“To Washington Park, With Love” Opens Friday
“To Washington Park, With Love: Photography from the Summer of 1987,” opens Friday, February 11 at Arts Incubator Gallery, 301 East Garfield. “In the summer of 1987, South Side photographer Rose Blouin visited Washington Park every weekend. Blouin set out to capture how important the park is to its surrounding neighborhood, but as she worked it became a study of how we interact with–or become a part of–our environment. The resulting body of work is one of great intimacy, even amid a crowd of hundreds, and reflects Blouin’s skill to commune with others and the park. Blouin’s sharp eye takes familiar, everyday scenes of Washington Park and returns them to us, allowing us to see the park, anew. Blouin is as at home in portraiture as she is in landscapes. In her fluid mastery between the two we are able to see the power of the park to embrace the multi-dimensionality of Black life, and the very unique magic of a public space that is fully, and truly, embraced as ours.” Dates, times and reservations here.
The Conservation Center’s Barry Bauman Was 73
Barry Bauman, founder of Chicago’s The Conservation Center, was 73. The company “was a resource facility for the conservation of paintings, works of art on paper, objects, frames, murals, and textiles. The Center grew to become the largest private facility for conservation in America. Major projects included the conservation of 172 flood-damaged paintings for the Chicago History Museum and, in a $2 million undertaking, the preservation of over 300 WPA and pre-WPA murals for the Chicago Public Schools.”
Country’s First Neighborhood Microgrid Coming Online In Bronzeville
“A network of solar panels, generators, batteries and more will boost resilience for Bronzeville, a historic Black neighborhood,” reports Canary Media. “ComEd and the U.S. Department of Energy [have] completed the final tests indicating that the microgrid’s natural-gas-fired generators, rooftop solar systems, batteries and advanced grid-control systems can successfully disconnect and reconnect to the larger grid. That’s a key proving point for the project’s goal of being able to power more than 1,000 residences, businesses and public buildings, including Chicago police and fire department headquarters, during broader grid outages. This accomplishment is the result of $5 million in grants and in-kind contributions from corporate partners and the nearby Illinois Institute of Technology, a university with its own campus microgrid connected to the ComEd system.”
A Thousand Miles In The Life Of An American Truck Driver
Why doesn’t America have more truck drivers? Peter S. Goodman and photographer George Etheredge spend three days and a thousand miles in a truck driver’s life in an extended feature for the New York Times: “The life of a truck driver is navigating the hazards of piloting a truck weighing 26,000 pounds and pulling a fifty-three-foot trailer, while balancing the need to ingest caffeine against the imperative to limit bathroom breaks… In a world contending with the unrelenting impact of the Great Supply Chain Disruption and its attendant worry of the moment, rising consumer prices, a shortage of truck drivers is frequently cited as an explanation for shortages of many other things—from construction supplies to electronics to clothing. Last year, trucking companies in the United States suffered a record deficit of 80,000 drivers, according to the American Trucking Associations, a trade association. Given that trucks move seventy-two percent of American freight, a lack of drivers spells substantial disruption… Some experts [say] that the very notion of too few drivers is bogus—a reach by the industry for federal subsidies to train recruits as compensation for its poor rates of retention. The average trucking company has a turnover rate of roughly 95 percent, meaning that it must replace nearly all of its work force in the course of a year. More recruits boost the supply of drivers, which keeps a cap on wages… ‘This shortage narrative is industry lobbying rhetoric,’ says Steve Viscelli, a labor expert at the University of Pennsylvania who previously worked as a truck driver. ‘There is no shortage of truck drivers. These are just really bad jobs.'”
Sotheby’s Sells 200 Pairs Of Shoes Created By Virgil Abloh For $25.3 Million
“Two hundred pairs of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers created by the late fashion designer Virgil Abloh sold for a combined $25.3 million at a Sotheby’s auction,” reports Bloomberg. “The highest price paid, at $352,800, was for a pair of size 5 shoes that carried an original high estimate of $15,000. The proceeds will go to the Virgil Abloh ‘Post-Modern’ Scholarship Fund, which… helps students of color who are pursuing careers in fashion.”
At Bloomberg, CityLab notes the importance of the bungalow to Chicago living: “All over the city, these humble houses are a remarkably consistent presence. It’s estimated that Chicago boasts 80,000 original bungalows—a third of the city’s single-family housing stock—located across a U-shaped band four to seven miles from the city center called the Bungalow Belt. In a city riven by inequality and resentment, bungalows are one of the few things that white, Black and Latino Chicagoans all love together.” “The Chicago Bungalow is a unifying thing,” Shermann “Dilla” Thomas tells CityLab.
