Deaccessioned Paintings From Toledo Museum Garner $51.2 Million
Last week, three paintings from the Toledo Museum of Art’s collection took a combined $51.2 million at a Sotheby’s auction, reports the Toledo Blade. “In a letter to Toledo Museum of Art members dated April 8, Toledo Museum of Art director Adam Levine stated the funds raised… ‘will allow us to diversify our collection, seeking beauty without bias.’ … The museum plans to invest the funds to add more ‘diverse’ artwork to its permanent collection.”
Kicking The Tires Of The New Studebaker
Kerry Reid writes a history at the Reader of the Studebaker Theater while looking forward to its ambitious, post-renovation plans.
Who Is Downtown For?
“Youth organizers are outraged a clause in the curfew crackdown would exempt teens coming home from ticketed events. And they say discouraging teens from the places they feel safe Downtown will only make violence worse,” reports Melody Mercado at Block Club Chicago. “When the city treats teen gatherings downtown as a threat, is it blowing an opportunity?” writes Chip Mitchell at WBEZ. “Some experts say Chicago officials should be providing activities and services in Millennium Park to the kids flocking there.”
Urban Designer Paola Aguirre Serrano Awarded 2022 Prize In Public Art And Civic Design
Americans for the Arts has announced urban designer Paola Aguirre Serrano as winner of the 2022 Jorge and Darlene Pérez Prize in Public Art & Civic Design. “A first-of-its-kind national recognition program established by the Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation, the prize includes a cash stipend of $30,000 plus opportunities for Aguirre Serrano to participate in discussions about her work with national leaders in the arts and other allied fields. Aguirre Serrano, a native of Chihuahua, Mexico, was trained as an architect in Mexico and as an urban designer in the United States. She has practiced professionally for nearly fifteen years. In 2016, Aguirre Serrano founded Borderless Studio in Chicago and expanded in 2021 to San Antonio. The urban design and research practice is committed to both connecting communities with design processes and envisioning creative ways to invest in spatial justice and equitable spaces. Examples include projects like Creative Grounds, which explores the community and urban role of school grounds and was sparked by the closure of forty-five public schools in Chicago over the past nine years, the largest closure of public schools in the city’s history.” More here.
Wrigley Field Expansion Lays Foundation
Gambling is on the rise in Wrigleyville, reports YIMBY Chicago. “Initial foundation work is visible at the triangular parcel along the southeast corner of Wrigley Field, which will give way to a three-story DraftKings sportsbook and dining options. Co-developed by the Chicago Cubs and Marquee Development, this 22,350-square-foot addition at 1012 West Addison will replace the former Captain Morgan Club, which later became the Fantasy DraftKings Sports Zone.”
Paper Shortages Obstructing Elections
“Some state elections offices are having such a hard time finding paper that they could face missing legal deadlines for mailing ballots and notices in the upcoming elections, experts told a Senate committee,” reports Route Fifty. “‘The paper shortage is pervasive. It’s across all materials required to conduct an election,’ Tammy Patrick, a senior advisor on elections at the nonprofit Democracy Fund, told the Senate Rules Committee. ‘Unless the situation is remedied, statutorily required elections mailings and notices may not go out in time,’ said Patrick, who has been talking to elections officials and paper suppliers.”
Columnist In Bag For Fischer Paper Products
At the Sun-Times, Neil Steinberg goes in for another local manufacturing process piece, dropping in on Fischer Paper Products in Antioch: “A bag machine is essentially a modified web press—rolls of paper spool in one side, are printed with graphics, then folded to the right size, cut, sometimes perforated. If it’s a small, flat bag—think french fries—forming the bottom is a simple matter of folding over an edge and applying glue. A larger, flat-bottomed bag—think groceries—is a three-dimensional shape that must be created, then folded, and those pesky handles added. Thus, a flat bag can cost less than a penny; a shopping bag with handles, twenty times more… When 7-Eleven stores in Texas suddenly needed to put their hot chicken legs in some kind of bag… they had to find the right little bags to put them in. ASAP. So they made a desperate call to Fischer Paper Products in Antioch, fifty miles north of Chicago… ‘If the food is going to be sitting in this package in a warming oven for an hour, the materials have to hold up to heat or grease,’ said Joshua Fischer, company president and grandson of the founder.”
