McArthur Binion Show And Foundation In Detroit
“In McArthur Binion’s paintings, there is always more than meets the eye. Beneath a seemingly minimalist grid of colorful blocks created with oil stick and ink lies what the artist calls the ‘under-conscious’ of the work, a layer often composed of autobiographical elements such as Binion’s decades-old address book, copies of his birth certificate and other government documents, sheet music, personal photographs, and more. Taken together, they seek to generate a unique level of familiarity with his audience,” reports ARTnews. His just-closed show at Library Street Collective in Detroit, “Self:Portraits,” was “Binion’s first exhibition in the Motor City in nearly two decades. This new series of paintings that, as the show’s title suggests, focuses predominantly on the use of photographs of the artist to create his characteristic layers.”
Geneva Center For The Arts Closing Gallery
“The Geneva Center for the Arts will close its gallery in April but continue its exhibitions in the Geneva Public Library lobby,” reports the Daily Herald. “The center officially opened in October 2021.”
Puerto Rican Museum Project “Blasted”
“The National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, led by former Humboldt Park Ald. Billy Ocasio, misrepresented the scope of its work and lied on a permit application, a report found,” reports Block Club.
Obama Foundation President David Simas Exits
”Obama Foundation President David Simas is leaving the organization in April. In an email to foundation members, Simas announced his departure but did not say why he is leaving. ‘It has been an honor to work together in service of President Obama’s vision to inspire, empower and connect people to change,’” reports Crain’s Chicago Business.
More Transit Money Called For
“Citing upcoming shortfalls in RTA’s operating budget, Regional Transportation Authority Chairman Kirk Dillard proposes improvements to CTA, Pace and Metra if public funding can be secured in upcoming years,” reports the Sun-Times.
Thirty-Nine-Story Building With Pocket Park Proposed For Fulton Market Site Of Former 124-Year-Old Wheat Mill
“A 515-foot-tall residential building could break ground before the end of the year in Fulton Market if it’s approved by City Council,” reports Block Club. “Developer Sterling Bay revealed plans at a community meeting Wednesday for phase one of a two-building, 741-unit proposal. The development is slated to take over the 1300 block of West Carroll, the former site of the Archer Daniels Wheat Mill.” David Witter wrote about the site in a 2010 Newcity cover story: “The only other working grain elevator and grain-processing plant in Chicago is the Archer Daniels Midland Plant. Located on Ogden and Carroll Avenues, just north of Lake Street, the plant is not separated from the general population by water, expressways or other giant, industrial structures. Instead, the facility is in the middle of a city neighborhood, including restaurants like La Luce at Ogden and Lake Street, which offers a great view of the elevators.”
ParkFowler Plus Launched
ParkFowler Plus, based in Chicago with projects around the world, has launched via Jen Park [Newcity Design 50] and Brad Fowler, an extension of their architectural lineage that began during their years at Brininstool + Lynch. “We bring our reputation, our passion, and our names as we [make the transition] to our new studio. The Plus is no less significant: it honors the many people—including our communities, clients, and talented staff—who co-create with us,” they relay. More here.
A History Of Chicago Jails
“Under the guise of ‘rehabilitation,’ Chicago’s 200-year history of jail reform has only ever justified repression,” writes Melanie Newport at In These Times in an excerpt from her book, “This Is My Jail: Local Politics and the Rise of Mass Incarceration.” “If we take the complex history of jailing seriously, we know that what people have wanted for jails has never been isolated from the harms the institutions have wrought. While the justifications for jails have changed over time—that misdemeanants need rehabilitation, that violent people must be prevented from committing more crimes, that jails are beneficial when they are safe for people awaiting trial—we can feel confident that racial justifications for jailing will continue to take new forms as long as jails exist.”
DINING & DRINKING
Doug Psaltis And Hsing Chen Open Asador Bastian
The “Flair House”—a River North townhouse built in 1883—has been revived as Asador Bastian, an homage to Chicago chophouses inspired by the grill houses (“asadors”) of San Sebastian, Spain “that are famous for serving the best steaks in the world,” the proprietors relay. Opening in March, Asador Bastian will feature two spaces: a bar tucked away on the ground floor and a dining room. It’s s a new restaurant from Eat Well Hospitality, the restaurant group from chef-owners Doug Psaltis and Hsing Chen, who also own and operate Logan Square’s Andros Taverna, which opened in February 2021 and was an Esquire and Chicago Tribune Best New Restaurant that year. Chef Psaltis set the trend of contemporary steakhouses when he opened RPM Steak. When developing Asador Bastian, Psaltis chose chef Christian Eckmann, who worked at Arzak in San Sebastian, Spain, lauded as one of the world’s best restaurants.
