SAIC Instructors Demand Union Recognition
“Instructors at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, citing strong support for unionizing, Wednesday demanded the school’s leadership recognize them as members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “The proposed union would include about 600 lecturers and adjuncts at the school. At the Art Institute itself, about 600 staff members already are part of Council 31. The two groups would form a ‘wall-to-wall union’ to represent people who are behind the scenes and under-compensated but who contribute to the museum’s world-class reputation.”
Unfair Treatment In Madison, Say Black Women Artists
“In the wake of an ongoing controversy over the treatment of artist Lilada Gee at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Gee and four other Black women artists talked at Madison College’s Goodman South Campus about what the city needs to do to be more inclusive and safe for artists of color,” reports the Cap Times. “Gee, Grace Ruo, Sonia Valle, Catrina J. Sparkman, and Fabu Phillis Carter formed the panel that was moderated by Charlotte Cummins.” A central theme “was the climate of racism and insensitivity surrounding the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art over the past several months, as well as other incidents the artists have personally faced in Madison. ‘I think what brought me out was the fact that there are other Black women who are here who are gonna be expressing their experiences and I wanted to be a part of that supportive community,’ Gee said. Critics believe MMoCA has largely refused to take responsibility for its mishandling of a June incident where Gee’s artwork was stolen, defaced and disrespected by a woman and her young children. MMoCA described sixteen minutes where security was not watching over exhibits as ‘a brief lapse.'”
Architecture Center Announces Open House Chicago
The Chicago Architecture Center presents Open House Chicago 2022 at more than 150 sites in twenty community areas over the weekend of October 15-16. Now in its twelfth year, Open House Chicago is one of the largest architecture festivals in the world and remains free and open to the public. New participating communities include Chatham and Hermosa, highlighted by the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center and the Whitney M. Young, Jr. Branch Library. Additional sites to explore are Austin Branch Library, Architectural Artifacts, Christ the King Jesuit College Preparatory School, ComEd California Facility, Ravinia Brewing, Omni Ecosystems, 320 South Canal, 600 West Fulton, The WasteShed Chicago, Kenwood United Church of Christ, St. Paul & the Redeemer Episcopal Church, OPEN Center for the Arts, Access Living Headquarters, Fulton East, Oak Park Public Library and Oak Park Conservatory. Plus, returning favorites such as Central Park Theater, Our Lady of Sorrows Basilica, Dank Haus, Givins Castle, Herman Miller Fulton Market, Boxville, The Forum, Chinese American Museum of Chicago, McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, Seventeenth Church of Christ Scientist, Wintrust’s Grand Banking Hall, International Museum of Surgical Science, Holy Name Cathedral and Bahá’í House of Worship. (An Apple or Google app is available.) More here.
The Guardian Goes Deep On Chicago’s Lead Pipe Problem
The Guardian, with support from Open Society Foundations, publishes an extended report on the state of Chicago’s pipes while looking at America’s water supply: “Tests performed for thousands of Chicago residents found lead, a neurotoxin, in amounts far exceeding the federal standards… The Guardian worked with water engineer Elin Betanzo–who helped uncover the Flint water crisis that resulted in many, mostly Black residents being poisoned by lead in the Michigan city–to review the results of water tests conducted for Chicago residents between 2016 and 2021. Chicago itself has never released an analysis of the results.”
Land Slated For Public Housing Will Go To Billionaire-Owned Soccer Team
“A zoning committee initially rejected the mayor’s plan to lease public housing property to the Chicago Fire. Less than twenty-four hours later, a new vote reversed a rare mayoral defeat,” reports Mick Dumke at ProPublica. “Citing years of broken promises to build affordable homes, a Chicago City Council committee rejected a plan to lease public housing land to a professional soccer team owned by a billionaire ally of Mayor Lightfoot… Less than a day later, allies of the mayor called a do-over and reversed the vote. The full City Council then voted to approve a zoning change needed to let the Chicago Fire soccer team build a practice facility on the twenty-six-acre site.”
Bob Boin, Caretaker Of Historic Theaters, Was Seventy-Five
Theater restoration maven and retired civil engineer Bob Boin, one of the volunteer caretakers of the Uptown Theatre through its decades of disuse, and one of the team that restored the organ at the Chicago Theatre, has passed. The Uptown Theatre posts on Facebook, “Bob was one of just a few original Friends of the Uptown. He gave his time and materials to stabilizing the building, drying it out, securing it and keeping it from ruin long before the name existed for this kind of civic altruism and before saving movie palaces was fashionable. Bob was a retired civil engineer with a love for organ music and theatre architecture. Since the 1980s, he was part of a small group of loyal volunteers who protected and maintained the Uptown Theatre and its unique chandeliers. Boin also spent seven years on a team that restored and maintained the Wurlitzer pipe organ at the Chicago Theatre, and was instrumental in getting the organ included in the theatre’s City of Chicago Landmark designation.” (Here’s a 2019 Tribune piece on the Uptown caretakers.)