Rent? Too Damn High Nationwide
“If recent trends continue,” reports CNN, “the typical rent could be more than $2,000 a month by August… The continued surge in rental prices is driven by a mismatch between rental supply and rising demand, largely from would-be homebuyers… Beaten down by the high cost of buying a home, some prospective homeowners are opting to keep renting instead… Rents for studio apartments, which are often the most affordable housing option, continued to grow at a faster rate than larger units. This reverses the pattern from last year, particularly in the largest metros like New York City, where rents for studios are up twenty-nine percent since last year; Los Angeles, where they are up twenty-three percent; and Chicago, with a twenty-two percent increase. While studios were quickly vacated early in the pandemic, they are now in higher demand by those looking to move in to a place they can afford on their own or as they return to major city centers.”
DINING & DRINKING
Senators Kill Restaurant Revitalization
The Restaurant Revitalization Fund is officially dead, reports Eater. “The Senate voted down the ‘Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022,’ which would’ve added $40 billion in relief for the thousands of restaurant owners across the country still struggling after shutdowns, staffing shortages and operational woes.” It’s estimated that 90,000 restaurants have already closed during the ongoing pandemic. “Neighborhood restaurants nationwide have held out hope for this program, selling their homes, cashing out retirement funds, or taking personal loans in an effort to keep their employees working and their doors open,” Independent Restaurant Coalition president Erika Polmar said in a statement. National Restaurant Association president Michelle Korsmo “echoed those sentiments, saying that the vote will ‘result in more economic hardships for the families and communities across the country that rely on the restaurant industry.'”
Tabú, an addition to the Atomic Hospitality portfolio, has opened at 401 North Morgan in the former Brass Monkey space in the West Loop. “We wanted to create a concept that doesn’t take itself too seriously, but delivers on amazing food and cocktails in a cool atmosphere,” Pepe Fernandez, general manager at Tabú, says in a release. Executive chef Saúl Román, a Cuernavaca native with years of experience in Mexico City (and at Zocalo and Artango Steakhouse) delivers dishes that draw influence from the cuisines of Mexico, Spain and Colombia. Starters include Lobster Flautas, made with smoked gouda, red cabbage and lime serrano crema; Grilled Octopus made with crispy Forbidden Rice, manchamanteles (a rich sauce that translates to “tablecloth stainer”), grilled pineapple and charred lime; and the Queso Fundido Supremo, made to evoke a Supreme Pizza with a Latin twist. Chef Saul was able “to color outside the lines with his playful take on tacos, including a Shrimp Po’ Boy, Korean Sticky Mushroom, and the Que-FC fried chicken taco with tamarind gravy, and aji amarillo aioli.” More here.
McDonald’s Near Recent Mass Shooting Shuttered Over “Electrical Issues”
The McDonald’s at State And Chicago has been shut down due to “electrical issues,” reports WGN-TV. Inspectors “said the building is considered to be hazardous and dangerous due to an electrical issue. Mayor Lightfoot said that the building will have to come back into compliance before it can reopen.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Dick Wolf Is Busier Than Ever
Dick Wolf is profiled at Variety by Cynthia Littleton and talks about the 198 hours of television he’s producing this season. “Wolf Entertainment’s production feat has come into sharper focus now that there’s a season’s worth of ratings data to peruse. Indeed, while no one in Hollywood was paying attention, Wolf quietly reshaped the network television business to his own liking… He took advantage of an industry in transition to bulldoze past obstacles to creating the linear TV version of both a binge-watch and an intricate narrative metaverse. Universal Television-based Wolf Entertainment has filled three nights of primetime across two networks with blocs of scripted dramas from the ‘Law & Order,’ ‘One Chicago’ and ‘FBI’ constellations.” Much more here.
“Raging Bull” Movie Poster Artist, Skokie Native Kunio Hagio Was Seventy-Four
“Kunio Hagio’s poster art for ‘Raging Bull’ smolders with a ferocity that could make a boxer facing such an opponent want to flee the ring,” writes Maureen O’Donnell at the Sun-Times of one of the masterpieces of movie poster design. “Using oil paint, pencils and an airbrush, he created a sweat-drenched, bruised, hyper-realistic portrait of Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta that conveys a battered pugilist stalking his prey.” The Skokie native moved to Arizona years ago. “He thought the warm weather improved the flexibility of his right hand, his drawing hand, which he’d injured in his youth when a window at school slammed down on his ring and middle fingers.”
