Sun-Times Editorial Board For The Birds
“Chicago should be doing more to protect migratory birds,” the Sun-Times editorial board writes on the danger to migratory birds traversing Chicago skies: “One place to start is the McCormick Place Lakeside Center, whose large window panes have long attracted migrating birds to their deaths as they fly into the glass. Built before the lakefront protection ordinance of the early 1970s and situated right on the lakefront, the building is a hazard for disoriented birds… Since the early 1980s, more than 42,000 birds have been found dead after [colliding] with Lakeside’s windows. The building is one of the biggest bird hazards in Chicago, which is situated on a major avian migration flyway. In 2019, Cornell University listed Chicago as the most dangerous city for birds.”
Apple Challenges Union Organizers
Starbucks, Amazon, and now Apple: “Apple is circulating anti-union talking points to store leaders to use with employees in the United States, amid fears that a wave of unionization could break out across its U.S. stores,” reports Motherboard. Reports More Perfect Union: “Apple Store workers in Maryland are attempting to form the company’s first U.S. union. While CEO Tim Cook made $98 million last year, workers face threats from customers and are barely scraping by. ‘There’s a revolution coming and it’s gonna be one retail store at a time,'” an employee predicts.
DINING & DRINKING
WBEZ Maps Chicago Farmers Markets
There’s seventy or so out there, and prices will likely be more affordable this year in contrast to synthetic fertilizer-driven crops, reports WBEZ. “Healthy organic food remains fairly untouched by inflation that is driving up prices at grocery stores, and several event organizers say they are making it easier this year for recipients of Illinois Link/SNAP food assistance cards to use their benefits.”
“Beverly Kim and Johnny Clark have spent the past year renovating the [Parachute] space and rewriting the menu to emphasize Korean flavors,” reports Eater Chicago. “The new Parachute menu will lean more into Korean cuisine. The two chefs are still determining exactly what will be on it, but the selection will be tighter. That’s a financial consideration, Kim says, based on the realities of running a restaurant during a pandemic when costs are rising everywhere. Focusing on fewer items while staffing shortages affect the industry seems like a smart business move. Another reason for the change? There’s an increased availability of higher-quality Korean ingredients.”
India Bans Wheat Exports; Cooking Oil Shortage Worldwide
The world’s second-largest wheat producer has banned most wheat exports, reports the New York Times. “The war has interrupted wheat production in Ukraine and Russia, which are major suppliers. Fighting and blockades in the Black Sea have disrupted transport of the grain. And poor harvests in China, along with a heat wave in India and drought in other countries, have further snarled global supply. India has about ten percent of the world’s grain reserves.” India “has been seen for months as a country that could help make up for global supply shortages.” Food protests in Iran turn violent. The Guardian: “Soaring prices of wheat and basic goods bring protests to cities across Iran as internet outages suggest attempted clampdown.” Protests began after “a cut in state subsidies for imported wheat that caused price hikes of as much as 300% for a variety of flour-based staples. The government of President Ebrahim Raisi also raised prices of basic goods such as cooking oil and dairy products.” Business Insider looks at shortages in six countries: “The global cooking-oil supply is taking a hit from the war in Ukraine… International consumers are struggling to stock up or find replacements… British fish-and-chips shops are raising prices and bulk ordering supplies. Costs were already steadily increasing before Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent prices soaring. Then cooking oil, a main ingredient for chips shops, took a hit. Andrew Crook, owner of Skippers fish-and-chips shops in Lancashire in northwest England,… who also serves as president of the National Federation of Fish Friers, said that shops, including his own, were stocking up in anticipation of continued price hikes and limited supplies.”
Chicago’s Abbott Laboratories: Infant Formula A Couple Months Away
“Abbott Laboratories says it hopes to restart its Sturgis, Michigan factory in two weeks, pending approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Abbott added that baby formula would probably take six to eight weeks to reach stores,” reports the Guardian. The Los Angeles Times reports on shortages: “The crisis has been deepening for months, as millions of parents scramble to feed their children. But low-income mothers… have been hit particularly hard. About half of all infant formula sold in the United States is purchased through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, or WIC, which pays for food for pregnant people and children under five living in or near poverty.” The Atlantic has a primer on the complex set of problems: “Three factors are driving the U.S. baby-formula shortage: bacteria, a virus, and a trade policy… FDA regulation of formula is so stringent that most of the stuff that comes out of Europe is illegal to buy here due to technicalities like labeling requirements… Under President Donald Trump, the U.S. entered into a new North American trade agreement that actively discourages formula imports from our largest trading partner, Canada.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Quietly Artful: Silent Film Accompanists
Dennis Scott “has been the Music Box Theatre’s house organist since 1992; in 2011 he started a monthly silent cinema series that continues to this day. ‘It was the music,’ he says of his deep affection for the pastime. ‘I always just loved the music, and I loved the sound of a theater organ,'” writes Kathleen Sachs, profiling the range of accompanists playing at Chicago theaters at the Reader. “Scott is one of several musicians in and around Chicago for whom live silent film accompaniment is a regular gig. Another in this cadre is Dave Drazin, who accompanies on the piano and has done so at the Gene Siskel Film Center for nearly forty years.” (More here.)
