Englewood Commercial Hub Led By People Of Color
Four businesses led by entrepreneurs of color are open inside a 4,000-square-foot retail shop in Englewood, reports Block Club. “Developed by E.G. Woode—a collective of architects, designers and entrepreneurs—the 4,000-square-foot retail and office hub at 1122 West 63rd will house Powell’s Barbershop, Momentum Coffee, Marie|Wesley and Beehyye, a design firm with co-working areas. E.G. Woode will function as a real estate partner, working alongside the collective to continue to develop their stores.”
Many Changes In Religious Fabric Of Uptown
Uptown Update surveys the multiple religious edifices that have been sold or may be demolished “as church leaders reassess their need for large religious buildings.”
Discover Taking Tech Talent Downtown
Discover Financial Services “plans to hire 150 new graduates within a year for data and analytics jobs at its downtown office,” writes John Pletz at Crain’s. “The first seventy-five start work Monday in jobs that require them to be in the office three days a week.”
Amtrak Cancels More Service Out Of Chicago
“Lack of serviceable equipment and qualified staff have again caused… Amtrak state-supported service cancellations out of Chicago,” reports Trains.
The Origins of Chicago’s Downtown Population Boom
“Richard J. Daley, the elder of the two Daley mayors and not someone renowned as a visionary, realized sixty years ago that the commercial heart of the city could not thrive year-round without a much larger residential population. So he saw to a massive increase in downtown apartment living. Most of this was in newly constructed towers, not converted office buildings. But it was a clear demonstration of how many people wanted to be close to the center. Daley is a large part of the reason central Chicago did not deteriorate like central St. Louis or Detroit,” reports Governing in a survey of downtowns possibly turning residential around the country.
Drought Could Dash Data Centers; Colorado River Poses Problems
“Data centers are springing up around the world to handle the torrent of information from the expanding web of devices ingrained in people’s lives and the economy. Managing that digital information gusher is big business. It also comes with hidden environmental costs,” reports NPR. “Companies that operate data centers have faced scrutiny for the huge amounts of electricity they use storing and moving digital information like emails and videos… Like cooling systems in large office buildings, water often is evaporated in data center cooling towers, leaving behind salty wastewater known as blowdown that has to be treated by local utilities. That reliance on water poses a growing risk to data centers, as computing needs skyrocket at the same time that climate change exacerbates drought. About twenty-percent of data centers in the United States already rely on watersheds that are under moderate to high stress from drought and other factors.” Headlines ProPublica: “As Colorado River dries, the U.S. teeters on the brink of a larger water crisis; The megadrought gripping the Western states is only part of the problem. Alternative sources of water are also imperiled, and the nation’s food along with it.”
DINING & DRINKING
Once-Populist Lettuce Entertain You Plans A River North Members-Only
Lettuce Entertain You plans to open a private club with “a culinary focus” in River North in 2023 in partnership with New York-based Tao Group, reports Crain’s. “The space will be designed by Hong Kong-based designer Joyce Wang, who specializes in luxury hospitality. ‘We believe this project will bring a new, curated social and dining experience to our community,’ Lettuce president R. J. Melman said in a release.” The club “would join others like Soho House, which in addition to its West Loop location has clubs around the world, and the Astor Club,” which may open before the end of the year. “Oftentimes, exclusivity has a certain allure to some people… but I think the bigger allure is the practical ability to have access to something,” Luke Stoioff, founder of Chicago-based restaurant group DineAmic Hospitality tells Crain’s. “Especially if it was a last-minute occasion, I think access is the biggest allure.” LEY operates more than a hundred locations around the country.
Irene’s Finer Diner Opens In Alps East Space Ten Years After Closure
“Petros Papatheofanis’ family ran Alps East for more than twenty-five years in North Center,” posts Block Club Chicago. “Ten years after it closed, he’s returning to the same spot to open his own restaurant, Irene’s Finer Diner, named after his mother.”
Near-Record Canadian Wheat Crop Bolsters World Supplies
Canada will “deliver its third-largest harvest in more than a century,” reports Bloomberg. “Output from the world’s seventh-largest wheat exporter will rise fifty-five-percent to 34.6 million metric tons this year as yields improve amid better moisture and more moderate temperatures… That makes 2022 the third-best harvest in records dating to 1908, falling just short of 2020’s bounty and the record 37.6 million tons gathered then.”
