MCA Hosts First Nick Cave Retrospective
The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago has announced that tickets for “Nick Cave: Forothermore,” the first career-spanning retrospective of Chicago-based artist Nick Cave, will go on sale April 6. The most comprehensive survey of Cave’s work to date, the exhibition is curated by Naomi Beckwith, former MCA Manilow senior curator, and will be on view at the MCA from May 14-October 2. “I’m thrilled to be sharing my career’s work in my chosen hometown. I don’t take the gravity of this moment for granted,” said Cave. “From the MCA to the DuSable and beyond, this community and city-wide project is the realization of a dream that could only happen in Chicago—this way, with this brilliant team and throughout this great city.” More here.
Art On theMART To Debut Nick Cave Projection
Art on theMART, the largest permanent digital art projection, which is projected against the two-and-a-half-acre river façade of theMART, has announced a new projection by Chicago artist Nick Cave as part of its Summer 2022 programming, in partnership with DCASE. It will be shown twice nightly May 5-September 7. The projection of Cave’s video work, made specifically for this site, is a remix of Cave’s film “Drive-By” (2011), with added footage. Cave’s projection will coincide with his first career-spanning retrospective, “Forothermore,” at the MCA from May 14-October 22. More here.
West Humboldt Park Activists Call For Amazon Standards
“The West Humboldt Park Community Coalition is calling for Amazon to start wages at $28.50 per hour” at its proposed distribution center, reports the Sun-Times, “and ensure that sixty-percent of its employees live in the community.” Residents are also calling on their elected officials to shun Amazon cash, “saying it is hindering their ability to negotiate a community benefits agreement with the e-commerce giant. ‘We are demanding all elected officials and non-profits to stop taking money from Amazon and return received money,’ said Howard Ray of the West Humboldt Park Community Coalition. ‘Stop capitalizing off the people and support West Humboldt Park in their fight to broker a collective bargaining agreement.'”
Why Cities Are “Deconstructing” Buildings Instead Of Demolishing Them
“Deconstruction, city officials say, is a green alternative to demolition, sending up to 85 percent less material to landfills. Building materials and construction account for just under ten percent of the world’s energy-related global carbon emissions,” reports Wired in a survey of several cities. “Using salvaged materials eliminates emissions associated with making and transporting new building materials. Plus, it’s not as noisy as knocking down a house, and doesn’t spew dust or toxic materials, such as asbestos, into the air. Backers say it creates jobs even for those without high-tech skills, while highlighting the importance of sustainability. As the climate warms, ‘The circular economy is one promising alternative,’ says Felix Heisel, an architect, assistant professor, and director of the Circular Construction Lab at Cornell University.”
Uptown Now Home To Million-Dollar Residences
“The median price of a house sold in Uptown in 2021 was about $1.06 million, up nearly 19% from $892,500 in 2020,” reports Crain’s. Uptown “‘is finally getting the attention it deserves’ from high-end homebuyers, said an agent who lives in the neighborhood.”
DINING & DRINKING
Lardon Chef Chris Thompson Talks Italiano Sandwich
In the Sun-Times series, “Dishin’ on the Dish,” chef Chris Thompson talks up J.P. Graziano’s “Mr. G Italian Sub” as inspiration for his lunch-rush favorite, the Italiano sandwich.
Avocado Imports From Mexico Resume
“Less than a week after the United States Department of Agriculture announced that it would halt avocado exports from Mexico following an anonymous threat directed at one of its inspectors in the country, the agency has officially rescinded that decision,” reports Eater. Other factors are expected to continue a rise in prices for the popular fruit, not limited to the reported $120 million in losses from the brief halt of exports.
