A Million-Dollar Gas Giveaway But No Transit Cards?
Willie Wilson’s next fossil-fuel giveaway will pump a million dollars worth of gasoline into the air on Thursday at fifty stations in Chicago and Cook County, reports Block Club. Wilson, a medical supply millionaire, “held a similar giveaway this week, providing $200,000 worth of free gas at ten stations in the city… Drivers backed up streets for blocks around the stations, some residents couldn’t travel and long lines trapped commuters. Some said the giveaway was disorganized, while others questioned the environmental impact of having people idling their cars for hours. Police officers had to go to the stations as arguments erupted among drivers.” From the Trib: “People hurting from record-high gas prices came out in droves, causing traffic jams and unmanageable crowds at times. Some reported using nearly their last drop of gas to get to the station—only to be turned away due to a chaotic, Black Friday-like scene.” Thursday is the day at the pumps and of waiting in lines of fumes: “The latest giveaway will begin at 7am Thursday at fifty participating gas stations, which have all agreed to lower the prices of gas so more people can benefit from the donation. Each car will get $50 in gas pumped by volunteers until the $1 million mark is reached.” From Block Club: “Ald. Maria Hadden (49th) said [the first] giveaway at a station in her ward ’caused a traffic disaster,’ with people unable to leave for work, emergency vehicles unable to get through the streets, the local fire station ‘compromised,’ police spread thin and students ‘endangered.’ She wrote on Twitter, ‘This was irresponsible and reckless of Dr. Wilson and the gas station owners.'” Wilson responds: “People don’t say nothing when you got gridlock and traffic when they’re going to the Bulls game or the Sox game… You good, they’re going to talk about you; you do bad, they’re going to talk about you. Let me do good, and let them talk about it.” Shermann “Dilla” Thomas at The Triibe: “A lot of folks online criticized Dr. Wilson’s intentions as just another stunt in a long line of other political stunts by him. I won’t question Dr. Wilson’s purposes in giving away free gas. I’ll even go so far as to say Dr. Wilson has good intentions. But sometimes, when good intentions don’t have a good implementation, they lead to long-lasting problems. My granny used to say, ‘the road to hell was paved with good intentions.’ … With so many cars struggling to find a place in line to receive the free gas at participating stations, the city had to deploy CPD officers to control the traffic… CPD has a strained relationship with the very residents who were in line for the free gas. That type of commotion could lead to negative interactions with the police, and none of us want that. Not to mention that pulling squad cars off their beats to keep the peace for free gas giveaways is not a good use of taxpayer dollars.”
Erika Allen To Deliver Fourth Annual Lucas J. Daniel Lecture
Erika Allen, co-founder and CEO of the Urban Growers Collective, will discuss food systems in Chicago for Earth Month, at the fourth annual Lucas J. Daniel lecture. “Allen will explore food waste, circular economies, and community participatory research in her talk, which will be followed by a discussion with IIT Institute of Design Associate Professor of Environmental Management and Sustainability Weslynne Ashton.” The event will be streamed for those who cannot attend at the IIT campus. Monday, April 25, 6pm; reservations here.
A Few Photos From The State Employee Exodus From The Thompson Center
Preservation Futures serves up a few images from “the last days of the JRTC for many State employees as they begin to transfer to new offices next week.”
House May Wait Weeks To Vote On Senate’s Rushed Daylight Saving Bill
“’It could be weeks—or it could be months’ before House Democratic leaders decide whether to tee up a vote on eliminating the biannual clock changes that have governed daily life in most states for decades, said Rep. Frank Pallone Jr. (D.-N.J.), who chairs the House Energy and Commerce Committee that oversees time change policies,” reports Dan Diamond at the Washington Post. “While the Sunshine Protection Act, which unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday, would nationally shift clocks an hour later to maximize daylight, some doctors have argued that adopting permanent standard time would be a healthier option and better align with humans’ natural rhythms. Pallone, who held a hearing last week on daylight saving time, said he shares the Senate’s goal to end the ‘spring forward’ and ‘fall back’ clock changes linked to more strokes, heart attacks and car accidents. But he wants to collect more information, asking for a long-delayed federal analysis on how time changes might affect productivity, traffic and energy costs, among other issues.”
