“Creatures Of A Dream World” Wake In DuPage
The partnership of Cantigny Park, the DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau, Mexican Cultural Center DuPage and the City of West Chicago will host “Alebrijes: Creatures of a Dream World” at Cantigny Park, a five-month outdoor art exhibit featuring dozens of mythical animals inspired by Mexican folklore. The display runs June 1-October 30. “Alebrijes” (pronounced ah-leh-bree-hehs) refers to imaginary creatures that possess elements from different animals. They originated in the 1930s from the vivid dreams of Mexico City artist Pedro Linares. The artistic tradition of alebrijes gained exposure in the United States with “Coco” (2017). At Cantigny in Wheaton, visitors will discover whimsical alebrije sculptures throughout the gardens and grounds. The Chicago-based McCormick Foundation, Cantigny’s parent organization, awarded a grant to the Mexican Cultural Center DuPage to make the exhibit possible, along with sponsorship funding from the National Museum of Mexican Art in Pilsen. The DuPage Convention & Visitors Bureau is working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (Illinois Office of Tourism) to secure additional resources and will commit marketing dollars to promote the event. More here.
City Of Chicago Issues $89 Million In Speed Camera Tickets
“Over the past year, 2.8 million tickets were issued” by the city, reports WGN-TV, “adding up to more than the total population of Chicago. $57 million has been generated from lower-level tickets issued for speeding 6 to 10 mph above the speed limit that cost $35. At the time the lower thresholds were instituted, Mayor Lightfoot said it was about encouraging safer driving during the pandemic because there were fewer drivers on the streets, arguing the ones who were on the roads were speeding more.” (The report includes a list of Chicago’s speed cameras.)
Chicago Park District Asks Lawsuit Over Columbus Statue Be Sealed
“The Chicago Park District has filed a motion attempting to seal a lawsuit involving allegations that Mayor Lori Lightfoot berated a lawyer and used obscene language in a Zoom call over a Christopher Columbus statue—an unusual move that would keep the public in the dark about the case,” reports Gregory Pratt at the Tribune. “Former Park District attorney George Smyrniotis filed the lawsuit against the city last month alleging Lightfoot blocked a deal the district made with an Italian American group to allow a Columbus statue to be displayed in a parade. The suit also claims Lightfoot made obscene remarks aimed at government lawyers during a contentious meeting.” Meanwhile, Block Club Chicago reports that an Indigenous activist says groups have not been consulted about the return of the Columbus monument.
General Iron Wants To Return Metal Shredding To Lincoln Park
“General Iron operated its scrap-metal operation in Lincoln Park for decades before shutting down at the end of 2020 under an agreement with the city.” But “General Iron’s owner is proposing to return the junked-car and metal-shredding business to Lincoln Park where it operated for decades before shutting down at the end of 2020,” reports the Sun-Times. “Last month, city officials formally rejected the plan—submitted through three permit applications in February. A company affiliated with the scrap-metal business’ owner Reserve Management Group recently appealed and is asking for a hearing with a city administrative judge who will review the city’s decision. No hearing date is set… Owner Reserve Management applied for permits to reopen the North Side scrap yard after a planned move to the Southeast Side was rejected by the city, but Ald. Hopkins says ‘under no circumstances.'”
TIF Districts Aren’t Going Away
“The battle over tax-increment financing districts has been renewed, as an effort to pass a new set of reforms winds its way through the Statehouse,” writes Greg Hinz at Crain’s.
DINING & DRINKING
What Changes Could Restaurants Make To Help Employees?
“The pandemic-related job insecurity, health risks, roller-coaster of regulations, customer confrontations and added responsibilities have had a profound impact on the mental health of those in the restaurant world,” reports Crain’s. “Some turned to therapy, but that’s not always an option in an industry where employers do not regularly offer health insurance. And workers say that just because the mask mandate has ended does not mean their anguish is gone, or that the mental health crisis affecting their industry is over.”
Starbucks Addresses Workers’ Unionization Drive
“Starbucks’ interim CEO Howard Schultz said the coffee chain will suspend its share repurchase program to ‘invest more profit into our people and our stores,'” reports CBS News. “Analysts and experts have speculated that Schultz was being brought back to help the company fight a rising worker rights campaign that has seen six of its stores voting to unionize since December, with at least 140 more in twenty-seven states filing petitions for union elections.” From Schultz’s jargon-rich blog at Starbucks: “I am returning to the company to work with all of you to design that next Starbucks—an evolution of our company deep with purpose, where we each have agency and where we work together to create a positive impact in the world.” (The recent unionization at the New York City Starbucks Roastery is reportedly “the first roastery to be unionized since the original in Seattle, which Schultz got decertified back in the early 90s.”)
