Unveiling The Obama Presidential Portraits
“Barack and Michelle Obama returned to the White House for the unveiling of their official White House portraits, in an East Room ceremony hosted by President Biden and first lady Jill Biden,” reports the Washington Post. “The event will mark the return of the long-standing tradition of sitting presidents welcoming their predecessors—regardless of party—to the White House to unveil their official portraits. In his time in office, Donald Trump hosted no events at the White House for Obama, whom he accused—without evidence—of spying on him during the 2016 campaign.”
Ravenswood ArtWalk Returns This Weekend
The Ravenswood corridor will celebrate twenty years of its ArtWalk this weekend, Saturday, September 10-Sunday, September 11. “The Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce partners with the historic Ravenswood Industrial Corridor for a weekend that highlights the bustling hub of artisans, manufacturers, and brewers unlike anyplace else in the city,” the group relays in a release. “Each year, over 10,000 visitors explore the Ravenswood ArtWalk, enjoying a weekend of art, music, food, and community while getting a peek inside the spaces that help define Ravenswood, stretching from Lawrence to Irving Park along Ravenswood Avenue, with open studios and galleries, pop-up performances, an outdoor artist market, children’s corner and a beer garden.” A complete list of events and performances is here.
“Palette And Palate” Recalls Riccardo’s Restaurant And Gallery
Madron Gallery is presenting “Palette and Palate,” an exhibition celebrating Chicago, its artists and one of the city’s most unique artist-run spaces of the mid-twentieth century, Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery (once called “the Montmartre of the Midwest”). On view through December 16, the exhibit features paintings depicting Chicago street scenes from the Madron collection alongside “The Seven Lively Arts,” a group of seven enormous paintings by seven Chicago artists commissioned by Ric Riccardo in 1947 to hang behind his palette-shaped bar at 437 North Rush. Each work depicts a different allegorical scene of an art form (Literature, Drama, Sculpture, Painting, Architecture, Dance and Music); in Riccardo’s heyday, the paintings were considered the restaurant’s centerpiece. The exhibition is accompanied by “Flash in the Pan,” an essay by Alex Cornacchia exploring the restaurant-gallery combination that developed in Chicago in the late 1940s. On Saturday December 10, Madron Gallery will host Phillip Koch and Sally Marschall of Film Police, as they present material from their upcoming PBS documentary film “Everybody Came to Ric’s: Chicago’s Golden Age 1934-1954,” about Ric Riccardo, his life, and Riccardo’s Restaurant and Gallery. More here.
Soldier Field Switches Up Sod
Kentucky bluegrass is out and Bermuda grass is in, reports WGN-TV. “It’s so much tighter. The plant and the footing,” Soldier Field general manager Tim LeFevour tells the station. “Players are going to feel that difference. It’s going to be a faster game, I think, you’ll see on this turf. We would have gone to this years ago if we felt we could grow it longer into the fall season. Bermuda loves warmth. Bermuda loves heat. With the Kentucky blue we wouldn’t turn our heating system on until mid-October, third week of October. We’ll be turning our heating system on tonight.”
Sbarro Urbanists Say Goodbye To Thompson Center Food Court
Google’s acquisition of the Thompson Center is a gain in some ways and a loss in others, Anjulie Rao writes for the Architect’s Newspaper. Consumption “is a main feature of the JRTC—particularly in its celebrated food court. The Sbarro Urbanists, a group of Thompson Center superfans who regularly meet for Sbarro pizza in the food court, recently held their last group gathering before the building closes for construction… ‘As optimistic as I think a lot of us are about what’s going to happen with that project, there are no guarantees about public space. There’s no guarantee about whether the food court will be something that anyone other than Google employees can access in the future,’ Sbarro Meet Up organizer and architecture photographer Eric Allix Rogers told AN. ‘If you ask anybody here, you’ll find that they would like those things to remain as kind of civic spaces, or at least commercial spaces.’” Bonnie McDonald, executive director of Landmarks Illinois, tells the publication she has some hope. “The Thompson Center has also been a gathering place for protest, transit, commerce, and more within one of our city’s most inspirational indoor and outdoor public spaces… We want to see continued public access to these spaces when it is converted to private use.”
