Mayor Wants More Study Of Statues
The mayor will set up a “’working group’ to review recommendations for taking down problematic monuments,” reports Gregory Pratt at the Trib. “Lightfoot said she disagrees with some of the recommendations… ‘I want to make sure that we understand kind of the provenance of those particular monuments, meaning not just who’s the artist or so forth, but why were they created, who commissioned them, and frankly who in the city has a vested interest in those monuments standing?'” Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times: Lightfoot said, “Particularly with the statue in Grant Park, we have to have a safety plan that doesn’t put anybody at risk… We had people trying to scale the thing. Imagine if that statue had tumbled over with people trying to scale it. We had our police officers under siege. I’m never gonna put them in a situation where they’re literally risking their lives over a statue. That’s never gonna happen.” The Tribune editorial board: “Chicago has a variety of statues representing historical figures. None of them were perfect, all being human… Statues across the city represent that history. Few would stand up to a purity test… These are works of art. The bar for removing them should be higher than the faceless visage of Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture who stands atop the Board of Trade building, forty-five stories over LaSalle Street. Most certainly, they should not be carted off as a way to appease extremists who would destroy them.”
The United States Has Way Too Much Office Space
“The U.S. has too many offices and too few companies willing to pay for space in them,” posts Anthony DeRosa of the Wall Street Journal. “It was an issue before the pandemic, and the rise of remote work has only made the excess space grow larger.” “Federal tax breaks dating to the Reagan years, and low interest rates, spurred developers to build too many office towers [as well as] inflated demand from unprofitable startups. At the same time, landlords largely failed to tear down or convert old, mostly vacant buildings to other uses.”
CTA Installing 1,300 Tactile Signs Along A Dozen Bus Routes
“The Chicago Transit Authority has begun installing more than 1,300 tactile signs across a dozen bus routes as the agency works to improve transportation for people with visual impairments,” reports the Sun-Times. “As part of our ongoing dialogue with members of the disability community, we learned that many who were blind or low vision would often avoid taking the bus, opting for paratransit or rail service out of frustration from being unable to confidently locate a bus stop,” CTA President Dorval Carter Jr. said in a statement.
Trib Catches Up To Chicago’s Exploding Rent Crisis
“Average rents in the Chicago area have climbed almost nine percent since 2021,” report Dia Gill and Darcel Rockett at the Tribune. “A combination of inflation and climbing demand for units as consumers emerge from the pandemic has driven up rents, with little to no sign that prices will reverse any time soon. At the same time, many of the rental assistance programs offered during the height of the pandemic have ended… Meanwhile, luxury real estate has had one of the more successful comebacks over the past year.” (The anecdotal article does not go into the consolidation of rental properties by investors, including venture funds, as well as the ongoing expansion of rental units turned over to Airbnb property investors.)
Amazon Eye On Consumers Widens
“Amazon is seemingly everywhere,” reports Associated Press. “Amazon has said it will spend billions of dollars in two gigantic acquisitions that, if approved, will broaden its ever-growing presence in the lives of consumers… The company is targeting two areas: health care, through its $3.9 billion buyout of the primary care company One Medical, and the ‘smart home,’ where it plans to expand… through a $1.7 billion merger with iRobot,” the maker of the Roomba. “Both mergers have heightened enduring privacy concerns about how Amazon gathers data and what it does with it. The latest line of Roombas, for example, employ sensors that map and remember a home’s floor plan.”
Black Architects Show Elementary School Students Their Profession
“Based solely on Census figures, about fourteen-percent of the U.S. population identifies as Black, but in a profession of more than 122,000 registered architects, the number of Black architects is far from proportional,” reports Fast Company. “‘We would anticipate something in the region of 17,000 architects would identify as Black. In fact, we have less than 2,500,’ says Craig Aquart, a principal at the Miami architectural firm, MC Harry Associates. That comes out to just about two-percent. This disparity is what led Aquart to help create Black Architects in the Making (BAM), a program aimed at bringing architectural exposure to Black students from elementary school to high school in the Miami region. Launched with the Miami Center for Architecture and Design, BAM’s mission is to dispatch architects to schools in predominantly Black communities to… be ambassadors for the profession. Since its founding in 2016, BAM has run programs with more than 600 Black students in the region.”
