Theaster Gates’ Foundation Breaks Ground On “Largest Project To Date”
“Theaster Gates’ foundation broke ground on… the transformation of the former St. Laurence Catholic school in South Shore into an entrepreneurship hub for creatives,” reports Block Club. “The Rebuild Foundation celebrated the construction of the St. Laurence Arts and Industry incubator, which repurposes the former school building at 1353 East 72nd… The 40,000-square-foot incubator will feature artist residencies, classrooms for artists to [build] the business side of their craft and coworking space.” Programs are planned to begin in fall 2023.
PATRON Gallery Presents Nyeema Morgan Solo Show
PATRON Gallery presents “The Set-Up,” its first solo exhibition with artist Nyeema Morgan. “Morgan’s practice is characterized by an interplay between text, image and object. Her work questions our systems of knowledge and information production: what stories have we been told? Who has done the telling? How have images and language been used to tell those stories? Inspired by recent political events, our culture and media, and the death of her mother in 2017, Morgan grapples with the subject of catharsis in narrative forms such as storytelling, history and jokes. The exhibition features three bodies of work—’horror horror,’ a print-based series begun in 2018; ‘Like It Is,’ an ongoing series of graphite drawings and two new sculptures. In ‘The Set-Up,’ Morgan re-presents iconography to critique the structures and devices that influence our social, political and historical ideologies. Nine large-scale drawings from Morgan’s ‘Like It Is’ series anchor the exhibition. In this work, the artist fixates on the word ‘extraordinary,’ sourcing books ranging from self-help to fiction with ‘extraordinary’ in the title. She then collected photocopies of their title pages. These photocopies are reproduced as enlarged, meticulous, labor-intensive graphite drawings. The compositions are rearranged and reoriented, revealing the mechanics of their reproduction. Both the legibility of the word and image are pushed into abstraction.” “The Set-Up” runs through May 28. More here.
River West Lightfoot’s Site For Casino?
A final decision could be announced as early as Thursday: “Mayor Lightfoot is preparing to turn over her cards in the Chicago casino, with all signs pointing to a winning hand for Bally’s Corporation and their River West bid,” report Fran Spielman, David Roeder and Mitchell Armentrout at the Sun-Times. “The city signaled in a March report that Bally’s proposal for the Chicago Tribune printing plant site at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street was the frontrunner… The publicly traded Rhode Island corporation was the only one to offer an upfront payment of $25 million for the license—and was projected as the top revenue generator over a Hard Rock casino proposed across DuSable Lake Shore Drive from Soldier Field, and the so-called ‘Rivers 78’ plan backed by billionaire Neil Bluhm for the South Loop… Bally’s was finalizing a labor agreement Tuesday… Such a deal would put organized labor behind the Bally’s proposal, political support that could be needed to get it through the City Council.” (Heather Cherone of WTTW posts Tuesday evening that Lightfoot denies the report: “Lightfoot says reports that she has made her decision on where a casino should be located and who should operate it are ‘simply not true'”; her evaluation committee, she says, has yet to meet.)
Lightfoot Likely To Restore Columbus Statuary
Mayor Lightfoot “hinted strongly that she plans to ignore a controversial recommendation from her own monuments committee to permanently sideline statues of Christopher Columbus in Grant and Arrigo parks and remove the Balbo Monument in Burnham Park,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. “I’ve been very clear. I do not believe in erasing history. I think you’ve got to put it in a proper context. I think you’ve got to honor the entirety of that history,” the mayor said. “Lightfoot described Columbus as an ‘incredibly controversial figure, given what happened to the Native population across the Americas.'”
