How One Old Town Family Displays Their Huge Art Collection In Their 1912 Carriage House
Chicago magazine makes note of designer Todd Haley’s work in “a living space where the art takes center stage” with a collection “of hundreds of bold pieces.” Haley turned the five-bedroom, three-bath brick house, built on a 37.5-foot-wide lot into “both a showcase for his clients’ massive array of outsider art and an inviting, easy space to work and live in during pandemic times.”
Waldorf Astoria Chicago Set For Renovation
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago is in the midst of renovating “the grand chateau-style hotel, with an anticipated completion of spring 2022. As part of this significant renovation, the sophisticated Gold Coast hotel will debut an evolution of its dining venues with a new signature restaurant, cocktail bar that restores a beloved city setting, and lobby lounge… Leading the hotel’s renovation is the award-winning Chicago-based hospitality design and architecture firm KTGY Simeone Deary Design Group, who first designed the interiors in 2009. Paying homage to the style and grace of the legendary Coco Chanel as a celebrated cultural icon, the KTGY Simeone Deary team merges the hotel’s classic roots inspired by French masters with a refreshed modern design that embraces a vision of timeless, refined luxury with a bit of an edgy twist.” More here.
DINING & DRINKING
A Day Of Rodney Scott’s South Carolina BBQ
James Beard Award-winning barbecue pitmaster Rodney Scott (of Rodney Scott’s Whole Hog BBQ) brings his BBQ to Chicago for one day only, firing up in the heart of Wicker Park on Big Star’s patio next to the Blue line. Teaming up with executive chef and partner Paul Kahan and culinary director Chris Miller of One Off Hospitality, Rodney will be serving his signature low and slow barbecue, straight from his cookbook “Rodney Scott’s World of Barbecue: Every Day is a Good Day.” On Sunday, May 22, superfans and aspiring pitmasters can sample items like whole hog, spare ribs and smoked chicken dressed in his famous “Rodney Sauce” along with sides on a first come, first serve basis—they’ll also be able to purchase his cookbook for Rodney to sign at the event. The cookout kicks off to the public at 11am—Rodney and company will be dishing out slow-smoked meats cooked by the tried and true technique used at each of his restaurants for a la carte enjoyment until they run out. Customers will line up at Big Star’s takeout window, then eat on Big Star’s patio or indoors. Big Star site here. Rodney Scott’s Whole-Hog BBQ site here.
Thirty Restaurants Join Chef’s Table Gala
The Illinois Restaurant Association will host the annual Chef’s Table gala on Thursday. The celebration honors the foodservice industry while raising funds that benefit the IRA Educational Foundation. Themed “All Around Chicago,” this year’s gala will honor the dining scene of Chicago’s neighborhoods with tasting stations from restaurants, beverages, dancing and a silent auction. “Chef’s Table is a moment to raise a glass and to raise funds for the future leaders of our industry,” Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia says in a release. “It’s an honor to celebrate the next generation while we are surrounded by the tireless work of this one. It is a wonderful event for a truly great cause.” The event is April 21, from 6pm-10pm at Theater on the Lake, 2401 North Lake Shore. More here.
Local Tequila Company Started As A Running Joke
“Rogers Park native Uduimoh Umolu, founder of tequila brand Jon Basil, may have just what’s needed to accompany those lakefront BBQs and small gatherings with friends… What started as a running joke between Umolu and his friend and business partner Belall Taher while they were students at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign morphed into a millennial- and minority-owned premium liquor company that is changing the game of a spirits industry that has consistently lacked diversity,” reports the Triibe.
Russian Seafood Eludes U. S. Ban
“A U.S. ban on seafood imports from Russia over its invasion of Ukraine was supposed to sap billions of dollars from Vladimir Putin’s war machine,” reports the Sun-Times. But “shortcomings in import regulations mean that Russian-caught pollock, salmon and crab are likely to enter the United States anyway by way of the country vital to seafood supply chains across the world: China. Like the U.S. seafood industry, Russian companies rely heavily on China to process their catch. Once there, the seafood can be re-exported to the United States as a ‘product of China’ because country-of-origin labeling isn’t required under U.S. import regulations.” Thus, “nearly one-third of the wild-caught fish imported from China is estimated to have been caught in Russian waters.” (Alaska pollock from Russia, for instance, is used in imitation crab meat and McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish.)