Bidding Wars Break Out For Sparse Rental Units
“Apartments in hot neighborhoods are renting for hundreds of dollars a month over their list prices thanks to a market squeezed by the pandemic and rising inflation,” reports Mina Bloom at Block Club.
Why Couldn’t Divvy Keep Bikes On Chicago Streets?
This spring and summer, reports the Tribune, Divvy had fewer bikes on the street than at any other point in recent years. “The drops in bike deployment come as Lyft changed its prices… The company said the price changes are tied to an increasing number of electric bikes, which cost more to operate… Dips in Divvy bike deployment have happened before during the warmer weather months, when higher ridership leads to more wear and tear on the bikes, meaning bikes have to be pulled for maintenance. But since 2019 the amount of bikes in circulation had not previously dipped below sixty-eight-percent, and the level this spring and early summer was far below the eighty-percent goal agreed upon by Lyft.”
DINING & DRINKING
Other Chicago-Area Baristas Encouraged By Starbucks Union Activity
“Union organizing at a range of employers, from a giant Amazon warehouse on Staten Island to cannabis stores in Chicago, has kept the National Labor Relations Board busy. The NLRB, which oversees workplace union votes, said for the first nine months of the current fiscal year, it’s gotten more petitions for labor votes than it received all of the prior year,” reports the Sun-Times. “Two other Chicago-area coffee chains have unionized. In a huge win for Local 1220 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, about 400 workers at Colectivo Coffee in Illinois and Wisconsin have joined the union. Local 1220 also won representation rights at Intelligentsia’s five coffee shops in Chicago. On the Starbucks picket line, workers sensed the balance of power is shifting away from employers.” More here.
Manny’s Deli On The Bears In Arlington Heights
Posting on Twitter, Manny’s Deli weighs in: “No, we will not be opening a stadium centered entertainment district in Arlington Heights.”
Is There A Problem With Alinea?
“Nearly two decades in, Chicago’s only Michelin three-star restaurant continues to achieve moments of brilliance but struggles to keep up with the times,” Chicago magazine headlines John Kessler’s review. “Alinea feels stuck in time, relying on its old bag of tricks. The sleights of hand have grown familiar, and the flavors don’t always add up.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“South Side” Is Citywide
HBO Max’s streaming series continues to explore the city: “Details of why and how ‘South Side’ characters end up at the mainstage of [Lollapalooza] are being carefully guarded, but [co-creators Bashir Salahuddin and Diallo Riddle] promise even more surprises that a Chicago resident and obsessive will recognize,” reports the Sun-Times. “The two co-creators let slip that a Kwanzaa holiday special will land characters at the beautiful and historic South Shore Cultural Center. ‘I think we’re giving Chicago the spotlight,’ Salahuddin teased. ‘That’s the most important character.'” Looking at Lower Wacker’s Central Auto Pound, “I was like, ‘This place is really aesthetically kind of wild,’” Salahuddin remembers. “We kind of push towards that and we shot a variety of scenes down there and it’s actually kind of hauntingly beautiful.'”
Talking Romance, Faith And Writing With Sandra Cisneros
“Woman Without Shame” is Sandra Cisneros’ first published collection of poetry in twenty-eight years, writes Aaron Cohen at the Reader. “The thing I like about poetry is you don’t always come off looking great, and that’s when you know you’re on the right track. That’s when you know that you’re getting past your ego. It starts out, ‘I’m going to just write my photo album’ and then it just goes into some wacky, dark, humiliating and sad places, all the emotions. I like that poem, but I can’t read it [aloud] very often because of ‘House On Mango Street,'” she tells Cohen. “I can only read it if there aren’t children present or if the people who are under eighteen go out into the lobby and buy candy bars. That’s what my mother used to do to get me out of the movie house when a risqué scene came on.”
Jim DeRogatis Will Not Testify At Trial
“Earlier this morning Judge Leinenweber granted DeRogatis’ motion to quash his subpoena. DeRogatis will not be testifying” in R. Kelly’s child pornography/obstruction trial, posts WGN News’ Sam Charles.
