What Powers Artists Through Late Work?
Leading off with anecdotes about prolific, eighty-five-year-old David Hockney, Richard Lacayo at the Washington Post writes, “Many artists have found that old age, for all its physical and emotional burdens, can be a moment of creative liberation comparable to, even superior to, anything in youth. By their seventies and eighties, their artistic judgments sharpened by a lifetime of lessons learned—and their heightened awareness of mortality a spur to productivity they could not have imagined in youth—they can operate at peak power. Better still, with the ‘life force’ still pulsing, they can go on daring to try new things… Titian, Goya, Monet, Matisse, Hopper and Nevelson—they all produced some of their greatest work in their advancing years. And though they could easily have kept turning out the familiar product that had conquered the world, they instead… branched out in new directions… Vulnerable like the rest of us to all the ills that flesh is heir to… they can… soldier on, occasionally in a state of something like exaltation. And surely, for them that’s a work-related condition, because they do something they love. This would explain why they rarely stop doing it.” (Hockney’s “20 Flowers And Some Bigger Pictures” continues at GRAY until December 23.)
Grand Rapids’ Forty-Five-Year-Old Urban Institute Of Contemporary Arts Closing
“The perennial funding challenges facing regional museums in the US, which were extenuated by the pandemic, have claimed another art institution,” reports The Art Newspaper. “The Urban Institute of Contemporary Arts in Grand Rapids—which billed itself as the largest contemporary art centre in western Michigan—will [close] its current exhibitions on February 11 and cease operations for good on March 3.”
Local Landlord Exiting Market After Amassing 7,500 Apartments
“After amassing a portfolio of about 7,500 apartments in the Chicago area, local landlord Pangea Properties is selling all of them in one of the biggest local multifamily deals in many years,” reports Crain’s. The buyer is Emerald Empire, a real estate investor in New York. “Emerald is paying in the ballpark of $600 million for the 400-property portfolio.”
Chicago Expat Griffin Building Citadel Tower In Gotham
“Citadel’s Ken Griffin is gearing up to develop a giant new office building in the heart of Manhattan that will serve as the headquarters for his businesses in New York,” reports Bloomberg. “Griffin plans to acquire and build a 1.7 million-square-foot office skyscraper that would replace three adjacent properties in Midtown.”
City Approves Landmark Hudson Motor Building As Hotel
“A historic Motor Row building owned by former Bears defensive end Israel Idonije is getting a tony makeover,” reports Block Club. The $62.5 million development of the “four-story, thirty-eight-unit complex in the storied Hudson Motor Building,” which got key city zoning approval in mid-November, “envisions eighteen hotel rooms and 53,700 square feet of retail.”
Palmolive Floor-Through Condo Drops By $2 Million
The thirty-first floor of the Palmolive Building is now within the price range of more families, reports The Real Deal. “The condo belongs to David Herro, the deputy chairman at Chicago-based money manager Harris Associates, who paid $6.7 million for the condo in 2014. The 5,500-square-foot condo on the thirty-first floor has three bedrooms.” The likely latest price slash could bring it down to $8.9 million.
The American Sign Museum Is Hiring
Located in Cincinnati, the neon-bright American Sign Museum is hiring, including for Curator of Collections and Programming.
DINING & DRINKING
Soulé Opening Second Location
A second location is set for the popular soul food restaurant on Chicago in West Town, reports Eater Chicago. “Soulé 2 will open on New Year’s Day at 3615 West Roosevelt in chef and co-owner Bridgette Flagg’s childhood neighborhood of North Lawndale.” Serving the same “creole-infused soul food like shrimp and grits, fried catfish and lamb chops.” It will be the first sit-down bar-restaurant to open in the neighborhood in fifty years. “Built from the ground up, the restaurant’s construction was funded by grants from the local nonprofit the Neighborhood Opportunity Fund.”
Food Hall In Billion-Dollar Old Cook County Hospital Development Closes
Dr. Murphy’s Food Hall, part of the billion-dollar renovation of the Illinois Medical District, has closed, reports Eater Chicago. “The food hall was run by a New York company and touted celebrity chef and ‘Top Chef’ judge Tom Collichio’s involvement.” Food hall vendors complained that the anchor Hyatt “didn’t do enough to encourage their guests to patronize the food hall. Instead, the hotel has tried to open its own restaurant… The hotel is without food and beverage onsite and is encouraging guests to patronize Taylor Street and other nearby restaurants.”