FILM & TELEVISION
May Is Haskell Wexler Centennial Month At The Film Center
The Gene Siskel Film Center will present “Haskell Wexler Centennial: Impact, Influence And Iconography” from May 4-May 31 with eight films by groundbreaking cinematographer, Chicagoan Haskell Wexler. Four of the films will be screened on pristine 35mm prints and another two in 4K digital restorations. “A groundbreaking cinematographer and fierce social activist, Chicagoan Haskell Wexler was a cinematic trailblazer,” writes the Film Center. “Working with directors including Norman Jewison, Hal Ashby, John Sayles and Miloš Forman, Wexler pioneered new techniques and standard practices: ‘Bound For Glory’ marks the inaugural use of the Steadicam; ‘In The Heat Of The Night’ is the first big-budget film to properly light for a Black actor. A talented director himself, Wexler’s ‘Medium Cool’ remains an iconic Chicago film and an evergreen commentary on America, power and politics. This centennial retrospective considers Wexler’s influence and impact, including his most acclaimed films; his uncredited work on ‘Faces’ (legend has it he also loaned Cassavetes the cameras); and films he did not complete: ‘One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest’ (‘I shot about 86-87%’); and ‘The Conversation,’ for which he shot the definitive, dazzling opening sequence.” Each film will screen twice May 4-May 31. Tickets and details here.
Naperville’s Bob Odenkirk Gets Star On Hollywood Walk Of Fame
WGN-TV has the footage of Bob Odenkirk getting his star here.
“Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry” Sets Publication
The Chicago Literary Hall of Fame, in partnership with After Hours Press and Third World Press, will publish “Wherever I’m At: An Anthology of Chicago Poetry” on June 13. The anthology “includes many of our city’s finest poets and writers. It’s the story of Chicago in all its glory and grime, at its most prideful and shameful, a city of flowers and bullets, a place that so many of us consider a part of us, even if we’ve left for elsewhere.” The publication will be noted with a panel discussion, “Chicago In Verse,” as part of the American Writers Museum’s American Writers Festival, staged in conjunction with the Chicago Public Library. Carlos Cumpián will lead a discussion with Angela Jackson, Johanny Vázquez Paz and Faisal Mohyuddin, who each contributed to the anthology, on the ways in which they use Chicago in their art. The panel is free and takes place on Sunday, May 15, 5:30pm at the Cultural Center. More details and pre-orders available here.
Goodman-Appointed Reader Board Member All In On Goodman Take
“We need contrarian voices. That’s how the Reader started. This is not how it should end,” Reader board member Dorothy R. Leavell concludes ominously on the editorial page of the Tribune. “Chicago’s media footprint… includes The Crusader and the Chicago Reader, both of which I have a hand in overseeing, and so I offer a unique perspective regarding the ongoing strife at the Reader… As editor and publisher of The Crusader Newspaper Group, which caters to mostly Black communities, I welcomed a partner in telling the stories that the bigger newspapers for decades have failed to share. But I was sold a bill of goods.” “Censorship,” she says. “But then the mob happened, and Twitter blew up. Goodman got pilloried, and the editor backed down.” The actual content of the co-owner’s column does not come into play. Block Club Chicago covers the impasse, and quotes Reader reporter Kelly Garcia: “I can’t even think about what are some possible opportunities for us to write new stuff about racial justice, about communities of color in Chicago. I can’t think about that, because I’m still having to figure out if I’m going to have a job… The things that we’re trying to do over here at the Reader, we can’t do that if Len just keeps holding us hostage.”
Wilco Hits The Promo Trail
Aside from the previously announced “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot Market,” Wilco is marketing its twentieth-anniversary “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” in myriad ways, prior to the September 16 release of seven special editions of the album on Nonesuch. The band’s Solid Sound Festival returns next month; information and schedule here. The Chicago concert at the Auditorium on April 23 will be livestreamed on a service called “Nugs” here. Tickets for the live show are here. Plus: Aizuri Quartet joined Wilco to perform “Poor Places” earlier this week on “Late Show With Stephen Colbert” here.
Steppenwolf Sets Forty-Seventh Season
“With six Steppenwolf Membership Series productions and two Steppenwolf for Young Adults (SYA) productions, the forty-seventh Steppenwolf season is the company’s first full season in its expanded home—welcoming audiences back to experience the next chapter of Steppenwolf’s bold, visceral and muscular work, while celebrating a dynamic range of exciting new voices and Steppenwolf legends,” the group relays. “Steppenwolf and the ensemble of artists that call our theater home are thrilled to share plans for our most robust in-person season since emerging from the pandemic,” artistic director Glenn Davis says in the release. “With six extraordinary works for adult audiences in the Ensemble and Downstairs Theaters, two world-premiere adaptations developed for teens in our Steppenwolf for Young Adults Series, and performances by countless local artists and itinerant companies continuing in our 1700 Theater, we are activating our expanded campus with an amazing spectrum of voices that reflect the vibrant city we call home.”