California Senate Passes Bill To Regulate Fast-Food Industry
“The California State Senate passed a bill on Monday that could transform the way the service sector is regulated by creating a council to set wages and improve working conditions for fast-food workers,” reports the New York Times. “The bill was vehemently opposed by the fast-food industry.” The bill could move the state toward “sectoral bargaining,” “in which workers and employers negotiate compensation and working conditions on an industrywide basis, as opposed to enterprise bargaining, in which workers negotiate with individual companies at individual locations.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Kwame Amoaku Finds Dream Job In New York City
“If anything needs to be filmed [in New York City], I’m the person that permits and facilitates it and advises them on production,” New York City deputy commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Kwame Amoaku “said during a recent call from his office in The Ed Sullivan Theater,” reports Axios Chicago. “The volume of film work he handles.. is ‘eight times the amount of work I handled in Chicago… In 2019 we had fifteen episodic projects going on in Chicago at one time with a record-breaking $575 million in revenue… At the same time here, there were eighty episodic projects, 315 feature films and $81 billion of revenue.’ … Amoaku says his most-missed dish is Vienna Beef hot dogs.”
The State Of Pay At Debt-Ridden Newspaper Conglomerate Gannett
“As the owner of more than 400 local weeklies and dailies in forty-six states, Gannett stands as a telling illustration of the economics of local newspapers. It’s not just a matter of costs outpacing revenues but a question of where the costs are coming from. Gannett has accumulated $1.34 billion in debt, much of it due to its merger with GateHouse Media, another big newspaper chain, in 2019,” writes Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times. “The merger hasn’t seemed to result in cost-saving economies of scale. Instead, it has cut costs by offering readers less—fewer reporters and editors producing fewer local news stories. Where has the money gone? … Chief Executive Michael Reed collected $7.74 million in cash and stock awards (an incentive bonus could bring his total pay to… $8.5 million). His second-in-command, Douglas E. Horne, got $1.75 million. Then there’s the nine-member board of directors—eight plus Reed. They include a former director and executive of a casino services firm, a former marketing executive for a cruise line and a former executive of a footwear company. The eight non-management directors collected an average of $242,969… The median pay of Gannett’s approximately 16,000 employees last year, including reporters and editors, was $48,419. The ratio between Reed’s pay and theirs was 160-to-one. That’s not the largest mismatch between the compensation of a CEO and the workforce, but it’s far from the smallest.”
Gannett’s Louisville Courier-Journal Workers Unionizing
“We, the journalists of The Louisville Courier Journal, are unionizing,” posts the Courier Journal News Guild. “We love our city and our newsroom and want both to be the best they can be. That can’t happen unless we have a seat at the table and our voices are fully heard.” Of Gannett’s stewardship of the paper, founded in 1868, the Guild opposes “Corporate-dictated unpaid furloughs. The closing of our local press. The listing of our building for sale. Buyouts. Layoffs. Time after time, Gannett’s actions have chipped away at morale and at our product. Louisville deserves better.”
How Jim DeRogatis Got The R. Kelly Tape
“Three teams of criminal defense lawyers have tried to cast doubt on the origins of the central video” in the current R. Kelly trial, “questioning who gave it to me before the Chicago Sun-Times turned it over to the police. Here’s the story behind the tape.” DeRogatis writes at his old paper: “Two weeks after my then-Sun-Times colleague Abdon M. Pallasch and I wrote the first story about Kelly’s abuse of underage girls for the newspaper in 2000, a FedEx envelope empty except for an unmarked VHS tape arrived at the paper’s mailroom. Whoever sent it typed my name as both the sender and the recipient. That person paid cash at a dropoff center, a FedEx spokesperson told me, but he couldn’t say where it originated other than ‘somewhere in Los Angeles.’ The brief video showed a young woman having sexual contact with Kelly in what has come to be known as ‘the log-cabin playroom’ of the mansion he owned in Wrigleyville. Pallasch and I could not determine her age or identity. Journalists do not generally do the work of police, but our editors decided that, since she could be underage and subject to ongoing abuse, the tape could be evidence of a felony. So we gave it to the Chicago Police Department to investigate. That tape has not been mentioned in court, and the Sun-Times didn’t report its existence until I received the second, notorious tape.” (The original Sun-Times dispatch from December 21, 2000 is here.)
Accessible Festivals Grants Program Announced
Non-profit organization Accessible Festivals has launched the Dan Grover Memorial Ticket Gift Program, which will provide a limited number of free access tickets for disabled music fans and their loved ones to recreational experiences like concerts, festivals and conventions. Accessible Festivals is partnering with Austin City Limits Music Festival, BottleRock Napa Valley, Electric Daisy Carnival, Lollapalooza, Rolling Loud NY and Stagecoach, among others, to provide complimentary admission. More information and applications here.
