Chicago Architecture Center Commissions Langston Allston Mural
The Chicago Architecture Center commissioned a Langston Allston mural for Black History Month, which will be on display through mid-March in front of the Illinois Center. “Allston took inspiration from Jacob Lawrence’s ‘Builder’ paintings, as well as the monumental murals of Diego Rivera, to represent a world where communities have control of the built environment surrounding them, a world where design protects and elevates people in innovative and empathetic ways,” CAC writes. “The mural uses the façade of the now-demolished 1907 Michael Reese Hospital in Bronzeville as a backdrop. While the original structure is gone, there is value in preserving its memory, both as a work of classic Chicago architecture and as a site of globally significant advances in medicine.” More here.
The Mural Movement Goes Nationwide
“What began in Pilsen’s 18th Street as a seven-mural volunteer project evolved into a movement of community empowerment that expanded to cities across the nation, from San Diego to New York. The Mural Movement now has 186 murals nationwide,” records Borderless. “The Mural Movement has expanded beyond its original message of Black and brown unity. Today, they organize and finance tribute murals dedicated to victims of COVID-19, police brutality and gun violence.” Delilah Martinez “started The Mural Movement in the summer of 2020 in response to the killing of George Floyd. She saw planning and financing street murals as a way for her community to support and uplift Chicago’s Black community and the Black Lives Matter message.”
DINING & DRINKING
It’s Chicago Black Restaurant Week
Through February 26, dozens of restaurants will take part in Black Restaurant Week, writes Andrew Davis at the Sun-Times. “I’ve seen more healthy dishes,” Black Restaurant Week founder Lauran Smith tells the paper. “There are juice bars and places that offer strictly vegetarian and vegan food. I think all of the [interest in] natural ingredients has changed how people think. It’s, like, ‘Not saying you can’t have soul food every now and then, but let’s try not to fry every night.’ A lot of cooks have been looking to pivot the way that we eat—and a lot of us need to do that. That’s why so many of us have the diseases we have.” Restaurant list and more here.
Archie’s Vintage Hamm’s Sign Will Return
The Hamm’s beacon returns. Alderman Gilbert Villegas posts on Facebook: “It was a pleasure meeting Deborah [Pup] and Katrina [Arthur], owners of the world famous Archie’s Iowa Rockwell Tavern. We are going to get that sign back up there on their establishment. Bureaucrats need to understand that businesses help fuel government. Thank you for all you do for the community.” The bar has been a staple of Humboldt Park and Ukrainian Village since 1943; picayune signage rules were used by the city to strike down the 1960s-era sign in November. Dave Hoekstra’s 2014 taste of the eighty-year-old corner joint is here.
Manny’s Deli And Irazu Partner On Latin American Knish
“We’ll be partnering with our friends from Irazu!” Manny’s Deli enthuses on Twitter, providing pictures of product and produce to make a Latin American knish. “This Pura Vida variant of a classic deli staple pays homage to both its Jewish lineage and the classic flavors of Costa Rica. Green and sweet plantains are blended with a sweet hint of garlic mojo.” (Last year brought corned-beef empanadas to the collaboration.)
Demera Ethiopian Awarded $3.1 Million For Bronzeville Restaurant With Rooftop
Tigist Reda, chef and owner behind Demera Ethiopian Restaurant is moving forward with a project that includes a rooftop bar in Bronzeville, reports Eater Chicago. “Reda, who just opened a stall at Time Out Market Chicago food hall, is the recipient of a $3.1 million Chicago Recovery Plan and Community Development Grant.” Reda estimates the project will cost $6-$9 million because it “includes office space and apartments spread across three floors with Demera occupying the floor and the rooftop. Reda says the project would bring fifty jobs to the neighborhood.”
