Eleanor Gorski New Head Of Chicago Architecture Center
“The Chicago Architecture Center, known for its boat tours and for tireless efforts to promote the city’s notable buildings, has named longtime city planner Eleanor Gorski its CEO,” reports the Sun-Times. “Gorski, an architect, most recently was executive director of the Cook County Land Bank Authority, an agency set up to encourage development of tax-delinquent properties.”
Tips For Open House Chicago This Weekend
Axios offers its “Pro-Tips” for this weekend’s Open House Chicago. “The biggest event of its kind in the world, OHC grants free access to buildings in twenty Chicago neighborhoods, North Shore suburbs and Oak Park, along with ten self-guided tours. It runs Saturday and Sunday.”
Preservation Chicago Holds Twenty-First Birthday Happy Hour
The Sky Ride Tap in the Yukon Building on Van Buren, designed in 1897 by Holabird & Roche, will host Preservation Chicago’s happy hour next Friday, to note its twenty-first birthday. October 21, 5:30pm.
Walter E. Smithe Furniture & Design Founder Walter E. Smithe Jr. Was Eighty-Six
“Chicago area residents probably know the Itasca-based furniture company best for its imaginative commercials and catchy ‘Walter E. Smithe, you dream it, we build it’ jingle,” reports the Sun-Times.
POP! Heights Park Opens October 29
The nonprofit Far South Community Development Corporation (Far South CDC), in partnership with Sheldon Heights Church of Christ, has set the opening of POP! Heights Park for Saturday, October 29. Designed by Lamar Johnson Collaborative and located along the South Halsted commercial corridor between 112th and 113th streets, POP! Heights Park is the first major new park along South Halsted in more than fifty years—providing nearly 22,000 square feet of multi-use outdoor space for Far South Side communities including Roseland, Morgan Park and West Pullman. The new park is supported by $540,000 in grants from the Chicago Recovery Plan through the Department of Planning and Development and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. POP! Heights Park is one of twelve new public plazas that will create spaces for recreation, performances, pop-up shops, gardening and neighborhood activities at locations across Chicago through the Public Outdoor Plaza (POP!) program, which is designed to help community-based organizations revitalize disused land along neighborhood retail corridors.
DINING & DRINKING
Gene & Georgetti Receives Marchio Ospitalità Italiana From Italian Government
Gene & Georgetti has received the Marchio Ospitalità Italiana endorsement by the Italian Government, which signifies a mark of quality and guarantees the respect of the typical standard of Italian hospitality. The Marchio Ospitalità Italiana certification emphasizes the quality of service in the tourism and hospitality sector, that recognizes an establishment’s ability to develop and promote the traditions of Italian food products and upgrade the culture of Italian food and wine, in addition to enhancing the image of Italian restaurants abroad that guarantee the respect of the quality of standards of Italian hospitality. More here.
Can Avondale’s Podlasie Club Make It Post-Party?
A party scene saved Avondale’s Podlasie Club at Central Park and Milwaukee, as well as financed renovations: “The gut remodel of Podlasie, which began in late February 2022, was necessary to update the electrical system and bring the bathrooms up to code. Some of the best parts of the old bar (including the murals) couldn’t be preserved if the family wanted to make the building safer and more reliable,” writes Micco Caporale at the Reader. “Podlasie now has a PA system that aims for a classic seventies disco sound, not a modern techno sound. It’s inspired by the setup at Paradise Garage (aka the Garage or ‘Gay-rage’), a legendary New York disco spot that could keep a party going from the wee hours all the way into the early evening.”
Kroger-Mariano’s May Merge With Albertsons-Jewel-Osco To Launch U.S. Grocery Behemoth
“Kroger Co is in talks to merge with smaller rival Albertsons Companies Inc,” reports Bloomberg. “A deal would create a combined company with a market valuation of about $47 billion… Merger talks between the two biggest U.S. supermarket chains come at a time when retailers are seeing their margins squeezed from soaring costs and supply chain disruptions after a boom at the height of the pandemic.” A deal could be reached within days.
Kraft-Heinz And McDonald’s Co-Stunt Kraft Mac & Cheese Big Mac
“Kraft Heinz is kicking off a campaign to persuade McDonald’s to add its mac and cheese to the Big Mac to create a hybrid of two of the United States’ ‘most popular comfort foods,'” posts Crain’s.
FILM & TELEVISION
“Punch 9” Extended At AMC’s River East, New City, Ford City
Another week of showings of Joe Winston’s valuable historical document”Punch 9 For Harold Washington” in Chicago and other cities, reports the Triibe. Tickets here.