Tours Of Pullman Homes Begin
“Historical tours of Pullman employees’ homes—recreated to reflect various periods in the company’s history—[will] launch this spring, giving a peek into the lives of the workers who built the Far South Side community into an industrial powerhouse,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The Pullman House Project is transforming the largest former residence in the community at 605 East 111th into a welcome center for year-round tours. The project will debut with tours of the Thomas Dunbar House, 641 East 111th, a ten-room home named after the company executive who lived there 1898-1906.”
DINING & DRINKING
Man Who Refused To Mask Stones Wiener’s Circle Door
“We refused service to a customer who wouldn’t put on a mask and they threw a brick through our window,” reports Wiener’s Circle. The restaurant offers up video “of the brick thrower and license plate image.” “Alright sleuths,” they add, “the brick thrower owes us 400 bucks and an apology at minimum… If you crack the code before the Chicago Police we will throw you a party or give you 2 row 5 center Bulls tickets.”
Vegan “Caviar” Touted As Luxury
“Products that could be considered ‘vegan caviar’ have long existed, but the fanfare of the caviar service has remained for meat eaters,” reports Eater. But there is “an increased interest in plant-based eating, and the rise of not just vegan restaurants, but vegan fine dining. Vegan caviar is the new luxury… Ian Jones, the head chef at Elizabeth in Chicago, said they’ve had more guests requesting its vegan menu.” “I feel like we need to offer some luxury ingredients throughout the dinner,” Jones told Eater, “so tonburi came to mind to replace our caviar course.” But “Jones has had a difficult time sourcing tonburi from Japan for the restaurant’s ‘caviar + fresh tofu’ dish, so … he developed another kind of vegan caviar.” Tonburi “‘has a broccoli flavor profile… so now the caviar is made from fermented broccoli seeds’…which he added to a brine colored with charcoal powder and mixed with shio koji and xanthan gum for salinity and texture. ‘And then to add a little more oceanic flavor to it all we are mixing in sea grapes… It’s pretty close to a real caviar.'”
elephant + vine Casual Vegan Stomps Into Lincoln Park And Evanston
A fast casual spinoff of Spirit Elephant, the Winnetka vegan spot, the “plant-based casual concept” elephant + vine is the newest endeavor from owner CD Young and hospitality company Wild Thing Restaurant Group. (Spirit Elephant’s motto is “Eat plants feel beautiful.”) Opening in both Lincoln Park and Evanston, this plant-based expansion will take their “this can’t be vegan” vegan food to a quick service model featuring sandwiches, bowls and more.“Plant-based eating is a direct way that we as individuals can help improve the health of the planet and everyone on it,” owner CD Young says in a release. Spirit Elephant’s Cauli-Wings are on the menu, along with burgers, hand-battered zero clucks chicken sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, shakes and smoothies. The Evanston location will be a 2,000-square-foot loft-style space featuring exposed pipes and dozens of plants to enliven the area with vibrant green hues. The Lincoln Park space will be nestled in a 1935-square-foot space adorned in a sleek and linear design with natural woods and metals running throughout. More here.
CPD Shuts Down The Point
After a second shooting, Chicago Police Department superintendent David Brown has shuttered Wicker Park’s The Point, reports Block Club. “If the bar’s owner doesn’t appeal, it could be closed for up to six months.”
West Garfield Park Without Grocery After Last Store Closed Over Rats
A West Garfield Park Save A Lot has been shuttered because of rats, reports Block Club. “The store had its license temporarily revoked by the city because of a rodent infestation, leaving residents with no local options to buy food. An Aldi store in the area… shut down last year.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“South Side” Renewed For Third Season
Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle, creators of HBO Max’s Chicago-set “South Side,” spoke to TV Series Finale on their third-season renewal: “We are blessed. We get to make a show starring our family and friends about a city we love. ‘South Side’ finds joy in the extraordinary adventures of ordinary folks… We have no clue where our characters will find themselves in season three and we couldn’t be more excited to find out.” HBO Max’s EVP of original comedy said, “A lot of people say that ‘South Side’ is about the American dream, and the stories that Bashir and Diallo have crafted completely embody that dream with both razor-sharp humor and refreshing cultural commentary. I think I speak for everyone here at HBO Max when I say, ‘it’s time for the percolator.’”