“To Render the Infinite: Visual Genealogies of Black Kinship” At Block Cinema
The program “To Render the Infinite” connects the work of Kevin Jerome Everson, Paige Taul [Newcity Film 50] and zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal in a visual genealogy, Block Cinema relays, “reflecting on the ways that filmmakers have captured and cultivated generational and familial relationships through the camera. Films like Paige Taul’s ‘7-7-94 For my babe’ and Kevin Jerome Everson’s ‘Flak-Kaserne Ludwigsburg’ serve as imaginative and speculative family portraits shot in vivid 16mm. zakkiyyah najeebah dumas o’neal’s ‘to render the infinite’ offers a found footage-driven response to the legacy of Lorraine Hansberry, exploring notions of belonging, intimacy and Black women’s relationship to the everyday.” Everson, Taul and o’neal will appear to discuss their films. Wednesday, May 25, 7pm, in-person at Block Museum. More here.
Growing Chicago Critics Film Festival Names Audience Award Winners
Looking forward to its tenth anniversary edition in 2023, the Chicago Critics Film Festival announced this year’s Audience Award winners following the ninth Chicago Critics Film Festival. Audiences selected the sold-out closing-night feature, “I Love My Dad,” starring Patton Oswalt as winner of the Audience Award for narrative features. “2nd Chance,” the story of the man who invented the concealable bulletproof vest, received the Audience Award for documentary. (“2nd Chance” was directed by Roger Ebert favorite Ramin Bahrani and edited by Chicago’s Aaron Wickenden [Newcity Film 50].) More on the festival here.
Spudnik Press Founding Director Says Farewell
Angee Lennard, founding director of Spudnik Press Cooperative, writes about the arrival of Spudnik’s next executive director, Sara Emerson. “The initial stages of this transition have heightened anxiety, and brought concerns about equity, transparency, and organizational culture to the forefront. Sara understands that as a member-based organization, community participation is essential for moving forward and I am excited about her early commitment to member engagement… Spudnik has experienced continual growth and expansion since the 2007 grand opening in my humble apartment… The next phase of growth may be less about scale and more about focusing on who Spudnik is, what Spudnik does, and how Spudnik operates… Spudnik has been looked to as an inspiration for many community print spaces across the country, and has helped shape the next generation of printmakers. This accomplishment is the direct result of an incredible network of current and past staff, teaching artists, volunteers, and board members contributing above and beyond. I am so grateful for everyone’s support… There remains a tremendous amount of work ahead to repair division, interrogate how privilege and inaccessibility show up in the organization, and rebuild finances and staff.”
Chicago Tribune Notes 175 Years Since Its Founding
The Tribune will be digging out stories from its 175 years in print over the next six weeks. The series is introduced by Rick Kogan: “A newspaper is not, of course, a living thing. It is, by its humblest definition, ink on paper, and that is the way it has been for a very long time. For the Chicago Tribune, that time began June 10, 1847, and over the next several Sundays, we will chart the 175-year history of this newspaper. That is, of course, a lot to bite off, for it is a story that has unfolded against the backdrop of this remarkable city. Chronicling Chicago, as well as the ‘outside’ world, has made for a colossal pile of Tribune pages, full of triumphs and tragedies, oddities and oddballs, events and people both wonderful and wild.”
Former Sun-Times Reporter, Editor Roy Wiley Was Eighty-Seven
“Roy Wiley got his start at the Chicago Sun-Times as a young college student,” writes Cadence Quaranta at the Sun-Times. “Wiley was hired as a copy clerk in 1952. He worked from midnight to 8am, and went to school during the day. And in the newsroom, he did anything and everything. And that’s when… he finally got his chance. A story needed covering, but no reporters were available. An editor looked at Wiley. ‘You want to be a reporter, right?’ he asked. ‘Yes, sir,’ Wiley answered… Wiley spent about sixteen years at the Sun-Times, where his jobs included automotive editor, marketing and stock market columnist and assistant financial editor. He also served as executive editor of Automobile Fleet magazine, then editor and publisher of American Savings & Loan Weekly.”
Collaboraction Announces Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Production
Collaboraction has announced “Moonset Sunrise,” its twenty-fifth anniversary production, with live performances June 8-18 at Beat Kitchen’s new Bar Sol on Navy Pier. “Through healing ritual, storytelling, song and dance, ‘Moonset Sunrise’ honors the sacred moment between the setting full moon and the rising sun, reconciling the past and celebrating our new now on the banks of Lake Michigan. ‘As we come out of the isolation and emotional toll of the past two years, we conceived ‘Moonset Sunrise’ as an experience of self-care and wellness and a communal first step to solidarity and racial healing,” Collaboraction artistic director Anthony Moseley says in a release. “This twenty-five-year production is really a gift to ourselves and our audience and, so, we have brought together an ensemble of incredible healer-artists to light up the vibration of love and care. ‘Moonset Sunrise’ is co-created by Pilar Audain, Anthony Moseley and Carla Stillwell, and features a six-piece live band and an all-star ensemble of poets, dancers and performers.” More here.
