Frank Lloyd Wright-Designed Dallas Theater Renovation Jumps From $25 Million To $308 Million
“The $308 million price tag for the Dallas Theater Center’s new plan to renovate the Frank Lloyd Wright landmark and upgrade its surrounding park gave some on a Dallas city council committee pause,” reports KERA Dallas. “Dallas Mayor pro tem Omar Narvaez brought up the issue of ‘sticker shock’ at the very start of the meeting early Tuesday. In 2010, a master plan put renovating the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed theater at $25 million.”
Steelcase And Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation Release First Collection
Steelcase and the Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation have released their first collection as part of a collaboration announced last year, reports the Grand Rapid Business Journal, via Crain’s. “The new Frank Lloyd Wright Racine Collection by Steelcase aims to reintroduce, reinterpret and reimagine the classic furniture designs of Wright, originally produced by Steelcase in 1939 for the SC Johnson Administration building in Racine, Wisconsin.”
Mayor Dedicates $170 Million West Side Simulated City For Police Training
Mayor Lightfoot on Wednesday cut “the ribbon on the $170 million complex at 701 North Kilbourn, along the 4300 and 4400 blocks of West Chicago,” reports the Sun-Times. “Lightfoot made no apologies for the cost, which more than doubled. In fact, she described it as ‘$170 million and counting.’ … The thirty-four-acre campus Lightfoot expects to ‘pay for itself over time’ by training first-responders from ‘other municipalities’ includes an ‘indoor scenario village’ that’s almost like a four-corner movie set… For police officers who have spent the last few years feeling vilified, instead of revered, Lightfoot hopes the extraordinary investment will serve as a symbol of the city’s commitment to them.” Block Club: The facility “features a ‘tactical village’ that resembles a Chicago neighborhood—with eight fake streets named after police officers and firefighters who have died in the line of duty—and a six-story tower for fire training.” Tribune: “‘This has been a very important day for this community,’ Lightfoot said. ‘It’s a very important day for police and fire, but it’s a really important day for our city.'” Of the Boys’ Club situated on these premises, the fire commissioner said that “the children going to club activities will have a chance to see first responders who can relate to them and ‘hopefully spark a dream to one day serve this great city as a firefighter, paramedic or a police officer.'”
Controversy and confrontation continue at Atlanta’s similar $90 million “Cop City” set, which will occupy Atlanta forested parkland, including the death of a protester, reports the Guardian. “The Atlanta Police Foundation, which is helping fund the project in an unincorporated part of DeKalb County, says… that it will have ‘the necessary facilities required to effectively train twenty-first-century law enforcement agencies responsible for public safety in a major urban city.’ Among the training features will be a burn tower for firefighters to practice extinguishing life-threatening blazes; areas for high-speed vehicle chases; a helicopter landing pad; a mock village including residential, school, nightlife and community areas, with structures such as a bank and a gas station; and a shooting range.” (Georgia law enforcement shot and killed a protestor, Atlanta Fox 5 reports.)
DINING & DRINKING
The Bellevue Transforms Tavern On Rush Space
After twenty-five years, the space won’t host a steakhouse: “The two-floor space known for twenty-five years as Tavern On Rush has been reimagined. On the first floor, there’s increased bar space and the revamped second floor includes another bar, an open kitchen and sweeping views of Rush Street, Mariano Park and the surrounding area from new nano doors, as well as a hundred-seat sidewalk café. To craft the interior, the team turned to one of the foremost hospitality interior design firms in the country, Knauer Incorporated. Taking inspiration from classic Chicago and American establishments, the reconceptualized space features a modern color palette accented with rich leathers, brass and velvet, plus a range of unique artwork, including black and white photos and custom murals.” More here.
Mon Ami Gabi Names New Chef
David Koehn (formerly Longman & Eagle) is the new chef of Mon Ami Gabi, reports Plate.
