Could The Consumers And Century Buildings Get Landmark Status?
The Chicago Sun-Times editorial board is all in on landmarking State Street’s endangered turn-of-the-twentieth-century skyscrapers: “The city is making the right move by standing up to the feds and formally arguing that the towers are historically and architecturally important… City planning department staffers are set to ask the Commission on Chicago Landmarks… to grant a preliminary designation… The long-vacant early twentieth-century skyscrapers owned by the U.S. General Services Administration were put in demolition’s path… when Senator Richard Durbin… earmarked $52 million to replace the towers with a security plaza aimed at protecting the nearby Dirksen federal courthouse. The decision to demolish the buildings was made after federal judges… raised concerns that the structures [could create] a security hazard.” Landmark status may not be enough to block the feds from demolishing the buildings, “but the city is making the right move by standing up to the feds and formally arguing the towers are historically and architecturally important, and, once redeveloped, are worth more to State Street and downtown than a glorified vacant lot posing as a security feature.”
Soldier Field Kiboshes Cash; Sun-Times Says No Taxpayer Money For Bears
Bears fans “will have to use a credit, debit, or prepaid card or a mobile payment to make purchases inside [Soldier Field]. This will include team shops, concession stands, and mobile vendors that will be around the venue on Sunday and the other eight home games on the team’s schedule this fall and winter,” reports WGN-TV. Meanwhile, the Sun-Times editorial board writes that the Bears shouldn’t get a dime for building in Arlington Heights: “Given today’s economic climate and the generous windfall the team would reap if the venture is successful, taxpayers shouldn’t fund any portion of the Bears move. Shame on them for even asking.”
Metra Extends $100 Super Saver Pass Through End Of Year
“Metra will continue to offer a $100… unlimited monthly pass deal through the end of the year, instead of just through September as originally planned. The Super Saver pilot program, which launched in July, was set to only run for three months,” reports Channel 5 News. “The extension, according to Metra Executive Director and CEO Jim Derwinski, is due to pass popularity.”
Wind Farm Coming To Southeast Side?
“A bill in the Illinois Legislature would create the potential to build an offshore wind energy farm in Lake Michigan,” reports the Sun-Times.
Supreme And Pope.L Collaborate
“The vaunted streetwear brand Supreme and the storied artist Pope.L have joined forces, releasing a series of T-shirts and skateboard decks,” reports ARTnews. “The new products have images of Pope.L engaged in one of his legendary performances, sporting a Superman costume and crawling through urban environments (with a skateboard strapped to his back, as it happens). In a promo video, the artist was even kind enough to offer some advice to young artists who are just starting out. ‘Get a job you, you fuckers,’ he said.”
DINING & DRINKING
Gene Kato’s Neighborhood Spot Itoko Makes Modest Plans
Chicago magazine previews one of Boka Restaurant Group’s three restaurants that will occupy the former Southport Lanes building: Itoko, from Momotaro chef Gene Kato. “Itoko means cousin,” Kato tells them. “The idea of the name is because we wanted to capture some of what made Momotaro and Izakaya Momotaro special… We don’t do [hand rolls] at Momotaro often because by the time they get to the table, the seaweed is too soft, it loses the crunch and then everything inside falls apart… With Itoko, because the space is smaller, everyone is close to the sushi bar, so we can have a hand roll section on the menu.”
Rick Kogan On A City’s Need For Taverns And Restaurants
“Tears, not yet. But more than a few people visiting Tavern on Rush over the last few days have had a mournful look,” writes Rick Kogan at the Tribune. “I have plenty of tavern/restaurant years under my belt and have seen dozens, perhaps hundreds, of them vanish, the victims of changing neighborhoods, changing tastes, wrecking balls or economic pressures… But we have been lucky here. As Mike Royko wrote in the introduction to a book that I wrote in 1979, ‘Dr. Night Life’s Chicago,’ ‘Whoever poured the first trickle of whiskey (here) could not have known that it was the first drop of rain in what would become a monsoon… Chicago’s bars have always opened early and closed late.'” Around 1950, Chicago had about 7,000 saloons. “Many of them served food but mostly they served as important social focal points, shelters from the storms of daily life. The best of them were able to survive because of a delicate alchemy based on booze but also because of a sense of fellowship, providing a level playing field. There are only about 1,000 now.”
