DCASE Announces Art Exhibitions And Public Programs At Cultural Center
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events has announced two contemporary art exhibits featuring the work of five Chicago artists opening this winter at the Chicago Cultural Center, “Jin Lee: Views & Scenes” and “An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman.” “Jin Lee: Views & Scenes” (March 5–August 7; Chicago Rooms) is a one-person exhibition by Chicago photographer Jin Lee featuring photographs that examine landscapes and built environments around Chicago. “With brilliant color and provocative forms,” the artists in “An Instrument in the Shape of a Woman” (February 26 – September 4; Michigan Avenue Galleries)—an exhibition by Leslie Baum, Diana Christiansen and Selina Trepp with Annie Morse—”suggest an alternate universe, at once familiar and surreal, seen through the prism of their invention. Echoes of landscape, still life and psychological portraiture reside in resolutely abstract works.”
Continuing exhibitions include “Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott” (through May 29; Exhibit Hall), the first comprehensive retrospective of one of America’s most compelling and provocative artists; “Successful Failures: 30 Years of Lumpens, Radical media and Building communities of the future” organized by Public Media Institute and friends (through February 6, Michigan Avenue Galleries); “The Great Chicago Fire in Focus” (ongoing; Landmarks Gallery), part of a citywide commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire; and “All Together Now: Sound x Design” (through April 3) across the street at the Design Museum of Chicago at Expo 72 (72 East Randolph). More here.
Paul Sacaridiz Named Director Of Cranbrook Academy Of Art
The Cranbrook Educational Community Board of Trustees announced that, following a comprehensive national search, Paul Sacaridiz has been named the next director of Michigan’s Cranbrook Academy of Art. Sacaridiz will be the Cranbrook Academy of Art’s twelfth director since Eliel Saarinen served as the Academy’s first Director in 1932. More here.
Weinberg/Newton Gallery Extends Human/Nature, Announces Virtual Panels
Weinberg/Newton Gallery, the non-commercial gallery dedicated to promoting social justice causes, has extended its show “Human/Nature,” partnered with the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, through April 16 at 688 North Milwaukee. Addressing climate change, “Human/Nature” features new work by artists Laura Ball, Stas Bartnikas, Donovan Quintero, Obvious, Karen Reimer, Matthew Ritchie and Regan Rosburg along with video interviews from climate scientists and experts, offering actionable ideas on ways to contribute to a sustainable future. Among the virtual panels is a February 4 discussion with the experts who set the Doomsday Clock, including Science and Security Board members Robert Latiff, Suzet McKinney, Robert Socolow, and Jon Wolfsthal in conversation with Bulletin President and CEO, Rachel Bronson. More here.
Concrete Poured For Jahn-Designed 1000M
“Over this past weekend near the northern edge of South Loop, an army of 400 concrete trucks could be seen pouring the foundation of Chicago’s fourth tallest construction project,” reports YIMBY. 1000M, the Helmut Jahn-designed seventy-three-story residential skyscraper, will house 738 rental apartment units.
Affordable Housing Development Comes To Humboldt
“A large affordable housing building is poised to take over a long-vacant lot in Humboldt Park, bringing dozens of low-cost units to the neighborhood,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The City Council on Wednesday approved developer Hispanic Housing Development Corporation’s long-discussed plans for the site at Division Street and California Avenue: a sixty-four-unit affordable housing complex with 2,500 square feet of commercial space, nineteen parking spaces and forty-nine bike parking spaces.”
DINING & DRINKING
Katherine Anne Confections Pops Up At Pendry
Logan Square’s woman-owned artisanal chocolate company, Katherine Anne Confections, brings its neighborhood shop downtown this weekend with a Hot Chocolate Bar Pop-Up at Pendry Chicago. Taking over the ground-floor Billiards Gallery, Katherine Duncan will be serving the signature hot drinking chocolate the North Side shop is known for, “alongside a toppings bar loaded up with their flavorful housemade marshmallows and other fun selections. Visitors will also be able to purchase grab-and-go goodies like decadent truffles, hand-crafted caramels, fluffy marshmallows and their signature drinking chocolate mix.” The event is Saturday, January 29 and Sunday, January 30, noon-2pm at Pendry Chicago, 230 North Michigan. More here.
Lisa Gasparian Reopens Café Crèmerie In Historic Tree Studios
From Lisa Gasparian, Café Crèmerie will open this winter in Tree Studios in River North, “a cozy, welcoming space tucked away in the bustling neighborhood offering an indulgent, urban escape.” “Café Crèmerie was made with love, passion, and sheer tenacity,” owner Lisa Gasparian says in a release. “When we closed our doors in 2021, I didn’t know what to expect, but the journey has been well worth the reward.” The Café Crèmerie menu features specialty coffee by Illy, wines, artisanal Italian gelato, savory snacks, sweet treats and gluten-free options, all of which can be enjoyed at the café or at home. The beverage menu will also consist of canned wines from Nomadica as well as canned cocktails. Twelve organic rotating gelato flavors made in the Italian tradition will greet guests with flavors like vanilla bean, dark chocolate, and pistachio as well as scrumptious seasonable selections. Focaccia, margherita pizza and sandwiches are among the many other offerings. More here.