A Road On The South Side From Book Collecting To Selling To Publishing
At the Reader,Phillips is used to working in multiple venues simultaneously… from being the founding director of the Black Cinema House to serving as the first film programmer of [CIMMFest]. In 2011, he founded South Side Projections [which presents films] around the South Side accompanied by conversations.” His “It Came From Beyond Pulp” “has jumped into the world of short-run publishing with three chapbooks,” including “‘Stoopin: A Bronzeville Twitter Project,’ based on…Twitter observations by… Chicago musician Lloyd Brodnax King.” Phillips “commissioned local comic book artist Daimon Hampton to collaborate with King’s words.”
Chicago Reader Endangered Over Anti-Vaccination Editorial By For-Profit Co-Owner
“Flap over editorial control jeopardizes Chicago Reader’s future: A co-owner’s column expressing skepticism about vaccines sparked a backlash—and then a counter-backlash. The resulting stalemate now threatens to upend the publication’s plans,” reports Crain’s. The planned transition of the fifty-year-old publication “to a nonprofit has stalled amid a tussle over editorial control… The impasse throws into question the future of the Reader, which began its transition from a low-profit limited liability company to a nonprofit roughly two years ago in hopes of achieving a more stable ownership structure and financial footing… Chicago investors Leonard C. Goodman and Elzie Higginbottom bought the Reader from the Chicago Sun-Times for $1 in 2018, assuming its debt.” The present difficulty “traces back to a November column Goodman wrote… which detailed his concerns over vaccinating his six-year-old against COVID-19. Two members of the Reader’s board, which unanimously approved the plan to [make a] transition to a nonprofit in late 2019, said they were concerned over what they viewed as potential censorship of the column… The two members, Dorothy Leavell and Sladjana Vuckovic, comprised a majority of the Reader’s board at the time. They approved a resolution requiring the Reader meet several demands before the transition… Among them: The Reader must make its financial information available and adopt a mission statement saying it abhors censorship of any kind. They also called for Tracy Baim to resign from her role as president and co-treasurer of the newly formed nonprofit’s board. Baim is also co-publisher of the Reader, and has spearheaded its transition to a nonprofit.”
“It Wasn’t Because He’s Black, It Was Because He Was Great”: Remembering Syl Johnson
James Porter on Syl Johnson: “In cold hard commercial terms, Syl Johnson was always next in line. In musical terms, he was a major force to be reckoned with. Syl was a charismatic, good-looking man who was a triple threat as a singer, producer and guitarist, with twelve hits in Billboard’s R&B Top 40 between 1967-75. Given his ubiquity on the scene during those years, you would have expected him to have that huge crossover smash that would have busted him wide open, and kept him in oldies rotation for years. This didn’t happen (and one sensed that Syl was a little bitter about this), but his reputation didn’t stay underground for long. Starting in the eighties, when more hard soul singers started turning up on the blues circuit, Syl was one of the first to make that transition. And from that moment until his death… he was never out of the picture… The downside of this newfound fame was Syl not being paid by rappers… Four-hundred-fourteen hip-hop songs sampled beats from his classic records. Three-hundred-thirty of those came solely from ‘Different Strokes,’ which had an open breakbeat to die for… Syl was not happy having his music appropriated without proper financial compensation… The man was not shy about venting his anger–when he played Chicago’s Old Town School Of Folk Music in 2010… he started ranting on those who didn’t pay him. He ticked off the names, one by one… When he was trying to think of some more, somebody hollered ‘Wu-Tang Clan!’ … Syl shot back: ‘Wu-Tang Clan? Oh, no, they cool like a motherfucker!,’ to general laughter. In other words, they PAID him.”
League of Chicago Theatres Executive Director Deb Clapp Resigns
The League of Chicago Theatres executive director Deb Clapp will step down from her position after fourteen years leading the group, effective June 30. The Board of Directors is engaging a search firm for an immediate formal search for a new executive director. “The League itself and theaters in Chicago are so fortunate to have had Deb’s leadership and vision for the last fourteen years,” Heidi Thompson Saunders, League board chair says in a release. “Deb has been a tireless champion of our diverse and dedicated members, consistently advocating for programs and resources that provide for the needs of the entire theater community. Deb has helped to build a solid foundation for the future of the League, and we look forward to continuing to serve our industry as it evolves. We are fortunate to have had her leadership through the pandemic, and thank her for her sustaining advocacy on behalf of the field.” Clapp says, “I am so proud of the work the League of Chicago Theatres has accomplished in the past fourteen years. Together with the board of directors, the League staff, our member companies, and our amazing partners, we have been able to support and elevate the theater community and, at times, help navigate the industry through some collective challenges. I will look on with great excitement to see what new energy and enthusiasm brings to the League and to my beloved Chicago theater community.”