Prepping Le Select
“What does a French-trained chef from Wilmette do once he’s opened and run three acclaimed restaurants in Paris, a Michelin-starred bistro in New York City, and is on the verge of launching his first spot in downtown Los Angeles? He returns to Chicago to bring his refined take on French fare to the city,” writes Maureen Jenkins at Chicago magazine. “Daniel Rose will make his Chicago debut with Le Select, a French brasserie in River North (504 North Wells) in partnership with Boka Restaurant Group, the group behind restaurants like Alla Vita and Girl and the Goat.”
Susie’s Drive-Thru Closes After Half-A-Century
In February, sisters Susan Ninos and Stacy Berry listed Susie’s Drive-Thru in Irving Park, which has been around since the 1970s. “The two are selling the building and the lot it’s on, but they are not selling the business name. Even if the deal does go through, Ninos has no plans to reopen elsewhere, she said. ‘Restaurants are a wonderful thing. But I’m done,'” reports Block Club Chicago.
Full Schedule Announced For Printers Row Lit Fest
The thirty-seventh annual Printers Row Lit Fest, presented by the Near South Planning Board, has announced the full schedule of participating authors and programs. “Printers Row Lit Fest is one of the three largest and oldest literary festivals in the United States, and stretches across five blocks, along South Dearborn from Ida B. Wells to Polk and on Polk from State to Clark, in the Printers Row neighborhood. The outdoor event is accessible in rain or shine Saturday-Sunday, September 10-11, 10am-6pm.” More here.
Poetry Foundation Announces Pegasus Awards
The Poetry Foundation is awarding an unprecedented $1.1 million for eleven Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners. The Lilly Prize is a lifetime achievement award, which is usually awarded annually to one living poet. In honor of the 110th anniversary of Poetry magazine, the Foundation decided to award eleven Lilly Prizes—one for each decade of the magazine. The 2022 Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize winners are Sandra Cisneros, CAConrad, Rita Dove, Nikki Giovanni, Juan Felipe Herrera, Angela Jackson, Haki Madhubuti, Sharon Olds, Sonia Sanchez, Patti Smith and Arthur Sze. Elizabeth Acevedo is the 2022–2024 Young People’s Poet Laureate. Kevin Quashie is the 2022 Pegasus Award for Poetry Criticism winner. Bios and more here.
“Maus” Is One Book, One Chicago Offering
“’Maus,’ Art Spiegelman’s classic graphic novel about the Holocaust,” writes Christopher Borrelli at the Trib, “will get the typical One Book, One Chicago treatment, with the usual walking tours, workshops, screenings, lectures and eventual on-stage discussion with Spiegelman.” “Our pick is definitely a response to the way that people have questioned the role of libraries these days,” Jennifer Lizak, Chicago Public Library’s One Book, One Chicago coordinator tells Borrelli. “It’s partly a way of reassuring patrons and Chicagoans they can read what they want to read here—this library is welcoming to everyone, no matter who you are. Though the irony, of course, is that nothing makes a book more popular than someone banning it.”
Ivan Brunetti Salutes “Sweet Home Chicago”
Ivan Brunetti provides six panels reflecting on our fair city at the Nib. “Ever since the pandemic,” he writes, “the city consists mostly of random noise (gunfire, etc.) punctuated by eerie silences…”
CNN’s First News Anchor, Chicago’s Bernard Shaw, Was Eighty-Two
“Bernard Shaw, CNN’s chief anchor for two decades and a pioneering Black broadcast journalist best remembered for calmly reporting the beginning of the Gulf War in 1991 as missiles flew around him in Baghdad, has died,” reports the Trib.
Eric Zorn Features Steve Chapman “Exit Interview”
“My former colleague and friend Steve Chapman announced with very little fanfare in the final paragraph of his column Friday that he was saying goodbye to his readers,” writes Eric Zorn in a lengthy conversation at his Picayune-Sentinel Substack. “I’ve been doing it for forty-one years. I’m sixty-eight. I’m ready to step off the deadline treadmill. I’m in good health, and you can’t take that for granted at my age,” Chapman says. “There was nothing more gratifying than getting a letter from a reader who appreciated what I was trying to do with my column, which was to be as logical, evidence-based and sensible as I could be… The best are the ones who wrote to say, ‘You know, I had never thought of it that way, but you, you made me think,’ or ‘You changed my mind,’ or, ‘I thought I was the only one who thought this, thank you so much for letting me know I’m not alone.’ … I’ve gotten more emails than I ever expected from readers telling me they’ll miss my column. That makes my retirement somewhat bittersweet.”
