Architect Jim DeStefano Was Eighty-Four
“Jim DeStefano was a prolific Chicago-based architect for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill and later at his own shop, DeStefano + Partners,” reports the Tribune. “He was excellent with clients. He just knew how to guide a client through a big project and work well with the contractors,” John Burcher, an architect who worked with DeStefano at Skidmore and then at DeStefano + Partners tells the paper. “And he was really, really good as a mentor.”
Mayor Gets Behind Communities Of Tiny Homes For Chicago
“Billed as a way to create more affordable housing, the city’s plan envisions two or three communities of tiny homes,” reports WBEZ. “The proposed program could create two or three tiny home communities in Chicago, each encompassing four to eight little houses, ideally on city-owned land, where units would be subsidized by the city… Tiny homes are typically less than 500 square feet… Designs can range from a cabin-like structure with minimal necessities such as a bed, or a full-blown miniature home equipped with a kitchen, living space or even a second loft-style level within the home.”
DINING & DRINKING
Butterball Turkey Talk-Line Helper Patricia Marvin Was Ninety-Six
“Home economist Patricia Marvin answered questions for twenty-two years on the Butterball Turkey Talk-Line,” reports the Sun-Times. Along with the workings of the help line, Maureen O’Donnell writes, “Mrs. Marvin, who worked at various times for food giants Swift, Eckrich and ConAgra, was involved in some of the meetings at which the hotline was organized, according to her son. ‘She also said the men took credit for it.'”
All-Day Café And Wine Bar Pompette Opens In Izakaya Mita Space
Pompette, the all-day café and wine bar from industry powerhouses Ashlee Aubin (Alinea, Wood, Salero), Katie Wasielewski (Wood, Elske, Salero, Pub Royale) and Aaron Patten (Wood, Salero, Acadia, Moody Tongue) opens today in the former Izakaya Mita space in Bucktown, “a new neighborhood-focused destination centered around Old World natural wines, easy-sipping cocktails and day-to-night shared plates. Wasielewski and Patten take the lead on the food program, which is centered around a European-influenced menu of simple and thoughtful, ingredient-driven dishes served from morning until the evening hours. Pompette’s cocktail program leans into easy-sipping low ABV cocktails and classics. The all-female bar team is helmed by Detroit industry veteran, Margaret Warren, who was most recently lead bartender of universally loved neighborhood spot Table, Donkey and Stick. Now at Pompette, Warren puts an emphasis on creating sustainable drinks making use of ingredients from the kitchen, like seasonal pickles for their house Bloody Mary and a tahini-washed amaro.” More here.
Lettuce Entertain You Opening Two Restos In St. Regis
A Japanese restaurant and a Tuscan steakhouse are set to open next spring in the St. Regis, one of the city’s tallest towers, which faced delays when a deal with Alinea Group fell through, reports Crain’s.
Washington Post Food Critic Eschews Star Ratings
“‘Thank you for your marvelous decision to suspend rating restaurants under your star system during the pandemic,’ a handwritten note from an anonymous author read last year,” writes Tom Sietsema. “‘Please make it permanent. Writing and eating out are both art.’ The people have spoken, and I’ve done some thinking. It’s time to ditch stars… Two decades ago, I believed stars were a way to give my audience something extra… I’ve come to the conclusion that readers don’t need graphics to help them make decisions on where to eat out and that star ratings actually deterred some of my audience from going to some restaurants. Someone once told me, ‘I don’t read reviews less than three stars’—an ‘excellent’ rating—and I couldn’t help but think of all the ‘good’ restaurants he was missing just by glancing at stars. (Besides that, three-star reviews were few and far between, hard for restaurants to get. I didn’t want to be known as someone who handed out awards just for participating.)”
FILM & TELEVISION
Chicago Film And Classical Music Icon Sergio Mims Passes
One of the most gregarious. effusive and generous people you would ever hope to meet, the indefatigable Sergio Mims, classical music expert, film critic and historian, co-founder and co-programmer of the Black Harvest Film Festival, co-founder of the Black film website Shadow and Act, second assistant director on “Penitentiary,” prolific contributor of Blu-Ray commentaries, as well as a longtime contributor to the film section of Newcity, has passed. “Through our tears, let us celebrate the incomparable, indomitable Sergio Mims,” posts the Academy’s Jacqueline Stewart. “Take your rest, dear brother. And we will keep the work of celebrating cinema, especially Black cinema, alive in your honor.” “The film community has lost a GIANT. He will be greatly missed. I have no words. RIP,” posts Barbara Allen. (This year’s Black Harvest Film Festival will be dedicated to Sergio.)
