DARKROOM 2022 Raises $230,000 for MoCP
The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago’s DARKROOM, their annual benefit auction, brought in $230,000 to support the museum. Funds raised at DARKROOM will provide critical support for the museum’s exhibitions, collections and community engagement initiatives for the 2022-2023 season. The event was held at the Columbia College Chicago Student Center, co-chaired by Jennifer and Joe Shanahan. Over 300 guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, drinks and music while perusing auction items by celebrated contemporary artists. Works sold included pieces by Dawoud Bey, Terry Evans, Ayana Jackson, Dawit Petros, Alec Soth, Edra Soto and Penelope Umbrico. The benefit auction was presented by Sotheby’s. Longtime MoCP supporters Lawrence K. and Maxine Snider were honored during the evening for their contributions to the museum. For the past decade, they have sponsored the Snider Prize, which is a purchase award given to emerging artists in their final year of graduate study by the museum annually. Recent recipients Kei Ito and Alayna N Pernell were in attendance to help honor them. More here.
CAC Announces Thoma Foundation’s 2022 ENVISION Grant Recipients
Chicago Artists Coalition announces the recipients of the 2022 ENVISION Grant for Chicago-based artists working in the field of time-based digital and electronic art: Erica Gressman and Bun Stout. Gressman and Stout have been awarded unrestricted grants of $2,500 each for their demonstrated artistic excellence. The ENVISION Grant, now in its third year, is made possible by a partnership with the Carl & Marilynn Thoma Foundation. More from CAC here.
The “Limitless Vision” Of Virgil Abloh
“Everything Virgil Abloh did—from his work designing for Off-White and as artistic director for menswear at Louis Vuitton to his forays into art, music, film, and design to his collaborations with brands like Nike and Ikea—seemed irrepressibly democratic and forward-moving. It’s a concept central to the new Brooklyn Museum edition of the touring exhibition ‘Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech,”‘ which opens on July 1,” reports Harper’s Bazaar.
Amtrak Unveils Infrastructure Plan To Transform Chicago Operations
“Amtrak is seeking more than $200 million in federal funding, along with money from state and local sources, in an attempt to fix a series of longstanding deficiencies, capacity limitations and how trains from the south and east enter Chicago,” reports Trains. “The passenger operator is competing for a portion of $5 billion available between 2022 and 2026 under the National Infrastructure Project Assistance, or Mega Program. It seeks $251.1 million in federal grants, which it would match with $83.7 million from its annual appropriation and an equal amount from a combination of partners including transportation departments of Illinois, Michigan, and the City of Chicago; Metra; and Cook County.”
Could Secretary Buttigieg Do More To Pressure Airlines?
“In recent months, Peter Buttigieg has been all over the media, with eloquent speeches on everything from abortion rights, to a speech at Morgan State celebrating HBCUs, and one marking the seventieth anniversary of D-Day. But what about his day job?” asks Robert Kuttner at the American Prospect. “Several of these speeches, of course, did discuss aspects of transportation policy. But not a single one, and precious few of his actions as secretary, addressed the single biggest consumer frustration amenable to action by Buttigieg and his staff—the price-gouging and deteriorated service by the airlines. The long-suffering airline passenger is a potential voter. It’s hard to think of another area where aggressive action by a highly visible and charismatic Cabinet secretary would reinforce Biden’s faltering message that his administration is on the side of beleaguered consumers and against… special-interest industries. But while Buttigieg has been active and visible on noncontroversial issues that involve DOT such as implementing the bipartisan infrastructure law… on airline abuses he has been mostly AWOL.”
State Grants $2.1 Million To Transform Pilgrim Baptist Church Into Gospel Music Museum
The project to transform the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church into a museum of the history of gospel music got a jumpstart with $2.1 million in state funds, reports the Sun-Times. “Tumbled-down brick walls, nubs of charred timber—even the cast-iron frame and melted strings from what was once a baby grand piano. Strolling through the remains of the historic Pilgrim Baptist Church — on the first public tour since the devastating 2006 fire—feels almost like traipsing through Roman ruins.” But “the Dankmar Adler and Louis Sullivan-designed building, erected in 1890, isn’t expected to remain a ruin. It doesn’t look like much now—only two exterior walls remain, and only because they’re held in place with steel braces.” Late last week, the state announced the grant. “Thomas A. Dorsey, considered the ‘father of gospel music,’ was a choir director at the church, which many consider to be the music style’s birthplace.”
