Hindman Sets New House Record For Fine Arts Auction
Works by Ed Clark, John Craxton and Gertrude Abercrombie led Hindman Auctions’ May 11 post-war and contemporary art auction to a $4,491,375 million total, a house record for a fine art sale and more than doubling its presale estimate. “We knew the top lots by current market darlings would have strong interest, but it was beyond refreshing to see the prime examples at every price point receiving enthusiastic engagement and aggressive participation,” Zack Wirsum, Hindman’s director and senior specialist for post-war and contemporary art says in a release. “In addition to hitting a major milestone with the sale achieving the highest result for a fine art sale in the history of the company, it was also great to see people raising paddles live in the auction room again, which contributed to the vibrance of the day.” Details here.
Preservation Chicago Wants City To Do More To Protect Historic Structures From Fire
“It’s just a terrible loss to lose these structures time, and time again, to fire,” Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago tells CBS News of the destruction of the Antioch Baptist Church. “And we need to find an alternative.” “His organization is proposing that Chicago follow a decades-old New York City law, banning propane torch use on wooden roofs. The practice is blamed for starting the fire at Antioch and Bronzeville’s Pilgrim Baptist church back in 2006. ‘If propane torches were made illegal by city ordinance, that would have never occurred,’ Miller said. But roofers CBS 2 spoke to said the process remains the best way to make repairs, and if banned, would mean a price hike for consumers.”
Developer Wants To Demolish 130-Year-Old Edgewater Church
A developer is seeking to demolish the Epworth Church that dates back to the early days of Edgewater, reports Block Club Chicago. “Ald. Harry Osterman (48th) said he is looking to landmark Edgewater’s Epworth Church… A demolition permit is being sought for the 130-year-old Epworth United Methodist Church, 5253 North Kenmore. The permit was received by the city Friday, triggering a ninety-day review to see if demolition of the historically protected Edgewater church is appropriate.”
Minnesota Zoo Turning Defunct Monorail Track Into Elevated Pedestrian Loop
The Minnesota Zoo’s Skytrail monorail, which opened in 1979, “was beset with a host of headline-grabbing headaches from early on including early engineering and financing hiccups followed by a lukewarm reception from zoo guests after its (delayed) opening… The system, which afforded guests with a birds-eye view of the zoo’s outdoor Northern Hemisphere habitats, was plagued by woes including temporary closures, electrical malfunctions and a June 2000 crash that injured more than a dozen riders,” reports the Architect’s Newspaper. “In September 2013, the aging monorail system was permanently shuttered due to prohibitive modernization costs, its cars sold off and its track left standing vacant. In 2019, the Minnesota Zoo announced that the still-standing track would be converted into a 1.25-mile-long elevated pedestrian walkway as part of a years-in-the-works adaptive reuse scheme—a scheme that’s now taking physical form following a groundbreaking ceremony… Slated for completion the summer of 2023, the repurposed monorail track, the Treetop Trail, is billed by the zoo as the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop.”
DINING & DRINKING
Hyde Park’s Mellow Yellow Sold After Nearly Half-A-Century
An outpost of Oooh Wee It Is! will take the place of the forty-six-year-old Hyde Park restaurant Mellow Yellow, reports Block Club. “Mellow Yellow, which opened in 1976 and specialized in 70s fare like quiches, crêpes and baked potatoes, will close following its last day of operation Sunday. It will be replaced by a new Oooh Wee It Is! location, featuring the brand’s ‘soul food with a twist’ specialties, its trademark cereal bar, a pasta bar and robot servers.”
Azn Pryde Pop-Up In Avondale
“Two local chefs who have built a following selling Asian American food on Instagram and at pop-ups are bringing a market dedicated to Asian culture to Avondale,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Cat Pham, who sells Vietnamese noodle dishes on Instagram, and Ash Lemasters, the chef behind vegan bento box pop-up Snackie Chan, are behind the first Azn Pryde Market, set for Sunday, May 22 at Metropolitan Brewing… Nearly three dozen Asian vendors selling everything from jewelry to ceramics are slated to participate in the event. A group of Asian chefs that includes Pham and Lemasters will cook a pay-what-you-can, cafeteria-style meal for marketgoers.” Details here.
