National Museum Of Mexican Art Receives $500,000 Gift
The National Museum of Mexican Art has gotten a $500,000, five-year donation from BMO to increase access to arts education programming for Chicago area residents, particularly the Mexican community. The funding is an extension of BMO’s giving $50,000 each year to support the museum’s operations and visual arts programming, plus $50,000 annually for novel education initiatives. The donation will fund a redesign of the museum’s arts education studio and establish a staff position dedicated to onsite education. “Donations like these are at the core of our Purpose to Boldly Grow the Good in business and life,” David Casper, U.S. CEO, BMO Financial Group says in a release. “We are pleased to partner with the National Museum of Mexican Art to provide critical access to the arts for the entire Chicago area. This partnership exemplifies our commitment to a thriving economy, sustainable future, and inclusive society throughout the communities we serve.” BMO’s gift is part of the museum’s $20.2 million “Arte for All” campaign, the largest in the museum’s forty-year history. More on the museum here.
New Leadership Structure At Krasl Art Center
Krasl Art Center has a new leadership structure after months of discussion, planning, and negotiating with the board and leadership, KAC relays, for its future with staff, volunteers, artists, and southwest Michigan communities. Tami Fauver is executive director and chief curator and Julia Gourley Donohue will be senior director of advancement. The pair hold over twenty-eight years of experience with KAC. More about the nonprofit museum in Southwest Michigan here.
Wright Trust Introduces New Plan
“The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust has unveiled its latest plans to create a learning center near the Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio,” reports Wednesday Journal. “The Arts and Education Center, as it will be known, will allow the trust to increase its educational programming for all ages but not with an eye, Wright officials said, to increase tourism capacity.” The new plans presented by the Trust update its poorly received 2017 expansion plans. “We want to make it very clear that education is our intention,” Celeste Adams, president and CEO of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust told the paper.
DINING & DRINKING
Senate Judiciary Antitrust Sets Hearing On Kroger-Albertsons Merger
Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar and Utah Senator Mike Lee, the top Democrat and Republican on the Senate Judiciary antitrust panel, “said they will hold a hearing in November on Kroger Co.’s planned $24.6 billion takeover of Albertsons Cos. that would highlight its impact on competition among grocery stores,” reports Bloomberg Law, expressing “serious concerns about the proposed transaction… ‘The grocery industry is essential to daily life, and Americans need the benefits that robust competition bring.'” “Mariano’s and Jewel-Osco locations in the Chicago-area—at least some of them—are likely to become collateral damage as their parent companies bend over backward for regulatory approval of an acquisition that would create an almost 5,000-store super-grocer,” reports Crain’s.
“If Kroger is allowed to buy Albertsons, it will create a $210 billion grocery titan with near-monopoly control of supermarkets in major U.S. cities. ‘The industry may be closer to oligopoly than we think,’ a Morgan Stanley analyst acknowledged,” posts More Perfect Union. “The deal raises major questions from shareholders, workers, and regulators. Kroger currently operates 2,800 stores across thirty-five states and controls nearly ten-percent of the U.S. grocery market. Albertsons owns 2,273 stores, primarily on the west coast, and represents 5.7 percent of all grocery sales… Kroger reported an operating profit of $3.7 billion in the last fiscal year—an increase of thirty-nine-percent from pre-pandemic times. Albertsons operating profit rose seventy-percent during the same period.”
Westlaw Today: “The supermarket chains, which currently operate a total of 4,996 stores in the United States, anticipate divesting between 100 and 375 stores in order to win clearance of the $24 billion transaction.” Crain’s: “In the wake of a Kroger-Albertsons merger, shedding stores could open the door for other grocery stores… as their parent companies bend over backward for regulatory approval… Though experts say it’s unlikely that Mariano’s parent Kroger or Jewel owner Albertsons would sell off an entire brand, it could divest or close certain stores that are in proximity to one another to stave off antitrust concerns. Such divestitures could open the door for other Midwestern or national grocery stores to get a foothold in Chicago.”
Reviewing The “Creepy” Adult Happy Meal
“Adult Happy Meal at McDonald’s, known formally (and synergistically) as the Cactus Plant Flea Market Happy Meal, debuted this week to grown-up sighs of at last and finally and: So I’m really doing this? I’m buying an adult Happy Meal. I’ve reached rock bottom,” writes Christopher Borrelli at the Trib. “I just bought one, and literally it is a cardboard box of recycled nostalgia… You choose from a Big Mac or Chicken McNuggets—whimsically nicknamed on the packaging here as ‘Ball,’ ‘Boot,’ ‘Bone’ and ‘Bell.’ And yet, they’re not exactly whimsically priced at around $10-$11… Also printed on the box—which is wider and squatter than a traditional Happy Meal, like a foldable Pizza Hut—is the ‘ba da ba ba ba’ of the McDonald’s jingle and a sorta-emoji, Prince-ish note that reads: ‘We (heart) 2 c u (smiley face).'”