Lollapalooza Producers Pay $410,000 For Grant Park Cleanup
“The price tag for restoring Chicago’s Grant Park after this year’s four-day Lollapalooza festival totaled more than $400,000, a $120,000 hike from the year before,” reports the Trib. The $409,695 tab “includes the cost of new seed, sod and shrubbery; irrigation; and reinstalling mesh fencing.”
Music Fests Claim To Want To Go Green
“From England’s Glastonbury to Belgium’s Tomorrowland to Spain’s Primavera Sound, festivals have outlined the measures they are taking to combat climate change and become more sustainable. But whether reality matches the promoters’ rhetoric often remains unclear, as hundreds of thousands of people fly across the Continent to enjoy days of consumption and excess,” reports Politico Europe.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
“School Is For Everyone”
“Starting in the mid-nineteenth century, the United States began to establish truly universal, compulsory education. It was a social compact: The state provides public schools that are free and open to all. And children, for most of their childhood, are required to receive an education. Today, nine out of ten do so in public schools,” education reporter Anya Kamenetz essays at The New York Times. “Extended school closures during the… pandemic effectively broke the social compact of universal, compulsory schooling… Meanwhile, a well-funded, decades-old movement that wants to do away with public school as we know it is in ascendance… Without public education delivered as a public good, the asylum seeker in detention, the teenager in jail, not to mention millions of children growing up in poverty, will have no realistic way to get the instruction they need to participate in democracy or support themselves. And students of privilege will stay confined in their bubbles. Americans will lose the most powerful social innovation that helps us construct a common reality and try, imperfectly, to understand one another.”
Chicago Dark Money Billionaire Barre Seid’s Political Sway Isn’t New; Beneficiary Leonard Leo Makes Anti-Election Supreme Court Filing
“An intensely private billionaire has secretly used his wealth to try to influence the lives of millions… Forty years ago, Seid was a little-known business executive based in Chicago who was scarcely on the radar of major political operatives and party committees. His electronics company, Tripp Lite, sold surge protectors and other gear from a cramped space in Chicago’s River North area… In the mid-2000s, Barre Seid had begun thinking about how to leave a legacy. Riding the personal computer boom, the Chicago-based electronics magnate was on his way to becoming a billionaire. Seid, who considers himself a libertarian, now had the means to pursue a bold project: ‘attack philanthropy,'” ProPublica discovers. “To Seid, that meant looking for ways to place financial bets that had the potential to make epochal change. With little public notice, Seid became one of the most important donors to conservative causes during an era that saw American politics and society shift sharply to the right… The businessman has long been ‘the major patron’ for the Heartland Institute, a small Chicago-area think tank which for decades has attacked mainstream climate science… It’s impossible to know the full extent and details of Seid’s giving over the years because the law allows many nonprofits to keep their sponsors secret. But tax records previously obtained by ProPublica show that between 1996 and 2018, he made at least $775 million in donations to nonprofit groups. Almost all of that money was given anonymously.” Much more here. Meanwhile, reports UCLA law professor Rick Hasen, Leonard Leo’s Honest Elections Project has filed a Supreme Court brief “arguing state legislatures are not constrained by even state constitutions protecting voting rights when they regulate federal elections.”
Plumbing Billionaire Herb Kohler Was Eighty-Three
“Herb Kohler, Jr., the former head of his family’s namesake global plumbing empire, died Saturday,” reports CNN. “He was the third generation Kohler to helm the Wisconsin company, serving as CEO for forty-three years and later as its executive chairman… Kohler acquired several firms and rivals: Baker furniture, McGuire Furniture and Sterling Faucet, along with motor and generator manufacturers. But he was best-known for the ‘Bold Look of Kohler’ campaign, which brought avocado green and harvest gold appliances to the kitchen, and later introduced entirely voice-activated bathrooms.” In 1981, Kohler established “the American Club Resort, located in Kohler, Wisconsin, a five-diamond, five-star resort as a way to expand into the hotel business. It was built on the location of what had been housing for the company’s workers in the early twentieth century.”
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