Meanwhile, in St Louis, reports the Architect’s Newspaper, “St. Louis-based art museum the Pulitzer Arts Foundation is expanding the physical footprint of its campus within the… Grand Center Arts District with the announcement that it will debut a new, community-anchored open-air art space in July. The setting for the new venue, dubbed Spring Church, is a dramatic and locally iconic one: the ruins of a Gothic revival-style church built in 1884 that served four congregations over a century-long span before it was [destroyed] by fire in 2001.”
Landmark Downtown Pittsfield Building For Sale
A new owner of the Pittsfield Building near Millennium Park “could pull the thirty-eight-story tower out of its funk, ending a dysfunctional drama that included an international financial scandal and a bitter court battle,” reports Crain’s.
Lawson House Renovation To Affordable Continues
Renovation work continues on the twenty-four-story Victor F. Lawson House at 30 West Chicago, reports YIMBY Chicago. “The Art Deco high rise was originally designed by Perkins, Chatten & Hammond and completed in 1931. Developer Holsten Real Estate will be deconverting the former YMCA from 538 single room occupancy units into 408 affordable apartments. In exchange for keeping all on-site units affordable until at least 2073, the project received both low-income housing tax credits and $12.4 million in historic preservation tax credits. Holsten Real Estate has also received a $17.6 million loan from the city, a $79.4 million loan from Chase Bank, and a $17.2 million loan from the Illinois Housing Development Authority. Past SRO tenants will be given priority to move back into the building once the renovation is complete.”
Evanston Won’t Open Greenwood Beach This Summer
Evanston is another locality that failed to fill seasonal jobs, reports the Trib, closing Greenwood Beach. “The safety of visitors and staff is our top priority as we work to provide exceptional lakefront recreation opportunities this summer,” said Parks & Recreation director Audrey Thompson in a release. “Amid a nationwide lifeguard shortage and swimming closures in a number of Chicago-area communities, our team has focused on retaining and recruiting USLA-certified lifeguards committed to a culture of safety, accountability and trust.” Adds WGN-TV: “City officials said the Greenwood Street Beach closure ensures full staffing at the city’s five other swimming beaches. According to officials, Greenwood Street Beach was the city’s least-visited beach in 2021.”
DINING & DRINKING
The state announced its rename of the Asian Carp, reports WTTW: it’s now the “copi”… because it’s copious in Illinois waterways. (“Soylent bream” is still available if that rebrand doesn’t swim.) Meanwhile, the most famous of formerly unsalable sea commodities to be renamed, the Patagonian toothfish, aka the Chilean sea bass, is in troubled waters, reports AP (via WGN-TV): “It’s one of the world’s highest-fetching wild-caught fish, sold for $32 a pound at Whole Foods and served up as meaty fillets on the menus of upscale eateries across the U.S. But Russia’s obstruction of longstanding conservation efforts, resulting in a unilateral rejection of catch limits for the Chilean sea bass in a protected region near Antarctica, has triggered a fish fight at the bottom of the world, one dividing longtime allies, the U.S. and U.K. governments… or the first time since governments banded together forty years ago to protect marine life near the South Pole, deep-sea fishing for the pointy-toothed fish is proceeding this season without any catch limit from the twenty-six-member Commission on the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.”
Kraft Macaroni And Cheese Renamed Again, To Kraft Mac & Cheese
“Kraft Macaroni and Cheese will no longer be known as ‘Kraft Macaroni and Cheese,’ but rather the shortened, more colloquial ‘Kraft Mac & Cheese,'” reports WGN-TV. A release by Kraft argued that “the arguably negligible change… is meant to ‘reflect the way fans organically talk about the brand.'”
Porto People Punch Up
“One of the signatures of Bonhomme Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Porto and Beatnik, among others, is its elaborately designed interiors, filled with antiques, imported tile, and intricate lighting fixtures, all intended to make customers feel as though they’ve traveled to another time and place,” reports Eater Chicago. Of their new journeys, “Bambola and Coquette will share an address, 1400 West Randolph, but each will have its own entrance and kitchen…The menu will feature dishes and cooking techniques that traveled back and forth along [the Silk Road] trade route, mainly rice and noodles, with a focus on Turkish and Persian cuisine.” Coquette will be French, described as “Parisian chic meets provincial splendor.” Then: Kashmir, “which will open across the street in late 2022. [Bonhomme’s founder, Daniel] Alonso describes it as a continuation of Bordel, Bonhomme’s Ukrainian Village cocktail bar and cabaret, but bigger and more ambitious.”
