Rebuild Foundation’s St. Laurence Arts Incubator Gains Ground
Generous support from the MacArthur Foundation, the United Center and Harry Styles means that the Rebuild Foundation is a step closer to completing the arts and creative entrepreneurship incubator at the former St. Laurence Elementary School on the South Side. Investment in the future cultural hub now surpasses $8 million. “These recent contributions will play a pivotal role in progressing the transformation of a shuttered school into a site for cultural production, artistic expression and economic development,” Rebuild relays. “The 40,000-square-foot building will be Rebuild’s largest site among the foundation’s constellation of cultural spaces in Chicago, joining the Stony Island Arts Bank, Dorchester Art and Housing Collaborative, Retreat at Currency Exchange Café and Kenwood Gardens. Construction of the project, which will require an estimated total investment of $10.35 million, is forty-percent complete and expected to finish in late 2023. The site will provide local BIPOC artists and creative entrepreneurs the resources, tools, opportunities, and connections to strengthen their practices and enterprises on the South Side.” More here.
Tres Birds Wins Architecture Award for Art Preserve
The architecture firm Tres Birds has won the prestigious American Architecture Award for the Art Preserve, the world’s first museum dedicated to artist-built environments, which was opened in August 2021 by the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan. The Art Preserve’s 56,000-square-foot, three-level building provides exhibition space and visible storage for more than 25,000 works in the Arts Center’s collection, which includes complete and partial environments by more than thirty vernacular, self-taught, and academically trained artists. As a satellite campus, the Art Preserve complements the John Michael Kohler Arts Center’s main location in downtown Sheboygan. The John Michael Kohler Arts Center holds the world’s largest collection of art environments, a unique art form created by artists who often transform their homes and yards into multifaceted works of art. More here. The winners will be honored at a gala reception on December 2 at The Arts Club in Chicago. More here.
Staff Promotions At Krasl Art Center
St. Joseph, Michigan’s Krasl Art Center has announced two staff promotions: Nathan Margoni has been promoted to director of education, and Laura Winkle to become associate curator of engagement. “Krasl Art Center thanks Winkle and Margoni for their commitment to the arts and looks forward to fostering growth in our community through their leadership in the curatorial and education departments.” More on Krasl here.
Shannon Abloh Speaks
“After a year of standing by politely as pundits and boldfaced names expounded on Mr. Abloh’s life and work and what he would have wanted, Ms. Abloh, forty-one, has decided it is time to define her husband’s legacy herself.” Shannon Abloh, widow of designer Virgil Abloh, offers her first interview to Vanessa Friedman at the New York Times. “It belongs to me, it belongs to his children,” she tells the paper. “After his passing, so many people came up to me and said, ‘Virgil was my best friend.’ His best friend in the fashion industry, his best friend in the music world. A lot of his collaborators, or even people who maybe weren’t that close to him, feel ‘I can do this to help his legacy, or I can do that to help his legacy.’ It’s like this train that’s going 500 miles per hour, and I just thought: I have to stay on this train, because if I don’t, I don’t know where it’s going to go. That’s my place and my position.”
Advocating Landmark Status For Promontory Point
“South Siders have asked city officials to landmark Promontory Point, a move they say could mark ‘the beginning of a very happy ending’ of a decades-long campaign to save the Point’s limestone barriers,” reports Block Club. “By pushing for a landmark designation, advocates hope to ‘save the Point from… destruction and defacement’ and preserve its limestone steps.”
Burnham-Designed Comfort Station In Jackson Park Being Stabilized
Architecture observer Eric Allix Rogers notes a development in Jackson Park: “The Burnham-designed comfort station in Jackson Park that has been collapsing for years has had its roof removed,” then updates: “It is in fact being stabilized per a permit issued twelve days ago!” (Chicago Cityscape posts part of the permit, describing the work, here.)
Boring Ghosts Chicago, America
Elon Musk’s six-year-old Boring Company, reports the Wall Street Journal, “has repeatedly teased cities with a pledge to ‘solve soul-destroying traffic,’ only to pull out when confronted with the realities of building public infrastructure, according to former executives and local, state and federal government officials who have worked with Mr. Musk’s Boring. The company has struggled with common bureaucratic hurdles like securing permits and conducting environmental reviews… ‘Every time I see him on TV with a new project, or whatever, I’m like: Oh, I remember that bullet train to Chicago O’Hare,’ said Chicago alderman Scott Waguespack. Boring had backed away from its proposal for a high-speed tunnel link to the airport there.” But the company has deep-pocketed “believers. This spring, tech-focused venture-capital firms Sequoia Capital and Vy Capital led a $675 million fundraising round that valued Boring at $5.7 billion. Major real-estate firms including Brookfield, Lennar and Tishman Speyer are among the investors.”
