Compound Yellow Features Dmitry Samarov Collages
Oak Park’s Compound Yellow presents collages by Dmitry Samarov through January 29. “Faced with the plague outside his door, Samarov, a painter who’d worked for decades from outside in, looked into his past for subject matter,” Compound Yellow relays in a release, “crates and drawers of old letters, homework assignments, failed or forgotten artwork and varied ephemera. Ripping them up, gluing them back wrong, then scribbling all over the whole mess, Samarov is working out a personal visual lexicon unlike anything that came in his previous four decades of creative endeavor.” Appointment only. More here.
City-Owned Maxim’s Restaurant Space On Gold Coast Sold
The City Council’s Housing Committee agreed to sell the city-owned 8,120-square feet of basement space that once housed Maxim’s Restaurant, a citadel of Chicago fine dining from 1963 to 1982, as well as its parking area to resident Adam Bilter and his 24 E. Goethe LLC for $680,000, reports the Sun-Times. “Famed Chicago architect Bertrand Goldberg designed the Astor Tower Hotel and turned the basement into what he hoped would be an exact replica of Maxim’s in Paris. It was the Art Nouveau epitome of red velvet elegance operated by the architect’s wife, Nancy.” The Goldberg family later made the space a gift to the city.
Gary Considers Switch To All-Electric Buses
“Gary Public Transportation Corporation, which operates bus service in Gary, Indiana and… other nearby Northwest Indiana municipalities, is launching a pilot test… on its busiest corridor to see how well the buses perform during winter,” reports Streetsblog Chicago. “If the test is successful, the city where steel mill smoke still dominates the skyline… may have fully electric transit within the next decade.”
DINING & DRINKING
Vietnamese Coffee Pop-up In West Loop Today And Monday
VietFive Coffee, a Vietnamese coffee roaster based in Chicago, is holding a West Loop pop-up at Porte Apartments, 855 West Madison today and Monday, January 24, 8am-noon, with coffee served by award-winning creative director, Vietfive’s owner, Tuan Huynh. “Experience Robusta coffee from VietNam (VietFive) coffee. We will serve it hot or traditional over ice with condensed milk. We will also have a vegan option with Oat Milk and agave (our biggest seller).” More here.
Gator Gnocchi Is Here
Chef Brian Jupiter of Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern & Package Goods wants Frontier to stand out, reports the Sun-Times. “So he decided to incorporate a meat source you won’t—or shouldn’t—find in your backyard in Chicago: alligator. Frontier is known for its whole alligator experience, which usually takes ten to twelve people to complete, though Jupiter jokes that eight really hungry people could possibly finish one.” For individual servings, Jupiter created gator gnocchi, “a hearty dish, perfect for the cold winter months… The secret of the plate is in the meat sauce. It’s ‘our play on a bolognese without the red sauce,’ he said. The base of the sauce’s flavor is the ground alligator and pork.”
No Vaccination Mandate For Starbucks
“Starbucks is no longer requiring its U.S. workers to be vaccinated against COVID-19, reversing a policy it announced earlier this month,” reports AP via WGN-TV. The chain of stores “said it was responding to last week’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court.” In a memo to employees, Starbucks COO John Culver wrote, “We respect the court’s ruling and will comply.”
City Cites Restaurants, Fitness Centers For Vaccine Violations
City inspectors cited thirteen bars and restaurants and nine fitness centers for failing to enforce city rules regarding proof of vaccination, reports WTTW. The citations were issued January 3-16; businesses included The Hollywood Grill, Kamehachi, Acanto and the always-active McDonald’s at 10 East Chicago.
Sunda Launches Happy Hour Specials With Bar Menu Twists
Sunda New Asian has launched a happy hour menu with winter comfort foods and chef-driven twists on classic bar snacks, including shiitake edamame hummus with wontons and crisp vegetables; nacho chinois, with crispy wontons, shrimp, peanuts, mozzarella, carrots, hoisin, carrots, spicy peanut sauce; the okonomiyaki waffle with cabbage, tonkatsu sauce, kewpie mayo, bonito, pickled ginger; and kung pao tots: crispy potato puffs, spicy hoisin, peanuts, chilis and scallions. Menu here.
Detroit’s Jet’s Pizza To Jefferson Park
Jet’s Pizza plans to open twenty-four stores in the Chicago area, starting with Jefferson Park and then Rogers Park, Hyde Park, Mokena and Matteson. “In addition to Detroit-style pizza, the new locations also plan to serve thin crust, New York-style pizza that can be made gluten free and with cauliflower crust. The restaurants will also expand their menus to fresh salads, handcrafted sandwiches and desserts,” reports Block Club Chicago.