Changes Sought At Lakefront’s Deadly “Playpen”
“As a rule at the Playpen, the bodies are tanned, the mood joyous, water toys are sophisticated and, should the traffic halt at the stoplight, the vicarious viewer is sure to see a healthy supply of hands holding plastic cups, the Wilmette equivalent of the brown paper bag,” writes the Tribune editorial board. There have been “three serious accidents at the Playpen in a handful of days. That’s too much pain. Something has to change… Even in the face of all these incidents… the general tone of officials [has been to repeat] truisms such as ‘alcohol and boating don’t mix’ and emphasized ‘personal responsibility.’ But anyone who believes the Playpen is not dominated by people drinking is fooling themselves. That’s the point and bacchanal has been able to slide by in this deeply regulated city because it takes place in federal waters and there is no law against tying up your boat to another and then another and then another. No city permit required. Actually, it’s far easier to hold a party on your boat there than setting up a bouncy castle for the kids on your own block.”
Paris Says It Will Become One-Hundred-Percent “Cyclable”
Chicago, regarde! “The French capital is dramatically expanding its network of segregated bike lanes and more than tripling bicycle parking spots as part of a massive new investment,” reports Bloomberg. “Between 2021 and 2026, Paris will have added 112 miles of permanent segregated bike lanes and bike parking spots will more than triple, with 180,000 added to the 2021 total of 60,000.”
DINING & DRINKING
Manny’s Marks Eighty Years With New Smoked Pastrami Sandwich
“Manny’s, the legendary Ashkenazi Jewish deli known for sating the hunger of generations of Chicagoans, will mark its eightieth anniversary,” reports Eater Chicago, with the launch of a brand new menu item: “The 80, a sandwich that will for the first time in Manny’s history, feature smoked pastrami.”
Inflation Places Indigenous Foods Out Of Reach
“Traditional Indigenous foods—like wild rice, bison, fresh vegetables and fruit in the Midwest—are often unavailable or too expensive for Native families in urban areas like Chicago, and the recent inflation spike has propelled these foods even further out of reach,” reports Associated Press. “Blueberry bison tamales, harvest salad with mixed greens, creamy carrot and wild rice soup, roasted turkey with squash. This contemporary Native American meal, crafted from the traditional foods of tribes across the United States and prepared with ‘Ketapanen’—a Menominee expression of love—cost caterer Jessica Pamonicutt $976 to feed a group of 50 people last November. Today it costs her nearly double…”
Chicago Online Grocery Market Dampens
“Food prices have risen precipitously since the start of the year,” reports Talia Soglin at the Trib, and the “online grocery market, which boomed in the early days of the pandemic, is cooling… as shoppers return to pre-pandemic routines and rising food costs prompt many people to reexamine their spending… California-based delivery startup Farmstead stopped operations in Chicago… after just a few months, and ultrafast Russian-backed delivery startup Buyk filed for bankruptcy in March… Other companies, like Jewel-Osco and Kroger, which owns Mariano’s, are forging ahead with large-scale Chicagoland investments in grocery delivery.”
Grafton Pub And Grill In Lincoln Square Closes
August 29 will be the last day of service at Grafton, the pub announced on Facebook. “We count ourselves lucky to have been a staple in Lincoln Square for nearly twenty years. The bar has been at the center of our family for so long and we will miss it dearly. Stop in over the next few days for a drink & a farewell.”
Ballyhoo Hospitality Adds Three To Team
Ballyhoo Hospitality own and operate six concepts: Gemini, Old Pueblo Cantina, Coda Di Volpe, Pomeroy, Sophia Steak, and Buck Russell’s Bakery & Sandwich Shop. Ballyhoo has announced three additions to its key leadership team: vice president of culinary Todd Stein, culinary director Nolan Narut and director of wine and spirits Lawrence Kobesky. The group will soon open Sophia Steak in Lake Forest and DeNucci’s in Chicago. More here.
