ENGAGE Projects Representing Selva Aparicio
ENGAGE Projects is representing Selva Aparicio, an artist bridging the disciplines of sculpture, installation, fibers and performance. “A collector of discarded objects, Aparicio’s praxis explores ideas of death, transition and the fragility of life using materials that defy their innate mortality.” Says Aparicio, “I work between death and decomposition, expanding that moment, slowing the process of decay.” Aparicio received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015, followed by her MFA in sculpture from Yale University in 2017. More here.
Repopulation Plan For Chicago Announced
Mayor Lightfoot announced the “repopulation phase” of her plan “to rebuild ten long-neglected commercial corridors on Chicago’s South and West sides,” reports Fran Spielman at the Sun-Times. “To stop what Planning and Development Commissioner Maurice Cox calls ‘the bleeding of Black and Brown families’ leaving Chicago, the plan calls for three strategies to spur ‘in-fill development’ on 5,600 city-owned vacant lots in Invest South/West communities of Austin, Auburn Gresham, Bronzeville, Greater Englewood, Greater Roseland, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, New City, South Chicago and South Shore.” The goal of the first strategy, “Come Home,” “is to promote construction of single-family homes, townhouses and smaller, multiunit buildings on residential blocks just off the reviving commercial corridors.”
DINING & DRINKING
Alinea Named One Of America’s Highest-Grossing Restaurants; Alinea Demurs: Restaurant’s Desserts Seen In “The Menu”
Alinea, reports Eater Chicago, is “on Restaurant Business Online’s annual listing of the highest-grossing independent restaurants in America. This is the first time the three-Michelin-starred restaurant… has appeared on the list and it’s among nineteen Chicago-area establishments cracking the top 100… Alinea co-founder Nick Kokonas has questioned the list in the past… Kokonas wrote it wasn’t journalism because the data came from restaurants only interested in making themselves look good.” The list’s owner challenged Kokonas “to make the list more accurate by providing them with Alinea’s data.” Kokonas says “that his team didn’t send data to Restaurant Business. ‘They reached out sometime back and had ‘guesses’ on cover counts and such and I replied that they should do the research and were way off.'”
Meanwhile, Alinea’s desserts hold a spot on “The Menu,” a satire of fine dining opening on Friday, writes Marah Eakin at the Reader. “The restaurant-wide, sauce-swooped dessert that marks the movie’s finale (no spoilers) was inspired in part by Alinea’s famous tabletop finale. Dessert isn’t the only thing the movie pulled from Alinea, either… ‘The Menu’’s cold, somewhat unapproachable exterior was inspired in part by Grant Achatz’s Lincoln Park eatery.”
Bite A Burger In A Shell Station
“Hot spot Burger Bite (inside a Shell station at 1500 West Devon) just opened in May, but it’s been a yearslong dream for owner Edgar Bonilla. In six short months, it has received a flood of attention, with constant chatter in neighborhood Facebook groups. Food Network stopped by the modest eight-seat restaurant in October to film a segment for a new series,” writes Selena Fragassi at the Sun-Times. “Five-star reviews have also taken over Yelp, Grubhub, Uber Eats and Door Dash’s portals, praising the restaurant’s towering burgers with creative toppings, fries and thick shakes. The big seller is a ‘Cowboy Burger’ with onion rings, mild cheddar cheese, bacon and barbecue sauce. There’s also the popular ‘Buenos Dias Burger’ with a sunny side-up egg, bacon, American cheese, hash browns and chipotle mayo.”
LeTour From Amy Morton And Debbie Gold Opens In Evanston
Amy Morton has opened LeTour, a “decidedly American” brasserie, with James Beard Award-winning chef Debbie Gold. “‘LeTour’ means ‘circle/to turn’ in French, an ode to the circular layout of the restaurant at 625 Davis Street in downtown Evanston and the ‘full circle’ moments that brought Morton and Gold together for this venture.” LeTour will serve dinner Wednesday-Monday nights with lunch planned and weekend brunch starting in December. Chicago natives Morton and Gold began working together in 1990 with the opening of Mirador, Morton’s Provencal French restaurant in Old Town. They reconnected in 2019 when Gold joined Morton’s restaurant group AMDP (Arnie Morton’s Daughter’s Place) as executive chef of The Barn Steakhouse, Stolp Island Social and the now-closed Found Kitchen + Social House. “With LeTour, AMDP will continue to hire entry-level staff from need-based populations, specifically those coming out of homelessness, and offering at-cost event opportunities for nonprofits, and committing to sustainable practices in the kitchen.”
The “unconventionally French” menu at LeTour “is modern when it comes to plating and preparation yet rooted in classic French techniques Gold learned while studying and cooking in the Rhone Valley of France, which blend seamlessly with the Moroccan dishes and influences important to both her and Morton.” The menu emphasizes a strong seafood selection with a la carte options, a raclette and twelve appetizers inspired by French classics (with vegetarian and vegan options). Entrees include a wild fish offered on a nightly basis, Sauteed Skate Wing, Brothy Banger Mussels, LeTour Burger, Lamb Couscous and Grilled Oyster Mushroom Kebabs. More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
Video Data Bank Hires Archive And Collection Manager
Video Data Bank has hired Kristin MacDonough as Archive and Collection Manager. MacDonough will be responsible for organizing and managing the VDB collections, which will include preservation, digitization and cataloging activities and maintaining legacy equipment. MacDonough returns to Video Data Bank after five years as the Time-Based Media Conservation Fellow and later Assistant Media Conservator at the Art Institute of Chicago, where she collaborated with colleagues to implement guidelines and procedures for time-based media artworks. From 2014 to 2017, Kristin worked at VDB as a Digitization Specialist, during which time she reformatted over 2,000 tapes in the collections and from SAIC’s collections of archival audio and video. MacDonough is also a co-founder of XFR (pronounced “transfer”) Collective, a New York City-based nonprofit dedicated to AV education, preservation and access.
