National Museum Of Mexican Art Receives Art Dealers Association of America Foundation Grant
The ADAA Foundation named six recipients of 2021 grants, including the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, reports Artforum. “The grants are aimed at small and midsize museums, which typically receive less funding than their major counterparts, and are earmarked for programs that advance art historical scholarship, expand museum accessibility, and increase engagement with local communities… The National Museum of Mexican Art will fund a bilingual app in aid of families of children with autism and intellectual development disabilities.”
Dont Fret Opens DIY Throwback Gallery
“Chicago street artist Dont Fret hopes people feel at home when they visit his Wicker Park gallery space—at least in part because the gallery is located inside Fret’s actual home, an apartment on Damen Avenue filled with vintage furniture and family mementos in addition to the art on the walls,” observes Time Out Chicago. “Inspired by his upbringing amid Wicker Park’s DIY scene as well as time spent living in an artist commune in London, Fret aims to fuse elements of art, food and culture at the half-gallery, half-apartment space, which he’s named Home Away From Home.” 1141 North Damen.
Pigeons Flock To Murals
“Pigeons are often maligned as flying vermin,” reports the Sun-Times. One of several murals “celebrating the humble pigeon can be found along the art-filled 16th Street railroad retaining wall on the edge of Pilsen. It features one in hues of gray, black and green with a halo-like ring around its upper body and… the words: ‘God has made me fruitful through my afflictions.’ That painting was by the artist known as MATR, who added the phrase because of a conversation with his wife’s grandmother. ‘[He] had just had a good talk with my grandma about life and what we give and receive from it. He had that quote in his head for a good month. And, at that moment, after he painted the pigeon, he just hung back with me, looking at the mural, and he repeated it out loud, and he just went and wrote it on there.’”
Two Uptown Properties Sell For $17 Million
Local concern Mavrek Development closed a deal selling two of its Uptown properties for $17 million, a near-record, reports The Real Deal. “While Uptown historically hasn’t been known for luxury apartments, that’s started to change in recent years as renters look farther north in the city and seek new-construction communities in neighborhoods where vintage buildings are more typical,” Joe Smaza of Interra Realty, which represented Mavrek, tells TRD.
Applications Open In February For Pritzker Traubert Foundation’s $10 Million Chicago Prize For Entrepreneurs
“A contest to win $10 million from a charitable foundation [returns] in 2022, giving South and West side entrepreneurs the chance to score big on their dream projects,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The Chicago Prize, granted by the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, aims to support Black and brown Chicagoans by turning development projects into catalysts for economic growth in the community.” The application period is February 15-March 1. “The Chicago Prize is designed to meet communities where they are; provide access to networks, grants and feedback to advance their vision that is customized to their needs; and infuse initiatives with significant resources,” Cindy Moelis, president of the Pritzker Traubert Foundation, says in a statement.
Supply Chain Issues Cause Headstone Shortage
“Headstones are made out of granite, which has to be extracted from the ground, cut to shape, engraved, polished, and, eventually, set in place… The pandemic has done a number on how long it takes that process to be completed,” reports WGN-TV. “The quarries are having their problem with the worker shortage, we are having the problems with getting it from the quarries because of those reasons,” WGN quotes a Joplin, Missouri granite merchant. “’Because of the situation with COVID and the excessive deaths, it is a complete supply and demand issue.’ He says it could take two years for the process to go back to the pre-pandemic time frame, and, because their suppliers have had to resort to transporting the stones out of the quarry themselves, it may only be a matter of time before prices are affected.”
AIA Chicago Honors AIA National President With Presidential Citation Award
“The AIA Chicago has honored one of its own with a Presidential Citation Award,” reports Archinect. AIA national president Peter Exley was recognized for his work advancing the architectural profession begun more than three decades ago when the young Exley began at the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. “Exley was commended by chapter president Jessica Figenholtz for his ‘spirited service to the Institute and our profession; advocating for diversity, equity, and inclusion; leading the architectural charge against climate change; and representing Chicago with the upmost professionalism.'” Exley served as president of the Chicago chapter in 2013 “and has since risen to the highest national position within the organization after being named the AIA National President in 2020. Exley has lectured at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago for twenty-nine years and keeps an office in the city through his firm Architecture is Fun, which was founded in 1994 [and] named the 2017 AIA Chicago Firm of the Year.”
DINING & DRINKING
List Of Planet’s Hundred-Best Bars Yields A Single Chicago Saloon
Expanded Outdoor Dining Extended Through 2022
“The City Council’s Transportation Committee agreed to extend until December 31, 2022, a program that allows restaurants and bars to place tables on sidewalks, in private parking lots and in the street,” reports the Sun-Times. “The program allowed 500 restaurants and bars to put tables on sidewalks, private parking lots and in the street to serve patrons still skittish about dining and drinking indoors.”