Building Home With Chicago Furniture Bank
Chicago Furniture Bank “came to fruition in 2018 to serve as an intermediary between Chicagoans who have extra furniture and those who need it,” reports the Tribune. The organization “gives residents a full home of furnishings for a suggested donation of $50 (such furnishings, on average, cost about $1,500 at resale stores).” The customers include those who are moving on “from housing insecurity, eviction, natural disaster, incarceration, domestic violence” who “are pointed toward CFB by hundreds of Chicago-area social-service organizations, including shelters and the Salvation Army. Customers get to choose each item for their home and schedule a pickup time; or CFB staff can deliver their items in home or curbside for a cost paid by the agencies ($250 for in home and $150 for curbside)… It’s an opportunity to get housing essentials in a dignified, stable and comforting way.”
Pod Gym Inside Shipping Containers In Fulton Market
Fulton Market’s twenty-four-hour The Gym Pod is “three private gym facilities inside large shipping containers. Anyone can rent a pod in thirty-minute increments for $6 and get a whole private gym to themselves or up to four friends,” reports Block Club. “The company was founded in Singapore by… a self-professed introvert who wanted to create a private gym space.”
Latest Ken Griffin Condo Sale, In Park Tower, Goes For Around $13 Million
Former Chicagoan Ken Griffin is still offloading his portfolio of residences, the latest going for $13.1 million, reports the Trib. “Griffin has found a buyer for an 8,000-square-foot full-floor condominium on the sixty-sixth floor of the Park Tower building… which he has had for sale for $13.25 million.” That price would mean a loss of about $2 million for the Florida billionaire. He has two more to sell, while he “continues to own the thirty-sixth through thirty-eighth floors of the building at 9 West Walton, and there’s no word yet on whether he will place those for sale.”
Robot Landlords Buy Up Rental Houses
“Companies with deep resources are outsourcing management to apps and algorithms, putting home ownership further out of reach,” reports Motherboard. “Imagine Homes is an example of an ‘automated landlord,’ a company that uses new data tools and technologies to minimize the costs of on-site human labor while collecting profits from rental properties. They are essential to the new and growing sector of companies backed by Wall Street investment firms that buy up thousands of single-family rental homes across several states… Landlord automation doesn’t just help wealthy investment firms own an increasing percentage of the U.S.’ small homes—it makes the whole paradigm possible.”
DINING & DRINKING
Marina’s Bistro Bringing Modern Puerto Rican Cuisine To Uptown
Modern Puerto Rican restaurant Marina’s Bistro will open in Uptown in January after its beginning during the pandemic in an Avondale ghost kitchen space. Eric Roldan’s modern café will offer Puerto Rican food with its own Latin twist. Eric, born in Chicago but raised in Puerto Rico, worked in the hospitality industry for most of his career, and gained a love of cooking with his grandmother’s recipes from a young age. “We feel like we have found the perfect location in Uptown,” Roldan says in a release. “It’s a diverse community currently lacking in Puerto Rican cuisine. As one of the only Puerto Rican restaurants in the area, we’re excited to bring our flavors and style to the neighborhood.” Main dishes will include Lechon Asado, slow-roasted pork, with citrus and marinated mojo; Chuleta Kan Kan, braised pork chops with garden vegetables; and Chicharron De Pollo, crispy bone-in fried chicken. More here.
Logan Square’s Boiler Room Closes After Twelve Years
Boiler Room, across from the California Blue Line stop, has closed after a dozen years, reports Block Club. New owners will open a similar joint, with pizza remaining on the menu. The now-closed spot was “a neighborhood staple, offering New York-style pizza in a casual environment. The restaurant’s neighborhood-famous PB&J special, which included a slice of pizza, a PBR tall boy and a shot of Jameson, which at one point cost just $7.50, was a big draw.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Netflix To End DVD-By-Mail Service?
“When—not if—it happens, Netflix will shut down a service that has shipped more than five billion discs across the U.S. since its inception nearly a quarter century ago. And it will echo the downfall of the thousands of Blockbuster video rental stores that closed because they couldn’t counter the threat posed by Netflix’s DVD-by-mail alternative,” reports Associated Press (via USA Today). “Netflix declined to comment for this story but during a 2018 media event, co-founder and co-CEO of Netflix Reed Hastings suggested the DVD-by-mail service might close around 2023.”