Chicago Bid For 2024 Democratic Convention Detailed
“The Chicago Sun-Times has learned the bid for Chicago to host the 2024 Democratic National Convention, due May 27,” reports Lynn Sweet, “will tout the proximity of hotels to convention venues, restaurants and tourist spots—the multiple spaces for events in addition to the United Center—and how Illinois, a blue state surrounded by red states, is the living embodiment of Democratic policies and programs.” From Tuesday’s announcement of the bid from AP (via WGN-TV): “‘Hosting the 2024 Democratic National Convention in Chicago will create tremendous opportunities for job creation and business growth,’ Lightfoot said, ‘and I am excited for the chance to show the world why Chicago is an important global city and the epicenter of the Midwest.’ Pritzker said, ‘Illinois has led the way delivering for America’s working families,’ including raising the minimum wage and expanding health care coverage, voting rights, and child care. He noted former President Barack Obama is from Chicago. ‘I’m proud to invite the nation to explore the Land of Lincoln and Obama.'”
Alderman Calls For Crackdown On Lower Wacker Drive Drag Racing
“Downtown Alderman Brendan Reilly demanded that Chicago police crack down on drag racing on Lower Wacker Drive after a driver did donut stunts around spectators who were surrounded by a circle of burning gasoline,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. “It happened at around 2:30am Sunday on Lower Wacker at Columbus, according to [a video that] shows dozens of people standing together, surrounded by flames, moments before a drag racer drives donuts around them. All but three or four of the spectators leaped away, through the fire, before the car started spinning in circles around the flames. Those remaining in the circle appeared to be recording the stunt on their phones. Reilly was horrified by the brazenness of the incident.”
DINING & DRINKING
Lincoln Park Butcher Shuttered After Nearly A Century
“Gepperth’s Meat Market, a Lincoln Park mainstay since 1906, closed on Saturday, April 30,” reports Eater Chicago. “The venerable butcher was known for prime cuts of beef, chicken and pork … Gepperth’s struggled. Columbet says they were making only around $300 per day. … ‘We couldn’t pay our mortgage, our suppliers, it was horrible.’ … The butcher became well known among the well-to-do in Lincoln Park. Staff would often brag that Chicago Blackhawks players would often buy chops for their home grills… Colombet is also known for Le Boulangerie, the bakery cafe with locations in Lincoln Square and Logan Square.”
Pitmasters Matt Horn And Pat Martin Book Signing and BBQ Tasting In Wicker Park
Chef and pitmaster Matt Horn (2022 James Beard nominee, Food & Wine best new chef) of Oakland, California’s Horn Barbecue will make an appearance Thursday, May 5, 4-6pm, at YETI Chicago, along with pitmaster Pat Martin of Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. The pair will introduce and sign new cookbooks, as well as share a live-fire cooking Q&A. RSVP here.
Canned Chicago Water For “National Drinking Water Week”
“Chicago city leaders are marking National Drinking Water Week with a ‘humorous’ branding campaign to heighten awareness of the importance of Lake Michigan drinking water and the city’s history with the vital freshwater source,” reports Miriam Di Nunzio at the Sun-Times. “The campaign, called ‘Chicagwa,’ will feature a limited run of cans of Chicago drinking water featuring six different label designs by Chicago street artists Don’t Fret, Anthony Lewellen, Joey Depakakibo, Kate Lewis, Langston Allston and Elloo.” A limited number of cans will be given out for free starting today at Manny’s Delicatessen, Kuma’s Corner, Wiener’s Circle, RealGood Co. and Dark Matter as long as supplies last. The campaign by Quality Meats Creative is on Instagram here: “This water ain’t from an exotic island, or from some fancy glacier. It’s from Chicago.”
