Warhol Foundation Supports Madison Exhibition By Faisal Abdu’Allah
The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art has received a significant grant from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to support the exhibition, “Dark Matter,” opening September 17, by Madison-based, British artist and UW-Madison Professor Faisal Abdu’Allah. “‘Dark Matter’ explores cultural representation and the systems of power that structure our experiences of the world.” More here.
Reviews In For Steppenwolf’s Fresh Edifice
“The second phase, completed this past fall, bookends the original theater’s south end, adding a plethora of public-facing amenities like a two-story atrium and two bars. The atrium is conventionally pleasing, using materials like polished concrete and glass to create a sophisticated-yet-industrial feel. Perhaps it felt dull to me because it was empty, but who these days—two years into a pandemic—can imagine a theater atrium aglow and filled with buzzing crowds?” writes Anjulie Rao at the Architect’s Newspaper. “The lackluster atrium stands in contrast to the new, flexible theater-in-the-round that is positioned as the beating heart of ASGG’s addition. Clad in textured gray glass fiber reinforced concrete panels, and ringed by the atrium, the mass of the Ensemble Theater resembles a geometric asteroid in a museum display. Its massive girth and towering height—the volume extends past the atrium roofline—create an identifiable, if ambiguous, cap atop the addition, providing visual interest from the nearby El train… The promise is one of exhilarating and intimate—all seats are within 20 feet of the stage—experiences for audiences.”
Greektown Mixed-Use Development Zoning Approved
“Slumming up Greektown. Dreadful and depressing,” writes Lynn Becker on Twitter, linking to YIMBY’s coverage of zoning approval for a mixed-use development in Greektown. “The Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a mixed-use development at 812 West Adams [at] the corner of South Halsted… The lot is occupied by a one-story structure that once held the Greek staples of Santorini and Pegasus restaurants and a small parking lot. Developer Luxe Suites Chicago LLC has teamed up with local design firm Axios Architects on the project that required two approvals from the board.”
DINING & DRINKING
Foxtrot Chain Advances Plan For Twenty-Five More Chicago Locations
“Foxtrot Market, the Chicago-based chain of trendy convenience stores and cafes that already has sixteen locations, aims to continue its meteoric rise across the city,” reports Eater Chicago. “The company has recently raised $100 million from East and West Coast investment firms, bringing the total raised to $160 million, and it aims to open twenty-five more stores over the coming year, according to Crain’s. Among these is a 1,739-square-foot outpost slated to open in the spring inside downtown’s historic Tribune Tower, as well as another inside the Loop’s Willis Tower and a third in the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Founded in 2014 as a delivery service featuring packaged [food], beer, and wine, Foxtrot has steadily grown into a well-known local retailer with on-site bars that serve coffee, espresso, and wine along with prepared grab-and-go meals.”
Is Paper Thin Pizza Really… Paper Thin?
At the Tribune, Nick Kindelsperger applies the micrometer: “I’m not sure it’s humanly possible for pizza to get any thinner, without the crust disappearing completely into the void,” he writes of the Green Street joint.
New York Times Hires Trib’s Bill Ruthhart As Mentor
“We are thrilled to announce that Bill Ruthhart is joining The Times as the writing coach and an editor for our newsroom fellowship and early-career programs,” the Times posts on its corporate blog. “Bill joins us from the Chicago Tribune where, as a political reporter, he has spent the last eleven years digging into the rough and tumble of Chicago politics. He covered the 2020 presidential race and Rahm Emanuel’s eventful tenure as Chicago mayor. Previously, he wrote on state and local politics for The Indianapolis Star. Beyond his accomplishments as a reporter, Bill has a passion for shepherding up-and-coming journalists and often speaks with students at his alma mater, Eastern Illinois University. In his new role, Bill will help coach and guide our newsroom fellows as they work to become better reporters and writers. He also will support the careers team in other endeavors, such as helping vet candidates for our fellowship, the Times Corps and other early-career programs.”
Trib Cuts Cartoonist Joe Fournier After Twelve Years
“Chris Jones, editorial page editor of the Tribune, confirmed [cartoonist Joe] Fournier’s departure… ‘Joe is a great freelance cartoonist and I like and value his work. We’re just trying now to include a multiplicity of voices (and cartoonists) on the opinion pages,'” reports Rob Feder.
Is The Athletic Under The New York Times A Threat To Local Newspapers?
