Art Institute Workers Vote To Unionize
Art Institute “workers have chosen to affiliate with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. Results of a separate union vote by workers at the museum’s school are to be announced Wednesday,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “In an election tally made public Tuesday, the employees agreed to affiliate with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees by a vote of 142 to forty-four, according to the National Labor Relations Board. The NLRB, which supervised the count of mailed-in ballots, said twenty votes were challenged.”
Laura-Caroline De Lara Named Director Of DePaul Art Museum
DePaul University has named Laura-Caroline de Lara as director for DePaul Art Museum. De Lara, a seasoned arts administrator with twenty years of experience, has served as interim director for the museum since July 2020. De Lara joined DePaul in 2016 as the museum’s collection and exhibition manager. She became associate director in 2020 before taking on the role of interim director. “During her time at the university, Laura-Caroline has been instrumental in raising DePaul Art Museum’s profile,” Robert D. Karpinski, Ph.D., associate vice president for academic and library affairs says in a release. “In addition to managing the museum’s exhibitions, collection and budget, she has served as a mentor to a team of student employees, as well as an excellent partner to our faculty. I have every confidence her leadership will continue to drive the museum’s ever-growing significance in the Chicago landscape and the art world across the country.” As interim director, de Lara helped launch DePaul Art Museum’s Latinx initiative, which aims to broaden the representation of Latinx and Latin American artists in Chicago and across the U.S. More here.
“Frida: Immersive Dream” Arrives February 24
Lighthouse Immersive and Maestro Immersive Art have set their latest immersive art installation, “Frida: Immersive Dream.” The event runs at Lighthouse ArtSpace at the Germania Club, February 24-May 28. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Shermann “Dilla” Thomas May Make Chicago Fiction For Netflix
“Shermann ‘Dilla’ Thomas—known as 6figga_dilla on TikTok—announced to his nearly 18,000 Twitter followers that a streaming service loved the idea of a show he outlined and pitched,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Never wrote a pilot before but I’m from Chicago, so there really isn’t anything I can’t do,” he posted. Thomas says the service is Netflix. “The show would be produced by Chris Witaske, writer, producer and co-creator of Netflix series ‘Chicago Party Aunt.’ The series would be historical fiction and would follow a real Chicagoan, who Thomas isn’t revealing.” “I’m not against getting help, actually help would be cool,” Thomas posted on Twitter Tuesday. “I don’t need or want all the credit/clout. A bunch of people have offered to help me write a pilot & I dig the offers. I’m not off from ComEd till Thursday tho. I’ll read em all & check folks out then. I can’t till then.”
The Guardian Footnotes “Algren”
Documentary “Algren,” now on video-on-demand, gets some London love: “‘I encountered Algren first through a used copy of ‘Man with the Golden Arm,’ which I read in my early 20s and I was just blown away by it,’ filmmaker Michael Caplan tells the Guardian… ‘I’m from Chicago, I grew up in Chicago in a very middle-class working neighborhood by the steel mills. I knew a lot of people whose families were focused on just getting by, far from the American dream. Those were the kinds of people that Algren wrote about, so his work really struck me. I always felt like he was the embodiment not just of Chicago, but of mid-20th-century America coming out of World War II, when everything was supposed to be a Ford and white picket fence. It wasn’t like that for a lot of people and that’s what Algren wrote about.'” Streaming options here.
Selections From Daniel Clowes Childhood Comics Collection For Sale
A clutch of Daniel Clowes’ 1960s and 1970s childhood comics are awaiting sale in the basement of Chicago Comics, reports Megan Kirby at the Reader. “There’s so many collections like this,” says Eric Kirsammer, owner of Chicago Comics and Quimby’s Books. “But how many people grow up to be Dan Clowes?” Chicago Comics and Quimby’s are selling the collection in batches, by the issue. “Many include Clowes’ handwritten labels chronicling issue numbers, authors, and artists. Some are even sold inside their original bags. And all are affixed with a label that reads ‘From the Dan Clowes Collection.'”
Chicago Newsman Richard “Dick” Stone Was 80
The colorful and vital life of a Chicago legend, captured at the Sun-Times by Maureen O’Donnell: “Dick Stone was a consummate newsman whose knowledge of history and politics and incisive questioning and graceful writing brought the world to Chicago and Chicago to the world… When Dick Stone asked Mayor Richard J. Daley about giving millions of dollars in city insurance business to a firm that employed his son John, Daley replied: ‘My mother used to always say, “There’s mistletoe hanging from my coattail.”‘… He was one of the youngest foreign correspondents hired by UPI, said his wife, Chicago Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman.”