“Sixteen Candles” Evanston Home Latest John Hughes Spot On The Block
“The five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot brick Georgian-style house in northwest Evanston where ‘Sixteen Candles’ was filmed” is yours for $1.65 million, reports the Trib. “The Evanston Georgian is the home of [Molly] Ringwald and her family, with numerous scenes shot both inside and outside the home… Built in 1931, the home has four full bathrooms, two half-baths, two fireplaces, a living room with plaster cast moldings, a kitchen with a breakfast room and new appliances, a recently renovated primary bedroom suite, a second-floor laundry, a finished attic with space for a media room, a rec room and an office, and a finished basement with a rec room and an exercise area.”
Chicago Music Promoter, Booker, Club Owner Helen Wooten Was Seventy-Two
“At a time [when] Chicago nightclubs pulsated with the sounds of The Jackson 5 and The Chi-Lites, Helen Wooten stood out,” reports Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times. “And not just for her flaming red hair, sharp way of dressing and the golden Rolls-Royce Corniche she drove. Miss Wooten promoted, booked and managed hot music acts at such famed South Side clubs as the High Chaparral, the Godfather Lounge and Perv’s House, run by Pervis Staples of the Staple Singers. Sometimes, she had invested in the venues, too.” Writes O’Donnell: “In addition to The Chi-Lites and The Jackson 5, Miss Wooten booked or provided other boosts to the careers of performers including The Temptations, LL Cool J, Will Smith, En Vogue, Donell Jones and Da Brat. If performers needed help, she’d buy them groceries, get them clothes, pay their rent.” (Much more here.)
Remembering Cynthia Plaster Caster
The Hideout’s booked this Sunday in memory of the indefatigable Cynthia Albritton, best known as Cynthia Plaster Caster. “Artist, writer and recovering groupie, Cynthia was known as the ultimate music fan but she also deeply loved film,” the organizers write. The tribute will include rare clips, home movies and Jessica Everleth’s feature bio-doc, “Plaster Caster.” (Ray Pride’s February 2001 Newcity feature and interview on the film is here.) “Cynthia’s love of music is well-known but she also had a deep love of film,” close friend and Chicago Underground Film Festival artistic director Bryan Wendorf tells Newcity. “In the early 90s, she regularly attended weekly Sunday night movie parties at my house and was a constant presence at CUFF. For Cynthia, Sunday was always movie night which makes it fitting that we are doing this this Sunday evening.” The Hideout’s Tim Tuten is a fan, too: “Cynthia Plaster Caster’s smile and spirit filled the Hideout for over twenty-five years. She was often in the audience, onstage or on the screen and always present. We will never let that go. She will always be molded into our DNA. Cynthia is not a statue to us. She is a living goddess.” $10 suggested donation; proceeds go to Girls Rock Chicago. The Facebook link for the Sunday, May 22 evening is here.
Is This Anthony Davis’ Breakout Moment?
Anthony Davis’ 1986 opera “X” will play five cities, including Chicago, reports writes Seth Colter Walls at the New York Times. “That’s fitting for Davis, seventy-one, who as an undergraduate at Yale University in the late 1960s and early 1970s, studied opera scores by Wagner, Berg and Strauss—but also attended concerts by cutting-edge jazz artists. Later, he was a witness to some early rehearsals of Steve Reich’s ‘Music for 18 Musicians,’ while, at the same time, playing with Rashied Ali, a drummer most famous for his work with John Coltrane… After the new staging’s premiere in Detroit, it will travel [to] Opera Omaha (the city where Malcolm X was born) and the Met, as well as Seattle Opera and Lyric Opera of Chicago—all of them partners in what has become a coast-to-coast coproduction… ‘X’ has never been played so widely. And interest in it could pay off in more visibility for Davis himself, who may be the least well-known of the great living American composers, but whose career is ripe for attention and reassessment.”
League of Chicago Theatres Seeks Executive Director
The League of Chicago Theatres has posted an extensive call for a new executive director here. “The Executive Director will be an inspirational, creative, and forward-thinking industry shaper with an exceptional understanding of the dynamics of cultural ecosystems in the United States. The Executive Director will have a passion for the performing arts, and solid managerial experience that can leverage the infrastructure of a small nonprofit to secure and prioritize the use of resources to create efficient and effective impacts for constituents.” (More at the link.)
Artemisia Theatre World-Premieres “Roe v US”
Chicago’s Artemisia Theatre will present the world premiere of “Roe v US,” written and directed by Kelcey Anyá, one weekend only, July 14-17, at Filament Theatre in Portage Park. “Roe is your teacher, your sister, your mother, your cousin. Roe is your friend, your mentor, your pastor’s wife. Roe is the CEO of a Fortune 500 company; Roe is the five-star athlete; Roe is you or someone you’re close to. In a society that views human rights as an issue of right and wrong, ‘Roe v US’ puts on trial society’s commentary on morality and confronts the grueling real-life consequences of choice.” Chicago actors Abby Chafe, Ginger De Leon and Ana Silva play multiple roles. Performances will be presented workshop-style, followed by audience discussions. Tickets are $25 here.