New Days For Aging Lakeside Center?
“McCormick Place is hoping to find an alternative redevelopment plan that would revitalize Lakeside Center amid declining convention attendance,” reports Robert Channick at the Tribune. “The Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns McCormick Place, issued a request for information last week, inviting developers to submit ideas for ‘reimagining’ the fifty-one-year-old steel-and-glass exhibition hall, an underutilized but architecturally significant building that needs more than $400 million in deferred maintenance.”
Mies Crown Hall Americas MCHAP.emerge Winners Announced
The Mies Crown Hall Americas Prize (MCHAP) has announced “Containing the Flood: Colosio Embankment Dam” by Loreta Castro Reguera and José Pablo Ambrosi of Taller Capital as the 2022 MCHAP.emerge award winners. More here.
Logan Arcade Gets Logan Square Preservation Event
Logan Square Preservation will showcase one of its neighborhood’s most treasured examples of adaptive reuse, Logan Arcade. The secret history of the hardware store that in 2014 was hard-wired for hardcore pinball and classic console video games will be discussed at a behind-the-scenes event on Sunday, October 2. The doors of Logan Arcade at 2410 West Fullerton will open at 2pm for those who sign up. Arcade owner Jim Zespy will talk about the days when pinball was illegal and police raids were common, despite the fact that Chicago was the world’s biggest manufacturer of pinball machines. Also featured will be members of the Kosiba family, the original owners of the hardware store, which traces its Logan Square roots back to the 1920s. Zespy restored many of the building’s historic treasures, such as the original tin ceiling that the city said to demolish because it was not up to code. Attendees can view historic archival photos of the space, play rare and retooled vintage arcade games, and learn about pinball’s dark and illicit past. Register here for a password for early entry, complimentary food, and a Sunday drink special.
Pace To Introduce New Passes
“Pace will introduce new Pace-CTA passes offering unlimited rides on both systems. Passes will be good for one day ($5) or three days ($15). Pace already offers a seven-day pass, but the proposed budget would cut the price from $25 to $20, matching what CTA already offers for seven-day passes,” reports the Sun-Times. “The budget also looks to eliminate charges for Pace-to-Pace transfers when riders use a Ventra card on regular routes. Those transfers now can cost riders 30 cents, or 20 cents for reduced fares. It also looks to drop premium transfers with Ventra cards from $2.80 to $2.50, or $1.45 reduced fare to $1.25.”
DINING & DRINKING
Big Star Mariscos Opens Monday
Partners Paul Kahan, Terry Alexander, Donnie Madia and Peter Garfield of One Off Hospitality announce the September 26 opening of Big Star Mariscos, a new, seafood-forward evolution of their brand, in a bright and airy 6,000-square-foot space at 551 North Ogden. Seating 120 and sixty on a patio, Big Star Mariscos will feature longstanding Big Star menu favorites as well as coastal seafood offerings including ceviches, aguachiles and cócteles, inspired by flavors found in the coastal regions of Vera Cruz, Baja, Ensenada and the Yucatan. Dishes include a Scallop and Surf Clam Coctel with tomato-citrus salsa, red onion, radish, avocado, cilantro and Camarones Dorados tacos with Cascabel Chile shrimp, Jack cheese, a crispy tortilla, Salsa de Molcajete and avocado. Big Star will once again join up with their longtime tortilla partner, Pilsen’s family-operated El Popocatepetl Tortillería to develop a tortilla that’s a bit different than the original versions that have been served at Big Star for over a decade. As for music? “When we first opened Big Star in 2009 the only people really spinning vinyl at the time were Rainbo Club and Danny’s,” Terry Alexander says in a release. “Now, with Mariscos, in addition to vinyl, which we’ve sourced from many legendary independent record stores in Chicago, we’re indulging in our other analog obsession and bringing back cassettes—we might even start making mix tapes!” More here.