DINING & DRINKING
Green City Market to Open A Month Early
Green City Market will reopen its Lincoln Park location on Saturday, April 2 and its West Loop location on Saturday, May 7, GCM advises. “After receiving permit approval from the city to open a month ahead of schedule at both its locations, GCM launched a campaign to raise funds to support the increased costs of operating an extended season. ‘It might shock people to learn that it costs more than $200,000 each year to operate our markets,’ GCM executive director Mandy Moody says. ‘From permit fees to portalet rentals, market expenses aren’t exactly the most exciting things to talk about; but the costs are significant for a market of our scale.’ To keep the market affordable for small-scale, local farmers, vendor fees cover less than forty-percent of the costs to operate the market. Remaining expenses are funded through charitable contributions made by individuals and businesses.” More here.
Twelve-Course Tasting Menu Pop-Up For Duck Sel
Duck Sel is an upcoming two-day pop-up from Michelin-starred Chef Donald Young (the youngest chef so awarded), a twelve-course tasting menu experience of his Duck Sel dining experience. Duck Sel will “explore contemporary American cuisine with a Midwest flair influenced by Donald’s upbringing in Chicago and time spent working in France. At this exciting concept, modern approaches are woven through classical techniques to showcase local and seasonal ingredients, sustainable cooking and dry-aging processes.” The prix fixe dinner is at 6pm on two Fridays, April 1 and April 8 at RLM Events and Design, 4042 North Pulaski; tickets are $250 per person at Tock.
Japanese Liquor Outpost Opens In Lakeview
“A husband and wife reinvent the classic slashie [sic] with Japanese snacks, a killer sake selection, and a hidden rare-spirits bar,” writes Lynette Smith at Chicago magazine. Naomi Hattori and Jun-Jun Vichaikul opened Konbini & Kanpai. “As you prowl the shelves for natural wines and craft beers, there are plenty of surprises. For starters, all 180 canned beers on offer are available by the single can, and many are hard-to-find Asian brews… You’ll find three coolers filled with dozens of sakes organized by style, such as ‘crisp and clean’ and ‘umami and savory.’ The front of the store is loaded with Japanese snacks, from cups of spicy instant ramen to coconut Pocky sticks… There’s hot water if you want to try that ramen then and there.”
Bronzeville Home To Alcohol-Free Bottle Shop Pop-Up
“Prazbar is Chicago’s first-ever retailer stocked solely with alcohol-free spirits that employ herbs, spices and other botanicals to mimic the bite of liquor,” reports Time Out. “Inside the bottle shop, open Fridays and Saturdays, plus by appointment on Sundays, visitors can browse everything from alcohol-removed wine to zero-proof whiskies, gins [and] vodkas… Owner Quenjana Adams says she dreamed up the idea for Prazbar, which she shortens affectionately to ‘Praz,’ pronounced like ‘praise,’ after discovering a dearth of options for non-drinkers in the Chicagoland area—a population which, according to Adams’ research, numbers in the hundreds of thousands.”
Ambassador Chicago Launches Afternoon Tea
The Ambassador Chicago has launched Afternoon Tea service in the hotel’s Ambassador Room. The first Afternoon Tea is Saturday, April 2 with reservations available 1pm-3pm. Tea sandwiches and globally sourced teas are promised. Tea service will be offered once monthly for $55 per person or $40 per person for ages twelve and under. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Kartemquin Seeks Next Artistic Director
“We’re looking for the next Artistic Director of Kartemquin Films,” KTQ has posted. “As Artistic Director, you will lead the artistic vision of the organization and work collaboratively in strategic planning, advocacy, organizational decision making, and advancing key partnerships in media, distribution, and philanthropy.” The application can be found here.
