Nick Cave Crafts Cuties
“Nick Cave was standing alongside his creative and life partner Bob Faust inside Eli’s Cheesecake bakery-retail shop-café on the city’s Northwest Side,” writes Rick Kogan at the Tribune. “They were wearing gloves and decorating mini-cheesecakes, very tiny mini-cheesecakes known as Cuties, one-inch by one-inch morsels… ‘Nick Cave X Eli’s Cheesecake Limited Edition Cuties’ are chocolate-covered cheesecake squares, each a different color, flavor (vanilla, raspberry, lemon, chocolate-vanilla and dulce de leche) and topped with symbolic messages: a peace sign, heart, equal sign, smiley face and star.” Two sets of ten “Cuties” each are $125 here, with net proceeds going to Cave and Faust’s Facility Foundation.
Stately Silos Sold
The state has a potential buyer who would pay $6.5 million for the Damen Silos and 23.4 acres of property along the Chicago River on Damen near 29th, reports the Sun-Times. The buyer is an “asphalt plant owner who’s been the target of numerous pollution claims by some McKinley Park residents.” Reports the McKinley Park News: “Damen Silos are sold to top bidder MAT Limited Partnership, run by Southwest Side industrialist Michael Tadin Jr., who says he plans to demolish the silos and build a business park to consolidate his corporate offices… Tadin said that the silos will be demolished, and all aspects of the site will be remediated: a necessity given the property’s dilapidation and its sale on an ‘as is’ basis.” The work could be done by 2026 or 2027.
Writes YIMBY Chicago: “Opened in 1906, they were built by the Chicago-based Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad which was founded in 1859 and grew to be one of the nation’s largest before merging with its competitor to form Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway, or BNSF. The silos… top out at around fifteen stories… and utilized a massive system of [grain] elevators to process 400,000 bushels of grain. They were bought by the state [in] 1928 and closed in 1977 [after an] explosion and have since become an urban playground for taggers.”
Lawsuit Against Obama Center Dismissed; Appeal Seen
The federal judge who oversaw a yearslong court battle over the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park has ruled against Protect Our Parks, which sought to block construction and use of Jackson Park as an entrance to the venue, formally ending the lawsuit, reports the Sun-Times. Protect Our Parks will persist, reports the Trib. The group “has long contended it doesn’t oppose a South Side location for Obama’s presidential center. But it’s argued the Jackson Park plan would result in the clear-cutting of mature trees, disruption of annual bird migratory flights and the closing of four main South Side thoroughfares. It proposed locating west of Jackson Park, near Washington Park, instead.”
Colorado River Running Low; 40 Million People Affected
It’s not just low water levels in the Mississippi River, it’s the Colorado River, too: “It’s going to be ugly. The bottom line is there just isn’t going to be enough water available,” reports the Denver Post. “The megadrought plaguing the West is worsening and Lake Powell could sink below a critical level without enough snow this winter.” Also: CNN reports wells running dry in the Southwest as groundwater is taken by foreign interests. “Shallower wells run dry amid the Southwest’s worst drought in 1,200 years. Much of the frustration is pointed at the area’s huge, foreign-owned farms growing thirsty crops like alfalfa, which ultimately get shipped to feed cattle and other livestock overseas.”
Wicker Park’s Flat Iron Arts Building Bought
The Flat Iron Arts Building at the central intersection of Wicker Park—North, Damen and Milwaukee, popularly known in the 1990s as “The Crotch”—has been sold to local developers, reports Block Club. “Since 1993, the Flat Iron has been owned and managed by Berger Realty Group, which also operates the Fine Arts Building, 410 South Michigan… The building’s new owners are Savas Er, principal of North American Real Estate, and real estate investor Buzz Ruttenberg, who has long been a supporter of the arts in Chicago.” Their focus “will be expanding retail options in the building.” The Trib reports the price as $19.7 million.
