The Other Art Fair Returns This Weekend
The Other Art Fair returns to Chicago April 21-24 for collectors, artists and art lovers with original works of art from more than 110 emerging artists. The Fair, now in its fourth edition, starts with a private view night on Thursday, April 21, including interactive workshops, guest artists, DJ sets and unique installations. More here.
ENGAGE Representing Clarence Morgan
ENGAGE Projects has announced representation for Clarence Morgan, an artist, educator and arts advocate based in Chicago and Minneapolis. A native of Philadelphia, Morgan received his MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Design, where he trained as an art student and met his artist wife of forty years, Arlene Burke-Morgan. Morgan has been an artist-in-residence at the McColl Center for Visual Art (Charlotte, North Carolina) and the Harwood Museum of Art (Taos) and has had solo exhibitions at Burnet Fine Art & Advisory (Wayzata, Minnesota), Rosenberg+Kaufman Fine Art (New York), Kidder Smith Gallery (Boston), Thomas Barry Fine Arts (Minneapolis), David Lusk Gallery (Memphis) and the Morris Gallery at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (Philadelphia). Morgan’s work has also been exhibited at The American Academy Institute of Arts & Letters (New York), David Richard Contemporary (Santa Fe), Walker Art Center (Minneapolis), and Rochester Art Center (Minnesota).
O’Hare People Mover Back To Twenty-Four-Hour Service
O’Hare’s Airport Transit System has resumed round-the-clock service, reports WGN-TV. “The trains move airport passengers between Terminals 1,2, 3 and 5; the Multi-Modal Facility, home to the rental car center; Economy Parking Lot F, the Kiss ‘n’ Fly; Pace routes and a Metra station. Over the last few years, O’Hare reduced transit to work on upgrades that would allow trains to run every three minutes.”
Apostolic Church Plan For Woodlawn Property Could Cost Over $1 Billion
J. Byron Brazier, developer of the the Woodlawn Central project says cost estimates have risen to as much as $1 billion, up from a more modest initial $300-$600 million, reports Block Club.
Another Former Church Cleared To Transform Into Rubble And Dust
Architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius reacts to the release of the demolition delay hold on a former church building at 2129 West Crystal in Wicker Park. “Another demolition of a building that could be adaptively re-used. This house of worship has a narrative. It was designed in the 1890s by architects Worthmann & Steinbach as the Evangelical Lutheran Church of our Savior for the Deaf, and later became the People’s Missionary Baptist Church. That narrative ends with its demolition. The listing [for $3.5 million] calls this a ‘rare, ready-to-go development site’ and notes the property type as ‘vacant land.’ Chicago’s weak demolition policies are destroying our environment and stripping neighborhoods of features that make them unique and special.” Replies Chicago Cityscape: “even if reuse would be expensive or difficult, it seems… that redeveloping the parking lot would provide a sufficient subsidy to support the reuse.”
Cottage That Survived Great Chicago Fire Asks $2.395 Million
A four-bedroom, four-bathroom home that survived the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, one of only three houses on the North Side that survived, has listed for $2.39 million, reports the New York Post. “Standing at 2121 North Hudson in prime Lincoln Park, this 1869-built residence has since been enlarged by the current owners… Despite its story of beating the odds, the home also comes with architectural pedigree. The Massachusetts-born architect W.W. Boyington lent his touch to this house and to a number of other city buildings in the years before the fire, the bulk of which were destroyed.” (The listing is here.)
On The Need To Preserve Mom-And-Pop Housing
Losing mom-and-pop landlords would displace vulnerable renters and wipe out wealth-generating assets for Black and Latino property owners, writes NHS of Chicago president and CEO Anthony E. Simpkins at Crain’s Chicago Business. “Chicago was once known for its South and West Side neighborhoods with beautiful homes, [thriving] commercial corridors and strong middle class… Revitalizing struggling areas and expanding homeownership for residents of color are intrinsically linked, and new approaches are necessary to reverse generations of neglect and discriminatory policies.” (Proposals at the link.) Meanwhile, Stacie Young, president and CEO of Community Investment Corporation of Chicago writes in Crain’s that “Illinois and Chicago are working to preserve unsubsidized rentals—the backbone of vintage buildings…Solving America’s affordable housing crisis will take more than simply building more housing. It will also require protecting our existing affordable housing by supporting established strategies, studying lessons learned in other cities and adopting what makes sense for our neighborhoods.”