Hyde Park’s Harper Theater Will Reopen After Renovation
Harper Theater, in a space owned by the University of Chicago, will temporarily close at the end of this month, reports Hyde Park Herald. Nebraska operator Main Street Theatres will take over the historic space. “Tony Fox, who has been in charge of the theater at 5238 South Harper for the past ten years, said he’s retiring… ‘It was the honor of a lifetime, but I’m getting out of the movie theater business.’ … Fox, who owned (and still operates) the New 400 Theater in Rogers Park, said he was first approached by the U. of C. back in 2009 and signed the lease in 2012.”
Midwestern Journalism Nonprofit Signal Cleveland Launches
Another Midwestern not-for-profit newsroom is live: “Over the past six months, our team at Signal Cleveland has built the foundation for a new type of community-first news organization. We’ve [built] our team, listened to community members, and named and branded Signal Cleveland to reflect what we’ve heard. Today we officially launch the website for Signal Cleveland which has information relevant to all Greater Clevelanders.”
It’s The Vinyl Countdown For Dave’s Records
Dave’s Records in Lincoln Park will close for good after twenty years come December, reports the Reader. “A year-and-a-half ago the whole building was sold. The new owners have told owner Dave Crain they intend to knock down and replace the building, so even though he renewed the shop’s lease last year, he knows that the writing is on the wall… The closing sale kicked off with fifty-percent discounts on singles and used LPs, plus a buy one, get one half-off deal on new LPs. ‘I’ve been surprised at how quickly it’s turned into a madhouse,’ Crain says. ‘It’s been, like, four days now, and it seems like four Record Store Days in a row.'”
Christmas Residency At Thalia Hall, Old Town School Of Folk Music For Mariachi Herencia De México
Mariachi Herencia de México announce the band’s annual Christmas residency at Pilsen’s Thalia Hall and the Old Town School of Folk Music. This marks the third year the “young, virtuosic mariachi band present the holiday concert series, a new Christmas tradition for many Chicago families.” “A Very Merry Christmas” comes to the Old Town School of Folk Music on December 16-17 and to Thalia Hall on December 18. Mariachi Herencia de México perform Mexican and American holiday favorites, including the group’s holiday hit “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” (video preview here). Tickets here.
“Hershel And The Hanukkah Goblins” Returns To Strawdog
Strawdog Theatre Company, Chicago’s newest free theater, launch its thirty-fifth season with its holiday attraction, “Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins,” returning for its fifth year. Based on the Caldecott Honor-winning book by Eric Kimmel, “Hershel” is adapted by ensemble member Michael Dailey, with music and lyrics by Jacob Combs, direction by Hannah Todd and music direction by Ricky Harris. “Hershel” plays December 11–31 at The Edge Off-Broadway Theater in Edgewater. Tickets for all performances are free with reservations here.
RefrAction Lab Showcases In December
Refracted Theatre Company will present its 2022 RefrAction Lab Showcase on December 4 and 11, featuring excerpts from five works developed during its eight-month playwriting lab for emerging Chicago playwrights. “I have loved working with RefrAction Lab this year,” RefrAction Lab dramaturg Kenya Ann Hall says. “We’ve assembled a beautiful group of playwrights; talented, smart people who can really just give each other insightful feedback. And just being in a room where we’re talking about these complicated issues–but in a way that humanizes them and personalizes them and distills them down to something really simple and very human.” The shows are at iO Theater–The Weed Cabaret with $10 general admission tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Logan Square Startwork Studios Tenants Pushed Out
The remaining low-cost-rental artist center Startwork Studios tenants were given thirty days to vacate the premises on West Diversey, reports Block Club. The notices came from building owner Mark Fishman, “the most well-known property investor in Logan Square.”
Field Museum Employees Ask For Recognition To Unionize
“Field Museum employees seeking to unionize delivered a letter to the head of the museum asking for voluntary recognition of their union,” reports the Sun-Times. “A majority of the 330 employees who work in positions that would make up the proposed union have signed on to form a union…The letter asked for a response from museum CEO Julian Siggers by Monday.”
Illinois Constitution Will Guarantee Workers’ Rights To Organize
“The Illinois Constitution is getting a new amendment, one that guarantees workers’ rights to organize and collectively bargain for wages and other employment issues,” reports WBEZ. “The amendment assures that workers can unionize and bargain on a range of issues affecting economic welfare and safety. It also forbids right-to-work laws for the private sector, which allows people to avoid union dues as a condition of employment.”
Nearly $50 Million From MacKenzie Scott To Chicago Schools
“Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott is donating a combined $48 million to public schools in Chicago,” reports Chalkbeat Chicago. “The grants have no restrictions and can be used by the schools however they want. Chicago Public Schools received $25 million, the Noble Network of Charter Schools got $16 million and LEARN Charter School Network will see $7 million.”
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