Cautious Optimism For Chicago Local Newsgathering
“Chicago journalism is undergoing a dramatic restructuring that has turned the nation’s third-largest media market into a center for news experimentation,” Mark Jacob writes at Northwestern-Medill Local News Initiative. “While the city’s media have seen brutal job cuts in recent years, including a dramatic downsizing at the Chicago Tribune, a sense of rebirth and optimism prevails… Nonprofit news is assuming a prominence once reserved for the city’s commercial outlets as the 175-year-old Tribune recedes and a public radio station, WBEZ, emerges as a rival for dominance in local reporting.”
Block Club Chicago Awarded $1.6 Million Expansion Grant From American Journalism Project
The American Journalism Project, an initiative that boosts nonprofit journalism around the U.S., awarded Block Club Chicago a three-year, $1.6 million grant to build the business side of its operation, reports Block Club Chicago. “In conjunction with the American Journalism Project grant, the Chicago Community Trust pledged an additional $450,000 in matching funds to Block Club over three years. The funding is part of the American Journalism Project’s 2022 investment in newsrooms. Three other nonprofit newsrooms were selected to receive grants: Sahan Journal in Minnesota, San José Spotlight and Spotlight PA. The American Journalism Project has now awarded more than $30 million in grants to thirty-one newsrooms.”
Former Chicago Public Media CEO Goli Sheikholeslami Named CEO Of Politico Media Group
Goli Sheikholeslami, president and CEO of Chicago Public Media from 2014 to 2019, will become CEO of Politico Media Group in February, reports Rob Feder. “She most recently was president and CEO of New York Public Radio. ‘What I admire most about Politico is the tenacity that underpins the organization’s fearless, fact-based journalism and its successful business model,’ Sheikholeslami said in a statement” about the Axel Springer-owned concern.
A Remembrance Of Michael Wilmington From Madison
Another Michael Wilmington remembrance: “When writing of his cinematic heroes, whether classic or contemporary, Mike grasped for ever-greater superlatives, like an operatic tenor reaching for higher and higher notes,” writes Dean Robbins in the Madison Isthmus. “I remember one urgent call before press time when he insisted that I change a descriptor in his review from ‘scintillating’ to ‘coruscating.’ Because, on second thought, ‘scintillating’ just didn’t have the proper intensity. Isthmus had its share of eccentric writers, but Mike ruled them all. For some obscure reason, he asked publisher Vince O’Hern to store a box of his mother’s spare change in the paper’s basement, where it remained for decades.”
Kanye To Meet With Putin?
Reports Billboard, “Kanye West is planning a trip to Moscow later this year to meet with President Vladimir Putin, hold Sunday Service performances as his first-ever shows in Russia and expand his business ventures into the country… Travel plans are… in the works for spring or summer, depending on Ye’s schedule, according to his confidant and strategic advisor Ameer Sudan, who’s [coordinating] the arrangements with attorney Scott Balber. Balber is the managing partner of Herbert Smith Freehills’ New York office and is the law firm’s U.S. head of investigations and financial services litigation. Sudan says he and Balber are acting as liaisons between Ye and Balber’s clients Azerbaijani-Russian billionaire real estate developer Aras Agalarov and his son Emin Agalarov. Balber declined to comment. Ye’s personal and label reps also declined to comment.”
January Jazz Links Jam Session Cancelled
“Out of an abundance of caution and care for the health and safety of our patrons and youth, we have decided to cancel the January 12 Jazz Links Jam Session,” the Jazz Institute advises. Upcoming sessions here.
Virtual Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Concert Moves To February 26
The Chicago Children’s Choir’s Black History Month concert, “Remembering, Reclaiming, Reconnecting,” will now be virtual on Saturday, February 26, live-streamed at 6pm. Participants in CCC’s school program will join with the world-renowned Voice of Chicago for an educational program about the reach of the African Diaspora. Curated by resident Director of Africana Studies Lonnie Norwood, the concert returns to salute Africana music and its impact on Chicago and the world, featuring music from Nigeria, Peru and Jamaica as well as the United States. “‘Remembering, Reclaiming, Reconnecting,’ encourages audiences to open their minds and use their voices to remind others of the truth and beauty of African diasporic history; to reclaim the pride, dignity and joy that was taken; and to reconnect generations to the African world globally.” More here.
