2022 MAKER Grants Awarded
Chicago Artists Coalition has announced the recipients of the 2022 MAKER Grant for Chicago-based visual artists: D. Denenge Duyst-Akemp and Ashley Houghton. Duyst-Akemp and Houghton each receive “an unrestricted grant of $3,000 for their commitment to socially conscious work and working outside of traditional forms. MAKER Grants are funded by Chicago Artists Coalition and OtherPeoplesPixels.” More here.
Thoma Foundation Names First Director
The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation has appointed Holly Harrison as director, the first executive leadership appointment in the history of the Foundation. “Harrison’s appointment brings the Foundation’s work in closer alignment with the Organization’s mission and vision, bolstering the arts and museum loan program while expanding rural education initiatives. With a strong focus on grantmaking in the rural Southwest, Harrison will advance the Foundation’s vision of operating at the intersection of arts and education philanthropy, with a strong emphasis on equity, entrepreneurship and innovation.” More here.
Garden Planned For Obama Center
“Slated to open in Chicago in 2025, the Eleanor Roosevelt Fruit and Vegetable Garden will honor the legacies of two first ladies,” reports the New York Times.
Electric Scooters Now Permanent
“Divvy has retrofitted more than 230 docked stations to accommodate scooters, bikes and e-bikes in and near Downtown. There will be 1,000 scooters in service by the end of June,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Divvy representatives handed out 300 $5 Divvy ride credits to celebrate the launch.”
Tulsa Tallchief Statue To Be Restored
“Enough pieces of a bronze statue of a famous Native American ballerina that was stolen in Tulsa have been recovered to restore it, historical officials said,” reports Associated Press. “The additional missing pieces of the statue of Marjorie Tallchief that were found include the head, said Tulsa Historical Society and Museum Director Michelle Place… Still missing are the lower portion of each leg, both feet and one arm, but Gary Henson, one of the original sculptors, said he will be able to restore it. ‘You won’t be able to tell that it was ever cut up when I’m done.'”
DINING & DRINKING
Organic Farmers See Prices Steady
Bargains may be found this season at farmers markets: “Partly due to the war in Ukraine, the cost of synthetic fertilizer has skyrocketed this year, with farmers sometimes paying three or four times 2020 prices,” reports WBEZ. “Organic farmers don’t use synthetic fertilizer, and that—coupled with rising food prices at the supermarket—may give them and their customers an advantage this season. Several area farmers who use organic methods said their prices will remain steady compared to last year at the markets—good news for a sector that has had to battle plenty of other headwinds, including excess rainfalls, flooding and other likely impacts of climate change.”
Idaho School Board “Forever” Bans Twenty-Four Books
“The Nampa School District in Nampa, Idaho, has voted to ban twenty-four titles from the district’s libraries, ‘forever,'” reports LitHub. “In addition to ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ (which is purportedly on the list because of sex, not because the school board members object to the enslavement of women being portrayed in a negative light), the banned titles include Toni Morrison’s ‘The Bluest Eye,’ Laurie Halse Anderson’s ‘Speak,’ and ‘It’s Perfectly Normal: Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health,’ a book that teaches kids about puberty.”
Gospel Music Festival, Blues Festival And Millennium Summer Music Series Lineups Set
Riot Fest Announces Lineup
Riot Fest, one of the largest remaining independent festivals in the country, returns to Douglass Park across five stages September 16–18 for its seventeenth year. Headliners include My Chemical Romance on Friday, The Original Misfits on Saturday (performing their debut “Walk Among Us,” which turned forty this year), and Nine Inch Nails on Sunday. Notable first-timers for Riot Fest 2022 include Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Bauhaus and a reunited Sunny Day Real Estate, as well as first-time sets from Portugal. The Man, Yungblud, Placebo, Jeff Rosenstock, Lunachicks, The Linda Lindas and Lucky Boys Confusion. Returning acts include Alkaline Trio, Bad Religion, and Descendents, hip-hop acts like Ice Cube and Action Bronson, and fest favorites Sleater-Kinney, Jimmy Eat World, The Front Bottoms, and The Wonder Years. Over eighty-five bands will play at Douglass Park September 16-18. More details here. Tickets here.
