Melanie Pankau “When The Center Stands Still” Opens At McCormick Gallery
“‘When the Center Stands Still’ is a suite of ten paintings that unfolded over a two-year period. This body of work began with my daily meditation practice. I worked with three different techniques: mantras (a repeated Sanskrit phrase or sound), yoga nidra (a guided visual meditation), and kriyas (an active form of meditation that moves energy to specific points in the body). These meditations allowed me to enter a deep state of concentration and opened up a field or space for the images to emerge. Directly after meditation, I drew in my sketchbook—a type of automatic writing but in a visual form. The sketches became the foundational compositions for the paintings and mirror a contemplative state of being,” Pankau writes. “My practice as a painter is guided by a process of meditation, and grows out of the reflection and contemplation within these quiet spaces. For nearly a decade, I have been studying meditation traditions and techniques, and integrating this parallel practice into my paintings. It is in a state of solitude and interiority where the geometric forms and diagrammatic structures in my work originate.” The work goes on show at McCormick Gallery, 835 West Washington, March 10 with an artist’s reception, 4-6pm, and runs through April 30.
Profiling The Hyde Park Art Center Pay-As-You-Can Plan
WGN-TV profiles the pay-as-you-can model for students at the Hyde Park Art Center. “It’s one of the only places bringing together artists and communities at every level and every age from across neighborhoods where really anyone can tap into their creativity and be a part of a community, to help learn new skills and connect with other artists,” executive director Kate Lorenz tells the station.
Other Malls Could Follow The Old Orchard “Blighted” Property Tax Levy
“Westfield Old Orchard shopping center sells gold watches at Rolex, diamond necklaces at Tiffany & Co. and fabulous purses at Coach… Shoppers stroll past more than a hundred stores while wearing pricey parkas and furs,” reports the Trib. “The site seems to be thriving. Yet ‘blighted’ is the legal designation the village of Skokie is giving it, in order to qualify for a one-percent sales tax hike at Old Orchard businesses to pay for improvements to the outdoor mall.” Other commercial concerns are expected to follow the template.
Cook County Property Scavenger Sales Could Be Helping Hedge Funds, Not Everyday Buyers
“Nearly a thousand people gathered at this year’s Scavenger Sale auction, aiming to nab one of the more than 30,000 local properties up for sale,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The sale is the first step in a complicated process of trying to take over a tax-delinquent property so it can be restored, benefitting its community while returning it to the tax rolls. But many of the lots that go up are snapped up by hedge funds and large institutional buyers, or they stay unused for years.” “Why should the scavenger sale property just go into a general pot and then be opened up to the fastest, most aggressive, most well-resourced bidder who gets to the starting line first?” said Michael Davidson, a senior director at the Chicago Community Trust who has worked to make the auction more accessible. “Is there a more equitable way of dealing with properties?”
The Making And Unmaking Of Mexican Chicago
“In ‘Making Mexican Chicago,’ from University of Chicago Press, assistant professor of history at Georgetown University Mike Amezcua foregrounds the Mexican Americans who made these neighborhoods their own in the face of white resistance,” Borderless magazine writes in introducing an excerpt. “In addressing their everyday creation of a home despite systems built against them — whether immigration policy or racial capitalism—Amezcua zeroes in on enduring tensions in Chicago too often concealed under a veneer of progressive attitudes.” The excerpt “focuses on the changing face of Chicago’s Southwest Side in recent years, spotlighting the transformation of 18th Street in Pilsen and the activism of groups like the Gage Park Latinx Council.”
DINING & DRINKING
Wheat Shortages Expected Within Global Food Crisis
“Ukrainian farmers have been forced to neglect their fields as millions flee, fight or try to stay alive,” reports Associated Press. “Ports are shut down that send wheat and other food staples worldwide to be made into bread, noodles and animal feed. And there are worries that Russia, another agricultural powerhouse, could have its grain exports upended by Western sanctions.” No disruptions to wheat supplies yet, “but prices have surged fifty-five-percent since a week before the [Russian] invasion [of Ukraine] amid concerns over what could happen next… Russia and Ukraine combine for nearly a third of the world’s wheat and barley exports. Ukraine also is a major supplier of corn and the global leader in sunflower oil” which comprises ten-percent of all cooking oils. BBC journalist Kriszta Satori: “With no realistic prospect of a quick resolution to the conflict in Ukraine, commodities have soared in value, including gold and other metals, as well as wheat and maize. The head of one of the world’s biggest fertiliser companies has told the BBC that the war in Ukraine is a threat to global food supplies. Russia produces huge amounts of the essential ingredients in fertilisers (potash, phosphate and nitrogen) and the Kremlin is urging its producers to halt exports. That could send prices even higher, feeding through into higher costs for food. The CEO of Yara International, Svieen Toora Houlsether, described the situation as very serious. It’s not whether we are moving into a global food crisis, it’s how large the crisis will be, he said.”