FILM & TELEVISION
Nightingale Microcinema Loses Lease
The “rough and ready” Nightingale Cinema, in Noble Square since 2008, has lost its lease. Posts co-programmer Jesse Malmed on Twitter: “Sadly announcing that the nightingale has lost our lease. much more to come, but the next step is a blowout weekend of film and friends 4/22-24 and the next next step is a little less determined.” The attached message from director Emily Eddy and founding director Christy LeMaster adds “that our landlord has opted not to renew our lease… after fourteen years… and hundreds of screenings, exhibitions, performances and ecstatic nights… We are still committed to the exhibition and support of experimental and underground moving images.”
Relatively Rogers Park
At the Reader, Catey Sullivan talks before the local premiere of Newcity/Chicago Film Project’s Chicago-shot “Relative” with filmmaker Michael Glover Smith about the Rogers Park-ness of his latest film.
“Who Is The City For?” Ask Blair Kamin And Lee Bey
University Of Chicago Press has announced a November publication date for the 312-page “Who Is The City For? Architecture, Equity, and the Public Realm in Chicago,” a compendium of fifty-five columns from former Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin, with sixty-nine new, black-and-white architectural photographs by Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bey. (“Siskel & Ebert collaborated. Why not Kamin & Bey?” posted Bey.) “Together, they paint a revealing portrait of Chicago that reaches beyond its glamorous downtown and dramatic buildings by renowned architects like Jeanne Gang to its culturally diverse neighborhoods, including modest structures associated with storied figures from the city’s Black history, such as Emmett Till,” writes the publisher. “At the book’s heart is its expansive approach to a central concept in contemporary political and architectural discourse: equity.” Meanwhile, at Common Edge, Bey, who was the Sun-Times architecture critic from 1996-2001, talks about his restored Sun-Times berth: “I’ve been working for the Sun-Times since December of 2019, but I had only come back part-time on the editorial board. This year I was asked to take on a fuller role, and the financial situation improved a bit, and we started talking again about the idea for an architecture column… Architecture and urban planning and all those things are so important in Chicago. Along with the weather, sports, politics, and traffic, there’s architecture, in terms of what people here really care about. So it was bound to fall into the work I did for the editorial board.”
Andersonville Gets Understudy
The Understudy, a theater-themed bookstore and café, will be located in Andersonville, reports Block Club Chicago. “Partners Adam Todd Crawford and Danny Fender will open a cafe and bookstore that will stock 3,000 books on theater, including scripts, manuals, biographies and novels.”
Bookends & Beginnings Launches Bookends University
Bookends & Beginnings, downtown Evanston’s independent bookstore, will launch a new author event initiative known as Bookends University. Running independently of the bookstore’s general author event programming, Bookends University will offer virtual and in-person workshop-style events led by authors, designed to engage attendees in an experiential, educational way, such as writing workshops, cooking classes, life skills tutorials and creative accountability groups. Unlike the store’s author events, which are mostly free to attend and only compensate authors indirectly by promoting book sales, each Bookends University class will compensate its instructor-author with an honorarium, in addition to promoting sales of their book and other shopping at the bookstore. “Bookends University is a concept that dates back to my original plan for the store in 2014,” owner Nina Barrett says in a release. “I was always conscious of Evanston as a rich community of authors and writers, and I had a vision of writing classes and writer’s groups that would meet in our back room and help anchor the local literary community in our space.” The store hosted workshops in its early days, Barrett says, “But really it was integrating Zoom into our toolbox during the pandemic that made me see that we’d now have wide geographical access to author-instructors and audiences, who could attend these classes from their own kitchens or at home in pajamas if they want to.” Bookstore link here.
Goodman Announces Season, Last With Robert Falls As Artistic Director
“Three world-premiere productions and a reinvestigated classic, two shows from Broadway and off-Broadway and a Chicago premiere, plus an epic rock musical reimagined for today.” Goodman Theatre has announced its 2022-2023 season, “the final season line-up Robert Falls curates as artistic director before stepping down after thirty-five years at the creative helm of Chicago’s largest not-for-profit theater company.” The nine-play season running September 2022-August 2023 includes the forty-fifth annual production of “A Christmas Carol” and the eighteenth annual New Stages Festival. “When I became Artistic Director of Goodman Theatre, I set out to produce new plays that could enter the repertoire of classics and, at the same time, reinvestigate classic works as if they were new—with their authors by my side in the rehearsal room,” said Robert Falls. “This has been my guiding notion over the past thirty-five years, and I’m happy to announce a final season that maintains the integrity of that ambition. Our 2022-2023 Season offers a variety of plays that I feel is, in many ways, a signature collection, reflective of the breadth, diversity and scope I’ve hoped to offer our audiences.” Attractions include “Clyde’s,” by Lynn Nottage, directed by Kate Whoriskey; “Swing State,” by Rebecca Gilman, directed by Robert Falls; “Toni Stone,” by Lydia R. Diamond, directed by Ron OJ Parson; “The Cherry Orchard,” by Anton Chekhov, directed by Robert Falls; and “The Who’s Tommy,” directed by Des McAnuff. Ticket packages and more details here.
