ENGAGE Represents Huong Ngô
ENGAGE Projects has announced the representation of Huong Ngô, a research-based interdisciplinary artist known for her dexterous reframing of colonial histories. “Exploring phenomenology and ethics across a range of media, Ngô’s conceptual practice utilizes print, performance, video, and photography among other media.” “The presence of negative space is a way of pointing in itself, a way to focus attention on what is left in view and what is not,” Ngô says. Ngô received her BFA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2001, and continued on to graduate with her MFA at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2004 as a Trustees Scholar in Art & Technology Studies. More here.
Josephinum Academy Campus For Sale In Wicker Park
“A Wicker Park site where a Catholic school has stood since 1890 is for sale, opening the door for what could be one of the biggest new residential developments the hot neighborhood has seen in years,” reports Crain’s. The nearly three-acre “campus of Josephinum Academy of the Sacred Heart at Oakley and Le Moyne went up for sale last week… The site, the equivalent of thirty-nine standard 25-by-125 lots, was valued at $24 million in a 2018 appraisal.”
“To many city dwellers, a ‘fifteen-minute city’ with everything you need within walking distance is a dream. Conspiracy theorists are seeing it differently,” reports VICE. “The emphasis on walkability in cities has gained traction in recent years. With an emphasis on the time it takes to commute, the fifteen-minute city idea suggests cities should be reimagined so that most people can get their needs met in a fifteen-minute walk or bike ride.” Polemicists such as the Canadian Jordan Peterson and Brit Nigel Farage are part of “an even more bizarre strain of opposition [that] has been flourishing… conspiracy theorists who believe that fifteen-minute cities will be pretext for open-air prisons enforced by a police state, where citizens will be prevented from leaving their enclosed zone.”
Central Illinois Rejects Sustainable Energy
“Strife [surrounds] solar farms and energy storage units in Central Illinois. While companies are trying to go green, residents prefer their greenspace,” reports Peoria’s WMDB. “The Morton Plan Commission voted against an energy storage unit taking up twenty acres of land… The Tazewell County Zoning Board of Appeals also unanimously voted to not rezone 81.86 acres of land or issue a special-use permit to construct a solar farm in Washington. The five-megawatt farm would take up close to forty acres of solar panels and residents were not pleased… ‘Solar farming removes rich productive farmland from growing valuable food to provide for the world. Once it [has made the transition] to solar production it will likely never return to farm ground ever again. At least not in my lifetime,'” a resident said.
DINING & DRINKING
“Shoebox Lunches” From Virtue For Black History Month
“The shoebox lunch is a symbol of Black resilience, and in the Midwest a growing number of chefs are using these meals to keep the stories of Black Americans throughout history alive,” reports Eater Detroit. At Virtue, “James Beard Award-winning chef Erick Williams’ South Side restaurant, the boxes became a fixture over the past three years during Black History Month… Through Wednesday, March 15, Virtue will offer a limited run of shoebox meals for $20 that includes fried chicken, coleslaw, and cornbread… Williams says that he was moved by the cultural significance that the boxes carry, that they provided travelers a means of self-sufficiency and dignity. Growing up in Chicago in the decades following the lynching of Chicago native Emmett Till in Mississippi, Williams says that growing up, he was not allowed to take the journey South… Learning about the role that these shoeboxes played in so many of his ancestors’ journeys helped Williams feel more connected… The boxes feature stories, such as those detailing the use of Green Books by Black travelers trying to safely navigate the U.S.; they appear in the form of messages scrawled across the interior and exterior of the box, as well as meals prepared using Black recipes. ‘The boxes mean so much in this little medium,’ Williams says. ‘It’s just a box but once you activate that box, now we’re really talking about something. Now the box has a new weight and I am very moved, inspired, and humbled to work in that space.'”
Sueños Team Finds Home In West Town On Grand Avenue
“Stephen Sandoval is opening a restaurant in West Town after two years of pop-ups,” reports Eater Chicago. Two, in fact, Sueños and Diego: “This is a dual concept with a casual restaurant, called Diego, serving a menu similar to the daily offerings at Soho. That includes the burrito, which Sandoval just yanked off the menu [at the Soho House site] to make room for experiments that may appear at the new West Town location.”
Rosemont Restaurant Week Returns
FILM & TELEVISION
“Mikva! Democracy Is A Verb” Screens
The Chicago History Museum will host the first in-person screening of “Mikva!” on Thursday, February 16, with a Q&A afterwards. A fundraiser for the Mikva Challenge, “this sweeping story shows [Abner] Mikva prevailing over the powerful Daley machine, challenging the National Rifle Association, striking down the Pentagon’s ban on gays in the military, and grappling with the 1978 neo-Nazi invasion of Skokie.” Tickets and more here.
The Meaning Of The College Board Diminishing Black Studies
“In the so-called concern about the left ruling the campuses, what we actually have is an onslaught by the right wing to control what we read, who we talk to, and what we talk about,” writes Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor at the New Yorker. “The discipline [of Black studies] emerged from Black struggle. Now the College Board wants it to be taught with barely any mention of Black Lives Matter.” She talks to Robin D. G. Kelley, “a professor of history at U.C.L.A. and one of the authors whose work was removed from the revised course.” “It’s about Ron DeSantis possibly running for President… No matter what we think about DeSantis and his policies, we know he went to Yale University, and majored in history and political science with a 3.7 G.P.A., which means that he was at one of the premier institutions for history. That’s why I get frustrated when people say he needs to take a class. He took the class. He knows better. He knows that the culture wars actually win votes. He’s trying to get the Trump constituency… It’s an ongoing struggle to roll back anything that’s perceived as diminishing white power. They want to convince white working people—the same white working people who have very little access to good health care and housing, whose lives are actually really precarious, as they move from union jobs to part-time, concierge labor to make ends meet—that somehow, if they can get control of the narrative inside classrooms, their lives would be better. Racism actually damages all of our prospects and futures.”
