Affordable Housing Incentive Could Transform Downtown Areas Like Fulton Market
“A new property tax incentive meant to create or preserve affordable housing is already generating results within Chicago’s newest downtown apartment towers and in neighborhoods across the South and West Sides,” reports the Trib. “City officials, housing advocates and some builders say it could also ensure future development doesn’t keep families with modest incomes locked out of downtown’s most vibrant neighborhoods.”
Questioning The Colors Of The El, Thirty Years On
“Before the El lines were named after colors, trains were known by a relatively random series of names that corresponded to streets and neighborhoods,” writes . “Renaming the lines with colors was intended to make public transportation easier to navigate through neutral names that share a consistent theme and double as a visual aid.” A historian says, “A lot of longtime Chicagoans were… resistant to the idea because people are usually against changing the things they’re used to and that feel second nature or uniquely Chicago to them.” The change wasn’t “‘designed for native Chicagoans’ who ‘grumbled’ about giving up the routes they were familiar with and continued using the old names for years to come.” at Block Club
DINING & DRINKING
Esmé Menu Inspired By Cultural Stories Of Latin America
Esmé, Lincoln Park’s Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant, has announced its first menu installment of 2023. “Inspired by cultural stories of Latin America, Chef Jenner Tomaska draws inspiration from friends and family to capture and celebrate their memories through the love of food. Launching on March 3, each course will serve as a story behind a loved one’s cultural experience. The Latin America menu is one very close to Chef Jenner and co-owner and partner Katrina Bravo’s heart, as Bravo’s family is of Latin American descent and she grew up in a Latin household. The husband-and-wife-duo are honored to educate and connect with guests through their restaurant… that fully transforms each quarter to reveal inspiration from Chicago’s vibrant creative culture.” More here.
Chiappetti Named Executive Chef Of Albert Chicago
The Albert Chicago has named Chicago native and culinary veteran Steve Chiappetti as executive chef. The restaurant on the first level of Hotel EMC2 features a new menu of Italian American cuisine influenced by Chiappetti’s Calabrian heritage. He has “cultivated a culinary transformation at the Albert that celebrates the flavors, colors and kindheartedness of Southern Italy in a contemporary way. Remaining true to the approach that earned him accolades at the legacy-making Mango, Rhapsody, Café Le Coq, J Rocco’s Italian Table and Marion Street Market, he brings approachability, comfort and hospitality to the Albert’s kitchen and dining room.” “We have a dining room filled with art, floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with vintage books, vaulted ceilings and beautiful contemporary design. But what really brings it all together are the food and the people. In re-envisioning the menu, we wanted to present ingredient-forward, simple, wholesome dishes that speak to a range of tastes without detracting from our real purpose: to bring joy back to the restaurant table.” 228 East Ontario. More here.
Portage Park’s Foundation Tavern Abruptly Shutters
“The owners of Foundation Tavern & Grille, 5007 West Irving Park Road, announced the bar’s immediate closure on its Facebook page Sunday. The building was sold to new owners late last week,” reports Block Club.
Public Radio’s “The Takeaway” Ends In June
“Morning Edition” alternative “The Takeaway,” carried by 241 stations, has seen carriage decline by thirteen-percent in recent years, as well as drops in audience, according to co-producer WNYC and distributor PRX, and will end in June. Reports Current: “The decision to cancel the program ‘was not a decision made lightly,’ they said in a memo, but ‘The Takeaway’’s ‘decline in audience as well as the financial challenge of producing a daily show—a situation made more challenging this year by the headwinds facing many across media—has led us to this decision.’”
Miche Fest Sets Lineup For Fifth Annual Latin Music Festival
Miche Fest has announced the full lineup for its fifth Annual Latin Music Festival in Chicago: Prince Royce, Elvis Crespo, Natti Natasha, Gerardo Ortiz, R.K.M & KEN-Y, Banda Los Recoditos, DAAZ, Noriel, Grupo Kual, Grupo Vanguardia, Lilo Bermudez, Banda La Organización and Alex Lora y El Tri. Miche Fest brings some of the biggest names in Latin music history across a variety of genres, and mixes new and timeless classics of reggaeton, salsa, bachata, banda and rock. The two-day festival is open to all ages, welcoming families, friends and Latin music lovers from all over the country. Harrison Park in Pilsen, June 24-25, noon-10pm. More here.
Guns N’ Roses Claim Wrigley Field Stand
“Wrigley Field will turn into Paradise City this August. Or will it be a jungle?” reports NBC 5. “Guns N’ Roses announced that they’re returning to [Wrigley Field] on August 24.” (The band has not released an album since 2008.)
