Darger Dollars Disputed
Distant relatives of Henry Darger, tracked down by a collector of vintage photographs, are making a legal claim on his estate, reports the New York Times. “When the janitor-turned-artist Henry Darger died in Chicago at 81 in 1973, leaving a single room crammed with his colorful [artwork], a 15,000-page book and no immediate surviving relatives, Darger’s landlord began showing, sharing and selling his work… The landlords, Nathan and Kiyoko Lerner, have been credited with rescuing Darger’s creations from the scrap heap and promoting them in a way that gained Darger an international reputation as an outsider artist. ‘Most landlords would have been, “Let’s rent the room, get out the dumpster,”’ said Andrew Edlin, a leading Darger dealer. ‘Nathan Lerner spent twenty-five years protecting his legacy. If not for him, we would never know about Darger.'” The distant relatives now assert “the landlord did not have the right to pluck and profit from Darger’s art. They filed a ‘petition for determination of heirship’ in an Illinois probate court last month; a hearing in Cook County is scheduled for February 23.”
Aurora’s Got A Burgeoning Mural Scene
“Those brightly colored Mexican folk art objects of fantastical creatures known as alebrijes—[seen] as animated characters in ‘Coco’ — can now be found in Aurora,” reports Richie Requena at the the Sun-Times in an illustrated takeout. “They are the subject of a mural that was among thirty commissioned by the city as part of an arts initiative last year. The alebrijes mural was done on a railroad viaduct near New York and LaSalle streets by four artists from Aurora: Laura Reyes, Janice Rodriguez, Catalina Diaz and Pierre Lucero.” More here.
National Museum Of Mexican Art Names New Trustees
The National Museum of Mexican Art has announced Alejandra Lara, Juan F. Ortiz and Javier A. Reyes as additions to the Museum’s Board of Trustees. More on the board can be found here.
Spudnik Press Welcomes 2022 Resident Artists
Spudnik Press Cooperative has announced five resident artists for 2022: Cameron Mankin, Susy Bielak, Elizabeth Rose, Hale Ekinci and Hui-min Tsen. “The Residency gives mid-career and established artists full access to our studios for the completion of new print-based artwork, along with a stipend and support from our staff of professional printmakers.” More here.
A Defense Of Derided “Chicago Not In Chicago” P.R.
“Editorial pieces in the Chicago Tribune and the Sun-Times criticized the ‘Chicago Not in Chicago’ campaign that highlights the influence Chicago has had on cities around the world,” writes Michael Fassnacht, president and CEO of World Business Chicago. (The Trib’s Gregory Pratt labels Fassnacht as “Lightfoot’s marketing czar.”) He bullet-points in a submission to the Trib: “This is not the launch of a new slogan for the city. The name ‘Chicago Not in Chicago’ is the name for this particular marketing [initiative] that highlights the overall theme of ‘Chicago. City of Stories.’ To use the ‘Chicago Not in Chicago’ line as new long-term slogan for the city would be, let’s say it, less than smart… This is not a tourism campaign. A tourism campaign would target people outside of Chicago with a clear message and call to action to visit Chicago. I am confident that our tourism agency Choose Chicago will whenever appropriate build a new tourism-centric campaign that will be breakthrough and relevant. This is not an expensive mass advertising campaign but a smart and cheeky guerrilla marketing campaign that is supposed to challenge one’s perception of Chicago and highlight aspects related to the city that many, especially our younger generations, aren’t aware of.”
Virgil Abloh Tribute Mural, “Virgil Forever,” At Time Out Market
B_Line Projects curator Levar Hoard, who has overseen the Hubbard Street Mural Gallery in Fulton Market since 2017, “has tapped local street artist Rahmaan Statik to create a mural dedicated to Abloh at Time Out Market Chicago, taking over both of the walls on the food hall’s west stairwell,” reports Time Out Chicago. “It’s going to be a museum piece that shows the types of graffiti and street art that Virgil himself drew inspiration from, it’s going to show the type of street art that made its way into designs for Off-White and Louis Vuitton,” Hoard tells the publication. The unveiling is Saturday, February 12 at 6:30pm. More here.
What’s Become Of Jackowo, Chicago’s Last Polish Neighborhood?
