November Brings Hockney’s “20 Flowers and Some Bigger Pictures”
Five of the world’s leading galleries present “20 Flowers and Some Bigger Pictures,” an international exhibition by David Hockney. The global exhibition is jointly presented this fall and winter across five cities, including GRAY in Chicago, where the exhibition at 2044 West Carroll will open with a public reception on Friday, November 4, 5pm-7pm, and remain on view until December 23. “20 Flowers and Some Bigger Pictures” presents works created by Hockney in 2021, expanding on iPad paintings that he made in 2020 while quarantining at his studio and residence in Normandy, France. Inspired by his daily observations, Hockney devoted himself to the iPad, a medium of unique immediacy that allowed him to be prolific in his depictions of his home, the changing seasons and surrounding countryside. Each gallery will present editioned and signed inkjet prints that includes five landscapes, twenty floral still lifes and a composite of three iPad paintings depicting a bouquet of gladioli. These works reveal the presence of Hockney’s hand as well as his deliberate technique for drafting larger-than-life compositions on the iPad. While Hockney’s flowers capture the fleeting stillness of his subjects, his immersive landscapes establish the vastness of his rural surroundings. “Most people thought the photograph was the ultimate depiction of reality, didn’t they?” Hockney says in a release. “People thought, This is it, this is the end of it. Which it’s not. And I’m very certain it’s not, but not many people think the way I do.” More here.
Lorna Simpson Recognized As Visionary Artist
At its annual Visionary Luncheon, celebrating leadership in the arts, The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) and over 400 guests, including cultural, business, civic and artistic leaders, were in attendance to learn more about the museum’s learning initiatives and to recognize 2021’s honorees. Artist Lorna Simpson was recognized as this year’s 2022 Visionary Artist. “The MCA has enjoyed a long history with Simpson, organizing her first major survey exhibition, ‘For the Sake of the Viewer,’ in 1992. She also served as an Artist Trustee from 2017-2020 and has continued her work as an Emeritus Trustee. Over the last three decades, Lorna Simpson has established herself as one of the most significant voices in American art examining how identity is never fixed. Her work, which is often rooted in photography, encourages viewers to challenge their assumptions about race and gender.” Northern Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Grady accepted the 2022 Arts Education Philanthropy Award on Northern Trust’s behalf. Northern Trust has actively supported the MCA since 1975, and O’Grady was elected as Chair of the Board of Trustees in 2018. He served as Chair until 2022, and serves as Vice-Chairman today. The MCA raised over $600,000 at the event, all in support of the museum’s Learning programs. More here.
Comfort Station Seeks Submissions
Comfort Station is taking applications for 2023 exhibitions. All submissions will be reviewed by a panel including Comfort Station staff and invited artists and curators. “Through our selection process, we aim to create a year of exhibitions that reflect a diverse range of practices, showing work that integrates well with the space and context of our public building,” the gallery posts. “Comfort Station operates with core values of diversity, equity, and inclusion, therefore, we are committed to providing a platform for BIPOC artists, women, LGBTQ+, trans/gender non-conforming, and disabled artists. We also strive to put these values into action by ensuring that this public call for exhibitions reaches as wide an audience as possible through targeted outreach and communications.” There is no application fee; the deadline is October 20. Apply here.
Philadelphia Museum Of Art Strike Continues
“Striking workers at the Philadelphia Museum of Art took their historic contract fight with the museum to City Council on Thursday, arguing that management negotiators have been misrepresenting union positions in internal communications and in public comments,” reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The strikers’ union issued five demands, including raises, back pay and guaranteed minimums.
CTA Campaigns For Riders To Return
“Riders are fed up, and the CTA knows it. A new plan unveiled in August called ‘Meeting the Moment’ promises to address everything from wait times to ghost buses–the buses that the electronic trackers show are coming but never arrive,” reports WBEZ. “The agency has contracted private security firms and installed new security camera monitors in every El station customer service booth… The number of people who rely solely on CTA service fell dramatically during the pandemic as office workers stayed home—according to new data from the U.S. Census, the percentage of fully remote employees tripled from 2019 to 2021… On an average weekday in 2019 before COVID-19… about 1.47 million people took CTA rail or bus. In September 2022, average daily ridership was around 900,000, according to agency reports, a thirty-nine-percent decline.”
