Popular Wrightwood 659 Shows Extended
Two popular exhibitions that are selling out at Wrightwood 659 have been extended until January 28. The exhibitions, which opened October 1, are “The First Homosexuals: Global Depictions of a New Identity, 1869-1930” and “Michiko Itatani: Celestial Stage.” “We Shall Defy: Shahidul Alam,” an exhibition of images and texts illuminating the life and work of the Bangladeshi photojournalist and activist, will remain on view. More here.
Hyde Park Art Center Names Co-Executive Directors
The board of directors of Hyde Park Art Center has appointed Jeannette Tremblay Chambers and Aaron Rodgers as co-executive directors. “Chambers and Rodgers will work towards increasing the impact and visibility of Hyde Park Art Center on Chicago’s South Side, in the broader Chicago region and beyond. With more than thirty-five years of combined experience advancing equity and inclusion in the arts and civic sectors, Chambers and Rodgers will build upon the Art Center’s community-centered work and deepen its investment in the diverse constituents it serves.” More on the Hyde Park Art Center here.
A Seat At Lorna Simpson’s Table
“We had cocktails and hors d’oeuvres inside. Outside, I’d set up two big tables near a waterfall grotto in my garden. The linens were African prints in blues and whites that I found on Etsy. The flowers were ranunculus, roses and snapdragons from UrbanStems. It rained all day, but by the evening, it stopped,” Lorna Simpson tells the New York Times T style magazine of a recent dinner party she held. “The evening at the visual artist’s home was a chance to connect with her guests outside of formal industry events… The meal was prepared by Kris Tominaga, the chef at the Los Angeles restaurant Manuela. The buffet-style dinner featured blistered okra with cucumber buttermilk and benne seeds, and grilled skirt steak with pickled garlic and parsley gremolata. But the best part, Simpson says, were the ‘buttery, flaky, crispy, melt-in-your-mouth’ cream biscuits.”
Sam Zell’s Equity Residential Aligns With Airbnb
“The biggest name in the short-term rental business reached a deal with about a dozen apartment landlords, including Sam Zell’s firm, Chicago-based Equity Residential, for a new listing service,” reports Crain’s. Airbnb “is teaming up with about a dozen apartment landlords, including Zell’s firm, Chicago-based Equity Residential, on a new listing service that will allow tenants in their buildings to sublease their apartments on a short-term basis.”
Blackhawks Owners Propose 700-Acre Suburban Development
“Roughly 700 acres of land at Ivanhoe Farms along Route 60 in unincorporated Mundelein could be turned into a major housing and commercial development after the Wirtz family—which owns the Chicago Blackhawks—has proposed a project to the village,” reports The Trib.
Foreclosure For LaSalle Street Tower
“Thirty North LaSalle adds to the historic wave of distress on the vacancy-ridden corridor,” reports Crain’s, the owner “facing one of the largest foreclosure lawsuits involving a downtown office building since the public health crisis began… A venture of New York-based AmTrust Realty defaulted on its loan tied to the 983,000-square-foot office building at 30 North LaSalle by failing to make its August payment on its $165 million mortgage.”
DINING & DRINKING
Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream Not Sustainable
“It was meant to be a mini food hall,” says Ed Marszewski, whose family owns Maria’s and Marz Community Brewing, upon the closing of Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream in Bridgeport, named in 2020 as one of Esquire’s Best New Restaurants in America. The storefront “focused on Sicilian squares before the pandemic led them to… Chicago thin crust,” reports Eater Chicago. “Those Sicilian squares will be available on Fridays through the end of the month. But, says Marszewski, the parties couldn’t find a way to make the business sustainable.” Marszewski writes to Louisa Chu at the Trib: “It’s been a challenge to cover all the expenses and recoup investment these past few years… We love making Pizza Fried Chicken Ice Cream a platform for our favorite three food groups. It’s been a fun experiment and we were thrilled to bring something like this to the neighborhood… I am pleased that the recent opening of Kim’s Uncle Pizza ensures that the pies we all love will still be available.”
