Brandon Breaux’s First U.S. Solo Exhibition At Blanc Gallery
Johalla Projects will present “BIG WORDS,” the work of Chicago-based artist Brandon Breaux [Newcity Design 50] in his first U.S. solo exhibition at Blanc Gallery, from April 9-May 27. Curated by Anna Cerniglia and Alison Cuddy, the multidisciplinary exhibition “is a journey through touchstones—people, places and artifacts—that have shaped how Breaux has come to see the world and a meditation on the way identity evolves through an ongoing dialogue with public events and personal histories.” The work includes paintings, installations and a digital NFT in which “Breaux actualizes the labor behind identity formation, in its recirculation through time, as both abstract process and concrete family experience. The juxtaposition of painterly images with graphic lettering invites a connection—or confrontation—with the way language can be both a passageway or barrier between worlds.” “We’re incredibly pleased to collaborate on this exhibition with Brandon and the curators,” Eileen Rhodes of Blanc Gallery says in a release. “His new work creates a beautiful opportunity for reflection and connection.” More here.
City Sets Rules For Gasoline Giveaway
During today’s idling and smog around filling stations across the city and suburbs, there are new rules to the giveaway, reports Block Club. The city says “drivers not in need of free gas are advised to avoid routes” near the multiple traffic jams. “Drivers cannot line up overnight; at 7am each driver will receive a sticker indicating their position in line. A sticker is required to receive free gas; there will be only one entry and exit point at each station, with Wilson’s volunteers and a site leader [supervising]; traffic control aides with the city will be on hand to ‘assist with flow and [effects] from heavy traffic’; police will assist traffic control aides to ‘ensure public safety and the free flow of traffic’; no gas cans or containers allowed. Gas must be put into a vehicle.”
Macy’s Adds Section For Discounted Goods
“Macy’s State Street location is getting the retailer’s store-within-a-store concept that offers discounted merchandise,” reports the Sun-Times. “Called Backstage, the concept will show up on State Street April 9, Macy’s said Tuesday. It is part of a national rollout of thirty-seven Backstage locations inside existing Macy’s, including its famous Herald Square location in Manhattan.”
DINING & DRINKING
Buddy System And One Off Pass “4/20 Freakout”
“One Off Hospitality chef and partner Paul Kahan and partners Donnie Madia, Terry Alexander and Eduard Seitan are teaming up with longtime bud Ed Marszewski, the man behind The Buddy System, Bridgeport’s empire of cool-kid brands like Kimski, Maria’s Packaged Goods, Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream and Marz Community Brewing, to throw a 4/20 Freak Out catered to your wildest munchie dreams,” One Off relays in a release. “On Wednesday, April 20, at The Publican, local legends combine their wild and creative minds to offer epic menu mashups, live tunes spun by local DJs, collab beers, CBD items, and art, all under one roof. The menu will feature a la carte selections that combine the best of Fulton Market’s modern American beer hall with Kimski’s Korean x Polish flair and Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream’s tavern-style ‘za. The drinks lineup will feature favorites from Maria’s in addition to CBD sips by Marz Community Brewing and picks from The Publican’s award-winning beer and spirits list. Tickets are available on Tock with a $30 table deposit that benefits the Public Media Institute, Ed’s nonprofit community-based art and culture organization that creates, incubates, and sustains innovative cultural programming through socially engaged media projects. Swag bags will be available for purchase at the event, packed full of hits from Buddy System concepts with a portion of proceeds also benefitting PMI.” More about The Buddy System here; tickets for the Wednesday, April 20 event from 5pm-10pm on Tock here.
The Legacy Of Gertrude Snodgrass, Cofounder Of Chicago Food Depository
“Gertrude Snodgrass was a Black woman on Chicago’s West Side who fed countless people who could not afford to feed themselves,” writes Greg Trotter at Chicago magazine. “In 1979, she was one of the six founders of the Greater Chicago Food Depository, the food bank serving Chicago and all of Cook County. Snodgrass was the only person of color among that group. Snodgrass ran a food pantry out of her Garfield Park home, where legend has it she had six stoves. She and her friends also made meals and processed and canned food, which they would serve to people in need. She fed thousands of Chicagoans in her lifetime, but the true impact of her legacy continues to ripple out…”
Big Star Hops To Easter Bunny Brunch
The Wrigleyville Big Star rolls out a family Easter Bunny Brunch.”Snap some festive photos and allow the kids to get crafty at the restaurant’s cookie and egg decorating stations while you indulge in a classic Big Star brunch spread with pancakes, horchata french toast, mixed fruit, sausage, bacon and eggs,” the restaurant advises. Sunday, April 17 seatings are at 11am, 12:30pm and 2pm. The $30 tickets ($10 under twelve) are available at Tock.
