“Inequity For Sale” Art Project Marker Removed
“A sign that aimed to bring attention to racist real estate practices was removed this week, prompting the project’s creator to consider different approaches to highlight the history that denied Black Chicagoans homeownership,” reports Block Club. “As part of her ‘Inequity for Sale’ exhibit, artist and activist Tonika Johnson installed a yellow-and-black ‘landmarker’… to highlight how homes like [this house on South Aberdeen] were sold through a legal but discriminatory practice in the 50s and 60s… But the landmarker was missing when Johnson drove by the house… A neighbor told her the homeowner removed the sign late last week, she said. It surprised her because the home looks abandoned, she said.”
Ojibwe Artist Jim Denomie Was 66
Ojibwe artist Jim Denomie has passed in Franconia, Minnesota, reports The Art Newspaper. “At the time of his death, Denomie was preparing for a solo exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art that is scheduled for 2023. ‘The exhibition will be exploring the troubadour-like approach that Jim had towards art,’ says curator Nicole Soukup, noting that Denomie often listened to music, like Bob Dylan, when he painted. According to Soukup, Denomie was also inspired by children’s art and 16th-century painter Hieronymus Bosch. In addition to preparing for the upcoming Mia exhibition, Denomie had since 2019 travelled to São Paulo, Vienna and Mexico City for shows. Institutions including the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the Westphalian Museum of Natural History, in Munster, Germany and the Denver Art Museum had acquired his work.”
Springfield Art Museum Receives $5 Million Gift Toward 2028 Completion Of Master Plan
“The Springfield Art Museum’s thirty-year Master Plan to bring the museum into the twenty-second century has been expedited,” reports the Springfield News-Leader. The Missouri art museum received a $5 million gift from The Sunderland Foundation, a family foundation based in Overland Park, Kansas, to benefit its Master Plan. “This is the largest single charitable gift the museum has received in its ninety-three years,” museum director Nick Nelson said. “The $5 million donation will accelerate the museum’s thirty-year plan into a seven-year project. The hope is that construction and renovation will be complete by 2028, the museum’s hundredth anniversary. ‘With a gift of this size and magnitude, our plan is to jump into the design work and start work on completing the full plan by 2028.'”
Omaha’s Joslyn Art Museum Closing For Two Years
The Joslyn Art Museum, the principal art museum in the state of Nebraska, will shut its doors on May 2 for about two years to facilitate construction of a new $100 million pavilion, alerts the Omaha World-Herald.
Does Chicago Suffer Without A Full-Time Architecture Critic?
“Chicago without a full-time architecture critic is like New York without a full-time theater critic. Except bad shows go away. Bad buildings + urban design stick around for decades,” posts Blair Kamin, pointing to a letter to the editor of the Sun-Times from Lynn Osmond, president and CEO of the Chicago Architecture Center: “An established critic has a bully pulpit when needed, putting a check on developers and politicians who aren’t always adept at self-policing. This prominent voice resonates far outside our region, rallying civic pride and introducing millions to Chicago… Where was the constructive design commentary upon release of the Chicago casino proposals? Where is the routine celebration of local design excellence? Is anyone even talking about climate change with respect to buildings and infrastructure?”
City Proposes $20 Million Renovation Of Congress Theater
“City officials have negotiated a $20 million subsidy for a developer’s renovation of the landmark Congress Theater in Logan Square,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “The city funds would support a proposed $70.4 million redevelopment of the ninety-six-year-old former movie house at 2135 North Milwaukee” that has stood empty since 2013. “The developer, Baum Revision, wants to refurbish the 2,900-seat auditorium for live music and performances. It also would have twenty residential units in the building that contains the theater, with fourteen of those homes marketed as affordable under city ordinance.” Adds YIMBY Chicago, “Plans call for the refurbishment of the theater space with its original 2,900-seating capacity for live music and theater performances which will be run by global conglomerate Anschutz Entertainment Group [AEG], which operates Wintrust Arena and Soldier Field.”
City Council Approves TIF For City Parks
Chicago City Council approved financing for small-improvement projects of Chicago Park District properties, notes YIMBY Chicago. “A majority of the funds will come from Tax Increment Financing districts, which are often supported by fees from developers.” The eight projects include Bickerdike Square Park, Jefferson Memorial Park, Metcalfe Park, Burnside Park, Fernwood Park and Wilson Park.
