“Sincerely… Lee Godie” At Carl Hammer
“Forty-three years ago, on the eve of the grand opening of the Carl Hammer Gallery on North Michigan, a first-time encounter with Chicago’s iconic street artist took place,” the gallery relays. “Twenty-eight years since her passing, Carl Hammer Gallery takes a look back at the remarkable, inventive eye of one of Chicago’s most widely collected artists. In 1968, Lee Godie, a homeless person, appeared on the steps of the School of The Art Institute of Chicago and began hawking drawings and painted canvases to the visitors of the museum. Proclaiming herself a ‘French Impressionist’ and equal to the likes of Monet, Manet, Degas, and Cezanne, Godie established a ubiquitous presence throughout downtown Chicago. In whatever way it was that she wanted herself to be identified, she produced and sold her art while living on Chicago’s streets, establishing for herself and her artwork a distinctively significant presence. In evaluating her art production of several decades, as an artist and icon, it is impossible to separate the way she lived from her sense of urgency to create. Driven by her zest for life, her tough constitution to survive and sell her art on the street, Lee Godie creatively, successfully, transcended the unpleasantness of living on the street driven by a remarkable will, and a passionate and uniquely personal vision. We are honored to present this exhibition in her memory and in celebration of her remarkably colorful life and achievement.” Opens Friday, January 7, 5:30pm; through February 26 at 740 North Wells.
Cincinnati Art Museum Takes January Break
The Cincinnati Art Museum is closing its doors for now. Cameron Kitchin, Cincinnati Art Museum’s director, “called it a needed ‘intermission,’ after two years of the pandemic,” reports Cincinnati’s channel 19. “The art museum was the first Tri-State museum to fully reopen after Ohio’s April 2020 shutdown. The museum will pause operations from January 3-12, including the indoor galleries, Terrace Cafe, Museum shop and public programs.”
The Economist Sees Much In Chicago Ward Redistricting
British “newspaper” The Economist, offers its view, unsigned as their articles always are, on the Chicago ward map. “Race and politics have always been linked in Chicago. From the emergence of the enormous stockyards in the late nineteenth century, where millions of heads of cattle were herded from across the Midwest to slaughter each year, the city drew Black migrants from the South. Facing brutal discrimination which forced them into overcrowded and underserved ghettoes in the south and west of the city, they quickly found a political voice… America’s inequality, its violence and its urban blight may affect Black people disproportionately. But it affects voters of all colours. In the long run, counting up voters and packing them into districts by the pigment of their skin is not a good way to fix it.”
Woodlawn Mega-Development Mooted
“Plans for a new mega-development have been revealed for the parking lots surrounding the Apostolic Church of God in Woodlawn,” reports YIMBY. “‘Woodlawn Central’ would redevelop eight parcels of vacant land and parking lots into 1.25 million square-feet of mixed-use space… The large team includes the church, The University of Chicago, the Preservation of Affordable Housing, Citibank, AECOM as well as SOM and Gensler on the design side.”
Ace Hotel Chicago Sells For $63 Million; Will Close January 26
“Ace Hotel Chicago will be leaving the building on January 26,” the company posts on Instagram. “To the City of Chicago, we opened our doors to you nearly five years ago and you opened your arms in return. Since 2017, you’ve let us grow roots in your city of towering architecture, innovative culture, acclaimed art and unparalleled hometown pride. Now, we say thank you for everything you’ve given us. To all who slept over, shared a meal, danced dome-side, shed inhibitions on the seventh floor, caught a show, market or movie night on the Prairie, coffee talked in the Lobby or simply made yourselves at home — we’re leaving, but leaving with incredible memories made together.” Reports Eater Chicago, “Sterling Bay recently made the decision to sell the property which houses Ace Hotel Chicago.”
Has The Ongoing Pandemic Redesigned Cities Forever?
“To save restaurants and give homebound families some space, city planners did something that had been unthinkable, or at least undoable,” writes Adam Rogers at WIRED. “Being outdoors seemed to be far less risky than being in an unventilated indoor space, so leaders started up or expanded nascent programs that converted parking spaces along streets into outdoor dining areas for restaurants, point-of-sale space for shops, and mini-parks—’parklets.’ They closed residential streets to cars so people who lived nearby could have safe access to outside space. It happened all over—Vancouver, San Francisco, New York, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, Chicago. Academics, activists, and interest groups have been trying to make this happen for decades—to take streets away from cars and parking and give them over to anything that wasn’t just two tons of steel moving forty miles an hour. That’s because cars and parking are catastrophes for cities. In the mid-to-late twentieth century, the construction of parking lots and freeways destroyed the downtowns of dozens of American cities and plowed through or razed nonwhite neighborhoods.”