Goddess And Grocer Offers Rosh Hashanah And Yom Kippur Dinner Packages
The Goddess and Grocer has their meals available for the High Holidays, with takeout Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur Dinner Packages. Guests can customize their High Holiday meals with extras from the a la carte menu, with soups, appetizers, sides, entrees and desserts. Select Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur sweet and savory items will be available in stores, with delivery and pick-up available. A tasty sample: the brisket package includes Chicken Matzo Ball Soup, Chopped Liver with a challah roll, brisket dinner with mashed potatoes, tzimmes, roasted brussels sprouts and Honey Apple Cake. The full menu and order details are here.
A Hunger For Reading At Centuries & Sleuths
“For thirty-some years Augie Aleksy has owned and operated a charming book shop called Centuries & Sleuths, first in Oak Park and since 2000 at 7419 Madison in Forest Park,” writes Rick Kogan at the Tribune. “I had been worried about him and all the others here who have been in the business of selling books in what many deem the old-fashioned way. Would the pandemic so diminish in-store traffic that it would lead to closures? That has not been the case and I am happy to report. Oh, let Augie tell you: ‘I have been very fortunate during the pandemic, with 2021 being one of my better, most successful years. There was a fairly steady stream of people buying gift certificates to give to friends and family. There was a hunger for reading.’”
Is Libertarian Investor John Malone Behind CNN Purge?
“While John Malone has denied he is ‘directly involved’ in any decisions about CNN, multiple current and former staffers… relayed a fear that the libertarian mogul is indirectly dictating an agenda to newly installed CNN boss Chris Licht,” posts the Daily Beast, which headlines its report, “CNN Staff Fears Right-Wing Billionaire Will Turn It Into a Dumpster Fire.” Robert Reich writes at his Substack: “The leading shareholder in Warner Bros. Discovery is John Malone… Malone describes himself as a ‘libertarian’ although he travels in right wing Republican circles. In 2005, he held thirty-two percent of the shares of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation. He is on the board of directors of the Cato Institute. In 2017, he donated $250,000 to Trump’s inauguration. Malone has said he wants CNN to be more like Fox News because, in his view, Fox News has ‘actual journalism.’ Malone also wants the ‘news’ portion of CNN to be ‘more centrist.’ … But CNN is never going to be a network preferred by Republicans. Fox News has that sewn up. As Republicans move further rightward into the netherworld of authoritarianism, there’s even less possibility that CNN’s news coverage will be able to satisfy them, nor should CNN even try. If we’ve learned anything from Trump and his lapdogs at Fox News, it’s that facts, data, and logic are no longer relevant to the Republican base.”
Eric Zorn On The Obliteration Of ChicagoNow
Eric Zorn writes letters at his Picayune Sentinel including one to Chicago Tribune general manager P. Anthony “Par” Ridder. “Why would a newspaper so badly in need of generating goodwill in its community operate in such a cold, dismissive fashion that hurts not just the current and former volunteer bloggers, but the newsroom journalists who continue to put out a fine product?”
After Thirty-Three Years, Chicago Shakespeare Theater Executive Director Criss Henderson Steps Down
Criss Henderson, who steered Chicago Shakespeare Theater from a start-up theater in 1990 through thirty-three years of growth, award-winning productions, and nationally recognized education and community engagement programming, will step down from his executive director role at the end of 2022, Chicago Shakespeare announces in a release. At the Trib, Chris Jones writes, “Henderson’s departure, which had not been widely anticipated, is part of a great wave of resignations and retirements in the Chicago theater community, which has seen recent artistic and administrative leadership departures at the Goodman Theatre, Writers Theatre, Victory Gardens Theater and many others.” Henderson tells the scribe, “There will never be a good time to step away from this theater that I loved and cared for so deeply, and that I have been leading since I was twenty-five years old… But this was a thoughtful if difficult decision. It is time for me to think about new creative chapters that I have to pursue outside of the day-to-day of running the theater.” Adds Jones of the $20 million-budgeted regional theater, “Henderson’s achievements are formidable… He shepherded Chicago Shakes… from a ragtag operation on the second floor of the Red Lion pub in Lincoln Park to a glittering, multi-stage facility on Navy Pier, capped off by the opening of The Yard at Chicago Shakespeare, a flexible, innovative space that can seat up to 850 patrons.” Also, “Henderson established and curated a WorldStage program that brought more international performing arts companies to Chicago than any other entity.”