The Steps To Opening Anticonquista Café In Logan Square
“Anticonquista Café not only roasts their coffee here in Chicago, but harvests it from the high mountains of Guatemala,” writes The Chicago Reporter. “In mid-March, the owners of Anticonquista Café—Elmer Fajardo and his wife Lauren Reese opened a location at Hermosa and Logan Square. The shop is nicknamed La Montanita. ‘My family is very happy that we are going to have our own space,’ Fajardo said ahead of the opening. ‘They know that I sell coffee at farmers markets and now that we have this place, they see how the business is doing very well.’ Not only are they selling their packaged coffee beans and beverages, but also extending the invitation to other vendors in the community. ‘It’s one step closer to having a permanent place,’ Reese said.”
Local Markets Pull Russian Products
“The sign on the door at Ann’s Bakery & Deli in Ukrainian Village reads: ‘Ann’s Bakery No longer Supplies Russian-made Products!’,” reports the Trib. “Inside, shoppers navigate a maze of snacks and pickled vegetables, deli cases full of cheese and sour cream and brightly-wrapped candy piled high. Pierogi are carefully crimped in the kitchen before they are put in deli cases; some are stuffed with blueberries, others with potato and cheese. People come to Ann’s from as far as Wisconsin and Michigan for their share of blintzes and kielbasa and Eastern European sweets…”
Leinenkugel Adds Pilot Brewery To Leinie Lodge
“Leinenkugel’s remains one of the country’s leading brewing companies and [they’ve] added another destination attraction to their Chippewa Falls property,” reports Volume One. “The pilot brewery inside of the Leinenkugel’s Leinie Lodge in Chippewa Falls opened its doors March 17, following a ribbon-cutting ceremony hosted by the Chippewa Falls Area Chamber of Commerce. The new facility will serve as a testing area for new Leinenkugel’s brews as well as another location for customers to get a taste of the latest and greatest from the historic brewing company. Tony Bugher, the incoming Leinenkugel’s president who will take over the company from his uncle, Dick Leinenkugel, next year, said opening the pilot brewery in the Leinie Lodge was another important step for the company to continue to evolve and innovate new brews.”
Fertilizer Shortfalls Endanger Food Supplies Worldwide
“The war in Ukraine has debilitated a region that accounts for around a quarter of global fertilizer exports,” reports Lee Harris at the American Prospect. “But many factors are causing rising fertilizer prices, including dominant firms exploiting an opportunity to run up profit margins. U.S. officials have banned fertilizer imports from key overseas competitors while domestic firms fork over billions in stock buybacks.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Jennifer Reeder’s Latest For Shudder Premieres At Music Box
Chicago filmmaker Jennifer Reeder’s “Night’s End,” a claustrophobic exorcism horror picture with Geno Walker, Felonious Munk, Kate Arrington and Michael Shannon, and written by playwright Brett Neveu, debuts March 31 on Shudder. ( The trailer is here.) Tickets for the Saturday, March 26 cast and crew screening at the Music Box are here.
“Bad Axe” Takes SXSW Documentary Audience Award
The South by Southwest Conference and Festivals announced the Audience Award winners for the twenty-ninth SXSW Film Festival, which included “Bad Axe,” from director David Siev and producers Siev, Diane Quon [Newcity Film 50], Jude Harris and Katarina Vasquez.
How Books Slowly, Silently Melt Away
“Samantha Hull was on vacation when she got the call about the missing books. Eight titles had melted away seemingly overnight, a panicked school aide told Hull, from the shelves of an elementary school in one of the twenty-two districts Hull oversees as co-chair of a group representing school librarians in Pennsylvania’s Lancaster and Lebanon counties. The books included titles such as ‘In My Mosque,’ which instructs children about Islam; ‘A Place Inside of Me,’ which explores a Black student’s reckoning with a police shooting; and ‘When Aidan Became a Brother,’ whose main character is a transgender boy,” reports Hannah Natanson at the Washington Post. “None of those books had been formally challenged by parents, even though she knew that activists across the country were targeting books featuring discussions of race, gender and LGBTQ identities for removal… Over months of meetings, investigations and secret conversations with fearful librarians across her counties, she came to understand the disturbing reality. Administrators, afraid of attracting controversy, were quietly removing books from library shelves before they could be challenged.”
