Malkovich And Sandro’s Historical Portrait Make-Overs
Sandro Miller writes about his historical portrait series starring the “never fearful” John Malkovich at the Daily Beast.
“Dibs are 100% illegal, according to Chicago’s municipal code, which states ‘no person shall use any public way for the storage of personal property,'” reports Monica Eng at Axios Chicago in anticipation of multiple massive snowstorms this week. (Eng provides a copy of the relevant code to print out for neighbors.)
Downtown Hopes And Guerrilla Marketing For Chicago
“Long associated with gleaming office buildings, retail and throngs of workers and tourists, changes could be in store for downtown Chicago as it works to regain the bustle it lost during the pandemic,” reports the Trib. “Empty offices and closed storefronts have put the vibrancy of downtown Chicago at stake. Almost eighteen percent of downtown office space was vacant at the end of 2021… The closure of major retailers along the Magnificent Mile, such as Macy’s and Gap, left massive holes in the city’s best-known shopping district.” Also from the Tribune: “After two years of pandemic stasis, crime stories and a broadly battered image, Chicago is going on the offensive, launching a guerrilla marketing campaign… to promote itself as a more influential world city than many realize. Created by Chicago ad agency Energy BBDO, the pro bono ‘Chicago Not in Chicago’ campaign touts a long list of homegrown innovations—from the cellphone to the skyscraper—that have changed the world, but with little credit given to the city of origin.”
A Visit To Chicago’s Only Trailer Park
“It turns out hundreds of families live in Chicago’s only trailer park, Harbor Point Estates, which is in the far southeast corner of the city. It sits along the shores of Wolf Lake in the Hegewisch neighborhood, just off 134th Street. The community is so close to Indiana you can fly a kite there, a property manager says,” reports Curious City at WBEZ.
What Concentration Of Supply Chains Has Done For Us
“You could read hundreds of stories about this phenomenon, about the stress of longshoremen and supply chain managers and government officials, the consequences for consumers and small businesses and retailers, and superficial attempts at explaining why we got here,” The American Prospect opens a series on why supply chains continue to fail. “Many will tell you that the pandemic changed consumption patterns, favoring physical goods over services as barhopping and travel shut down. Some will blame fiscal-relief programs, large deficits, and loose monetary policies for making inflation worse. Nearly all will frame the matter as a momentary kink in the global logistics leviathan, which is bound to work itself out… Almost none of these stories will explain how these shortages and price hikes were also brought to life through bad public policy coupled with decades of corporate greed. We spent a half-century allowing business executives and financiers to take control of our supply chains, enabled by leaders in both parties. They all hailed the transformation, cheering the advances of globalization, the efficient network that would free us from want. Motivated by greed and dismissive of the public interest, they didn’t mention that their invention was supremely ill-equipped to handle inevitable supply bottlenecks. And the pandemic exposed this hidden risk, like a domino bringing down a system primed to topple.”
DINING & DRINKING
Black Beer Makers Get Boost From Scholarship
“The craft beer industry has historically been dominated by white men. A 2021 survey by the Brewers Association, which represents thousands of breweries nationwide, found 93.5% of brewery owners are white and 75.6% are men. That lack of diversity is the inspiration behind a new scholarship initiative in Illinois,” reports WTTW. “The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild partnered with the Siebel Institute of Technology, a brewing school in Chicago, to provide free entry-level and intermediate-level brewing courses, valued at $985 and $4,285. The goal is to build a more inclusive industry by giving underrepresented groups access to education and technical training.”
“Shuck Off” At Publican
Paul Kahan’s Shuck Off is tomorrow night at The Publican, where a handful of the city’s most notable chefs team to shell out buck-a-shuck oysters for one night only with one-hundred-percent of oyster proceeds benefitting Pilot Light. Joe Flamm, Erick Williams, Beverly Kim, Genie Kwon + Tim Flores, Jason Hammel and host Paul Kahan “shuck it up” for a marathon oyster-shucking event at the Fulton Market beer hall. Each chef runs the show for an hour, jumping behind an eight-foot “oyster boat” with Paul from 5pm-9pm to serve up oysters donated by Island Creek and Hama Hama. Reservations here; there may be walk-ups available.