Induction Ovens Pose Challenge For A Restaurant Kitchen
“The restaurant industry’s affection for gas stoves is based on experience, history, marketing, cuisine, aesthetics and sometimes the sheer machismo of cooking over an open flame. Seventy-six-percent of restaurants across the country use gas in their kitchens… and the number climbs to eighty-seven-percent when you take into account just full-service restaurants. Many of the cooks in these kitchens do not plan to surrender their gas ranges without a fight,” reports the Washington Post. “When you’re able to talk about cost savings and talk about the operational efficiencies and how it’s going to benefit the operations, all of a sudden everyone forgets about gas versus electric and they say, ‘How can I get there?’” the head of a consultancy tells the paper. “Because right now, working in the kitchen sucks.”
“When Did Hospitality Get So Hostile?”
T, The New York Times’ Style Magazine, offers a treatise of myth and fancy about the temperature of hospitality today. “’How can we distinguish between a guest and a parasite?’ the French philosopher Jacques Derrida [mused] in ‘Of Hospitality’ (2000). And yet the code of hospitality is ancient and nonnegotiable. When sulfur is rained down on the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis, the precipitating incident is not the sexual promiscuity for which their populations are usually blamed but the attempt by a mob to attack two foreigners who are in fact angels in human form; only the family of Lot, who shelters and protects the angels despite not knowing their divine origin, is allowed to escape. It is not so much that we should offer welcome and succor to the stranger at the door but that we must… But of course guests at a restaurant are crucially different from guests in your home: They are customers. They pay their way. This is the taint, the dank scent of corked wine. Hospitality, as it has been understood for thousands of years, is a gift, unconditional, outside politics, giving food, shelter and aid—whatever you have, however little it is—to a stranger who may not speak your language or know your ways, and asking nothing in return. The transaction upends the relationship. The diner who slaps down a Platinum Amex expects something spectacular in exchange. Dance for me. Make it worth my while.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Netflix Starts Its Password Crackdown In Canada
“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account with features like profiles and multiple streams. While these have been hugely popular, they’ve also created confusion about when and how you can share Netflix. Today, over 100 million households are sharing accounts—[affecting] our ability to invest in great new TV and films,” the service blogs. “We’ve been exploring different approaches to address this issue in Latin America, and we’re now ready to roll them out more broadly in the coming months, starting today in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.” No date is set for the U. S. on the particulars outlined at the link.
CAKE Is Back
The city’s largest alternative comics festival is back after three years. Chicago Alternative Comics Expo (CAKE) 2023 will take place June 3-4 at the Broadway Armory in Edgewater. “The organizers are sticking with our original plan of keeping our juried list of CAKE 2020 exhibitors. If you were accepted into CAKE 2020, be sure to keep an eye on your email!” More here.
How J. Ivy Helped Poetry Get Its Grammy Category
“The Chicago-born poet J. Ivy helped create the new category and is one of five contenders for the award, though he didn’t nominate himself. As a national trustee for the Recording Academy, Ivy says he pushed for the Grammys to honor the form,” reports NPR. “A poet will be bringing home a Grammy,” he told NPR, “and it’ll be the first poet since Maya Angelou.”
At the Grammys’ own site, Ivy said, “It’s important because the Recording Academy’s mission is to honor the best in music. It’s important because poetry is, in fact, a big part of music. It’s important because spoken word poets and spoken word artists have been pushing the culture forward with their words, their ideas and their performances since the beginning of time. Poetry has always uplifted the people, it has always inspired the people. It has motivated the masses to push through their struggles and fight to be more. Poetry has always left the world in a better place. Poetry has not only changed lives, but it has saved lives. The poet has always been and will always be a very vital part of our culture and our music.” (Ivy won.)
Vermont State University Will Eliminate Libraries And Books
Vermont State University administrators have announced “that the system’s member schools—Castleton University, Northern Vermont University and Vermont Technical College—will [move] its five campus libraries to an all-digital model,” reports VTDigger. “The library shift is set to take place by July 1, and will eliminate seven full-time positions and three part-time ones, according to Parwinder Grewal, the inaugural president of Vermont State University… Campus libraries will shift online, meaning students will only be able to access books, academic journals and other materials online. Most of the physical books and other materials will be donated and administrators plan to ‘repurpose’ the spaces.”