The Rhodes Scholar Barista Who Spearheaded Starbucks Unionization
“The Starbucks door is not the only one that has been opened for her. As a University of Mississippi senior in 2018, Jaz Brisack was one of thirty-two Americans who won Rhodes scholarships, which fund study in Oxford, England,” writes Noam Scheiber at the New York Times. Brisack believed barista work “was simply the most urgent claim on her time and her many talents.When she joined Starbucks in late 2020, not a single one of the company’s 9,000 U.S. locations had a union. Ms. Brisack hoped to change that by helping to unionize its stores in Buffalo. Improbably, she and her co-workers have far exceeded their goal. Since December, when her store became the only corporate-owned Starbucks in the United States with a certified union, more than 150 other stores have voted to unionize, and more than 275 have filed paperwork to hold elections. Their actions come amid an increase in public support for unions, which last year reached its highest point since the mid-1960s, and a growing consensus among center-left experts that rising union membership could move millions of workers into the middle class.” More here.
Scheiber also reports that the corporation’s primary anti-unionization executive is out after seventeen years. “After workers at three Buffalo-area stores filed for union elections in August, Ms. [Rossann] Williams went to the city and spent much of the fall there leading the company’s response to the campaign. She spent many hours in stores, asking employees about concerns they had at their workplaces and even pitching in on tasks like throwing out garbage… Workers said the presence of such a high-ranking official in their stores was intimidating and even ‘surreal.’ Labor experts also raised concerns that Ms. Williams and other Starbucks officials deployed to the stores could be violating labor laws by intimidating workers and effectively offering to improve working conditions if employees voted against unionizing.” And Disneyland Starbucks unionized, on a 29-15 vote.
Summer Season At Open-Air Twenty-Fourth Floor Château Carbide Rooftop
On the twenty-fourth floor of Michigan Avenue’s Pendry Chicago, within the historic Carbide & Carbon building, Château Carbide is a Cote d’Azur-inspired rooftop offering. The interior lounge features adjoining rooms encased in glass windows offering intimate seating for up to eighty in plush velvet banquettes; a gold-trimmed bar housing bottles of specialty rosé by Chateau d’Esclans; and an open-view sushi station. Rosé is available by the glass, bottle, magnum or jeroboam (three liters), alongside craft cocktails, Champagne and a Moet spritz bar. The rooftop’s light bites and hand-rolled sushi service are designed by Pendry Chicago’s executive chef Jeff Vucko and features the Midway Roll, with Madai snapper, Hamachi, yuzu koshu, cilantro and avocado; and the Spicy Salmon Hand Roll, with cucumber, scallions, salmon roe and spicy ginger sauce, as well as a selection of sashimi including uni and bluefin tuna. More here.
Paging Through “Wherever I’m At”
It took a decade to compile “Wherever I’m At” the eclectic portrait of Chicago in poetry, writes Christopher Borrelli at the Trib. He checks off the hoops it took to completion.
Paper Prices Pepper Publications
Local journalism crises are rising with “a global plunge in newsprint production. That’s leading to soaring costs for remaining newspapers,” reports the Seattle Times. “Combined with high fuel prices and delivery labor shortages, this will lead to further cutbacks in distribution, the size of newspapers and potentially newsroom employment… Newsprint prices rose more than thirty-percent over the last two years. A major factor is mills closing or converting production to packaging materials used by e-commerce companies such as Amazon.”
Obamas Sign To Amazon’s Audible
“Higher Ground, the production entity led by former President Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, the former first lady, has signed an exclusive, multiyear production deal with Audible, the audio arm of Amazon, just two months after a similar agreement with Spotify ended,” reports the New York Times. “Though Higher Ground and Audible did not share any specific details about the shows they aim to create together, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday that they planned to ‘tell meaningful and entertaining stories that elevate diverse voices and experiences.'”
