Walker Art Center Curator Vincenzo de Bellis Named Director Of Art Basel
“Art Basel has appointed Vincenzo de Bellis, a curator at Minneapolis’s Walker Art Center, to serve in a newly created director position that will involve overseeing fairs and exhibition platforms globally,” reports ARTnews. “Marc Spiegler, the Swiss fair’s director, will remain in his role heading all of the enterprise’s departments, including those that deal with client relations and partnerships. Spiegler said that his role will focus more [on] ‘strategic development’ amid de Bellis’ addition to the fair’s leadership… De Bellis will help manage exhibitions and one-off events, and will oversee teams across four shows in Basel, Paris, Hong Kong and Miami Beach.”
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Only Doghouse On View In Marin County
“’Eddie’s House’ is a doghouse designed gratis by Wright in 1956 to complement a Usonian-style house he built on commission… in the Marin County town of San Anselmo, California,” reports Hyperallergic. “The county is a destination for fans of the architect, as he also designed the orange-and-blue Marin County Civic Center [which] will now be the permanent home of Wright’s smallest structure, a doghouse he drew on the back of an envelope at the request of twelve-year-old Jim Berger so the family could accommodate their new golden retriever in style.”
Chicago Construction Stalled By Ongoing Quarry Strike
A long-running “strike has limited the supply of asphalt, concrete and other building materials during the peak of summer construction season, delaying work on Milwaukee Avenue from Chicago to Damen avenues,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Around 300 members of International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150 walked off the job June 7, alleging unfair labor practices against Lehigh Hanson, Vulcan Materials and Lafarge Holcim. The three companies operate more than thirty quarries in northern Illinois.”
Worldwide Uber Machinations Revealed In Files Leak
More than 180 journalists in twenty-nine countries illuminate “The Uber Files,” “a trove of more than 124,000 records, including 83,000 emails and 1,000 other files involving conversations,” which were leaked to the Guardian by ICIJ, the journalism group behind The Panama Papers. “The secret story of how the tech giant won access to world leaders, cozied up to oligarchs and dodged taxes amid chaotic global expansion” in a worldwide influence “juggernaut.” “The Uber Files investigation is based on sensitive texts, emails, invoices, briefing notes, presentations and other documents exchanged by top Uber executives, government bureaucrats and world leaders in nearly thirty countries.” (The whistleblower is a former top executive behind the company’s European expansion, who leaked the information to make up for his role: “We had actually sold people a lie.”)
The files range from 2013-2017, “a time period when Uber was barging into cities in defiance of local laws and regulations, dodging taxes and seeking to grind into submission the taxi industry, most prominently, but also labor activists.” From the Washington Post: “Uber leveraged violent attacks against its drivers to pressure politicians; In push for global expansion, company officials saw clashes with taxi cab workers as a way to win public sympathy.” The Guardian: Uber sought access to leaders, officials and diplomats through former Obama administration aides David Plouffe and Jim Messina, who helped sell Uber to the world. “A call here, a meeting there. The well-targeted email to open a door that might otherwise have been closed in cities and countries where Uber was in trouble… Their work for the company appears to contradict the spirit of the Obama administration’s pledge to bring to an end the unsavory use of cozy government relationships to enhance the positions of companies.” BBC Panorama covers European politicians such as the then-up-and-coming Emmanuel Macron and reveals a “kill switch,” “which made it impossible for visiting law enforcement to access the company’s computers… The kill switch was also used in Canada, Belgium, India, Romania and Hungary, and at least three times in France.” An introductory ninety-second video is here. Details on the investigation and more links are here.
DINING & DRINKING
Dan Wolf, Seventy-Seven, Ran Jewish Deli Institution The Bagel
“Born in a concentration camp, Dan Wolf spent his life stewarding his family’s now seventy-two-year-old restaurant,” reports Eater Chicago. “Born in 1945 inside the Theresienstadt concentration camp, Wolf was a rare child survivor of the Czechoslovakian ghetto-labor camp… . He took over the family business in 1969 and helmed the Bagel through three locations in the Chicago area… In 1992, the Bagel relocated to its current home at 3107 North Broadway.”