Trib Checks Out Quincy As Remote Work From Towns Finds Favor
“Before the pandemic, moving to a different city wasn’t really an option for Marcus Medsker, who was living in a two-bedroom condo in the River North neighborhood of Chicago. But when his wife became pregnant with their second child, they decided to move to his hometown of Quincy, Illinois,” reports the Trib. “The low cost of living and small-town feel has made life with young kids a lot simpler, and he said his proximity to family has been one of the most special parts of being back. Many small towns in the Midwest, including Quincy, are trying to attract remote workers by using their sense of community to their advantage. The city is listed on a website called MakeMyMove, where people can browse through a range of incentive packages offered in cities and towns across the United States. If they decide they want to move, they can submit an application to the destination of their choice.”
Lawson House Renovation In Motion
Renovation is in full swing at the Victor F. Lawson House, the 1931-built former YMCA, a twenty-four-story high-rise at 30 West Chicago. “Developer Holsten Real Estate plans to convert the 272-foot structure to 408 apartment units, deconverted from 538 single room occupancy. Programming will also include on-site social services and ground-level retail.”
Chicago Minimum Pay For Ride Service Drivers Proposed
“Ald. Roderick Sawyer has introduced a measure that would make sweeping changes to the city laws that govern ride-share services — including driver compensation,” reports the Trib. Sawyer’s ordinance “would establish the minimum pay of ride-share drivers in the city… A driver would be entitled to a minimum per-minute and per-mile amount, or a minimum trip amount of $5, whichever is greater. The starting minimum per minute would be thirty cents, and the minimum per mile would include a $2 base and a $1.20-per-mile rate. Each year, the per-minute and per-mile rates would be adjusted for inflation. Drivers would also receive at least eighty percent of what their rider paid.”
U.S. Mask Makers Going Out Of Business
“Small U.S. mask manufacturers are in dire straits—if they haven’t gone out of business already. DemeTech has laid off nearly all the employees it hired to make masks, and it has shut most of its mask manufacturing center,” reports Joe Nocera at the New York Times. “The plight of these small mask companies… suggests that reviving American manufacturing—even when the underlying rationale is national security—won’t be easy. ‘Resilience is the byword of the day,’ said Marc Schessel, a hospital supply chain expert who is working to develop alternative supply chains for personal protective equipment. And resilience—that is, creating extra manufacturing capacity that can get the country through an emergency—is what the small mask makers say is their value to the country. Sure, they argue, a globalized, just-in-time supply chain for low-cost protective equipment is fine in ordinary times. But we’ve learned these past two years that the country needs domestic manufacturers if we hope to avoid terrible shortages during the next pandemic, and the one after that. But how do you create that resilience?”
DINING & DRINKING
Wheat Product Prices Rising
“Russia and Ukraine account for nearly a third of the world’s traded wheat. And wheat prices are up more than 50% since Russia invaded its neighbor,” reports KTLA via WGN-TV. “Here are some of the foods that can have wheat as an ingredient: Baking powder, bread, cereal, coffee substitutes, instant cocoa, chicken and beef broth, granola, gravy, ice cream, meat, pie filling, pudding, seasonings, sauces, snack foods and beer.” Adds the Financial Times: “The last time wheat prices spiked to these levels in 2007 and 2008 because of severe production declines in leading producing countries such as Australia and Russia, protests spread through nearly forty countries… Russia and Ukraine supply almost a third of the world’s wheat exports and since the Russian assault on its neighbour, ports on the Black Sea have come to a virtual standstill… ‘If farmers in Ukraine don’t start planting any time soon there will be huge crisis to food security. If Ukraine’s food production falls in the coming season the wheat price could double or triple.'”
Andersonville Midsommar Fest Returns
After two years, the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce has announced the return of Andersonville Midsommarfest, one of Chicago’s oldest summer street festivals. In its fifty-sixth year, the annual festival will be held June 10-12 along Andersonville’s Clark Street corridor. The community will bring together over 75,000 people to celebrate a proud Swedish summer tradition with eclectic music, vendors, food and free kids’ activities. Friday night’s festivities will expand an additional three blocks from Catalpa all the way to Foster, instead of ending at Summerdale. This year’s festival will feature more than fifty music and entertainment acts on five stages, kicking off Friday night with three stages. Applications for artists, nonprofit organizations, merchants and food vendors will be accepted through April 22 here. More Midsommar here.