DINING & DRINKING
Oyster Bah? Nah
After seven years, Lettuce Entertain You is closing Oyster Bah, with its all-you-can-eat specials, and Crab Cellar in Lincoln Park, reports Eater Chicago. Reasons were not given, but LEYE intends to use the space for another outpost.
FILM & TELEVISION
Theaster Gates Programs Manhattan’s Metrograph
This month, the Metrograph in New York City hosts “The Trace: Theaster Gates Selects.” The program, “presented in tandem with my exhibition ‘Young Lords and Their Traces’ at the New Museum, has offered me an opportunity to share a set of filmic relationships that, until now, were underexplored by me. These films live in different genres and across several decades.” The program of seven pictures and a discussion includes Charles Burnett’s “Killer of Sheep,” Viktor Kossakovsky’s “Aquarela,” Julie Dash’s “Daughters Of The Dust” and Andrei Tarkovsky’s “Andrei Rublev.” Writes Gates, “We have conceived of a set of films that begin to lay out the origins of Russian engagement with Black American labor movements and analogous cinematic projects.” The series “is a commentary on my exhibition and the history of the Soviet Project. Taking a strong cue from Russian and early Black American cinema, the series creates connections between the American Anti-Imperialist League and the Jamaican Red Guards; the all-race conference and the American committee for the defense of Puerto Rican political prisoners; the Executive Committee of the Communist International and the Ku Klux Klan; the Confederation of Mexican Workers, antiracist struggles in the British West Indies, labor movements in the Jim Crow South and the ways in which Black and Russian film cope, critique, and propagandize political struggle, complexion, white power and equality throughout the United States.” More here.
Independent Film Alliance of Chicago Gives Inaugural “Hometown Hero” Award To Alex Pissios
The Independent Film Alliance of Chicago has announced “Magic Hour,” its inaugural fundraiser gala, reports Screen. The evening event will be Thursday, December 1 at Wildman Boiler & Tank Co. “IFA Chicago plans to bestow its first Visionary Leadership Award and Hometown Hero Award. The honors will go to former Cinespace Chicago Film Studios CEO Alex Pissios. ‘As we contemplated who to honor at our inaugural gala, we all agreed that the choice was obvious to honor the man who has dedicated his career to supporting the Chicago film workforce,’ said IFA Chicago executive director Angie Gaffney. ‘Alex Pissios has been instrumental in revitalizing the film scene in Chicago. He has invested in the talented creators living in Chicago by launching organizations like CineCares Foundation and the IFA. He is most deserving of this honor.’ Pissios helped launch Cinespace Chicago Film Studios, the largest campus of film and television production soundstages in North America. With his uncle Nick Mirkopoulos as his mentor and inspiration, Alex’s steadfast leadership was a catalyst for an economic juggernaut that created more than 15,000 jobs and brought in billions of dollars of revenue for the city and state. Pissios also created the CineCares Foundation with his brothers to honor the memory of their uncle and co-founded the Independent Film Alliance Chicago.”
