Raul Ortiz Bonilla’s “Semillas” Opens At National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts
“Semillas” (Seeds), the first museum solo show of Puerto Rican-born Chicago artist Raul Ortiz Bonilla, opens today at the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture. “Featuring sixteen pieces in Ortiz Bonilla’s signature style of pointillism, the exhibit takes viewers on a journey through three stages of Puerto Rico’s history–pre-colonization, mass migration during colonial periods, and the present day.” More here.
McDonald’s Stands In Way Of Renovation Of Loop Landmark Delaware Building
“The owner of the Delaware Building said the fast-food chain is using a lease to block work that could bring an improvement to Randolph Street,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. “The building is eight stories and only about 32,000 square feet, its small floors and windows unappealing to many of today’s companies. It’s mostly vacant, but with a jeweler on the ground floor… With a site near the James M. Nederlander Theatre, Petterino’s restaurant and Block 37, the building would work better as about sixty-four apartments. He estimated the work would cost about $15 million… McDonald’s pays only $1 a year in rent plus thirty-nine-percent of the building’s property taxes… a ‘sweetheart deal’ that dates from when the company owned the building decades ago.”
DINING & DRINKING
Theaster Gates’ Retreat At Currency Exchange Cafe Chef-In-Residence Program Launches
“On Garfield Boulevard just west of Washington Park, the Retreat at Currency Exchange Cafe has become a space for South Siders to explore their culinary passions and hone their craft through artist Theaster Gates’ Rebuild Foundation,” reports Eater Chicago. “The foundation’s idea of culinary incubation existed before the pandemic’s start, but only since July 2021 has the cafe [hosted] its chef-in-residence program. The program allows culinary talent from Chicago’s South Side to learn the ropes of their chosen disciplines—including cooking, coffee service and craft cocktail creation—in a real-world setting.”
FILM & TELEVISION
With Move To 10pm, “Chicago Tonight” Pulls Back To Half-Hour
WTTW’s move of “Chicago Tonight” to 10pm from 7pm, where it has been for nearly thirty-seven years, is a bad idea, avers Eric Zorn in his newsletter. “Pitting it against the conventional, flashier, short-attention span 10pm newscasts seems poorly advised, reminiscent of WBBM-Channel 2’s failed experiment in 2000 hosted by Carol Marin.”
Bankruptcy Judge Tells Regal Theaters Parent To Accelerate Closings
No mention if any Chicago-area Regal Cinemas are in the mix of the bankruptcy of parent corporation Cineworld. “I have been very patient in this case but I want to see more action in terms of what this future company is going to look like,” bankruptcy judge Marvin Isgur told the company. “We need to move on with life.” Isgur told parties to the bankruptcy to “speed things up as debtors and creditors hash out a restructuring plan for the giant movie chain, including closing theaters, wrapping up lease negotiations with landlords, and advancing an overall sale process,” reports Deadline. “I am not sitting here for a year, or for six months, to figure out what shops are closing. That is a process that is going to happen now,” the U.S. bankruptcy court judge for the Southern District of Texas said at a Wednesday hearing.
Nominate Chicago’s First Poet Laureate
You have until January 18 to nominate your choice for Chicago’s poet laureate, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Poetry Foundation have announced. The two-year term includes a grant of $50,000 to commission new poems and to create public programs. “The Poet Laureate will be identified and named through a multi-phase nomination, application and review process. Self-nominations will be accepted. Eligible nominees will be invited to submit an application for the role. The Laureate will be formally appointed in Spring 2023.” Make your nomination here.
Florida Purge Of LGBTQ Books Under “Don’t Say Gay” Law
Florida schools are using the Governor Ron DeSantis-signed Parental Rights In Education law “to justify the erasure of LGBTQ people,” reports Popular Information. Public records obtained by the site “through the Florida Freedom to Read Project reveal that several Florida schools have already removed books with LGBTQ characters from their libraries, citing the… Act. Further, training materials produced by the Florida Department of Education for librarians reveal that the DeSantis administration is encouraging this expansive interpretation of the law.”