Berlin Nightclub’s Got A New Program Manager
“Popular Chicago drag queen Lucy Stoole is shaking things up in Northalsted,” reports The Triibe. “She is the first Black drag queen to hold the program manager role at Berlin Nightclub.”
Gemma Foods Brings Grandma To Grand Avenue
Chef-turned-pastiola Tony Quartaro describes Gemma Foods, his take-out storefront that he intends to scale to industrial, to Eater Chicago. “Quartaro thinks mostly-made restaurant-quality meals that straddle the line between takeout and DIY kits will appeal to customers who’ve spent the past two years eating most of their meals at home. ‘Delivery of dining is an emerging category… I want to be a part of that. The product coincides with what people are looking for if they’re not stepping into a restaurant. It’s for anyone who has nostalgia for Grandma’s cooking, but at a higher level… It’s not a meal kit… We’ve done all the work. All you have to do is boil the water. People tell me they can’t believe they made it at home.’”
Diving Into Dove’s
“Dove’s Luncheonette is a forty-one-seat TexMex diner. All we have are barstools or stools that are in the floor,” Terry Alexander, who is partner with One Off Hospitality Group, said. “One of the most unique things is the physical design. We made everything rough-looking. We didn’t polish anything,” profiles WGN-TV.
Reza’s Tap Room Brings Nightlife To Student Evanston
“There’s not a lot of bars in Evanston that cater to the Northwestern crowd,” Reza’s Restaurant owner Ryan Toulabi tells the Daily Northwestern.“There are a lot of people from Northwestern going downtown [but] they don’t really get treated the way they want to be treated.” “There are three locations of Reza’s Restaurant in the Chicago area, but the Evanston storefront is the only one featuring a tap room. Toulabi said he was inspired to open the room because 1557 Sherman, where the restaurant is located, housed the city’s first restaurant with a liquor license.” The restaurant closes at 9pm, and the lounge is open until 2am.
FILM & TELEVISION
Tarantino Rumored To Direct Episodes Of “Justified” Sequel Series Here
By Quentin Tarantino’s own proclamation, he’s only got one more personal feature left to make. He’s published a novel, failed with a pitch for an earthbound 1930s-set gangster “Star Trek” standalone movie and is mooted as a possible director for episodes of the Timothy Olyphant-starring “Justified” follow-on being shot in Chicago, FX’s limited series “City Primeval,” based on a novel by the late Elmore Leonard. Deadline reported on the production; sources tell Screen that the series will film in Chicago from May through early September, and will headquarter at Chicago Studio City.
“Good Riddance To Amazon’s Terrible Bookstores”
“America’s worst bookstore chain is no more,” writes Alex Shephard at the New Republic. “Amazon Books was always awkwardly situated between the company’s pitiless approach to commerce—its all-consuming need to be a ‘disruptor’ in everything that it does—and the necessities of old-fashioned retailing, particularly bookstores. It was also simultaneously a P.R. stunt—an attempt to put a human face on the grim smiley face that adorns the company’s boxes—and a weird experiment, an attempt to use physical retail stores to mine data about how customers shop in person. No one ever asked for it, the strategy never worked particularly well, and now the company is doing what it does with its many failed experiments: quickly washing its hands and moving on to the next attempt to gain market share.”
Oklahoma Bill Charges Schools $10,000 A Day For Having LGBTQ Books
An Oklahoma bill would charge schools $10,000 a day for having LGBTQ books and blacklist school librarians who allow such books to stay on the shelves, reports LGBTQ Nation. “The Oklahoma Senate Education Committee passed a bill to ban LGBTQ books (and books on LGBTQ-inclusive sex education). The bill now looks to advance towards the Senate floor… Oklahoma SB 1142 would criminalize any school official or librarian that has any books that ‘make as their primary subject the study of sex, sexual preferences, sexual activity, sexual perversion, sex-based classifications, sexual identity, or gender identity or books that are of a sexual nature.'” The bill also stipulates “that if any person could sue a school stating they have a book that violates the policy, the school librarian or official will be forced to remove the book within a thirty-day period. If the school official or librarian does not remove the book, the school shall be fined a minimum of $10,000 a day, and that school official or librarian will be barred from working in any school for a period of two years.”