Mixed-Use Development To Replace One Of Streeterville’s Last Parking Structures
A mixed-use development will rise at 535 North St. Clair in Streeterville. “Located on the northeast corner with East Grand, the structure will replace a three-story 255-space parking garage adjacent to low-rise commercial and mid-rise residential buildings,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “Developer Mavrek Development is working with local architecture firm NORR on the design.” Completion is slotted for early 2024. David Roeder at the Sun-Times: “Adam Friedberg, partner at Mavrek, said the site… is well-suited for a blend of uses, including street-level retail and parking for a hundred cars. ‘We have seen a shift in renter demand asking for more one-bedroom-plus-den spaces and paying premiums for units with private outdoor space,’ said Aaron Galvin, founder of Luxury Living Chicago Realty. The building will fit within the current zoning on the site, so there will be no City Council vote on the project.”
Mayne Stage Will Become Rhapsody Theater
The historic Rogers Park theater known previously as Mayne Stage has been acquired and transformed into the Rhapsody Theater, set to open in June. The 200-seat theater will bring acts ranging from magic shows to chamber and world music concerts, cabaret and dance performances. Dr. Ricardo T. Rosenkranz, MD, the producer and illusionist known for “The Rosenkranz Mysteries” and physician and assistant professor in clinical pediatrics at Northwestern University, acquired the theater from Jennifer Pritzker and will serve as artistic director in addition to his role as managing partner. Mark Kozy, with previous roles at the Goodman Theatre and League of Chicago Theatres, has joined the team as general manager. Opening acts are expected to include the premier of magician Carisa Hendrix’s first full-theatrical show, “Lucy Darling: Indulgence,” and Chicago-based mind-reader and psychic entertainer Ross Johnson presenting “Ross Johnson: A Funny Thing Happened to Me Tomorrow.” Tickets for performances will be released on the Rhapsody Theater website in May.
Neighborly Gift Shop Closing In Wicker Park
Neighborly Gift Shop is closing a location April 24, but owner Jenny Beorkrem hopes to downsize to a smaller location in the area while still operating her storefront in Lincoln Square, reports Block Club.
DINING & DRINKING
Chicago Magazine Hires Contributor John Kessler As Dining Critic
Chicago magazine has named John Kessler its new dining critic. “There’s been a considerable amount of discussion about how Chicago needs more full-time critics after the departure of [Chicago’s] Jeff Ruby and Tribune critic Phil Vettel,” opines Eater Chicago. “But there’s also been chatter nationwide about how food criticism needed to evolve and give more opportunities to BIPOC and queer writers… There have been some changes in Chicago… Chicago has expanded veteran food writer Audarshia Townsend’s role, but when it comes to reviews, instead of grooming a fresh voice or searching for a new one, the magazine has turned to Kessler… Chicago did not post the position and appointed Kessler.” Fooditor gets on the horn with Kessler about why he’s here. “Well, this is fun, man. I mean, Chicago is an awesome and fascinating dining city. I have a lot of thoughts about it. I don’t think the way that I review restaurants has been really done here yet. And I look forward to sharing my perspective. The way people review here is they tell a lot of story. I just got off the phone with a chef, and he was all eager to talk about his experiences and philosophy. Critics here spend way too long writing about the chef-owner, and not enough about the food with any real insight… What I do well as a reviewer is that I’ve got a really finely tuned bullshit meter, but I’m also a nice person. I try and bring both of those things into the review. I think there’s some reviewers who are mean for the sake of being mean. I certainly don’t mind being mean, but it’s nothing personal. I think I go into a review thinking, what is the best way to tell the truth, that is nothing personal.”
The Duncan Luxury Apartments In West Loop Gets Bunker
“Bunker, 1515 West Monroe, is four steps below ground level inside The Duncan, a luxury apartment complex,” reports Block Club Chicago. “It has a full bar, cocktail table arcade games, shuffleboard and an old-school jukebox [curated by Numero Group]. The space also includes a large, enclosed patio for guests to enjoy small bites with family, friends or their dogs. ‘I want [people] to feel like this is their neighborhood spot,’ said owner Mike Salvatore of Heritage Hospitality.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Production Veteran Kate Smith Returns Flavor
Creative production studio Flavor and Cutters Studios have announced the return of production veteran Kate Smith in the role of executive producer. Previously a producer for Flavor, Smith spent the past year as senior producer with Carbon developing high-profile brand campaigns, including BBH New York’s award-winning “Black-Owned Friday” spot for Google. Prior to landing with Flavor in 2019, she was a producer for specialized creative agency Leviathan, where she contributed to innovative projects ranging from award-winning digital art and experiential installations for the Shops at 900 North Michigan and Northwestern Mutual, to the “Super Mario World” theme park attraction. Smith began her career with independent production studio Optimus, where she rose to the post of producer of design and VFX, working on projects spanning commercials, TV series and feature films, over the course of ten years. “I am so excited to be back with my Flavor and Cutters Studios friends,” Smith says in a release. “You can’t beat working on first class projects with the solid and supportive team they’ve cultivated. Seriously looking forward to diving back in!”