Alcala’s Celebrates Fifty
“Customers flock to the West Town outfitter for cowboy hats, boots and more. Now, the family-owned business is beginning the transition to the next generation,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Three generations of the Alcala family work at the store, handling everything from inventory to the cash register, along with their dedicated staff. They work with around twenty boot suppliers, attend rodeos and other trade events, and sometimes spend hours with customers to find them the perfect Western look… ‘Celebrating the fiftieth was definitely a milestone,’ said Antonio Alcala, twenty-six. ‘It’s not easy, and it’s going to take time, but we have a strong family and everything that they’ve built up. So I think that we can definitely go for another fifty years.'”
The Comeback Of Chicago’s “Black Metropolis”
“Many forgot the illustrious history of Bronzeville. But not Harold Lucas Jr., who yearned for this formerly vibrant ‘Black Metropolis’ to see a dramatic rebirth. ‘My heart has a vision of Bronzeville restored,’ Lucas told the Chicago Sun-Times in 1992,” reports NPR in a survey of Bronzeville today. “Incredibly, Lucas’s vision came to pass. Not only has Bronzeville seen a dramatic revival over the last few decades, but the community stands out in a new study as one of the roughly five percent of American neighborhoods that had a high rate of poverty in 2000 but has since seen the rise of ‘inclusive prosperity.’ The term refers to neighborhoods that saw economic growth and a large reduction of poverty without experiencing what people might call gentrification.”
Northwestern Reveals Central Street Stadium
“Plans have been revealed for a new football stadium at 1505 Central Street in Evanston,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “At the intersection with Ashland Avenue, the new structure for Northwestern University will replace the existing venue within their sports complex which also features an indoor arena as well as a baseball diamond. The university is leading the development efforts with Kansas City-based architects HNTB serving as the designers, who have worked on similar facilities for Ohio State and University of Michigan.”
Goodbye, Cycle Smithy
“When Mark Mattei locked the door to his store Cycle Smithy at 2468 1/2 North Clark for the last time,” reports Streetsblog Chicago, “it was the final bookend of a forty-nine-year run as the owner of a beloved local bike shop. Mattei, now in his seventies, once built custom frames and had an impressive collection of classic bicycles built throughout the last century hanging up around the shop. And while countless bikes have been sold out of the shop over the decades, Cycle Smithy was also a hub for bicycle culture and community in the city. It was the kind of place where anyone could walk into and then walk out of as a true believer in the many benefits of bicycling as a method of transportation.”
Unhoused In Wisconsin House Surfing Abandoned Buildings
Post-stimulus, “evictions and a lack of affordable housing have left many in Wisconsin without a home and without access to help,” reports Wisconsin Public Radio in an extensive report on housing circumstances. “House surfing and living in abandoned buildings, Wisconsin’s rural homeless population is underserved.”
DINING & DRINKING
Memo’s Hot Dogs In Pilsen Closes In Mural Fracas
“The city considers a hot dog mural on Memo’s exterior an advertisement, though it doesn’t feature the restaurant’s name. Owners say they ‘refuse to be bullied into painting over it,'” reports Block Club. Memo’s Hot Dogs on 18th “closed over the weekend, but owners are hoping they can reach an agreement with the city to reopen soon. Memo’s is one of the neighborhood’s oldest establishments, having been owned by three different generations of families since 1956… The restaurant hasn’t been able to renew its business license and has been slapped with fines because city inspectors have taken issue with the large, colorful mural on the exterior of restaurant.”
Did Nini’s Menu Of Racism, Homophobia And Religiosity Lead To Latest Closing?