Starbucks Workers United Suggests Skipping Gift Cards For Christmas
Last Friday marked “the one-year anniversary of the winning election at the Elmwood Starbucks store in Buffalo, N.Y. on December 9, 2021, the first of the chain’s company-run locations to unionize in the country since the 1980s. The election win at Elmwood triggered a nationwide union upsurge at Starbucks,” reports In These Times. “SBWU baristas are asking supporters to refrain from buying Starbucks gift cards this holiday season… According to SBWU, there are now 270 unionized company-run stores counting almost 7,000 union members, though the pace of new stores filing for unions has significantly slowed since the spring. SBWU sees the slower pace as a result of Starbucks ‘bullying’ against baristas.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Pickwick’s Peppy Proprietor Perks Up
“’Yesterday, doom and gloom—today is the day of hope!’ the ebullient [co-owner of the Pickwick Theatre Dino] Vlahakis told me in the Pickwick lobby an hour before the evening’s first screening,” writes Michael Phillips at the Trib. “Potential operators, he says, have been coming by unannounced, and some major Chicago players, including Music Box Theatre owner William Schopf [Newcity Film 50 Hall of Fame], have meetings scheduled for the coming week. Next week, someone from the live theater business ‘is coming on a private jet to tour the place. And I couldn’t tell you if I knew who it is, but I don’t even know who it is!'” Among local operators, a front-runner may be Classic Cinemas CEO Chris Johnson [Newcity Film 50], “who owns the Tivoli in Downers Grove, Lake Theatre in Oak Park and other complexes, including the six-screen LaGrange Theatre, which completed renovations earlier this year.” (Classic Cinemas operates 137 screens in sixteen locations.)
Obama Netflix Deal Renewed Despite Shortcomings
Shut Down Library With LGBTQ Books “By Force,” Urges Michigan Republican
“A Michigan Republican congressional district chair suggested on social media that a public library embroiled in a controversy over LGBTQ-themed books should be ‘shut down… by force,'” reports Bridge Michigan. The Ottawa County Sheriff’s office confirmed “that the office is investigating an allegation that the Patmos Library in Jamestown Township was threatened last week by Republican 11th Congressional District Chair Shane Trejo on Facebook.”
New York City Plans Library Slash
Chicago’s got it good, comparatively, for now: “New York City’s public libraries may have to cut staff, hours, branches and programming as they face potential multi-million-dollar budget cuts in Mayor Eric Adams’ plan to curtail city spending,” reports Gothamist. “Under the administration’s so-called Program to Eliminate the Gap, city libraries could face a total of $13.6 million in reductions for the current fiscal year (ending in June 2023) and $20.5 million in each of the next three fiscal years.”
Bad Bunny Mexico City Concert Latest Ticketmaster Fiasco
“Bad Bunny fans with tickets purchased through Ticketmaster were left stranded outside his sold-out concert in Mexico City December 9 when security claimed that numerous people had fake, duplicated tickets or canceled tickets,” reports Pitchfork. “Hundreds of fans were denied entry to the venue, the 80,000-plus capacity Estadio Azteca, and images from the concert on social media depicted large swaths of empty seats at the sold-out show.”
Another Musician Calls For Ticketmaster-Live Nation Changes
“When Ticketmaster mismanaged the sale of tickets for Taylor Swift’s upcoming tour, it spurred everyone from angry Swift fans to national politicians to scrutinize Live Nation’s outsize influence on live music. But the problem has been going on for much longer,” writes musician Clyde Lawrence at the New York Times. “Whether it meets the legal definition of a monopoly or not, Live Nation’s control of the live music ecosystem is staggering… So what can be done about this? While the Justice Department is said to be investigating Live Nation and its practices, artists, fans and industry actors should work together to press for changes that will improve the live music experience for everyone.”
Ari Emanuel On Kanye West Antisemitic Rhetoric: “Stop Regarding Silence As An Acceptable Option”
“Of course, praising Hitler is vile. And it’s easy to condemn–and get distracted,” Chicago-born talent agent and brother of the former mayor, Ari Emanuel, writes in the Tribune. “And what the cartoonish Kanye clown show distracts us from is what’s going on under the big top—how the virus of antisemitism and hate and division is spreading and attacking the foundations of our culture.”
Will We Address Ye And The Matter Of Mental Illness? And Those Who Take Advantage?
“Can we finally have that conversation about Ye, fame and mental illness?” asks Will Lee at the Tribune. “Some have sought to separate West’s antisemitism from mental illness, though I really have a hard time believing that a person of sound mind would purposely take a flamethrower to his own career and billion-dollar business dealings. West famously suffers from bipolar disorder, a mental health disorder known to cause severe emotional swings that can affect sleep, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly… It is certainly possible that West held these deplorable viewpoints prior to his stardom, but can anyone say definitively that the destruction of his marriage and personal brand is also totally unconnected with his mental illness?”