Reeling 40 Announces Feature Film Winners
Reeling has announced winners of the Best Narrative and Documentary Feature Jury and Audience Awards, recognizing artistic achievements in global LGBTQ+ independent storytelling and audience-voted favorites. Audience Award for Best Narrative Feature: “Two Eyes,” directed by Travis Fine; Best Documentary Feature: “Jimmy In Saigon,” directed by Peter McDowell. Jury Awards: AARP Silver Image Award Winner: “Prognosis: Notes On Living,” directed by Debra Chasnoff and Kate Stilley Steiner; Jury Award for Best Narrative Feature: “Elephant,” directed by Kamil Krawczycki; Best Documentary Feature: “Uyra: The Rising Forest,” directed by Juliana Curi. More here.
Chicago History In Newspaper Ads For Movies
“Albany Park resident Adam Carston went online and got his cinema fix by getting into a time machine of sorts: online newspaper archives,” profiles the Reader. “He (virtually) went to closed theaters (remember the State and Lake?) and peeked at grind house and X-rated offerings, playing day and night, through the paper’s movie ads. ‘I don’t know if it’s like the repressed Catholicism thing or what, but titillation was really big money here in Chicago,’ Carston says. ‘They all tell a story of what was going on.’ To keep track of his archive dives, he created Windy City Ballyhoo on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s a repository of Chicago movie ads, photographs, and film reviews from the last century.”
Joe Meno On His Middle-Aged Hearing Loss
Chicago writer Joe Meno has a piece on his hearing loss at BOMB: “I grew up and lived in Chicago in the 1990s and early 2000s, when there was an explosion of underground and independently produced music: punk, hip-hop, metal, intense avant-garde jazz. As a teenager, I went to every live music show I could—anything that was loud, inventive, aggressive. In my twenties, I was a music journalist for Punk Planet and local arts weeklies like Time Out Chicago. I was always in the front row, right up against the stage and speakers. I never paid attention to what that exposure was doing to my hearing, never considered the damage would be permanent, never thought that one day I’d be sitting in an exam room, contemplating the rest of adult life with half of my hearing intact… The audiologist gently removes the headphones from my ears and announces that I have lost forty-six percent of my hearing. She tells me this in an unapologetic manner, as if it was information I already knew. But I hadn’t known. On a laptop, the audiologist shows me a chart that describes two blue waves, each with a steep declination in the middle. ‘These are the frequencies you’re missing, which are in the range of the human voice.’ Even as she’s saying this, I’m struggling to hear her… I’d just been hoping the symptoms would disappear if I ignored them long enough—and I didn’t want to admit that I may have done this to myself.”
Gannett Media Conglomerate Drops Sharp Cuts On Workers
Gannett, the nation’s largest newspaper chain, with over 200 newspapers, and which is printing political ads disguised as fake newspapers, is also faking-out its employees. Posts Kati Kokal of their Palm Beach Post, “In a meeting that lasted less than fifteen minutes… Gannett announced mandatory furloughs at the holidays, buyouts, freezing our 401(k) match and stopping hiring… I think most of us are either speechless or swearing rn.” Poynter reports: “Gannett announces new cuts including mandatory unpaid leave and buyouts; the company also will pause overall hiring and temporarily suspend matching 401(k) contributions.” The CEO wrote, “These are truly challenging times. The company continues to face headwinds and uncertainty from the deteriorating macroeconomic environment which has led the executive team to take further immediate action.” A copy of the CEO’s memo is here. Ohio Capital Journal reporter Marty Schladen: “More than $7 million in 2021 for a CEO who has presided over buyouts, layoffs and now forced furloughs and suspension of 401k contributions. Oh and he makes 160 times the average Gannett employee.” Gannett’s eleven Illinois properties include The Peoria Journal Star; Rockford Register Star; and The State Journal-Register, Springfield. (Gannett laid off 400 employees and cut 400 open jobs in August.)
Hothouse Buying Donnelley Chicago Youth Center in Bronzeville
“After many years working behind the scenes on property acquisition we can publicly announce our new home,” Hothouse relays in a fundraising letter. “HotHouse will purchase the Donnelley Chicago Youth Center in Bronzeville. We are also intending to acquire the city-owned lot across the street. Our plan is to develop a multi-purpose facility to house both international multi-arts programming and social justice and activist projects under one roof. The 24,000-square-foot building will be designed to have a performing arts space, black box theater, restaurant, grassroots community meeting space, short term residences and other common areas. Adjacent to the building is the iconic yard that features important murals and sculptures. Our new HotHouse site is adjacent to the planned Bronzeville Trail, which will function similarly to the 606.” Hothouse expects to take possession in early 2023. More on Hothouse here.