Babes With Blades Postpones World Premiere “Plaid as Hell”
Babes With Blades Theatre Company has postponed the world premiere of “Plaid as Hell,” written by Cat McKay and directed by Christina Casano that was scheduled for January 29-March 5 at The Factory Theater at 1623 West Howard. New dates will be announced.
Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival Returns With In-Person Performances January 20-30
Organizers of the fourth Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival have announced their line-up of contemporary puppet acts and artists from Chicago and the U.S. to be presented at venues throughout the city, January 20-30. “Founded to establish Chicago as a center for the advancement of the art of puppetry, the citywide Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival will showcase an entertaining and eclectic array of puppet styles.While travel restrictions are preventing the participation of international artists in 2022, festival organizers are forging ahead ready to present during these extraordinary times a live, diverse lineup of over a hundred performances of more than twenty national and local shows and events at venues around the city.” Details here.
Northlight Theatre Presents “Fireflies”
Northlight Theatre continues its season with “Fireflies,” by Donja R. Love, directed by Mikael Burke, running January 20-February 20 at Northlight Theatre in Skokie. “The Civil Rights Movement has ignited the South, and the charismatic Rev. Charles Grace needs a new speech to galvanize the people. But it is Olivia, his pregnant wife, who writes those fiery speeches, and her tolerance for playing the supporting role to her husband is wearing thin. As the growing weight of secrets threatens her marriage, and a nation’s hatred threatens her child’s future, Olivia must rediscover the place that love has in her world.” More here.
Victory Gardens Sets André Teamer And Terry Guest In “Queen of the Night”
Victory Gardens Theater opens its mainstage season with “Queen of the Night,” written by travis tate and directed by Victory Gardens artistic director Ken-Matt Martin, running January 29-March 13. “A divorced father and his queer son head to the woods of southeastern Texas to relive the camping trips of earlier, easier days. But even without cell service, certain things are inescapable,” Victory Gardens writes. “Playwright travis tate explores masculinity and queerness through the lens of multi-generational Blackness, offering a hilarious, heartrending family portrait about reckoning with the wilderness of a shared past, while facing an uncertain future.” The play features Terry Guest and André Teamer. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Shedd Aquarium Pledges Half-Billion-Dollar “Centennial Commitment”
Shedd Aquarium has outlined a strategic vision aimed at a more equitable, sustainable and thriving future for people and aquatic life. “Leading to the organization’s hundredth anniversary in 2030, the multi-faceted Centennial Commitment is a transformational investment in Chicago communities and aquatic ecosystems around the world, requiring $500 million and eight years to accomplish.” Dr. Bridget C. Coughlin, president and CEO of Shedd Aquarium says in a release,“Five years ago, we began to imagine a visionary future in response to the needs facing the aquatic animal world, our city, and our society in order to advance solutions to the biodiversity, climate, and equitable access to nature crises that exist around us. To ensure a shared future where resilient ecosystems and communities thrive together, it is going to take everyone to create collective impact and change. This means engaging neighbors, schools and local businesses in authentic conversations, elevating science literacy, cultivating a shared environmental identity, and helping to inform conservation solutions that safeguard the most vulnerable species across the globe. The Centennial Commitment is our pledge to do the work that is necessary now, to ensure the next hundred years includes a world thriving with aquatic life that is sustained by people who love, understand and protect it.” Details here.
Judilee Reed Named United States Artists President-CEO
United States Artists’ Board of Trustees has chosen Judilee Reed as its new president and CEO. “Reed currently serves as Program Director of Creative Communities for the William Penn Foundation. There, she oversees the Foundation’s arts, culture, and great public spaces grantmaking portfolios in Philadelphia, as well as the organization’s national initiatives. ‘The opportunity to lead USA, particularly during this challenging moment for artists, is an honor,'” Reed says in a release. “I am thrilled to join an organization that supports artists through direct funding and considers not just the art that is created, but the artists themselves. As we consider the past, navigate the present, and dream of the future, artists across career stages will continue to play an essential role in their communities and beyond; I look forward to collaborating with the USA team to elevate these cultural practitioners and advance their creative pursuits.” United States Artists is a national arts funding organization based in Chicago that raises money and redistributes it as unrestricted awards to artists and cultural practitioners. Since its founding in 2006, USA has awarded more than 750 individuals with over $36 million of direct grants. More here.
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