Imee’s Mediterranean Kitchen Opens In Loop
Imee’s Mediterranean Kitchen is the creation of Nicole Nassif, a thirty-plus-year restaurant professional with a track record that spans corporate properties to Michelin star chef-helmed establishments. The quick-serve lunch spot will create fresh wraps and combination meals at 171 North Wells, from a menu “driven by unique takes on authentic flavors drawn from three generations of Nassif’s personal family recipes.” Nassif says, “Growing up Lebanese American, I was fortunate to be part of a large extended family. During our shared regular dinners, my Ta-Ta and Sitto would bring both sides of our families together, celebrating life with recipes which had been passed down for generations. Looking back it was those treasured memories that shaped my dream to first enter the restaurant business itself and now to ultimately open my own concept.” Imee’s hopes to capitalize on both post-pandemic travelers and the return of Loop business. More here.
Lake Effect Brewing Taproom Slated For Avondale
“Our quest for the Firehouse Taproom has ended,” writes Lake Effect Brewing owner Clint Bautz in an email reprinted by the The People’s Fabric. “The firehouse space will not be ready in time for us to set up operations before we have to vacate our current location in a few months from now. The project is progressing, it’s just we’ve run out of time. We’ve given five years to this pursuit (which is an eternity for a small business) and more than ever it’s imperative that we have a permanent home as soon as possible, a home where we can produce our beer and share it with you onsite in a comfortable atmosphere… We’ve secured a new location in the Avondale neighborhood…. We will be located on a busy street (not in an alley) and we will have space for our brewing operation, an indoor tasting room and an outdoor beer garden space. Although there is no space for a kitchen, I suspect North Branch Fried Chicken, Superdawg and others will be visiting often for pairing events…. You still have a few months to get your alley fix, so come see us for your packaged good needs. We could use the business for sure… Thank you all for supporting us for nearly a decade now and we hope to have you in our new home very soon. Stay tuned for our ten-year anniversary party.”
Food And Politics Are Not Limited To Chicago
Fooditor dips into the July-August cover story of the conservative magazine Commentary, a nearly 7,000-word excerpt from a forthcoming book by Noah Rothman, on the subject of the “politicization” of food, with examples from Chicago, including Fat Rice and proprietor Abe Conlon. Fooditor’s take on the piece: “Well, a somewhat simplified version of l’Affaire Fat Rice, but not wrong—it certainly conveys the key point, which is the level of hysteria that rose up out of something pretty small (people were initially mad, not that Fat Rice disagreed with #BlackLivesMatter sentiments, but that they didn’t agree in exactly the right way). Also, remember that the awful way that awful Fat Rice was ‘tak[ing] from Black culture ALL the time’ was by… playing hiphop in the restaurant… It’s a wide-ranging and thoughtful piece… You will find more sinning Chicagoans in it along the way—though no mention of the minigenre that’s responsible for most of what’s awful in America today… TIKI BARS!” More from the tendentious Commentary commentary: “What is it that the progressive left gets out of gratuitous demonstrations of their own capacity for self-deprivation? What satisfaction does any practitioner of a demanding doctrine derive from the rejection of baser temptations? In denying our own desires, we undertake a journey with a far-off goal, which should end—if it ever ends—in a fuller understanding of ourselves and our neighbors. By ignoring our own hungers, we can focus instead on our external conditions and maybe make some improvements. By abstaining from earthly pleasures, we practice restraint, good judgment, and discretion. This is the heart of Puritanism. And it’s worth noting that the term ‘Puritan’ itself was originally intended to be insulting.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Apple TV Plus Launches Bonnie Hunt Series
Chicago comedic stalwart Bonnie Hunt (“Life with Bonnie,” “Return To Me”) has a series debuting July 29 on Apple TV Plus. “Based on the bestselling book series by Paula Danziger, with over 10 million copies in print, ‘Amber Brown’ is an unfiltered look at a girl finding her voice through art and music in the wake of her parents’ divorce,” Apple says in a release. Hunt, whose career began onstage at The Second City, is executive producer, showrunner, writer and director. The trailer for “Amber Brown” is here.