Hot Dog Box Closing In Portage Park
“The Hot Dog Box, the sausage stand that rocketed to local fame in the two years since its founding inside a storage container in Bronzeville, will permanently close its storefront in December, nearly a year after its relocation to Portage Park,” reports Eater Chicago. Owner Bobby Morelli says the last day is Friday, December 16. “After eleven months on the North Side, [he] questions if the area’s ready for ‘diversity and inclusion.’ … ‘The area is just not conducive to what we offer and how we offer it at this time.'”
DoorDash Slashing 1,250
“DoorDash is eliminating about 1,250 corporate jobs, or about six percent of its workforce, saying it hired too many people when delivery demand surged during the pandemic,” reports Associated Press. “DoorDash said early this month that revenue rose thirty-three percent to $1.7 billion in the third quarter, but costs also ballooned and it almost tripled its losses from $101 million during the same period last year, to $296 million in 2022.”
Booksellers Stocking Books In Spanish
U.S. bookstores are expanding Spanish-language offerings, Publishers Weekly reports. “Driven by language-immersion schools and bilingual families, many stores are now specializing in bilingual books for young readers. Others serve heritage-language customers who want to practice their Spanish, as well as language learners seeking cultural immersion.” PW quotes Nina Sánchez, owner of Chicago’s 51st Ward Books: “‘When we came to the market in 2020, we met a significant pent-up demand for Spanish and bilingual books from families and dual-language educators.’ With the rise of dual-language programs in public schools and the growth of Latinx populations, Sánchez sees no signs of this trend slowing. ‘Educators are particularly interested in obtaining mentor texts for their curriculum planning and design.’ Sánchez provides families with side-by-side Spanish and English texts, and meets schools’ demand for books on folklore and customs.” Among Sánchez’s top titles are Diego Remussi’s “Leyendas de los incas, mayas y aztecas contada para niños (La brújula y la veleta),” David Bowles and Charlene Cosette Bowles’ graphic novel “El Ascenso del rey enano” and Berta De Llano and Jaime Rivera Contreras’ picture book “Citlali and the Day of the Dead.”
In Third Round, Newspaper Giant Gannett Fires Another 200 News Workers
“Gannett’s news division is being hit with another round of layoffs, the company’s third move to slash costs in the last six months,” reports Poynter. News division interim head Henry Faure Walker said, “While we have taken several steps already, we must enter the new year in a stronger economic position, and the reality is that our News cost base is currently too high for the revenues it generates.”
The Ye Bulletin
Keeping it short, because it’s not sweet: Ye, who began in Chicago as Kanye West, brought his Mar-a-Lago dinner guest, the Chicago suburbs’ Nick Fuentes, to Alex Jones’ InfoWars for an appearance while wearing a bondage-style mask covering his face and declaring, among a range of anti-Semitic assertions, “They did good things too. We gotta stop dissing the Nazis all the time… Well, I see good things about Hitler, also… Every human being has value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler.” (Wieners Circle offers a suggestion to the avowed presidential aspirant for what he can do with “our kosher dogs.”)
Ted Cruz, Internet, Go After Washington Post Drama Critic Over Bruce Norris’ “Downstate”
“Conservative political voices—including Texas Senator Ted Cruz—are turning a critical eye on Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks following his positive review of Bruce Norris’ [2018 play] ‘Downstate,’ [in] an extended Off-Broadway premiere at Playwrights Horizons… Marks was forced to take his Twitter handle private after the brouhaha set his mentions ablaze,” reports Playbill. The fodder for the attacks is a story of four men, “all convicted of sex crimes, who share a group home in Illinois post-incarceration. One day, a man arrives to confront his childhood abuser. Marks’ review charges headfirst into the play’s tricky subject matter, using the headline, ‘”Downstate” is a play about pedophiles. It’s also brilliant’… Where Marks (and ostensibly Norris) found nuance, and a novel and engaging journey into the seemingly taboo, online critics—mostly politically conservative voices—accused Marks of ‘normalizing’ pedophilia, as one Twitter user put it.”