Vimeo Revises Massive Cost Hikes To Indie Filmmakers
“Vimeo has announced that it’s making some major changes to its bandwidth policy, after several creators spoke out about how the company pulled the rug out from under them by demanding large sums of money if they wanted to keep hosting their videos on the platform,” reports The Verge. “The new policies replace nebulous terms with definitive ones, and guarantee that creators will have time to prepare for changes.” Here’s the Vimeo post.
Wicker Park Volumes Bookcafe Mortgages New Location
Volumes Bookcafe plans to open by May at 1373 North Milwaukee, reports Block Club. “That spot has been operating as a Volumes pop-up location.” Volumes opened “in 2016 at 1474 North Milwaukee, where the George sisters hosted frequent author events, readings, game nights and open mics. The business closed that location… citing pandemic losses and steep rent… Rebecca George said since closing last year, the sisters have been focused on finding a property to buy in Wicker Park. She said their new mortgage payment is less than half of what they were paying in rent at the old storefront.”
New York Times Gets Blowback From Editorial Refusing Criticism
“An editorial asserting a right not to be held accountable by others for what you say signifies a fatal rot at the heart of the New York Times editorial board,” writes Dan Froomkin of Press Watch. “It’s hard to imagine a more fundamental misreading of the freedom of speech – or an organization whose credibility depends more on understanding it correctly – than today’s lead editorial from the New York Times editorial board. The First Amendment asserts a right to free speech. It does not assert a right to not be criticized for speech. In fact, it protects critical speech. And the protection is against government action, not against other people.” A Twitter post from Edward Ongweso Jr: “someone has probably already said it but it is genuinely funny that the editorial board of arguably the most important newspaper in the world wrote a lazy op-Ed declaring that every American has the right to not be ratio’d on Twitter.” Satirical Twitter account New York Times Pitchbot is succinct: “Opinion | My Free Speech Is More Important Than Your Free Speech. I have the right to air my edgy opinions on social media. You do not have the right to criticize them.”
Horsegirl Takes SXSW Grulke Prize
The South by Southwest Conference and Festivals announced the winners of 2022’s Grulke Prize. There are three categories: Developing U.S. Act, Developing Non-U.S. Act and Career Act. The Developing Act Prizes are for artists who are “breaking new ground with their creativity and show the most promise in achieving their career goals.” The winner for Developing U.S. Act is Chicago trio Horsegirl, who are Nora Cheng, Penelope Lowenstein and Gigi Reece. The group formed in 2019 and self-released their first song, “Forecast.” Their first EP, “Horsegirl: Ballroom Dance Scene et cetera,” was named one of the best EPs of 2020 by Paste. In late 2021, the group released the song “Billy,” their first on Matador.
Thirty-Six-Year Run Ends For Artistic Directors Of Newberry Consort
The Newberry Consort is presenting “Four Queens and a Joker” April 23 and 24, a concert featuring “two hilarious cantatas from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries in which four singers, eight instrumentalists and one stage director sing, dance, play and recreate games from the period.” The concerts will be the final performances for husband-and-wife team Ellen Hargis and David Douglass as co-artistic directors of the Consort, who are retiring at the end of the season. “Douglass has performed with the Consort since it was founded in 1986, and he assumed the role of artistic director in 2007, when the Consort became independent of the Newberry Library. Hargis, a soprano who is well-known in the early music world, joined Douglass as co-artistic director in 2009, and over their tenure, they have performed rarely heard music from the medieval era to the Renaissance and beyond.” “It’s been an honor to hold this dream job, to create all these programs and to work with our stellar roster of musicians,” Hargis says in a a release. “While we will stay with the Consort in an advisory capacity, we are ready for other challenges and are delighted to pass the baton to the next generation.” A free reception featuring wine and hors d’oeuvres will celebrate Hargis and Douglass’ tenure following both performances. More here.
