EXPO Offers Limited Edition Derrick Adams Print
EXPO CHICAGO will offer an exclusive print edition by acclaimed artist Derrick Adams in celebration of the fair’s in-person return to Navy Pier, April 7-10. “Silver Lining” is an edition of one hundred and is printed by Tandem Press, publisher of fine art prints, in collaboration with Rhona Hoffman Gallery. “We renewed a tradition of the early Chicago fairs in 2019 by collaborating with artists Nick Cave and Bob Faust and Landfall Press, to publish a limited edition print that commemorated the exposition and supported EXPO CHICAGO’s Curatorial Initiatives programming,” Tony Karman, EXPO president-director says in a release. “We are extremely proud to celebrate the return of our in-person 2022 exposition with this extraordinary new print.” The print is available for advance purchase here and on-site at EXPO CHICAGO.
Carmen Winant Joins PATRON
PATRON has announced representation of artist Carmen Winant. “Winant’s multimedia work often utilizes installation and collage techniques to examine feminist modes of survival and revolt,” the gallery relays. “Her most widely-known work is ‘My Birth’ (2018), an immersive installation developed for MoMA’s 2018 ‘Being: New Photography’ that included over 2,000 photographs of women in the process of preparing for or giving birth, which were collected from books and magazines largely from the 1970s. Her practice situates itself within a lineage of feminist art production, particularly seminal figures like Mierle Laderman Ukeles and Mary Kelly whose works posited that care and the complexities of procreation have radical potential within artistic discourses.” More here.
Trump Tower $20-Million Penthouse Second Largest Home Sale In Chicago Infamy
“The 14,260-square-foot full-floor penthouse on the eighty-ninth floor of Chicago’s Trump International Hotel & Tower sold for $20 million — $10 million less than seller Sanjay Shah’s asking price but $3 million more than Shah paid for the unit in 2014,” reports the Trib. “Shah never moved into the twelve-room penthouse, which has five bedrooms, seven-and-a-half bathrooms, floor-to-ceiling windows, a nineteen-foot ceiling in the living area, eighteen-foot glass insulated windows and a private-access elevator.”
The Woman Who Wants To Name All 141 El Stops For Chicago Women
“Janet Volk thinks it might be a good idea to rename every one of the 141 stops spread along the Red, Blue, Green, Brown, Orange, Yellow, Purple and Pink lines” reports Rick Kogan at the Trib.“You, as do I, might quibble with some of the selections, some dead and some alive, but it’s impossible not to admire the detailed research that Volk has done and the thoughtful way she is using it.”
Influential St. Louis Architect Gyo Obata Was Ninety-Nine
“Gyo Obata, the internationally renowned architect who co-founded a small St. Louis architecture office and turned it into a global architectural force” has passed, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Obata-designed buildings stand around the country and the world, from One Metropolitan Square in downtown St. Louis to King Saud University in Saudi Arabia and the Sendai International Airport terminal building in Japan… Many of the region’s most recognizable buildings, and much of downtown’s skyline, have Obata’s fingerprints on them. His James S. McDonnell Planetarium at the St. Louis Science Center is one of the city’s most iconic buildings, easily recognizable by its unique hyperboloid shape. Generations of children have explored the St. Louis Zoo’s Living World, another Obata design…He first achieved international acclaim for his innovative design of the Priory Chapel at Saint Louis Abbey, which features an iconic circular facade with three tiers of whitewashed, thin-shell, concrete parabolic arches.”
Who Killed The Electric Mail Truck?
“A year ago, the USPS announced it was buying between 50,000 and 165,000 new delivery trucks over the next decade from Oshkosh Defense, a defense contractor based in Wisconsin, as part of the long-awaited replacement of the current iconic mail trucks,” reports Aaron Gordon at VICE. “The USPS provided few details about the vehicles, except to highlight key features like air conditioning, automatic emergency braking, and other safety technology, none of which the famous boxy neighborhood delivery vehicles have. The USPS also said the trucks would be a mix of both battery electric and internal combustion engine vehicles, but didn’t specify the ratio… What began as mostly good-natured celebration over a cute, much-needed truck went downhill fast… In a legally-mandated environmental review, the USPS revealed the gas version of the truck will get essentially the same miles per gallon with the air conditioning on as the current truck gets, or about eight mpg, worse than the RAM ProMaster, which the USPS also uses, which gets roughly fourteen mpg. It also revealed the truck’s weight was selected to be precisely one pound heavier than the ‘heavy duty truck’ cutoff which frees it from various environmental regulations, including getting better gas mileage… It appears to be an amazingly bad decision for 2022, locking in decades more use of an increasingly antiquated and expensive technology, just as every major automaker and shipper is declaring its intentions to do the exact opposite and phase out gas-powered vehicles.”