Saving Kuppie’s Bakery
“Residents in the western suburb say that Kuppie’s Bakery is the place to go in the heart of Villa Park,” reports WGN-TV. “When Bill Jerkovic stopped by the bakery on Saturday, his favorite treat wasn’t available, being told the oven was not working. Dawn Hanrahan and her husband Pedro own Kuppie’s, a staple in the community… When Jerkovic heard the oven had crashed, he took to Facebook to plea for help. ‘Within fifteen minutes of being here I had to put the post out there and see if there was anyone… could help…’ A GoFundMe was started to help Kuppie’s buy a new industrial oven. By early Sunday morning, over $36,000 was raised… ‘In the crazy times that we’re having right now, just to see so many good people come together, and for me I just come to work every day and make donuts,’ Dawn Hanrahan said.”
Developments In Tipping In France
While the culture of tipping remains a conversation in the States, France has made servers’ tips tax-exempt.
Behind The Delivery-In-Minutes Startups Filling The Streets With Scooters
Not every company is on Chicago streets (yet), but the Wall Street Journal reports on the near-instant delivery showdown in big cities: “A venture capital-backed battle is raging in New York City in the burgeoning field of instant delivery. At least six startups, including Gorillas Technologies Ltd., Jokr SARL, Getir Perakende Lojistik AS and Buyk Corp., are vying to win the chance to ferry groceries to customers within ten to twenty minutes of their order placement on an app… While these consumer-friendly offerings have brought surging sales, losses are heavy given the high cost of prolific advertising and paying couriers to hand-deliver potato chips, soap and eggs in a short time frame, industry investors and executives said. Some of the companies are averaging a loss of over $20 per order when factoring in costs like advertising… ‘In the early minutes of a plane just taking off, it consumes a lot of gas,’ said Nazim Salur, founder of Istanbul-based Getir, which raised money last summer at a $7.5 billion valuation. Once Getir grows large enough, the business will become profitable, he said, something he has seen firsthand with early Getir locations in Turkey.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Filmmakers Receives NEA Grant
Chicago Filmmakers has been approved for an American Rescue Plan Grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), designed to help the arts and cultural sector recover from the pandemic. Chicago Filmmakers is recommended to receive $100,000 and will use this funding toward staffing, facilities, and marketing and promotional efforts to encourage attendance and participation. “The arts have been deeply affected by the pandemic,” executive director Brenda Webb says in a release. “The National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan funding helps arts organizations get back on their feet and continue supporting and presenting art in a time where our nation needs inspiration the most.” The Chicago Filmmakers site is here.
The Times Catches The Book Ban Express
“Parents, activists, school board officials and lawmakers around the country are challenging books at a pace not seen in decades,” reports the New York Times. “The American Library Association said in a preliminary report that it received an ‘unprecedented’ 330 reports of book challenges, each of which can include multiple books, last fall… Several books are drawing fire repeatedly in different parts of the country— ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue’ has been targeted for removal in at least fourteen states—in part because objections that have surfaced in recent months often originate online. Many parents have seen Google docs or spreadsheets of contentious titles posted on Facebook by local chapters of organizations such as Moms for Liberty. From there, librarians say, parents ask their schools if those books are available to their children.” Judd Legum at Popular Information on how one ban happened: “An acclaimed MLK-themed novel was removed from a tenth-grade English class in North Carolina. Haywood County Superintendent Dr. Bill Nolte told Popular Information that he pulled the book, ‘Dear Martin’ by Nic Stone, in a matter of hours after receiving one parent complaint. Nolte said he did not read the book—or even obtain a copy—prior to making the decision. The tenth-grade parent, Tim Reeves, addressed the Haywood County School Board on January 10. Reeves said that his son received ‘Dear Martin’ in English class on January 6. Reeves learned from his son that the book contained ‘explicit language’ including the ‘f-word,’ the ‘s-word,’ and ‘GD.’ Reeves said that he was ‘appalled.’ He said the ‘language’ and ‘sexual innuendos’ in the book are ‘concerning to me as a parent.'” “Maus” rising: “The decision by a Tennessee school district to ban ‘Maus’ [has] spiked interest in Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel about the Holocaust,” reports Slate. “Three different editions of the Pulitzer Prize–winning work are in the top seven of books on Amazon as of Sunday afternoon. ‘The Complete Maus,’ which includes the two volumes of the novel, was number one on Amazon’s bestseller list. The first volume of the book was number three on the list, while the second was number seven.”