Renato “Ron” Turano, Seventy-Nine, Leader Of Turano Baking Co.
Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times reports on the passing of a Chicago food pioneer as well as a two-term Italian senatore, who represented 200,000 Italian expatriates in the United States and 150,000 in Canada, the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico.
Rosebud Extends Empire To Millennium Park
Rosebud Restaurants, founded in 1976, “unveiled a new flagship location in Prudential Plaza,” reports Eater Chicago. The three-level building on Randolph Street “includes an enclosed rooftop that overlooks Millennium Park [and] each floor features different styles of dining, Italian Village-style.” Rosebud Randolph supplants the former Tavern at the Park and their “designers have stripped the space of its moody aesthetic, replacing the mottled marble bar and dark paneling with spacious white upholstered booths and light wood. Huge windows running along the walls fill the dining rooms with light.”
Monday Coffee Dates Garfield Park Conservatory
Monday Coffee Co., from South Side natives Amanda Christine Harth and Felton Kizer, are serving specialty coffee drinks at the Garfield Park Conservatory for the next three months in a partnership with the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance to provide an on-site café. The Conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance says in a release, is “one of the largest conservatories in the U.S. with its lush displays of plant life from all over the world and curated exhibitions and flower shows.” Monday Coffee Co. launched in October 2020, months into the ongoing pandemic. “Harth and Kizer are no strangers to working in unconventional spaces and are well-versed in bringing unique coffee experiences to unexpected venues. Their expertise in delivering their ready-to-drink cold brew to people’s homes and their residencies at Soho House Chicago and Currency Exchange make them perfectly suited for an extended pop-up. Monday Coffee Co. offerings include their signature cold brew, teas, and The Good Day, a combination of cold brew, oat milk and house-made lavender syrup.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“Chicago Made” Film Production Initiative Launches
The mayor’s office and the Chicago Film Office at the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events announced an initiative to strengthen Chicago’s TV and film industry. A “Chicago Made” workforce development program and public awareness campaign are based on recommendations from the city’s COVID Recovery Task Force. “This initiative will play an important role in the resurgence of our city’s TV and film industry, which remains one of the largest and most diverse in the country,” Mayor Lightfoot says in a statement. “Chicago’s growing film industry not only ranks our city first in the Midwest for production, it also highlights the diverse culture and immense talent found throughout our seventy-seven neighborhoods.”
The Chicago Film Office has partnered with management consulting firm XD-TECH “to deliver an innovative workforce development program that aims to transform the region’s TV and film workforce—by offering job training and placement to Chicago residents ages twenty-four to fifty, primarily from underserved areas of our city, to help meet the industry’s increasing demand for skilled workers. Many of the positions are entry level and do not require a college degree, including carpenter, costumer, grip, lighting tech, production assistant and set decorator. Twenty-five participants will be selected for the first group, across twelve career strands. Over twenty industry partners will provide training and other supports for the program.” Chicagoans who are interested can learn more, including eligibility criteria and prerequisite requirements for this free program here. Applications are due by December 15.
Chicago Independent Producers Lab Application Open
The 2022 Chicago Independent Producers Lab application is open. This annual program seeks to build networks and skills for emerging Chicago producers. The next information session is Wednesday, December 15, 6pm. Representatives from Full Spectrum Features and the Chicago Film Office will discuss how to improve applications, which are due January 14, 2022. More here.
6,150 Journalist Jobs Eliminated During Pandemic So Far
The Tow Center, for the Columbia Journalism Review, found that more than 6,150 news workers were laid off throughout the first eighteen months of the pandemic. “And that’s likely an undercount.” A thread here.
DJ P-Lee Fresh Was Fifty-Four
“Chicago hip-hop pioneer Parker Lee Williams, who went by the name DJ P-Lee Fresh,” was fifty-four, reports the Sun-Times. “The New York City native, who also went by the name Parker Lee, started out as the founder of a Chicago crew of graffiti artists known as the X-Men… They were an offshoot of a storied New York crew. He was still a teenager when he helped open the hip-hop club STEPPS. It operated in the mid-1980s at 6459 North Sheridan.”
“Get Back”: “What Would Terri Hemmert Think?”
“You know Aunt Terri, the beloved radio disc jockey whose soothing voice has been a fixture on WXRT-FM (93.1) for almost half a century. For nearly two decades, Terri Hemmert has hosted Breakfast with the Beatles on Sunday mornings and been dubbed ‘Chicago’s #1 Beatles Fan,'” writes Neil Steinberg at the Sun-Times. Hemmert tells the columnist: “I’ve been waiting for it. Anticipating it for a long time… It’s a gold mine… Really marvelous, it’s really great. Some of these things were available as bootlegs and were barely listenable… George Martin’s son did a marvelous job of taking the tapes and cleaning them up.”