Jeff Awards Note Fifty-Fourth Anniversary With Equity Theater Award Nominations
The Joseph Jefferson Awards has announced its nominations for theater excellence for Equity productions. “This year’s nominees include 201 theater artists across thirty-eight categories in theater production among shows from forty-three companies. During the season which ran from July 1, 2021 to June 30, 2022, Jeff Awards members attended ninety-four Equity productions. From these, seventy-six productions were Jeff Recommended and eligible for award nominations. Five theater companies were recognized with more than ten nominations each. Drury Lane Productions had the most honors with twenty-one from five productions. Goodman Theatre received twenty nominations, four of which were co-productions with other companies, followed by Marriott Theatre (sixteen), Paramount Theatre (thirteen), and a tie between Chicago Shakespeare Theater and TimeLine Theatre Company (ten). “Kinky Boots” at Paramount Theatre drew the largest number of nominations for a single production (eight). The Jeff Awards expanded award categories to include a classification recognizing Short Run Productions (nine-to-seventeen performances). The Equity Jeff Awards will take place on October 17, at Drury Lane. The ceremony will be directed by Jim Corti and hosted by E. Faye Butler, with musical direction by David Fiorello. The nominee portion of the Jeff website appears not to have been updated since 2020; here’s Chris Jones with the complete rundown.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Saturday is “Clear The Shelters” Day
“The Anti-Cruelty Society is waiving all pet adoption fees Saturday during the Clear the Shelters adoption promotion event,” reports Block Club Chicago. “People can adopt a pet and have the fees waived noon-5 p.m. Saturday at The Anti-Cruelty Society, 510 North La Salle, or one of its adoption locations… Animal shelters across the city have said they are facing ‘catastrophic’ overpopulation and have encouraged Chicagoans to foster or adopt… There will also be a photo area where people can dress up their new pet in a bandana for a family photoshoot.”
USPS Looks Toward Further Postage Hikes And 50,000 Job Cuts
Trump-appointed Postmaster General Louis DeJoy plans to request a further permanent stamp price hike in January, the Associated Press reports. “The price increases are necessary as inflation is expected to add $1 billion to USPS’ budget,” the often-criticized DeJoy claims. (DeJoy also plans to slash 50,000 jobs with the aim of forcing the constitutionally mandated service to “break even.”) Earlier this month, DeJoy addressed the meeting of the Postal Service Board of Governors, who hire and fire the Postmaster General: “All stakeholders need to realize that each day lost in executing on our strategy will consume cash and eventually accumulate to a cash deficit that will necessitate more aggressive actions by us or the federal government… This loss reduction effort will include the transactional improvements we need from our day-to-day operations—and the structural changes we need to make to overcome the years of neglect—neglect in strategy, neglect in discipline and neglect in resolve.”
Bentonville, Arkansas Hopes To Rebrand Beyond Home Of Walmart
“The small town of Bentonville, Arkansas, has been the headquarters of Walmart for fifty years,” reports Business Insider. “Now, the town that the Census Bureau reports has grown by more than fifty percent since 2010 is building a reputation as a place for tourists and young professionals. This reputation has hundreds of millions of dollars behind it, thanks to Walmart, the Walton Family Foundation, and individual members of the Walton family… The decades-long rebrand has attracted visitors who in the past may have driven by Bentonville without giving it a second thought.”
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