More on its expanded home: “This year, Steppenwolf unveiled its 50,000-square-foot Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, designed by architect Gordon Gill FAIA of Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture and featuring the new in-the-round Ensemble Theater in honor of Helen Zell, with theater design and acoustics by Charcoalblue. Steppenwolf’s first-ever dedicated education space, The Loft, encompasses the entire fourth floor of the new building, and two new full-service lobby bars designed by fc STUDIO, inc. offer spaces for socializing alongside the popular Front Bar.” More here, including the extensive roster of productions.
Jeremy Gerard Mourns Death Of Humana Festival Of New American Plays
“After two pandemic-ruined seasons (one dark, one featuring a slate of new works in virtual form), the Actors Theatre of Louisville has essentially declared the [Humana Festival Of New American Plays] as we knew it dead,” writes Jeremy Gerard at American Theatre. “There are so many reasons to mourn its passing, but I will dedicate my Kaddish to this: We critics tend to be solo fliers, rushing home when the curtain falls to spend time in another darkness, sorting out our responses to the work under review. We are, in many ways, the opposite of theatre artists, who must work in collaboration to find success. We rarely play well with others. But the Festival of New American Plays was an exception, demanding collegiality and compelling us to acknowledge, at least once a year, that we also are part of a community dedicated to discovery and its mirror, renewal. Such is the stuff of spring. When there was a marathon, we were pleased—honored, even, and communally exhausted—to grab the baton and pass it along. That’s worth celebrating, and missing.”
ARTS & CULTURE
Zoo-ologie Cocktail Party Returns To Lincoln Park Zoo
The tenth annual Zoo-ologie at Lincoln Park Zoo takes place June 9. “Tickets are now available for the Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo’s signature fundraiser,” the Zoo relays. “Proceeds from Zoo-ologie help the zoo meet its greatest needs—from expert animal care to critical conservation initiatives. More than 400 of Chicago’s finest young philanthropists will enjoy an unforgettable, elegant cocktail party at the zoo, including an open bar, bites from Chicago’s best restaurants, dancing, live music and a silent auction. The event will take place in the perfect party setting: the historic Café Brauer, overlooking the native prairie ecosystem that is Nature Boardwalk, backdropped by the city skyline. This year’s event is inspired by Illinois’ native pollinator, the monarch butterfly. In the early hours of the night, guests are invited to make the short journey to Nature Boardwalk, where zoo scientists and horticulturists will be highlighting surrounding flora and fauna, as well as sharing the work of the zoo’s Urban Wildlife Institute.” Tickets here.
Verizon Raises Minimum Wage To $20 An Hour
As workers continue to resist low-paying jobs, Verizon joins the list of companies raising wages, with $20 now its hourly standard.
Another Alderperson Against Casino Proposals
“With Chicago’s three proposed casino sites getting a torrent of opposition from neighbors, alderpersons are increasingly critical of plans in or near their wards,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. “The latest to weigh in on a casino site was Ald. Pat Dowell, who issued a statement opposing the Hard Rock casino proposed as part of the One Central development near Soldier Field. Dowell said that while Chicago needs the revenue from a casino, ‘The devil is in the details’ and the One Central site doesn’t make the grade.”
Secretary Of State Places 21,000 Historic Photos Online
The Illinois State Archives has placed more than 21,000 historic photographs from the Eddie Winfred “Doc” Helm Photo Collection online. The photos are from the 1940s to the 1980s. “Doc Helm served as the state photographer from 1941 to 1992 and he took photos of historic and day-to-day events at the state Capitol in Springfield and throughout the state,” Secretary of State Jesse White says in a release. “Because the Archives only had the negatives of these photos, the collection has rarely been seen. This online collection will change that.” White, who serves as the State Archivist and the State Librarian, said the Illinois State Archives received a $60,000 grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission in 2020 to scan the photographs and place them online for public use. The photos are on the Illinois Digital Archives website here.
Multimillionaire Mayoral Candidate Will Give Voters More Gas
“Millionaire businessman and mayoral candidate Willie Wilson announced plans for a third gas giveaway,” reports the Sun-Times. “The $1 million giveaway is planned for Saturday at yet-to-be-announced locations throughout Cook County… He also urged Pritzker and Lightfoot to come out and pump gas with him.” The Tribune notes the possible campaign violation: “Wilson’s history of cash giveaways still raises some eyebrows, though the state elections board four years ago found his actions okay.”
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