Demolition Of Historic Century And Consumers Building Gets $52 Million Federal Earmark
The Century and Consumers Buildings, on Preservation Chicago’s 2022 most endangered buildings list, move closer to oblivion. “Preservation Chicago has learned that a $52 million expenditure, or line item, has been earmarked in the Federal Infrastructure Bill, currently before Congress, specifically for the demolition of The Century and Consumers Buildings. It appears that the decades-long advocacy efforts to save these significant buildings is reaching a critical stage.” Preservation Chicago tweets a link to a petition to preserve the historic edifices: “GSA: Use the $52 million of federal funds TO RESTORE, NOT TO DEMOLISH these beautiful historic skyscrapers!” A judge blocked this plan for preservation through redevelopment into apartments.
Marilyn Miglin, “Cosmetics Queen” And Former Home Shopping Network Host Was Eighty-Three
“Marilyn Miglin, the cosmetics magnate, former Home Shopping Network host and wife of murdered real estate developer Lee Miglin” has died, writes Mitch Dudek at the Sun-Times. Her husband “was murdered in 1997 by Andrew Cunanan, who killed five people over the course of three months including fashion designer Gianni Versace… She built her business, with its roots on Oak Street, into a multimillion-dollar cosmetics company. She hawked many of her products as a host on the Home Shopping Network for twenty-five years. Her second husband, Egyptian businessman Naguib Mankarious, died in 2000 from complications after plastic surgery.”
City May Face Class Action Suit Over Accessible Signals For Blind Pedestrians
“A federal judge this month allowed a lawsuit over the safety of Chicago’s crosswalks for blind pedestrians to proceed as a class action,” reports WTTW. “Almost none of the thousands of signalized intersections in the city have devices giving audio cues to people who are blind or have low vision. Plaintiffs behind the case, which was first filed in September 2019, say they want systemic change.”
DINING & DRINKING
James Beard Awards Nominees Announced
“Chicago is represented in the outstanding restaurant category by Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim’s American-Korean eatery Parachute (Clark and Kim won in the best chef Great Lakes category in 2019), while the modern Filipino restaurant-bakery Kasama, helmed by chefs Genie Kwon and Timothy Flores, received a nomination for best new restaurant,” reports Miriam DiNunzio at the Sun-Times. “In the regional category of best chef Great Lakes, Chicagoans received four of the five nominations, with nods going to Jason Hammel, Noah Sandoval, John Shields and Karen Urie Shields and Erick Williams.” The complete list from the James Beard Foundation is here. Winners will be celebrated at the James Beard Restaurant and Chef Awards ceremony on Monday, June 13 at the Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Starbucks Phasing Out Paper Cups Within Three Years
Starbucks is “shifting away from single-use plastics and piloting reusable cup programs” in six markets, reports the Sun-Times. “By the end of next year, customers will be allowed to use their own reusable cups in every store location in the United States and Canada.” Starbucks has a goal to reduce waste by half within eight years. Meanwhile, founder Howard Schultz is returning as interim CEO, reports CNN. “Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson will step down after five years… Howard Schultz, who spent decades leading the company before Johnson, will take over as interim CEO and rejoin its board as the company searches for a new chief executive.” Schultz, who had hoped to run for president in the most recent election, has expressed his opposition to the growing drive by workers to unionize: “No partner has ever needed to have a representative seek to obtain things we all have as partners at Starbucks, and I am saddened and concerned to hear anyone thinks that is needed now.”
Lower Level Speakeasy At Storyville Inspired By Prohibition-Era New Orleans
Lulu’s Chambre Privee, hidden in the basement of Storyville, Chicago’s New Orleans-themed restaurant and bar, opens as a speakeasy serving traditional and contemporary Prohibition-style cocktails. Inspired by the history of brothels and music in the Red Light District, the bar pays homage to Lulu White, the era’s renowned brothel madam and entrepreneur of New Orleans. There’s live cabaret and jazz music performances on select nights. Lulu promoted herself and the sex workers, many of whom were also women of color, defying the segregation laws in place in Louisiana at the time. An eccentric figure, she was noted for her entrepreneurship, love of jewelry, influence on jazz music, and sex-positive spirit. Lulu’s cocktail menu features classic and specialty drinks in an intimate atmosphere. In tribute to Lulu, the cocktail menu references the “Blue Books” that served as directories of sex workers in Storyville during the turn of the century. The menu features traditional staples like The Last Word, Sidecar and Penicillin. Reservations and more here.