Lyric Opera Renews Freud’s Contract Through 2026
“Anthony Freud will continue as Lyric Opera’s president, CEO and general director through 2026,” reports Chicago Classical Review. “A company spokesman confirmed… that the Lyric Opera board of directors quietly renewed Freud’s contract [in October] for another five-year term earlier this year, giving the controversial administrator a clear vote of confidence.”
Mike Birbiglia Brings New Show Downstairs To Steppenwolf
Comedian and storyteller Mike Birbiglia brings to the Steppenwolf stage a tale of life, death “and a highly chlorinated YMCA pool,” the theater relays. “With his unique form of comedic storytelling, Birbiglia’s ‘The Old Man and the Pool’ chronicles a coming-of-middle-age story that asks the big questions: Why are we here? What’s next? And what happens when the items at the doctor’s office that you thought were decorative become quite useful?” Directed by Seth Barrish, ‘The Old Man and the Pool” runs April 28-May 22, 2022 in Steppenwolf’s Downstairs Theater. Single tickets $55-$75 here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Investigation: State-Approved Weed Wack
The Sun-Times rolls a tray of reports on an investigation of Illinois’ tainted cannabis: “What happened with tainted weed state regulators found last spring raises questions about regulation of the state’s booming industry and the high-priced, high-taxed products on dispensary shelves. Last spring, Illinois dispensary workers and consumers noticed there was mold in a popular brand of pre-rolled marijuana joints… But the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, which regulates state-licensed marijuana dispensaries, never told the public. It didn’t warn consumers they might have bought tainted weed.” How could tainted legal weed harm you? A sidebar: “Most of those failed samples were cannabis flower—the dried plant material that’s smoked. It usually flunked for having too much mold or yeast. About ninety percent of the flower samples that failed at least one microbiological test were flagged for excessive mold or yeast. Nearly thirteen percent of cannabis flower tested—330 samples—failed two or more microbiological tests.” The paper’s consumer guide to cannabis labeling is here. Tenor of responses from the purveyors of weed: “They say the marijuana they grew was fine when it was tested soon after harvest.”
Bally’s Bronzeville Casino Proposal Hits Obstacle
“Bally’s Corp. plans to build a $1.6 billion casino resort at the Marshaling Yards on Chicago’s South Side could be derailed by a 2017 agreement the land owner made with another developer,” reports Chicago Business Journal.
Why Aren’t There Any Federal Reservations In Illinois?
“Unlike many states in the Midwest, including Michigan, Wisconsin and Iowa, Illinois doesn’t have any federally recognized tribal lands. Yet all around the state, in the names of cities, rivers, streets and sports teams, there are reminders that we are living on land where Native Americans once farmed, traded and made their home,” reports Robert Loerzel at Curious City. “By the time Europeans first explored the region in 1673, Native Americans had long been settled in villages all around the area. So why aren’t there any federal Indian reservations in Illinois? (The term federal Indian reservation is used by the U.S. Department of the Interior).”
St. Lucia Festival of Lights Tonight In Andersonville
The Swedish American Museum celebrates St. Lucia Day on Monday, December 13 with a candlelit procession at 5pm from the Museum north down the sidewalks of Clark Street, highlighted by children singing “The Lucia Song,” dressed in long white robes. The choir will also perform at 5:30pm on Catalpa between Clark and Ashland. More at the St. Lucia Festival of Lights page.
Billionaire Ken Griffin’s Son: “You Have To Buy The Constitution”
Brookfield Zoo Loses Mexican Wolf Sibi
The Chicago Zoological Society relays that in consultation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Mexican Wolf Recovery Program and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Mexican Wolf Species Survival Plan that Sibi (pronounced see-bee), a nine-year-old female Mexican wolf at Brookfield Zoo, was humanely euthanized. Veterinary examinations and a CT scan showed significant deterioration of a front leg joint that could not be repaired surgically or managed with pain relievers. Sibi was born in managed care in Mexico in 2012. She was transferred to the Endangered Wolf Center in Missouri from Mexico, where staff noticed she was limping. An exam revealed foreign particles in her wrist and several areas of her body. The particles turned out to be buckshot, which could not be safely removed. Sibi had been shot prior to her arrival at the EWC. “It is upsetting to think of an endangered wolf being illegally shot inside what was a protected area in Mexico, but this is the harsh reality wild wolves live with every day,” Joan Daniels, curator for mammals for CZS, says. Sibi produced four litters—two at the EWC and two at the USFWS’s Sevilleta facility in New Mexico. “She was a true ambassador of the hardships that Mexican wolves face in the wild. Her survival and perseverance as an attentive and caring mother were inspiring,” says Daniels.
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