ENGAGE Projects Opens Edra Soto Solo Show “La Distancia”
“La Distancia” is Chicago artist Edra Soto’s solo show, opening October 28 at ENGAGE Projects. “Elaborating on her series ‘GRAFT,’ Soto (Newcity Artist of the Moment, 2016) will intermingle the aesthetic languages of Puerto Rican visual culture and American architecture in the gallery. Born in Cupey, San Juan, Puerto Rico, Soto migrated to the United States, bringing her cultural heritage with her. Extracted from a Yolandita Monge song written by Anthony Rios in 1983, the title, ‘La Distancia,’ refers to the pain and sorrow of love from a distance—a sentiment close to the Puerto Rican diaspora. Soto reckons with the United States’ relationship with Puerto Rico and its history of colonialism during her frequent commutes from her childhood home in Cupey to her mother’s home in Paraíso Dorado. ‘La Distancia’ is a visual journey through the grief and joy of migration, a nod to home, and a gesture to create space here in the United States.” Says Soto, “To address longing, grief, and life journeys—’La Distancia’ is a portrait of migration.” More here.
National Public Housing Museum Breaks Ground
Ground has been broken for the National Public Housing Museum, the only cultural institution devoted to telling the story of public housing in the United States. The museum, which has been in the planning and development stages for fifteen years, is scheduled to open next year on the site of the former Chicago Housing Authority Jane Addams Homes, 1322 West Taylor, part of the ABLA Homes, which have been vacant since 2002. The museum has received funding from sources including the Ford Foundation, Mellon Foundation, Kresge Foundation, the Builders Initiative, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the MacArthur Fund for Arts and Culture at Prince, the Joseph and Bessie Feinberg Foundation, the Lohengrin Foundation, as well as City of Chicago and State of Illinois funding.
Fulton Market Site Of First High-Rise Built By A Black-Owned Construction Firm
The $200 million-plus Fulton Market project at 900 Randolph Street is being built by Bowa Construction, reports Darcel Rockett at the Tribune. The firm is working “in partnership with Related Midwest [and] is billed as the city’s first high-rise with an African American Minority Business Enterprise co-leading construction. The forty-three-story building is being constructed using a new state incentive designed to boost affordable housing, with eighty-percent of the 300 units at market-rate prices and twenty-percent affordable.”
Banana Republic Joins North Michigan Avenue Exodus
“When it closes its longtime store on North Michigan Avenue, Banana Republic will join the crowd of retailers ditching the city’s most important—but now beleaguered—shopping strip,” reports Crain’s. (Lynn Becker remembers the “wonderfully tacky original facade” Robert A M Stern designed, with drawings from the AIC collection: “With the store quitting Michigan Avenue after over thirty years, will its grand glass staircase survive?”)
Corporations Not Happy About Advice Given Gig Workers
“A former Uber employee created [Para], an app to help drivers. The platforms that hire them are fighting back,” reports the New York Times. “Released last year, the free app aims to give gig economy workers more information about their work to help them maximize their earnings—even as the platforms that dispatch them resist… The app offers a tiny form of resistance against the dominance of the large companies that dispatch millions of drivers to deliver pizza, groceries, prescriptions or marijuana at the tap of a button. The drivers work as independent contractors, or freelancers, and get paid by the job, not the hour. DoorDash, Uber, Instacart, Grubhub, Lyft, Caviar, Eaze, Postmates, Amazon Flex, Walmart Spark and Shipt all use this model.”
Co-Founder Of Preservation Futures Elizabeth Blasius To Write Monthly Column For MAS Context
“Architectural historian Elizabeth Blasius will have a monthly column in MAS Context,” the publication announces. “The work that Elizabeth has been doing over the years has made us think about Chicago and beyond in new ways and provided a much-needed perspective on the projects and decisions that are shaping our city and communities,” Iker Gil, founder and editor-in-chief of MAS Context says. “I am grateful to begin producing monthly pieces for MAS Context during a moment where designing, building, and preserving are scrutinized in both intent and impact,” Blasius says. “Like MAS Context, this work will focus on Chicago but will also reach globally, covering individual works of architecture of the past, present, and future, makers and users of these works, and the policies that create them.” Blasius is a leading voice in the history and preservation of vernacular and postmodern architecture and cofounder of Preservation Futures, a Chicago-based firm using the tools of preservation to support equity and resilience in the built environment. She serves on the board of DOCOMOMO US/Chicago and is Adjunct Professor at the Illinois Institute of Technology College of Architecture.