Local Libraries Not-So-Surreptitious Target Of American Book-Banners
The ground-level mission by radical activists across the country: dissolve libraries’ governing bodies, rewrite or delete censorship protections and remove books. Dateline Llano, Texas: “Leaders have taken works as seemingly innocuous as the popular children’s picture book ‘In the Night Kitchen’ by Maurice Sendak off the shelves, closed library board meetings to the public and named… a new library board stacked with conservative appointees—some of whom did not even have library cards,” reports the Washington Post. “With these actions, Llano joins a growing number of communities across America where conservatives have mounted challenges to books and other content related to race, sex, gender and other subjects they deem inappropriate. A movement that started in schools has rapidly expanded to public libraries, accounting for 37 percent of book challenges last year, according to the American Library Association. Conservative activists in several states, including Texas, Montana and Louisiana have joined forces with like-minded officials.”
Chicago Journalist Jamie Kalven Wins 2022 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence At Harvard
Author, journalist and human rights activist Jamie Kalven has been selected as winner of the 2022 I.F. Stone Medal for Journalistic Independence by the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard University, reports the Nieman Foundation. “Based in Chicago, Kalven was chosen for his body of work that includes investigations and ventures that have documented police abuse and impunity, provided access to vital public records and have told the stories of many of the underserved and underrepresented residents in long-neglected public housing projects. Kalven founded the Invisible Institute, a nonprofit journalism production company on the South Side of Chicago that works to help citizens to hold public institutions accountable. It is home to the Citizens Police Data Project, an interactive database that collects and publishes information about police misconduct in Chicago and allows users to search for information across a range of data points; the Youth/Police Project, which chronicles youth-police interactions; Beneath the Surface, a project that investigates gender-based violence by police; and View From the Ground, an online reporting project published from 2001-2007 that documented the conditions in Chicago’s Stateway Gardens public housing development before it was demolished in 2007. Kalven served as executive director of the Invisible Institute until September 2021 and now focuses on reporting and mentoring other journalists. Reacting to the award he said: ‘This unexpected honor gives me an opportunity to acknowledge a debt. From the beginning of my career Izzy Stone was an inspiration. His example emboldened me to strike out on my own path as a journalist. And his work offered a model of rigorous reporting on important stories, neglected by major media, hiding in plain sight.’”
Foxtrot And Wilco Partner On Twentieth-Anniversary Yankee Foxtrot Hotel Gummies, Wilc-o’s Cereal, Other Merch
The Foxtrot outlet in Old Town is mounting a “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Market,” with Wilco-themed merchandise, reports Time Out Chicago. “In addition to jackets, t-shirts, hats and a reusable bag declaring ‘you can come by any time you want!,’ enjoy song-referencing treats like the ‘Jesus, Don’t Cry’ pilsner beer and the ‘I Am Trying To Eat Your Heart’ gummies.” Then there’s Wilc-o’s Cereal, “a vegan, gluten-free and non-GMO breakfast treat with an adorable cartoon Tweedy on the cover. The cereal sells for $9.95 a pop, but may be worth a lot more if you’re lucky—a few of the boxes have a Willy Wonka-style hidden prize, a seven-inch vinyl signed by Jeff Tweedy and featuring an alternate take of ‘I’m the Man Who Loves You.'”
Musical Theater Powerhouse Hollis Resnik Was Sixty-Seven
“She was, for decades, a reigning diva of the Chicago theater, a rich-voiced star of musicals with a singular presence, a crackling sense of humor, and a larger-than-life persona, on and off the stage,” writes Chris Jones at the Trib of musical theater veteran Hollis Resnik. Jones posted on Facebook. “She had claimed to be retiring, but I was hoping she would return.” From Jones’ obituary: “In the latter part of her career, Hollis Resnik imbued her famously uninhibited work with a particular pathos and a clear, ringing sympathy for the great female characters of the musical theater who come to fall on harder times. Her work in ‘Follies,’ ‘Les Miserables’ and ‘Sunset Boulevard’ is unlikely soon to be forgotten… Longtime subscribers at such venues as Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire, Porchlight Music Theatre, Court Theatre and the Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace have seen her star in countless productions. Her career was long enough to reach back to the Candlelight Theatre in Summit, when she appeared in a series of ingénue roles. ‘She was a perfectionist,’ said BJ Jones, the artistic director of the Northlight Theatre. ‘Her great work came at a cost to her.'” According to longtime friend Reverend Jim Heneghan, reports Miriam Di Nunzio, she “had been looking ahead to a possible return to the concert stage this summer. ‘She was moving gracefully into retirement, and she talked about doing concerts,’ Heneghan said. ‘She was also looking into opportunities and parts in New York, but she didn’t want to fly there because of COVID concerns. She was at a point in her life where she could pick and choose and weigh her options carefully and take her time.'”