Raven Theatre Looking For Artistic Director
Raven Theatre has launched a national search for its new artistic director, to succeed Cody Estle, who stepped down in November 2022 to join Milwaukee’s Next Act Theatre. Sarah Slight is the company’s interim artistic director. More here.
“Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill” Extends Run
Mercury Theater has announced an extension to the run of “Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill,” directed by Christopher Chase Carter and Alexis J. Roston, written by Lanie Robertson, and starring Alexis J. Roston as Billie Holiday. The show will now run through March 26 in the Venus Cabaret Theater at Mercury Theater Chicago. More here.
Milwaukee Chamber Theatre Endangered
“In a blunt and urgent appeal, Milwaukee Chamber Theatre recently told donors and audience members it needs $205,000 in pledges by Feb. 28, or the theater group will fold before the end of the current season,” reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
“The Nineties Were Objectively The Best Time To Be Alive”
“The nineties were better. They just were. I’m sorry, but it’s science. It was the past, but there were vaccines and Jim Crow was over and there was a modern sensibility without all of the pathologies of the internet. Bill Clinton sucked and our government was doing all kinds of awful skulduggery in the world, but he didn’t suck in the same way as George W. Bush and there wasn’t this constant sense of the world falling apart. There was optimism about the coming of the new millennium before we found out what a rotten time the next couple decades would be. I graduated from high school in 1999; we were constantly told that we would become adults in a brand new world, what a blessing it was to be eighteen when the calendar flipped to 2000. What they didn’t tell us was that the new era would start with a spasm of nationalism and empire and that our culture would climb deeply into the prurient and grotesque, a world of frosted tips and reality television, and after that all of culture would be swallowed up by new devices that became intermediaries between us and the basic stuff of human life,” writes Freddie DeBoer, author of “The Cult of Smart: How Our Broken Education System Perpetuates Social Injustice,” in a superb, nearly 4,000-word rumination. “And there were no fucking cellphones.”
USA Today Columnist Rex Huppke Pops Pundits
Former Tribune columnist Rex Huppke brings the ire: “To the politicians, people and pundits who’ve decided that the best use of their time, platforms and power is to make life more difficult for transgender people, particularly children, I have a question: What the hell is wrong with you? I know leading with that question will put you on the defensive. That’s OK. I want you on the defensive. I want you to search your soul, or whatever inhabits the space where your soul once resided, and defend the decision to aggressively attack an already vulnerable group of people for… for what? For political gain? For clicks? So you don’t have to expend the small amount of intellectual energy it takes to understand an issue that, for whatever reason, makes you uncomfortable?” More here.
Times Sees Black Mayors Of Chicago, New York, Los Angeles And Houston Banding Together
“The mayors of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston have banded together as they confront violent crime, homelessness and other similar challenges,” writes the New York Times. Lori Lightfoot, Karen Bass, Eric Adams and Sylvester Turner “belong to an informal alliance of four big-city mayors tackling among the toughest jobs in America. They happen to be of similar mind in how to address their cities’ common problems, like violent crime, homelessness and rising overdose deaths. They also happen to be Black: When Ms. Bass took office in December, the nation’s four largest cities all had Black mayors for the first time. The Democratic mayors… say their shared experiences and working-class roots as Black Americans give them a different perspective on leading their cities than most of their predecessors.”
Florida Intends To Replace SAT With “Classical And Christian” Testing
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis is talking about “finding alternatives to the College Board, which administers the SAT and Advanced Placement classes,” reports the Tampa Bay Times. “State officials have been meeting with the founder of an education testing company supporters say is focused on the ‘great classical and Christian tradition.’ The ‘Classic Learning Test,’ founded in 2015, is used primarily by private schools and home-schooling families and is rooted in the classical education model, which focuses on the ‘centrality of the Western tradition.’ The founder of the company, Jeremy Tate, said the test is meant to be an alternative to the College Board-administered SAT exam, which he says has become ‘increasingly ideological’ in part because it has ‘censored the entire Christian-Catholic intellectual tradition’ and other ‘thinkers in the history of Western thought.'”
Jackpots Propel Illinois Lottery
Huge jackpots have boosted the Illinois Lottery to record sales, reports Crain’s. “Two of the biggest jackpots in American history were good for business at the Illinois Lottery—and for Illinois’ treasury. Lottery officials reported record sales of $1.8 billion in the six months that ended December 31, with proceeds to the state also hitting a high of $468 million.”
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