DINING & DRINKING
Uncommon Ground Closing In Edgewater After Fifteen Years
Mike Cameron, co-owner of Uncommon Ground with his wife Helen, announced in a release that Uncommon Ground’s Edgewater location at 1401 West Devon will end service after brunch on Sunday, October 23. Looking toward retirement, “Cameron will be listing the property for sale and begin an exit strategy for the daily operations of the restaurant. This includes trying to place as many employees as they can at the Lakeview location.” (It was once named American’s greenest restaurant, reminds Block Club.)
Le Select, Brasserie From Boka And Daniel Rose, Looks Back At Hudson Club
“Le Select, the cavernous upcoming French brasserie from Boka Restaurant Group and accomplished suburban Chicago native Daniel Rose—a chef who rose to prominence with award-winning restaurants in Paris and in New York—will rise from the ashes of the infamous ‘clubstaurant’ Bottled Blonde with a December opening at 504 North Wells,” reports Eater Chicago. “Boka and Rose envision a bustling Chicago eatery that will… bring lively energy to the 12,000-square-foot-space, with 2,000 additional square feet in private event space. They’ve taken inspiration from Hudson Club, a brasserie and bar that opened in 1996 and later gave way to now-shuttered fusion restaurant SushiSamba.”
The Pastry Chefs Are Disappearing
The “dwindling number of designated pastry chefs has translated to a monotony of desserts on restaurant menus: a blur of made-ahead dishes like panna cotta, ice cream sundaes and crème brûlée…that can be prepared in large quantities by someone with little to no pastry experience. Behind the scenes, pastry chefs express feeling overworked, and that they’re being pushed out of the restaurant industry,” writes Bon Appétit. “At Superkhana International, an Indian restaurant in Chicago, the dessert menu is filled with approachable sweets that can be prepared ahead of time, like a saffron-cardamom ice cream sandwich. ‘The menu is not necessarily informed by the labor shortage,’ co-owner Zeeshan Shah says, ‘but we do keep in mind that there could be a shortage any second.'”
Hospitality Worker Town Hall Set
“A first-of-its-kind Hospitality Worker Town Hall is coming to Chicago later this month, seeking to tap into a wave of energized labor organizing in the industry,” reports Eater Chicago. “Local restaurant and bar worker groups CHAAD (Chicago Hospitality Accountable Actions Database) and Justice Cream will co-host the collaborative event with hospitality equity nonprofit Studio ATAO Tuesday, October 25, 2-4:30pm at Beermiscuous, 2812 North Lincoln Avenue… Designed explicitly for employees without direct reports, the event is an opportunity for participants to raise concerns about the workplace and implement ideas for change.”
America’s Local News Crisis 101
“The loss of local journalism has been accompanied by the malignant spread of misinformation and disinformation, political polarization, eroding trust in media, and a yawning digital and economic divide among citizens. In communities without a credible source of local news, voter participation declines, corruption in both government and business increases, and local residents end up paying more in taxes and at checkout,” begins the 101-page report from Northwestern’s Medill Local News Initiative, “The State of Local News 2022: Expanding News Deserts, Growing Gaps, Emerging Models.” “This is a crisis for our democracy and our society. Troubled by the potential consequences, journalists, policymakers, philanthropists, industry executives, scholars and concerned citizens have stepped up efforts to save local news. Philanthropic donors, as well as venture capitalists, are funding more journalistic endeavors. Government officials are considering new regulations and public subsidies to address the issue. And many newspapers and digital organizations are adapting and finding success, especially in larger markets or affluent communities, where there are more funding options. Timely interventions—backed by a combination of for-profit, nonprofit and public dollars—averted the demise of many news organizations during the pandemic. Even so, the decline in local newspapers continued, while digital alternatives, once seen as the savior, remain nonexistent in most communities that have lost a newspaper. Commercial broadcast and public media have not been able to fill the void. Understanding what is working and where there are still gaps in the flow of reliable and timely news and information helps individuals and organizations devise solutions to rebuild and sustain local journalism in those communities that, so far, have been overlooked by entrepreneurs and potential funders. This is very much an industry in transition, with much at stake. There is an urgent need to not only arrest the continuing decline in local newspapers, but also revive local journalism in those communities without it.” (PDF download of the full report here.)
