SAIC Faculty Lines Up For Union
“Lecturers and adjuncts at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago are organizing a union, adding to the labor activism among employees at the allied institutions,” reports the Sun-Times. “The nontenure-track faculty issued a letter announcing their plans to affiliate with Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. More than 190 faculty out of the proposed bargaining unit of about 600 signed the letter. ‘Our working conditions are intolerable. We write in protest of a two-tier system of compensation and benefits that is creating a permanent underclass of contingent faculty.'”
SOFA Chicago Returns In November
The 2022 edition of SOFA Chicago will run November 3-6, the first to be presented in-person under the Intersect Art and Design umbrella, the group announces. “SOFA Chicago 2022 will explore materiality and meaning in sculpture, objects, functional art, and wearable design, and present a curated selection of self-taught and contemporary art. Focusing on three-dimensional artworks that cross the boundaries of fine art, decorative art, fiber arts, and design, SOFA is a confluence of perspectives where art, design and people intersect. The 2022 edition of the Fair will explore materiality from historical and contemporary standpoints, across mediums.” SOFA has named Monica King director of community development. “She will work closely with exhibitors, partners, and collaborators to further establish themes and concepts, such as a focus on underserved creators in design and textiles, and to delve into the area of upcycled design and repurposing everyday objects for aesthetic impact.” More here.
Aldermen Compare Rush To Casino To Mayor Daley’s Historic Parking Meter Deal
“Mayor Lightfoot’s pick for Chicago’s decades-in-the-making casino was the subject of a grueling six-hour hearing that saw some aldermen complain of a too-rushed selection process,” reports Alice Yin at the Tribune. “The special committee, stacked with Lightfoot allies and established by City Council in March, took no votes, as members in opposition of the gambling complex’s pending location in River West voiced fears that casino plans were advancing too fast and without enough transparency. Still, it was unclear by the meeting’s conclusion which side had more support, as many members kept their allegiance close to their vests.” Reports Heather Cherone at WTTW: “The tough questions lobbed by alderpeople at Bally’s officials and representatives of the mayor could complicate the push by Lightfoot to get the City Council to sign off on the casino at its next meeting, which is scheduled for May 23… Bally’s will also offer the city an upfront payment of $40 million for the license, and $4 million annually, the mayor’s office announced. Initially, Bally’s offered the city an upfront payment of $25 million… Once the City Council acts, the plan will also need the approval of the Illinois Gaming Board.”
What Is Potawatomi Hotel & Casino Spending $100 Million On?
“Potawatomi Hotel & Casino announced plans for a $100 million renovation project that will revolutionize the casino’s third floor and usher in a new era of entertainment at the sprawling complex in Milwaukee’s Menomonee Valley,” reports Milwaukee magazine. “The project involves more than 120,000 square feet of space and will provide” new forms of gambling, food and entertainment. “Since opening more than thirty years ago, Potawatomi Hotel & Casino has made it a priority to evolve and meet the needs of our guests,” property CEO and general manager Dominic Ortiz told the magazine. “Not only will this elevate the brand, it will further our longstanding status as the premier entertainment destination in the region as the market becomes significantly more competitive.” ”There will be more than 1,800 slot machine stations, including a new bar with twenty-eight bar-top ‘slot seats,’ a first for Potawatomi.”
Bally’s Site By Demolished Public Housing Projects
“Cabrini-Green and its displaced residents should be included in Chicago’s casino plans,” reflects Tonia Hill at The TRiiBE. “The casino’s proposed site is a stone’s throw away from the former Cabrini-Green Homes public housing projects. At its peak, the complex known for its high-rise buildings was home to at least 15,000 people, predominantly Black and low-income families… The city pledged to spend more than $1.5 billion over ten years to demolish 18,000 apartments and build or rehabilitate 25,000 apartments… Today, after the majority of Black residents have been forced out of Cabrini-Green, the neighborhood looks radically different.” Ald. Walter Burnett “supports Lightfoot’s casino choice, which would place the new development in his ward. For him, Bally’s casino means progress. ‘I wasn’t afraid of progress. I wasn’t afraid of prosperity when we had to tear down the former Cabrini-Green highrises. I wasn’t afraid…’ He acknowledged that the people who live in the community today would not have come to the area when the Cabrini-Green high-rises were still there.”
“The Right to Move Is Under Attack”
“Declining rates of interstate mobility show that many Americans are stuck where they are, consigned to the political decisions of governments they may profoundly oppose,” reports Jerusalem Demsas at the Atlantic. “What blue-state politicians are not doing is ensuring that people in other states can find refuge in Democratic states. For decades now, what was once commonplace—Americans moving from state to state—has been made exceedingly difficult, largely because of cost-of-living concerns. Declining rates of interstate mobility show that many Americans are stuck where they are, consigned to the political decisions of governments they may profoundly oppose, without an escape valve. Low-income Americans have also been forced out of expensive, typically blue states to less expensive, typically red ones, where their access to basic government protections may be nonexistent…. Those who stay are resigned to watching more and more of their paycheck go to rent, and record numbers find themselves teetering on the edge of homelessness.”