How FoodLab Chicago Helps South Side Black-Owned Restaurants
“Servers used to buzz around the 30-seat dining room at vegan restaurant Majani in the South Shore… which co-owner and chef Tsadakeeyah Emmanuel opened in 2017. But Emmanuel, known to many as Chef T, is contemplating a permanent transition to a takeout-only model against a backdrop of worker shortages and shifting mandates, which further complicate operations,” reports Angela Burke at the Trib. “The thirty-year restaurant-industry veteran called on South Side nonprofit FoodLab Chicago… for support in building a more efficient system that could handle the increased demand for carryout and delivery… FoodLab Chicago has become an indispensable resource for its thirty-two restaurant and food business members operating in Greater Chatham, South Shore and Bronzeville… FoodLab Chicago launched with grants from the Chicago Community Foundation and Wells Fargo. At its core, FoodLab Chicago operates with the belief that a cross-pollination of efforts and resources from a constellation of trusted South Side organizations—groups that typically function in silos—helps cultivate a healthier business community.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Bill Jackson, 86, Performer On Chicago Children’s Television
Local children’s performer Bill Jackson of “The BJ and Dirty Dragon Show” on WGN-TV and WFLD, and “Gigglesnort Hotel” on WLS, was 86, reports Dean Richards at WGN-TV. “Jackson worked as a puppeteer, cartoonist and kids’ show host, playing the mayor of a town filled with his puppet creations.” The Sun-Times: “In the late 1960s and 1970s, Jackson brought to life out-of-the-ordinary characters such as Dirty Dragon and the Blob on his Chicago children’s television shows. His beautifully crafted puppets and artistry—he would draw cartoons during his shows to send to lucky viewers—inspired many of his fans to pursue a career in the creative arts.”
WBEZ Swings For Nonprofit Fences: Parent Corporation Will Acquire Seventy-Four-Year-Old Chicago Sun-Times
The board for WBEZ voted to acquire the Chicago Sun-Times, in a deal scheduled to close January 31, reports WBEZ. The report’s summation of their purchase is an awkward reach to the twentieth century, rather than the challenges to be met by the momentous merger: “The acquisition would create a new journalistic powerhouse, pairing the city’s award-winning, top-rated morning news station with the gritty tabloid made famous by its corruption-busting investigations, Roger Ebert’s movie reviews and Irv Kupcinet’s gossip column and crisp sportswriting.” The complex corporate overlays are summarized at the link. “Both WBEZ and the Sun-Times would maintain their own newsrooms, own staff, and own ‘editorial independence,’ according to the organizations.” Reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times: “With a combined employee total of close to 300, the WBEZ-Sun-Times venture could be the largest nonprofit journalism organization in the nation… It also appears to be the largest with a traditional print newspaper as part of its operations.” Under IRS rules, the Sun-Times would no longer be able to make political endorsements. From NYU journalism prof Jay Rosen: “Hey, the big public radio station in Chicago, WBEZ, is buying the Chicago Sun Times and turning it into a non-profit. That combo will now go up against the private equity crocodile that owns the Tribune. Local philanthropy’s on board with the new entity.”
WBEZ Expands Weekday Programming; Moves Terry Gross To Nighttime
Starting Monday, January 24, WBEZ is adding an extra hour of NPR’s “Here and Now” to its weekday program schedule, Mondays through Thursdays, 1pm-3pm. Midday broadcasts of “Fresh Air with Terry Gross” will end, but that program will air Monday-Thursday at 8pm and on the weekend, Saturdays at 9pm. The updated schedule is here.
