Four-Story Mural Hides In Plain Sight
“Armitage Avenue essentially dead-ends at Racine Avenue in Lincoln Park, but the view doesn’t stop,” writes Robert Herguth in the invaluable Murals And Mosaics series at the Sun-Times. “A giant mural illuminates the alley just west of the intersection, and it’s visible from the street. An intriguing place for a giant painting—it’s on the back of the building at 2001 North Clybourn where three alleys meet. Not an odd spot, though, for the guy who curated the project, Levar Hoard, who calls Armitage ‘the most beautiful street in all of Chicago’ and thinks of the mural as the perfect bookend to the road… ‘Murals are like paintings in a house… You need to find where in the house the painting fits.'”
Standard Club Sells Its Building In Hopes Of Survival
“The Standard Club, long a center of Jewish life, used to be in this elite [downtown] group where members could dine, imbibe, swim and socialize with their peers. You could stay overnight too. But the club closed its stately thirteen-story home at 320 South Plymouth Court for good in March 2020,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “The Standard Club had been losing members and revenue, and repair bills on the 1926 building by Detroit architect Alfred Kahn were piling up. In 2019, club leaders asked members for extra money to keep it going, but it wasn’t enough. The club has sold the building and its future is uncertain. President Scott Glazer emphasized that the club still exists” with more than 300 members. The building, though, “was sold in late February. The buyer was sometime hotel investor Remo Polselli, with a business address in Newport Beach, California, and a checkered history.” More here.
DINING & DRINKING
Paula Camp’s Progress
“There were simply no touchstones or examples to guide me. My reality was a long time unfolding”: Monica Eng profiles former Tribune food critic Paula Camp at Chicago magazine. “Camp has largely stayed out of the public eye since quitting the newspaper three decades ago, even as she remained in publishing and raised a family with her wife, Mary Connors. So when many of Camp’s old Tribune colleagues discovered her transition… it came as a shock. They told me they remembered Camp as an ambitious and inspiring editor, but also as an arrogant and macho boss with a ferocious temper. Looking back, Camp says she deserved her reputation but that it came from a secret she kept closely guarded. ‘My anger spasms were driven by being “forced” to be something and someone I was not.’ … This turmoil dogged her through three marriages… high-risk career moves, and four therapists before Camp finally came to terms with her inner struggle and began to transition six years ago.” More here.
Parachute Ready To Drop
Parachute, the Korean American restaurant in Avondale that’s been closed since the early months of the pandemic, is set to reopen in mid-May, reports Eater Chicago. “The extended temporary closure, coupled with an in-between recognition from Michelin, which in early April listed the restaurant among its Chicago selections but removed its previous star, has left many wondering when” it will reopen. “Owners, spouses, and James Beard award-winning chefs Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark (also behind neighboring restaurant Wherewithall) are steadily drawing closer to a reopening, currently scheduled for mid-May.” A new look is promised, too.
TaKorea Cocina Illustrates The Cost Of Delivery Apps
“When Robert Magiet opened TaKorea Cocina in Ukrainian Village in 2019,” kitty-corner from the Empty Bottle, “he couldn’t foresee the upcoming global pandemic that threatened the very existence of his restaurant,” reports Manny Ramos at the Sun-Times. But now TaKorea Cocina is threatened by “the fees delivery apps like Grubhub and DoorDash charge restaurants to use their service that can amount to nearly one-third of what customers pay for an order… ‘Just last year we paid $93,000 in third-party app fees alone… We hope to make a twenty-percent profit on a given year—that is sort of the rule of thumb—but when half your orders are coming from third-party apps and they are taking thirty-percent of each order, then we aren’t making any profit.'”
Maple & Ash Suits Up
Block Club details the heated Maple & Ash legal maneuverings: “Business partners David Pisor and James Lasky are the powerhouse behind glitzy Maple & Ash and Etta’s meteoric rise. With allegations flying, they’re battling in court for control of the company they spent years building.”
