SAIC Auctioning Artwork Of Faculty, Alumni On Artsy
The School of the Art Institute of Chicago is auctioning off over eighty pieces of artwork created by faculty and notable alumni, including Nick Cave, Sanford Biggers, Candida Alvarez, Roger Brown, Karl Wirsum, Angel Otero, Richard Hunt, Michelle Grabner, Jeffrey Gibson, Diane Simpson and Richard Rezac, in a global art auction to benefit student scholarships. The institute will hold “A Happening Auction Party” at its flagship public gallery (at 33 East Washington) on November 11, celebrating the artists and designers who have generously donated their works. Sporadic performances or “Happenings” will take place throughout the evening, as well as a live auction of selected works; all attendees will be eligible for one of ten limited-edition prints by Chris Ware. That event is $350 with tickets here. The online auction is November 1-14 at Artsy.net here.
CTA Revises Rail Schedule
The CTA says a new rail schedule that took effect Sunday will help stop inconsistencies with its tracker system, reports the Sun-Times. “The new weekday and weekend schedules… reflect ‘our efforts to provide consistent and more reliable service,’ CTA president Dorval Carter Jr. was quoted as saying in a statement issued by the transit agency. ‘To be clear, this is just a start: We recognize there is more work to do. But we are moving in the right direction and will continue to make additional adjustments to further improve service reliability and consistency.'” Reports Axios Chicago, “There are 3,152 full-time bus operators and 741 rail operators, which is 108 fewer than the start of the pandemic.”
Plan Commission Approves 2,200 Apartments Near Casino Site
“City planners endorsed a developer’s long-term proposal to build more than 2,200 residential units and a boutique hotel, potentially adding considerable density to a section of West Town near the future casino site,” reports the Sun-Times. “The proposal envisions four high-rises, the tallest being 620 feet, or roughly sixty stories. Developer Jeffrey Shapack said he would start the multiphase project by converting a Salvation Army building at 509 North Union into a hotel with 141 rooms.” Renderings and more from YIMBY Chicago here.
Ambassador Chicago For Sale
A big loss is in the offing, reports Crain’s, as “The Ambassador Chicago stands to be a painful example of the pandemic’s battery on the hospitality market, and it’s being marketed as a potential redevelopment opportunity.”
DINING & DRINKING
Sudden Shutdown For Empirical Brewery
Empirical Brewery dropped the news on Instagram Friday: “Last Call for Empirical… Unfortunately the Brewery will be closing after this weekend. We will explain more soon, but for now we just want to say thanks for all the love and cheers to one more weekend!” Twitter flâneur Robert Loerzel has pictures from a last-minute drop-in at their taproom.
Tavern On Rush Closing Months Early
“Tavern on Rush is closing next week, more than two months earlier than expected,” reports Crain’s, “due to ‘contractual matters beyond our control,’ owner Phil Stefani said in a letter to employees [of] the longtime Gold Coast steakhouse.” Eater Chicago reports that the owners of the building plan to open their own restaurant in place of the twenty-four-year-old establishment. “While the Stefani family and the building’s landlords, Fred Barbara and James Banks, are wishing each other well publicly, the earlier closing date is just another sign of a contentious relationship between the parties.” Stefani: “We will never lose sight of the fact that over our twenty-five-year history, we have employed more than 4,000 people and served more than eight million guests. What a remarkable run we have had.”
Yardbird Chicago Opens For Dinner
Devoted to modern American cuisine, the James Beard Award-nominated Yardbird, known for its buttermilk biscuits and Lewellyn’s Fine Fried Chicken, is open in River North. “Yardbird is famous for featuring locally sourced, farm-fresh ingredients in its acclaimed American menu that pairs with signature bourbon cocktails, and offers a selection of bourbon flights, resulting in the restaurant being named among the top fifty best bourbon bars in the United States.” (The beverage book is here; the dinner menu here.) The design of the interior, built on a two-story corner space at Wabash and Grand by the Rockwell Group, evokes the theatrical spaces that firm is known for, in theater settings and restaurant alike; mirrors on walls and ceilings also suggest Chicago bars and clubs of the 1970s and 1980s, an era which was rife with reflective decor and customers contemplating their reflections. “An open kitchen dining experience and double-height bar with a floating Bourbon Room are the theatrical focal points of the restaurant,” Yardbird advises. “The Bourbon Room floats above the bar and restaurant, creating an iconic liquor storage display that can be seen through the glass and blackened metal backlit shelving. The Bourbon Room is available for a private dining experience for groups up to eight starting at $2,500.” (The bourbon room, above the main bar, extends into the main room like the prow of a ship in the “Star Wars” universe.) More here.
