Another Director Leaves MOCAD
The Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit has parted ways with yet another executive director, reports Metro Times. “‘The Executive Committee can confirm that the Museum has parted ways with Dr. Cara Courage as executive director,’ a spokesperson said. ‘After lengthy conversations, both Committees decided to rescind their offer of employment.’ No reason for the change in course was given… Courage previously served as the head of the Tate Exchange at London’s Tate Modern, experience that was touted by the museum.”
The Future Of Chicago Retail Is Experimental And Fun
“As the colorful tulips planted on Michigan Avenue by [Richard M.] Daley’s late wife, Maggie, prepare to burst forth, urban expert Richard Florida sees a glimmer of a solution. In recent years, the basis for big city commercial success has shifted from famous stores—the kind that drew us as teens—to locally popular places. ‘The kind of retail that survives will be experimental and fun,'” he tells contributing columnist Micheline Maynard at the Washington Post. “The former Chicago Tribune Tower, the Magnificent Mile’s southern anchor that was recently converted to condos, might prove his theory. It just got its first retail tenant, and it’s not a clothing brand or a jewelry store. It’s Foxtrot, a Chicago-based chain of upscale cafes and convenience stores, happy to deliver breakfast, desserts and booze to your door.” (More musing on Boul Mich here.)
Responses To Durbin Opinion Piece On Demolishing Architectural Legacy
Preservation Chicago introduces a petition: “SAVE the Century and Consumers Buildings! STOP the $52M Demolition for a Gravel Lot! The new reuse plan addresses the security issues, but the Feds are 4 years behind. We can save them, but we need to ACT NOW!” The petition, closing in on its 1,500-signature goal is here; its preamble includes “After two years of planning, the Chicago Collaborative Archives Center adaptive reuse plan has strong support from dozens of archives from across the nation and is ready to go. Unlike the rejected 2018 residential adaptive reuse plan which raised security concerns for the adjacent courthouse, the new reuse plan was specifically designed to meet or exceed security-related issues, including bricked-up rear windows and limited access to upper floors.” (Durbin’s apparently dated take in the Sun-Times is here.) Blair Kamin: “A disappointing letter from Sen. Durbin: ‘Loop skyscrapers must be demolished to protect safety of Dirksen federal building.’ It suggests that demo is the only way to protect Dirksen. Why not rehab the two State Street buildings so they don’t pose a threat?”
Preservation Futures: “This is the wrong approach for Chicago, Senator Durbin. You should be working to support the 2022 Preservation Chicago plan which protects the courthouse and doesn’t require tearing down the city around it. That will keep the Loop vibrant and safe!” Tweets architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius in turn: “The GSA is responsible for any condition issues at the Century & Consumers Buildings. They are the direct result of neglect. GSA knows how to work in harmony with historic preservation and adaptive re-use in a way that keeps federal employees safe. See historic courthouses, federal buildings, post offices in Chicago and across the country. Also this ‘I gave you Mies, Pullman and the Cahokia Mounds don’t ask for shit else’ approach to preservation absolutely stinks… $52 million in federal money to demolish four viable historic buildings on State Street in Chicago. Sounds like something that would happen in the 1960s, right? Nope, this is 2022. Say no to #durbinrenewal.”
Northwestern’s VentureCat Student Startup Competition Announces Semifinalists
VentureCat, Northwestern University’s annual student startup pitch competition, has announced twenty-five semifinalists, six of whom will advance to the Public Showcase to compete for a share of more than $325,000 in non-dilutive funding for their business or project. “Every year, VentureCat highlights the incredible student startup teams emerging from the Northwestern University entrepreneurship ecosystem,” Mike Raab, interim executive director of The Garage at Northwestern, the university’s startup incubator says in a release. The 2022 VentureCat Public Showcase is free and open to the public, and will be held Wednesday, May 25, 6pm, at the White Auditorium in the Kellogg Global Hub, 2211 Campus Drive, Evanston, as well as livestreamed online. Registration and more here.
Food Truck Park And Plaza Planned At Logan Square
“City Council approved an ordinance to redevelop two city-owned lots… on either side of the 220-unit apartment complex Logan Apartments, the former home of the Megamall flea market,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The neighborhood will gain a pair of parks: one on Milwaukee Avenue with an amphitheater and a plaza, and another on Sacramento Avenue with food truck vendors.”
Meta Expanding Billion-Dollar DeKalb Data Center To Power Facebook, Instagram
“Meta, the social media giant formerly known as Facebook, is expanding its massive $1 billion data center under construction in DeKalb to nearly 2.4 million square feet,” reports Robert Channick at the Trib. “Slated to open next year, the five-building complex filled with servers and other computing equipment will create 200 jobs and power everything from Facebook posts to Instagram photos as one of seventeen Meta data centers across the U.S. ‘This is the physical backbone of all of our apps and services,’ said Meta spokesman Tom Parnell.”
