Zack Wirsum’s “Going Hard in the Paint (Water Based)” Opens In September
Zack Wirsum’s latest body of work, relays the Jean Albano Gallery, “is a colorful and psychedelic series that focuses on basketball hoops, nets and backboards observed in the wild. The paintings’ bright colors and undulating lines blur the distinction between abstract and figurative, but the familiar titles and driveway hoops bring back memories of neighborhood basketball games.” Opening Friday, September 9, running through October 29. More here.
Fate Of Little Village Discount Mall Unclear
“It’s been almost two years since the Little Village Discount Mall sold to a developer — but its vendors haven’t received an update about the mall’s future, even as half of their contracts are set to expire this month,” reports Block Club Chicago. “The Discount Mall and the shopping plaza at 3045-3117 West 26th was sold to development company Novak Construction in February 2020 for $17.5 million. Novak’s president suggested the mall might not be the best use of the land and alluded to bringing chain stores to the area. But for the owners and customers at the Discount Mall, closing the beloved shopping center would be a blow to workers’ incomes and the neighborhood’s Mexican culture. Little Village is known as ‘Mexico of the Midwest’ and 26th Street is the highest grossing shopping hub in the city after Michigan Avenue.”
A Look Inside The Revamped Park Hyatt
“When a hotel undergoes a renovation, a decision has to be made whether to keep the property open and do construction one section at a time or close entirely and undergo a significant overall [revamp],” reports Judy Koutsky at Forbes. “In the case of the Park Hyatt Chicago, which opened in 1980 as the first-ever Park Hyatt hotel, the property closed completely during its five-month renovation.” “The hotel underwent a massive transformation that required regular operations to cease, in the interest of guest safety,” general manager Rike Erdbrink tells the website. “It may not necessarily be ‘better’ than renovating while still operating regularly, but our loyal guests trusted our decision, and I think it paid off.” Changes include modernizing the hotel’s guestrooms and suites, lobby, spa, the Library, and updates to the signature restaurant, NoMI.
Why American Groceries And Not Co-ops?
“Supermarkets are staples of our lives. But their emergence in America was far from automatic: the supermarket was used as a key piece of anti-communist propaganda early in the twentieth century against the alternative of grocery co-ops,” writes Ann Larson at Jacobin, taking in her pandemic-era experience working in a grocery store. “What historical conditions had put me and others in that situation? The answer revealed that what we think about shoplifting is the product of propaganda—a much deeper and more foundational story than the one being called out by some progressives. The way our society distributes basic goods is not natural or inevitable: the order was painstakingly constructed by powerful interests. Shoplifting is only the most obvious surface manifestation of the social crisis this arrangement has caused… One of the most successful cooperatives of the era was established in a Chicago housing project and named after the journalist and civil rights activist Ida B. Wells. The connection between Wells and the food distribution question was far from tenuous: Wells’s legendary career had begun in the 1890s with her investigation of the lynching of three men in Memphis… after they opened the ‘People’s Grocery,’ a cooperative that threatened a white grocer’s monopoly on the business.”
Semiconductor Shortage Ripple From Sichuan’s Killing Heat
It’s the worst heat wave ever, reports NPR. “The heat is so severe, some cities in southwestern China cut power to all factories this week… China’s been in this continuous heat wave officially for the last sixty-eight days, which is the longest heat wave on record… More than 240 cities… forecasted temperatures above 104 degrees… They’re so desperate for rainfall that… they’re starting to seed clouds, which is this experimental method where you shoot metal up into the clouds… Sichuan province in the southwest is about eighty-percent reliant on hydroelectric power, except they don’t have rain… Sichuan, that province, which has more than eighty million people, decided it was cutting off electricity to most factories for about seven days so they can ensure people would have power at home and the power grids wouldn’t overload.” Major multinationals have factories in Sichuan, including component maker Foxconn, Intel and Texas Instruments, all of which “are highly reliant on stable power. And these factories together make important components for cars and electronics. So even though the power is just out for a week, it’s going to take them far longer to restart production… That’s only going to make this ongoing global semiconductor shortage worse.”
Painting Catalytic Converters Pink To Deter Thieves?