Florida Schools Excluded Books Covering Roberto Clemente, Justice Sotomayor, Singer Celia Cruz
Guilty until approved: “A Roberto Clemente book and others about Latino figures like singer Celia Cruz and Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor are among more than a million titles that [Duval County] Florida school officials are determining whether to exclude from libraries,” reports NBC News. “Ron DeSantis signed laws last year that require schools to rely on certified media specialists to approve which books can be integrated into classrooms.” Of the books removed, “more than thirty were by Latino authors and illustrators or centered Latino characters and narratives. Among these were ‘Celia Cruz, Queen of Salsa’ by Veronica Chambers and Julie Maren, ‘Sonia Sotomayor (Women Who Broke the Rules Series)’ by Kathleen Krull and Angela Dominguez, and [the] Clemente book.” Axios: “The pulling of ‘Roberto Clemente: The Pride of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ is part of a larger purge of books happening nationally amid laws forcing schools and libraries to remove literature about people of color or with LGBTQ themes… Florida is one of nineteen states that have passed laws or used executive orders to limit the teaching of what it calls ‘divisive concepts.'”
Publisher Tracy Baim Says Goodbye To Reader
“It has been an honor to help save what I believe is among the most important newspapers in America,” Tracy Baim writes in the Reader. “The Reader has broken new ground, covered all aspects of the heartbeat of this city, and been a critical part of our landscape for more than fifty-one years. I have been its caretaker, but no organization should have a single point of failure. So once we stabilized, I set out to make sure there were multiple strong people in leadership roles to ready for a transition to a new publisher.”
Chicago Jazz Philharmonic Adds Two To Board
The Chicago Jazz Philharmonic board of directors has two new members: Richard Parrott IV (CEO, Global Money World), and Broderick Lewis (Global Margin Management Implementation Lead, Tyson Foods). “These additions to the board offer the organization sweeping experience in fields of international business, politics, and music excellence, embodying a unique set of skills that leadership believes will make a great impact on Chicago’s music and arts scene.” More on the Chicago Jazz Philharmonic here.
Muti Returns To Lead CSO Subscription Concerts
Music Director Riccardo Muti returns to Chicago this month to lead his first Chicago Symphony Orchestra subscription concerts of 2023 following sold-out performances across a critically heralded North American tour that featured stops in four states before concluding with the Orchestra’s first performances in Toronto in more than a century. For the February subscription concerts (February 23-25 ), Muti and the CSO welcome violin soloist Julia Fischer for performances of Schumann’s Violin Concerto on a program that includes Tchaikovsky’s “Manfred” Symphony. Details and tickets here.
Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell On Making Hubbard Street Dance A Place “For The Other Folks”
At the New York Times, Brian Seibert talks to Hubbard Street artistic director Linda-Denise Fisher-Harrell. She’s respectful of “recent Hubbard Street history. ‘I could have said, “Oh, I’m throwing everything out,” but I don’t think that’s smart,’ she said. Yet she acknowledges how the company’s repertory and style, following trends, had made distinguishing it from other repertory troupes more difficult. ‘It’s like everybody has their Ohad, everybody has their Pite,’ she said, referring to works by the ubiquitous choreographers Ohad Naharin and Crystal Pite. ‘What about the other folks that have been out there creating?’ Bringing in those other folks is among Fisher-Harrell’s aims. One of her first decisions as director was to invite the choreographer Randy Duncan. ‘He’s been called Chicago’s favorite choreographer, and he had choreographed on every company here, except for Hubbard Street… I thought that was crazy.'”
Actors’ Equity Expanding Membership Making Open Access Program Permanent
Actors’ Equity is making its Open Access membership policy permanent, allowing any non-union theater worker to join who can demonstrate that they have worked professionally as an actor or stage manager within Equity’s geographical jurisdiction, reports Deadline.
American Blues Theater Blue Ink Award Goes To “Things With Friends”
American Blues Theater has announced the recipient of its 2023 Blue Ink Award: Kristoffer Diaz for “Things With Friends.” Diaz receives a $2,500 cash prize, a staged reading at American Blues Theater, and the opportunity to develop his script with American Blues Theater. A staged reading will be presented in August as part of the 2023 Blue Ink Playwriting Festival, along with new work by finalists Audrey Cefaly (“Trouble”), Victor Lesniewski (“Cold Spring”), and Gloria Majule (“Uhuru”). More here.
