Independent Curators International Partners With EXPO
“Independent Curators International welcomes 2022 with the online release of ‘Towards Accountability: Art and Institutions on Indigenous Territories,‘ a three-part series of conversations curated and moderated by Jordan Wilson, ICI’s Inaugural Indigenous Curatorial Research Fellow,” ICI announces in a release. “Wilson’s fellowship was conceived in conjunction with ICI’s traveling exhibition ‘Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts,’ which is currently at The Rooms in St. John’s, Canada. And we are pleased to announce the April 2022 Curatorial Forum, ICI’s ongoing collaboration with EXPO CHICAGO, will take place during the fair and with over forty curators from across the U.S. In its sixth year, the program offers mid-career and established curators, working independently or with an institutional affiliation, the opportunity to engage with their peers and explore significant issues relating to curating, programming, institution-building and audience engagement.” More here.
Texas, Home Of Preemptive Book Bans
Hundreds of books have been pulled from Texas libraries for review, sometimes over the objections of school librarians, several of whom told NBC News that they face mounting pressure to preemptively pull books that might draw complaints. “Records requests to nearly a hundred school districts in the Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin regions—a small sampling of the state’s 1,250 public school systems—revealed seventy-five formal requests by parents or community members to ban books from libraries during the first four months of this school year. In comparison, only one library book challenge was filed at those districts during the same time period a year earlier, records show. A handful of the districts reported more challenges this year than in the past two decades combined. All but a few of the challenges this school year targeted books dealing with racism or sexuality, the majority of them featuring LGBTQ characters and explicit descriptions of sex. Many of the books under fire are newer titles, purchased by school librarians in recent years as part of a nationwide movement to diversify the content available to public school children.”
“Maus” Support Could Plausibly Provide Copies To Every Kid In McMinn County
“Maus” mans a best-seller rocket, reports NPR. “Booksellers are taking steps to get the book and its important message into the hands of more readers. Ryan Higgins, the owner of a California comic book shop, offered via Twitter to donate up to 100 copies of ‘The Complete Maus’ to families in the McMinn County, Tennessee area… Nirvana Comics in Knoxville announced last week that it had started a program to loan or donate a copy of the book to any student who requests it and, within a day, had received donations from all over the world…Rich Davis, who owns Nirvana Comics and has led the campaign, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that because the county is only home to about 50,000 people, the outpouring of support could potentially make it possible ‘to donate a copy of “Maus” to every kid in McMinn County.'”
Sun-Times Buy Supported By Local Philanthropy (Unlike Failed Trib Try)
“Chicago is going to become, is on the precipice of becoming, a largely nonprofit-driven local news ecosystem… Chicago Public Media said it raised $61 million for the deal, with funding coming from local foundations and individual donors via multi-year commitments. Most commitments are pledged over a five-year period, and the funds will be invested in the Sun-Times to expand its journalism, invest in its digital product and maintain the print paper,” reports AP. Chicago Public Media’s Matt Moog “called the response from the philanthropic community ‘tremendous.’ The company noted sixty percent of WBEZ’s support comes from listeners, with nearly 90,000 members making ‘mostly modest, affordable individual donations.'” David Roeder at the Sun-Times: “Major supporters of the deal include current Sun-Times investor Michael Sacks, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Pritzker Traubert Foundation… Additional donors disclosed Monday were Builders Initiative, Chicago Community Trust, Walter and Karla Goldschmidt Foundation, The Joyce Foundation, John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Mansueto Foundation, Robin Steans and Leonard Gail, and an anonymous donor.”
Rick Kogan Remembers Richard Christiansen And The Mike Royko Inside Joke
“I knew Richard Christiansen for nearly sixty years,” writes Rick Kogan. “It’s impossible to catalog the many things he taught me and a generation of newspaper writers. One of the most important was that if you are a critic, you don’t have to be an arrogant ass… He told me a lot of things, many of which have made me, I like to believe, a better newspaperman and better person. He could be charmingly, tearfully sentimental, a trait that further endeared him to people. But even some of his closest friends were mystified by his friendship with Mike Royko. They seemed so vastly different, tough and tender respectively… The basis of their friendship was formed at the City News Bureau, then extending to the Daily News and later at the Tribune. ‘When Mike started his column, he told me he thought that Mike Royko was too dull a byline,’ Christiansen told me. ‘He said he wanted something classier and folksier for a first name, maybe something distinctive like “Theo” of actor-singer Theo Bikel. So, after some lively talk, we hit upon “Meeko.” It delighted us both, and that, for me, was his name ever after.’ … Whenever these two would run into one another, often outside the Tribune Tower, there would be palpable affection and hugs, the word ‘Meeko’ clearly heard, above the rush of traffic and along with the sounds of their mutual laughter.” Adds Monica Eng on Twitter: “I loved Richard’s story about his day following Jerry Lewis for a profile. At the end of some wild and overfriendly behavior by Lewis, he left Richard with: ‘You better write nice things about me or else I won’t like you anymore!'”