Ted Cruz wrote on Twitter: “So now the corporate media is praising pedophilia.” “The remarks follow the growth of so-called pedophilia as a rallying cry against the LGBTQ+ community amongst conservative voices. In recent months, depictions of gay and trans characters in youth-aimed media have been characterized as ‘grooming’ without evidence of any such agenda.” (The play, with much of the same cast, world premiered at Steppenwolf in 2018.)
1980s Comedy Group Practical Theatre Company Returns With New Year’s Sketch Comedy To Evanston
The Practical Theatre Company, “an improvisational sketch comedy troupe that launched the careers of Julia Louis Dreyfus and ‘Saturday Night Live’ veterans Brad Hall, Paul Barrosse and Gary Kroeger,” will present their comedy at Studio5 in Evanston December 29-31 and January 4-7. The company was founded by Barrosse, Hall and fellow Northwestern University students in 1979. After leaving Northwestern, the company produced successful comedy shows in the city throughout the 1980s, and several members were hired by “Saturday Night Live” for its 1982 season. “After a two-decade hiatus, The Practical Theatre Company reunited in 2010 when Barrosse, Victoria Zielinski, and musician Steve Rashid began doing shows in Los Angeles and Chicago. The trio later joined with fellow Northwestern alum, Dana Olsen, to perform a series of holiday comedy shows at Studio5. (Olsen is a screenwriter best known for writing ‘The ’Burbs’ and ‘George of the Jungle.’) This year’s show, ‘Vic & Paul & Dana’s Post-Pandemic Revue,’ will star Barrosse, Zielinski and Olsen.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Tracing The Black Panther Footprint
A nonprofit is working to preserve and memorialize dozens of Black Panther sites, like free breakfast programs, medical clinics and headquarters, reports South Side Weekly.
Julmarknad Holiday Market In Andersonville
Julmarknad, the Swedish American Museum’s annual Christmas bazaar, is this weekend, Saturday, December 3, 10am–5pm and Sunday, December 4 from 10am-4pm. The event features traditional Scandinavian and modern handicrafts along with entertainment for the entire family, including games, Santa, kaffestuga, Lucia processions and folk dancers. The Kerstin Andersson Museum Store is holding a preview Friday, December 2, 4 pm-8pm, in conjunction with Late Night Andersonville, featuring discounts on holiday gifts. More here.
Shermann “Dilla” Thomas Gets City Grant For Chicago Mahogany Tours
Auburn Gresham native and Chicago TikTok historian Shermann “Dilla” Thomas has over 100,000 TikTok followers and has expanded to chartered bus tours around South and West Side neighborhoods. A $30,000 grant announced by the mayor “will give Thomas a home base for his Chicago Mahogany Tours. The funding [comes] from the city’s $40 million in Community Development Grants as part of the Chicago Recovery Plan,” reports the Sun-Times. “Mahogany Tours is one of sixty-one groups that will receive… grant money [that] ranges from $12,000 to $5 million ‘to support neighborhood vitality, economic development, community wealth-building, public health, and local planning goals,’ the mayor said in a release.”
Springfield Places Plaque To Mark Obama Run
Springfield has placed a historic marker outside the Old State Capitol, where Barack Obama launched his presidential bid fifteen years ago, reports the Sun-Times. “The roughly forty-seven-by-forty-four-inch marker, which stands on the southeast corner of the Old Capitol grounds in downtown Springfield, also commemorates Obama’s 2008 announcement that then-Senator Joe Biden of Delaware would be his running mate,” writes the Trib. “It adds historical resonance to a building most famous as the site of Abraham Lincoln’s ‘House Divided’ speech to the 1858 Republican State Convention.”
