBC dynamic. Though maybe it’s not that surprising when so much of food media does take a promotional tone about restaurants.” More.
Retailers Contest Goose Island Availability
“Goose Island will release its iconic family of whiskey barrel-aged Bourbon County beers on Black Friday, and that means two things: fevered reaction from beer fans and frustrations among some small retailers across Chicagoland,” writes Josh Noel at the Trib. “A handful of small-scale beer stores say a lack of access to the most-coveted Bourbon County brands has compelled them to stop selling the annual release—or any Goose Island beer at all.”
Alpine Biergarten Returns To Long Grove
Buffalo Creek Brewing in downtown Long Grove brings back its Alpine Biergarten and other special events and releases. Alpine Fest, running November 26-28, “takes a page out of its German-rooted handbook with its Alpine Biergarten and Lodge concept. After a successful inaugural run last year, the brewery will transform its picturesque grounds once again into an alpine winter retreat throughout the cold months. Set against a scenic pine forest backdrop, the Alpine Biergarten features fire pits, patio and barrel table heat lamps, throws and apparel to stay warm, twinkle lighting, holiday décor, outdoor table service, and over two acres of winter wonderland to explore. During opening weekend, the Chicago Culinary Kitchen food truck will be on-site serving up Texas-style BBQ. BCB will expand its Alpine concept with the introduction of the Alpine Lodge, a cozy German winter lodge atmosphere for those who prefer to stay indoors.” More here.
The Goddess And Grocer Makes Home Hanukkah Meal
For the Goddess and Grocer’s takeout Hanukkah meal, highlights include Bite Size Potato Latkes; Braised Brisket; Beef Tenderloin; Roasted Butternut Squash Ravioli; Classic Noodle Kugel; a cookie decorating kit with icing-dreidels, menorahs and a star of David with blue, white and yellow icing; Sufganiyot, bread, dinner rolls and braided challah. There are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options as well as sommelier wine selections. Place orders by Tuesday, November 23 at noon here or via Tock.
FILM & TELEVISION
NewFilmmakers Los Angeles and WarnerMedia OneFifty NewNarratives Award Chicago Filmmaker Jim Vendiola
NewFilmmakers Los Angeles, supported by WarnerMedia OneFifty, announced the final selection of its NewNarratives artist grant program, “which was created to support and develop emerging global storytellers,” NFLA says in a release. The NewNarratives inaugural grant award for 2021 has been set at $40,000 and will be awarded to filmmaker Jim Vendiola [Newcity Film 50] for the development of his narrative feature, ‘Argus,’ the story of a disaffected private eye who is hired to reinvestigate the case of a missing teen long thought to have run away. Shifting point-of-view between the detective, an obsessive killer, and the pre-abduction life of the victim in question, ‘Argus’ is a subversive, BIPOC, female-driven reimagining of 1970s neo-noirs.” A worldwide call for submissions prompted over 200 entries, including feature narrative, documentary, animation, and scripted and unscripted series. The applicant pool was fifty-three percent female, thirty-four percent LGBTQ+ and four percent non-binary. Ethnic diversity consisted of thirty-three percent Caucasian, twenty-eight percent Latinx/Hispanic, twenty percent Black, thirteen percent Asian/Pacific Islander, six percent Indigenous/Native, five percent Middle Eastern. More from Deadline. (Newcity’s Chicago Film Project has a development deal with Vendiola for another film, “Homesick.”)
Out-Of-Town “Proud Boys” Join Downers Grove “Gender Queer” Battle
The Sun-Times confirmed that members of a far-right group attended a school board meeting in Downers Grove last week. “One allegedly called a student who spoke in favor of the book a ‘pedophile.’ When a group of conservative Downers Grove parents organized this year to oppose mask mandates and equity initiatives at schools, it led to some tense school board meetings in the western suburb… Students at Downers North and Downers South high schools said they didn’t see a big impact on their lives until the parents sought to remove a graphic novel by a nonbinary author from the school libraries over concerns it included a few sexually explicit illustrations—a fight that caught the attention of the Proud Boys, a far-right gang that has… seized on the culture wars playing out at school districts around the country.”