Hell’s Kitchen TV Set Coming To That Great Street
Gordon Ramsay will open an outpost of his television show, “Hell’s Kitchen,” on State Street next year, reports the Sun-Times. “For the new venue’s design, Gordon Ramsay North America opted for the Oak Park-based Aria Group Architects, to recreate the… look that fans of the Fox reality-competition series from which the restaurant gets its name (and from which Ramsay selects some of the chefs for his culinary empire) will instantly recognize.” “The first level will be focused on the Hell’s Kitchen experience as well as the bar space,” Ramsay tells the paper. “It will be like we dropped you on the set of ‘Hell’s Kitchen.’ On the second floor, we’re looking into an exciting new concept that will seamlessly blend in but have a completely different vibe to it. We will have our signature HK flame upon entering and a vibrant bar scene. We of course have our Red and Blue kitchens, as well as a dramatic illuminated grand stair feature.”
Cage-Free Hens On The March
“In a decade, the percentage of hens in cage-free housing has soared from four percent in 2010 to twenty-eight percent in 2020, and that figure is expected to more than double to about seventy percent in the next four years,” reports AP via the Sun-Times. “What we producers failed to realize early on was that the people funding all the animal rights activist groups, they were our customers. And at the end of the day, we have to listen to our customers,” Marcus Rust, the CEO of Indiana-based Rose Acre Farms, the nation’s second-largest egg producer, tells AP. “Josh Balk, vice president for farm animal protection at the Humane Society of the United States, noted the abruptness of the about-face. This is ‘an entire industry that at one point fought tooth-and-nail not to make any changes.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
Are Movies Scored By Live Orchestras Always A Good Thing?
“I love the visual-aural experience of a film score performed ‘live to picture,’ whether it’s solo piano bringing Buster Keaton in ‘Sherlock, Jr.’ to life or, as several hundred of us learned anew on a recent Sunday afternoon at Symphony Center, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performing Max Steiner’s score for ‘Casablanca,'” writes Michael Phillips for the Trib, via MSN. “CSO programming director [Jim] Fahey cherishes the orchestra’s long and fruitful relationship with composer and, until recently, guest conductor John Williams. But he reminded me that the pool of available live-to-picture titles for lease remains finite. ‘It’s not like we can just say we want to do ‘Lawrence of Arabia,’ Fahey said. ‘It’s an amazing Maurice Jarre score, but it’s not converted yet’ for the live-to-picture format. Its three-hour, forty-two-minute length runs into considerable overtime for musicians in rehearsal, and performance.” Plus, audiences, writes Phillips, “know what they want, and they turn out for the movie first and the score a distant second.” And it’s a rough-and-ready routine to perform: “In the old days, Fahey said, the CSO made do with a single three-hour rehearsal prior to a live-to-picture performance. More recently they adjusted the budget to allow for five hours.”
Enormous Majority Of Americans Polled Say Book Bans Wrong
“A new CBS News poll offers data that should prod Democrats into rethinking… culture-war battles,” reports Greg Sargent at the Washington Post. The poll “finds that surprisingly large majorities oppose banning books on history or race — and importantly, this is partly because teaching about our racial past makes students more understanding of others’ historical experiences. The poll finds that eighty-three percent of Americans say books should never be banned for criticizing U.S. history; eighty-five percent oppose banning them for airing ideas you disagree with… What’s more, seventy-six percent of Americans say schools should be allowed to teach ideas and historical events that ‘might make some students uncomfortable.'”
America’s First Newspaper Dedicated To Ending Slavery Is Reborn
“America’s first newspaper dedicated to ending slavery is being resurrected and reimagined more than two centuries later as the nation continues to grapple with its legacy of racism,” reports AP. “The revived version of The Emancipator is a joint effort by Boston University’s Center for Antiracist Research and The Boston Globe’s Opinion team that’s expected to launch in the coming months.”
CIVL Says Keep Masking For Now
“The Chicago Independent Venue League, also known as CIVL, has encouraged concertgoers to continue masking and carrying proof they’re vaccinated as individual venues make their own decisions about safety protocols,” reports Block Club. “‘We’re proud of Chicago’s progress in the face of increasingly contagious variants, but we’re only here because safety has been our priority,’ according to a CIVL news release. ‘It still is, and we’re asking patrons to be vigilant — to know before they go… Every venue is different, and for many, these small efforts have brought relief. We’re still here because so many have chosen safety, and we ask patrons to do the same.'”