Thefts of catalytic converters “are increasing, with thieves going after them because they contain small amounts of the precious metals rhodium, palladium and platinum,” reports the Sun-Times. “These metals sell for thousands of dollars an ounce; a thief could get $50 to $250 for a converter at a recycling center. It’s also relatively easy to slide under a car and cut a converter out of the exhaust system.” On September 11, residents of the CPD 14th district can go to Moos Elementary School, “where officers will spray-paint the converters using neon pink paint, and will also mark them with ‘Chicago Police 014.’ The idea is to deter theft by making converters harder to resell.”
DINING & DRINKING
Behind The Scenes At The O’Hare Tortas Frontera
“You’ve got to board your plane. You’ve got to wait ’til after takeoff … you’re probably going to wait until the drink cart has been through,” Rick Bayless tells the Washington Post. “So we wanted to make sure that all of our food tasted really good after an hour.” “To serve food that lives up to his standards, Bayless says he needs specific ingredients from his preferred vendors in addition to what’s available through HMSHost. That means bread from Fausto’s and smoked pork and chorizo from Gunthorp Farms, which has worked with the chef for twenty years. Roasted tomatillos with garlic come from a salsa company and go into bases for some of the dishes… To meet O’Hare security requirements, Bayless had to get a specialty purveyor licensed to access the airport. He has the other small farmers and producers deliver his order to the licensed purveyor, who then makes one airport delivery. To make things more complicated, deliveries are only allowed at certain times of the day. The extra steps make doing business more expensive than it would be serving the same menu downtown.”
Dollop Enters Luxury Convenience Store Game
“Dollop debuts its version of an upscale convenience store,” reports Crain’s. “The coffee shop chain’s new General Store & Cafe looks to compete with Foxtrot as a go-to shop for customers… Dollop opened its twentieth location at 1508 Sherman in Evanston, its first-ever location with a general store concept, last month. (Fifteen of those locations operate under the Dollop name, with five others under different brands.)”
Featherproof Press To Open Submissions
“Writers, Readers, Punks, and Dreamers!” Featherproof Press advises its newsletter readers. “The day we’ve long promised has finally come. Well, almost, anyway. We’re going to have an open-submissions period where we’ll be looking for full-length manuscripts. And we want you to be ready. Those of you who’ve been paying attention to our website already know: this stuff is hard, and good stuff takes time. So make sure your manuscript is in the best possible shape it can be by August 27, when we’ll open for submissions via Submittable.”
Weekend End For Two National Media Watchdogs
CNN chairman Chris Licht expects to fire more employees – Deadline reports he told “anxious staffers… that more changes are coming to CNN, as he addressed the news of Brian Stelter’s exit following the cancellation of [the thirty-year-old] Sunday show ‘Reliable Sources,’ [ and Stelter’s own nine years at the network]. According to sources who were present, Licht told CNN employees at [the] well-attended editorial meeting, ‘There will be moves you may not agree with or understand.’ Some took that to mean they may not like some of the changes… ‘I want to acknowledge to everyone that this is a time of change. I know that it is unsettling.’” Axios reported on a likely lurch to the right: “To conservative critics, some on-air personalities, like Jim Acosta and Brian Stelter, have become the face of the network’s liberal shift… His priorities are widely seen as aligned with the leadership of CNN parent Warner Bros. Discovery.” (The latest firings also included disgraced commentator Jeffrey Toobin.) Brian Stelter’s sign-off tweet: “Working there was like enrolling in a nine-year master class of television journalism. To every teacher: I intend to pay it forward.”
Clare Malone at the New Yorker: “At [former boss Jeff] Zucker’s Trump-baiting CNN, Stelter thrived. He was set to take ‘Reliable Sources’ to a daily format on the now-dead streaming service CNN+. But Zucker was forced to resign from the network, and a new regime under Chris Licht stepped in, with a goal of rejiggering CNN’s programming, scrubbing it of liberal political valence. In retrospect, it seems clear that it was only a matter of time before Stelter got the boot. Under new ownership, CNN’s parent company was in thrall to [eighty-one-year-old] libertarian billionaire John Malone, who said that he wanted to see ‘CNN evolve back to the kind of journalism that it started with, and actually have journalists, which would be unique and refreshing.’ Stelter wrote in February, on the occasion of Zucker’s departure, that ‘Malone’s comments stoked fears that Discovery might stifle CNN journalists and steer away from calling out indecency and injustice.'” Stelter’s guests made strong statements about the erasure of critical news coverage; the now-former host’s key observation: “I know it’s not partisan to stand up for decency and democracy and dialogue. It’s not partisan to stand up to demagogues. It’s required. It’s patriotic. We must make sure we don’t give platforms to those who are lying to our faces.”