Chicago Theatre Week Set To Begin
Chicago Theatre Week, the annual celebration that features value-priced tickets to musicals, improv and dramas, runs February 17-27. This year’s celebration marks a decade for Chicago Theatre Week. Find attractions and prices here.
While New York City Drops Masks, Broadway Will Not
“Though New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that New York State’s indoor mask requirement has been lifted,” reports Playbill, “Broadway’s mask and vaccination policy will remain in place… ‘We are maintaining our mask and vaccination mandate in all theaters until April 30, and look forward to welcoming all visitors to experience the best of Broadway,’ says Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin.”
Goodman Names 2022 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow
The Goodman has named Georgette Verdin the 2022 Michael Maggio Directing Fellow, a season-long opportunity for an early-career director to assist on a Goodman production and be involved in the artistic life of the theater. A Cuban American director and arts educator, Verdin is the managing artistic director of Interrobang Theatre Project, an award-winning storefront theater known for its productions that tackle socially relevant topics. Established in 2002, the Maggio Fellowship honors the memory and artistry of Goodman associate artistic director Michael Maggio, who directed twenty-two productions at the Goodman and more than sixty productions around the country.
“Lookingglass Alice” Pictures Late Spring
Lookingglass Theatre Company has announced new dates for the return of their production, “Lookingglass Alice.” Performances for the circus-infused spectacle will run April 30-July 31. Tickets are here.
“Time Has Made Me His Clock”: RSC Tailors TikTok To Talk Tickets To Youth
“The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced a partnership with TikTok in a bid to attract more young people,” reports the BBC. “In a scheme dubbed ‘TikTok tickets,’ people aged fourteen to twenty-five will be offered subsidized travel and entry to shows. The Stratford-upon-Avon group will also create more content with the platform, including TikTok takeovers and behind-the-scenes films. Launching in June, [under the program] young people will be offered £10 tickets for performances.”
Albany Park Theater Project Announces Twenty-Fifth Season
The Albany Park Theater Project’s eighteen-month season will include the APTP youth ensemble’s return to live performance; an immersive-theater-in-an-envelope experience; a live broadcast; and the premiere of “Port of Entry,” an immersive performance in spring 2023 that spans a hundred years of immigrant life in Albany Park. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Eleven City Council Members Demand Immediate End To Mask Mandate To Facilitate Super Bowl Parties And Valentine’s Day Events
Ald. Raymond Lopez posts the letter from himself and ten others: Anthony Beale; Marty Quinn; Ed Burke; Derrick Curtis; Matt O’Shea; Silvana Tabares; Nicholas Sposato; Samantha Nugent; Anthony Napolitano and Jim Gardner. “If rescinded, Chicagoans and our visitors can enjoy both the upcoming Super Bowl and Valentine’s Day festivities mandate-free, granting them the ability to decided how best to protect themselves.”
Looking Back At Chicago Street Racing
“Long after sundown one day forty-four years ago, twenty-one-year-old Kevin Lawrence stepped out of his ’68 Chevelle onto a sparsely traveled road just beyond Chicago’s suburban sprawl. After hushed negotiations with another young man, he settled into his car and ignited an engine that barked powerfully before settling into a bass-beat idle. He switched on the headlights, illuminating fifty feet of road. I jabbed at the shutter of a beat-up camera, clicking off frames as my flash defied the darkness,” writes Paul Stenquist at the New York Times. What has sixty-five-year-old Lawrence done since then? It’s a long story…
Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, 76, Founded Skokie Synagogue For The Deaf
“Among his students at Congregation Bene Shalom, the Reform Jewish synagogue he established half a century ago, he helped Oscar-winner Marlee Matlin study for her bat mitzvah,” reports Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times. “Rabbi Douglas Goldhamer, who founded a synagogue in Skokie for the deaf and a Hebrew seminary to train rabbis to communicate with them, was buried with the little things he used to give away to help others… he was dressed in his customary tweed suit and saddle shoes.” His wife “tucked $5 in his pocket because he used to pull over his car to give money to people who were down on their luck. There also were some coins—he liked giving those to kids when they beat him at air hockey. And there was ‘some cat food and some Milk-Bones… in case he meets some furry friends along the way.'”
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