Tracing A New Building Type In Chicago
“A new hybrid building type has emerged in Chicago which goes beyond an abstract notion of a cool look,” writes Vladimir Belogolovsky at Stir World of recent hybrid buildings in Chicago, where multi-family housing is built atop public libraries. These buildings were “completed by local architects in 2019: Independence Library and Apartments by John Ronan, Northtown Library and Apartments by Ralph Johnson of Perkins&Will, and Roosevelt Square Library and Apartments by SOM.”
Facial Recognition Corporation Barred From Illinois For Five Years
“Clearview AI, the Manhattan-based developer of a highly controversial facial recognition tool, [has agreed] to stop providing its technology to most private clients and to halt doing business in Illinois for five years,” reports the Sun-Times. “The suit was brought by the ACLU and its Illinois chapter in May 2020, just four months after the New York Times reported that Clearview had culled billions of photographs from popular websites to create an unprecedented facial recognition app that counted both law enforcement agencies and businesses as subscribers. The ACLU alleged the technology violated Illinois’ stringent Biometric Information Privacy Act, which protects current and former residents’ facial and fingerprint identifiers from being used without consent.”
Why The Kill-Switched Ukrainian John Deere Tractors Are A Bad Omen
Journalism observer Dan Gillmor points to an important piece by author and activist Cory Doctorow, “as a reminder that monopoly capitalism relies on laws that are designed to protect monopolists, not the people who want to own what they thought they purchased. Congress made this system, deliberately and cynically.” Writes Doctorow, “This is not a feel-good story… Why are John Deere tractors kill-switched in the first place? Here’s a hint: the technology was not invented to thwart Russian looters. No, it was invented to thwart American farmers… It’s a perfect cyberpunk nugget: stolen tractors rendered inert by an over-the-air update, thwarting the bad guys… Russian looters, collaborating with the Russian military, stole twenty-seven pieces of John Deere farm equipment [worth $5 million] from a dealership in Ukraine…. The equipment was shipped to Chechnya, but it will avail the thieves naught, because the John Deere dealership reached out over the internet and bricked these tractors, using an in-built kill-switch. If you scratch the surface of that cinematic comeuppance, what you find is a far scarier parable… If John Deere’s authorized technicians can reach out and brick any tractor or combine, anywhere in the world, then anyone who suborns, hacks or blackmails a John Deere technician—say, Russia’s storied hacker army, who specialize in mass-scale infrastructure attacks, which they perfect by attacking Ukrainian embedded systems—can do the exact same thing.”
DINING & DRINKING
Firing Up Kindred
“A vision of longtime Elmhurst resident Tom Trenta, Chef Michael Carroll and their team of hospitality industry veterans, Kindred is a restaurant fueled by fire,” the restaurant relays in a release. Opening Saturday, May 14 in downtown Elmhurst, “this welcoming, seasonal open-fire eatery brings diverse flavors from the Midwest table to a 600-degree flame. Chef Michael Carroll helms the kitchen, using his Michelin-starred experience and passion. ‘I’m excited to cook with the primordial feel of natural fire, the smells and tastes of smoke and char. With almost the entire menu cooked over an open flame in our open-air kitchen, guests will truly feel a part of the culinary experience.'” The menu will feature fresh seafood, seared steaks, beautiful vegetable plates and takes on venison, duck and shellfish. “100% Midwest bounty. A 3,000-square-foot space adorned in neutral, gold and charcoal gray tones, Kindred features an open kitchen exposing the wood-burning oven and open fire concept along with spacious curved banquettes, natural wood tables and lush greenery.” More here.
Andersonville Farmers Market Opens Thirteenth Season Today
The Andersonville Farmers Market kicks off its thirteenth season today from 3pm–7pm on Catalpa between Clark and Ashland. Featuring thirty vendors, the twenty-four-week market is open every Wednesday through October 10. Everything sold at the Andersonville Farmers Market is grown or produced within a 200-mile radius, offering the community access to fresh, local food.
Funkenhausen Introduces New Menu and Design
For spring, West Town neighborhood restaurant Funkenhausen promises a lighter touch “and a trendy aesthetic to create a truly intuitive dining experience,” they relay in a release. Co-owner and chef Mark Steuer “has created over ten new dishes heading into the warmer weather highlighting local produce and ingredients in a fresh way, while still always maintaining the funk.” The new menu will launch on Thursday, May 12. “I love any and all market fruit we can get our hands on this spring,” says Steuer. “I am particularly excited to incorporate seasonal fruits that are known for their distinct flavors such as peaches, nectarines, blackberries and raspberries, and am excited for diners to experience interesting ways these fruits are incorporated throughout the menu.” New dishes include a Riesling Steamed Mussels appetizer made with bacon, peas, celery, garlic, rouille and toast and a Spaetzle Cacio e Pepe made with pecorino, parmesan and lots of pepper. Steuer is also introducing a Whole Grilled Fish to his menu, served with a crunchy spring salad, hot sauce vinaigrette and a garlic scape relish. “The dishes I am most excited about are the Burrata with charred knob onion and a minty salsa verde, and our new Escolar Crudo made with pistachio and orange,” says Steuer. “I am excited to work with a whole fish again and thought spring was the perfect time to introduce it to our menu.” More here.