Margaret Sullivan ended her six-year run at the Washington Post as the paper’s media columnist to write a book and take a post at Duke University. She offers advice for 2024 political coverage (no paywall) here. “My prescription—and it’s only a start—is less live campaign coverage, more context and thoughtful framing, and more fearless straight talk from news leaders about what’s at stake and why politics coverage looks different. The latter could take many forms: editors’ notes on stories, columns written by news directors and posted prominently on websites, public appearances, and more… The media has come a long, long way in figuring out how to cover the democracy-threatening ways of Donald Trump and his allies, including his stalwart helpers in right-wing media… Even if the reality-based press does a perfect job with coverage focused nonstop on the truth—and that’s unlikely—it will be no match for the duplicitous right-wing media, particularly Fox News with its all-in audience and constant work on behalf of Trump and his allies. Prime-time commentators like Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity will do the heavy lifting. A candidate can’t buy that kind of help.”
Tribune Axes ChicagoNow
“I’m not at all surprised that today the Tribune (aka Alden Global Capital) killed ChicagoNow,” posts Jimmy Greenfield on Facebook. “It’s their site, they can do what they want. But it’s important you know that this was done in a cowardly and horribly unprofessional way.” ChicagoNow is the blogging site Greenfield “helped launch and then ran for about eight years. In its heyday, we were putting up twenty-five million page views a month. The bloggers were not employees or even freelancers though initially some were paid. They were—are—writers who had a platform to express themselves on whatever topic they wanted… This was not a small community. There were signs that ChicagoNow was ending. The guy who had been overseeing it since I left in 2017 announced one day in late June that he was leaving the company and somebody from the Tribune would get in touch. Nobody ever did… Still, I don’t think anybody really expected the Tribune to first begin to unpublish posts critical of the Tribune, and then just kill the whole site. The Tribune never reached out, never responded and never gave anybody an opportunity to take their content with them before taking it offline. Nobody can access the back end of the WordPress-hosted platform. It’s all gone. What an awful thing to do. RIP ChicagoNow, and F Alden Global Capital.”
Audiences Slow To Return To Live Performances
“The resumption of live performance after the long pandemic shutdown brought plenty to cheer about over the past year. But far fewer people are showing up to join those cheers than presenters had hoped,” report Michael Paulson and Javier C. Hernández at the New York Times. “Across the country, audiences remain well below prepandemic levels. From regional theaters to Broadway, and from local orchestras to grand opera houses, performing arts organizations are reporting persistent—and worrisome—drops in attendance… Many presenters anticipate that the softer box office will extend into the upcoming season… And some fear that the virus is accelerating long-term trends that have troubled arts organizations for years, including softer ticket sales for many classical music events, the decline of the subscription model… and the increasing tendency among consumers to purchase tickets at the last minute.”
Theo Ubique Celebrates Twenty-Five
Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre’s “Lights Up on 25 gala” will be celebrated Saturday, September 17, at their theatrical home, 721 Howard Street in Evanston. Guests are encouraged to wear formal silver and gold attire. “We are so excited to have an evening of community and connection with our donors, audience members, artists, and supporters,” managing and casting director Christopher Pazdernik says in a release. “After the challenges of the past couple of years, it makes the opportunity to be able to gather that much more meaningful. We have a special evening planned to reflect on and celebrate our past while also dreaming and pushing toward our future.” There will be cabaret-style entertainment from notable artists who have been a part of the theater’s history and feature performances from award-winning and notable performers including Cynthia F. Carter, Satya Chávez, Megan Elk, Harmony France, Stephanie Herman, Jacquelyne Jones, Nora Navarro, Quinn Simmons and Colette Todd. Theo Ubique founding artistic director Fred Anzevino will direct with music direction by Eugene Dizon. Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC
Chicago Slashing Voting Precincts
“Chicago election officials are preparing to shrink the number of voting precincts by nearly forty-percent and are squeezing the cuts in just months before the contentious midterm election in November,” reports the Trib. “Election officials have long complained that Chicago has too many precincts, and the new electoral map is designed to address rising costs of election operations as well as the changing behavior of voters who are increasingly voting early at central polling places or mailing in their ballots… The recalibration is expected to save as much as $2 million because the board will have fewer supply costs and won’t need to hire as many election judges.”
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