Concert To Pay Tribute to Plena Pioneer Tito Matos
“Puerto Rico’s vibrant music and cultural scenes were shaken January 18 when news broke of the sudden death of musician, cultural warrior and activist Héctor Tito Matos,” relays the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center. “We were devastated by the news of Tito’s sudden parting,” Omar Torres-Kortright, executive director of the SRBCC in a release. “His footprint transcends the geographic space of Puerto Rico. Tito was our mentor and plenero friend; he didn’t like being called maestro at all, even though he was one for so many. His strong relationship with the diaspora and with the youngest exponents of the genre have ensured an enduring legacy. It is now up to all of us, artists and activists, to water the seed he planted and help it grow.” Matos was “a percussionist with the legendary East Harlem band Los Pleneros de la 21 and a co-founder of the Plenazos Callejeros, a monthly initiative that gathered musicians across Puerto Rico for spontaneous plena performances on street corners. Matos helped revitalize plena music through his groups Viento de Agua and La Máquina Insular.”
“A virtuoso who performed alongside Eddie Palmieri, Ricky Martin, Gloria Estefan and saxophonist Miguel Zenón, Tito left a legacy of community work and cultural preservation in Puerto Rico and abroad. His time living in New York, as well as his relationship with Chicago’s musicians and cultural institutions allowed him to deepen his roots in the diaspora.” SRBCC will celebrate his legacy with a concert. Named after La Máquina Insular’s first album, “Somos La Plena,” the concert will feature, directly from Puerto Rico, Matos’ bandmates from his two groups including percussionist and singers Luis Lagarto Figueroa and Noel Rosado, saxophonist-flutist-arranger and Viento de Agua co-founder Ricardo Pons, percussionist Llonsí Martínez as well as Emanuel Santana, former member of Plena Libre. Chicago bomba and plena stalwarts Ivelisse Díaz (La Escuelita Bombera de Corazón), Bomba con Buya, Las Bompleneras and Los Pleneros de Don Segundo will perform alongside. The funds raised in this concert will benefit La Casa de la Plena Tito Matos and help establish a new scholarship for Chicago’s creative youth in his honor. Somos la Plena will take place at the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center, 4048 West Armitage on Saturday, March 5, 8pm. Tickets here.
Family Liquidating Rogers Park’s Chicago Ray Records
“Chicago Ray Records will close this weekend after a liquidation sale. The sale is a way to wind down the store while serving as a testament to the late Ray Pate and his love of music, his daughter said,” reports Block Club. “‘My sisters and I would love to have the music and other items go to good homes,’ Olivia Pate said. ‘We know my dad would like that.'” The sale is this Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm at the store at 7051 North Clark. “The store’s collection of vinyl, CDs, cassettes, stereo equipment and other items will be offered at steep discounts.”
Epiphany Center For The Arts Names New Artist-in-Residence, Artistic Director Of Music Programming And Education
Epiphany Center for the Arts has announced entrepreneurial concert flutist Jennie Oh Brown as its new artist-in-residence, as well as artistic director of music programming and education, Epiphany relays in a release. Brown will be responsible for curating Epiphany’s Acoustic Music Series, and developing ongoing educational programming throughout the venue’s spaces. “As the executive and artistic director of Chicago’s Ear Taxi Festival, a celebration of twenty-first century music in Chicago, I had the pleasure of working with the extremely professional and courteous team at Epiphany Center for the Arts for the past two years,” said Brown. “Throughout our day of programming on site, I constantly saw audiences and performers marveling over the beauty of the surroundings. There is nowhere else like it in the Chicago area. To be able to join Epiphany now as part of the leadership team is incredibly exciting.” Epiphany Center site here.