Craft Beer Fest Returns To Long Grove
Downtown Long Grove will once again transform into the suburb’s biggest beer garden on Saturday, April 30 from noon-4pm for Craft Beer Fest. Buffalo Creek Brewing hosts. “Attendees get a one-of-a-kind experience with dozens of Chicagoland’s most renowned breweries outside under the spring sun with a vintage village as a backdrop.” In addition to unlimited three-ounce tastes of participating breweries, Craft Beer Fest also features live music and local food options. “We’re thrilled to bring back our first big festival of the year after postponing the last couple seasons due to the pandemic,” Ryan Messner, a spokesperson with Craft Beer Fest’s organizing group, the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association says in a release. “This is the tasting experience of the year in one of Illinois’ most historic towns.” More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
“Bad Axe” Gets Nod At SXSW
“Bad Axe,” directed by David Siev, and produced by Siev, Jude Harris, Kat Vasquez and Diane Quon [Newcity Film 50] got an award at the recent SXSW for “Exceptional Intimacy In Storytelling.” “Stories centered on the pursuit of the American Dream abound. Rarely do they portray the sacrifices and recurrent trials that the promise of a better life entails the way director David Siev accomplishes,” the jury said. “Examining those closest to him with profound compassion and incisive curiosity, he paints a distinct and easily recognizable portrait of the alienation many feel in the place they call home, by birth or by circumstance. For its ability to reveal something unexpected about the American fabric and the American family, ‘Bad Axe’ deserves celebration.”
Vimeo Boosting Charges To Creators; “Not The Indie Version Of YouTube”
Vimeo, the online video platform used by independent filmmakers for its ease of use, and the default video application of Patreon, has shifted to a corporate focus. “Several Patreon creators have received the same message [about enormous price boosts] from Vimeo in recent months, causing a tailspin of confusion and panic over potentially losing their video work,” reports The Verge. “The ultimatums to indie video creators come as Vimeo is shifting focus toward large corporate clients—leaving longtime Vimeo users to scramble for an alternative… In a letter to shareholders in February, [Vimeo CEO Anjali] Sud spells the shift out in black and white: ‘Today we are a technology platform, not a viewing destination. We are a B2B solution, not the indie version of YouTube.'” Writes internet innovator Andy Baio on Twitter: “Vimeo IPOed in May of last year, and it’s turned into an enterprise sales machine targeting large corporations. Their leadership refuses to distinguish between an indie artist and a Fortune 500 company, a betrayal of the community that made it popular.”
Poetry Foundation Reopens Building
Along with a raft of upcoming spring events, The Poetry Foundation has announced that the Poetry Foundation building reopens to the public on April 7, with the first in-person event since the closure, “Respect the Mic,” at 7pm. Also for Poetry Month, they’re providing a free download of the April issue of Poetry magazine.
Editor Of Time Out Chicago Out
Zach Long posts his departure on Twitter: “After nearly eight years with Time Out Chicago, I’m filing my final stories as editor of the publication tomorrow. In April, I’m joining the content marketing team at Eventbrite as an editorial specialist. In the current media landscape, spending eight years on staff at a publication feels like a lifetime. At Time Out Chicago, I contributed to and edited a magazine, wrote thousands of listings and helped curate a food hall. The best part of working at Time Out has always been talking to the folks who make Chicago such an amazing city. If you ever picked up the phone for an interview, met for coffee or answered one of my emails (especially over the past two years), you have my eternal gratitude. It’s my understanding that Time Out Chicago will be hiring a new editor after I depart.”
Harvey World Herald Springs Up In Illinois News Desert
“Tales of local news dying are abundant, but against the odds of today’s media landscape, there are many new ventures taking root,” reports Nieman Lab. “Harvey, Illinois’ Harvey World Herald is one of them. A southern suburb of Chicago, Harvey is a small town of just about 20,000 people, according to the last census. Harvey is also a majority-minority city, with two-thirds of its population identifying as Black and another third identifying as Latino. About a third of adults sixty-four and younger live at or below the poverty line, and the unemployment rate is almost fifty percent. It’s against this backdrop that Amethyst J. Davis, a Black queer woman who grew up in Harvey, chose to launch the Harvey World Herald just six months ago.” More here.
Two Marriott Theatre Artistic Leaders To Retire
“Joining the list of theater artists announcing departures from their Chicago-area artistic homes are Marriott Theatre stalwarts Terry James and Aaron Thielen. The announcement from the executive producer and artistic director leaves a void in the artistic leadership of one of the area’s musical theater titans,” reports the Daily Herald. “James’ forty-year association with the Lincolnshire theater began as an actor in 1982’s ‘Fiddler on the Roof.’ During the early 1990s he became resident music director and later associate producer. He took over as executive producer in 2000. ‘I’ve gotten to do more than I could have ever dreamed possible, so I leave with a full heart,’ James wrote. ‘Having been living with multiple sclerosis, it is now time to prioritize my health.’ He praised Thielen as well as former artistic directors Dyanne Early, Rick Boynton and Andy Hite.”