Mindy Segal’s Quest For Tasty Edibles
“Pastry chef Mindy Segal can be viewed as a modern-day David using a slingshot loaded with edibles infused with THC to slay the pain and discomfort of a list of ailments like cancer and multiple sclerosis… to name a few,” reports the Tribune. “Since marijuana became legal in Illinois in January 2020, she has been using her talent to create edibles through working hand in hand with a chemist like Stephanie Goreski at Cresco Labs…Both Segal and Goreski noted the importance in changing the public perception of marijuana from the ‘devil’s cabbage’ to a natural alternative to pharmaceuticals.”
What A Chicago Dog Costs
The Trib prices out the newly pricey Chicago dog: “If the toppings on a Chicago dog have been relative constants over the years, the price of them has not. Old-timers may remember when they could pay for their Chicago dogs with coins instead of bills; the Tribune archives recall a Depression-era deal of a hot dog and fries from Fluky’s for five cents, or four for those who couldn’t spare the extra penny… The price of a case of eighty hot dogs from Vienna Beef has increased only three percent over the last year… But tomatoes are up a whopping ninety-four percent, from less than a dollar per pound a year ago to $1.75… A gallon of green relish costs just over $8 now, a twenty-three-percent increase… A case of poppy-seed buns is up ten-percent. A bag of white onions costs only a dollar more than it did last fall, or four-percent, but sport peppers are up twenty-one-percent.”
FILM & TELEVISION
“RRR” Coming To Music Box With S.S. Rajamouli
One of 2022’s premiere moviegoing experiences is coming to the Music Box for a single show: the kinetic, pummeling romantic action epic “RRR” (Rise Roar Revolt) has a Saturday, November 12 matinee with director S.S. Rajamouli in attendance. “RRR” will show in its original Telugu soundtrack and its complete three-hour-and-seven-minute running time. (Netflix is showing a Hindi-dubbed version, but that’s hardly the same as with a roaring, wowed crowd.)
Chicago Latino Film Festival Returns For Thirty-Ninth Round
The Chicago Latino Film Festival returns April 13-23, 2023, “with amazing films coming from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the United States. Our in-person post-screening Q&As will return,” the group relays. The call for entries is here.
Daniel Kraus Completes Second Posthumous George A. Romero Collaboration
Prolific local author Daniel Kraus relays on Twitter, “This morning I completed the 1st draft of a novel roughly 25 years in the making: George A. Romero’s PAY THE PIPER, a tricky tragedy about acknowledging American atrocity. It fills me with gladness to bring to life a project clearly dear to George’s heart… It’s the tale of poor Alligator Point, Louisiana, a tiny swamp town targeted by a vengeful swamp god known as the Piper. It’s horrifying & gorgeous. To all the interviewers who asked if Romero wrote any other books & I said no—forgive me! I could not speak of it! Way back in 2019, I was the first civilian to go through Romero’s archive at the University of Pittsburgh. After 3 days of work, I came upon [a] box. Inside a plain envelope were the first *348 pages* a novel. They included the best prose I had EVER seen from Romero. I was gobsmacked. As far as I can tell, NO ONE knew of it. It was true secret project — and the passion behind it suggested Romero adored it.”
Book Banners Unite
“Conservative Muslims in Dearborn, Michigan, have joined forces with right-wing Christians in a bigoted crusade against gay and trans literature in public schools,” reports the New Republic. “The American Library Association reports that in 2022, public and school libraries have received a record-breaking 1,650 calls for elimination of books, with over a third of the targets featuring LGBTQ content. What makes the Dearborn story different, and especially disturbing, is that it foreshadows the formation of a powerful and dangerous new right-wing coalition.”