“Chicago’s TikTok Historian” Leads POC Travel Influencers
“If Chicagoans are known for their Midwestern modesty, then Shermann ‘Dilla’ Thomas is an outlier,” writes Leigh Giangreco at the Washington Post. “While national news outlets seem fixated on the city’s gun violence and crime, Thomas has built an impressive audience by highlighting his hometown’s best qualities. As ‘Chicago’s TikTok historian,’ he broadcasts snippets of cellphone video to 66,000 followers, revealing the Chicago origins of Motorola, the fireman’s pole and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. ‘I blame the city because we’re terrible with our own message,’ Thomas said. ‘Everything great about America comes from Chicago, and I’m probably the only dude that ever says that.’ As a Black man who has spun his online success into a real-life tour business, Thomas stands out in a travel industry that predominantly centers the White experience.”
Chicago Public Media Absorption Of Chicago Sun-Times Completed
Chicago Public Media has acquired the Chicago Sun-Times, Matt Moog, CEO, Chicago Public Media announced in a WBEZ newsletter. “Today marks the beginning of a historic partnership between our two storied news brands that will grow and strengthen local journalism in Chicago. The Chicago Sun-Times is now a nonprofit as a subsidiary of Chicago Public Media. Together we will deepen our impact in our community by reaching more than 2 million Chicagoans a week with our human-centered, solutions-oriented journalism… WBEZ will continue to be the local news source you value and trust. Both WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times will continue to have their own newsrooms, each serving dedicated, loyal listeners and readers… Local journalism has never been more important, nor has it ever been at greater peril. A vibrant, thriving local news ecosystem is fundamentally important to safeguarding democracy, informing the public, and strengthening local communities. Together with the Chicago Sun-Times, we will help preserve local journalism for the public good in Chicago, supported by the community for the community. The willingness of our members to support reliable, independent, fact-based journalism has modeled the community-supported future we are building for the Chicago Sun-Times.”
Drummer Sam Lay Was 86
“Drummer Sam Lay, who played with blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf and backed Bob Dylan when he went electric at the Newport Folk Festival was 85,” reports the Sun-Times. “He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2015 as part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and played on dozens of tracks for Chess Records. ‘I always say this to explain Sam’s playing: Sam didn’t just play the drums, he sang the drums,’ said Corky Siegel, the Chicago pianist and harmonica-playing leader of Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues. ‘He just followed the music and just made it explode into ecstasy.'”
Can Stage Productions Afford To Postpone?
A survey at Block Club: “Multiple theaters, including Lookingglass and Redtwist, have postponed their early 2022 plays due to the Omicron variant. The Goodman Theatre, which shut down its holiday schedule of ‘A Christmas Carol,’ is resuming in-person performances… For theaters, the pandemic’s created a constant struggle over when to shut down to protect audiences and staff—and how to avoid upending operations while opening and closing. ‘We can only afford to reopen once, so during the height of the pandemic, we were trying to bide our time and not reopen so quickly that it was unsafe or that we would have shut down again,’ Redtwist Theater producing artistic director Charlie Marie McGrath said. ‘But at the same time, we were trying to stay connected to our patrons and also to artists.’”
Chicago Gets A World Comedy Expo
The first World Comedy Expo, running March 25-27, will bring together more than 170 stand-up comics and sketch-improv groups from Chicago, across the country and across the globe for twenty-seven comedy showcases, reports the Sun-Times. “The shows will take place at Laugh Factory, The Annoyance Theatre, Den Theatre and two Second City venues: Up Comedy Club and Donny’s Skybox. ‘I came to Chicago from Japan as a young stand-up because the city is known as the comedy capital of the world,’ said festival co-founder and artistic director Saku Yanagawa.”
A Conference Queries Shakespeare
“Shakespeare companies are under perhaps unprecedented pressure to reexamine their missions and broaden their identities,” reports Peter Marks at the Washington Post. “The conversations… go to the very heart of what many of the dozens of troupes across the country were founded to do. How much Shakespeare do audiences really want these days? What adjustments are required in the performance of his canon to accommodate those who do not buy the line that Shakespeare is the ‘greatest playwright of all time’? And does the process of rethinking his centrality in American culture—’decentering’ Shakespeare—open stage doors more widely to the imaginations of contemporary writers? … The long, hard look extends to which plays are done, who gets to direct and perform them—even to whether Shakespeare worship itself is a hindrance to theater moving forward.”
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