American Blues Theater Buys First Home
American Blues Theater will purchase a 17,965-square-foot property in the Lincoln Avenue North Arts District and launch their “Our First Home” campaign. This will establish the first permanent home for American Blues, the award-winning nonprofit AEA theater. Founded in 1985, American Blues is Chicago’s second-oldest AEA ensemble and has played a significant role in developing the city’s intimate, ensemble-based theater style. The new venue will include two theaters, a 148-seat proscenium space and a forty-seat flexible studio; a lobby with box office, bar, and concessions; gendered and gender-neutral restrooms; dressing rooms and greenroom; administrative offices; and production spaces for scenery, props and costumes. “This historic move to a permanent home is over 35 years in the making. After decades of leasing, including the beloved space on Byron Avenue, American Blues Theater will control its own artistic and financial destiny for the first time,” American Blues artistic director Gwendolyn Whiteside says in a release. “Our exceptional Ensemble has dreamed of a dedicated home to expand our programming, education initiatives, and community partnerships. We understand all too well the limitations of being an itinerant company, and–with very few true subsidized venues in Chicago–we’re also excited to create an affordable rental space for other theater companies on their respective journeys.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Lynn Osmond Named President-CEO Of Choose Chicago
“Lynn Osmond, who for over twenty-five years increased the visibility and funding of the Chicago Architecture Center, will become the next president and CEO of the city’s tourism agency,” reports the Sun-Times. “Osmond was given a four-year contract to lead Choose Chicago, an organization battered by revenue losses and staff cuts… With business and leisure travel exhibiting pent-up demand, Osmond said she looks forward to marketing Chicago for its special assets from its lakefront and cultural institutions to its neighborhood restaurants and music clubs. ‘This job is a natural segue for me because I’ve been selling Chicago throughout the world… We really can brand Chicago as a very unique opportunity.'”
Adds the Chicago Architecture Center in a release: “The CAC experienced tremendous growth under Osmond’s leadership as she built it into the largest organization of its kind in the world and cemented Chicago’s stature as the City of Architecture. Osmond was selected to lead the CAC (then Chicago Architecture Foundation) in 1996, when it was a $2.4 million organization with an audience of 150,000, and by 2019 created a $25 million organization with an audience of 700,000 patrons annually and one of the top cultural attractions in the city.” “Lynn has been a transformational leader. Her energy, vision and passion have resulted in the CAC becoming one of the top ten cultural institutions in the city and is recognized globally,” chairman of the board of trustees John W. Rutledge says. “She had the vision to create the Chicago Architecture Center, which is now a major attraction, Open House Chicago, a citywide free festival and expanded our youth education programs to reach underserved communities among a long list of other accomplishments. As an active and longtime national hotel real estate investor, developer and manager, I am acutely aware of how vital this position is to the city and its economy, and I am confident Lynn and her team at Choose Chicago will deliver tangible results.”
Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation Expedites $2.1 Million To Small Arts Organizations
One year after its April 2021 announcement of $3 million in expedited funding, and two years after its April 2020 announcement of nearly $3 million in expedited funding, the Chicago-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has announced a third wave of support, expediting an additional $2.1 million that includes $1.6 million in expedited payments to Chicago small arts organizations in the midst of their multi-year award; and $576,000 in general operating renewal grants. “Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic over the past two years, when to restart live productions continues to be a challenge for so many of our city’s small arts organizations,” David Farren, executive director of the Foundation says in a release. “The Foundation continues to advocate for funding that helps sustain these beloved nonprofit organizations and that alleviates some of the financial stress experienced by the sector. The expedited funds will be released to all organizations on April 15.” More here.
The Arlington Million Lives On At Louisville’s Churchill Downs
“The Arlington Million—long the signature race on the marquee day of horse racing at Arlington Park—will be held this summer,” reports the Daily Herald. “But it’ll be run 330 miles away from the shuttered Arlington Heights racetrack at its parent company’s namesake track in Kentucky.”
State Will Simplify Application Process For Marijuana Store Licenses
“The new application will be a simple online form covering basics such as the name of the organization, principal officers, contact information and a $250 fee. All applicants who submit an approved application would participate in a lottery for fifty-five new licenses sometime this year,” reports the Trib. “That’s a big change from the prior applications, which required hundreds of pages of detailed plans, typically requiring many thousands of dollars in fees for lawyers and consultants, as well as reserving employees and property. For the first time, applicants will be required to qualify as a ‘social equity’ applicant, rather than just getting a bonus in scoring of their applications.”
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