TimeLine Theatre Company Announces Season
TimeLine Theatre Company, which presents plays that explore social and political issues through reflection on the past, has announced its twenty-sixth season. “After celebrating its twenty-fifth anniversary in residence at Theater Wit—a season that featured the world premiere hit ‘Relentless,’ which went on to an extended run at Goodman Theatre—the company will return to its longtime home in Lakeview East for three productions.” TimeLine’s 2022-23 season will feature two previously announced plays that were postponed due to the pandemic, including “a world premiere developed through the TimeLine Playwrights Collective that nurtured ‘Relentless’ and a landmark classic that had a Tony Award-nominated production on Broadway. The third is an exciting world premiere from a Los Angeles-based playwright new to Chicago.” The plays are the world premiere of “Campaigns, Inc.” by TimeLine company member Will Allan, developed through TimeLine’s Playwrights Collective and directed by TimeLine associate artistic director Nick Bowling, a comedy about “the power that persuasion, deceit, and perception hold in the U.S. electoral system”; “Trouble in Mind,” by Alice Childress, directed by TimeLine company member Ron OJ Parson, a comic backstage drama about interracial politics and the way people talk about race; and the world premiere of “Boulevard of Bold Dreams” by LaDarrion Williams, directed by Malkia Stampley, “set on the night in 1940 that Hattie McDaniel made history at the Oscars.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE
The Roe Beat
Thousands gathered and marched Saturday in Chicago to support abortion rights, reports the Tribune. “The Rally for Abortion Justice, part of a nationwide Bans Off Our Bodies Day of Action, began at Union Park… Chanting ‘Abortion is healthcare, abortion is a right,’ ‘My body my choice’ and ‘Let us choose,’ the supporters began walking east on Washington Boulevard… before making their way to the city’s Loop neighborhood, at Wacker Drive and LaSalle Street about an hour later.” Brief video from the march from Sun-Times’ Mary Norkol: “Heading north on Michigan Ave now. Some cars are honking in support as protesters chant ‘shut shit down’ and ‘abortion rights in every state.'” The Intercept presents “An Abortion In Mississippi,” a nine-minute documentary: “When Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement from the Supreme Court last summer, many people feared for the future of Roe v. Wade. Reporter Jordan Smith and filmmaker Maisie Crow went to Mississippi, one of the states where abortion rights are most threatened, and followed a young woman, Danielle, through the labyrinthine process of obtaining an abortion at the last clinic in the state.” Margaret Atwood writes at the Atlantic about inventing Gilead: “Although I eventually completed [the] novel and called it ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,’ I stopped writing it several times, because I considered it too far-fetched. Silly me. Theocratic dictatorships do not lie only in the distant past: There are a number of them on the planet today. What is to prevent the United States from becoming one of them? …Women were nonpersons in U.S. law for a lot longer than they have been persons. If we start overthrowing settled law using Justice Samuel Alito’s justifications, why not repeal votes for women?”
Loyola University Elects Twenty-Fifth President
Mark C. Reed, EdD, MBA, was elected unanimously by the Board of Trustees as the twenty-fifth president of Loyola University Chicago in May. Dr. Reed “joins Loyola after seven years as the first non-Jesuit president at Saint Joseph’s University, and before that, fifteen years in senior leadership roles across Fairfield University. His career has focused on strengthening the institutions he has served, particularly in the areas of expanded academic programs, strategic partnerships, university finances and endowment, student formation, and advancement of the Jesuit, Catholic mission,” the University relays. “Dr. Reed is a lifelong product of Jesuit, Catholic education beginning with his time in high school at St. Joseph’s Prep. He earned his BS in mathematics and MBA from Fairfield University, as well as a MEd in secondary educational administration from Boston College, both fellow Jesuit universities.”
Lincoln College Shutters
“The college named after America’s legendary president is closing Friday, about six weeks after a shocking announcement that lower-than-anticipated enrollment would cause the 157-year-old, predominantly Black institution in central Illinois to shut down without a $50 million infusion,” reports the Trib. “Enrollment had already been trending downward, but a ransomware attack that struck in December knocked out the college’s computer system and obscured how dire the picture had become… Students and staff members rallied to try to raise enough money to keep the school going, setting up a GoFundMe page, soliciting foundations and hunting for a wealthy angel donor. But in the end, it was too much to raise in too short of a time.”
How Can Historically Corrupt Chicago Insure That A Mega-Casino Will Stay On The Up-And-Up?
“Most of the work vetting investors and contractors will fall to the Illinois Gaming Board, a state agency that has historically been understaffed and underfunded,” reports Dan Petrella at the Tribune. “Questions remain about how public officials and regulators will ensure everyone from the company’s top investors to the subcontractor who paves the parking lot is aboveboard. ‘You want to make sure the city is not in business with some nefarious individuals,’ said Jeff Cramer, a former federal prosecutor who has participated in investigations involving casino investors. ‘You don’t want to find that out after the fact.'”
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