FILM & TELEVISION
Ebert Center Launches At University Of Illinois October 28
“The official launch of the Roger Ebert Center for Film Studies in the College of Media at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will take place with an Inaugural Lecture on Friday, October 28,” relays RogerEbert.com. “The lecture, ‘Re-Enchanting Our Relationship to Film and Media History: A Brief Survey of the Media Ecology Project,’ will feature University of Illinois alum Mark Williams, associate professor of film and media studies at Dartmouth College and director of the Media Ecology Project, at the Spurlock Museum’s Knight Auditorium in Urbana. The program will start at 4pm with opening remarks from Julie Turnock, director of the Ebert Center. Professor Turnock will be followed by RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert, whose gift with her late husband Roger initiated the endowment fund. Martin Scorsese will appear via video.” Says Chaz Ebert, “I am looking forward to this day as the culmination of one of Roger’s dreams for the University that he said gave him such a great start in life and in the film industry.” A post-lecture Q&A with Professor Williams will welcome questions from attendees who can participate in-person or via Zoom. Register to attend virtually here.
Midwest Film Festival Launches Best Of The Midwest Awards
The Midwest Film Festival’s annual capstone event, The Best of The Midwest Awards, will honor the work of filmmakers featured in their monthly First Tuesdays series in multiple categories. The awards will be hosted by Jonathan Desir, with clips from each nominated film, special guests from the film community revealing the winners, as well as filmmaker acceptance speeches. Thursday, November 3, 7pm, CineCity Studio Chicago. A full list of nominees and tickets here.
Chicago Journalists Association Sets Annual Awards
President and publisher of the Chicago Reader Tracy Baim will receive the 2022 Lifetime Achievement Award, and Chicago Reader staff writer Kelly Garcia will be recognized as Chicago Emerging Journalist of the Year at the Chicago Journalists Association’s annual awards ceremony. CJA’s Lifetime Achievement Award annually honors an Illinois journalist exemplifying the highest levels of career achievement, courage and tenacity. The Eighty-Third Anniversary Awards Ceremony will be Friday, November 11, 6:30pm-9:30pm. at Rettinger Hall of the Newberry Library. Tickets are $100 for non-journalists and $75 for journalists, available here.
Orchestras Playing More Music By Women
“Of the roughly fifty-five different composers whose work would be performed at regular symphony concerts by [the Philadelphia Orchestra] in the 2018-19 season, none were women,” reports Tom Huizenga at All Things Considered. “To be fair, the same was true at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. The numbers weren’t much better for the New York Philharmonic and the Cleveland Orchestra. Four years later, there’s still work to be done—but the tide seems to be turning… Even composers themselves say they are feeling a shift. ‘It does seem to be changing,’ says Jessie Montgomery, whose stirring and darkly textured ‘Hymn for Everyone’ received its world premiere in April at the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, with Riccardo Muti conducting. ‘Orchestras and chamber groups and opera companies are embracing composers that they wouldn’t have traditionally embraced.'”
The Daily Ye
Parler was trying to offload itself for weeks at “wildly inflated” prices, reports Makena Kelly at the Verge. “One prospective buyer described Parlement’s asking price for the platform as wildly inflated, and said they were stunned by the site’s low number of daily active users… Parler’s email list, one of its most immediately monetizable assets, has been used for months to share… chumbox-like sponsored messages.” This month, “users received emails titled ‘Plastic Surgeon Reveals 1 Method To Snap Back Aging Skin’ and ‘Shocking Report Exposes What A Single Diet Soda Does.’ Going forward, the question is whether Ye’s splashy acquisition and the accompanying controversy will entice users back to the platform.” Reports the New York Times: “‘In a world where conservative opinions are considered to be controversial, we have to make sure we have the right to freely express ourselves,’ Kanye West, known as Ye, said in a statement about the Parler deal.” Parler, says the Times, is backed by the heiress and notorious financier of conservative causes, Rebekah Mercer. “The new social media sites, many of which cater to rightwing audiences, offer refuges for users chafing against the more mainstream platforms’ moderation policies. They have also increasingly become breeding grounds for conspiracy theories and misinformation… Early last year, Apple, Amazon and Google had kicked Parler off their platforms after the app hosted calls for violence around the time of the January 6 riot on Capitol Hill.”