Cost Of Touring Climbs
“Headlines about tour cancellations have become almost as common as headlines announcing them,” The Daily Beast reports on the fissures in the world of music tours. “There are no tour buses, no trucks. All the equipment is rented, all the experienced personnel are out on every tour,” Eboni Gentry, the owner of Gentry Touring, a boutique tour management agency tells the publication. “Right now, it’s difficult to staff tours. And the cost of everything has gone up as well.” Australian musician Hazel English: “The main problem is that fees for artists have not gone up despite the growing costs of inflation, gas prices, increased flight prices, hotels, etc. So there’s even less money to go round now, when, let’s face it, there was not very much to begin with, but now the pie is even smaller.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Governor Names Weed Head
Governor Pritzker has appointed Erin A. Johnson as the state’s Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer, subject to Senate approval. “Erin Johnson’s commitment to equity will serve Illinois well as she takes the reins as the state’s Cannabis Regulation Oversight Officer,” Pritzker says in a release. “From serving as the chief of staff at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice to working as associate general counsel and chief diversity officer, Erin has the experience, education and expertise to thrive in this role while advancing cannabis equity throughout Illinois.” Says Johnson, “We will move Illinois forward and continue to build a cannabis industry that is driven by social equity, providing opportunities and righting generations of wrongs.” The state’s Cannabis Regulation Oversight Office is a part of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation and is responsible for coordinating with state agencies to direct the regulation and taxation of Illinois’ cannabis industry. “This work is done to ensure Illinois’ social equity goals are met through expungements, community reinvestment and the diversification of the state’s cannabis industry.”
Illinois Bid As Early Primary State Expected To Be Rejected This Week
“Illinois Democrats’ bid to become one of the first states to hold presidential primary votes will likely be rejected this week by the Democratic National Committee’s rules and bylaws panel,” reports Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times.
How Monopoly (And Monopsony) Defines Amazon
“Most of us have Amazon Prime. Seriously–eighty-two-percent of American households! Prime users only shop on Amazon. Seriously,” writes Cory Doctorow at his Pluralistic site. “More than ninety-percent of Prime members start their search on Amazon, and if they find what they’re looking for, they stop there, too. If you are a seller, you have to be on Amazon, otherwise no one will find your stuff and that means they won’t buy it. This is called a monopsony, the obscure inverse of monopoly, where a buyer has power over sellers. But monopoly and monopsony are closely related phenomena. Monopsonies use control over buyers—the fact that we all have Prime—to exert control over sellers. This lets them force unfavorable terms onto sellers, like deeper discounts. In theory, this is good for use consumers, because prices go down. In practice, though…”
Monkeypox Just Mpox Now
“The World Health Organization has renamed monkeypox as mpox, citing concerns the original name of the decades-old animal disease could be construed as discriminatory and racist,” reports AP (via the Sun-Times).
White Supremacist Who Dined With Ye And Trump Is From Suburban Chicago
“White nationalist Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes, who met with former President Trump at his Mar-a-Largo estate (brought there by the rapper formerly known as Kanye West, under fire for his own antisemitic statements), was raised in suburban Chicago,” reports the Sun-Times. The twenty-four-year-old “is a 2016 graduate of Lyons Township High School, living in La Grange Park when he attended the school.” “He’s a vicious bigot. He’s been condemned across the political spectrum,” David Goldenberg, the Anti-Defamation League director of the Midwest regional office tells the paper.(Records show that he presently has a Berwyn address.) “He’s a white supremacist who really is seeking to forge a white nationalist alternative to the mainstream GOP… The practical impact is that by dining with them, Trump handed West and Fuentes a gift: an elevated platform the extremists—both with deep Chicago ties—otherwise would not have.” (Rachel Maddow compiled a montage of Fuentes’ work here.)
Biden, Pelosi Prepare To Stall Rail Freight Worker Action
“President Joe Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi are moving to prevent a looming shutdown of the nation’s freight railroads with the House preparing to take up legislation this week to impose a settlement over the objections of some unions,” reports Bloomberg. (The dispute is primarily over sick time for rail workers.) Biden said in a statement that “lawmakers should ‘immediately’ codify the agreement he helped broker in September between unions and railroads ‘without any modifications or delay,’ after some labor groups voted to reject it.” (Reuters has video from the day the largest union refused the contract proposal.) Posts Warren Gunnels, majority staff director for Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders, “It would cost $688 million to provide fifteen days of paid sick leave to rail workers and prevent a lockout that would cost the economy $2 billion a day. [Warren] Buffett is the owner of BNSF Rail and is worth $110 billion.”
Popular Information’s Judd Legum: “Railroad companies and union workers are at an impasse. The workers want at least four paid sick days. The railroads want to give them none. Biden says, to avoid a strike, Congress should pass legislation giving the railroad companies exactly what they want… There are 140,000 miles of rail in the United States, which are operated by about 115,000 rail workers. This network serves ‘nearly every agricultural, industrial, wholesale, retail and resource-based sector of our economy.’ Passenger rail would also stop, disrupting hundreds of thousands of commuters. The dispute boils down to one issue: paid sick leave. Rail workers and railroad companies are at an impasse after more than two years of negotiations.” The Washington Post: “Workers from the four of the twelve unions that voted down the agreement cited frustration over the lack of paid sick time and punitive attendance policies. Railroad workers do not receive paid sick days and are penalized for taking time off. Carriers have said that their attendance policies are necessary to keep the rail lines staffed and that they allow workers to take time off when needed by using paid vacation time.” Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich: “A railroad strike would be bad. Congress prohibiting one would be worse.”
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