Georgia’s Food Depot In Englewood Shut Down Over Gas Bill
“A beloved soul food restaurant in Englewood has closed its doors because the owner can’t pay the gas bill,” reports CBS 2. “Georgia Utendahl, seventy-eight, owns Georgia’s Food Depot in Englewood near 73rd and Halsted. Last November, she was stunned when she got a $16,000 bill from Peoples Gas. ‘I looked at it about four or five times, and I’m still thinking $1,600.’ … Utendahl opened her restaurant in hopes of providing healthy soul food in an area that was a food desert. She struggled to stay open during the pandemic, and now she’s struggling to reopen her doors.”
Kimpton Gray Hotel Has New Executive Chef For Hotel And Boleo
Aaron Munson is the new executive chef of Kimpton Gray Hotel and Boleo, the hotel’s rooftop restaurant. Munson brings an extensive background in hotel culinary programs and award-winning venues. In his role as the hotel’s executive chef, Munson will oversee Boleo, Vol. 39, and all banquet, catering and private dining events for guests. His Chicago experience includes time as the executive chef for Capella Hotel Group at Wyndham Grand, where he oversaw 8,000 square feet of event space. Munson also was part of the team at DIRTT Showroom as the executive chef, where he developed a seasonal menu and beverage program for the Chicago showroom. He has also had an executive chef position at Hyatt Centric, where he reopened a culinary program after a fourteen-month shutdown. More here.
Some Chicago Restaurants Retain Surcharges
The Sun-Times “checked out the menus of the [Restaurant Week] participating restaurants and found that thirty-nine of the 362 are charging customers a surcharge ranging from three-percent to twenty-percent (excluding tax and gratuity). Of the thirty-nine restaurants adding a surcharge or service fee, twenty-nine are part of restaurant groups like Lettuce Entertain You and DineAmic Hospitality, and ten are independently owned,” report NBC 5 and the Sun-Times. “Restaurants can keep surcharges or service fees in place as long as two rules are followed: the price increase must be disclosed prior to purchase, and businesses cannot claim that the surcharge is a tax.”
FILM & TELEVISION
All The Oscar Best Picture Nominees For Six Bucks Each
Webster Place and City North are among the local Regal theaters showing the ten Best Picture nominated features for $6 each, at matinee and other showings. Show dates are Friday, March 3-Sunday, March 12. The complicated grid of what’s when is here.
Regal Cinemas Talks To Thirty Possible Buyers
Regal Cinemas parent Cineworld, reports Deadline,”said in a bankruptcy filing this week that it’s reached out to thirty ‘potential transaction parties’ including many competitors. If the debtors (Cineworld and its affiliates) find one or more of the bids to be ‘a potential value maximizing proposition, a second phase of the process will commence with the solicitation of binding offers.'” (Regal’s eight Chicago-area holdings include City North, Webster Place, Regal Bolingbrook, Regal Crystal Lake and Warrenville’s Regal Cantera.)
Newberry Books Interim Director
“Daniel Greene, president and librarian of the Newberry since 2019, will depart the library for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum this spring. Gail Kern Paster, a Newberry Board member since 2013 and Director Emerita of the Folger Shakespeare Library, will become interim president and librarian while the Newberry conducts a national search to fill the position.” More here.
Glimpses Of Lin
On Twitter, WXRT executive producer Chris Cwiak posts multiple videos of Lin Brehmer behind the mic (and romping in the studio) at WXRT, including this choice acting-out of The Who. “Lin was a wellspring, a fount of energy I’ve never before encountered. I tried matching him. Working the same hours, going to concerts at night, followed by a late night dinner several times a week. Baseball games. Local beer, followed by bourbon older than many bands we’d see. It’s not for the faint of heart. I did it for seven years. He did it for thirty.”