Nini’s Deli in West Town has closed, reports Block Club Chicago, with the deli’s windows papered over and a listed phone number disconnected. “‘A big thank you and shout of praise to our Lord Jesus Christ for every single person who has come along side of us in this season…’ the restaurant posted on its Facebook page.” Nini’s first closed in 2020, “after protesters rallied against [the owner’s] homophobic and racist comments and street sermons. In June 2020, [the owner’s] brother José Riesco stood outside… and preached incendiary comments, comparing Black Lives Matter to the KKK and using anti-Black and homophobic slurs.” Adds Eater Chicago: “Nini’s originally opened in 2013. The Riesco family, the owners, are members of Metro Praise International’s chapter in Belmont Cragin (Juany Riesco was listed as a church deacon) and used Nini’s social media as a platform to broadcast their views on homosexuality, abortion, and the Black Lives Matter movement. In 2020, Metro Praise ignored local stay-at-home orders and held services. The city fined the church… Since opening the empanada and Cuban sandwich cafe in 2013, the family built close relationships with companies like Nike, Bang Bang Pie and Intelligentsia. They either carried their brands at the restaurant or were entwined in marketing campaigns. But the 2020 comments backfired and those sponsors began distancing themselves. ”
Roaster-Restaurant-Brewery Planned For Pullman
“Chicago-based Veteran Roasters has plans for a two-story coffee roastery, cafe, microbrewery and restaurant it says could create between fifty-five and sixty-five jobs for local veterans. The 16,000 square-foot project is planned for vacant land west of 111th Street and Doty Avenue, near the Pullman National Monument Visitor Center,” reports the Trib.
FILM & TELEVISION
Festival Passes On Sale For Black Harvest 28
The twenty-eighth Black Harvest Film Festival, Chicago’s annual showcase for films that celebrate, explore, and share the Black, African American and African Diaspora experience, will be November 4-20 at the Siskel Film Center, with select titles and programs available November 21-27 online. Festival passes are on sale here. The full lineup of feature films, short film programs, filmmakers and artists in attendance, and special events will be announced in mid-October.
Chicago-Set “The Bear” Is A Fashion Show
“The Bear” appeals to all kinds of tastes, writes Larry Ryan at the Guardian. “The show’s costume designers, Courtney Wheeler and Cristina Spiridakis, get almost as much coverage as the show’s main creative team, Christopher Storer and Joanna Calo. Fashion TikTok and subReddits chased down every detail of Carmy’s work wardrobe: his black trousers are Dickies 874 work pants, his footwear a Birkenstock Tokio sandal. The author Kayla Ancrum, New York Magazine and everyone else weighed in on how to get the signature white T-shirt, with emphasis on the specific weight of the material, loop of the collar and cut on the arms and body. Two brands were identified: Whitesville and Merz b. Schwanen.”
Florida Expanding “Statewide Book Bans”
“Florida Republicans were asked to promise that banned books would not literally be burned. They voted that down,” reports Salon. “Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed into law a policy, HB1467, that bans schools from using any books that are ‘pornographic’ or age-‘inappropriate,’ and allows parents broad access to review and challenge all books and materials used for instruction or in school libraries… In Indian River, teachers had been given the option either to close their classroom libraries or sign an electronic form confirming their collections complied with all new laws, potentially transferring all legal liability to them.”
Kansas City Bans Books
“A handful of books dealing with LGBTQ themes have been targeted by Kansas City area conservative parent groups and politicians. But facing a new Missouri law, some schools have now removed a much wider array of books from library shelves, including ‘Slaughterhouse-Five,’ ‘Watchmen’ and ‘The Handmaid’s Tale,'” reports The Kansas City Star. “Several school libraries have pulled at least twenty book titles in districts on the Missouri side of the Kansas City metro… The legislation specifically prohibits images in school materials that could be considered sexually explicit, such as depictions of genitals or sex acts. As a result, most of the banned books are graphic novels. The law does provide some exceptions, such as for works of art or science textbooks.”
David Sedaris Returns To Crystal Lake’s Raue Center
Author David Sedaris returns to Raue Center for a one-hour reading followed by twenty minutes to half-an-hour of audience questions. There will be a book signing in the lobby area before and following the event, but no photography or videography will be permitted. There will be no beverage service. November 4, 8pm. More here.
Readers Of Luxury Magazine Condé Nast Traveler Say Chicago Is The Best
A touch of the boilerplate esteeming Chicago: “It’s no wonder Chicago is topping this list yet again. A world-class destination known for its impressive architecture, first-rate museums, brilliant chefs and massive brewing scene, it’ll take several repeat visits to get through your list of must-dos,” avers Condé Nast Traveler. “Most people start downtown—from the Magnificent Mile to the ritzy Gold Coast to funky Old Town [all within blocks of each other]—but there are seventy-seven neighborhoods to explore, where you’ll find cutting-edge restaurants, chilled-out corner bars, and, no matter where you go, some of the most pleasant people you’ll find anywhere.” From a release: “For an unprecedented sixth year in a row, Chicago has been named the ‘Best Big City in the United States’ in the Condé Nast Traveler Annual Readers’ Choice Awards. Never has a city been named consecutively this many times, and the team at Choose Chicago is thrilled to make this announcement once again.”