Garbage, Damon K, Savak Chorus On Collapse Of Music Touring
“Live music is under enormous strain,” Shirley Manson of Garbage posted on Instagram. “The average musician can no longer survive let alone thrive under the current conditions. We are seeing so many precious talents buckle under the economic injustice of a system that does not pay the creative for their artistic output. Everyone is vying for a handful of venues in order to make a small amount of money to tide them over until the next show, most sailing without a dollar of insurance. A large percentage of musicians that you know and love are likely living hand to mouth. Corporations are making billions of dollars off of their work and sharing none of the profits. This can not stand. We will lose a whole generation of young artists if it does. Let me put it to you another way: So many of the artists that we revere and hold dear throughout history would have been utterly destroyed by this system entirely. Musicians cannot survive without being paid fairly for their music. And if the live scene fails, the whole ship goes down entirely. All you will be left with is the mainstream. No alternative perspectives. Nothing loud. Nothing dangerous. Nothing weird. Little that lasts more than one album cycle. That strikes me as a great sorrow for our culture as a whole. Please support the move to support legislation that is attempting to reverse this situation once and for all.”
Brooklyn band Savak, “Just back from a long weekend of shows in the PNW. It was a lot of fun. Yes, we lost money. But being in a band is not our job. Nobody has to go on tour. We do it because we love it and work actual jobs to offset our music expenses. Not super complicated, really. The streaming situation that Damon K points out is unquestionably a problem. As are many other elements of the business side of music. It’s a predatory environment & people exploit the naivete & vanity of artists. But nobody has to be in the biz. DIY for life.”
Drummer Damon K (Galaxie 500, Damon & Naomi): “Look, when I say I’m a professional musician I am not dissing the spirit of the amateur. But I have never treated music as a hobby, and I expect to be paid for both these chords… Can we clear something up: Demanding fair pay for musicians’ labor is not the same as saying pay us for nothing, unless you consider the work we do nothing… Is it so hard to accept that there is such a thing as a professional life in the arts…? Or is that idea precisely what tech platforms have worked so hard to destroy, as they turn us all into disposable ‘content’? … The idea of meaningful work seems to really upset some people.”
The Daily Ye
JPMorgan Chase Bank cuts ties with Kanye West’s cash, reports TMZ, giving him until November 21 to take his business elsewhere. The Washington Post headlines a report, “Kanye made Adidas billions. Now he could cost the company its reputation,” citing their shared deal that could account for as much as ten percent of the German company’s income. “Ye’s public antisemitic rant presents a particularly sensitive challenge for Adidas, given the company’s own history. For decades Adidas has distanced itself from certain elements of its founders, brothers Adolf and Rudolf Dassler, who were members of the Nazi Party. Originally called the Dassler Brothers Sports Shoe Factory, the company outfitted members of the Hitler Youth.”
William Ferris Chorale Sings Fiftieth Season
The fiftieth-anniversary season of the William Ferris Chorale will celebrate Movement. “Movement, as an idea, exists throughout music in a myriad of ways: momentum, tempo, change, renewal, phrasing. In our season we celebrate this idea of patterns, of detail, of movement, the vision of contemporary vocal music and living composers in Chicago for the last fifty years.” More here.
Braden Abraham Named Writers Theatre Artistic Director
Braden Abraham comes to Writers Theatre after twenty years at Seattle Rep, the largest nonprofit resident theater in the Pacific Northwest, with a national reputation for leadership and new play development. Abraham will assume artistic leadership of Writers Theatre on February 1, 2023, shortly after the closing of the world premiere of “Mr. Dickens and his Carol,” a play he developed and will be directing for the Rep in December 2022. “I’m incredibly excited and honored to join Writers Theatre as its new artistic director. The theater’s mission is embedded in its very name, and the commitment Writers Theatre has to playwrights, artists and the written word speaks to my passions as an artist, a producer and a director. I’m inspired by Writers’ dedication to bringing new voices to the stage, its educational programs that align with the mission, and the opportunities to build community partnerships both within and beyond the physical spaces,” says Abraham.