Drive The Wienermobile
How do you become a Wienermobile Hotdogger, asks WGN-TV? “The Wienermobile is driven by ‘Hotdoggers.’ Hotdoggers are the official spokespeople of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile who travel on a coast-to-coast odyssey for an entire year, making stops across the country… Since 1988, Hotdoggers have seen the country through the windshield of an American icon.” How to join the legion? “You have to be a really lucky dog, every year they get thousands of recent college applicants, and get to travel with the Wienermobile for a whole year,” Hotdogger Ally Friend said. “Oscar Mayer accepts applications for drivers every year to fill the crew of each of the six Wienermobiles.”
Lake Forest Gets The Second Sophia Steak
Ballyhoo Hospitality follows up its downtown Wilmette Sophia Steak with a downtown Lake Forest outpost. The company has opened contemporary Greek Andros Taverna in Logan Square; French bistro Pomeroy in Winnetka; and soon-to-open Buck Russell’s Bakery & Sandwich Shop in downtown Wilmette. Sophia Steak Lake Forest is the company’s fifth restaurant opening since May 2020. “We’re excited to expand Ballyhoo Hospitality and connect with even more neighborhoods across the North Shore,” says Ryan O’Donnell, founder and owner in a release. “Lake Forest has such a rich history and thriving community. Providing warm hospitality and great food, we look forward to becoming a gathering place for residents to catch up with friends and family.” The company has partnered with Glenn Keefer, formerly of Keefer’s Steakhouse. More here.
Roof of Nipsey’s Restaurant & Lounge In Burnside Collapses In Pre-Dawn Fire
Neighbors have called for Nipsey’s Restaurant & Lounge in Burnside to be closed permanently, “citing loud music and disruptive patrons who urinate on and trash their homes,” reports Block Club, and the alderwoman supported shutting down the restaurant. A spokesperson for the alderwoman said after the report of the early morning fire, “It’s unfortunate that a beautiful, historic building is damaged.” Eater Chicago: “Founded in November 2020 by managing partner Teddy Gilmore, a veteran Chicago bartender and activist who has worked to rally his fellow Black bar and restaurant owners against racism in the hospitality industry, Nipsey’s, named after the bar in the 1990s Fox sitcom ‘Martin,’ bills itself as ‘the quintessential American retro bar’ featuring a menu of comfort food with Cajun touches along with cocktails and a full bar. Shortly after its debut, however, Nipsey’s presence in the area turned controversial when neighbors [raised] concerns over loud patrons, cars blasting music… public urination, and occasional gunshots.”
UIC Library Highlights Latinx Activist Rudy Lozano
Late activist, community organizer and politician Rudy Lozano is the subject of an exhibit at UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library, “A Search for Unity: Rudy Lozano and the Coalition Building in Chicago,” which will run until next fall, reports UIC Today. “The exhibit is made up of papers, photographs, posters and other memories about Lozano, who was murdered when he was 31.” David Greenstein, lecturer in Special Collections and University Archives, curated the exhibit with Peggy Glowacki, manuscripts librarian, and Elena Bulgarella, assistant archivist. “The exhibit focuses on the way he tried to bring different communities of people together,” Greenstein tells the outlet. “Including various Latinx communities in the Near West Side neighborhoods, Pilsen and Little Village, he brought together documented and undocumented workers that were fighting for better conditions.” “Lozano, who was born in Harlingen, Texas, to Mexican immigrant parents, was gunned down June 8, 1983, after losing a bid to become Chicago’s first Mexican American alderman…Lozano failed to force an aldermanic runoff by only seventeen votes but managed to get enough Latino voters to support Harold Washington’s successful bid to become Chicago’s first Black mayor.”
How An Indie Bookstore Differs From The About-To-Be-Defunct Amazon Storefronts
“Amazon’s stores differed markedly from the independent bookstores… They conveyed the parent company’s homogenized corporate identity rather than the distinctive character of their communities. They lacked the quirky personality and warmth of indies. And their book offerings were based not on the choices of individual buyers familiar with the interests of local customers but on data generated from Amazon’s online shoppers. Walk into an Amazon bookstore and you’d see what everyone else was reading, not a thoughtfully curated selection of books worth discovering,” writes bookseller Bradley Graham at Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post. “Amazon’s retreat from the physical bookstore business underscores what those of us in it know all too well: It isn’t easy. It requires superb customer service, dedicated staff who provide knowledgeable advice about what to read, an inviting environment in which to browse and shop, and literary activities that connect patrons directly to authors… Most of all, it demands a deep commitment to the local communities that sustain us.”
Shattered Globe Theatre Announces New Ensemble Members And Artistic Associates
Shattered Globe Theatre has added six ensemble members and six artistic associates; the new ensemble members include Demetra Dee, Tina M. Jach, Tina Muñoz Pandya, Hailey Rakowiecki, Jazzma Pryor and Devonte E. Washington and new artistic associates include Mikey Gray, Lawrence Grimm, Jason Lynch, David Antonio Reed, Adam Schulmerich and Leslie Ann Sheppard. Producing artistic director Sandy Shinner says in a release, “SGT is thrilled to welcome these actors, stage managers and designers as new Ensemble Members and Artistic Associates. They are all artists who have worked with us in multiple projects and productions over the past several years and are committed to our mission. Their perspectives and talents will be essential in our continued growth and we couldn’t be happier to welcome them into the family.” More here.