DINING & DRINKING
Rick Bayless Joins Call For “Act4Restaurants”
“Inflation costs, staffing woes, debt burdens,” posts chef Rick Bayless on Twitter in support of the campaign by the Independent Restaurant Coalition to extend federal relief. “Restaurants are not out of the woods. ‘Act4Restaurants’ today & urge your Senator to vote YES to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. Call today: 202.224.3121.”
Upscale Soul Fusion Comes To North Lawndale
“A soul food fusion restaurant opening in May in North Lawndale will bring an upscale yet affordable dining experience not yet offered in the neighborhood,” reports Block Club. Soul Food Lounge is a “partnership between chef Quentin Love, the culinary mastermind of Turkey Chop in West Humboldt Park and the Lawndale Christian Development Corporation.” The sit-down eatery will be on the ground floor of the MLK Legacy Apartments.
Oscar Mayer Promotes Wienermobile For Prom
“Oscar Mayer is offering up its iconic ride to high school promgoers across the country who want to arrive to the big dance in grand style,” reports WGN-TV. “Three winners will get to bring three friends in the Wienermobile for a ride to prom. Students need to be at least seventeen… They also need to create a one-minute or less video sharing why they should win, and when and where it will be held. The video needs to be posted to TikTok or Instagram with #Oscartakemetoprom.” The deadline is noon on May 3.
“Our Beers Taste Like Mexico”
“Born and raised in Chicago, José and Javier López said they carry the Mexican state of Durango in their blood: Since they were kids, they have been in constant contact with their parents’ culture and traditions,” reports NBC News in a profile of Chicago’s Casa Humilde Cervecería. “When they decided to enter the craft beer business, the most natural thing was to incorporate ingredients they grew up with… ‘Our beers taste like Mexico because we use corn, nopal, horchata, vanilla, hibiscus and coffee from Veracruz; everything comes from there,’ José López, 33, said. The brothers said they remember their car trips to Mexico, listening to the music of Los Tigres del Norte or Chalino Sánchez and stopping to buy nopales, or prickly pears. ‘They are those flavors and that culture that identifies us.'”
Teen Vogue Talks To Young Starbucks Union Hopefuls
“Starbucks employees at more than 225 locations across the U.S. have… filed to unionize their stores,” reports Jacqui Germain for Teen Vogue. “While an outpouring of public support suggests many people would ‘like their coffee union strong,’ workers at these branches argue the company is engaged in union-busting… We spoke with eight Starbucks employees around the country about how they’re keeping their movement going amid this anti-union campaign.”
Chocolate Fest Returns To Long Grove
The Chocolate Festival returns to downtown Long Grove for the first time in three years, May 20-22, with three days of live music, family activities, chocolate vendors and chocolate experiences. Chocolate Fest is known for its array of chocolate—foods and drinks made with or dipped in chocolate. “Chocolate Row on Robert Parker Coffin Road (closed to traffic) is where vendors from far and near will be dishing out delectable treats like chocolate donuts, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate cupcakes, cake pops, cocoa bombs, chocolate truffles, chocolate croissants, chocolate eclairs, chocolate macarons, hand-dipped fine chocolates, chocolate covered funnel cakes, chocolate popcorn, chocolate cotton candy, frozen hot chocolate and much more.” Tickets are $5 here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Another Rooftop Cinema Comes To Chicago
Rooftop Cinema Club, a London-based movie theater experience, will be holding outdoor screenings on a rooftop in high-end Fulton Market in May, reports Time Out Chicago. “Located on the fifth floor terrace of The Emily Hotel, Rooftop Cinema Club promises a high-end approach to moviegoing, complete with tropical decor, lawn games, a range of seating options—including Adirondack chairs and loveseats—state-of-the-art LED screens, and individual wireless headphones. Guests can also order beer, wine, boozy slushies and snacks, plus a range of cocktails curated by The Emily Hotel’s mixologist. ‘We’re more than just a movie—we’re a whole night out,’ says founder Gerry Cottle… ‘Arrive early, get food, get drinks, play games and prepare to settle down to watch a movie at sunset.'”
Pixar Putt Coming To Navy Pier
The Pixar Putt pop-up mini-golf experience is coming to Navy Pier, running May 28-August 21. Made up of eighteen interactive holes inspired by the stories, characters, and icons from Disney and Pixar movies, including “Toy Story,” “The Incredibles,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” “Coco,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Wall-E” and “Inside Out,” Pixar Putt will be open seven days a week. Tickets here.
