Meet Thalia Hall Chalk Artist Anna-Michal Paul
“If you’ve ever been to a show at Thalia Hall, you’ve walked right past Anna-Michal Paul’s work. She creates the hand-drawn chalk art that greets concertgoers as they ascend the stairs to the second-floor venue,” writes Leor Galil at the Reader. “Her detailed, textured portraits and stylized lettering, which she catalogs on Instagram at latenightchalkshow, are as much a part of Thalia’s identity as the musicians who headline the hall every time they come to Chicago. In fact, because she’s created thousands of promotional chalk designs for Thalia, you could argue that she’s its most frequently booked artist.” Galil and Paul talk here: “It’s a huge privilege to be able to do this. Not a lot of people get to walk into work and look forward to fucking up the thing they did the night before so they can make something new.”
Philadelphia Museum Of Art Workers Authorize Strike
“Unionized workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, in talks since October of 2020 on their first labor contract with museum management, voted Tuesday night to authorize a strike should leaders deem it necessary,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Union leaders, who filed an unfair labor practices grievance with the National Labor Relations Board… said that the strike meeting was attended by most of the roughly 165 workers in the union, and the authorization vote was passed overwhelmingly.”
Big Money In Little Homes: Trailer Parks Tie Up Zell Fortune
The Chicago Tribune was only a modest detour in eighty-year-old Sam Zell’s ongoing adventures in real estate. “Corporate landlords are targeting the most cost-effective segment of the real estate market: mobile home parks,” reports Vishesh Raisinghani at Yahoo Finance. “Factors such as below-market rents and disrepair make mobile home parks attractive for investors seeking to add value. The typical mobile home park lot costs $10,000, which means eighty lots would be worth $800,000 on average. [That] entry price for these parks is much lower than multi-family apartments and condo buildings across the country… In recent years, larger investors such as Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund GIC and private equity firms such as The Carlyle Group, Brookfield, Blackstone and Apollo have also added exposure to this asset class… The largest mobile park landlord is real estate veteran Sam Zell. Zell’s Equity LifeStyle Properties owns 165,000 units across the country and the asset is a key element of his $5.4 billion fortune.” Warren Buffett’s Clayton Homes “is the largest manufacturer of mobile homes in the U.S., and also operates two of the biggest mobile home lenders, 21st Mortgage Corp. and Vanderbilt Mortgage.”
Loop Of Ice Machines Cools Downtown Skyscrapers
“We build ice at night when the strain on the electricity grid is the lowest, prices are lowest,” reports WGN-TV. CenTrio is a district energy company that runs the largest district cooling network in North America here in Chicago, “helping make the city livable and workable when the mercury rises… A network of five plants spread throughout Chicago provides cooling to 115 downtown buildings–including icons like the Chicago Board of Trade, the Merchandise Mart and the Old Main Post Office. They’re all connected to a closed loop of pipes.”
Spain Offers Free Train Trips Through End Of 2022
Spain offers free train trips under 300 kilometers (186 miles) through the end of the year. “There were early signs that the initiative was popular with riders… Spain’s minister for transportation, mobility and the urban agenda, said nearly 100,000 people had used the free admission in Madrid on Thursday morning, fifty percent more than ‘on a day like today’ in 2019,” reports the New York Times.
DINING & DRINKING
Logan Square Beer Week Is Coming
When Union opened in Logan Square in spring 2022, part of its mission was “to showcase an eclectic array of local breweries on its twenty-four rotating taps.” Union’s team will present the first-ever Logan Square Beer Week, September 12-16, with programming offered by neighborhood breweries. Exclusive tappings, flights, specials and events are coming, with a lineup that includes Marz Brewing, Maplewood Brewery & Distillery, Revolution Brewing, Ørkenoy, Hopewell Brewing, Pilot Project, Solemn Oath, Ravinia Brewing and middle brow. Following a kick-off party for the week starting at Union on Monday, September 12, featuring a tap takeover with under-the-radar brews from participating brewers (as well as food specials), each subsequent day will feature specials around the neighborhood—from an exclusive tapping of Rye Dunkel at Revolution to a “Beer, Bang Bang Pie, and Bingo” celebration at Solemn Oath. More information will be added at Union’s Instagram account here.
Hostess Accused Of Discrimination
“Workers at a Hostess bakery in Galewood accused the snack dessert maker of firing a transgender employee for her gender identity and segregating LGBT employees onto a separate work line at the Narragansett Avenue factory,” reports the Tribune.
Negotiating A Contract Difficult Next Step In Unionizing Starbucks, Trader Joe’s And Other Stores
“Over the past year, workers at Starbucks, Amazon, Trader Joe’s and Apple have all achieved historic, hard-won union victories, but now many of these newly unionized workers fear they might face an even bigger challenge: negotiating a first union contract,” reports the Guardian. “Exhibit A for that challenge is the slow pace of progress at Starbucks. Unions have won elections at more than 220 stores. Many baristas are upset that Starbucks has begun negotiations with workers at only three of them.”
Utah Schools Formalize How To Ban Books
In July, Utah’s state school board “passed a ‘model policy’ that calls for schools to require parental permission for the materials while complaints are under review,” reports Axios Salt Lake City. “Only students, parents and employees at that school could trigger a review—in contrast to the Canyons district’s decision last year to pull nine books from schools that none of the complainant’s children attended.” But “schools are no longer allowed to ignore complaints—and they now have to actively explain to lawmakers their decision to keep any book that someone targets.”