Chain Restaurants Pushing Out Independents Nationwide
“Big, sit-down restaurant brands are winning on a local level by offering dining experiences that appeal to the broadest audience possible. Familiarity is their secret sauce,” reports The Counter. “But as independent restaurants disappear in record numbers, dining in them contributes to a broadening restaurant monoculture that is eroding the culinary integrity of our communities… Despite the effects of almost two years of stagnating growth in the restaurant sector as a whole, chain restaurants are doing more business now than they did before the pandemic.”
Trader Joe’s Workers Latest To Seek Union Representation
“Trader Joe’s United is following the successful and exciting model of Chris Smalls and the Amazon Labor Union by forming a new, independent union. Lots of workers like that bottom-up, self-organizing model, formed by their coworkers,” posts veteran labor reporter Steven Greenhouse of a union drive in Hadley, Massachusetts. “Trader Joe’s has over 530 locations nationwide… and an estimated revenue of $16.5 billion in 2020,” reports the Boston Globe. “The company faced backlash at the beginning of the pandemic from employees who said Trader Joe’s wasn’t doing enough to protect its workers from the coronavirus. Crew members involved in the union push in Hadley organized themselves, their letter stated, ‘with the same instinctive teamwork we use every day to break pallets, work the load, bag groceries, and care for our customers.'” The letter the workers sent to the company CEO is here.
Deal Near To Reopen Abbott Michigan Infant Formula Plant
The administration “is expected to announce an agreement to reopen the largest domestic manufacturing plant of infant formula and to ease import rules to allow supplies in from overseas, amid a nationwide shortage spurred by the Michigan plant’s shutdown earlier this year over safety issues,” reports AP (via WGN-TV). “A consent decree between the producer, Abbott, and the Food and Drug Administration that would pave the way for reopening the plant is ‘forthcoming,’ said Brian Deese, the director of the… National Economic Council. He added the agency would also take steps Monday to allow more foreign imports into the U.S. to address the urgent supply constraints… Deese said the administration ‘made clear to all of them that federal resources, including transportation and logistics resources, are available and on call and we are prepared to move assets in coordination with them as and when we identify need.’”
The Detroit News reports: “For three months, the Abbott plant in Sturgis has remained ‘voluntarily’ closed… The company has said it’s working to correct findings related to the processes, procedures and conditions cited by FDA inspectors in March that raised concerns [about potential] contamination.” “Of course, every step of the way we have an obligation to watch to make sure that the problems have been rectified, and that the formula will be safe and also contain the constituents that are needed—remembering that the normal formula has over thirty constituents that must be there as a substitute for breast milk,” said Food and Drugs Commissioner Robert Califf.
FILM & TELEVISION
Illinois Film Tax Credit Expands July 1
The economic impact on local film and television production is likely to increase after the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit expansion goes into effect July 1, Peter Hawley, director of the Illinois Film Office, tells the Daily Herald. “Established in 2008, the program provides a thirty-percent tax credit for all qualified Illinois expenditures, including resident cast, crew and vendor costs… ‘What that means is we suddenly have become more competitive with other states such as Jersey and New Mexico,’ according to Hawley, who says the film industry ‘has been begging us to expand the tax credit.’ Accompanying the credit expansion is the establishment of a workforce training program for people interested in film. That in turn will ‘grow Illinois’ [homegrown] crew base,’ Hawley said, adding ‘a rising tide lifts all boats. More work is more work.'” More details on the program at the link.
Filmmaker Hong Sang-Soo Says Cézanne In Chicago Changed His Life
Highly prolific Korean filmmaker Hong Sang-soo, who attended the School of the Art Institute, talks with Dennis Lim at the New Yorker about how an experience in Chicago led him to art. “I’m grateful for the place, because that’s where I met Cézanne, who, for me, was the greatest. I saw this apple painting [‘The Plate of Apples’] for the first time in an art museum. I was a student, so I had a free pass. I was standing there talking to myself, like, ‘This is enough. I don’t need anything more. It still is the greatest.’ I didn’t analyze it, but, naturally, I ask myself: why? Maybe his way of proportionalizing the abstract and the concrete is just right for me. I think that’s why, when I see his paintings, I never get bored. I can keep looking at them. They’re very fresh all the time. With other artists, I get bored as soon as I can see their point of view, their intention, their style—O.K., it’s good, but that’s it. But, for me, Cézanne is different—always fresh, always something more.”