Rockford Register Star Makes New Hybrid Home
The Rockford Register Star has moved its newsroom to Rockford’s Talcott Building, reports the paper. “Register Star journalists have been working in the community and from home since March 2020. Newsroom employees plan to use the new space as part of a hybrid work model combining work on location, from home and at the office. ‘We’re excited to have a place where we can meet face-to-face and work together,’ said news director Corina Curry. ‘The location couldn’t be better. It was important to us to remain downtown.’ The Rockford Register Star sold its former home, the Register Star News Tower in December 2021. The original building was designed by famed local architect Jesse A. Barloga to resemble the former Chicago Tribune Tower in Chicago.”
Mykele Deville On Parting Ways With Hideout
There was a weekend Instagram exchange between former Hideout booker Mykele Deville and The Hideout. A portion of Deville’s lengthy post: “I want to share my story about my time at the Hideout and my abrupt departure. When I was let go I was offered a severance package with an NDA baked into it so I refused to sign it… Last year during the summer I was hired as the new Program Director [and] I was ecstatic. The Hideout had a reputation of being for the people, a sort of every-persons dive where you could hear some of Chicago’s best kept musical secrets. Their previous director had been there for years and his replacement was already on the way out. I chalked this up to the chaos of the pandemic. Large and small businesses were being [shuttered]. Many arts institutions and live performance venues either collapsed or dramatically shrunk under the weight of operating in these conditions… I helped create and run a pretty successful DIY space called The Dojo that was intended to be intersectional and transformative. Like many creatives of color we have to build from scratch in order to prove to institutions that we are with the investment… I felt an enormous pressure to succeed and open the door to people who had felt historically excluded from this space. Once in the job, I was tasked with booking close to 30 shows a month, filling the venue’s calendar even during the Delta and Omicron waves of the pandemic, using systems that were frequently outdated and ineffective… [I had to] do other time consuming tasks that diverted from important communication time from artists, managers, and agents that comprised the core of my role as a program director… Whenever a show was poorly attended, they [said it was] the type of shows I was booking (shows that were more Black, more Brown, more Queer, and more genre-inclusive than that of past programming)… As a programmer, the leadership pushed back on most of my ideas—ideas I’d shared in my interview… I called upon all my resources to maintain Hideout’s culture while making space for a more inclusive slate of artists and more diverse audiences, who had never seen Hideout as a space available and welcoming to them.” (Much more at the original post.)
The entirety of the Hideout’s public online response: “We would like to acknowledge the recent post from a former employee regarding his employment at the Hideout. We are truly sorry to hear about his experience and the deep pain he is feeling. We take these complaints very seriously because we never want anyone to feel this way. We first want to honor the contribution of his work during his time with us. His passion to build a more inclusive and equitable community of performers was undeniable, and for that we are thankful. We strive for diversity to be at the helm of who we are and what we do. From day one, we’ve aimed to create a place where differences are celebrated, and all are welcome. His experience does not reflect what we believe in, which is building a healthy company culture for all staff and performers. We are committed to do better now more than ever and are in the process of deep reflection on how to make this a more supportive and energizing workplace. We are open to participating in a restorative process with him to better understand his concerns, so that we can best address them. We are ready to listen and explore what we can change to continue our role as a positive, welcoming place in the city, the entertainment community and beyond.” The Reader’s J. R. Nelson and Leor Galil wrote about Deville’s hire in June 2021: “I love being able to be that person to help people get heard and get seen,” Deville said. “The Hideout, our views and ethos were very similar in that way.”
“Damn Right Farewell” Tour Set By Buddy Guy
Buddy Guy has announced retirement from extensive touring, with a “Damn Right Farewell” tour for early 2023. “Guy has had one of the most prolific live careers of anyone in the blues world, which started back in the mid-‘fifties when he first began performing with bands in Baton Rouge.. After seven decades of performing, the eighty-six-year-old has called time on his touring days,” writes Guitar World. Guy will be joined by “special six-string guests, including Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram and Eric Gales—players at the forefront of this generation’s blues scene who were… influenced by Guy’s own style.”
The Daily Ye
More discordant sounds for the Ye empire after the announcement that he is acquiring the failing rightwing microblogging site Parler and his campaign of antisemitic remarks continues. Ye says that Adidas is stuck with him: “The thing about it being Adidas—I can say antisemitic things and Adidas can’t drop me. Now what? Now what?” (video) Reporter Nancy Levine tweets, “Today Adidas is actively recruiting, seeking a marketing director for Kanye’s YEEZY business unit.”
