Vogue Reviews Final Abloh Show
“After two tributes to Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton—the first in Miami just two days after he died and the second here in Paris last month—this posthumous Off-White show registered more as a celebration,” reports Vogue. “A ride on ‘Spaceship Earth,’ as it was called. Among the passengers: Rihanna and A$AP Rocky, Idris and Sabrina Elba, Pharrell Williams and his family, the CEOs of Louis Vuitton and New Guards Group, and a who’s-who of designers… The spaceship metaphor worked in more ways than one. This show included not just Off-White’s fall 2022 ready-to-wear collection, but also a new high fashion line (haute couture without the haute couture appellation) ‘designed by Virgil and completed by the creative teams and collaborators with whom he worked.’ … Off-White’s parent company New Guards Group streamed [the] show in a hundred storefronts across Paris installed with TV monitors for the occasion: boutiques, barbershops, pharmacies… At his last show before the pandemic… Abloh said, ‘The ethos of Off-White is it’s not just clothes. My inspiration and motivation is more the humanity level.’ Words to live by for whomever takes over the Off-White pilot seat.”
CTA Plans Six Pieces Of Public Art For Edgewater, Uptown Red Line Stations
“The CTA has revealed that they are seeking to partner with artists on the CTA’s Red-Purple Modernization Project,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “Officials state they are looking for help designing a total of six pieces which will later be installed throughout the Red Line stations in both Uptown and Edgewater. The Red Line stations at Lawrence, Argyle, Berwyn and Bryn Mawr have all been undergoing construction, with temporary stations at Argyle and Bryn Mawr. These stations are being refreshed as part of a $2 billion overhaul on the Far North Side.”
Landmarks Illinois Sets Preservation Forward Event
Landmarks Illinois will host “Preservation Forward,” its spring fundraising event on March 10 at the Old Post Office. The event will honor the 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencers, a group of seven women honorees who have shaped Illinois’ built environment and, who through their work, join Landmarks Illinois “in its progressive effort to create a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible preservation movement.” Bonnie McDonald, president and CEO of Landmarks Illinois says in a release, “Our 2022 Influencers are redefining preservation by showing how historic places are part of a just and inclusive future.” The 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencers are Mariah DiGrino, partner, DLA Piper; Eleanor Esser Gorski, executive director, Cook County Land Bank Authority; Tiara Hughes, Chicago Landmarks Commissioner, FIRST 500 founder, SOM senior urban designer; Cheryl Johnson, executive director, People for Community Recovery; Tonika Lewis Johnson, social justice artist; Stacey Pfingsten, executive vice president, American Institute of Architects Illinois; Alicia Ponce, AIA, NCARB, LEED AP BD+C, founding principal, AP Monarch. More about the 2022 Landmarks Illinois Influencers here. Event details and registration here.
What Happens When The Ice Disappears?
“A group of scientists walked out on to frozen Lake Michigan to do something they’ve done time and again throughout the Great Lakes: collect water. They drilled down past the shoreline of a park in Green Bay, Wisconsin, where it was quiet enough to hear the ice pop as sunlight warmed the frozen surface,” reports the Trib. “But back on land, everything started to freeze. Pens, people’s hands. Most concerning, the water samples. The work was part of the first coordinated sampling across all five Great Lakes to figure out what’s happening in one of the world’s largest freshwater systems in winter—something scientists know surprisingly little about.”
Joliet Running Out Of Water
“America’s largest inland port is running out of water,” reports Adam Mahoney at Grist. “The proposed solution—a thirty-one-mile-long pipeline draining Lake Michigan—is dividing residents of Joliet.” For 150 years, Joliet “has been among the handful of municipalities across the Chicago area that has extracted water from an underground aquifer system connected to Lake Michigan. Water is stored deep underground between layers of bedrock that can reach hundreds of feet deep. To retrieve the water, a drilling system is used to press down on the sandstone aquifer, releasing the pressure and forcing water up into a well, much like the act of squeezing a sponge… For the past hundred years, Chicagoland cities have been extracting way more water than has been naturally replenished. Even with climate change expected to leave the Midwest wetter than ever before, little precipitation has infiltrated the deep aquifers over the last several decades.”