A Case For Adding 50,000 Local Reporters In America
“Our goal should be to create a better local news system than we had in the past, including far better service for communities of color and for rural areas. To make that local news system a reality, I believe that we need to add 50,000 local reporters,” writes Steve Waldman at the Columbia Journalism Review. “There is much to discuss on where those 50,000 new reporters should work, who should employ them, how those entities can be sustainable, and what kinds of journalism they should do… My goal is to give us a sense of the size of the financial mountain that needs to be climbed—and show that it can be done.”
Judge Dismisses Defamation Suit Against Hubbard Radio By Former WTMX Host
“A federal judge has dismissed Chicago radio host Melissa McGurren’s defamation lawsuit against her former employer, Hubbard Radio Chicago, whom she alleged falsely branded her a liar while responding to her harassment claims against former co-host Eric Ferguson,” report Christy Gutowski and Tracy Swartz at the Trib. “McGurren brought the $10 million claim in October in response to an email in which the company told staff it had ‘thoroughly investigated’ her U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission complaint against Ferguson and did ‘not agree with Melissa’s characterization of events.'”
Director Chuck Smith On Following Dreams
“Amid a successful career working behind the scenes at Goodman Theatre, Chicagoan and theater director Chuck Smith is living proof of what can happen when you follow your dreams,” WGN-TV profiles. “‘I said I’m gonna follow my dream and I did. I never looked back.’ … Now a seasoned theater director, Smith can’t help but to smile when looking back at his family’s reaction when he abruptly decided to pursue a career in theater. ‘That’s when the problem with the family started. They thought I was sick, something’s gone wrong with Chuck.’ … That conversation was more than fifty years ago, when the then-computer programmer and US Marine was considering reenlisting in the service when friends asked him to step in for an actor with a local theater group. ‘I like to say I walked into the theater and never walked out.'”
ARTS & CULTURE
Russia’s War Stymies Travel Comeback
“Look for airlines to cut capacity as Russia’s attack on Ukraine pushes jet fuel prices to multiyear highs,” reports Bloomberg via Crain’s. Axios charts how the skies aren’t wide open for global travel right now.
Mexican Consulate Takes Step in Support of Gender Affirmation
“Many transgender Americans have limited access to forms of legal identification that affirm their gender,” reports WBEZ. “Not having a valid ID can limit access to school, work and housing. That’s why the Mexican transgender community is celebrating a recent move by the Mexican consulate in Chicago to issue birth certificates and passports for transgender nationals living in Illinois and northern Indiana. ‘This is a big step in the Mexican consular network,’ said Reyna Torres Mendivil, Consul General of Mexico in Chicago. ‘Now we’re able to do that in the fifty consulates in the United States and in the rest of the world.'”
Sports Gambling Expanded In Illinois
Nearly $9 billion has been wagered in Illinois in less than two years since sports betting was legalized. A change to state law makes it easier for more people to put money down, reports the Sun-Times. “Illinois is considered one of the nation’s top four sports betting markets, with gamblers plunking down an average of $156 every second.”
Humboldt Penguin Chick Hatches at Brookfield Zoo
A month-old Humboldt penguin chick, who hatched at Brookfield Zoo on February 2, is only the second successful offspring for its parents—fourteen-year-old Divot and twenty-one-year-old Rosy—making its hatching extremely significant to the Humboldt penguin population in Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) accredited North American institutions. The pairing of Divot, who hatched at Brookfield Zoo in 2008, and Rosy, who arrived in 2013, was based on a recommendation from the AZA’s Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative population management and conservation program. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable. Divot and Rosy, who have been together since her arrival, are the most genetically valuable pair at Brookfield Zoo because they are considered underrepresented in the overall AZA Humboldt penguin population. Brookfield Zoo, which has thirty Humboldt penguins in breeding and non-breeding colonies, is one of twenty AZA institutions to care for the species. The unsexed chick is currently being hand-reared by animal care staff. The chick still knows it is a penguin, but the shift from parent-feeding to self-feeding makes for an easier transition on both the adults and the young bird. More here.
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