FILM & TELEVISION
A Look At The “Chicago Made” Production Initiative
“Last summer alone, some fifteen productions added nearly $700 million to Chicago’s local economy,” writes Matt Simonette at the Reader. “This was due to filmmakers, studios, and networks taking advantage of tax incentives making it cost-effective to shoot in the area. But with the uptick in productions, there is also an uptick in demand for skilled workers. So Chicago Made, a workforce development initiative launched in 2021, has been linking Chicagoans to many of those positions. ‘We’re specifically targeting groups of people that have skill-sets already in place that make them viable for the workforce in the film production community,’ said Kwame Amoaku, director of the Chicago Film Office at DCASE. Twenty-five individuals were selected across twelve disciplines for the first cohort of workers. The program received about 500 applications. ‘We’ve been looking for people between the ages of twenty-four and fifty who have skill sets in the trades that lend themselves to working in production,’ added Amoaku, who suggested that persons with experience in carpentry, student film crew work or hair styling, among other fields, might benefit from Chicago Made… ‘We have that deficit in the work force and we’re looking to fill that the fastest way possible, and we thought that using the talent that was already here in the city that lent itself to film production would be the fastest route to do that.'”
John Waters Speaks Of Love
This weekend with the Chicago Humanities Festival, John Waters talks about his new novel, “Liarmouth: A Feel-Bad Romance” and bad romance in general. “Waters will share his secrets for writing well in a transgressive way, joined in conversation by Chicago writer, musician, and filmmaker Richard Knight Jr.” It’s at UIC’s Dorin Forum and a book signing follows; tickets here.
Bronze Statue Of Ballerina Marjorie Tallchief Sold For Scrap In Tulsa
A bronze statue of Native American ballerina Marjorie Tallchief “was cut from its base outside a Tulsa museum and sold for scrap to a recycling company,” reports Associated Press. “Museum officials say the Five Moons statue of Tallchief was likely removed Thursday from its plinth outside the Tulsa Historical Society.” Adds the Tulsa World, “Some pieces of the statue, including the head and part of the figure’s arm, are still missing.” Police are acting on leads of the identity of the thief.
Raven Theatre Announces Fortieth Anniversary Season
Raven Theatre has announced its fortieth anniversary season, opening this fall with a fresh take on Noël Coward’s 1930 comedy “Private Lives,” directed by Ian Frank. The season continues with the Chicago premiere of “Right To Be Forgotten,” Sharyn Rothstein’s story about human forgiveness in the age of the internet, directed by artistic director Cody Estle. Tickets and more here.
Refracted Theatre Company Announces Inaugural Chicago Season
Refracted Theatre Company has announced its inaugural Chicago season, featuring a launch event, a world premiere production and a new play development initiative. Refracted’s season kicks off with the company’s launch party, the Refracted Salon, on Thursday, July 14 at Guild Row. “Meet the company leadership and become involved at this free event inspired by the salons of eighteenth-century France. Mix and mingle while enjoying a festive evening of entertainment, food and drink.” (Register here.) Refracted’s debut Chicago production is the world premiere of Andrew Kramer’s dark comedy “St. Sebastian,” directed by artistic director Graham Miller, a three-hander about a queer white couple that moves into a historically Black neighborhood. Tickets for the production at the Den Theatre go on sale in July. The company also launches the RefrAction Lab, an eight-month playwriting initiative for emerging Chicago playwrights to create full-length plays. The lab includes a two-night public showcase in December. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Alito Draft Opinion Leaked: Supreme Court Votes To Strike Down Roe V. Wade
Reaction was immediate as POLITICO published an unprecedented leak of a Supreme Court draft opinion, nearly a hundred pages of relentless fury which would invalidate 1973’s Roe V. Wade decision. (The Court has confirmed its authenticity.) Here’s the working opinion in its entirety. POLITICO boils down key passages here, including “We do not pretend to know how our political system or society will respond to today’s decision overruling Roe and Casey. And even if we could foresee what will happen, we would have no authority to let that knowledge influence our decision. We can only do our job, which is to interpret the law, apply longstanding principles of stare decisis, and decide this case accordingly. We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion.”