Seventh Annual Tennessee Williams Festival Plays St. Louis With Aerialists And Live Goats In August
The Tennessee Williams Festival St. Louis returns for its seventh year on the city’s Italian Hill, with a newly reimagined Felliniesque production of Williams’ romantic Sicilian love story “The Rose Tattoo,” directed by David Kaplan and performed in the Big Top in the Grand Arts Center. “This year we celebrate the resilience of love, passion, community, art and the human spirit,” executive artistic director Carrie Houk says in a release. “Introducing the theme of an Italian circus, Kaplan’s take on Williams’ classic features aerialists, animals, singers and musicians. He surrounds Serafina with a dozen circus performers–including a ringmaster, a strongman, trapeze artists, and clowns–who perform the full text of the play. “This St. Louis ‘Rose Tattoo’ is performed in a circus as a circus, the better to share what Williams called his ‘limitless world of the dream,’” Kaplan says. “Live goats, accordions, impassioned acting, a play that celebrates the wisdom of desire. What’s not to like?” The complete list of attractions for the festival is here.
Julia Hinojosa Named New General Manager Of Chicago Dancers United
Chicago Dancers United, which supports the health and wellness of Chicago’s professional dance community, has named Julia Hinojosa general manager. Hinojosa’s responsibilities include guiding general business operations, promoting visibility of the CDU’s mission in the community, and overseeing financial stability, fundraising and marketing in alignment with the board of directors’ vision for the organization. “We are thrilled to have Julia joining CDU,” board president Michael Anderson says in a release. “Her skills and passion for supporting the health and wellness of our dance community will be essential in facilitating the fulfillment of our mission.” Hinojosa, a Chicago native who grew up in Humboldt Park and Logan Square, has more than ten years of experience as a nonprofit professional working with a variety of arts, educational, cultural and community-based organizations. Most recently she was assistant director of education programs at the University of Chicago’s Arts+Public Life initiative. She previously spent nearly ten years with Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater as director of education and community outreach, where she assisted in raising more than $1.5 million and increased program enrollment by forty percent. She was also a principal dancer and artistic director of its youth company.
ARTS & CULTURE
UIC Grad Workers Strike
Graduate student workers at the University of Illinois-Chicago have gone on strike “as negotiations between the student workers’ union and the administration stalled despite the intervention of a federal monitor,” reports the Sun-Times. “More than a hundred members of the Graduate Employee Organization staged a rally Monday on the Quad in the heart of the UIC campus, as students were headed between classes. Graduate workers, who primarily serve as teaching and research assistants, said the university has balked at a requested five-percent increase, healthcare costs and reductions of student fees that can amount to more than ten-percent of the $20,000 minimum yearly salary. Union officials said the administration’s proposed wage increase is $3,000 less than the union demand.”
Pritzker Unveils “The Middle Of Everything” Tourist Campaign
“Governor J.B. Pritzker unveiled a glitzy $30 million tourism campaign as part of Illinois’ efforts to bounce back after a huge drop in visitor revenue during the worst of the pandemic,” reports the Sun-Times. “‘Whether you’re a Land of Lincoln lifer looking to explore your own state or an out-of-town visitor who is curious about this state—that is the soul of our nation—Illinois is here to show you the best that we have to offer,’ Pritzker said, speaking at the Shedd Aquarium… The new campaign, with the slogan ‘The Middle of Everything,’ features actor Jane Lynch, who grew up in south suburban Dolton… both directed and has a starring role in the TV ads… The ads will run in eight states: Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Missouri, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota and Kentucky.” Meanwhile, reports WGN-TV, “A new training and business development center is coming to downtown Chicago, and it’s being backed by $3 million in combined state and federal government funding. Governor J.B. Pritzker joined other local leaders at HIRE360’s new 40,000 square-foot center to celebrate its future opening… The center will be a space for industry leaders, contractors, sub-contractors, developers, organized labor and apprentices to come together to ensure that our city’s future is inspired by communities… The center will include conference and meeting rooms, networking and education opportunities, specific spaces for thirty-seven trades, a playroom and parents center for working professionals, two commercial training kitchens, retail space for diverse suppliers and event space.”
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