Surveying Chicago’s Demolitions Of 2021
Rachel Freundt at Architecture And History of Chicagoland takes a look at what is no longer. “Despite Chicago’s well-built environment and rich architectural history, the city continues to destroy itself. Back in the pre-pandemic days I would try to document as many buildings as I could before they met the wrecking ball. Today is different. I’m not at all surprised that I have just a handful of demolition-related photos taken in 2021… There is just an unreasonable (and unnecessary) amount of demolitions with tons of historic materials ending up in landfills, whether it’s in some wealthy suburb like Hinsdale (which has been destroying its historic built environment for decades) or the city of Chicago… Chicago loves to sell its architectural history to tourists but [we are] trashing it at a more frequent rate than ever before, destroying buildings left and right for development. Although there are demo delays after demo delays, it ultimately doesn’t save anything. The whole act just reminds you there are a lot of orange-rated buildings coming down. We needed to update the Chicago Historic Resources Survey.”
DINING & DRINKING
Times Wets Appetite For Italian Beef
“The city has several famous foods to its name, like deep-dish pizza and the Chicago hot dog,” reports Priya Krishna at the New York Times. “Yet Italian beef stands apart: roasted, thinly sliced meat that is bathed in its own jus and nestled in a plush roll, then topped with tart, spicy giardiniera or sweet peppers (or both), and often dipped in a rich broth of beef drippings. The broth supercharges the beefy flavor and saturates the crevices of the bread, while the peppers offer tangy relief. In one messy, intensely juicy bite comes a whole meal’s worth of complex flavors…The sandwich may not be the best-known, or most visually enticing, of those three dishes, said David Hammond, the dining and drinking editor of the local magazine Newcity, and the author of a coming book on the city’s foods. But while deep dish is primarily for tourists, he said, and the hot dogs are sold in many cities, Italian beef belongs to Chicagoans. ‘It is hard for me to imagine Chicago food without Italian beef,’ Mr. Hammond said… ‘Italian beef is more essential to the local food culture than deep-dish pizza or even Chicago hot dogs.’”
Rudy Malnati, Jr. Was 65
“Rudy Malnati Jr.’s last name is recognizable to any pizza-loving Chicagoan,” writes the Sun-Times. “His father, Rudy Malnati Sr., became a pizza authority while working at Pizzeria Uno, which claims credit for inventing the city’s iconic deep-dish pies in 1943. His mother, Donna Marie, was the doughmaker extraordinaire behind the family’s creations. His stepbrother, Lou Malnati, created Lou Malnati’s. And Rudy Jr. founded Pizano’s… But if there was room for another passion, his was the Chicago Air and Water Show, which he directed for 30 years. ‘It was his baby,’ his wife Annette Malnati said.”
A Look At The Three Just-Ended Residencies At Currency Exchange’s Retreat
“Washington Park’s Retreat at Currency Exchange, created by artist Theaster Gates, is a Black and Brown business incubator. While it has featured coffee roasters Monday Coffee Co. since August, the incubator… opened its doors to two more culinary artists this fall,” reports the Sun-Times. “Pour Souls and Collective Venture ended their stay at Retreat December 31. No announcements on new residencies have been made… all three fledgling businesses will be moving on.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Former ArcLight Plucked By AMC For Spring Opening
The former ArcLight location near North and Clybourn will become AMC Chicago 14 this spring, reports the Hollywood Reporter. Deadline: “These theatres have previously been high-traffic, successful locations, in two of AMC’s top markets, and we are pleased to offer the AMC experience at them a few months from now in 2022,” AMC CEO Adam Aron said in a statement. “These are prime examples of how AMC is staying on offense, looking for opportunities to strengthen our company through the acquisition of these popular locations.”
Is The End Of Movies At Theaters At Hand?
“Can moviegoing survive?” asks Nina Metz. “Distributors going the ‘exclusively in theaters’ route are finding that the fear of missing out isn’t the driving force it once was. Not when there are so many other things to watch from the comfort of your home. The multiplex is in trouble…. Can theaters survive on tentpole films alone?”
Governor Salutes Passing Of Oak Park-Born Betty White
“Betty White was born in Oak Park and grew up to become a national treasure,” Governor JB Pritzker tweeted. “I join her millions of fans in commemorating a comedic genius and a remarkable American life.”
Northwestern Student Film Incubator To Tackle Mental Health Portrayals
With a $1 million grant from the Pritzker Pucker Family Foundation and Jessy Pucker, the Northwestern University School of Communication has launched a student film incubator dedicated to changing mental health portrayals in movies, television and media. The mission of the Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab for the Promotion of Mental Health via Cinematic Arts will be to create and support narrative screenwriting, television writing and media-making about mental health. “We strive to provide our students with the best facilities, faculty and experiential opportunities, as well as help them address their mental health and wellbeing,” E. Patrick Johnson, dean of the School of Communication says in a release.