Mayor Proposes Permanent Outdoor Dining
“An outdoor dining program that proved to be a lifesaver for Chicago restaurants and bars during the darkest days of the pandemic would be made permanent and expanded into the curb lane under a mayoral plan,” reports the Sun-Times. “Making the expanded outdoor dining program permanent will turn what was once a lifeline into long-term assistance and result in the continuation and creation of inviting dining spaces throughout our neighborhoods,” Mayor Lightfoot said. “If the Council approves the new program, the Chicago Department of Transportation will establish an outdoor dining street permit valid from May 1 through October 31.”
Chicago Gourmet Returns
“After a pandemic cancellation followed a mini-festival, the 2022 Chicago Gourmet kicks off tonight” with a roster of events, writes Axios Chicago, but “this year’s event again lacks the signature Millennium Park tasting lawn full of chefs, winemakers and thousands of visitors. That’s due to a local hospitality industry that is rebounding but still desperately hurting for workers…” Many chefs “don’t even have enough team members to staff their restaurants,” Illinois Restaurant Association president Sam Toia tells Axios.”So they weren’t able to send anywhere from four to eight members out to the park to represent them at Chicago Gourmet.” Chicago Gourmet’s site is here.
Planta Queen Sushi Is Watermelon
River North’s new upscale vegan Planta Queen will serve sushi made from dehydrated watermelon, reports Eater Chicago. “There’s lots of restaurants in the River North area that are successful because they have great food and great service,” founder-CEO Steven Salm tells the site. “We’re ultimately hoping to fall into that same category but just align a little bit more with the guest that’s looking to treat their body and the planet a little bit better… There was always this really amazing attraction to the youth and the vibrancy of River North, which still has a very strong office population and residential community… It really is kind of a unique part of the city that is firing on all cylinders all of the time.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Industry Days And Keynote Speakers Announced For Chicago International Film Festival
The fifty-eighth Chicago International Film Festival, presented by Cinema/Chicago, announced its program and schedule for Industry Days, October 13-16. Now in its eighth year, the four-day conference is CIFF’s hub for filmmakers and professionals to connect and share ideas. “By bringing the film community together in Chicago, Industry Days has become an important meeting place for emerging filmmakers from the Midwest, and festival guests from around the U.S. and the world, to connect directly,” Industry Days senior programmer Anthony Kaufman says in a release. “We are particularly excited to be back in person where more meaningful and substantive interactions and networking opportunities can take place.” This year’s Industry Days will feature a Master Class with director Darren Aronofsky, whose film “The Whale” is being shown. Industry Days will also host masterclasses with composers Mychael Danna and Kris Bowers. Sara Murphy, producer of “Licorice Pizza” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” will participate in a conversation on creative producing and pitching projects on Friday, October 7, as part of the Festival’s Chicago Industry Exchange Lab program. Other events include: Oscar-winning screenwriter and Steppenwolf Theatre member Tarell Alvin McCraney and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Kemp Powers will present a conversation; a production and financing panel headlined by Dan Steinman, co-president and COO of independent film production company 30WEST; and a panel discussion with executives from production companies, including Dana Gills from Jordan Peele’s Monkeypaw Productions, Ada Chiaghana from Barack and Michelle Obama’s Higher Ground Productions, and Greta Talia Fuentes from Charles D. King’s MACRO Film Studios. Reservations and more here.
In Break For Authors, Kindle Ends Refunds On Fully-Read Books
“In a major improvement for authors of books available on Kindle, Amazon has confirmed plans to change its systems to address complaints about its long returns windows which have negatively affected authors’ profits,” reports the Society Of Authors. “Amazon’s returns policy for ebooks currently allows readers to receive a full refund for up to fourteen days, even if they have read the full work. The use of this refund loophole has been encouraged by users on the social media platform TikTok, with videos on how to return books being viewed over seventeen million times.”
The 2022 Hyde Park Jazz Festival Is This Weekend
Rebuild Foundation’s Mellon Archives Innovation Program Opens To Public With Sylvester’s “Stars”
The Mellon Archives Innovation Program kicks off this Sunday, September 25, at the Stony Island Arts Bank, the home to Frankie Knuckles’ vinyl collection. Sunday’s program will explore one album from his collection, Sylvester’s 1979 album “Stars,” sharing how it embodies Knuckles’ unifying and liberatory approach to dance music. The Mellon Archives Innovation Program supports the creation of new research, scholarship, and artistic production through engagement with Rebuild Foundation’s archival collections at the Stony Island Arts Bank. Free and open to the public. Registration and more here.