Chicago’s Greatest Export: The Power Ballad
“A love like ours is hard to find. How could we let it slip away?” writes Chris Borrelli at the Trib. “But Illinois, you have an image problem. On paper, your chief exports include machine parts, medication, corn, pumpkins and dump trucks; in the nation’s imagination, your exports are dysfunction, casserole as pizza, Blues Brothers cover bands, Cubs hats and Kanye West. That’s the way of the world. Still, I would argue, the solution for your PR woes has been staring you in the face — or rather, crooning in our ears—for decades. The main export of Illinois is the power ballad. Now hear me out…”
Celebrating The Truth Of Pravda Records
“Chicago’s longest-running independent rock label throws the first Pravdafest, celebrating thirty-eight years of rolling with the punches and putting in the work,” Mark Guarino writes at the Reader.
Kingston Mines At Fifty
WGN-TV drops into the family business for a look-see in a twelve-minute report: “Chicago is home to the blues and nothing is more synonymous with Chicago Blues than Kingston Mines. According to co-owner Lisa Pellegrino, Kingston Mines was founded in 1968 by her father, Doc Pellegrino. It is the largest and oldest continuously operating blues club in Chicago.” “We’re open at 7pm Thursday. And Friday we’re open till 4am. Saturday we’re open till 5am,” Pellegrino told the station. “Friday and Saturday the music starts at 7:30pm with an acoustic set, then the first full-band set starts at 9pm and goes till 10:30pm. And then after that the bands switch off playing every hour. There really is no downtime because one band stops and the other one starts.”
Chicago Philharmonic Sets Season
Chicago Philharmonic has announced its upcoming season, after ending the current one with the sold-out Chicago premiere of “Black Panther in Concert.” “The season, which was created by the organization’s musician-led artistic committee, is the most diverse season in Chicago Philharmonic’s three decades of music-making.” The season begins October 8 with an orchestral performance of the film “Ghostbusters” in concert. Maestro Peter Bernstein will lead the orchestra in Elmer Bernstein’s score, as the full movie plays on stage at the Auditorium Theatre. More here.
Prop Thtr Goes For Forty-One
Prop Thtr, Chicago’s longest-established off-Loop theater company, has sets its 2022-23 season, its forty-first. With two world premieres, workshops and residencies, and participation in festivals, the upcoming season will feature programming across Chicago. Details here.
Hubbard Street Names Six New Company Dancers
Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, led by artistic director Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell, introduces six new artists joining their main company. Aaron Choate, Morgan Clune, Jack Henderson, Shota Miyoshi, Cyrie Topete and Matt Wenckowski will join the company for its forty-fifth season. Fisher-Harrell says in a release, “While we continue to push the boundaries of what contemporary dance is and can be, these bold artists embody my vision of a more accessible and diverse future while upholding the excellence HSDC is known for.” More on Hubbard Street here.
ARTS & CULTURE
Joseph Kromelis, Chicago’s Walking Man, Upgraded To “Serious” Condition
The condition of Joseph Kromelis—the famed “Walking Man” of downtown Chicago—has been upgraded nearly a month after he was attacked and severely burned while sleeping near Trump Tower. “Kromelis was admitted to Stroger Hospital in critical condition at the end of May but he is now listed as serious,” reports the Sun-Times. “The hospital released no other information, citing privacy rules, and the prognosis for his recovery was not known.”
Run The Juul
“The Food and Drug Administration is preparing to order Juul Labs Inc. to take its e-cigarettes off the U.S. market,” reports the Wall Street Journal. “The FDA could announce its decision as early as today… The marketing denial order would follow a nearly two-year review of data presented by the vaping company, which sought authorization for its tobacco- and menthol-flavored products to stay on the U.S. market.”
An Interview That Became An Obituary For Mama Gloria
Jake Wittich does the honors at Block Club Chicago: “Gloria Allen, known as Mama Gloria by the younger LGBTQ people she mentored, said in a recent interview that she lived most of her life ‘out and proud’ as a Black, transgender woman.” The “intergenerational connection Allen had with the queer youth at the Center on Halsted, an LGBTQ community hub, became the basis for her charm school, where she met regularly with queer youth to teach them about manners, makeup, safe sex, dealing with abuse, how to take proper hormones and how to feel proud in their identities.”
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