Other tributes posted on Facebook: from Rebecca Fons, director of programming at the Siskel Film Center: “Feeling untethered by the passing of Sergio Mims—a man who loved movies (he called them ‘pictures’) and who was endlessly generous with that love, as a teacher, a critic, a curator and a fellow moviegoer. Chicago has lost an icon.” Programmer Mike Phillips: “Sergio Mims used to kind of raise his eyebrows and say, ‘Well done, Mr. Phillips,’ when I told him about rare films I unearthed for South Side Projections. I was looking forward to telling him about things we have brewing for next year.” Critic Dave Canfield: “Mischievous grin, beautiful heart, keen and curious mind. Unfailingly kind and encouraging. That would have been enough. But he was also one of the most important film critics in Chicago. I am so fortunate to have known him. What a life and body of work he leaves behind.” RogerEbert.com’s Matt Fagerholm: “His programming of the annual Black Harvest Film Festival was masterful, and he cherished sharing the stage with Jacqueline Stewart at this year’s TCM Film Festival… When I finally returned to the screening room after a prolonged absence due to the pandemic, it was Sergio who immediately leapt up to give me the warmest of handshakes.” Broadcaster Nick DiGilio: “The loss to the Chicago film community is massive, and the pain is indescribable… Anyone who knew, or even met Sergio, knows how incredibly special he was, and has more than a few great stories about him… Sergio loved Public Enemy, I mean, he LOVED them. I remember him showing up to the screening room after just coming from a record store with a fresh copy of ‘It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back’ in his hands. He excitedly showed it to me saying he couldn’t wait to get home and listen to it after the screening. A couple of years later, Sergio and I went to see P.E… at the UIC Pavilion in Hyde Park. I was one of, perhaps, fifty white people in the crowd of about 9,500, and as we walked to our seats Sergio said: ‘Now you know how I feel when I walk into a White Hen.’ I busted out laughing. And then he said, ‘It’s all cool… you’re an honorary brother.’ Yeah…that about sums up our relationship.”
Here’s Sergio at the most recent TCM film festival, talking with Jacqueline Stewart before “Lilies Of The Field” about why there will never be another Sidney Poitier. Eleven minutes of Sergio defining what makes a movie “great” at “Just A Few Questions.” Plus, a long conversation with Lee Gambin at Diabolique.
Here’s our 2019 Film 50 entry, where Sergio slotted at thirty-three: “Sergio Mims, a mainstay on the Chicago film scene for nearly four decades, describes himself ‘simply as someone who wants people to know and appreciate films more and then maybe explore more on their own and discover a whole new world.’ At the twenty-fifth edition of Black Harvest in August, Mims received the Gene Siskel Film Center Legacy Award, ‘a great honor and the first award I’ve ever achieved for anything!’ he says, laughing. ‘I really didn’t expect it! When I got involved with Black Harvest twenty-five years ago I did it because I love movies, and of course Black movies and I thought it was important to get Black film seen, ones that normally wouldn’t get any sort of distribution. It wasn’t for acclaim. I never expected it to last this long at the beginning and now it has become a major part of my life, which I can’t imagine without it. As for the award? Well, it means that I’m old and that I’ve contributed something worthwhile. When I look back, I think I’ve done good, as the saying goes. I’ve learned that although there are triumphs and disappointments, you can’t predict what’s going to happen. I always wanted to do DVD commentaries and never thought I ever would get to do that. I’ve done four already [including Robert Downey Sr.’s ‘Putney Swope’ and Melvin Van Peebles’ ‘Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song’] and have [more] coming. I love it, not just because I want people to know more about film, but it means that I have developed a reputation for someone who knows their shit. I just still want to be involved with films in some capacity. I can’t imagine anything else. As for the future? Your guess is as good as mine. Anything is possible.’” Raising a Bailey’s to you, Sergio.
Another Chapter For Portage Park’s Patio Theater?
The owner of the 30,000-square-foot Patio Theater “has renovated parts of the old theater since taking it over in 2019 and plans to replace the marquee, bring back its historic ‘cloud sky’ and hook up its organ once he has enough revenue,” reports Block Club. “Neighbors have been hoping to see the theater thrive again after closing and reopening several times under different owners in the last eight years.”
Sun-Times Drops Paywall
“Eight months ago, the Chicago Sun-Times entered into a new partnership with Chicago Public Media, and became a nonprofit organization,” writes CEO Nykia Wright in a note to Sun-Times subscribers. “We aimed to secure a future for independent, exceptional local journalism in Chicago, expand our coverage and products to better serve all members of our community, and continue to deliver you the high-quality print newspaper you trust. To do that, we are launching a new membership program that will help us bring to life more of the journalism you love and to make our website, chicago.suntimes.com, free for all to read, regardless of their ability to pay.” More at the Sun-Times: “So today, we are dropping our paywall and making it possible for anyone to read our website for free by providing nothing more than an email address. Instead of a paywall, we are launching a donation-based digital membership program that will allow readers to pay what they can to help us deliver the news you rely on. It’s a bold move: Reporting the news is expensive, and the converging market forces of inflation and an anticipated (or possibly already here) recession could further endanger local newsrooms like ours. But we know it’s the right thing to do.”