Tucker Carlson Weeded Ye Antisemitic Remarks, Virgil Abloh Death Talk; Adidas Execs Confronted With Porn
“Fox News recently aired a two-part interview between Tucker Carlson and Ye, the artist formerly known as Kanye West,” reports Motherboard, with clips. “Portions of the interview that were edited out of the final broadcast… include numerous antisemitic sentiments… Ye said that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, a ‘known eugenics,’ as he put it, created Planned Parenthood with the KKK ‘to control the Jew population.’ … At another point, when complaining that his children are going to a school that celebrates Kwanzaa, Ye added, ‘I prefer my kids knew Hanukkah than Kwanzaa. At least it will come with some financial engineering.’ … A lengthy piece of the interview that was also not broadcast involved Ye’s ruminations about the death of Virgil Abloh, the fashion designer who was his one-time friend, and who died in November 2021. Ye accused Louis Vuitton, where Abloh worked at the time of his death, of ‘killing’ Abloh and said he was ‘beefing’ with the company… ‘Virgil was actually the third person to die of cancer in that organization,’ Ye told Carlson. ‘So not just Black men have passed in that organization, but the third person to die of cancer that was in a higher up position in that organization. And with Paris is a different level of elitism and racism. And Virgil was the kind of guy that he didn’t hold it in. And I believe it ate him up from inside.'” BuzzFeed News is among the outlets covering video that was released by Ye, in which he confronted Adidas executives with pornography on his phone during a confrontational meeting over their shared goals.
Goodman Announces Playwrights Unit
The Goodman Theatre has named four Chicago-based writers to its season-long residency program, the Playwrights Unit—Lena Barnard, a writer and dramaturg with theatrical roots in Austin and Philadelphia; Dillon Chitto, an Indigenous playwright whose comedic play “Pueblo Revolt” explores the Indigenous Pueblo population’s rebellion against occupying Spanish rule; Hanna Kime, an O’Neill-nominated playwright who has worked with Steep Theatre, First Floor Theatre and Jackalope Theatre; and Jarrett King, a longtime Chicago actor and writer whose recent work includes an Afrofuturist reimagining of the “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. The Playwrights Unit is an annual residency that meets bi-monthly with Goodman’s literary staff and other writers to discuss plays-in-progress. The residency culminates in a public staged reading of each new play in Summer 2023. Goodman also calls all early-career directors to apply to the Michael Maggio directing Fellowship, now in its twenty-first year. The annual fellowship was established in 2002 to honor the memory and artistry of Goodman associate artistic director Michael Maggio (1951–2000) who directed twenty-two productions at the Goodman. The selected fellow will gain complete access to the artistic process at the Goodman, including the opportunity to assist on a Goodman production—from early research and design through the casting and rehearsal process to opening night. Details on submission here.
Indiana Repertory Theatre Hiring Artistic Director
Indiana Repertory Theatre, Indiana’s flagship theater company, invites “inventive artistic visionaries committed to the thoughtful stewardship of this admired fifty-year-old cultural institution to present themselves as candidates for the position of Margot Lacy Eccles Artistic Director,” the theater lists. “Embracing artistic leadership through a broadening [perspective] of inclusion and equity is essential to IRT’s ascendent values as a company dedicated to progressive and forward-looking ideals around diversity and creating a place for people from all backgrounds to experience great storytelling. The artistic director will lead all programmatic planning for IRT and look for new ways to connect the greater Indianapolis population to the company through deeper community dialogue, increased outreach to underserved communities, and enriched relationship building with long term supporters and allies. Leading with an authentically collaborative nature, the artistic director will foster dialogue, listen, and make informed decisions regarding the artistic output of the company in a manner that always honors its role as a stabilizing force in the greater Indianapolis cultural landscape.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Three Chicagoans Among The MacArthur Fellows
Among the twenty-five MacArthur Fellows for 2022 are three Chicagoans. Artist and architect Amanda Williams [Newcity Art 50 and Newcity Design 50] “is an artist who uses ideas around color and architecture to explore the intersection of race and the built environment. Her works visualize the ways urban planning, zoning, development, and disinvestment impact the lives of everyday residents, particularly in African American communities,” writes the Foundation. Tomeka Reid [Newcity Music 45] is “a jazz cellist, composer and improviser forging a unique jazz sound that draws from a range of musical traditions. Trained in the Western classical tradition, Reid is also fluent in musical modes rooted in the African diaspora and avant-garde minimalism. She employs extended techniques in her practice—attaching pencils or clips to the strings or making use of the percussive qualities of the body of the cello—to produce a rich and textured palette of sounds.” Reuben Jonathan Miller “is a sociologist, criminologist, and social worker examining the long-term consequences of incarceration on the lives of individuals and their families, with a focus on communities of color and those living in poverty. His scholarship addresses many aspects of life in the age of mass incarceration and supervision, spanning policing, trauma and prisoner re-entry programs. He explores the aftermath of imprisonment in particular depth and writes about this subject from a place of proximity.” Complete list of Fellows and their bios here.
Puttshack Looks At $150 Million
The Chicago-based “upscale, tech-infused mini-golf enterprise” Puttshack is looking to expand across the U.S. after a $150 million “growth capital round,” reports Crain’s
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]