“Theatre Facts” Study Of 2021 Nonprofit Theater Released
“The forty-second edition of ‘Theatre Facts’ from Theatre Communications Group is an in-depth report examining the attendance, performance, and overall fiscal health of the nonprofit theatre sector to emphasize its significant artistic, educational and economic contributions as we strategize rebuilding for the future,” writes TCG. “Not-for-profit theaters contributed $1.37 billion to the U.S. economy and attracted 2.9 million audience members in 2021, according to Theatre Facts 2021… the only in-depth report that examines the attendance, performance, and overall fiscal state of the U.S. professional not-for-profit theatre field.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Chicago Academy For The Arts Gets Half-Million-Dollar Gift
Justin Tranter, songwriter for the Paramount Plus series “Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies,” has given $500,000 to Chicago Academy For The Arts. “Returning to the school that saved their life years ago and set them on a path to becoming one of the most celebrated activists and songwriters of the modern era, Justin Tranter is paying it forward by way of a donation of over a half-million dollars to their alma mater,” relays The Chicago Academy For The Arts. “The unprecedented contribution serves as the single largest donation in the school’s history, arriving at a time when it was needed most. During a period of tremendous financial challenges where nearly two-thirds of the Academy’s families require tuition assistance, Tranter’s gift will make it possible for life-changing scholarships and tuition assistance to be awarded. The Academy is more than just a school for Justin; it’s a one-of-a-kind education experience. A creative environment that allowed them to be unapologetically themself. A safe space following years of harrowing violence and bullying in public school as a teenager. Like The Academy did for Justin years ago, their gift will make it possible for students in need to continue calling The Academy ‘home.'”
Illinois Gambling Addiction Burgeons As Sports Bets Hit A Billion A Month
“The growing stakes go beyond money: Three years into legalization, sports gambling problems are also on the rise,” reports the Trib. “The struggle seems to hit young men under thirty-five years old particularly hard and is robbing them not just of money, frontline workers say, but of connection, time and hope.”
Missouri Hopes To Outstrip Florida In LGBTQ Speech Restrictions
“K-12 public school teachers and counselors would be largely outlawed from talking about LGBTQ people under a Missouri proposal more restrictive than what critics call Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law,” reports the Associated Press.
States Look To Exploit Child Labor
“Bills advancing in the Iowa and Minnesota state legislatures would roll back child workplace protections to address worker shortages,” reports the Washington Post. “It’s part of a persistent trend in labor economics… When employers struggle to find talent, many prefer to hire younger, cheaper workers rather than increase pay and benefits to attract adults… Minnesota’s bill would permit sixteen- and seventeen-year-olds to work construction jobs. The Iowa measure would allow fourteen- and fifteen-year-olds to work certain jobs in meatpacking plants.”
Ice Castles Melt “Beyond Repair”
“It was fun while it lasted. It was a short three-day season. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate,” the company posts on Facebook. “Over the last three days, the castle has melted beyond repair. Our location in Lake Geneva will not be able to reopen. We always say that Ice Castles is a delicate dance with Mother Nature.” Customers will be emailed regarding refunds.
State Legislator Wants Armed Security At All Illinois Gas Stations
“Illinois lawmakers are weighing a new measure that would require gas stations and some other businesses to hire armed security guards during the hours they are open to the public,” reports NBC 5. “State Representative Thaddeus Jones (D-29th District), who is also the mayor of Calumet City, said his ‘Armed Security Protection Act’ is necessary to deter crime. ‘The data shows it’s bad.'”
Flash Towing Operating Illegally In Chicago Without License
“Flash Towing was caught on camera operating in Chicago, where they don’t have a valid towing license,” reports CBS 2. “Flash Towing & Recovery is still illegally operating in Chicago, bringing cars, we believe, to DuPage County.”
Send culture news and tips to [email protected]