International Research Center Coming To UChicago
During French President Emmanuel Macron’s state visit to the United States, the University of Chicago and the French National Center for Scientific Research signed an agreement at the French Embassy in Washington to establish the International Research Center for Fundamental Scientific Discovery (IRC Discovery), a collaboration that will bring together some of the world’s leading researchers to collaborate on answering the biggest questions of our time, the University relays. “IRC Discovery is only the fourth CNRS International Research Center in the world and the second in the US. Anchored on UChicago’s Hyde Park campus and CNRS headquarters in Paris, it will convene researchers across disciplines to identify large-scale interdisciplinary projects in energy, communication technologies, climate, mobility, health, and political and social sciences. Combining research capabilities at UChicago, and the 1,144 affiliated research labs and more than 30,000 dedicated researchers, engineers and technicians at the CNRS, this new center will leverage networks and large-scale investments in scientific infrastructures. Researchers with IRC Discovery will have access to resources from the CNRS and UChicago, including UChicago’s expanded physical footprint in Paris, a new Jeanne Gang-designed building and research institute now under construction.”
Lincoln Park Zoo Bur Oak From 1800 At Its End
A Lincoln Park Zoo official says fluctuations in weather over the past five years may have contributed to the deterioration of an elderly, forty-five-foot tree that may have been there since 1800, reports the Tribune. “It’s the oldest of several great bur oak trees around which the zoo was built in 1868,” Katrina Quint, director of horticulture for the zoo said. “She’s been saving acorns dropped by the zoo’s trees. These acorns will be grown to bolster the tree canopy, part of the zoo’s long-term plan to protect the landscape in the future amid the worsening effects of climate change. Through the natural work of squirrels, the zoo already has about fifteen young bur oaks, ranging in age from infancy to fifteen years old… The zoo has forty bur oaks on its property, including six of its oldest trees.”
Chicago Beyond Donates $3.2 Million To Life After Justice
“Philanthropic group Chicago Beyond has donated $3.2 million to the nonprofit Life After Justice to help it overturn wrongful convictions and support exonerees with mental health programs,” reports the Sun-Times. “The funding will significantly boost the operations of Life After Justice, a Chicago organization founded by two exonerees that has been running on a volunteer basis.”
New York City “Rat Czar” Sought
Will Chicago take a cue? Reports the Gothamist, New York City has “published a job listing for a director of rodent mitigation, which a City Hall spokesperson described as a ‘rat czar.’ Based in City Hall, the individual will report to… the deputy mayor of operations, and will be paid a salary between $120,000 to $170,000… The job description… calls for other qualities not typically associated with city workers. ‘Swashbuckling attitude, crafty humor, and general aura of badassery’ are listed as qualifications, as is a ‘virulent vehemence for vermin.'”
“Why America’s Railroads Refuse to Give Their Workers Paid Leave”
“Since last winter, railroad unions and the managers of America’s seven dominant freight-rail carriers have been struggling to come to an agreement on a new contract. The key points of contention in those talks have been scheduling in general and the provision of paid leave in particular,” writes Eric Levitz at Intelligencer. “Unlike nearly eighty percent of U.S. laborers, railroad employees are not currently guaranteed a single paid sick day. Rather, if such workers wish to recuperate from an illness or make time to see a doctor about a nagging complaint, they need to use vacation time, which must be requested days in advance. In other words, if a worker wants to take time off to recover from the flu, they need to notify their employer of this days before actually catching the virus… Why do these rail barons hate paid leave so much? Why would a company have no problem handing out twenty-four-percent raises, $1,000 bonuses and caps on healthcare premiums but draw the line on providing a benefit as standard and ubiquitous throughout modern industry as paid sick days?”
The answer is “P.S.R.,” “or precision-scheduled railroading. P.S.R. is an operational strategy that aims to minimize the ratio between railroads’ operating costs and their revenues through various cost-cutting and (ostensibly) efficiency-increasing measures. The basic idea is to transport more freight using fewer workers and railcars.”
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