Mayor Lightfoot posted at 8:40pm on her personal Twitter account: “What we’re seeing tonight on Roe v. Wade is a horrendous attack on our fundamental right to choose, and we will fight against it with everything we’ve got. You have my word: I will do everything I can to guarantee your right to an abortion.” Pritzker’s 8:34pm tweet on his governor’s account: “Hell no! In Illinois, we trust women. We cannot let their most profound and personal rights be violated.” Tuesday morning, reports Block Club, a “sickened and enraged” Lightfoot issued a statement: “We see you and we want you to know that your rights, your circumstances, and your choices matter. Chicago will continue to be a haven for those seeking access to the full range of safe reproductive care. We will also continue to fight in Chicago to protect the right to choose and will not stop fighting to protect this right in our surrounding counties and states.” Continues Block Club, “Dozens of states—including every one surrounding Illinois—have trigger laws that would kick in as soon as Roe v. Wade is overturned, making abortion illegal. Many have already put tight restrictions on abortion that have forced people in need of care to come to Illinois.” (WGN-TV lists the states that could immediately ban abortion; Axios has a longer breakdown.) Bloomberg handicaps the imminent decision as an electoral horse race here: “Such a decision would hand Republicans a long-sought victory, even as it could galvanize Democrats who’ve been bracing for the prospect of losing their House and Senate majorities this November. Midterm election campaigns—which will decide control of Congress—are getting underway with primaries Tuesday in Ohio and Indiana.”
Congressman Mike Quigley: “Let’s be clear—Republicans stole two Supreme Court seats to make this happen. The party of ‘small government’ wants to control women’s bodies. This is utterly shameful but we can stop it. The Senate MUST end the filibuster and codify Roe.” Biden: “If the court does overturn Roe, it will fall on our nation’s elected officials at all levels of government to protect a woman’s right to choose. And it will fall on voters to elect pro-choice officials this November. At the federal level, we will need more pro-choice Senators and a pro-choice majority in the House to adopt legislation that codifies Roe, which I will work to pass and sign into law.” (Republicans raised voices demanding an investigation.) Chief Justice John Roberts called the leak “egregious” but does not address its content: “To the extent this betrayal of the confidences of the Court was intended to undermine the integrity of our operations, it will not succeed… We at the Court are blessed to have a workforce—permanent employees and law clerks alike—intensely loyal to the institution and dedicated to the rule of law.” Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: “The Supreme Court’s legitimacy is already lost.” At the Atlantic, Jessica Bruder goes “inside the covert network preparing to circumvent restrictions.”
Mayor Lightfoot “Not Happy” After Weekend Violence In Loop
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday that she was ‘not happy’ about violence that again touched downtown Chicago over the weekend and ended with a cancellation of Sunday night’s performance of the play ‘Moulin Rouge!,'” reports the Trib under a quadruple byline. “‘We’re working our tails off every single day. Obviously not happy about this weekend,’ Lightfoot told reporters at an unrelated news conference. ‘Particularly distressing is, again, the number of young people that seemingly are involved in acts of violence. It’s clearly not acceptable and that’s why we’ve got to keep doing the things that we know are working… I’m not going to rest and I know the superintendent and the entire department shares my resolve that we’ve got to do more to give people confidence and make them feel safe because they are safe.'” The Trib editorializes: “If this is not urgently addressed, decades of work stretching back to the efforts of Richard M. Daley to transform the Loop into a twenty-four-hour arts and entertainment destination will be undone… Patrons of a musical have a right to feel safe. Entertainment workers have a similar right… If reasons to come downtown at night are diminished, then the safety perception problem only gets worse. This is the kind of vicious cycle that can, and surely could, suck the cultural life out of one of the greatest entertainment downtowns in the world.” (Four were seriously injured in a Monday night shooting on the 400 block of South Wells, near West Van Buren.)
Lightfoot “Concerned” About Accountability Of Private Police Forces In Wealthy Neighborhoods
Mayor Lightfoot says she’s “‘concerned’ about the move toward private cops,” reports Block Club Chicago. “We don’t want to have a circumstance where public safety is only available to the wealthy.” “What liability protection will the companies offer the city, the mayor asked, saying street patrols are ‘solely the province of the Chicago Police Department.'”
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