Chicago Cabaret Week Will Be In May
Chicago’s first-ever Chicago Cabaret Week is set for May 6-16, featuring fifteen shows in music venues around Chicago, ticketed from $15-$30. “For fans of cabaret as well as those who have never been to a show, this is a great opportunity to experience some of the idiom’s best artists,” Anne Burnell, president of Chicago Cabaret Professionals says in a release. The styles include blues, jazz, American songbook, burlesque, French music, pop, comedy and Broadway as performed in intimate spaces by Paul Motondo, Nancy Hays, Greta Pope, Sama Sama Project, Bobbi Wilsyn, Anne Burnell, Peek-Easy, Feathered Beaus, Hilary Ann Feldman, Joan Curto and others. The venues, small theaters, restaurants and clubs—many featuring cabaret shows throughout the year—include The Haven in Bronzeville, Beverly Arts Center, Davenport’s, Venus Cabaret Theater, Le Piano, Old Town School of Folk Music, Newport Theater, Fulton Street Collective, Epiphany Center for the Arts and The Hideout. Complete schedule and tickets here.
Gerald Arpino Foundation Sets Centennial Celebration
To honor the hundredth birthday of one of the twentieth century’s most influential artists, The Gerald Arpino Foundation has planned a multi-year Centennial Celebration of the late choreographer’s life and works, the foundation relays. Ballet companies and university dance programs around the country, including the Joffrey, will perform Arpino’s works during the 2022–23 and 2023–24 seasons. The culminating Chicago Centennial Celebration performances take place September 23-24, 2023 at the Auditorium Theatre. “Gerald Arpino (1928–2008) was a visionary dancer and choreographer who, along with Robert Joffrey, created a ballet company and a body of work that has made a singular and enduring impact on American ballet. Throughout his 50-year career, Arpino created nearly 50 ballets for The Joffrey Ballet. From landmark works like ‘Trinity’ and ‘Round of Angels’ to ‘Suite Saint-Saëns’ and ‘Light Rain,’ Arpino was a masterful artist and entertainer.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
SAIC Names Vice President For Advancement
Courtney Rowe has been named vice president for advancement at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Rowe will oversee all facets of philanthropy at SAIC, including major gifts, planned giving, stewardship, alum and parent engagement, and corporate and foundation relations. Prior to joining SAIC, Courtney worked as associate dean of external relations at the Peabody Institute, the music and dance conservancy at Johns Hopkins University. Before that, she held several positions at the University of Colorado Boulder, including assistant dean for advancement for the CU Boulder College of Music, where she led a $50 million fundraising campaign. Raised in the Chicago suburbs, Courtney began her career working in various programmatic and fundraising positions around Chicago, including the Museum of Contemporary Art where she played a key role in raising record-breaking support for the 2015 exhibition “David Bowie Is.” Courtney holds a bachelor of arts in international affairs from the University of Colorado Boulder and a master’s in public policy from DePaul University. President Elissa Tenny writes, “I am delighted that Courtney will be working at SAIC, and I am confident that she will be a great addition to our School’s leadership team.”
Navy Pier Life Trustee Jim Reilly Was 77
Navy Pier has announced the passing of Jim Reilly, life trustee of Navy Pier, former Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, RTA and Chicago Convention Chief. Reilly played an extremely significant role in the redevelopment and philanthropic support of Navy Pier. “Jim was an amazing leader and colleague, and, most importantly, friend to us all at the Pier,” Marilynn Gardner, Navy Pier president and CEO says in a release. “We cherish his vision for Navy Pier and promise to uphold his legacy by keeping our destination exciting, accepting and available for everyone to experience. His contributions to Navy Pier will truly never be forgotten.” Reports the Sun-Times: “There are very few people in Illinois history that have ever had such a big effect on major projects and issues,” said Kirk Dillard, who worked for Mr. Reilly when he was James R. Thompson’s chief of staff and now is chairman of the RTA board. “Jim was an instrumental leader in so many projects affecting Illinoisans, from McCormick Place and Navy Pier to mass transit to education.”
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