The New York Times Co. announced on January 6 that it would pay $550 million for the Athletic. The Athletic has proven “part of its original thesis,” writes Joshua Benton in a jaunty aggregation at NiemanLab, “that you could create a high-quality national sports product that, even in an overcrowded space like sports, get more than a million people to pay for… This team-up has re-raised questions about The Athletic’s impact on local newspapers. Back in 2017, one of its co-founders famously let these words come out of his mouth in front of a reporter: ‘We will wait every local paper out and let them continuously bleed until we are the last ones standing… We will suck them dry of their best talent at every moment..We will make business extremely difficult for them.'”
Astound Broadband Subsumes RCN
RCN, a provider of cable and internet services with a reach of around a million homes around Chicago, has rebranded as “Astound Broadband,” reports the Trib.
Publications Cover Labor And Work Conditions Again
“In the last dozen years, there has been a resurgence of the labor beat, largely fueled by two developments: the Great Recession, which saw the jobless rate jump to 10 percent, and the rise of digital media, which often tilts to the left and has many readers who are interested in how American workers are treated—or mistreated,” writes Steven Greenhouse at NiemanReports. “In 2020, as the pandemic took hold, labor stories became many of the nation’s biggest news stories: the millions of workers laid off when businesses shuttered temporarily, the risks facing grocery and transit workers, the dangers facing health care workers, the abuse flight attendants receive from passengers refusing to wear masks, the work-from-home revolution, the many frightened teachers who wanted their schools closed… With the flood of workplace stories in this unprecedented moment, it seems likely that labor coverage will remain strong and perhaps even grow. In decades past, labor reporters usually focused on covering labor unions, their strikes and contract negotiations… The beat has expanded to include everything from how Uber treats its drivers to some Amazon workers not having enough time to go to the [washroom] to issues like the #MeToo movement, work-family balance, and the lack of childcare. During the pandemic, traditional concepts of office work have been radically altered and the relationships between employers and employees have changed, as well.”
Bruce Anderson, Guitarist Of Indiana Art Rockers MX-80, Dies
“Why are we here, if we’re just going to disappear?” Tweeted Steve Albini, “”Oh man, Bruce Anderson from MX-80 died. Fuck. I absolutely loved that band and his playing. The times I got to hang with him he was a lovely guy. Bruce was an effortless virtuoso with an ear for the raw and jagged, a huge inspiration. Requiescat.” David Grubbs posts MX-80’s “Why Are We Here”: “RIP Bruce Anderson, brilliant and immediately recognizable guitarist of MX-80 Sound. This was the first song of theirs I heard (from a Ralph Records 7″ comp), and it’s still rattling around in my brain.”
Joffrey Tilts “Don Quixote”
The Joffrey Ballet has postponed Yuri Possokhov’s “Don Quixote.” The February 16-27 run has been rescheduled to June 2–12 at the Lyric Opera House.
Christopher “Mad Dog” Thomas Receives Americans for the Arts’ 2022 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities
Americans for the Arts announced two dance artists as recipients of the 2022 Johnson Fellowship for Artists Transforming Communities: Charya Burt of Windsor, California, and Christopher “Mad Dog” Thomas of Chicago. The Johnson Fellowship honors an individual artist who demonstrates a sustained commitment to civic participation through their work, and who has made a positive and meaningful difference to inspire, inform, engage, challenge, animate, and celebrate communities through arts and culture. Each is recognized with a $35,000 award. “Thomas is a dancer, choreographer, activist, youth mentor, and an exemplar of Juke/Footwork, a dynamic dance form arising out of the streets of Chicago and rooted in an indigenous culture of urban artistry and activism. He is famous not only for his 170bpm footwork, musicality, individuality, and stage presence, but also for creating compassionate space for others to develop their own genuine expressions. Born and raised in Chicago’s Altgeld Gardens project homes, Thomas was inspired to dance at the age of five by artists like Michael Jackson and New Edition. Nearly two decades ago, he turned to dance to survive the trauma of gun violence to which he lost a friend. Footworking was a way to be vulnerable in an environment of toxic masculinity.” More here.
Pegasus Theatre Chicago Receives NEA Grant
Pegasus Theatre Chicago, hosting the 35th Annual Young Playwrights Festival, streaming through February 6, has been approved for a $20,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support the Young Playwrights Festival 2023. This project will continue this Festival into its thirty-sixth year. The Annual Young Playwrights Festival project is among 1,248 projects across America (totaling $28,840,000) that were selected to receive this first round of fiscal year 2022 funding in the Grants for Arts Projects category. NEA acting chair Ann Eilers says in a release. “Pegasus Theatre Chicago is among the arts organizations nationwide that are using the arts as a source of strength, a path to well-being and providing access and opportunity for people to connect and find joy through the arts.” More here.