DINING & DRINKING
City Officials Celebrate Unmasking With Lunch At The Dearborn
“Ken Meyer, commissioner of the city’s Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection. said it was a ‘great day’ in Chicago with masks becoming optional in most settings,” reports the Sun-Times. “The masks were off and vaccination cards weren’t checked inside The Dearborn as the owners celebrated the lifting of some mandates by sharing a lunch with two top city officials. ‘I am glad to say we made it—it’s been two very long, stressful years,’ said Clodagh Lawless, co-owner of The Dearborn. ‘Obviously the bigger picture is the health and safety of every person in our communities and the United States; however, there is a reality that our health and wellness depend on our livelihood. And our livelihood was taken away from us.'”
Some Say Unmasking No Reason To Celebrate
“A coalition of community groups, public health advocates and parents of Chicago Public School students accused Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker of caving to political pressure to lift the mandates—and putting Black and Brown lives in danger in the process,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times.
Sleeping Village posts: “We will continue to require proof of [vaccination] at SV. Masks will not be required, but we encourage you to continue masking up at SV. This has kept our doors open & stage alive with music. We thank you for joining us in that effort.” Eater Chicago has a running list of establishments with mask and vaccination standards.
Aurora First Fridays Begin
Aurora Downtown has announced the lineup for March 4’s First Friday. Celebrating its tenth season of bringing art and music to dozens of downtown storefronts, First Fridays welcomes everyone to explore the city’s growing arts and culture scene. Nearly two dozen venues will be open; details here.
Starbucks Threatening To Close Stores Where Workers Want Unions?
“The labor group organizing workers at Starbucks Corp. has filed twenty complaints over the past week accusing the company of workers’ rights violations that range from a threat to shut down all stores in the Buffalo, New York, market to discriminatory enforcement of policies,” reports Bloomberg. “The complaints, filed with the Buffalo regional office of the National Labor Relations Board, represent an escalation of the sprawling legal struggle between Starbucks and Workers United, an affiliate of the Service Employees International Union. The group claims that the company illegally coerced employees during ‘effectively mandatory’ anti-union meetings, while pro-union employees were barred from the sessions.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Bob Odenkirk On Why Chicago’s Good To Come From
“I both blame and celebrate the audience,” Bob Odenkirk tells Zach Long at Time Out Chicago. “I talk about this in my book; there’s an old rule that it’s never the audience’s fault, your show is either good or bad. But it’s not true—I think finding the right audience is part of finding your way. And the audiences in Chicago are open to new things, they are generally upbeat and positive. I guess I wouldn’t necessarily connect that to a comedy club where people are drunk, and the audience and the performers are in a contest. But in general, you just have access to a pretty goddamn great audience in Chicago. And that means so much, that can define everything about what you’re able to do and able to discover. I’m a big believer in finding the audience so that you can discover yourself. But you need those audiences to listen, you need them to want you to win, and those audiences are in Chicago.”
Woodworker Nick Offerman Keynotes Illinois Conservation Foundation Outdoor Hall Of Fame Gala
The ICF Outdoor Hall of Fame Gala, Illinois’ premier fundraising event for outdoor education, recreation and wildlife conservation will honor John Burke, Jr., Betty DeFord and Brian Drendel this year, with keynote speaker actor, author and woodworker Nick Offerman. Proceeds benefit the programs of the Illinois Conservation Foundation, which since 1995 has raised more than $41 million in collaboration with the IDNR, among other public and private partners. The 2022 Outdoor Hall of Fame Gala is April 6; details here.
Illinois Adds Media Literacy To School Subjects
“Illinois could be a national pacesetter in media literacy,” writes Jim Warren at the Trib. “The legislature last summer made Illinois the first state to require a unit of media literacy education as a prerequisite for high school graduation.” Public Act 102-0055 “amends the school code ‘by adding a provision that, beginning with the 2022-2023 school year, every public high school is required to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction on media literacy.'” Illinois “is the first to have a requirement of media literacy. Fourteen states have some media standards, but nobody requires a unit of instruction.”