The mother of George Floyd’s daughter has filed a $250 million lawsuit against rapper Kanye West following his recent comments. From CNN’s Omar Jimenez comes the drafted cease-and-desist letter addressed to Ye on behalf of the mother of George Floyd’s daughter, “in part for knowingly making ‘blatantly false statements about George Floyd’s death’ on the Drink Champs podcast.”
Car Seat Headrest Latest COVID-Dashed Tour
“When Car Seat Headrest canceled a Chicago-area show last month, singer Will Toledo explained that he was experiencing ‘A post-COVID condition which involves heavy nausea, fatigue, dizziness, and a buzzing nervous system,'” reports UPROXX.”Dubbed ‘histamine intolerance,’ the ailment had Toledo ‘stuck in bed’ and is one of the more common side effects of long COVID symptoms.” Now the band has canceled a West Coast tour, as well as a festival in Las Vegas. “After another month of struggling to regain my health, I am forced to face the fact that my body lacks the basic levels of functionality necessary to leave the house most days, let alone embark on a tour,” Toledo said in a Twitter post. “As a result, we are unfortunately forced to pull out of the When We Were Young Festival dates and cancel our upcoming California tour.”
“1919” Tours Chicago Neighborhoods With Free Performances
Steppenwolf for Young Adults’ world premiere adaptation of “1919” offers five free performances through the Chicago Park District’s “Night Out In The Parks” initiative. The show will play at five Park District Cultural Centers from November 1-5. “1919” has been adapted by J. Nicole Brooks from Eve L. Ewing’s collection of poems about the killing of Black teenager Eugene Williams in 1919 off the segregated Chicago Lakeshore and its echoes today. Directed by Gabrielle Randle-Bent and Tasia A. Jones, the production features Sheldon D. Brown, DeMorris Burrows, LaQuis Harkins, Max Thomas, Sola Thompson, and Alexis Ward. Performance locations include Mandrake Park Cultural Center, South Shore Cultural Center, Calumet Park, Hamilton Park and Austin Town Hall. “1919” is presented as part of the Chicago Park District’s “Night Out in the Parks” series, supported by the Mayor’s Office and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. More here.
NPR Shows Concern For Regional Playwrights
“Morning Edition” is running a series called “The Next Stage.” Elizabeth Blair wonders where new playwrights will come from if they’re all taking remunerative work on the present glut of television production. “When COVID-19 hit, Chicago playwright and actor Terry Guest was furloughed for two weeks from the coffee shop where he worked,” writes Blair. “‘And I thought, when will I ever get two weeks off of work again? Never. So I’m going to write a play,’ Guest said. ‘And there was very little pressure at the time. So I just sat down and wrote whatever was on my heart. It ended up taking a little bit longer than two weeks, because I ended up having a little more time than I anticipated.’ … Once it was finished, Guest asked his theater friends if they would give his new play a Zoom reading… There’s not a lot of money in regional theater, especially for those stages that take risks on new work… Television is snapping up playwrights. ‘Law & Order,’ ‘The Flight Attendant,’ ‘Maid,’ ‘Shameless’ and ‘The Americans’ are among the many shows [that have in the past or present used] playwrights.” “I mean, every time I look at credits for a TV show, I see one of my favorite playwrights,” the Tribune’s Chris Jones tells NPR, “and when they’re writing a TV show, they’re not writing a new play.”
Interrobang And Rivendell Go “A Mile In The Dark”
Interrobang Theatre Project and Rivendell Theatre Ensemble will present the world premiere of Emily Schwend’s new drama “A Mile in The Dark,” directed by Interrobang artistic director and Rivendell member Georgette Verdin. The run is November 10–December 11 at Rivendell Theatre in Edgewater. The cast includes Interrobang ensemble members Laura Berner Taylor and Matthew Martinez Hannon and Rivendell Ensemble member Keith Kupferer, with Liz Sharpe and William Rose. “My introduction to Emily Schwend’s work was through her award-winning play ‘Utility,'” Verdin says, “which I was fortunate enough to direct for Interrobang in the spring of 2019. Upon closing that successful run, I immediately started to dream up another collaboration with Emily. We settled on a world premiere of ‘A Mile in The Dark,’ and it is my great pleasure to have Interrobang and Rivendell joining forces to bring this piece to life. In this digital age, art can sometimes feel like a desperate grasping for dwindling attention spans, yet Emily’s deft use of language and subtext, measured pace, and nuanced characters are on singular display.” More at Rivendell Theatre here and Interrobang Theatre Project here.
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