Former Maxim’s De Paris To Become Private Club
“After twenty-two years as a city-run event space, the legendary interior that once housed Maxim’s de Paris restaurant inside the Gold Coast’s Astor Tower will be revived as a private neighborhood-centered social club,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The City Council Wednesday approved the $680,000 sale of the former restaurant to a couple who lives in the tower. The city owned the restaurant’s space since 2000, when it was gifted by the family of famed architect Bertrand Goldberg.” The piece also provides a history of the swanky joint.
Valois Cafeteria Survives A Century, Including This Pandemic
Eater Chicago interviews Valois Cafeteria’s Gianni Colamussi: “Let me just say this: The appreciation that I have for the people of Hyde Park and surrounding areas is tremendous… People were struggling and they still came into Valois. Business was down ninety percent, and our staff was basically working for free. The restaurant was kept open for the staff, who needed their jobs, and for the community, who loved the place. The customers have been there for us for a hundred years, and we wanted to be there for them during these tough times. Sometimes we offered free stuff and we still had our takeout options, so we fought hard to maintain and stay open. We made it through thanks to the determination and passion of the staff and the support of the community.”
Stan’s Donuts Excited About Grocery Stores
“Stan’s Donuts & Coffee owner Rich Labriola sees a lot of potential in grocery stores,” reports Crain’s. “It’s been about a year since the eight-year-old Chicago company started selling packs of its doughnuts at Mariano’s. Stan’s signature pink boxes are now on grocery store shelves throughout the Chicago area, with sales comprising almost twenty percent of the company’s revenue… ‘I believe it has the potential to overtake our retail stores. We’re excited about grocery stores and exposing the rest of the country to Stan’s. It’s a little different way to do it than opening up 1,000 stores.'”
Book Bans Reach Tennessee And Mississippi, Including “Maus”
“A school board in Tennessee voted 10-0 to remove Art Spiegelman’s Pulitzer prize-winning graphic novel ‘Maus: A Survivor’s Tale’ from being taught in its classrooms,” reports the BBC. “Board members voted in favour of banning the novel because it contained swear words and a naked illustration… In a McMinn County Schools board meeting in January, members said that they felt that the inclusion of swear words in the graphic novel were inappropriate… The director of schools, Lee Parkinson, was quoted… ‘there is some rough, objectionable language in this book.’ Members also objected to a cartoon that featured ‘nakedness’ in a drawing of a mouse.” Spiegelman said he was “baffled” and called the announcement, a day before Holocaust Memorial Day, “Orwellian.” He supplied an image of a bookmark he designed to the Daily Beast: “Keep your nose in a book—and keep other people’s noses out of which books you choose to stick your nose into!” Author Neil Gaiman: “There’s only one kind of people who would vote to ban ‘Maus,’ whatever they are calling themselves these days.” Here’s the disturbing transcript of the McMinn County Schools board meeting to “do away with the book”: “I went to school here thirteen years. I learned math, English, Reading and History. I never had a book with a naked picture in it, never had one with foul language. In third grade I had one of my classmates come up to me and say hey what’s this word? I sounded it out and it was ‘damn,’ and I was real proud of myself because I sounded it out. She ran straight to the teacher and told her I was cussing. Besides that one book which I think she brought from home, now I’ve seen a cuss word in a textbook at school. So, this idea that we have to have this kind of material in the class in order to teach history, I don’t buy it… I’ve read it and read through all of it and the parts it talks about his father, the father is the guy that went through the Holocaust, I really enjoyed, I liked it. There were other parts that were completely unnecessary. We are talking about teaching ethics to our kids, and it starts out with the dad and the son talking about when the dad lost his virginity. It wasn’t explicit but it was in there. You see the naked pictures, you see the razor, the blade where the mom is cutting herself. You see her laying in a pool of her own blood. You have all this stuff in here, again, reading this to myself it was a decent book until the end. I thought the end was stupid to be honest with you. A lot of the cussing had to do with the son cussing out the father, so I don’t really know how that teaches our kids any kind of ethical stuff. It’s just the opposite, instead of treating his father with some kind of respect, he treated his father like he was the victim. We don’t need this stuff to teach kids history… We can tell them exactly what happened, but we don’t need all the nakedness and all the other stuff.” Meanwhile, in Mississippi, a mayor is “withholding $110,000 of funding from the Madison County Library System” until its libraries purge books with LGBTQ themes. “He explained his opposition to what he called ‘homosexual materials’ in the library, that it went against his Christian beliefs, and that he would not release the money as long as the materials were there,” the library director said… “I explained that we are a public library and we serve the entire community. I told him our collection reflects the diversity of our community… He told me that the library can serve whoever we wanted, but that he only serves the great Lord above.” In Washington state, the target is “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Judd Legum is charting burgeoning book bans nationwide: “For years, people have tried to ban some of the greatest books ever written. But rarely has book-banning had so much political salience. In 2022, there are efforts by politicians across the country to ban hundreds of books from public schools. It is a frontal assault on academic freedom.”