Women’s Wear Daily reports Balenciaga has cut ties with the man once known primarily for making music. “The French fashion house, which collaborated with the rapper on a line sold at Gap, is walking away from the relationship after he repeatedly used hate speech. ‘Balenciaga has no longer any relationship nor any plans for future projects related to this artist,'” the parent company told WWD. He had appeared in the luxury goods company’s summer 2023 show, held in a mud pit in Paris, “wearing what looked like battle gear, including a branded mouthguard shielding his teeth. The image has been removed from Balenciaga’s website.” Publisher Condé Nast’s Vogue empire and its style boss Anna Wintour have reportedly put distance between the billionaire and his rash of antisemitic remarks. (He also told Piers Morgan that Quentin Tarantino stole “Django Unchained” from him.)
“A known associate of Kanye West posted a video of a group apparently handing out the artist’s infamous ‘White Lives Matter’ shirts to people living on Skid Row,” reports CBS Los Angeles, “Someone could be heard shouting, ‘courtesy of Kanye West.’ ‘They dropped off a big box here and told everybody to come here to pick them up,’ said resident Stephanie Arnold-Williams. ‘I was like this is not a good spot. I don’t think you should bring them here.'” Ye “debuted the shirts at Paris Fashion Week… The pieces of clothing feature Pope John Paul on the front and the controversial phrase on the back. William Lee seeks Chicago feedback: “‘Kanye is not losing fans, at least it doesn’t seem like that in my world,’ said [The Triibe] publisher Morgan Elise Johnson. ‘For those Kanye disciples, they’re just kind of rolling with him no matter what he says or does at this point and I’ve learned that I’m not going to convince these people. For us, it’s a constant battle about what Kanye’s messaging we are going to address or not’… Over [last] weekend, Triibe editor-in-chief Tiffany Walden posted links to fact-checked information regarding the rapper’s claims, representing one of the few black entities willing to address it.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Chicago And The “Friday Problem”
The Tribune editorial board identifies a “Friday problem” for Chicago: “On most Fridays these days, only about one-fourth—one-fourth!—of Chicago office workers show up at their workplaces… Mayor Lightfoot seems to have an aversion to promoting downtown. She’s clearly aware of the criticism leveled at former Mayor Rahm Emanuel for supposedly ignoring the neighborhoods and concentrating on the city core where the big money resides. The problem with her approach is that downtown remains the economic engine of the city. Between the coasts, there is no more valuable piece of real estate, and it’s suffering. The mayor and Illinois’ other Democratic leaders need to get over the Rahm hangover and get busy reviving this vital commercial center.”
Illinois Humanities Awards Another $230,000 Across Illinois
Illinois Humanities has awarded another $230,000 to humanities-based organizations in twenty counties across Illinois, which will support the continued recovery from the impact of the pandemic. This is the third round of emergency relief distributed by Illinois Humanities—totaling over $2.3 million in funding since 2021—with funding from the State of Illinois, the National Endowment for the Humanities through the American Rescue Plan Act, as well as private donations. Among Chicago recipients: American Indian Association of Illinois; Ballet Folklorico de Chicago; Black Alphabet; Changing Worlds Chicago; Chicago Blues Museum; Chicago Poetry Center; Contratiempo; Free Spirit Media; Full Spectrum Features; The Hoodoisie; Hypertext Magazine & Studio; Korean Cultural Center of Chicago; Mezcla Media Collective; Muslim American Leadership Alliance; National APR Pullman Porter Museum; National Public Housing Museum; Open Center for the Arts; People’s Center for Cultural & Contemporary Arts; Reading In Motion; Sophia’s Choice aka Asian Pop-Up Cinema; Strategy for Access Foundation; and Visions Blu Institute. The complete list of recipients is here.
$121 Million Gift For Northwestern
“Northwestern has received a $121 million gift from the trust of Kimberly K. Querrey, a Northwestern trustee, and her late husband Louis Simpson, a former stock picker for Warren Buffett, to support medical research and expand executive education at Kellogg,” reports Crain’s.
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