Chicago Youth Symphony Alum Laurie Anderson Honored At “Women in Music” Gala
Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras hosts its 2023 gala “Women in Music” on Saturday, February 25, the CYSO’s largest fundraising event of the year. The event includes performances from more than a hundred of CYSO’s young musicians, including orchestra, steelpan and jazz ensembles. Proceeds from the evening directly support CYSO’s award-winning music education programs. The event will feature three inspiring honorees, including artist-musician and CYSO alumnus Laurie Anderson, who will join the organization’s flagship Symphony Orchestra for a live performance of one of her pieces; CEO of Mesirow Natalie A. Brown; and CYSO director of string ensembles Daniella Valdez. Individual tickets to the gala are $450. More here.
Collaboraction Board Joined By Sandra Delgado, Elsa Hiltner, Chelsea Jenkins, Linda Karn, Karen Olivo, Sammy Rangel
Collaboraction Theatre Company has announced additional board members: “Each is wholly committed to supporting Collaboraction’s mission to use theater and performance to incite social change on Chicago’s most critical issues.” “In the brave new world of post-pandemic theater and social equity,” says artistic director Anthony Moseley in a release, “we are honored to welcome these incredible change-makers whose contributions will affect our culture, work and mission immensely, including a Tony-winning theater worker activist, Broadway producer, a pay-equity leader, two EDI experts and a founding company member and nationally recognized artist.” More here.
Matt Rucins Joins Auditorium Theatre As Senior Talent Buyer
Chicago music industry veteran Matt Rucins has been named senior talent buyer at the Auditorium Theatre. “The Auditorium Theatre is considered one of the most acoustically-perfect venues in the city, and music fans have long requested more concert bookings; there is no better fit than Matt to make it happen,” CEO Rich Regan says in a release. “Matt brings a wealth of valuable relationships and a great reputation to this newly created role and joins an already robust team of concert and comedy programmers here.” Rucins has been a talent buyer for almost twenty-five years, and started booking Schubas in 2001 and was at the venue for fifteen years. “Rucins also booked Schubas’ sister venue, Lincoln Hall, which he helped open in 2009. While at the two venues, he promoted almost 7,000 events and developed numerous promotional concepts.” Rucins says, “I prioritize artists having the best sound, service, and respect. The Auditorium has some of the best acoustics in the country and is committed to lifting up diverse artists. I’m excited to fill this room—a gorgeous venue with the historic experiences for both audiences and artists that the Auditorium is known for.”
Bramble Theatre Company Announces Season
Bramble Theatre Company has announced its first full season of programming, which includes the second annual Festival of Unfinished Work, a workshop and public reading of “Rooted” by Bramble ensemble member Ben F. Locke, and the world premiere production of “Evil Perfect” by Bramble ensemble member Spencer Huffman. Performances will take place at The Bramble Arts Loft in Andersonville, which has a scheduled completion date in early 2023. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Push For Interest Rate Caps For Pawn Shops
“Members of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus are pushing legislation to put pawnbrokers under the same interest rate caps as payday lenders and other small-dollar, short-term lenders, but the pawn shop industry says the proposed caps would effectively put them out of business,” reports Capitol News Illinois.
Walgreens Will Seek Certification To Sell Abortion Pill
“Walgreens Boots Alliance plans to apply for certification to dispense medication that can induce abortions, after a federal rule change that expands the ways patients can get the pills,” reports the Tribune. “We intend to become a certified pharmacy under the program,” Walgreens, which is based in Deerfield, said in a statement. “We are working through the registration, necessary training of our pharmacists, as well as evaluating our pharmacy network in terms of where we normally dispense products that have extra FDA requirements and will dispense these consistent with federal and state laws.”
When Will Federal COVID Public Health Emergency End?
The Department of Health and Human Services’ COVID-19 emergency, which began in January 2020, should last until at least April, reports Poynter. “This emergency affects millions of Americans because it enables the federal government to pay for waivers and policies for Medicaid coverage, telehealth coverage, testing, vaccines and antiviral treatments. When the emergency expires, treatment and testing costs will fall back on patients and insurance companies.”
Legislators Promote Lake Michigan Offshore Wind Power Production
Black Caucus legislators have issued a release calling “for the passage of Rust Belt to Green Belt legislation to jumpstart offshore wind in Lake Michigan,” reports Capitol Fax. “Bringing offshore wind to Illinois is an economic issue just as much as it is an environmental issue,” said Senator Robert Peters, chair of the Senate Black Caucus. “The green economy hasn’t reached the Southeast Side of Chicago, where the ruins of abandoned steel mills cast long shadows. This pilot project alone would create thousands of jobs during the building phase and fifty-to-one-hundred long-term jobs. And that’s from only a handful of turbines.”
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