“Opera Can Be Hip-Hop, And Hip-Hop Can Be Opera”
Baritone Will Liverman’s long-dreamt take on “The Barber Of Seville” is finally set for its Lyric Opera debut, reports Joshua Barone of “The Factotum” at the New York Times. “The years since have proven that Liverman isn’t just a singer. An enterprising artist on the rise, he has not only become a fixture of contemporary works at the Metropolitan Opera, including a star turn in Terence Blanchard’s ‘Fire Shut Up in My Bones’ last season, but also shepherded new commissions. And now, with his old friend DJ King Rico, he has taken on composing… They have updated ‘Barber,’ loosely adapting its story into one about a barbershop on the South Side of Chicago and blending operatic writing with a kaleidoscope of styles like R&B, funk, hip-hop, gospel, rap and, of course, barbershop quartet. Rajendra Ramoon Maharaj joined them, collaborating on the show’s book and becoming its dramaturg and director.” The result opens February 3 at Lyric Opera of Chicago.
Bayless Family Foundation Announces Stepping Stone Grants
The Bayless Family Foundation announces nearly $450,000 in this year’s “Stepping Stone” grants, to theater companies “poised to take their next big step,” which will each receive $150,000 paid over three years. Filament Theatre will use the money to increase organizational and physical infrastructure, funding a new shared-leadership model and building an onsite scene shop for the Northwest Side theater community. Shattered Globe Theatre will use its grant “to build a sustainable future.” Theater Wit is in a “phase of professionalizing their operations, with money for new hires for audience development and producing.” Foundation director Kevin Sullivan says. “These organizations are all super-vital for their community, their audience, and the greater Chicago theatre community. We selected these organization’s proposals for their strategic visions to support Chicago art makers, their utilization of the organizations’ resources and strengths, and how well we believe they will fortify the institutions for the future.” The Bayless Foundation awards its Signal Grant of $25,000 to Wilmette-based Music Theater Works, for their “efforts to update shows with outdated or actively offensive content.” More here.
TimeLine Theatre World-Premieres Hattie McDaniel Oscar Play
Oscars are in the air: How much has changed in Hollywood since the 1940s? That’s the question asked by “Boulevard of Bold Dreams,” LaDarrion Williams’ world-premiere play, directed by Malkia Stampley, that drops in on actress Hattie McDaniel on a stop at a Hollywood hotel bar, contemplating whether to go to that night’s Academy Award ceremony (where she goes on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress). “The date is February 29, 1940, the night Hattie McDaniel made history at the Oscars. Bartender Arthur Brooks, an ambitious Black man from rural Alabama, dreams of becoming a movie director. His best friend, Dottie Hudson, is a maid at the Ambassador Hotel and a cynic of all dreams. But when the actress Hattie McDaniel stops in the bar and decides not to attend the biggest event in show business, Arthur and Dottie must do everything in their power to convince her to claim her historic win—all while confronting their dark pasts and making their own dreams come to life.” February 9-March 19. More here.
Free Street Theater Announces Managing Director
Free Street Theater has named Bella Pelz as their managing director. Pelz, relays the theater, “is a Chicago-raised theater artist and wellness professional. Some of her most cherished work has been in teaching youth theater ensembles and leading multigenerational creative healing workshops. She looks forward to nurturing the growth of this monumental company. It is her mission to continue the radical work of joy and justice Free Street has done in the Chicago community for over fifty years.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Powering Communities Grants Open In Northern Illinois
The 2023 Powering Communities Grants Program is accepting applications, the group relays. “The annual Grants Program provides grants of up to $10,000 each to improve infrastructure and quality of life in Illinois communities. Organizations are encouraged to apply for one of the three annual grant programs: The Green Region grants, in partnership with Openlands, supports nonprofit, educational, and public organizations in their efforts to plan for, protect, and improve open space; The Powering Safe Communities grants, in partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, supports local municipal and public safety initiatives; the Powering the Arts grants, in partnership with the League of Chicago Theatres, recognizes the impact increased access to the arts has on the vibrancy of local communities.” More about the program here. Interested organizations should apply by March 24 here.
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