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre Receives $10,000 NEA Grant
Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre will receive a $10,000 Grants for Arts Projects award to support its original piece, “Soul Remedy.” Company cofounder, artistic director and CEO Wilfredo Rivera says in a release, “These past two years have been challenging but being quiet was not an option for us. As we forge into the unpredictable year ahead, we are proud to continue developing ‘Soul Remedy’ with the support of the NEA.” Monique Haley, choreographer, is creating the work with composer Pharez Whitted and the multicultural, multidisciplinary, multigenerational collective of artists at Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre. “These two accomplished Black artists are leading exploration of the Aesthetic of the Cool, a culturally specific phenomenon rooted in the Black American experience that has shaped this country’s arts and culture and impacted the world. ‘Soul Remedy’ will respect, reflect, and represent Black excellence as a central component of American culture.” Website here.
Silk Road Rising Leaves First United Methodist Church
“Silk Road Rising’s residency in Pierce Hall on the lower level of the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple has come to an end,” the company reports. “Per our agreement with the church, our residency was scheduled to conclude on December 31, 2021. But as COVID crept into last year, we requested and were granted an extension through the end of 2022. Like so many theater companies, since the start of the pandemic, we’d been operating under the assumption that in a few months we’d be producing live theater again. But a few months came and went, came and went, came and went, and financially, it no longer made sense to hold onto a space that we weren’t using. And while this particular curtain has closed on our partnership with the First United Methodist Church at the Chicago Temple, other curtains will rise. We vacated the basement, not the relationship. FUMC’s shared commitment to connecting cultures and communities and to strengthening interfaith collaboration and understanding intersects beautifully with our emerging Polycultural Institute.” Silk Road Rising’s site is here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Chicago Artists Take Creative Capital Grants
Creative Capital has named fifty Creative Capital Awards for 2022. The grants will fund the creation of innovative projects by fifty-nine individual artists working in performing arts, visual arts, film, technology and literature as well as socially engaged and multidisciplinary practices. Each project will receive amounts up to $50,000 in direct funding, supplemented by career development and networking services to foster artistic careers, totaling up to $2.5 million in artist support. “Creative Capital believes that funding the creation of new work by groundbreaking artists is vital to the vibrancy of our culture, society, and our democracy. We are dedicated to supporting artists who are pushing boundaries and asking challenging questions—especially now when new ideas are critical to imagining our future,” Christine Kuan, Creative Capital president and executive director says in a release. From Chicago: Cyrus Moussavi for the documentary, “Somebody’s Gone,” about ninety-four-year-old spiritual singer Brother Theotis Taylor, told through an archive of footage collected by his son, Hubert. Also: Cheswayo Mphanza for “Zambia: Tomorrow the Moon!,” a meta-documentary hybrid poetry-prose project that imagines and reimagines fictional Zambian writers, political and historical figures from the seventeenth to the twentieth century.
Investor-Philanthropist Louis A. Simpson Was 85
The Arts Club remembers Louis A. Simpson, of Naples, Florida, one of the country’s top investors and a philanthropist “whose generosity in the fields of medical research and education touched the lives of thousands.” After receiving his masters in economics from Princeton (where he was later a professor), “Investing became Lou’s career passion and, like all things in his life, he pursued his interests with unmatched intellect, energy, and independent analysis. Lou’s approach to stock research involved voraciously reading everything available on a company and then getting comfortable with management. Reams of newspapers, journals and SEC filings were Lou’s go-to resources, and his stature as a gifted investor grew. Lou devoted more than thirty years of his career to Geico Corporation. During his seventeen-year stint as president and chief executive officer of Geico Capital Operations, Lou’s portfolio returns consistently broke industry records. Lou has been widely recognized for his business acumen, service on numerous corporate boards, and as one the top investors of all time. The financial press touted him as a ‘super stock picker’ and his former boss, Berkshire Hathaway Chairman and CEO Warren Buffett, frequently praised him, saying Lou was ‘a cinch to be inducted into the investment Hall of Fame.'” Simpson and his wife Kimberly Querrey “generously granted scholarships, endowed academic positions, and financed construction of state-of-the-art medical research facilities, including Northwestern University’s Biomedical Research Center, which is named for the couple. In 2016 the Chronicle of Philanthropy named them to its list of fifty most generous Americans.”
Chicago Travel & Adventure Show Moves to February 19-20
The Chicago Travel & Adventure Show has moved its seventeenth edition to February 19-20 at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. More here.
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