David Mamet’s Got A Book To Sell And Opinions At Retail
A collection of David Mamet’s most recent biennial of jeremiads,“Recessional: The Death of Free Speech and the Cost of Free Lunch,” inveighing against what he identifies as the “woke agenda,” is available for purchase today, and the Chicago-branded playwright is making the rounds of soapboxes, not limited to those of Bill Maher, Joe Rogan (“The left is a death cult“) and the Weekend Magazine in the Wall Street Journal (a profile in which the author writes, “A robust understanding of your own and others’ propensity to bad behavior, he seems to suggest, has a way of inoculating you against groupthink.”) The most circulated aperçu from his book tour comes from one of the Fox News chat pageants, in which the seventy-four-year-old scribe sledgehammers schoolteachers: “We have to take back control. There’s no community control of the schools. What we have is kids being, not only indoctrinated, but groomed in a very real sense by people who are, whether they know it or not, sexual predators. Are they abusing the kids physically? No, I don’t think so. But they’re abusing them mentally, and using sex to do so. This has always been the problem with education, is that teachers are inclined, particularly men because men are predators, to pedophilia.” From Mamet’s ample eructations behind the paywall at the WSJ (which is headlined, missing a sic or several, “The playwright won’t play along with woke signaling, talismanic masking or deference to petty tyrants”): “Do people in the entertainment industry censor themselves?” “They do not walk around saying things that are dangerous to express, no. People whisper out here. They have to. To say, ‘Well maybe Trump did some good things’—you can’t do that. You’d risk your home, your job, your family, your friends.” Mamet finds cellphones at fault for many societal concerns. “It’s that time-wasting machine… We’re all connected. But connected for what purpose? The idea that everybody has to behave the same way is part of the breakdown of what was a cohesive society.” Mamet muses, “When do violent revolutions happen? … They happen when things get too good. [We live in the] most prosperous country in the history of the world, and so what’s our response? The response is: We don’t need God. We don’t need the Constitution. We don’t need anything. Go study semiotics. Go become an energy therapist, whatever. Someone will take care of you and tell you what to do.”
Elastic Arts Announces Fourth Annual Benefit
“After two years of limited programming and foregoing the 2021 benefit, the organization needs community support more than ever to remain a sustainable space for creative music, art, and performance,” Elastic Arts says in a release for its fourth annual benefit on Friday, May 20. “The event will highlight many of the things that make Elastic Arts what it is.” Beyond their Logan Square space, the event will also be live-streamed on their website. The long-running band Hearts and Minds headline, featuring Elastic co-founder Paul Giallorenzo, Chicago expat percussionist Chad Taylor, and Jason Stein. Their quarterly series, “Freedom From and Freedom To” will present an abridged version of their movement and sound ensemble improvisations, and a demonstration of the site’s 16-channel CLEAT speaker system “will immerse our guests in a bath of sound.” Additionally, the group recognizes an individual who embodies the spirit of Elastic Arts with the Elastic Achievement Award, and for 2022, they’ve chosen three people: Kate Dumbleton leads up the organizational team behind the Hyde Park Jazz Fest; Tracie D. Hall has been an advocate of the arts and now the first African American executive director of the American Library Association; and Tushar Samant has been a supporter of the Elastic community for many years, running the online event calendar NowIs.org. Early bird tickets are $40 until May 6 and $50 after. More here.
Paved Paradise Returns To Midwest
A spring tour, “equal parts pop-up shop, block party and roadside fruit stand,” will take Dead Oceans, Ghostly International, Jagjaguwar, Numero Group and Secretly Canadian across the Midwest, including Chicago on May 5, the group announces. Last fall, these record labels banded to reimagine the record store experience. By way of a twenty-four-foot truck, the inaugural Paved Paradise tour spanned 3,000 miles and over a dozen cities, with more than 5,000 attendees in its “tented wonderland.” Each event will feature local collaborations, a Hi-Res listening station and limited edition totes, plus limited edition LPs, 45s, cassettes, CDs and other ephemera. See the full list here.