With Baby Formula Shortage, Cootehill, Ireland To The Rescue
Channel 5 surveys the limits on baby formula purchases in states including Illinois. “The shortage was prompted in part by the shutdown of a major formula production facility owned by Chicago-based Abbott Labs in Sturgis, Michigan.” The shutdown “was the result of a federal investigation into reports of contaminated Similac, Alimentum and EleCare products that may have contributed to the deaths of infants.” Reports the Trib: “Many grocery stores and retail pharmacy chains, including Jewel-Osco, Walgreens and CVS Health are now limiting how much formula people can buy at once. Formula manufacturers say they are attempting to improve the situation. Abbott said in a statement that it’s ‘prioritizing production of infant formula products to help replenish the supply in the market and are also air shipping in product from our FDA-registered facility in Cootehill, Ireland, on a daily basis.’ Enfamil, a formula brand made by a different manufacturer, said on its website it’s been shipping thirty percent more product to meet increased demand.”
Dave Eggers Will Replace Books Pulped By Rapid City High Schools
Dave Eggers will provide free copies of his novel, “The Circle,” to schools in South Dakota, as well as four other books that have been banned, reports the Guardian. “School administrators in Rapid City thought ‘The Circle,’ along with ‘How Beautiful We Were’ by Imbolo Mbue, ‘Fun Home’ by Alison Bechdel, ‘The Perks of Being a Wallflower’ by Stephen Chbosky and ‘Girl, Woman, Other’ by Bernardine Evaristo, [are] inappropriate for pupils. The district’s schools’ copies have been marked as surplus and are due to be destroyed… ‘The mass destruction of books by school boards is an unconscionable horror, and the freethinking young people of South Dakota shouldn’t be subjected to it,’ Eggers said. ‘Every high school student should have unfettered access to literature, so if you’re a Rapid City high school senior, email our office and ask for any of these titles. For every copy the school board destroys, let’s add a new one to the local circulation.'”
Bonnie “Prince” Billy In Conversation
Bonnie “Prince” Billy will join music writer John Corbett in conversation (and performance) at Thalia Hall as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival on May 22. “The evening concludes with a raw, uncensored and intimate live music performance featuring special guest collaborators.” Tickets here. On Twitter, he’s promoting a couple of cassettes: “Why do we love cassettes? We just do. Here’s two comps of oddities beautifully collected, of Palace Music/BPB.”
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble Announces Season
Buffalo Theatre Ensemble (BTE), the professional Equity company in residence at the McAninch Arts Center (MAC) in Glen Ellyn, has announced a three-play season, opening with Bruce Norris’ “Clybourne Park,” directed by Kurt Naebig, followed by Alan Ayckbourn’s holiday comedy, “Season’s Greetings,” directed by Connie Canaday Howard. With a nod to the Cleve Carney Museum of Art/MAC summer 2023 exhibition “Warhol,” BTE will complete the season with Vince Melocchi’s fictional play “Andy Warhol’s Tomato,” directed by Steve Scott. Season tickets are now on sale; more here.
ARTS & CULTURE
DePaul University Names Robert Manuel New President
DePaul University’s board of trustees has named Robert Manuel as the thirteenth president of the nation’s largest Catholic university, reports the Sun-Times. “DePaul officials touted Manuel, who has been president at the University of Indianapolis since 2012, as an ‘accomplished, transformative leader in higher education.'” Manuel said, “I’m inspired by the life-changing opportunities a DePaul education creates for its students, as well as the community it has built for faculty and staff. I am excited by the potential partnerships that are possible because of the robust and diverse community in which DePaul lives.”
City Pledges Half-Million For Abortion Assistance
“Chicago’s health department is pledging $500,000 to help people access abortion and reproductive care services as the nation faces a threat to Roe v. Wade,” reports Block Club Chicago. “‘Women’s health care is a right that should be guaranteed, and it is a matter of public health. Prior to the legalization of abortion, tens of thousands of women wound up in emergency rooms every year from botched, illegal abortions…’ health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a news release. ‘We must never go back to that time.’ The $500,000 will be used to provide transportation, lodging, safe care and follow-up services for Chicagoans and for people who need to come to Chicago for abortions and other reproductive healthcare.”
Eight Iowa Nonprofits Share $45 Million
“Eight leading Des Moines nonprofits will receive $45 million in endowments from the estate of a pair of longtime Des Moines philanthropists,” reports the Des Moines Register. “The endowments from Harriet and J. Locke Macomber will benefit the BWA Foundation, the Des Moines Art Center, the Des Moines Symphony, Drake University Law School, Orchard Place, United Way of Central Iowa, St. Paul’s Episcopal Cathedral and the YMCA of Greater Des Moines. Each group’s endowment ensures it will receive funding annually in perpetuity… It’s the largest gift ever to the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, which will manage the endowments.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]