“Pritzker Pucker Studio Lab director David Tolchinsky [Newcity Film 50] says, ‘It is well-documented that mass media has long perpetuated a profoundly negative stigma related to mental health. Through one-dimensional viewpoints, inaccurate portrayals and depictions centered on fear and shame, the media has reinforced discriminatory behavior toward people experiencing mental health issues and propagated impediments to treatment and recovery. We believe there is an enormous opportunity to use media—in particular, narrative filmmaking across drama, comedy and horror—as a means to shine a light on a wide range of mental health issues.” More here.
Chris Ware-Featured Angoulême International Comics Festival Postponed
For the first January since 1974, the second-largest comics fest in the world, the Angoulême International Comics Festival has been postponed. A thirty-second teaser of their featured event, “Building Chris Ware,” is here.
Powell’s Books Closed Until Further Notice
“The safety of our staff and customers is our highest priority,” Powell’s Books Chicago alerts, and “will be closed until further notice. We are following CDC guidelines and will reopen when it is safe.”
Seminary Co-Op And 57th Street Books Remain Closed
“In response to the evolving situation, and in an effort to safely support our staff and community, we will be closing our stores until further notice,” Seminary Co-op and 57th Street Books advise on Instagram. “Our curbside station will remain open 10am-5pm at the Seminary Co-op.”
Is It A Golden Age For Public Libraries?
The Washington Post editorial board thinks so, surveying and picturing developments worldwide: “An abundance of new and newly renovated libraries have opened their doors in the past two years. In addition to being breathtakingly beautiful, many are exemplars of what great community spaces can and should be.” They’re optimistic: “Many notable renovations in recent years were funded by a combination of taxpayer money and private donations. Now is an ideal time for local governments in the United States to tap into American Rescue Plan funding to jumpstart a library project.”
ESPN Chicago Bears Reporter Jeff Dickerson Was 44
Jeff Dickerson, a fixture at ESPN and in the Chicago sports market for two decades, has died of complications from colon cancer, reports ESPN. A fund for his orphaned eleven-year-old has raised close to a million dollars, reports the Sun-Times. “Many of Chicago’s biggest sports names and at least eleven NFL franchises have contributed.”
Wanda Young Of Motown’s The Marvelettes Was 78
“Wanda Young and other members of the Marvelettes were teenagers when they recorded ‘Please Mr. Postman’ for Berry Gordy Jr.’s Motown Records in 1961. The song became Motown’s first No. 1 pop hit,” reports AP. “Songs like ‘Twistin’ Postman,’ ‘Playboy’ and ‘Too Many Fish in the Sea’ followed… The group would later record such hits as ‘Don’t Mess With Bill,’ ‘The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game’ and ‘My Baby Must Be a Magician.'”
Hideout Reopens January 18
“Ok, deep breath. Let’s try this again. The Hideout will reopen for business on Tuesday, January 18—assuming it feels safe enough to do so,” the club announced in an Instagram post. “We’re looking forward to a busy spring full of top notch music, comedy, art, community, friendship—and probably a few drinks. Hang in there. Stay safe. Lift your people up. We’re gonna make it.”
Collaboraction Marks Anniversary Of January 6 Capitol Attack With Carla Stillwell Streaming Project
Collaboraction’s new staff producer Carla Stillwell will host an online screening of the pilot episode of her Collaboraction series pilot “Oh Colonizers” on Thursday, January 6 at 7pm via Zoom. Shown on the anniversary of the Capitol attack, “Oh Colonizers” is Stillwell’s response, as a Black woman, to that day. Tickets are $6 or free with a CollaborActivist Membership here. Registration is required for the Zoom link. Afterwards, Stillwell will join a live Zoom discussion on the historical themes of “Oh Colonizers,” the start of the new year and the “state of American social and political discourse.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Vaccine Proof And Secretary of State Office Closure Start Today
“Chicago will require proof of a vaccine for indoor venues and Illinois Secretary of State offices will be closed starting Monday due to a surge,” reports AP. “The proof of vaccine rules will apply to everyone age five and older and includes restaurants, bars, gyms and indoor venues like sports and entertainment areas. The rules don’t apply to those inside venues for less than ten minutes, like those picking up takeout. Secretary of State office closures for in-person services begin Monday and will last until at least January 18.” Secretary of State Jesse White encourages “people to make online transactions whenever possible, including for renewing a license plate sticker or driver’s license.”
Alliance Française Closed Until At Least January 18
“We want to reach out to you personally to communicate on the adjustments we are making in response to the highly transmissible nature of the Omicron virus,” Alliance Française alerts its members. “We are cancelling all of our on-site classes, educational programs, and cultural events, as of Monday, January 3. We will remain closed to the public until January 17, and hope to reopen on January 18.”
Former Lincoln Park Zoo Director Dr. Lester E. Fisher Was 100
Former Lincoln Park Zoo Director Dr. Lester E. Fisher has passed away at the age of 100, the zoo shares. “A Lincoln Park Zoo icon and household name, Dr. Fisher transformed the notion of what a zoo is during his thirty-year tenure as zoo director of Lincoln Park Zoo, emphasizing the importance of education and conservation while furthering animal welfare and care.”
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