Former CEO Of Schubas And Lincoln Hall Faces More Charges
“Former Chicago music executive Michael Johnston faces more charges of secretly recording his employees after two more women came forward with allegations of being unknowingly filmed in his Roscoe Village home.” reports Block Club. “Johnston is the co-founder and former co-owner of the prominent Audiotree label and co-owned Schubas Tavern and Lincoln Hall, which he bought in 2015 as part of a partnership. But Johnston was fired in November after his former nanny accused him of setting up hidden cameras to take nude videos of her and her friend… Now, Johnston faces two more felony charges of unauthorized video taping, according to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Patricia Sainer, Who Left Bridgeport For The Circus And To Clown, Was Eighty
“Patricia Sainer went from collecting clown dolls to joining the circus,” writes Maureen O’Donnell in a rich remembrance at the Sun-Times. “She was seventeen years old in the late 1950s when she left home in Bridgeport to go on the road as a clown and showgirl and do juggling and trapeze work. She traveled around the country and in Canada, sometimes in greasepaint and sometimes in feathers and spangles. She loved to make kids laugh… At seventeen, she sneaked backstage at the old International Amphitheatre to meet Emmett Kelly… When she told him her dream of joining the circus, ‘He told me, “Go home, and get married; there’s no room in Clown Alley for a girl.” … This didn’t discourage me. Instead, it made me more determined to be a clown.’ One of her first jobs was in the sideshow at Chicago’s old Riverview Park. ‘She’d talk about the Alligator Man and the Bearded Lady,’ her husband said.” Much more at the link.
Legal And Human Rights Scholar Martha Minow To Chair MacArthur Board Of Directors
Martha Minow, legal and human rights scholar, was elected to chair the MacArthur Board of Directors, the Foundation relays in a release. “Minow has served on the Board since 2012 and will assume her new role in June. An accomplished academic, Minow has advocated for the law to center human rights and equity. Her influential scholarship as well as work in U.S. courts and international commissions have helped create a more just and peaceful world. Minow has advocated for the law to center human rights and equity.” “I am delighted that Martha will be the next chair of MacArthur’s board,” current board chair Daniel Huttenlocher says in the release. “Her values and her leadership experience are a tremendous asset to the Foundation and its mission.” More of Minow’s extensive background here.
Palmer House Hilton Hotel’s Ken Price, The “Last Of The Great Publicists,” Was Eighty-Two
“Ken Price, who was the longtime director of public relations for the Palmer House Hilton hotel and its historian, was known for his dramatic personal style as well as his love for dogs, the American songbook and the city of Chicago,” writes Neil Steinberg at the Sun-Times. “The 800-person staff at the Palmer House Hilton Hotel, where he was director of public relations for thirty-eight years, reacted to news of his death from cancer Wednesday the way any family member would: with sadness and tears, shed by everyone from bellmen to telephone operators to Dean Lane, the hotel’s general manager.” “He was an old-school PR guy,” Lane said. “One thing that really frustrated him to no end is PR not what it was in 1990. It’s gotten digital, with lots of corporate PR teams.”
Remembering Dr. Eileen Mackevich
Eileen Mackevich, eighty-two, who served as executive director of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum from 2010 to 2015, has passed, reports the State Journal-Register. “A longtime radio journalist and talk show host on WBEZ-FM in Chicago, Mackevich served as executive director of the national Lincoln Bicentennial Commission before taking over at the ALPLM. Mackevich co-founded the Chicago Humanities Festival. She served as president from 1989 to 2005.” The Chicago Humanities Festival writes, “Dr. Eileen Mackevich, a central figure in the history of the Chicago Humanities Festival, was a passionate, lifelong supporter of the humanities in our city, state and nation. She was a bright light at our founding, curating the first Chicago Humanities Festival in November 1990—a day of programs exploring the theme Expressions of Freedom and featuring legendary playwright Arthur Miller—and was our founding President. Eileen led CHF for sixteen years, helping to develop and shape the organization from an idea into a premier cultural institution and the first festival of its kind.”
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