“Jackowo (pronounced yahts-KOH-voh) [is] a patch roughly bounded by Diversey on the south, Belmont on the north, the Kennedy on the east, and the Union Pacific Northwest railroad tracks on the west,” report Mary Wisniewski and Joanna Marszalek in a long report at Chicago magazine. “The name is derived from the neighborhood’s anchor parish: St. Hyacinth Basilica (the saint’s name translates to Jacka in Polish, and owo indicates ‘village’)… Most of this area falls within Avondale… In the last fifteen years, the Polish population in Jackowo has dropped sharply. Many immigrants made their money and left for the suburbs, where they could have a bigger house and yard… Some returned to Poland… The challenge in Avondale is that while the immigrant businesses are leaving, new businesses have been slow to replace them… It’s troubling when both the Polish and Mexican shops are replaced with nothing — when shuttered stores and vacant lots mar the street like broken teeth…”
DINING & DRINKING
Owner Of The Point Says City Violence To Blame, Not His Bar
Of the second shooting on Milwaukee Avenue near his bar, owner of The Point Jun Lin told Block Club that “he’s been working closely with local police and [the local alderman] to curb violence in and around the bar since the October shooting. He said he’s beefed up security [and] he can’t be blamed for what has become a ‘Chicago violence problem.’ … ‘What could I have done differently? It’s somebody who came in with a proper ID, bought a drink and left, and then put bullets into my business.'”
Gin Brand Will Support #SaveRestaurants With Super Bowl Spot
The Botanist supports the Independent Restaurant Coalition with a Super Bowl ad that will highlight the need to replenish the federal Restaurant Revitalization Fund.
Big Mich Brings Micheladas
“Javier Garcia has mixed more than his share of the beer-and-tomato-juice cocktails better known as micheladas from behind the bar,” reports WTTW. “I love micheladas,” Garcia tells the station. “I’ve been drinking them since way before I should have been drinking them.” Leaving his restaurant job, “I went to Menards, and I bought all the mason jars they had at Menards, I went to Costco and I bought all the limes they had at Costco, and we tried to prove concept. And that first weekend we made $1,000. So it really started with $600.” There was immediate demand, which “allowed him to officially launch Big Mich later the same year selling to local liquor stores… Now, Big Mich is building a distinctly Mexican identity for their growing product line.”
Dick Leinenkugel Retires
“The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. said Monday that Dick Leinenkugel will retire as president at the end of 2022 and will be succeeded by his nephew and sixth-generation Leinenkugel, Tony Bugher,” reports the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. “Dick Leinenkugel was named president of Leinenkugel’s in 2014. He is the great-great grandson of company founder Jacob Leinenkugel. Founded in Chippewa Falls in 1867, Leinenkugel’s is the nation’s seventh-oldest operating brewery. Leinenkugel’s brands are part of Tenth and Blake which is the Molson Coors U.S. craft beer division. Leinenkugel’s products are currently sold in all fifty states.”
Lettuce Entertain You Opens Friendly Omakase Sushi Spot
Lettuce Entertain You’s Omakase Room at Sushi-San opens this week, reports Eater Chicago, “an opulent and intimate ten-seat dining cove tucked inside Sushi-San, the company’s casual five-year-old sushi restaurant in River North… ‘Everything we’ve done is designed to break down barriers between chefs and and patrons,’ says partner Amarit Dulyapaibul. ‘The goal is to showcase the most special ingredients and techniques but do so in a manner that is comfortable, approachable and fun.'”
Starbucks Fires Memphis Workers Seeking Union
As workers at Starbucks locations around the country, including Chicago, push for union representation, the corporation has begun firing employees, reports the New York Times. “A company spokesman said the workers had violated several policies. The union organizing stores accused Starbucks of retaliation.” Meanwhile, points out Robert Reich, “Starbucks is raising prices again, blaming supply chain issues and labor costs. Meanwhile, Starbucks CEO’s total compensation rose thirty-nine percent in 2021 to $20.4 million.” (A local note: Chicago’s Mellody Hobson is the board chair of Starbucks Corporation.)
Hair Of The Dog: Meet The Chicago Bar Animals
“Until recently, the city prohibited live animals… from entering businesses where food was for sale or on display,” fetches Eater Chicago. “This led to some confusion… and bar owners complained that they were getting ticketed for allowing dogs in the presence of cocktail garnishes. In November, the City Council approved an ordinance that narrowed the ban to ‘retail food establishments,’ meaning that animals are now unequivocally allowed in bars that don’t serve food, and that cocktail garnishes don’t count. But even before then, cats and dogs have maintained a presence at several neighborhood bars, greeting patrons and sometimes their pets, and keeping solo drinkers company. Some have even developed cult followings, like Peg of the Empty Bottle, Mel of Cary’s Lounge, Vida of Jarvis Square Tavern, and Osito of Moreno Liquors and Osito’s Tap. These are their stories.”