Chicago Blues Legend Jimmy Johnson Was 93
WBBM via WXRT reports on Chicago musician Jimmy Johnson, “one of the legends of Blues.” “Like many in the Home of the Blues, guitarist and singer Jimmy Johnson came to Chicago from the South and earned a place among the legends… Johnson wrote, ‘My music has taken me all over the world and I’ve had the great pleasure of playing with some of the greatest musicians of all time.'” The Blues Foundation Hall of Fame bio of Johnson is here. Evan F. Moore’s 2020 Sun-Times profile of Johnson is here. “The Syl Johnson Movie” tweets about the “older brother of Syl Johnson, frequent collaborator on songs including ‘Come On Sock It To Me’ and a blues legend in his own right. Here he is in a clip from our film talking about Syl’s arrival in Chicago with their brother Mack Thompson, bassist for Magic Sam.”
Steve Albini’s Thoughts On Streamers Versus Artists
In a must-read thread on Twitter of over 1,300 words, Steve Albini superbly delineates the permanent exploitation of recording artists, not only from streamers like Spotify. An excerpt: “There’s an important thread of continuity over time about the exploitation of bands by record labels that deserves a closer look, re the current Spotify debate. Big mainstream record labels have historically exploited musicians dreadfully, using contracts constructed around the notion of recoupment of advances… I’ve made a distinction here about major labels, because during the punk era, independent labels sprang up, labels like Touch and Go, Dischord, Drag City, Merge and others, who operated differently. By and large, these labels used a profit share model rather than recoupment. In a profit share, all the income from a release goes to pay off the expenses of that release, and whatever profit is left is shared between the band and the label, typically 50-50. My bands have enjoyed this kind of deal since the early 1980s, and let me tell you it’s great… The [major label] standard was corrupt, exploitative and unfair, but is was an industry standard. So bands… remain bound by these awful deals, executed years prior to streaming, with terms that have never risen above grossly unfair. In the streaming era, the majors engineered for themselves part ownership of services like Spotify in exchange for blanket licenses to their catalogs. Literally when Spotify makes money, they make money, and they do not give half a shit if any money is accrued to royalties for the bands… It gives me peace thinking that the streaming model is unsustainable and will collapse eventually, but in the interim remember that the music business that fucked mainstream bands always had in parallel the contrasting independent scene which was more fair then and remains so… ALL major labels operated in an exploitative manner. ALL.”
Lyric Announces Season
The 2022-2023 Lyric Opera season is planned: “Ernani,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” “Don Carlos,” “Le Comte Ory,” “Hansel and Gretel” and “Carmen.” Also, two world premieres as part of Lyric’s commitment to contemporary work: “Proximity” and “The Factotum,” a Chicago-set soul opera and the return of Lyric’s “West Side Story.” Details here.
Brooklyn Detention Center Exposes R. Kelly To COVID
“R. Kelly contracted COVID-19 while in custody in Brooklyn, his lawyer said in a letter to the judge overseeing the case,” reports the Sun-Times. “The singer’s lawyer said the virus is among the factors that have delayed her ability to file post-trial motions in Kelly’s case. Kelly is being held in a Brooklyn detention center, where she said visits have been indefinitely suspended.”
Music Theater Works Announces Cast And Creative Team for “La Cage Aux Folles”
Music Theater Works has announced the cast for its spring production of “La Cage Aux Folles,” with music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, book by Harvey Fierstein, direction by producing artistic director Kyle Dougan, music direction by Kyra Leigh and choreography by Christopher Chase Carter. The cast includes “RuPaul’s Drag Race” headliner Ginger Minj as “Albin” and costumes by “Project Runway” designer Justin LeBlanc; Jason Richards plays Georges, with Christopher Ratliff, Dane Strange, Thomas E. Squires and Caron Buinis. Details here.
ARTS & CULTURE
New Citizens From Eighty-Two Countries Naturalized At Auditorium Theatre
“472 new citizens were welcomed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker at the naturalization ceremony — the first held in the theater,” reports the Sun-Times. “The newly naturalized citizens were from 82 home countries, with India, Mexico, Pakistan and the Philippines among those most represented, according to Julie Hodek, public information officer for the U.S. District Court. After the oath, Pritzker told the crowd of new citizens, families and friends of his own great-grandfather’s immigrant roots and search for a fresh start in Illinois.”
Pritzker Military Museum And Library Sets Black History Month Events
The Pritzker Military Museum & Library has programs planned throughout Black History Month. Events exploring the history of Black and African Americans’ legacy of service will be free and open to the community. Programs include a panel discussion “Continuing to Serve: Reflecting on the History and Legacy of African American Service Members;” an online presentation, “We Return Fighting: African Americans in WWI and the early Civil Rights Movement;” and oral history recordings from four Black service members. Details here.
Stadiums Prepare Sports Betting Venues
United Center and its gambling partner are teaming to build a two-story betting area at the home of the Bulls and Blackhawks, reports WGN-TV. Meanwhile, one of the last undeveloped patches of land near Wrigley Field, at Addison and Sheffield, will be the site of the stadium’s two-story-tall, 22,000-square-foot betting center after the removal of statues of Ron Santo and Billy Williams, which are now in storage in Michigan, reports Cubbies Crib.
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