Sun-Times Union Differs With Chicago Public Media
“Our union of dedicated, hard-working, talented journalists is ready to collaborate with our new partners at WBEZ,” posts the Chicago Sun-Times Guild as negotiations continue. “We’ve made that crystal clear to Chicago Public Media. It’s becoming obvious that’s not enough for CPM. They also want to strip us of our rights. We are more than willing to work with WBEZ but want to retain job protections and ensure we won’t be eaten up and dissolved by our new owner. But Chicago Public Media insists on gutting our contract of our rights, which in some cases we’ve had for decades. We desperately care about the health of local journalism. Chicago Public Media does, too. We want their proposals to reflect that. Our rights and protections create better journalism for our members and readers. We believe CPM’s proposals hurt all three… We’ve been told Chicago Public Media wants us to collaborate with WBEZ—it’s why CPM acquired the Sun-Times. So why not collaborate with us at the bargaining table to meet that shared goal instead of ruling with an iron fist… We proposed allowing unlimited WBEZ work into the Sun-Times. That’s what Chicago Public Media said they wanted. Instead, CPM keeps proposing eliminating our union’s jurisdictional right to produce Sun-Times content, allowing unlimited use of non-union work. Their proposal isn’t all about collaboration. It’s about outsourcing Guild jobs. It’s a poison pill and a serious threat to the existence of our union. Chicago Public Media could allow attrition and replace our entire staff with non-union work. Chicago Public Media is hellbent on eliminating our members’ right to overtime pay. ‘The next contract will not have overtime,’ is what CPM’s outside counsel told us. Our members have made clear we won’t give up that right. Chicago Public Media wants to eliminate our right to stand with another striking union in our organization. That means CPM would force us to cross a picket line if our SAG-AFTRA siblings at WBEZ were in a contract dispute. That’s union-busting… Chicago Public Media has threatened us from the start that if we don’t agree to the elimination of all these rights, they will withdraw their proposed pay raises and retirement benefits. Too bad our union is stronger than that.”
Ad Cash Flees At Speed Of Tweets
Surely more has gone awry since these words were written, with the purchase of Twitter by Elon Musk and his financiers. Half the staff got fired at the end of the week, reports the New York Times. On Saturday, the company rolled out its eight-dollar-a-month “Blue Check” fee, reports the WSJ. (Unfinished updates have been hurriedly rushed out.) Here’s a take from over the weekend, from the Washington Post’s Catherine Rampell: “As Twitter advertisers run for the exits, the world’s richest man has apparently decided to set his $44 billion investment on fire… Even before any concrete new content policy appears to have been implemented, legions of trolls and bigots have already begun testing the guardrails. In the twelve hours following Musk’s finalized purchase, use of [a particular racial slur] on Twitter jumped nearly 500 percent.” The New York Times’ Adam Sternbergh: “The realization that twitter really had become your de facto portal to the entire internet, even as it ceases to be that and implodes in on itself like a dying star.” Who are the financiers of this $44 billion money sink? Gizmodo tries to figure out, with some success: “more than twenty companies, venture firms, banks, and at least one Saudi prince… Musk took out nearly $13 billion in loans for his purchase, and he’ll be spending years paying the interest off those loans.” He “will need to pay $1 billion on that debt every year.”
Gannett Executives Suction More Money
Gannett executives have authorized buying back $100 million of the company’s stock, reports the Wall Street Journal, which inflates their own pay at the same time the conglomerate has fired 400 journalists. On Friday, more than 200 Gannett employees walked out in a one-day action. “The striking staffers, from fourteen of the company’s newsrooms, [didn’t] work Friday, said a spokeswoman for the NewsGuild, a division of the Communications Workers of America union. Gannett as of last December employed approximately 4,846 journalists across local papers, USA Today and in its U.K. publications… Gannett said the work stoppage wouldn’t prevent it from delivering news to its readers. ‘We continue to bargain in good faith to finalize contracts that provide equitable wages and benefits for our valued employees.'” The company had just posted another $54 million quarterly loss.
Stopping Former Tribune Company Presses In L. A.