Lyric Opera Announces Ryan Opera Center Ensemble
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist-development program at Lyric Opera of Chicago, announces the complete roster of sixteen artists for its 2022-23 Ensemble. The Ensemble begins its rigorous program this month in Chicago. First-year sopranos Kathryn Henry and Lindsey Reynolds, tenors Ryan Capozzo and Alejandro Luévanos, baritones Laureano Quant and Ian Rucker, and basses Ron Dukes and William Clay Thompson join six returning members of the Ensemble: soprano Denis Vélez, mezzo-soprano Katherine DeYoung, tenors Martin Luther Clark and Lunga Eric Hallam, conductor/pianist Donald Lee III, and pianist Chris Reynolds. In addition, the Ryan Opera Center is expanding its ranks in 2022-23 to include two new positions: Director and Stage Manager. Filling these roles for the first time in the program’s history will be Ryan Opera Center Director Luther H. Lewis III and Stage Manager Tess Naval. Each will be offered a comprehensive array of training activities and performance experiences that will be tailored to the individual artists and provide them with the skills, expertise, and professional network needed to launch successful careers.
R. Kelly Cook County Trial Begins August 1
“R. Kelly’s federal trial in Chicago is set to kick off in August after a judge denied a request to postpone it by three months,” reports the Trib. “In a motion filed Monday, Kelly’s lawyer, Jennifer Bonjean, asked for the delay based on a number of factors, including the complexity of the charges, the enormous amount of evidence that has been turned over, and her relatively late entry into the hot-button case… U.S. District Judge Harry Leinenweber denied the request, saying the nearly three-year-old case had seen too many delays already. Any further postponement would have also been complicated by continuing COVID-19 protocols at the Dirksen U.S. Courthouse, as well as the issue of Kelly’s two co-defendants, Derrel McDavid and Milton ‘June’ Brown, who have previously said they were ready for trial.”
Underscore Theatre World-Premieres “Notes & Letters”
Underscore Theatre Company celebrates its tenth anniversary season with the world premiere of “Notes & Letters,” featuring book, music and lyrics by Annabelle Lee Revak, based on letters Revak’s great-great grandfather Joe Loula sent to his family upon his immigration to Chicago from Eastern Europe. Originally slated to open in the spring of 2020, the musical is directed by Leah Geis, with music direction by Anna Wegener and choreography by Ebrin R. Stanley. “Notes & Letters” “follows Joe’s journey from war-torn Prague to Williams Piano Shop in Chicago in 1917. He quickly befriends the owner Charlie, his girlfriend Nora and composer Olivia. The foursome become inseparable–until World War I hits the U.S. Businesses, relationships and lives are put to the test. Based on a true story and set to a jazz-contemporary score, four young people struggle to make choices amid complete chaos.” Through May 28 at the Richard Christiansen Theater, 2433 North Lincoln. Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE
The Roe Beat
Governor Pritzker calls for federal abortion protections, reports WGN-TV. At the Reader, Deanna Isaacs casts doubt on sustaining Illinois health protections, talking to Terry Cosgrove, longtime head of pro-choice political action committee Personal PAC. “In the Congress? It’s not going to happen this year,” Cosgrove says. “We don’t have the votes in the Senate. I don’t know why people are wasting their time and energy even talking about that when we have two Illinois Supreme Court races [in districts two and three, north and northwest of Chicago] in a few months that are going to decide the future of abortion rights in the state of Illinois. If we don’t win them, the right-wingers have lawsuits in the Illinois court system right now seeking to overturn HB 40 [signed by Governor Bruce Rauner in 2017] and the Reproductive Health Act [signed by Governor J.B. Pritzker in 2019]. If HB 40 is struck down, our trigger law, which says the day Roe v. Wade is overturned abortion and birth control and IVF are all illegal in Illinois, is back in effect. That’s what’s riding on the ballot.”
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