Steppenwolf Ensemble Member Austin Pendleton Profiled As Sustaining “Babe Magnet”
Director-actor Austin Pendleton, appearing in New York City in Tracy Letts’ “The Minutes,” gets play in the New Yorker: “Pendleton has been teaching acting at Greenwich Village’s HB Studio for half a century. In 2011, an article in the Post described how many of his female students found their rumpled, married septuagenarian teacher sexy, calling him a ‘babe magnet.’ An accompanying photo showed Pendleton surrounded by fourteen attractive acolytes. Reminded of the ‘babe magnet’ line recently, he thought for a moment, and said, ‘Still true.'” Pendleton has worked with Steppenwolf since 1979, when he directed “Say Goodnight, Gracie.” “Either they’d named themselves after a rock group, which is beyond pathetic,” he tells Henry Alford, “or after a novel by my least favorite novelist.” “But he ended up taking the gig and started auditioning the troupe—twelve relative unknowns. ‘For one role, I had to choose between Laurie Metcalf and Joan Allen,’ he said. A second role went to a guy named John Malkovich.”
Teachers To Strike At Blue Man Group’s New York Blue School
Teachers and staff at Blue School will strike on Tuesday, reports Jordan Zakarin. “The school, an independent school founded by Blue Man Group announced that it will refuse to recognize their union” in defiance of a bargaining order issued by the National Labor Relations Board. Teachers and school workers have attempted to unionize since December 2020.
ARTS & CULTURE
Mayoral Candidate Will Hand Another Million Dollars To Voters
“Mayoral candidate and businessman Willie Wilson is planning another $1 million giveaway,” reports the Sun-Times. Wilson is adding free groceries to his latest giveaway.“Food prices are so high,” Wilson said. “Everybody is in some type of need with these economic times. They need stuff. Prices are high, gasoline is high, everything seems to be very high.”
Lightfoot Pushes Council For Final Casino Vote
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot is giving City Council members more time—but not much more—to review the casino proposal she’s trying to ram through to approval,” writes Mitchell Armentrout at the Sun-Times. “Ald. Tom Tunney (44th), vice-chairman of Lightfoot’s hand-picked casino committee, on Friday delayed a plan to advance Bally’s River West casino proposal through to the full City Council, saying committee members ‘definitely need more time’ to review… new documents related to the $1.7 billion project. Tunney instead laid out a frenzied timeline for Monday: the committee will reconvene midway through a full City Council meeting, vote on the Bally’s agreement and an ordinance related to it, then take it back to the council. That would tee up the bid for full approval on Wednesday. It’s an incredibly unusual timeline for any legislation to move through the council, and an unnecessary one at that, according to downtown Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd), who is vehemently against Bally’s proposal.”
Bally’s offers $2 million to help with public safety near the proposed gambling palace: “That would be enough to cover the annual salaries of about 24 officers making $82,458 each, the city’s going rate for cops with eighteen months on the job. But thousands of officers make six figures in the department—which has seen massive attrition rates over the past few years—and while the $2 million is earmarked ‘to provide additional public safety services in the area,’ it’s not clear exactly what that entails,” writes Fran Spielman. Ald. Brendan Reilly emailed the Sun-Times: “The funding allocation for security for the permanent and temporary sites is totally insufficient. Whomever came up with those numbers pulled them out of thin air. Why? Because a public safety assessment was never prepared for either location, there are no legitimate estimates for what it will truly cost to secure these locations.”
The Roe Beat
The likely Roe ruling puts universities under pressure, reports Crain’s. “When the decision on the landmark abortion rights case comes down, campuses should expect students to mobilize for expanded reproductive health care and other policy changes.”
Potential New National Parks Include Illinois Sites
“The National Park Service oversees 423 parks, monuments, rivers and more… and twenty-seven new sites could soon be added,” reports WGN-TV. Those sites include the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home National Historic Site in Dixon, approved in 2002, and awaiting land acquisition. Others include the site of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot.
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