Victory Gardens Fires Rest Of Staff
“The tangled recent history of Victory Gardens Theater became even more complicated this week with the mass dismissal of the remaining staff members in the wake of an attempt to unionize. It’s the latest development in a series of moves that has thrown the survival of the venerable Tony Award-winning regional theater—long a beacon for new work through various iterations of its playwrights ensemble—into sharp question,” reports Kerry Reid at the Reader.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Remembering Queen Elizabeth’s Brief Single Visit To Chicago
“Chicago was Elizabeth’s only stop in the United States during a 1959 tour of the Great Lakes only a few years into her reign. Her husband, Prince Phillip, said the skyline was the most beautiful he’d ever seen,” reports Block Club. “Chicago welcomed the queen with a twenty-one-gun salute, large crowds along the lakefront and cheers as she and her husband, Prince Phillip, proceeded through the city along Michigan Avenue. Hundreds of thousands of people turned out for the spectacle—even though the visit only lasted about fourteen hours.”
Questions Raised Over Bally’s Gambling Stewardship
“Activist and church groups are urging the state gaming board to go slow amid concerns about Bally’s financing, legal and other woes,” reports Crain’s. “Asserting that the Illinois Gaming Board faces the biggest challenge to its credibility in decades, an activist group with church connections is urging the board to go slow and potentially block a bid by Bally’s to operate Chicago’s proposed casino. In a letter to the board, Washington, D.C.-based Stop Predatory Gambling and Illinois Churches in Action charge that Bally’s is ‘financially wobbly,’ has run afoul of regulators in Rhode Island, and would hold ‘undue economic influence’ in Illinois gaming business if the board grants Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s request to award the company the city license.”
Warnings On Mobile Gambling
“The Rise of Mobile Gambling Is Leaving People Ruined and Unable to Quit,” headlines a report from Motherboard. “Financial catastrophe is now only a few clicks away, a problem that is showing quiet signs of becoming a crisis. ‘I can’t just get rid of my phone,’ one problem gambler says.” Maxwell Strachan talks to an Illinois gambler he calls “Jason,” for whom gambling wasn’t a problem “until recently, when gambling on his phone became both available and socially acceptable. For most of his life, he had enjoyed betting money… say, during poker with friends as a teen and on the occasional casino trip… None of it ever seemed or felt like much of a problem… until the pandemic. The previous year, his home state of Illinois had legalized sports betting and expanded casino gambling, flooding the state with advertisements. It didn’t take long before Jason was hearing about gambling ‘all day every day’… He tried casinos, but preferred online gambling. The casinos, he came to believe, were less efficient—’too much non-gambling time’… and led to questions about where he had been. [But] his phone allowed him to be ‘a hundred-percent plugged in’ from anywhere, without people asking questions. ‘I could do everything you could do at a casino on my phone… I didn’t have to explain where I was or anything like that. I didn’t have to answer to anybody.'”
A History Of Guaranteed Universal Income Programs
“The push to solve poverty through government-backed cash grants is nearly a hundred years old,” writes Sky Patterson at the Reader, “starting after the Great Depression. In the 1930s, populist Louisiana senator Huey Long, who blamed capitalism for the country’s poverty at the time, proposed giving every American a minimum income of $2,000,.. Long was assassinated in 1935 and his plan never came to fruition… Proponents of guaranteed income in Chicago say that the economic impact of the pandemic and the influx of cash assistance programs, such as the city’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program, shifted public opinion and paved the way” for a pilot program.
Profits For Cards Against Humanity In Twenty-Two States Donated To Abortion Fund
Cards Against Humanity is donating profits in twenty-two states that have restricted access to abortions since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, reports WGN-TV’s Nexstar Media Wire. The funds are going to the National Network of Abortion Funds. (“Cards Against Humanity is a popular party game in which players play cards in order to make jokes, often crude and vulgar,” the station’s website notes.) The website order message reads, “You live in [state listed here], a theocratic hellscape where human beings are forced to carry unwanted pregnancies by threat of imprisonment.’ … Buyers can acknowledge the message or chip in an extra $5, which the company will match.” There’s a third option: “What!? I’m pro-life! I didn’t agree to this.” Clicking on that button leads to: “So you don’t want us using your money to pay for abortions? You know, sometimes people have values imposed upon them by bigger, more powerful entities, and they are forced to do things they don’t want to do, like carry an unwanted pregnancy… We just added an extra $5 donation to the National Network of Abortion Funds to your cart.”
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