Iowa Couple Buys Newspaper Back From Gannett
“Amy Duncan of Indianola, Iowa, population 16,000 [and] her husband, Mark Davitt, bought the local newspaper, the Record-Herald. On Tuesday, they distributed their very first issue,” reports NPR. “You know, you buy the paper, and then you actually have to run it. So you have to figure out printing and delivery and people want to subscribe—so kind of setting up processes and making them up on the fly,” Duncan says.
Free Millennium Park Concert Celebrates Chicago’s Independent Music Community
Chicago’s Ric Wilson, Tasha, Mario Abney & The Abney Effect Brass Band perform at Chicago Independent Venue League’s premiere summer concert, part of a weeklong, nationwide concert series. CIVL joins more than 400 independent live music and performing arts venues across the country to celebrate Independent Venue Week, with nearly two dozen CIVL members hosting programs through July 17. Thursday, July 14 marks the return of CIVL’s Free Concert at Millennium Park. More here.
Listing Pitchfork’s “Chicago-Adjacent” Acts
“Though it’s a down year at Union Park for local acts, there are connections to the city throughout the lineup,” Chicago magazine says in introducing a list.
“Paradise Square” Closes Sunday On Broadway
Ambitious Chicago-tryout musical epic “Paradise Square” “is closing July 17 on Broadway. A national tour is planned. The show has struggled at the box office,” the Tribune’s Chris Jones breaks on Twitter.
Refracted Chooses Group For RefrAction Lab
Refracted Theatre Company’s RefrAction Lab is an eight-month playwriting lab for emerging Chicago playwrights, which this year will support Adonis Holmes, Alica Daine Benning, Ryan Oliveira, Amy Crider and maiya a. corral, with dramaturg Kenya Ann Hall. The lab culminates in a two-night public showcase in December. “RefrAction Lab is a pilot program that serves to bring emerging Chicago playwrights together,” Refracted Theatre Company co-artistic directors Graham Miller and Tova Wolff pen in a statement. “We’re asking, how can a playwright turn a question into the action of a play? Over eight months, our cohort will work together to build brand new works of theatre upon a foundation of divisive questions, questions that dare to make the political personal and the personal universal. This lab encapsulates Refracted’s mission of celebrating curiosity as a means of promoting empathy.” More here.
Two Theater Companies Meet “On Our Team” Pay Equity Standards
2nd Story and Collaboraction are the first two organizations to gain certification from On Our Team’s Pay Equity Standards. On Our Team launched its Pay Equity Standards in January 2022, as a first-of-its-kind tool to assist theater companies to establish pay equity within their organization. “Achieving our Pay Equity Standards certification has been a goal at 2nd Story since On Our Team first announced the Standards,” says Lauren Sivak, managing director of 2nd Story in a release. “Not only does it show our commitment to arts workers, but the certification process was a wonderful tool in educating our Board of Directors about pay equity and transparency.” Anthony Moseley, artistic director of Collaboraction, says,“At the beginning of our twenty-sixth season, as a Chicago theater focused on using our work as a catalyst for social change, Collaboraction continues to strive to grow and evolve to better serve our mission and community. Since change is inevitable and product is process, we prioritize our continued evolution as an institution to manifest an equitable environment for our work. Meeting the requirements of the Pay Equity Standards is a milestone in our institutional growth as a company committed to envisioning a healthier and more sustainable future for our industry.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Northwestern President-Elect Steps Down To Treat Cancer
Rebecca Blank, named last fall the first female president of Northwestern University, “is stepping down after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer,” reports WGN-TV. “The school said that Blank, who concluded her eight-year tenure as chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May, will return to the Madison area for cancer treatment… President Morton Schapiro will remain at Northwestern until a successor is named.” From Blank’s message to the Northwestern community, via the Tribune: “I do not have the words to express to you how disappointed and sad I am to be telling you this. I was excited to be joining you at Northwestern, a world-class institution that is near and dear to my heart.”
Chicago Has Hardly Any Monkeypox Vaccine
“The federal government has communicated no strategy to contain the monkeypox outbreak predominantly affecting men who have sex with men as the supply of protective vaccine trickles in to health departments and patients,” reports the Hyde Park Herald. “As of July 4, there were 73 identified monkeypox cases in Chicago.”
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