Write Paul Farhi and Avi Selk at The Washington Post: “As Kanye West spewed more antisemitism, there was always another low-rated cable show, podcast or webcast willing to host the fallen star.” He “incinerated his career while on a two-month tour through the alt-media swamps, a collection of podcasts and streaming shows that tend to mimic the mainstream media’s aesthetics while disdaining its journalistic standards… Many of these personalities broadcast his antisemitic rants with minimal pushback, or even encouragement, accelerating [his] descent to pariah status.”
Blue Man Group Outlasts “Phantom Of The Opera”
“The Blue Man ethos has been tickling audiences with its messy sight gags and street performances for more than thirty years—a record that exceeds even ‘The Phantom of the Opera,’ the longest-running show on Broadway. And while Blue Man Group shows no signs of flagging, ‘Phantom’ has announced it will vanish from Times Square in the spring,” writes the Washington Post’s Peter Marks (via MSN). Persisting in New York, Las Vegas, Berlin, Seoul and Chicago, “the original Blue Man trio—Matt Goldman, Chris Wink and Phil Stanton—has grown to a fraternity of seventy Blue Men, who, dressed like moon men dipped in ink, have played in various productions to more than thirty-five million people worldwide.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
New York City Gets Weed On Wheels Before Chicago
While Governor Pritzker recently suggested he’s ready for cannabis delivery in Illinois, Bloomberg reports that New York’s going to bypass brick-and-mortar dispensaries at first to get those revenues more quickly. “The plan will help licensed retailers start pot sales soon, with safety measures including prepaid transactions and GPS… ‘We’re turbocharging delivery because we have a big crop coming,’ said Axel Bernabe, chief of staff of New York’s Office of Cannabis Management, which oversees regulation of the new recreational cannabis market in the state.” Bernabe said “the dozens of people who have already received licenses to open retail shops will also be able to deliver by bicycle, scooter and other vehicles.”
Illinoisans Drop A Billion-Plus Gambling On Sports In One Month
“Illinois bettors plunked down more than $1 billion on sports in October, a new record for the state’s young sports betting industry and one of the highest monthly figures recorded anywhere in the U.S. since the industry was legalized,” reports the Sun-Times. “The staggering monthly handle—the total amount of money wagered—cements Illinois’ status as one of the nation’s most bet-hungry sports markets, joining New York, New Jersey and Nevada as the only states to cross the billion-dollar mark in a single month.”
Casino Could Finance Industrial Neighbors
“As the Lightfoot administration and Bally’s negotiate a final zoning deal that will govern the size, scope and uses of the buildings at the River West casino, a fee the gambling company is on the hook to pay could be used to [expand] or retain industrial uses” in neighborhoods north of the site, reports Crain’s.
Chicago Reacts To The iStalk Apple AirTag Lawsuit
“Soon after AirTags first became available in April 2021, stalkers in Chicago figured out how to attach them to their victims’ cars and other items, the Sun-Times found. Between July 1, 2021, and March 31, 2022, people filed thirty-three police reports saying AirTags were used to track them, without their knowledge, via Bluetooth technology… They emit signals that are detected by Bluetooth sensors in any nearby Apple product, creating what the lawsuit describes as a network of ‘hundreds of millions’ of Apple devices in the United States. That ubiquitous Apple network makes AirTags highly accurate but also ‘uniquely harmful,’ the suit says.”
Axios Selects Power Players In Bid To be Power Player
The two-hundred figures chosen by Axios for their inaugural nationwide “Power Players List” include ten locals: Governor Pritzker, Theresa Mah, Jennifer Welch, Stacy Davis Gates, Matt Moog, Olga Bautista, Eric Williams & Erick Williams, Eve L. Ewing, Candace Parker and The Italian beef.
Study: Midwest Soil Eroding Thousand Times Faster Than It Forms
“The rate of soil erosion in the midwestern United States is ten to a thousand times faster than pre-agricultural rates,” reports the Boston Globe, “according to a new study from University of Massachusetts researchers. Home to some of the richest soil in the country, much of the Midwest has been converted from prairie to agricultural fields over the past 160 years. Experts have long warned that the shift has dramatically increased how quickly topsoil wears away, but it’s been difficult to quantify that increase because scientists didn’t know what natural rates of erosion were in the region.”
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