62nd University of Chicago Folk Festival Will Be Virtual
The 62nd UChicago Folk Festival has moved to a virtual format. “This format will allow us to offer high-quality traditional folk music to a wider audience than ever before,” the group reports. There will be two nights of concerts on February 11-12 on their Facebook and Youtube pages. Details and attractions here.
Can Chicago Theater Ever Recover?
“So far, it has been a season of postponed or canceled performances (some at the last minute), positive tests within cast and crew and, where performances actually have taken place, mostly disappointing houses. Many of the city’s most storied theaters have fallen quiet, extending a pause into a stunning third year of inaction,” Chris Jones writes at the Tribune. “All of this has led to a simple but difficult series of questions: Is the Chicago theater going to be OK? When will it return to its familiar scale and scope? Is the audience still there? Has one of the great theater cities on the planet just suffered the kind of blow that may require a recovery time of years? …The virus has proved near-impossible to time or to predict. Especially at long-standing theaters with loyal subscription bases, the autumn window of shows revealed that a core audience was willing to come back to the theater at least until omicron hit—but the market for the casual theatergoer has dried up and the crucial tourist sector has vanished almost entirely. Nobody knows if or when that audience is coming back; its reappearance relies on factors outside of the industry’s control.” At Arts Hub: “Audience hesitancy is Omicron’s new curse.”
iO Theater Returning
Via Annoyance Theatre’s Facebook: “Annoyance’s founder and exec producer, Mick Napier and Jennifer Estlin, have had discussions with the new owners of iO Theater about the business as well as the improv community at large. It has always been our belief that with the presence of a thriving, inclusive and cooperative improv scene, the Chicago community… benefits by standing out as the mecca of improv study and performance in the U.S. … Mick and Jennifer will be formally consulting with iO to reopen the theater in the coming months. We look forward to having iO back in the Chicago scene.”
2022 Notched As Year Of Chicago Dance
Mayor Lightfoot and DCASE Commissioner Erin Harkey have designated 2022 as the “Year of Chicago Dance” in partnership with the local dance community. The citywide, yearlong focus on dance is the first of its kind in the U.S. and the city will collaborate with Chicago’s dance industry to address critical issues facing dancers and the field of dance including funding, space, capacity building and sustainability of work. The Year of Chicago Dance will include dance performances, social dancing and special events for the public in venues throughout the city.
Chicago is home to many of the premier contemporary and ballet companies in the country today; with an estimated 425 dance schools or studios, 344 presenters or venues and hundreds of other organizations; and the birthplace of Footwork and other dance styles—but according to a recent report on “Mapping the Dance Landscape in Chicagoland,” nearly two-thirds of local dancers and choreographers earn less than $15,000 annually from dance and twelve percent work entirely without pay. “The pandemic took a particularly devastating toll on our performing arts industry as shows were canceled, venues were closed, and artists faced financial insecurity,” Lightfoot said in a release. “Through the ‘Year of Chicago Dance,’ we will be able to further revitalize our arts and culture scene as well as show off our incredible dance industry to the rest of the country. DCASE and I are proud to offer this well-deserved spotlight to the dance community, which continues to bring us beauty, culture and experiences of a lifetime.” More here.
Court Theatre Announces 2022 South Side Youth Fest
Court Theatre has announced its 2022 South Side Youth Fest, inviting South Side teens to make and share original digital stories. “Teens are encouraged to share what they want to say about their vision for the world, an issue they care about or an aspect of their culture,” Court says in a release. “The South Side Youth Fest is open to any teen ages 13-19 who currently lives on Chicago’s South Side and any teen who is currently enrolled in a South Side school.” Kamilah Rashied, director of education for Court says, “It’s important that we center young people, and particularly youth of color, in uninhibited expression that represents their point of view. I remember being in arts classes as a teen and not feeling represented by who was teaching, what was being taught and who was being canonized through the artists presented to me. I had to rely on outlets in my community to feel seen and to see that people like me were worthy of being commemorated through the arts. As a theater whose mission is to tell stories that are both timely and timeless, we have an exciting opportunity to redraw the margins of what our theatre can do in support of youth artists on the South Side of Chicago, through this project and beyond.” Submissions open February 1 here.
Teatro ZinZanni Sets New Cirque, Comedy And Cabaret Show
Teatro ZinZanni’s new show has opened at the Spiegeltent ZaZou, on the fourteenth floor of the Cambria Hotel Chicago Loop (32 West Randolph). “The whirlwind of live comedy, music and cirque served with a multi-course gourmet feast is back! Randolph Entertainment LLC presents a new international cast of characters performing astounding acts and bringing audience members a unique, immersive dining and live entertainment experience.” Tickets through August are on sale here.
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]