DINING & DRINKING
Congress Will Not Replenish Restaurant Financial Aid; Republican Politicos Say No
“Ben Cardin, chairman of Senate Small Business, says relief to restaurants will not be included in the omnibus funding package. There had been bipartisan talks on the issue but Cardin says it won’t be included because some Republicans objected,” posts CNN chief Congressional correspondent Manu Raju. “The Independent Restaurant Coalition, which has spent the last two years lobbying for small restaurants in the face of extreme economic uncertainty, issued a statement condemning the decision to abandon restaurants, calling it ‘catastrophic’ for these establishments,” reports Eater.“’We are beyond disappointed that this massive government funding proposal ignores the needs of 177,300 neighborhood restaurants and bars impacted by the pandemic,’ IRC executive director Erika Polmar said. ‘I hear from business owners every day who are having to close their doors and since Congress and the White House couldn’t see their way to refill the RRF, hundreds more will face the same fate in the coming weeks.’ Even the Restaurant Revitalization Fund, with its paltry $28.6 billion in initial funding, wasn’t enough to meaningfully help most establishments.” A statement from Sam Toia, president and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association: “The restaurant community was dealt a blow when we learned that the door has all but shut for the federal government to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. More than 110,000 restaurant jobs in Illinois are at risk without additional aid. We are calling on the state of Illinois to provide $125 million in grants to struggling restaurants to hire and retain team members and invest back in their businesses despite rising costs and mounting debts.”
Logan Square’s “Secret” Saint Emeric Public Now
“Located in a former church, Saint Emeric’s approach to fine dining is fun, intimate and accessible. Dinners aren’t just meals but carefully curated events. Guests can choose their own adventures, with events like ‘Sounds of Saint Emeric,’ a three-course prix fixe dinner followed by a live musical performance, or the ‘Gospel Brunch,’ featuring a three-course menu and a gospel performance,” writes Logan Squarist. Eric Brown, Saint Emeric’s chef-in-residence and curator, says, “Our goal is to generate an ‘Oh, wow!’ moment in realizing they’re in for a unique experience… We have to do a fair amount of work to get a guest’s attention [enough for them] to book something seemingly hard to understand. Then, we have to lead them down a path that’s a bit mysterious, and then they literally turn a corner into Saint Emeric. That’s the ‘Aha!’ moment, when they realize they made a really good decision.” “Once a guest secures a ticket, the mysteries of the menu and location linger until a week before the reservation. Only then, will the lucky diner discover the details of their underground culinary adventure. One of those not-so-secret-anymore details is that Saint Emeric is situated in a former church, built in 1888. It was once a Hungarian Catholic church, named for Hungary’s St. Emeric, before becoming the St. Hedwig Mission Church in 1939. Once the building was purchased from the Archdiocese of Chicago, its former and current owners were determined to use the space to support the arts community.”
What’s In Bob’s Pizza? Old Style
With Bob’s Pizza, “Chef Matt Wilde wanted to open a shop that would stand out—so he turned to an unexpected ingredient for his dough: Old Style beer,” reports Block Club. “The combination of beer, 00 flour, active yeast and a secret spice blend makes for Wilde’s ‘Pilsen-style’ pizza, a cross between New York style and Sicilian that is foldable but has a bread-quality… Old Style was a great choice of beer in the dough because it doesn’t give too much flavor that would disrupt the pizza itself,’ Wilde said. ‘It’s still a yeasted dough, but we cold ferment with that carbonation of the lager… It’s just crazy how they all work together. It took a long time to keep it under control.’”