Community Response To A.V. Club Exit From Chicago Continues
Reaction was swift to the news of the evisceration of the writing and editing staff of the A. V. Club, announced earlier this week. Writes Sam Adams, senior editor of Slate Culture, “Publications are the people who make them. Nothing else. The idea that you can screw over everyone who works there and all the writers they’re connected to and have anything left worth calling the AV Club is a sick, stupid joke.” Freelance contributor Vikram Murthi: “A predictable end to a thoroughly depressing affair that has gutted me personally for professional and sentimental reasons, and I don’t even really work there. If I have the ear of anyone, hire [everyone] who got boned by the amoral dumbshits helming the ship.” Reply by Twitter follower Bill McCoy: “Still amazes me that media business people think good editors and writers are expendable, when the results of that idea are nearly always catastrophic from a business as well as editorial standpoint. The case studies go back decades and are consistent.” Staffer Katie Rife: “Publicly and officially, my last day at The A.V. Club will be March 2. I have a lot of emotions about leaving what’s been a fantastic experience and a dream job, but looking back at the last seven years, what I feel the most is gratitude.” The New York Times: “A G/O Media spokesman, Mark Neschis, said in an email, ‘We are sorry that these Chicago staffers will not be making the move with The A.V. Club to Los Angeles.’ On the matter of compensation, he said, ‘We do regular compensation audits and we feel The A.V. Club’s pay scales are very competitive with the rest of the industry, and look forward to attracting top candidates to join the site.’ … In addition to The Onion and The A.V. Club, G/O Media is the publisher of digital outlets that were once part of Gawker Media, including Gizmodo, Jezebel and Deadspin. In 2019, G/O Media was sold by its previous owner, Univision, to Great Hill Partners, a private equity firm.”
The Mix Replaces Eric Ferguson
“Chris Petlak, a northwest suburban native who’s been co-hosting afternoons at WTMX 101.9-FM since 2020, is moving to mornings,” reports Rob Feder. “He’ll join regular contributors Nikki Chuminatto, Brian Paruch and Violeta Podrumedic and executive producer John Swanson on the show, which airs from 6-10am weekdays. Petlak fills a vacancy that’s been open since October when Eric Ferguson stepped down after twenty-five years, in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations and multiple lawsuits by former co-workers.”
Remembering Teatro Vista Founding Ensemble Member Gustavo Mellado
Gustavo Mellado, a founding ensemble member of Teatro Vista, was 69, reports Kerry Reid at the Reader. “Mellado appeared in many shows with Teatro Vista since its founding in 1991, as well as… Chicago companies including the now-defunct Next and Latino Chicago theater companies; in a 2003 Victory Gardens production of Nilo Cruz’s ‘Anna in the Tropics’ that featured many Teatro Vista regulars… and at the Goodman in Karen Zacarias’s ‘The Sins of Sor Juana.'”
DuSable Museum and Chicago International Puppet Theater Fest Present “The Bluest Eye”
The DuSable Museum of African American History is partnering with the fourth Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival to present a production of “The Bluest Eye,” based on Toni Morrison’s 1970 coming-of-age novel, running Friday-Sunday, January 28-30. In this version, “an unforgettable synthesis of puppets, puppeteers and actors brings one of Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison’s most influential works into a contemporary context. This unique adaptation, making its Chicago debut, is co-created and directed by Margaret Laurena Kemp and Janni Younge, based on the adaptation by acclaimed playwright Lydia Diamond.” More here.
Fillet Of Solo Festival Turns Twenty-Five
Former Lifeline Theatre artistic director Dorothy Milne and former Live Bait Theater artistic director Sharon Evans present the twenty-fifth annual Fillet of Solo Festival, presented by Lifeline Theatre and running January 21–February 13 online. “Celebrating the breadth of Chicago’s enduring storytelling and live lit scene, Lifeline virtually brings ten storytelling collectives and twenty-eight solo performers together from all over the country in a three-week online gallery of powerful, personal stories.” Ticket holders will have access to the full line-up of stories until the end of the festival. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Golub Capital, Booth School Of Business And Chicago Urban League Launch Partnership At Golub Capital Lab At Rustandy Center For Social Sector Innovation
Golub Capital, the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Chicago Urban League have formed a partnership that will “play a foundational role” at the Golub Capital Social Impact Lab at Chicago Booth’s Rustandy Center for Social Sector Innovation. The Golub Capital Lab, through a five-year commitment from Golub Capital, will provide training and professional development support to leaders of high-potential nonprofits serving communities of color. The central initiative will be IGNITE, a Golub Capital Nonprofit Leadership Program. “IGNITE will combine world-class educational content, coaching, peer mentorship, consulting assistance and community networking for nonprofit leaders serving the Black community, incorporating both the hard and soft skills that are essential for nonprofit leaders to thrive,” Golub Capital says in a release. “We are proud to partner with the University of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League—and build upon their commitment to communities of color in Chicago—to create this multifaceted program. We believe this is an outstanding opportunity to offer resources specifically tailored to help nonprofits strengthen and scale their impact,” David Golub, president of Golub Capital says in the release. More here.
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