Baltimore Banner Launches With 100,000-Subscriber Goal
Stewart W. Bainum Jr. dropped his incomplete bid for the Chicago Tribune, but he’s spending a substantially smaller but fair chunk of change in his hometown of Baltimore, reports the Northwestern-Medill Local News Initiative. “While many other local media organizations operate out of basements, spare bedrooms and the stripped-down offices that replaced once-mighty newsrooms, the hottest new nonprofit in local journalism is moving into swanky new digs overlooking Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The Baltimore Banner’s much-anticipated debut is going to be different than those of other nonprofit journalism experiments, not least because it has ample funding from the start. As many as fifty staffers will be on-hand for the office ribbon-cutting in early April, and the space has room for at least fifty more, reflecting ambitious expectations for growth. The Banner is the brainchild of hotel magnate Stewart W. Bainum Jr., a former Maryland politician determined to boost local journalism in a famously competitive news town. Money has been no object, so far, and… Bainum repeated his pledge to donate or raise $50 million over four years for the project.”
“Chicago Legends For Ukraine” Concert April 1
Chopin Theatre and Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art will assemble Chicago musicians for a one-night-only event at the Chopin to raise funds for the people of Ukraine. All proceeds from ticket sales and donations collected will be contributed to the National Bank of Ukraine for humanitarian aid. “Beyond financial aid, the concert will spread a message of hope and support for the victims of the ruthless unprovoked Russian war in Ukraine. The concert will include performances by renowned musicians including Orbert Davis, trumpet; Leandro Lopez Varady, piano; Marlene Rosenberg, bass; Steven Eisen, tenor saxophone; Josh Ross, drums; Lynne Jordan, vocals; Raymond Glower, keyboard; Mike Jackson, saxophone; Grazyna Auguscik, vocals; Ivan Shmilo, bandura; Olga Tsvyntarna, vocals; Trioda, vocals, among others. “It was a defining moment for us. We didn’t want to be absent. We performed in Kyiv years ago at Independence Square to a welcoming audience of thousands and we want to share our support for our friends,” says composer, trumpeter and band leader Orbert Davis in a release. Tickets here.
Mekons And Freakwater Sing Of Coal’s Dark Legacy
“Freakwater and the Mekons have each sung folk ballads about the travails that miners have faced under the earth and on the picket line. The former is the country duo of Janet Beveridge Bean and Catherine Irwin, based in Chicago and Louisville, while the latter is a British-born, globally scattered band that planted some members here decades ago; the two groups share interests and aesthetics as well as bonds of friendship, so that their choice to unite as Freakons seems well-nigh inevitable,” writes Bill Meyer at the Reader.”On the Freakons’ self-titled debut LP, Irwin, Bean, and Chicago-based Mekons Jon Langford and Sally Timms blend their voices in harmonies as solid as mine-shaft beams and trade spirited vocal leads over sparse guitar and fiddle accompaniment. The record’s twelve tracks include ‘Blackleg Miner,’ a nineteenth-century anti-scab anthem, and Hazel Dickens’ ‘The Mannington Mine Disaster,’ which memorializes an explosion that killed seventy-eight West Virginia miners in 1968. But most of the material is written by various Freakons. Their original songs acknowledge mining’s disastrous environmental consequences as well as its social impact, and they also celebrate the triumphs of industry escapees such as actor Richard Burton, the son of a miner.”
“Prince: The Immersive Experience” To Debut In Chicago
“Prince: The Immersive Experience” will make its worldwide debut June 9 in Chicago. Tickets go on sale Thursday, March 31 at 10am here.
Studebaker Theater Reopening After Multi-Million-Dollar Renovation
“The historic Studebaker Theater at the Fine Arts Building on 410 South Michigan was established in 1898 and has been a staple in the live theatrical world for over a century,” reports WGN-TV. “After years in disrepair, the Studebaker is in the final stages of a multi-million dollar renovation. The upgrades include all-new seating installed throughout the venue, enhancements, and modernization to the theater’s AV and lighting grid, state-of-the-art technical booth, updated lobbies, and a newly designed VIP lounge on the third floor.”
Strawdog Theatre Company World-Premieres “On The Greenbelt”
Strawdog Theatre, Chicago’s newest free theater, returns with the world premiere of “On The Greenbelt,” April 22–May 28 at Links Hall. A semi-finalist for the 2021 Blue Ink Playwright Awards, “On The Greenbelt” is a seriocomic play that jumps between past and the present, written by ensemble member Karissa Murrell Myers and directed by Jonathan Berry. The production features ensemble member Jamie Vann with Kathryn Acosta, Lynne Baker, Jessica Ervin, Dan Lin and Alexis Ward. Tickets for all performances are free, with reservations opening Friday, March 25 here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Lightfoot “Stacking The Deck” With Casino Committee?
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot was accused Wednesday of ‘stacking the deck’ by appointing a special committee of the City Council on the Chicago casino composed only of her handpicked leadership team,” reports the Sun-Times.
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