Times Profiles Mayor’s Run; Lightfoot Makes Comparisons To Daley, Emanuel
Breaking: “Lori Lightfoot Seeks a Second Term as Chicago’s Mayor,” the New York Times headlines in a profile by Julie Bosman. “She is an unpopular mayor whose support has nose-dived in the last four years, in part because of her performance and in part because of the circumstances of the pandemic. Her own polling shows her leading an unwieldy pack of nine mayoral candidates, several of whom have run unsuccessfully before—but it shows her doing so with only twenty-four percent of the splintered vote… Many people point to her temperament. Ms. Lightfoot has sparred with the City Council; the Democratic governor of Illinois, J.B. Pritzker; and legislators in Springfield, particularly over a law that created an elected school board.” Lightfoot tells Block Club: “People may not like my delivery. But I don’t buy votes… There absolutely is a different standard,” she says, making a comparison to Richard J. Daley and Rahm Emanuel. “When somebody says, essentially, ‘The mayor is mean. She says mean things’—give me a break… Neither of them are going to win Ms. Congeniality contests… I’ve not done or said anything any differently than any of my male predecessors. And yet it’s a thing … when a woman exhibits the same kind of qualities, we’re shrill and difficult to deal with. It is what is. I don’t let that deter me from making sure I get done what needs to get done on behalf of the residents of the city.”
New Wave DJ Dave Roberts Was Sixty-Four
“Chicago’s underground nightlife scene has changed dramatically since the eighties, with the closure of popular spots such as Neo and Club 950, and the rise of digital music. Through it all, Dave Roberts—and his signature flat top hairdo—remained one of the few constants,” writes Block Club. “For four decades, Roberts kept the eighties alive as Chicago’s preeminent New Wave DJ… at clubs around town before becoming a fixture at Late Bar, 3534 W. Belmont, in Avondale. ‘Anyone can do an eighties night, but they [can’t] create the mood like Dave did,’ said Leeroy Fields, a VJ at Medusa in the eighties.'”
Porchlight Music Theatre Names New Board Members
Porchlight Music Theatre has announced the election of four new members to its board of directors: Joshua R. Goderis, Joseph Higgins, Kenny Ingram and Amy Jaine Wielunski. They join current board members Michelle Freeman Cucchiaro, Brenda Didier, Jeremy D. Eden, Rhona Frazin, William Gilmer, Mark Hudson, Jim Jensen, Jonathan Klein, Charles Laff, Michael Lowenthal, Cesar Rolon, Jr., Tamara Sims, Brian Troy (chair) and Gretchen Upholt. More here.
Remembering Actor-Manager Mike Kotze
Music Theater Works shares the passing of colleague Michael “Mike” Kotze, who died unexpectedly earlier this month. “Mike was the business manager at Music Theater Works for over twenty years, and has performed, written and directed countless musicals, operas, and theatrical performances in the Chicago area and throughout the Midwest. Mike had a deep passion for the arts. He was immersed in the world of music, theater, films and literature. Mike was generous with his wisdom, talent and time. He was an open book of knowledge and enjoyed sharing that knowledge with his family and the world. A home cook of epic proportions, Mike took pride in the food he made for his family and friends. He truly enjoyed sharing his passions, and his love, with everyone he knew.” A memorial will be held February 20. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Emmett Till Family Wants Standing Arrest Warrant Served
“Family members of Emmett Till have filed a lawsuit demanding a sheriff execute a decades-old arrest warrant for the woman [now in her late eighties] whose accusations led to the 1955 lynching of the Chicago teen,” reports CBS 2.
Legislators Expand State Of Florida’s Human Trafficking
“Republican Governor Ron DeSantis’ administration will now be able to relocate migrants elsewhere from any state in the country, not just from Florida,” reports NBC News. “Democrats and human rights advocates have decried expansion of the program, which some have compared to human trafficking. And in floor debate… Democratic legislators also wondered why Florida taxpayer money should be used to to transport migrants from other states.”
Alden Global Capital Could Stymie Freedom Center Conversion To Gambling
“As Bally’s seeks the Illinois Gaming Board’s blessing to develop a massive casino and entertainment complex along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the gambling giant is grappling with what may be a trickier hurdle: A hard-charging hedge fund that is said to be digging in its heels on a deal to vacate the site. Still at issue—and becoming a bigger problem,” reports Crain’s, “is a negotiation between Bally’s and Alden Global Capital, the New York-based parent of the Chicago Tribune that recently extended its lease for ten years at the Tribune’s Freedom Center printing plant… A Bally’s venture paid $200 million late last year for the massive printing facility and the thirty-acre riverfront site on which it sits with a plan to redevelop the property into a one-million-square-foot casino and hotel complex.” Adds Trib reporter Gregory Pratt: “To take over Tribune printing plant for Chicago casino, Bally’s has to pay to relocate our machines/buy out lease. Just this once, I’m rooting for Alden to drive a hard bargain—I just hope they invest in the newsroom and company.”
Meanwhile, Bally’s has given the Tribune notice to vacate. “The relocation notice, delivered several weeks ago, will end a four-decade run for the Freedom Center, which is slated for demolition to build a $1.74 billion casino complex in its place along the Chicago River. But Freedom Center won’t have to stop the presses immediately. Tribune Publishing will have up to two years to find a new location for its printing plant before the casino breaks ground, Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim said. And Bally’s will have to chip in to fund that relocation. ‘We have time,’ Kim said. ‘The plant could have between one and two years before we put a shovel in the ground.'”
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