New Leadership For Northwestern Incubator For New Musicals
The American Music Theatre Project at Northwestern University has announced Alexander Gemignani as its new artistic director. Gemignani has worked on Broadway as an actor, music director and conductor. He is artistic director of the National Music Theater Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center. “I look forward to helping American Music Theatre Project grow its already excellent reputation into its rightful place as an exceptional and necessary program for developing new musicals,” Gemignani says in a release. “I hope to help clarify and expand the definition of development, meeting pieces where they are, providing writers with time and safe space to create, dream big and run experiments.” Gemignani joins AMTP producing director Brannon Bowers in leading Northwestern’s incubator for new musicals, where they will continue to engage Northwestern students and expose them to first-class musical development experience. “I am honored to collaborate with our sensational team at Northwestern’s School of Communication to present this incredible season that was already in motion before my arrival,” Gemignani says. Workshop presentations are open to the public. Tickets are $10 for general audiences and $6 for full-time students when purchased in advance. More here.
Mudlark Theater Creating Theater On Latinx Stories
Evanston-based youth theater company Mudlark Theater is looking for ten actors between the ages of twelve and seventeen to be part of “Latinidades,” a free program where participants will create an original theater piece based on research of untold Latinx histories, personal writings and creations, and engagement with the Latinx community of Evanston. Mudlark received a $47,000 grant from Northwestern University’s Office of Neighborhood and Community Relations to fund the program, which will be run by Northwestern theater professors Myrna Garcia and Henry Godinez, as well as Mudlark education staff Ana Narrajos and Nick Thornton. Student actors, performers, writers and creators who are interested in being part of the project are encouraged to submit an application by October 20. Mudlark will then select a group of young actors to be part of the program. More here.
Sarah Siddons Award Going To Sandy Duncan
The Sarah Siddons Society, celebrating its seventieth anniversary will present its 2022 Award to three-time Tony Award nominee Sandy Duncan. The annual Award is presented to an individual who has achieved outstanding artistic achievement in theater. The evening’s program will include musical selections from Duncan’s most memorable shows (“The King and I,” “The Boyfriend” and “Peter Pan”) performed by some of Chicago’s most talented theater stars under the musical direction of Nick Sula. The program will feature a video celebrating the Society’s seventieth anniversary and the induction of the Sarah Siddons Society 2022 Scholarship Recipients. Monday, November 14 at 6pm at The Watts Theatre at DePaul University. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Hindman To Auction Letters By Killer Capone
Hindman will present one of the most significant groups of letters written by American gangster Al Capone to come to market, in its Books & Manuscripts auction on November 9. “These letters illuminate ‘Scarface”s thinking during prohibition and his years with the Chicago outfit. Capone letters are highly rare, with examples from this prohibition period being virtually unobtainable,” Hindman relays. “Only four Al Capone letters have been sold at auction in at least the last fifty years, none of which featured content as compelling, both in terms of the time they were written and the stories they tell. ‘These letters, written by Capone to his friends, mark some of the most pivotal moments in his time with the Chicago outfit, discussing the 1925 attempt on his life, bootlegging, and the establishment of Cicero as the gang’s new headquarters just outside of Chicago in 1929,” Hindman vice-president and senior specialist for Books & Manuscripts Gretchen Hause says. “We know of no examples of Capone letters to come to market from this prime period of his life, when his influence on organized crime in Chicago was at its apex.” Highlighting the group is a handwritten letter from Capone, written from Cicero in 1924 ($12,000-$18,000). Capone writes urgently to William (Bill) Sells imploring him: “I want you to find that bootlegger… Tell him I want him to come right away to Chicago.” Another letter in the offering was written by Capone two days after the January 1925 assassination attempt on his life ($10,000-$15,000). North Side Gang members attempted to kill Capone at a South Side, Chicago restaurant, and while Capone escaped injury, the letter demonstrates that he is still clearly shaken, including a line that reads: “Well Pal things have been so darn exciting that I haven’t had time to change clothes.” Accompanying these letters is a Colt New Army & Navy Revolver Model from 1896 ($5,000-$7,000) that is believed to have been used by Capone. Bidding for the November 9 auction will be available in-person and other formats. More here.
Field Museum Employees Start Union Campaign
Field Museum workers have gone “public with a union campaign they said was driven in part by low wages, high turnover and a lack of transparency at the museum,” reports the Tribune.
University Of Chicago’s Institute Of Politics Names Heidi Heitkamp Director
“Former U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp, whose decades of service have been marked by thoughtful efforts to bridge political divides, has been named director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics, effective January 3,” relays UChicago News. She succeeds David Axelrod. “Heitkamp has been deeply involved with the Institute of Politics as a Pritzker Fellow and a member of the IOP’s senior advisory board. In those roles, she has mentored students and led critical discussions on a range of topics—from the future of government institutions and the threat of hyper-polarization in American politics, to the growing gulf between urban and rural communities.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]