Virginia Court Rules Against Book Ban
“A Virginia state court judge dismissed the petitions against two books this week, ending for now an attempt by local Republicans to rule the books obscene,” reports Slate. “‘I agree with the defense that the statute is facially invalid,’ said retired judge Pamela S. Baskervill, who was assigned the case after all the local circuit court judges recused themselves. She was referring to the obscure Virginia state law that a Republican state legislator had used in his attempt to declare Maia Kobabe’s graphic memoir ‘Gender Queer’ and Sarah Maas’ fantasy romance ‘A Court of Mist and Fury’ ‘obscene for minors.'”
Downers Grove Library To Critics Of Drag Bingo: “They Can Choose Not To Come”
“The Downers Grove Public Library’s plan to hold a drag-themed bingo event for teens is being assailed by a suburban congressional candidate and a conservative group with ties to his campaign,” reports the Sun-Times. “Library spokeswoman Cindy Khatri said the staff understands [that the Republican hopeful] and other parents may consider the event ‘a poor fit’ for their families. ‘That is totally okay—they can choose not to come…Other taxpaying parents in the community do want programming like this.’”
Public Narrative Adds Director Of Journalism And Media Engagement
“Public Narrative, a nonprofit organization known for providing communications and media literacy resources teaching journalists and community nonprofits better storytelling, has named Olivia Obineme as the organization’s new director of journalism and media engagement,” they announce in a release. “Obineme will engage with media makers and community members throughout Chicago and beyond to build and guide authentic and effective partnerships, dialogue and initiatives. She will work to ensure journalists and community members work together to ensure more inclusive, diverse and equitable narratives are being told throughout Chicago and beyond, particularly in marginalized communities. ‘When I first moved to the city in 2017, Public Narrative was one of the first Chicago-based resources a now-mentor of mine shared with me,’ Obineme says. ‘From a plethora of media contacts to resources on how to be more community-centered in media, I give credit to PN for helping influence how I saw my role here in improving Chicago’s journalism landscape. Public Narrative has built a lasting legacy in understanding the work we do as journalists and media makers cannot be complete without people, especially Black and Brown folks, who are most disproportionately [affected] by the ongoing issues across our city, state and nation.'”
Writers Theatre Opens Season With “Tiger Style!”
Writers Theatre opens its season with “Tiger Style!” by Mike Lew, directed by Brian Balcom. The production runs September 29–October 30 in the Nichols Theatre in Glencoe. “Squabbling siblings Albert and Jennifer Chen reached the pinnacle of academic achievement when they were kids. But as adults, they can’t seem to get things right: he’s just been passed up for promotion and she’s been dumped by her less-than-ideal boyfriend. To fix the sorry states of their lives, they turn to the one thing they know they can blame: their parents. Or America. Or maybe China?” Award-winning playwright Mike Lew (“Teenage Dick”) “pens this hilarious comedy about Chinese American heritage, traveling the globe from California to Shenzhen. ‘Tiger Style!’ tackles the immigrant experience, cultural stereotypes and what it really means to feel successful—and at home.” More here.
The Challenges Of Banishing Inequity From The American Stage
“Regardless of demographics… producers of commercial and nonprofit work have overwhelmingly selected repertory and instituted policies that in essence ensured a monoculture,” writes Jesse Green in a report at the New York Times. “It took the double punch of COVID-19 and the racial reawakening of 2020 to fully expose the unfairness and disrupt the status quo… Previously swept under the rug of supposedly immutable traditions and rules, [inequity] is now revealed everywhere, in casting, funding, leadership, programming… If too little turnover can be sclerotic—the artistic directors of several of New York’s most successful institutional theaters have been in place for three, four or even five decades—too much can be chaotic. Some companies are staking a compromise position, one that aims to maintain the stability of the single-leader model without relying on a single leader… Soho Rep in New York City has three co-leaders; Steppenwolf Theater Company, in Chicago, has two.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Remembering Local 1 Pioneer Henry Tamarin
“Over Labor Day weekend twenty years ago, Henry Tamarin met his greatest test as a union leader,” writes David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “Tamarin was ready to lead his members into a citywide hotel strike. Then-Governor George Ryan, concerned about a strike’s impact on tourism and state finances, mediated and the union ‘stopped the clock’ upon the contract’s expiration, delaying a walkout as bargaining continued… By Monday, Tamarin had extracted the deal he could bring to 7,000 members. Housekeepers, then getting $8.83 an hour, got a thirty-seven percent wage increase over four years and the cost of family health care dropped from $85 to $30 per month, where it still sits today. Members rejoiced and gave Mr. Tamarin a nickname, ‘Tamarindo,’ that stuck. Today, housekeepers earn around $23 an hour in Chicago.”
U Of I “Strongly” Recommends Masks On Campus
“COVID-19 cases are surging at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which has ‘strongly recommended’ masking to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus but isn’t mandating face coverings in most indoor settings,” reports the Tribune at the start of the new semester. “Nearly a quarter of 1,439 tests reported on Tuesday were positive for the virus, with about twenty-six-percent of undergraduate students and about twenty-three-percent of graduate students who were tested having contracted the virus.”
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