Second City Executive Producer Jon Carr Out After Fourteen Months
The exit of Jon Carr as executive producer at Second City in little more than a year is “due to changes in his personal life,” reports the Sun-Times. Carr [Newcity Player of the Moment] confirmed his departure but had no further comment. “Carly Heffernan of Second City Toronto, who took over Carr’s duties while he was on a leave of absence, will retain those duties.”
David Mamet Makes Rare Pronunciamientos
The Guardian Zoomed with Chicago’s publicity-reticent elder of American theater, David Mamet, who gets chatty once he gets started. His early work, “The Woods” is revived in London. Of his 2019 “Bitter Wheat,” a variation on the life of disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein, Mamet opines, “I got to do it then–but I can’t do it now. Absolutely not. People have become so frightened that it seems rational to say, ‘I have to take into account this constituency and that constituency.’ So, while you’re taking all those constituencies into account, you just wrote yourself out of the equation.” Mamet also casts his gimlet glance at claims by the former President that the 2020 election could have been stolen: “It’s an interesting question. I grew up in Chicago, which was run as a mob’s fiefdom by Mayor Richard J. Daley. So all elections were rigged. The idea that people are not going to steal elections is ignorance because people steal elections all the time. The question is: ‘What was the extent of the election rigging?’ I don’t know. But was it questionable? Yes.”
Inaugural Adrienne Shelly Foundation Playwrights Award Goes To Lookingglass Theatre Company Artistic Associate Sara Gmitter
Lookingglass Theatre Company has announced its partnership with the Adrienne Shelly Foundation (ASF) for its first-ever Playwrights Award for women writers, and its recipient, Lookingglass Artistic Associate Sara Gmitter. The inaugural $3,000 award is funded by ASF and given to Gmitter to support her writing of “The Night Witches,” an original play set on the Eastern Front of World War II, following the 588th Night Bombers, a group of Soviet female combat pilots. Gmitter is a longtime artistic associate with the company and made her Lookingglass debut as a playwright with the production of “In the Garden: A Darwinian Love Story,” which received a Jeff Award nomination for best new work. The partnership with Lookingglass is the first for the Adrienne Shelly Foundation in theater. Since its 2007 inception, ASF has awarded over one hundred production grants to women filmmakers through various partnerships with academic and filmmaking institutions including Sundance Institute, Tribeca Film Institute, AFI, NY Women in Film & TV, Film Fatales, Columbia University and UCLA. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Chicago Area Holds America’s Second-Largest Ukrainian Enclave
“Our metropolitan area hosts the second largest population in the nation, with more than 54,000 people identifying as having Ukrainian ancestry,” reports Axios Chicago. Nieman Lab has a selection of trustworthy resources to follow concerning Ukraine. Mitch Dudek at the Sun-Times finds pro-Ukraine demonstrations: “Waving flags of blue and yellow, about a hundred Ukrainians gathered on the Harlem Avenue overpass Thursday morning to protest the Russian invasion of their homeland. They were met with nonstop honks of approval from motorists on the Kennedy Expressway below.” Here’s why the correct name of the capital of Ukraine is “Kyiv.”
Archdiocese Mask Mandate Ends Monday
“The Archdiocese of Chicago announced the end of the school mask mandate for the remaining Catholic schools starting Monday,” reports Channel 2 news. “[They] sent a letter to parents explaining that masks will be optional based on low COVID cases.”
Where’s The Illinois Money Behind Arts And Culture Support?
“When it comes to supporting arts and culture, what is Illinois waiting for?” ask Michelle T. Boone, Claire Rice and Carlos Tortolero at the Trib. “In his budget address February 2, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois is in great financial shape. We even have a budget surplus! For those of us working in arts and culture, the outlook is not so rosy. Two years into the pandemic, we are still facing organizational shutdowns, lost jobs, canceled events, audience hesitancy, continued uncertainty around pandemic surges, increased costs of doing business and now the end of federal relief dollars — we are not in great financial shape. Yet, the state has not stepped up and dedicated support to the creative sector.”
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