“To Kill A Mockingbird” Tickets On Sale
Tickets for the limited engagement of the highest-grossing play in Broadway history, “To Kill A Mockingbird,” adapted by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Bartlett Sher, are on sale now. The play will run May 17-29 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. The cast of the first national tour includes Richard Thomas as Atticus Finch, Melanie Moore as Scout Finch, Jacqueline Williams as Calpurnia, Justin Mark as Jem Finch, Yaegel T. Welch as Tom Robinson, Steven Lee Johnson as Dill Harris and Mary Badham, Oscar-nominated for the role of “Scout” in the 1962 movie, as Mrs. Dubose. More here.
Mamet’s Post-“Garbage” Chicago Days
In that recent Guardian interview that highlighted playwright David Mamet’s long-term political hardening of the arteries, Chicago lore also came to the fore: “When Mamet first staged ‘The Woods’ [now revived in London], he and the actor William H. Macy were running their own theater company, St Nicholas, from an abandoned dairy rented for ‘around 200 bucks a month.’ Mamet often doubled up in day jobs as a cab-driver, window-cleaner or telephone carpet salesman. Did he develop his ear for dialogue–its demotic rhythms, pace and profanities—then? No, it was far earlier, in his Jewish-American family household: ‘We’re very oral people, the Jews. That’s what we do. We love ambiguity. And it wasn’t that I was listening on purpose. I just got a kick out of listening.’ … The young Mamet got some early exposure through his uncle, who was the director of radio and television for the Chicago Board of Rabbis. It meant putting on what they called The God Ghetto at seven o’clock on Sunday morning. He needed actors so my sister and I were in these shows. There was also Chicago’s Goodman Theatre which, in those days, he thinks, was ‘bullshit–it imported second-rate New York productions of ‘The House of Bernarda Alba.’ Who cares? So that was the theater I grew up with. I looked around and thought, ‘This is garbage. I don’t get it.’” Then Mamet discovered The Second City and was also turned on to Chekhov. “There’s no plot in these plays but you don’t mind because they’re brilliant. That, to me, is what theater should be.”
“Quamino’s Map” Premieres At Chicago Opera Theater
Chicago Opera Theater will present the world premiere of “Quamino’s Map,” set in post-Revolutionary War years when London was the unlikely refuge for thousands of Black Americans who fought for their liberty on the side of the British. Commissioned by COT, “Quamino’s Map” is composed by the Belize-born, British-based Errollyn Wallen, with a libretto by American playwright Deborah Brevoort. The story is, in Brevoort’s words, “about the enduring pull of freedom and the ends to which people will go to achieve it.” “Quamino’s Map” is the story of Juba Freeman, who arrives in London after winning his freedom from slavery by fighting for the British in the Revolutionary War. “Thrown headfirst into British society, he meets Amelia Alumond, a member of the British Black gentry, and reconnects with other ex-enslaved who are struggling to build new lives for themselves as free men.”
Inspired by historical events, the opera sheds a light on a forgotten corner of history and challenges assumptions of what life was like in eighteenth-century London for a person of color. “Commissioning new works is a central tenet of Chicago Opera Theater’s mission,” general director Ashley Magnus says in a release. “We are thrilled to be collaborating with such esteemed storytellers to bring this [little-known] historical moment to audiences in Chicago.” “Quamino’s Map,” the final production of the COT season, will be staged at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan, with only three performances, April 23, 29 and May 1. More here.
Porchlight Announces 2022 Guy Adkins Award
Jim Corti will be the recipient of the 2022 Guy Adkins Award for Excellence in the Advancement of Music Theatre. The award will be presented during this year’s annual Chicago Sings fundraising concert, “Chicago Sings Stephen Sondheim,” May 23 at the Museum of Contemporary Art. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation Rebrands As Lincoln Presidential Foundation
The Lincoln Presidential Foundation, formerly known as the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation, is taking on a new role: leading and supporting efforts across the nation to share the story of Abraham Lincoln’s life, legacy, and leadership. As part of the relaunch, the Foundation has changed its name and adopted a new brand. With over two decades of fundraising prowess and expertise in public-private partnerships, the Foundation helped establish the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield in 2005. Over the years, the Foundation raised over $42 million in support of museum programs, projects, and the Foundation’s one-of-a-kind Taper Collection of Lincolniana, which is on loan to the ALPLM through October 2022.
Since 2006, the Foundation has annually bestowed its prestigious Lincoln Leadership Prize, which recognizes leaders in the Lincoln tradition. Prize recipients have included four heads of state and other internationally known individuals. This award has raised millions of dollars in support of the Foundation’s mission. “This is an important step in our history and very positive expansion of the Foundation’s mission,” Erin Carlson Mast, the Foundation’s president and CEO says in a release. “We are now responding to a broader need to preserve President Lincoln’s legacy for the public benefit in a variety of locations. With our generous supporters, we will be able to participate in new projects with an array of enthusiastic new partner organizations.” More here.
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