New Director For Hull-House Museum
The University of Illinois Chicago’s College of Architecture, Design, and the Arts has announced Liesl Olson as Director of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, effective March 1. Relays Hull-House: “Liesl Olson is a respected scholar, cultural leader, and social justice advocate who most recently built and directed the Chicago Studies program at the Newberry Library. This innovative series of public events, teacher institutes, workshops, and seminars utilized the library’s unique archival collection to bring Chicago’s rich and complex history to life. It is distinguished by its many partnerships and far reach and has focused on such historical subjects as the neighborhood of Hull-House, the legacy of protest and riots in Chicago, the Great Migration, and the history of artists, writers, and performers in Chicago and the Midwest.” More here.
“Elevate Devon Corridor” Plan Announced
“The nonprofits Rogers Park Business Alliance (RPBA), Edgewater Chamber of Commerce (ECC) and Loyola University Chicago (LUC) announce the release of Elevate Devon Corridor Plan—a pivotal multi-year strategic plan focused on improving Devon Avenue between Sheridan Road and Ravenswood Avenue—initiated, funded, and to be implemented in partnership by RPBA, ECC and LUC,” the groups announce in a release. “The plan will bring a series of strategic improvements including a branding initiative, arts and culture development, business activation, streetscape safety infrastructure, placemaking and landscaping, based on community input collected over a year.” For more information and a copy of the Elevate Devon Corridor Plan, go here.
Future Unclear For Altgeld Gardens Memorial Wall
“One hundred and thirty blocks south of the Loop, there’s a stretch of brick wall, painted yellow, covered with hundreds and hundreds of hand-lettered names,” reports Linda Paul for WBEZ and the Chicago Sun-Times. “Some of the bricks are chipped. Some of the paint is faded. But to people who live—or once lived—in the Altgeld Gardens public housing community, this is their Memorial Wall, a place of family record for lost loved ones and a place of history… Parts of the wall’s history [are] uncertain, and its future is even more unclear. The Memorial Wall sits in the breezeway of a dilapidated, privately owned commercial building at the center of the community. That building has been in demolition court for the last few years, and the wall’s future is tied up with it.”
City Commits $5 Million To Design Promontory Point Reinforcements
The city, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Chicago Park District will use $5 million in city capital bonds for planning and design of a Promontory Point reinforcement, reports Block Club. “The Point, which runs from 54th to 56th on the Lakefront, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.” It also could soon be designated as a Chicago Landmark. More here.
Walgreens Opens Remodeled Location As Nearby “Vitamin Vault” Location Abandoned
Walgreens has occupied the landmark Noel State Bank building for about a decade in Wicker Park, reports Block Club, but with its closing comes the reopening of another site a few blocks away. The operator of the landmark space, Convexity Properties, had no comment on future plans.
On The “Junkification” Of Amazon
“Interacting with Amazon, for most of its customers, broadly produces the desired, expected, and generally unrivaled result: They order all sorts of things; the prices are usually reasonable, and they don’t have to think about shipping costs; the things they order show up pretty quickly; returns are no big deal,” reports Intelligencer. “But, at the core of that experience, something has become unignorably worse. Late last year, The Wall Street Journal reported that Amazon’s customer satisfaction had fallen sharply in a range of recent surveys, which cited COVID-related delivery interruptions but also poor search results and ‘low-quality’ items. More products are junk. The interface itself is full of junk. The various systems on which customers depend (reviews, search results, recommendations) feel like junk. This is the state-of-the-art of American e-commerce, a dominant force in the future of buying things. Why does it feel like Amazon is making itself worse? Maybe it’s slipping, showing its age, and settling into complacency. Or maybe—hear me out—everything is going according to plan…”
DINING & DRINKING
Uptown Vegan Kal’ish Closes
Six-year-old Kal’ish in Uptown has closed, reports Eater Chicago. “Founded in 2016, Kal’ish was originally conceived as a friendly, casual introduction to vegan food with a voluminous menu designed to attract customers with a range of dietary preferences.” A similar restaurant, but with more spice, is planned for the space.
Suburban School Worker Accused Of Stealing $1.5 Million, Mostly In Chicken Wings
A Harvey School District 152 official has been charged in the theft of $1.5 million of food, reports the Trib. During the pandemic, when school was closed but parents could pick up meals for their children, “More than 11,000 cases of chicken wings were ordered from the [largely low-income] district’s food provider and then picked up in a district cargo van… The district’s business manager discovered signed invoices for ‘massive quantities of chicken wings, an item that was never served to students because they contain bones.'”
River North Bistro Opening On State
River North Bistro, the newest restaurant from LM Restaurant Group, will open Friday, February 10 on the ground floor of the Eurostars Magnificent Mile Hotel at 660 North State. River North Bistro “will be the second location of LM’s bistro concept. The menu and bar program will be similar to that of Grant Park Bistro; the restaurant will feature a spacious bar area and intimate dining room as well as an outdoor dining area along State Street for the warmer months.” More here.
FILM & TELEVISION
MoviePass Brand Is Back
“The new MoviePass, which has ten employees and is backed by (wait for it) a crypto-focused gaming software and investment firm, expanded its beta rollout with what [the returning founder] hopes will prove to be a more rational credit-based system, with pricing that varies depending on usage and location,” reports the Los Angeles Times’ The Wide Shot subscription-only newsletter.
Chicago Tribune Promotes Newsroom Veteran Phil Jurik To Managing Editor
“The Chicago Tribune has promoted newsroom veteran Phil Jurik to managing editor, the latest change to the newspaper’s masthead,” the Trib reports. “Jurik, sixty-two, an editor at the Tribune since 2008, most recently served as co-news director with Rochell Sleets, who left the newspaper this month to become managing editor at Newsday.”