Poynter Surveys Continuing Jeopardy Of Chicago Reader Sale
“The delay in the sale has left the Reader’s future uncertain,” publisher Tracy Baim tells Poynter. “In 2019, the Reader’s co-owners and its board approved of a deal to sell the paper to the nonprofit for a dollar. The deal was delayed after the Reader received Paycheck Protection Program loans during the pandemic. An intercompany agreement between the nonprofit and the Reader allowed the nonprofit to raise funds for the paper in the interim. Thanks to the nonprofit’s efforts, the Reader went from being over ninety-percent dependent on advertising in 2020 to just fifty-five-percent in 2021. Once the nonprofit realized that the transition wouldn’t happen on January 1 as planned, it had to stop a lot of its active fundraising and inform major donors of the situation. The intercompany agreement expired at the end of January, and as of February 1, the Reader was no longer able to receive funds from the nonprofit. ‘This particular set of circumstances really can’t last more than a few weeks because at some point the nonprofit will move to shut down if there’s no clear path for the Reader to be sold to it,’ Baim said.” The contentious column about vaccinations remains an issue, Poynter adds: “Leonard Goodman emailed after publication to dispute that his column contains any factual errors. An external fact-checker hired by the Chicago Reader to review the column found 15 inaccuracies or misleading statements.”
Mark “Marko” Rahman of Nineties Chicago Hip-Hop Group East Of The Rock Was 54
“Mark ‘Marko’ Rahman, aka Chicago rapper the Mad Thinker, died February 18 at age 54,” write Leor Galil and J. R. Nelson at the Reader. “Rahman came to prominence in the early nineties as part of East of the Rock; his childhood friend and EOTR bandmate the Flux says Rahman came up with the name—the group’s members lived east of Stony Island. Kool Keith was Rahman’s biggest inspiration. ‘He did not want to do that style without putting his own mark on it,’ the Flux says. ‘He had the delivery, he had the voice, he had the cadence, he had the rhymes, and he had a way of incorporating small experiences in his rhymes. He knew that so-and-so person would be listening to a song at some point, so he would throw something in there just for that person.'”
Barbara Gaines Will Leave Chicago Shakespeare In 2023, After Thirty-Six Years
Barbara Gaines has announced her departure from Chicago Shakespeare Theater. “After thirty-six joyous years, I’ve decided to step down as Artistic Director of Chicago Shakespeare in 2023,” she writes. “I feel it’s time now for the Theater to welcome new artistic leadership. Change can infuse a new and bold creative energy, as our work to imaginatively explore Shakespeare alongside other playwrights continues and evolves in new ways to meet our changing world. When I founded the Theater in 1986, I hoped it would be a gift to the city of Chicago. Nineteen artists gathered on the rooftop of a Lincoln Park pub in what would become the company’s first production, and spoke aloud the first words of ‘Henry V’: ‘O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.’ It was that invention—that idea of what Chicago Shakespeare could become—which ignited incomparable creativity over the years and grew into an organization that is and will continue to be a beacon of light shining throughout our city. It’s a torch that brings together the talents of artists from Chicago and across the globe to our home on Navy Pier.”
“My mission over these many years has been to fill the world with the humanity of Shakespeare—a writer who understands the immediacy of being human, and gives us all the chance to delve into the mysteries of life. And that’s exactly what I believe we’ve been able to do together. I am immensely proud of all that we’ve done and deeply inspired by the thrilling possibilities ahead for Chicago Shakespeare in the decades to come. To be clear, this is far from goodbye. We still have much to accomplish together this year. Artistry will be filling our stages this spring, and we’ll be sharing our plans for the upcoming season soon. More than ever, our city needs art to fill people’s lives with hope, beauty, courage—and with radiant light. That has always been the personal human connection that feeds my soul.” More here.