Doing The Not-To-Be With The Bard
“Does the American theater have a Shakespeare problem?” asks Rob Weinert-Kendt at American Theatre. “I consider it an unalloyed good that within my lifetime, folks traditionally excluded from Shakespeare performance and production have heartily and fully claimed his work as their own, and have been just as heartily embraced by audiences and critics, proving beyond doubt that these plays can speak through them, and more importantly, that they can speak through these plays in their own distinctive voices, from Raul Julia’s Petruchio to Randall Duk Kim’s Hamlet, from Lisa Wolpe’s Shylock to Danielle Brooks’s Beatrice… But should they have to? Should Shakespeare’s plays remain the bar you must clear to be considered theatre literate? It’s a huge question, and one answer, paradoxically enough, can be found in new productions of his work, some of which take liberties with the text, others which keep the text intact but mess critically and creatively with point-of-view and context, and all of which essentially take his work for granted—both in the sense that, sure, Shakespeare is foundational, indispensable even, and in the sense that yeah, he’s just there, like, whatever.”
AstonRep Sets Fifteenth And Final Season
“The past fourteen years of AstonRep Theatre Company have been an amazing ride, producing twenty-eight critically-acclaimed productions and fourteen Annual Writer’s Series,” says AstonRep founder Robert Tobin in a release. The company’s fifteenth and final season begins with a revival of Sam Shepard’s “Buried Child,” directed by ensemble member Derek Bertelsen. The season continues with the fifteenth Annual Writer’s Series, featuring free readings of new works by emerging writers, presented virtually via Zoom. The season concludes in spring with Julia Cho’s play about language and love, “The Language Archive,” directed by ensemble member Dana Anderson. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
How Professional Election Workers Are Run Out Of Jobs
“This is an amazing, heartbreaking, in depth look at how professional election workers are being harassed and bullied out of the work they love, at huge cost to our democracy,” posts David Becker, founder of The Center for Election Innovation and Research of a report pointed out by Jessica Huseman at VoteBeat. Says Becker in the piece, “If you lose your professional election officials who are experienced in these procedures, who understand the equipment, understand the records, who understand the legal requirements, you can end up in a really bad place.” Huseman: “This is a common story across the United States. Underpaid, poorly resourced and terribly treated elections workers are throwing up their hands and quitting. The result will be chaotic elections with bad outcomes for voters.”
Gallup Says Approval Of Unions Near Record High
A new Gallup poll indicates that approval of labor unions stands at seventy-one-percent, the highest approval rating since 1965. Writes Gallup, “The latest approval figure comes amid a burst of 2022 union victories across the country, with high-profile successes at major American corporations such as Amazon and Starbucks. The National Labor Relations Board reported a fifty-seven-percent increase in union election petitions filed during the first six months of fiscal year 2021. Support for labor unions was highest in the 1950s, when three in four Americans said they approved. Support only dipped below the fifty percent mark once, in 2009, but has improved in the thirteen years since and now sits at a level last seen nearly sixty years ago.”
Mayor Calls Social Media “Absolute Abomination” In Street Takeovers
From Monday’s press conference, the Trib’s Gregory Pratt posts: “Mayor Lori Lightfoot partly blames car meet up ‘street takeovers’ on social media companies not being proactive [sic] and working with police, calls it an ‘absolute abomination.'” (The Tribune posts a thirty-eight-second video of a “takeover” that took place in the West Loop here.) The Sun-Times continues its coverage of the phenomenon here, including the recent pedestrian death. Police Superintendent David Brown, reports the Sun-Times, says that investigators are tracking social media. “One of the things that these groups do is that they highlight their drag racing on social media… But that’s evidence for us to tow their car at a later date. So warning to those trying to sensationalize drag racing, thank you because we’re going to charge you and tow your car with up to a $10,000 fine.” He said that “organizers sometimes use public social media accounts to send cops on phony chases while using private chats to set up real events. And those events are typically in ‘porous’ areas that are difficult to block off… Brown acknowledged the ‘complexity’ of combatting the… trend, noting that officers are prohibited from chasing drivers at high speeds… referring to the department’s new vehicle pursuit policy.” It’s also getting “Fast And Injurious” in Los Angeles. Locally, the Tribune updates: “Officers arrested nine people, impounded seven cars and identified twenty-two vehicles for future impoundment at street takeovers over the weekend, police said. One pedestrian was killed during a suspected drag race.”
Durbin Gets Behind Minor League Baseball Unionization
“Unionization efforts for Minor League baseball players are underway this week, and Sen. Dick Durbin has extended his support,” reports Crain’s.
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