Riis Park Receives Re:SET
Re:SET, AEG’s new, multi-artist outdoor concert concept, will play Chicago’s Riis Park June 23-25, featuring Steve Lacy, boygenius and LCD Soundsystem. The series is localized in each of twelve cities, “with each headliner curating the lineup for their respective day,” AEG says in a release. “Steve Lacy will keep a focus on genre-bending artists with James Blake, Toro y Moi, and Fousheé. boygenius will be bringing along indie standouts Clairo, Dijon, and Bartees Strange. Traveling with LCD Soundsystem are electronic artist and one-third of The xx, Jamie xx, explosive UK rock band IDLES and experimental multi-instrumentalist L’Rain.” Writes AEG, “Re:SET was conceived as an artist- and fan-friendly alternative to the standard summer concert experience… The concept provides artists a respite from the cookie-cutter summer itinerary of sheds and amphitheaters, while fans get a leisurely day that features full sets from every artist, on one stage with no conflicts. The venue will also feature food and drinks from local restaurants, bars, and breweries that reflect the local character and community, including Buona Beef and 90 Miles Cuban Café.” Presale registration and more information is here.
Violinist Esme Arias-Kim Winner of 2023 CSO Young Artists Competition
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has announced violinist Esme Arias-Kim as first-place winner of the 2023 Crain-Maling Foundation Chicago Symphony Orchestra Young Artists Competition. Her winning performance was of Chausson’s “Poème for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 25.” As this year’s winner, Arias-Kim will appear as a soloist in a Chicago Symphony Orchestra Youth Concert during the 2023-24 season. More here.
R. Kelly Local Charges Dropped
“The musician is already facing decades in prison after being convicted of federal charges, prompting the Cook County state’s attorney to halt her case,” reports the New York Times. Kelly accuser Lanita Carter weighs in at the Trib: “She raised her children, she found a stable career, but Kelly’s music followed her. ‘Every wedding I went to, every graduation I went to, every party.’ … When her son’s kindergarten class learned to sing Kelly’s smash hit, ‘I Believe I Can Fly,’ she had to help him rehearse… ‘My case matters… When they told me that I didn’t have a case in 2003, I said okay, and I tried to keep on going. Now I come forward again, after you call me to come forward. And now you’re saying it again.'”
League of Chicago Theatres Announces Theatre Week Kickoff
The League of Chicago Theatres, in partnership with Choose Chicago, announces an evening of food, drinks, mingling, and performances to launch Chicago Theatre Week 2023. The event will bring together theater-makers and theatergoers on Monday, February 13, 5pm-7:30pm, at The Den Theatre. The celebration will include a welcome by League of Chicago Theatres executive director Marissa Lynn Ford, with performances of select productions featured during Chicago Theatre Week and in celebration of Black History Month. The kick-off celebration is free and open to the public. Capacity is limited and reservations are required here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Katherine Baicker Appointed UChicago Provost
Katherine (Kate) Baicker will be the next provost of the University of Chicago, starting March 20. Baicker has served as the dean of the Harris School of Public Policy since 2017, where she also holds the Emmett Dedmon Professorship, the University relays. “In her time as dean, Kate has made tremendous contributions to the Harris School. Under her leadership the student body has grown threefold, while becoming more selective. The school has increased the ranks of tenure-track faculty, strengthened key areas such as energy and environmental policy and urban policy, and introduced curricular innovation across multiple degrees. As a leader in diversity and inclusion efforts, Kate launched a process that resulted in the school’s Diversity and Inclusion Roadmap.” More here.
Questions For Fifteen-Year ComEd Deal Only Weeks Before Mayoral Election
“Mayor Lightfoot has reached a fifteen-year deal with Commonwealth Edison that the city bills as the ‘strongest municipal utility franchise deal in the country,’ but some aldermen are worried it would bind Chicagoans with the embattled electricity company for much too long and much too fast,” reports the Trib.
Why Chicago Is More Likely Than Atlanta To Get The 2024 Democratic Convention
At Axios Chicago, Justin Kaufmann weighs the factors: “We might not live in a swing city (or state), but Chicago always delivers a memorable DNC convention. Who can forget 1968? OK, maybe we should… We offer central transportation advantages and copious world-class restaurants and entertainment options.”
Groupon Discounts 500 More Workers
“Groupon plans to lay off another 500 employees, further thinning the ranks at the struggling Chicago-based online marketplace,” reports the Trib. “Groupon is projected to save $70 million annually… The latest round of layoffs could reduce the company’s shrinking workforce by as much as twenty-percent. The company declined to say how many positions will be eliminated at the Chicago headquarters.”
Concession Workers Prepare To Ice It At United Center
“About 650 concessions, food and beverage workers at the United Center voted Tuesday on whether to strike amid union contract negotiations with Levy,” reports the Trib. “The employees work in positions including food preparation and concessions, bartending and dishwashing during Bulls and Blackhawks games and other United Center events, such as Disney On Ice. Last month, workers filed a slew of complaints with city, state and federal agencies alleging a range of labor law violations by Levy at United Center. Those complaints remain under investigation.”
Thirty-Year-Old Lombard Roller Rink Taking Off Skates
The Lombard Roller Rink is for sale, but current ownership vacates at the end of May, according to a Facebook post. “Owning your own business is a seven-day-a-week job. And although we have loved running the rink and meeting so many wonderful people, it is time for us to slow down.”
CBS 2 Investigates: Does Chicago Police Department Have Its Own SCORPION Unit?
“The Memphis Police SCORPION Unit, which included the officers behind the deadly beating of Tyre Nichols, was disbanded over the weekend after video of the attack was released,” report CBS and AP. “As CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey reported, some watchdogs have been asking whether Chicago Police need to take a look at their own specialized units.”
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