Sun-Times Earns Three Top National Headliner Awards
Chicago Sun-Times staffers have won three top prizes in the National Headliner Awards, which “honor the best journalism in the United States,” relays the Sun-Times. “Tim Novak, Lauren FitzPatrick and Caroline Hurley [won] for stories the contest judges wrote ‘used data journalism to expose flawed policies’ in the Cook County assessor’s office”; Neil Steinberg for three local interest columns; Stephanie Zimmermann and Tom Schuba, for reporting on “What’s in Illinois’ legal weed?”
Reader Pictures Protest
While celebrating its imminent conversion to nonprofit status, the Reader proffers a portfolio of pictures from last week’s “Free The Reader” protest in front of the home of co-owner Leonard C. Goodman.
Musk Twitter Commotion Contested
As the weeks and months tick by before Elon Musk could consummate his $44-billion acquisition of Twitter, voices are raised concerning the consistency of the mercurial mogul. Reuters got a piece by a pair of columnists, Lauren Silva Laughlin and Gina Chon, the headline of which plainly says, “Elon Musk probably won’t buy Twitter,” suggesting that he’s less restless than readily bored. “Sure, the Tesla boss was clearly serious about acquiring Twitter… The financing from Morgan Stanley is shored up. The agreement includes a fee of $1 billion that he–or Twitter–would have to pay if they renege on the contract. And Twitter’s lawyers even wedged in a so-called ‘specific performance’ clause, which could theoretically force Musk to buy the company if he threatens to back out, though in practice this could probably be settled by adding to the break fee.” (The piece also predicts an imbroglio over Taiwan and China, which is central to the manufacture of Tesla vehicles, as Ron Rosenbaum points out.) More here.
Pianist Alexander Toradze Finishes Performance Even After Suffering Heart Failure
The Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s closing concert of “Scheherazade” for its forty-fourth season had scheduled Georgian pianist Alexander Toradze performing Sergei Prokofiev’s “Piano Concerto No. 3,” but is no longer listed by the IPO. “One of the world’s great classical pianists delivered a memorably brilliant guest performance with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra at Skyview High School Saturday night before being rushed to a local hospital, where he was diagnosed with acute heart failure,” reports Vancouver’s Columbian. Toradze remains in the hospital in Vancouver while his health stabilizes. (The 69-year-old musician posted a video reassuring his admirers.)
“My Fair Lady” Tickets Now On Sale
Broadway In Chicago has placed tickets on sale for the North American tour of Lincoln Center Theater’s production of Lerner & Loewe’s “My Fair Lady.” Directed by Bartlett Sher, the production will play the Cadillac Palace Theatre June 28-July 10. Tickets here.
Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre To Stage Samm-Art Williams’ “HOME”
Fleetwood-Jourdain Theatre will stage Samm-Art Williams’ “HOME,” “one of the most honored plays exploring the Black experience in America,” at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center in Evanston, June 4 -19. “Williams’ ode to the joys of working the land and the temptations of life in the big city—a nominee in 1980 for Best Play in both the Tony Awards and the Drama Desk Awards–will be directed by Fleetwood-Jourdain producing artistic director Tim Rhoze. Rhoze says his staging of ‘HOME’ will honor a style of theater that too often has been overlooked—the American Travelling Tent Theater utilized from the late nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. These traveling shows, be they repertory shows, circus, or vaudeville offerings, relied on a barebones approach and very little in the way of costuming, props, and set. We will focus on the lyrical writing, poetic storytelling, humor, heartbreak, redemption and amazing performances.” Tickets and more here.
Chicago Children’s Theatre Announces Season
Chicago Children’s Theatre, Chicago’s largest professional theater devoted to children and young families, has announced its eighteenth season today, launching this fall with a three-show slate of in-person shows. CCT kicks off its 2022-23 season, live on stage, with Manual Cinema presenting the Chicago premiere of “Leonardo! A Wonderful Story about a Terrible Monster.” “Hundreds of illustrated puppets, hilarious actors on live cameras, fuzzy Muppet-style puppets, and a live soundtrack that both kids and parents will love, bring the beloved children’s book by Mo Willems to life in Manual Cinema’s super-fun new family show.” Performances are September 9-October 6. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Why Labor Unions Are Winning
“Organizers and labor experts say this moment is part of a larger trend of workers’ rights,” reports WBEZ in interviews with labor experts and on-the-ground organizers. “This week, two Illinois Starbucks coffee shops won union elections, Chicago Reader staff’s protesting forced one of the co-owners to step down, and University of Illinois Chicago graduate students bargained for higher wages.”
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