Remembering Bob Gelms, Former WXRT Music Director
Bob Gelms, “a man who was a huge part of this station in the 70s and early 80s,” recalls Marty Lennartz at WXRT, has passed away. Gelms’ daughter Ginny posted the news on Facebook, and offers a link for remembrance here.
Wilco Releases Box Set As “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot” Turns Twenty
Last week, Wilco released a “sprawling boxed set, featuring a new remaster of the album along with a whopping eighty-two previously unreleased tracks. But at this point, is there anything left to be discovered about one of the most over-discussed and thoroughly mythologized records of the century?” asks Lindsay Zoladz at the New York Times. “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot,” she writes, “is still one of the twenty-first century’s most beloved and securely canonized rock albums” and is “widely considered the band’s masterpiece… As Tweedy recently said, in an interview included with a new boxed set commemorating the album’s twentieth anniversary, ‘I was trying to put it in perspective for myself: How can there be all these good things that I love about America, alongside all of these things that I’m ashamed of? And that was an internal question, too; I think I felt that way about myself.'”
Changes At Auditorium Theatre Board
The Auditorium Theatre board of directors has named longtime board member Thomas R. Baryl as its chair and Patti S. Eylar its vice chair. Kristina Blaschek, Robert Gordon and Dr. Kyong Mee Choi have been appointed to the Auditorium Theatre Board, all for the three-year 2022–2025 term. “Tom has been an active member of the Auditorium Theatre Board for over a decade, and a great partner to the theatre and its patrons via his leadership at Loop Auto Parks. We welcome his stewardship and look forward to continuing the theater’s growth under his and Patti’s direction,” Rich Regan, chief executive officer says in a release. Says Baryl, “I am honored to be leading the Board of this landmark institution and look forward to working with my fellow Directors to maintain the Auditorium’s role as one of Chicago’s finest presenters of dance and music.”
Mudlark Theater Presents “Wizard of Oz” Sequel That Explores Transgender Identity
The Evanston-based Mudlark Theater youth company will present “The Marvelous Land of Oz,” a musical based on the book published in 1904 “that shows that the queer and transgender narratives have been appearing in youth literature since well before they were addressed openly in society.” It was one of the first sequels to the book written by L. Frank Baum, written while he was living in Humboldt Park. “Baum writes of the adventures of a young orphan named Tip as he travels through the wonderful land of Oz in search of the long-lost Princess Ozma. At the story’s end, Tip’s transformation into Ozma presents an allegory that remains cutting-edge more than a century after it was written.” Anthony Whitaker, who wrote the music and book for the show, debuted the musical in 2013 for the New American Folk Theatre, and is directing this version for Mudlark, playing November 25-27 at the Red Curtain Theater in Evanston. “The book may have been published in 1904, but the themes aren’t moldy,” Whitaker says in a release. “Kids are still grappling in 2022 with the challenges of self-discovery and coming to terms with who you really are.” More here.
Theater Organizations Condemn Threats Made Against Oregon Shakespeare Festival Artistic Director
“The Dramatists Guild, Theater Communications Group and the Shakespeare Theatre Association have released a statement condemning threats made against Nataki Garrett, Artistic Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival,” reports Broadway World. “This violent response to her artistic choices strikes right at the heart of who we are, not just as members of the American theatre, but as citizens.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Private Security Increases After West Loop Attempted Kidnappings
“After at least two attempted kidnappings in West Loop, some neighbors are calling for private security to patrol what police can’t,” reports Block Club. “At a community meeting Saturday, Ald. Walter Burnett Jr. (27th) said he’s looking for funding to put private patrols on the streets. But another area alderman, Byron Sighco Lopez (25th), has concerns about pursuing private patrols.”
Rockford Has First Predominantly Black-Owned Pot Shop In Illinois
“Inside a cavernous warehouse in Rockford, behind three sets of locked doors, hundreds of tiny cannabis seedlings grow. They are the initial crop cultivated in Illinois by Star Buds, which on Monday became the first licensed predominantly Black-owned cannabis business and the first craft grower to open its doors in the state,” reports the Trib.
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