Alden Global Capital’s New York Daily News Shifting To Local Focus
“The New York Daily News plans to shift its coverage priorities toward producing more local content… according to a memo sent to staff… by the paper’s executive editor Andrew Julien and general manager Michael Gates,” reports Axios. “The memo praised the support for its strategy from its new owners, Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund known for cutting journalists at local papers to maximize profits… ‘For the first time in a while, with strong support from ownership, we have the tools to reverse the gloomy narrative of declining American journalism that too often gets repeated.'”
Rogers Park Native, Longtime White House Correspondent Bill Plante, Dies
“Bill Plante, the Emmy Award-winning CBS News correspondent and anchor who covered everything from the civil rights movement and the Vietnam War to the presidential elections of Ronald Reagan through Barack Obama,” was eighty-four, reports Miriam di Nunzio at the Sun-Times. “Mr. Plante’s assignments took him to some of the most pivotal events in history, including the Bloody Sunday march on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, in 1965, and the fall of the South Vietnamese capital of Saigon in 1975.”
Axios Rues Loss Of Feder Media Coverage
Nielsen’s release of Chicago radio ratings leads Justin Kaufmann at Axios to miss a lost resource: “Ever since columnist Robert Feder retired in July, the lack of daily Chicago media coverage has been painful [since] there is no shortage of media news, from investigating faux newspaper production, revealing new television news sets or announcing trusted anchors retiring.”
Second City To Open In Brooklyn
“Long a staple of Chicago, the improv and sketch company plans to open a theater and training center in the Williamsburg neighborhood of Brooklyn next year,” reports the New York Times. “Over the decades, Second City has opened outposts in Toronto and Hollywood, which are still in operation, as well as in Detroit and Las Vegas, which have closed… ‘As we came out of the pandemic and saw the resurgence of our stages and our consumer demand and the fact that we’re selling out every night, it became more immediate for us to start thinking about expansion,’ said Ed Wells, Second City’s chief executive, who recently joined the company from the nonprofit organization that produces ‘Sesame Street.’ ‘New York just feels obvious.'”
Annoyance Celebrates Thirty-Five
“Now occupying the second floor of a building just west of Belmont and Clark, Annoyance has survived an eighteen-month pandemic shutdown with the help of government funds, grants, audience donations and sheer will,” the company announces in a release. “Their newest home features two theaters: one with cabaret-style seating for one hundred and one black box theater that seats forty. The anniversary celebration will be October 14-15 and features ‘Annoyance 35th Anniversary All-Star Show’ on October 14, with $20 tickets. On October 15, the theater hosts its regular shows along with an anniversary open stage, where alumni and current performers will take the stage for ten minutes at a time throughout the night. Admission is free to that event.” Tickets here.
Steppenwolf Announces LookOut Season
LookOut, Steppenwolf Theatre’s performance series that presents the work of artists and companies across genre and form, announces its winter 2023 season, showcasing exciting Chicago experimental devisers, choreographers and performers. Highlights include the debut of “Before Winter,” a haunting piece of experimental theater by Tony Kunst; an intimate circus show that takes a daring look at queer friendship by Company to X for; and “Dogs or Cats; Augmented Body,” an interdisciplinary puppetry show by Jaerin Son. The LookOut Series is also launching a curatorial residency program, which offers up-and-coming Chicago practitioners the chance to curate a selection of performances over a two-week span. Residents will be encouraged to approach the performances as a unit, placing them in conversation with one another. For the launch, curators Kara Brody and Amanda Maraist spotlight three movement makers in a series titled: work around. The series offers Chicago-based dance artists Cat Mahari, Tuli Bera and Drew Lewis time and resources toward the development of their work. Each of these artists will perform an iteration of their in-progress work for a two-weekend showcase in February. All LookOut performances take place in Steppenwolf’s 1700 Theater behind Front Bar. More here.
Lifeline Adds Three Staffers
Lifeline Theatre has announced the addition of Paige Keedy as production manager, Nathan Crawford as operations manager and accessibility coordinator, and Merissa Stewart as education director. Reporting to artistic director Ilesa Duncan and working in partnership with the operations manager, Keedy will manage the overall production at Lifeline. As operations manager, Nathan Crawford will report directly to managing director Vashti Emigh and take care of day-to-day operations of accessibility, facilities and patron services, as well as general finance and administration. As Education Director, Merissa Stewart will oversee the planning and execution of the organization’s education and outreach curriculum, including in-school drama residencies, on-site education programs, student matinee-related projects, and community outreach initiatives. More on Lifeline here.
“The Nutcracker” Returns To Joffrey
The Joffrey Ballet celebrates the return of Tony Award-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s production of “The Nutcracker,” set during Chicago’s World Fair in 1893, “The Nutcracker” will be presented at the Lyric in twenty-five performances from December 3–27. A ballet in two acts set to Tchaikovsky’s classic score, “The Nutcracker” features an award-winning creative team, including set and costume designer Julian Crouch, author Brian Selznick, puppeteer Basil Twist, lighting designer Natasha Katz and projection designer Ben Pearcy/59 Productions. Tickets and more here.
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