Evanston Cartoonist Adapts Six Diaries From Pre-World War II Yiddish-Speaking Teenagers
“Of the six [stories] recounted in [the graphic novel] ‘When I Grow Up,’ most of their authors died soon after writing. They were Jewish and living around Eastern Europe. World War II would start shortly,” writes Christopher Borrelli at the Tribune. “Ken Krimstein, New Yorker cartoonist and Evanston resident, came across these notebooks a few years ago.” In 1932, the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research “created a series of ethnographic studies that doubled as competitions. At a time when asking a teenager’s opinion of the future seems frivolous, they asked Yiddish-speaking youth (roughly ages 13 to 21) to write about their lives in notebooks. To offer hints of the future. Sex, politics, family—nothing was off-limits. To ensure candor, entries were anonymous, coded obscurely so the prize (about $1,000 in 2021 U.S. dollars) would find its winner. YIVO got 700 entries, full of angst, love, confusion and ambition. The one problem: The winner was set to be announced on Sept. 1, 1939. And Germany invaded Poland that day.”
Chicago Writer Mary Beth Hoerner Anthologized
Among the dozens of stories in the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop book, “Sisters! Bonded by Love and Laughter,” which highlights stories about sisters, is a contribution by local writer Mary Beth Hoerner, who takes on the experience she had with her older sister in the 1960s in a piece called “The Glue of Sisterhood.” Hundreds of writers from around the world sent in stories for the prize; their essays were judged by a panel of established humor writers and essayists, who selected twenty-one winners, including Hoerner.
Alden Global Capital’s Latest Takeover Target: Lee Enterprises
“Alden Capital continued its drive to own as much of the American newspaper industry as it can with a bid Monday to acquire Lee Enterprises, a publicly traded chain of seventy-five daily newspapers and several hundred other outlets,” reports Poynter. “Lee’s largest papers include the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Arizona Daily Star, The Buffalo News, the Omaha World-Herald and the Richmond Times-Dispatch.” Press release here: “We believe that as a private company and part of our successful nationwide platforms, Lee would be in a stronger position to maximize its resources and realize strategic value that enhances its operations and supports its employees in their important work serving local communities. Our interest in Lee is a reaffirmation of our substantial commitment to the newspaper industry and our desire to support local newspapers over the long term. Accordingly, we propose to purchase Lee for $24 per share in cash, representing a substantial premium of approximately thirty-percent to Lee’s closing share price of $18.49 on November 19, 2021. We have the ability to fully finance this all-cash proposal and the definitive merger agreement will not include a financing condition.”
$10 Million Grant Lands For Chicago Investigative And Enterprise Reporting
Chicago’s Better Government Association, the nonprofit investigation journalism and government watchdog organization, and McCormick Foundation have formed the Illinois Solutions Partnership, with a $10 million grant for investigative and enterprise reporting, writes Robert Feder. It’s “the largest gift in its ninety-eight-year history… Over the next five years, the grant will be used to more than double the investigative and enterprise reporting staff of the BGA and broaden its mission to encompass ‘solutions journalism'” across multiple platforms.
Chicago Latino Theater Alliance Holiday Extravaganza Crosses City
“Think of it as Christkindlmarket, with a Latino flavor and vibe,” advises the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance (CLATA), which is adding Latino flair to Chicago’s free, outdoor holiday entertainment offerings by introducing “Destinos al Aire, A Holiday Extravaganza!,” launching Friday, November 26 at Millennium Park, then Friday, December 3 at the Humboldt Park Boathouse, as well as Friday, December 10 at Harrison Park in Pilsen. On Friday, November 26 at 6pm, CLATA will kick off the 2021 Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along Series with “Destinos al Aire: Posadas y Parranda.” Cuerdas Clásicas will perform Mexican Christmas posada classics, and the Frankie Diaz Trio featuring Milly Santiago will get everyone in the holiday spirit with Puerto Rican parranda and trulla traditions. More events here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Dispensary 33 Stores Selling for $55 Million
A Florida-based pot giant is planning to buy two popular Chicago weed stores in a blockbuster $55 million deal, the Sun-Times reports. “The stores in Uptown and West Town are being sold to Miami-based Ayr Wellness, which grows and sells cannabis across multiple states.” Regulatory approval is being sought.
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