Locally, as the fate of Freedom Center and its printing facility weighs in the balance, the downtown printing presses of the Los Angeles Times, formerly owned by Tribune Publishing, will stop in 2024: “The Times’ former corporate owners dismantled the newspaper’s assets,” says Times reporter and president of Media Guild of the West, “as they plundered journalism for profit… Their schemes turned our journalists and our press workers into tenants in our own homes—paying rents to disinterested property developers that could have gone to down payments on our digital future… Somewhere, the culprits are resting comfortably tonight.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Fermilab And Argonne Get $300 Million Bang From Federal Bucks; Argonne To Build World’s Largest Supercomputer
The U.S. Department of Energy allocated funds to its seventeen national laboratories from the Inflation Reduction Act to mitigate the rise of project costs as a result of inflation. Fermilab will spend the funding on the lab’s ongoing construction projects. This will allow the lab’s major projects to uphold their schedules and keep their commitment to international collaborators, Fermilab relays in a release. “The U.S. Department of Energy’s Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory will receive $260 million in funding that has been designated by the DOE’s Office of Science and allows the lab’s construction projects to lock in construction costs that otherwise could rise due to inflation.” Reports Argonne: Argonne National Laboratory will receive funding “to accelerate science for U.S. prosperity and security.” Fifty-four-million-dollars of the IRA funding will go toward “the Aurora exascale computer. This next-generation supercomputer, slated to go online next year, will be one of the fastest computers in the world, providing unprecedented capability to leverage artificial intelligence and simulation for transformative scientific discoveries. Housed in the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility, a DOE Office of Science user facility, Aurora will help scientists solve pressing problems such as efficient clean energy, new medicines, faster and more Earth-friendly electronics, and national security.”
$8 Million For Access Living In Latest Area Grant From Philanthropist MacKenzie Scott
Access Living, a nonprofit at 115 West Chicago that provides services to people with disabilities, received an $8 million gift from multibillionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott, who has paid a lot of attention to Chicago nonprofits in the past week, including the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and the Chicago Urban League, reports the Sun-Times. “One of Access Living’s goals is to address racial and health equity.” The group has already begun hiring new workers. They “also plan to use the money to help end poverty for people with disabilities and expand community support services.”
Lurie Children’s Hospital Gets $25 Million
“Local couple Kathleen and John Schreiber are donating $25 million to Lurie Children’s Hospital to create a center to focus on the health and wellness of children from birth through age five,” reports the Trib. “The program will be named the Schreiber Family Center for Early Childhood Health and Wellness, and will bring together Lurie experts and community organizations to support children and families. It will be part of Lurie’s Patrick M. Magoon Institute for Healthy Communities, which focuses on community-based initiatives.”
Diddy Stakes Illinois Cannabis
“Rapper Sean ‘Diddy’ Combs could become a dominant African American player in the cannabis industry with a pending deal for production and retail outlets in the Chicago area and in New York and Massachusetts,” reports the Sun-Times. “In a deal worth at least $155 million, Combs is buying assets being spun off by Cresco Labs as part of its acquisition of a competitor… Combs would take over three Columbia Care properties: stores at 4758 North Milwaukee in Chicago and at 133 Roosevelt Road in Villa Park that use the name Cannabist, and a production facility in Aurora.”
Lincoln Relics Taken Away
“The fate of 1,500-plus artifacts, including some tied to Lincoln’s murder, is unclear as a foundation pulls items out of a state Lincoln museum,” reports WBEZ. “It’s the latest by-product of an acrimonious relationship between the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the private foundation originally set up nearly two decades ago to fundraise and acquire prized Lincoln pieces for the state-run tourist destination to display… The foundation and museum are at odds over the $8 million-plus still owed for the purchase of the unique collection, and this week the foundation made the stunning decision to remove the collection, leaving its future and the public’s access to it uncertain.”
Mobile “Nutcracker” Severs Across Midwest
A mobile vasectomy clinic, dubbed “The Nutcracker” is criss-crossing the Midwest to meet demand, reports the Trib. “The twenty-four-foot-long health facility on wheels is decorated on the outside with large images of sperm and bold-lettered slogans like ‘One small snip for man, one giant leap for Humankind(ness)’ and ‘It’s time to be responsible: love with respect.'” Friends of the doctor manning the vehicle “nicknamed the mobile unit ‘the Nutcracker,’ a humorous though potentially misleading moniker, as no testicles are harmed during the quick outpatient operation. The physician prefers to call the vehicle ‘the myth-cracker,’ because he uses it to promote the ease and simplicity of vasectomies along all the highways and country roads he traverses.”
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