TimeLine’s “Relentless” Comes To The Goodman
After a sold-out run this winter, TimeLine Theatre Company’s production of Tyla Abercrumbrie’s world-premiere play, “Relentless,” comes to the Goodman, weaving a mother’s past with her daughters’ present in a centuries-spanning tale of family, legacy and progress. Runs April 1-May 1 in the Owen Theatre. Tickets here.
Victory Gardens Theater Continues Season With Ali Viterbi’s “In Every Generation”
Victory Gardens Theater continues its mainstage season with the world premiere of “In Every Generation,” by Ali Viterbi, directed by Devon de Mayo. This is a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere by Victory Gardens, the Olney Theatre Center and San Diego Repertory Theatre. “Each Passover, for four millennia, we ask: why is this night different from all other nights? And each year, the Levi-Katz clan has answered, while struggling with questions of race and religion that never seem to get resolved. The family finds strength in tradition (vegan brisket or no); but each year of celebration brings more pressing questions about the future: if trauma is generational, then must we be defined by it? Will we ever be free?” “In Every Generation” was the 2019 winner of the National Jewish Playwriting Contest. The premiere production runs April 2–May 1 at Victory Gardens Theater, 2433 North Lincoln. Tickets are on sale here.
August Wilson Legacy Project Launched By Goodman And Wilson Estate
The classic work of American playwright August Wilson becomes part of a new partnership—the “August Wilson Legacy Project”—between the August Wilson Estate, Goodman Theatre and Derrick Sanders. In honor of her late husband and as executive director of August Wilson Legacy LLC, Constanza Romero-Wilson has chosen longtime Wilson collaborator Derrick Sanders of AW-Chicago and Willa J. Taylor, Walter Director of Education and Engagement at Goodman Theatre, to reestablish and build on the success of the national August Wilson Monologue Competition and “Designing August” (the scenic and costume design arm of the competition) for a new generation. The partnership roots the monologue and design competitions in Chicago—the first city to have experienced all ten of the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright’s American Century Cycle plays, produced by Goodman Theatre.
“I am thrilled that the August Wilson Monologue Competition will be reimagined by Goodman Theatre in partnership with Derrick Sanders of AW-Chicago. There is no other theater I would be more excited about leading the national competition. The Goodman supported August all throughout his career. I have full faith and trust that they will keep his legacy alive,” Romero-Wilson says in a release. “Building on partnerships with schools in Chicago, this national collaboration will build relationships with theaters across the country, creating educational and performance opportunities that allow students to connect to Wilson and his work through the study of history, social studies and literature.” As the August Wilson Legacy Project partnership gets underway, the 2022 August Wilson Monologue and Design Competitions welcome student applications; the Goodman will again host the twenty high school students appearing in the final round in May. The Competitions are presented by Sanders and the Goodman in collaboration with the League of Chicago Theatres; for details, go here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Adler Planetarium Reopens Friday
“We’ve been looking up together and connecting through our digital programs since 2020, but we have missed seeing our friends and neighbors at the museum,” says Michelle B. Larson, the Adler’s president and CEO in a release. “We are quite excited to welcome guests back to connect and explore with us in person.” Along with daily public hours, the Adler will be open every Wednesday evening from 4pm-10pm, and will be free to all Illinois residents. Since March 2020, the Adler installed a new telescope in its Doane Observatory making it the largest publicly accessible telescope in the Chicago area, as well as building a new observation park for guests. All tickets must be bought online here.
At Least 2,500 Creatures Converge On Avondale’s Insect Asylum
Thirty-year-old Brighton Park resident Nina Salem “is opening an insect and taxidermy museum in Avondale with the vast collection she’s amassed over the years,” reports Block Club Chicago. The Insect Asylum “will double as a community center with educational classes and arts events for kids and adults. Salem is also an artist who incorporates taxidermy and insects into jewelry and other pieces of art… ‘Being autistic, I can tend to hyperfocus on things, and I was obsessed with the feathers and the furs and I liked the smells and the touch of everything. It always really excited me.'”
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