“Afro-Punk” Filmmaker James Spooner At Chicago Humanities
Chicago Humanities Festival presents James Spooner and Jill Hopkins at Empty Bottle to talk about the director of “Afro-Punk”‘s coming-of-age graphic memoir “The High Desert.” There will be live performances curated by Spooner afterwards, featuring The Bollweevils, Buggin, Canal Irreal and DJ Major Taylor. Wednesday, May 18; more information here; tickets here.
“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!” Relocates To Studebaker Theater
“Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!,” NPR’s weekly hourlong quiz program, will resume live audience recordings at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building (410 South Michigan). Audiences will be among the first to experience the theater’s multimillion-dollar restoration, nearing completion under the direction of property owner Berger Realty Group. Tickets for the inaugural taping on Thursday, June 9 can be found here. “After more than two years wandering in the wilderness, by which I mean my spare bedroom, I feel like Noah did when he saw the dove,” Peter Sagal japes in a release. “Finally! A new home for us all! I can stop sharing a bathroom with a pair of gazelles and two cheetahs. We are utterly delighted to become the resident comedy news quiz of the Studebaker Theater, and look forward to living up to the ideal of cutting edge innovation implied by the name ‘Studebaker.’”
Chicago Philharmonic Plays “Black Panther” In Concert
The Chicago Philharmonic Society performs “Black Panther in Concert” at the Chicago Theatre on June 18, the weekend of Juneteenth. Guest artists joining Chicago Philharmonic’s musicians include conductor Emil de Cou; world-renowned Senegalese tama talking drum player Massamba Diop; and Chicago native flutist Steve Kujala. The Chicago Philharmonic will perform Ludwig Göransson’s Oscar and Grammy-winning score live to picture. “Ludwig Göransson’s score for this movie is truly a wonder of modern composition, and an ingenious blend of traditional African and Western music,” artistic director and principal conductor Scott Speck says in a release. “The two main characters are both given leitmotifs, which is a classical music tradition, but with a twist. T’Challa’s leitmotif is a talking drum rhythm, which Massamba Diop created and recorded for the original recording of the score. Killmonger’s leitmotif is played by the Fula flute, which will be performed in Chicago by Steve Kujala, one of the world’s foremost experts in ethnic flutes.” Tickets start at $50 here.
Concert Pianist Alexander Toradze Was Sixty-Nine
Georgian concert pianist Alexander Toradze, who was stricken during a performance in Vancouver before he was to perform as part of the Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra’s closing concert of its forty-fourth season, has died, reports Classic FM. “During the second of two concertos, he experienced acute heart failure while performing, but Toradze kept on playing, unaware of the medical danger…Toradze died just over two weeks later at his home in South Bend, Indiana. He had been due to perform Prokofiev’s Piano Concerto No. 3 with the Illinois Philharmonic.” His friend Joseph Horowitz, former New York Times music critic, recounts the volcanic personality of his longtime friend here. “Lexo’s suburban South Bend home was the site of innumerable gargantuan dinners and post-concert parties. His Russian and Georgian students ate pizza, played basketball, and barbecued salmon in their backyards. They shopped for steak and vodka in the early hours of the morning in vast twenty-four hour food marts. It was all a testimony to Lexo’s personal magnetism; the warmth of his nature, his depth of experience.”
ARTS & CULTURE
The Roe Beat
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts, of the Cubs-owning Ricketts family, will immediately convene a special session of the legislature for a total ban of abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned by the Supreme Court, reports CNN. Starbucks will cover travel costs for employees seeking abortions, reports the New York Times. “Starbucks would reimburse travel expenses for employees who need abortions and cannot get them within a hundred miles of their homes, joining the small group of companies that have moved to protect employee abortion access as the Supreme Court appears likely to soon overturn Roe v. Wade.”
U. S. Casinos Had Best Month Ever In March, Garnering $5.3 Billion
“The American Gaming Association, the gambling industry’s national trade group, reports that U.S. commercial casinos won more than $5.3 billion from gamblers in March, the best single-month total ever. The previous record month was July 2021 at $4.92 billion,” reports Voice of America. “The casinos collectively also had their best first quarter ever, falling just short of the $14.35 billion they won from gamblers in the fourth quarter of last year, which was the highest three-month period in history. Three states set quarterly revenue records to start this year: Arkansas ($147.4 million); Florida ($182 million), and New York ($996.6 million). The numbers do not include tribal casinos, which report their income separately and are expected to report similarly positive results.”
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