Ruth Page Center For The Arts Names New Executive Director
Silvino da Silva, who has served as acting executive director of The Ruth Page Center for the Arts since late 2020, has been chosen as the next executive director, the group announces in a release. “Da Silva is responsible for overseeing the administration, programs and strategic planning of the well-respected and nationally recognized center for dance in Chicago currently celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, as well as energizing and engaging staff, volunteers, partners and funders. He has been with The Ruth Page Center since 2000 as its director of marketing, communications and development. Over the last two years, da Silva’s leadership has developed policies that cultivate equity, diversity and inclusion, and expanded programming that unlocks artistic potential while fostering and inspiring change.”
“In the midst of the pandemic, he oversaw the successful implementation of classes and performances moving to digital platforms; created a new scholarship for young BIPOC dancers in honor of Lauren Anderson, former principal dancer with the Houston Ballet and one of the first African American ballerinas to become a principal for a major dance company; expanded The Ruth Page Center’s In-Resident program to include two significant cultural institutions, Chicago Dance History Project and Giordano Dance Chicago; amplified programs with key arts partners, Ravinia Festival and Northeastern Illinois University; created and implemented fiftieth anniversary programs and special events, including the Expanding Universe Award and Grant which promotes vital voices and increases access to resources and representation within the dance community of Chicago.” More on the Ruth Page Center here.
Shattered Globe And Chicago Dramatists Host “Remembering Joel Drake Johnson”
Shattered Globe Theatre and Chicago Dramatists will celebrate the life and legacy of longtime Chicago playwright Joel Drake Johnson at a public memorial on Saturday, April 30 at Theater Wit. Johnson died of cancer in January 2020 at seventy. “The theater community had planned to celebrate Joel’s rich artistic and personal life in April 2020,” Shattered Globe Theatre producing artistic director Sandy Shinner says in a release. “Joel was a close friend, an extremely generous teacher and a gifted playwright with razor-sharp insight. He loved the theater. With great compassion, Joel created characters who revealed their hearts and their flawed humanity so that we could better understand each other and ourselves.” Mandatory reservations are here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Federal Mask Mandate For Planes, Transportation Ends Monday
“The Department of Transportation’s mask mandate is set to expire on April 18. That is the mandate that keeps masking requirements on planes, trains, buses and in airports and other terminals,” reports Poynter in a COVID coverage roundup.
A Summary Of The Three Pitches For Chicago Mega-Casinos
“All three casino finalists presented their proposals last week in town hall meetings,” reports Axios Chicago. “They fielded questions and made their case to build the city’s first-ever casino… The town halls all had similar themes—jobs, traffic, and neighborhood residents skeptical of a major casino moving into their backyards.”
Navy Pier And Illinois Holocaust Museum Unveil Outdoor “Stories of Survival”
Navy Pier, in partnership with Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center, has opened “Stories of Survival: Object. Image. Memory.” The exhibit will be on display outdoors at Navy Pier’s Polk Bros. Park until June 30. The exhibition, curated by Illinois Holocaust Museum, showcases more than fifty personal artifacts brought to America as families fled persecution and war. “Stories of Survival” features collaborative artworks by photographer Jim Lommasson and survivors of the Holocaust (including from Ukraine) and seven other genocides, including those in Armenia, Bosnia, Cambodia, Iraq, Rwanda, South Sudan and Syria. “A suitcase. A sweater. A teddy bear with one eye. The personal things exhibited—very small things when measured against the enormity of war—are items that real people held close to provide comfort, connection and identity,” Navy Pier president and CEO Marilynn Gardner describes in a release. “This powerful installation offers insightful answers about individual survivors, but it also stirs meaningful questions. What would you take with you?” More here.
Rosemont Entertainment District Owners Look Toward 2022 Rebound
Confidence has been expressed by owners and managers of venues within the entertainment district in Rosemont, reports the Daily Herald, including the 200,000-square-foot complex adjacent to the Tri-State Tollway, “home to fifteen dining and entertainment venues, that might have been the suburban poster child of how the pandemic affected the hospitality industry. As they prepare for the warmer spring and summer months—when free weekly concerts typically draw thousands to the park—business proprietors are talking like it’s 2019. ‘We’ve gotta double down. We’re there already,’ said Kevin Killerman, owner or partner in several venues at the park. ‘There’s great restaurants and entertainment there. Where else can you get free parking and concerts and ice skating and walk from place to place? There’s so many options.'”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]