Molson Coors Withdraws Licenses From Russia
“Molson Coors is halting exports to Russia, becoming the latest company to cut off sales in the country over its invasion of Ukraine,” reports Crain’s. “The brewing giant is also arranging for employees’ safe passage out of Ukraine.” Molson Coors’ North American headquarters “is based in Chicago, [with] limited sales and no physical assets in Russia… Still, it is suspending exports of and licenses to produce any Molson Coors products in the country.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Kartemquin And Community Film Workshop Announce 2022’s Diverse Voices In Documentary
Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago announced six Diverse Voices in Docs fellows for 2022. DVID is a professional mentorship program for Midwestern documentary filmmakers of color, created by Kartemquin Films and the Community Film Workshop of Chicago. Fellows are chosen from a pool of applicants who have a demonstrated commitment to social issue documentary. The 2022 fellows are Amber Love, Cindy Martin, Cynthia Martinez, Jason Rhee, Donnie Seals and Sadia Uqaili. “After a year spent in conversation and reflection with our alumni and community, we are excited to relaunch the DVID program renewing our commitment to our fellows and their needs,” DVID creative lead Anuradha Rana says in a release. “We aim to provide the creative and professional scaffolding that amplifies their voices, creates a space to question and reflect on their creative choices, and illuminates a path to a sustainable career.” Fellows receive hands-on support from experienced KTQ and Community Film Workshop staff, award-winning filmmakers and invited experts before pitching to a panel of major funders. More here.
Chicago Telling New Story At Avalon Regal And Congress Theaters
The Sun-Times editorial board salutes creative initiatives by the city to save the last of Chicago’s great former movie palaces: “We applaud the city’s proposal to kick in $20 million to help fund a major restoration of Logan Square’s Congress Theater. But we’re also watching with interest what could be a compelling follow-up act: an effort to bring new life to the South Side’s grand, but long-dormant, Avalon Regal Theater. The Cook County Land Bank Authority purchased the back taxes on the ninety-five-year-old Moorish Revival theater… The agency would own the property for the next three years while Chicago officials put together a redevelopment plan for the 2,250-seat theater… The redevelopment of the Congress and Avalon Regal theaters would represent a remarkable sea change in Chicago’s attitude toward its classic former movie theaters. The city built some of the nation’s finest movie theaters between 1910 and 1930—then callously wrecked almost all of them when the venues began falling into disuse in the closing decades of the twentieth century.”
Meanwhile, Options Running Out For Long-Beleaguered Portage Theater
“With a seemingly disinterested owner and time running out on taxpayer subsidies, the curtain is closing on near-term options to restore the landmark Portage Theater,” reports The People’s Fabric. “In an internal DPD email obtained through our FOIA request, city officials wrote, ‘Alderman Gardiner has requested assistance facilitating the transfer of the Portage Theater from an absentee owner to a prospective buyer who has expressed interest in rehabbing and operating the theater.’ Around the same time, other emails show city officials and lawyers explored using ‘acquisition authority’ to acquire and transfer the theater to a new owner. The City has previously taken this approach with other projects, such as the restoration of the Ramova Theater in Bridgeport [which] took nearly twenty years to find a developer willing to invest in what is now a $28 million project.”
Chicago Humanities Spring Events Start With Molly Shannon And Jonathan Van Ness
The Chicago Humanities Festival returns to the stage with back-to-back events on April 13 at the Harris Theater. The evening begins with Molly Shannon at 6pm, talking about her memoir, “Hello, Molly!” and continues with “Queer Eye”‘s Jonathan Van Ness at 8:30pm discussing their new book of essays, “Love That Story: Observations from a Gorgeously Queer Life.” More here.
Barnes & Noble Has 2021 Turnaround
“Despite a slow December due to the omicron surge, 2021 was ‘another year of solid growth’ at Barnes & Noble, according to CEO James Daunt,” reports Publishers Weekly. “Daunt, with the financial backing of Elliott Advisors, took over B&N in September 2019. He said sales in the first eight months of 2021 were running 5% to 6% above 2019 levels, and November was very strong, but then infection rates started to spike again… Daunt said book sales were strong in 2021, and that sales of toys, puzzles and educational games were also up. The café and newsstand businesses… have not recovered from the impact of the pandemic. Sales at physical stores improved over 2020, and while online sales dipped, they did not give back all of the ground they gained over the past two years… Backlist titles drove the overall sales increase.”