Saugatuck Brewing Co. Collaborates With Chicago-Area TikTok Star On IPA
Darryl Postelnick, the Chicago-area businessman of TikTok page “Cooking with Darryl,” has two million followers, and he’s getting into beer now, reports the Detroit Free Press. He often pairs his dishes with beer from Michigan’s Saugatuck Brewing Co., where one of his friends is an investor. “That relationship is now the inspiration for a new West Coast-style IPA from Saugatuck called ‘R U Kidding Me?’ [after Postelnick’s trademark ‘zinger’] that’s brewed with hops from Great Lakes Hops in nearby Zeeland. It’s available in the Chicago area and will come to Michigan by early spring.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Thirty-Eighth Chicago Latino Film Festival Goes Landmark
“For the first time since the pandemic began, we will be returning to the theaters,” reports the Chicago Latino Film Festival. “This year’s Festival will be at the Landmark Century Centre. We are offering a hybrid viewing experience with virtual, drive-in and in-person screenings. Online streaming will be available for audiences in the states of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin. All drive-in presentations will be at ChiTown Movies in Pilsen.” More here.
Window To The World Communications Names Four New Trustees
Window To The World Communications, Inc., parent organization of WTTW and WFMT, has announced the election of four members to its Board of Trustees: Jessica G. Adams, Sidney Dillard, Esther (“E.T.”) Franklin and Sasha Gerritson for three-year terms.
Wilco Announce “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” Twentieth Anniversary Shows
April marks twenty years since the release of Wilco’s fourth studio album, “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” on Nonesuch Records. “Considered by many to be one of the greatest albums of the 2000’s, Wilco will celebrate the milestone by performing ‘Yankee Hotel Foxtrot’ in its entirety, plus a mix of concert favorites and rarities, in two shows at the Auditorium Theatre, April 22 and April 23.” Tickets go on sale Friday at 10am here.
Don’t Look At It Like It’s Forever: Elton John To Say Farewell Once More In August
Soldier Field will be the site of Elton John’s next farewell stop in Chicago, reports the Trib.
Chicago Dancers’ Fund Increases Grant Amounts
Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, is responding to the challenges of the past two years by increasing the maximum amount of its grants through The Dancers’ Fund, the group says in a release. “The Dancers’ Fund provides two grant opportunities to any working or retired professional in Chicago’s dance community: The Critical Health Need Grant helps cover medical expenses related to the diagnosis of a critical health issue. Those expenses include, but are not limited to, doctor and hospital visits, surgery, medical testing, therapy, and medication. Grants available annually have increased from a maximum of $4,000-$5,000. The General Health and Wellness Grant helps cover non-critical health expenses related to general health and wellness, such as insurance premiums, medical bills, dental bills, and mental health sessions. Grants available annually have increased from a maximum of $500-$1,000.” “This year the city of Chicago is shining a spotlight on the value of our dynamic, creative, and diverse dance community with its ‘Year of Chicago Dance’ initiative,” board president Michael Anderson says in the release. “It is our mission to support Chicago’s dance professionals, who often lack full-time employment or benefits, and we do this through The Dancers’ Fund.” Details here.
Joffrey Adds Five Board Members
Anne Kaplan, Joffrey Board Chair, and Greg Cameron, president and CEO of The Joffrey Ballet, have announced the appointment of Marc DeMoss, Chip Flannagan, Lashana Jackson, Jim Kirk, and Richard McDonald to the Joffrey Board of Directors, effective immediately, for the 2022–2025 term. More on Joffrey here.
Collaboraction’s Crucial Connections Announces Collaborators
“Collaboraction, Chicago’s theater for social change, has lined up a star panel for its February 17 episode of Crucial Connections, a live, virtual preview of its upcoming in-person production, ‘Trial in the Delta: The Murder of Emmett Till,'” the group relays in a release. “Joining the show are Marion Brooks, anchor and investigative reporter, NBC5 Chicago; Naomi Davis, Till House Museum, founder and CEO, Blacks in Green; and, Marilyn Hite Ross, lead member of the Jason Van Dyke prosecution team and a former top supervisor at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. They’ll join Collaboraction’s Anthony Moseley and co-hosts Carla Stillwell and Dr. Marcus Robinson to preview ‘Trial in the Delta,’ the first known dramatization of the actual transcript from the State of Mississippi vs. Milam and Bryant, the 1955 trial of the two men found not guilty of murdering Emmett Till. The discussion will range from how the trial transcripts were brought to light, and how ‘Trial in the Delta’ is a more authentic account of one of the most monumental injustices of the U.S. legal system in the twentieth century.” The stream is free; register for the Zoom link here.
Congo Square Theatre And Sydney Chatman Launch “Sing A Black Girl’s Song”
Congo Square Theatre has announced director-educator-producer-writer Sydney Chatman as a playwright-in-residence through the August Wilson New Play Initiative. In 2021, Sydney Chatman and Congo Square Theatre Company were recipients of the Joyce Foundation’s Joyce Awards. “This $75,000 grant supports Chatman in the development of a new community-based theatrical work, ‘Sing A Black Girl’s Song,’ exploring the journey of healing from interpersonal and state-sanctioned violence.” More here.
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