“Beyond Borders” Leads Joffrey Season
The Joffrey Ballet launches its season with “Beyond Borders,” a mixed-repertory program that pays tribute to the Joffrey’s maverick legacy with works by artists of its past and present. A highlight is a second new work commissioned from in-demand choreographer Chanel DaSilva, in addition to the return of favorites by critically acclaimed choreographer Liam Scarlett and Joffrey co-founder Gerald Arpino, marking the start of his centennial celebration. “Beyond Borders” will be presented at the Lyric Opera House, in ten performances only, from October 12-23. “It has been awe-inspiring to watch Chanel’s career flourish, starting as a choreographer of much promise in ‘Winning Works,’ to astounding audiences with ‘Swing Low’ last season, to her return this year with a highly original work created with Joffrey artists for ‘Beyond Borders,'” says artistic director Ashley Wheater. “It is my sincere pleasure to work with artists who value collaboration, and who seek inspiration for dance across art, music, and ideas that compel us forward.” More here.
Lyric Announces 2023-24 Ryan Opera Center Ensemble
The Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center, the professional artist-development program at Lyric Opera of Chicago, has selected twelve singers for its 2023-24 Ensemble. Mezzo-sopranos Lucy Baker and Sophia Maekawa, tenor Travon D. Walker, and bass-baritone Christopher Humbert, Jr., will join eight returning singers of the Ensemble: sopranos Kathryn Henry and Lindsey Reynolds, tenors Ryan Capozzo and Alejandro Luévanos, baritones Laureano Quant and Ian Rucker, and basses Ron Dukes and Wm. Clay Thompson. Starting last spring, more than 400 singers applied for consideration with video recordings. After a thorough review, selected singers were invited to live preliminary auditions throughout the summer, resulting in invitations to a small group to sing on September 20. The final auditions were attended by an invited audience of more than 550 Lyric subscribers and donors, who also participated in voting for the Audience Favorite Award. The award and $500 cash prize went to soprano Shelén Hughes. More here.
“The Locusts” World Premieres At The Gift
The Gift Theatre will conclude its season with the world premiere of Jennifer Rumberger’s serial-killer thriller “The Locusts,” commissioned and developed by The Gift and directed by ensemble member John Gawlik, running October 20–November 19 at Theater Wit. The production features ensemble members Cyd Blakewell, Brittany Burch and Jennifer Glasse with guest artists Mariah Sydnei Gordon, Renee Lockett and Patrick Weber. Tickets here.
Winifred Haun & Dancers Opens Twenty-Fifth Season
Winifred Haun & Dancers will open its twenty-fifth season with an engagement at the Athenaeum Center on November 5. The event will feature the premiere of a new group work, “When day comes,” choreographed by Winifred Haun. “‘When day comes’ explores how humans are constantly pursing something, and how that unrelenting chase causes discord, suffering, drama, and occasional but, limited joy.” The engagement will include a retrospective of three company works: “Promise,” from 2009, inspired by John Steinbeck’s novel “East of Eden”; “Bento,” a work from 2012, that explores movement phrases donated by other choreographers; and “I am (not) this body” from 2018, which “illustrates how we view the bodies of women, and people of color, and how the humans inside those bodies then seem to have less value.” Other featured dancers include Vernon Gooden, Crystal Gurrola, Myles Harris, Jade Hooper, Mandy Milligan, Jacinda Ratcliffe and Julia Schaeffer. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Immersive King Tut Is Here
The fifth immersive show to arrive at Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, “Immersive King Tut,” opens in October. Toronto-based Lighthouse Immersive, with the assistance of the Egyptian Council for Tourism Affairs, has slated its exhibit portraying the most famous of Egyptian rulers, the “boy king” Pharaoh Tutankhamun, to open October 14, commemorating the hundredth anniversary of archaeologist Howard Carter’s discovery of Tut’s tomb in November 1922. Tickets start at $30. More here.
Amazon Warehouse Training Run By Ex-Private Prison Executive
Executive Dayna Howard is in charge of “learning and development for warehouse employees” at Amazon, posts economics researcher Matt Stoller at his site. “Howard was apparently good at designing systems to herd prisoners… At Amazon, she came to head their global security group, and then their loss prevention team, which is to say, she ran their efforts to stop employees and contractors from stealing. All of this is reasonable if distasteful; theft in retail is a problem and having internal security is a clear need for a firm like Amazon… What is surprising is that Howard was then promoted to run their learning and development team, which is Amazon’s internal training program for all warehouse workers. There’s nothing illegal about any of this, but Howard’s career path does give us some perspective on how Amazon execs understand those who did not attend college and what they are good for.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]