CannaBash Wafts Into Muskegon
“A large marijuana consumption event with live music is planned this summer at a softball complex near Muskegon,” reports MLive. “CannaBash will be a cannabis-infused celebration on July 9 at Softball World in Muskegon Township… The event that will include seven marijuana retailers, on-site marijuana consumption, live music, games and a fireworks display… ‘It’s going to be a really cool consumption outdoor music festival,’ event organizer Connie Maxim Sparrow said. ‘It’s going to be a big smoke sesh with some really cool bands.’ She estimates turnout could number 5,000-7,000.”
Behind The Emotions Of Steppenwolf’s “King James”
“In ‘King James,’ Rajiv Joseph uses LeBron James’s career as a window to examine the emotional nature of fandom, and how it can facilitate relationships and increased openness among people, particularly young men,” reports Sarah Bahr at the New York Times. “’At least in the sort of heteronormative world in which I grew up, it was a struggle for young American men to communicate emotion,’ Joseph, forty-seven, said over coffee at Steppenwolf’s Front Bar before a recent rehearsal. ‘Sometimes a love of the game is the only way people who have difficulty expressing their feelings are able to articulate them.'”
Strawdog Theatre Company Shifts To Free Theater Model
Strawdog Theatre Company has shifted to a Free Theater Model, offering free admission to all of its productions. The move, guided by the company’s mission toward equity, anti-racism and inclusion, “allows Strawdog to continue serving current patrons while expanding its audience to include lower-income individuals and increase accessibility within the Chicago theater community itself,” Strawdog relays. (Advance reservations will be required.) “This is an exciting new era for Strawdog as we continue to redefine what storefront theater and ensemble work means,” Strawdog artistic director Kamille Dawkins says in the release. “Strawdog aims to be transparent and approachable to our community, and a Free Theater Model eliminates that invisible yet strong barrier of approachability because our theater is now accessible to people of all income levels. We also attract many patrons from the Chicago theater community, who oftentimes have low incomes but still want to experience and stay up to date on the art made by their peers and in their neighborhoods. We have eliminated that ticket price barrier but what we will not change is our commitment to deliver the high-quality, provocative, experimental productions you know, love, and have come to expect from Strawdog for over thirty years.” Strawdog says that it will rely heavily on recurring contributions and donations to sustain its new initiative.
Remembering Chicago’s Free Theater
“The Free Theater, a Chicago theater group that put on non-traditional, avant-garde theatrical productions from 1968 to 1974,” writes Adriana Cardona-Maguigad at WBEZ, “was created during a historic time in Chicago and the country—a period marked by the civil rights movement and the war in Vietnam. The ensemble stood out for its open door policy (no auditions required) and for putting on rock music plays with strong political themes making theater more appealing to young people looking for a creative outlet. The Free Theater, which operated with the support of Columbia College, was part of a movement of small theater groups that helped expand theater outside the Chicago Loop in the 1960s and 1970s.” Curious City talks to former performers and crew members in the heavily illustrated piece. (A few more archival photos are here.)
Humana Festival of New American Plays Canceled
“Actors Theatre of Louisville will not host a 2022 Humana Festival of New American Plays, either online or in-person,” reports Louisville Public Media’s WFPL. “The Humana Festival of New American Plays, as envisioned prior to the Global Pandemic, has inspired a new approach to develop and produce new work on multiple platforms year-round,” executive artistic director Robert Barry Fleming tells the NPR affiliate. “Fleming said the once-annual event, which typically takes place over multiple weeks in March and April, had undergone an evolution, both in response to the pandemic realities and the broader shifts within the theater industry. ‘Part of it is, if one keeps trying to force the lens of what happened in the before times, you actually eliminate your effective ability to actually continue to do the work that you do.'”
Arcada Theatre Cancels “Children Of Eden” Production
“Due to schedule conflicts and uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 mandates, the difficult decision has been made to cancel the ‘Children of Eden’ production, previously announced to play the Arcada Theatre this coming September,” the St. Charles theater has announced; they hope to open the production in fall 2023.
Lloyd Suh’s “The Chinese Lady” Set As TimeLine Theatre’s Season Finale
For its twenty-fifth anniversary season finale, TimeLine Theatre will present the Chicago premiere of “The Chinese Lady,” Lloyd Suh’s acclaimed play inspired by the story of the first Chinese woman to step foot in America. “The Chinese Lady,” directed by Helen Young, runs May 14-June 18 at Theater Wit. Tickets and more information here.
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