“Eckmann’s love of the Basque region runs deep and he even named his only son Sebastian. A native Chicagoan, Eckmann returned to Chicago and was the Chef de Cuisine at Ambria, the legendary classic French-Spanish restaurant. Psaltis and Eckmann have worked together over the last eleven years creating restaurants and are collaborating on Asador Bastian’s menu, which will have strong influences from the Basque region. They will primarily feature one celebrated cut of beef known in Spain as the Txuleton, a well-marbled, thick-cut rib steak grilled on the bone over glowing embers of charcoal. Diners can also expect to see a wonderful array of fish and shellfish, as Psaltis is known for his premium seafood program at Andros Taverna, where fish is flown in directly from European markets.” More here.
Unionized Wicker Park And Logan Square Intelligentsia Locations Closing As Ten-Year Leases End
Intelligentsia is closing outlets in Wicker Park and Logan Square on April 19. “Both stores opened ten years ago and have leases that will soon expire,” reports Eater Chicago. Management’s internal memo “reads in part that ‘despite our best efforts from the team now, and days gone by, these locations have challenged us throughout the term of their lease and since coming out of [the pandemic] it has proven to be even more difficult to sustain.'”
West Loop Shake Shack Setting $20 White Truffle Prix Fixe
Shake Shack in the West Loop is offering a $20 prix-fixe menu for a limited time to promote its white truffle products, reports Crain’s. “The stunt, called The Truffle Table, is meant to promote Shake Shack’s trio of white truffle items.” The menu includes “its white truffle burger, white truffle ‘Shroom Burger,’ parmesan fries with white truffle sauce, unlimited canned wine, a shake, a beverage (also unlimited), a bottle of truffle oil and a chocolate truffle. The table will also be set with china [and] white tablecloths.”
Bon Appétit On The Shoplifting Beat
“As inflated food bills continue to hammer customers, the conversation around shoplifting is heating up,” writes Ali Francis at Bon Appétit. in a piece headlined “‘As a Whole Foods Worker, I See Shoplifting All the Time—and I Don’t Stop It.'” “Business owners claim a drastic increase in theft is partially what forces them to raise prices, and some think law enforcement is so soft on shoplifters that it’s basically become ‘decriminalized crime.’ (Of course, shoplifting [affects] small businesses, some which are recovering from the pandemic, differently than deep-pocketed chain stores.)… Whole Foods has long been a popular spot for shoplifting due to its high prices, noticeable lack of scanning security compared with other large retailers, and prolific self-checkout kiosks. ‘I was shopping the other day, and as a recovering kleptomaniac I was like, “They’re almost making it too easy,”‘ one Reddit user wrote in a recent thread on the topic… Someone else claimed to have seen one customer walk out with two bottles of whiskey and another with steaks: ‘We always would just be like, “Damn, he got some good stuff. Good for him.”‘”
Talking “Shadow State” With Frank Sennett
Rick Kogan profiles writer-editor Frank Sennett at the Tribune in advance of the publication of his thriller, “Shadow State.”
Paper Dahls: French Publisher Leaves Roald Dahl Sinister
“The French publishers of Roald Dahl have ruled out any changes to the late British author’s translated books,” reports the Guardian, “after it emerged that English editions were being rewritten for modern audiences.” Plus, Maria Bustillos at Popula: “How Copyright Laws Caused the Roald Dahl Problem: These books were edited because of a decision made by their rightsholder and publishers, whose aim is to sell these new books to modern readers whose tastes have grown substantially more humane, more intelligent and more inclusive than they were when I was a kid, and we all delighted openly in the various grotesque fates that befell Dahl’s hapless victims… In the current atmosphere of book banning, (real) censorship and generalized panic around children’s books in schools and libraries, it’s not surprising that big publishers would take steps to keep their wares as inoffensive as possible… Modern copyright laws favor profiteering at the expense of the natural evolution of literature, and it’s the copyright laws that have made these foolish dust-ups more or less inevitable… In the case of Dahl’s books, though, the fact is that these publishers and rightsholders are still trying to profit from stories that should have entered the public domain long ago.”
NPR Shaving Another Hundred Jobs, Or Ten Percent Of Present Workforce
“NPR’s chief executive announced the network would lay off roughly ten-percent of its current workforce–at least a hundred people–and eliminate most vacant positions. CEO John Lansing cited the erosion of advertising dollars, particularly for NPR podcasts, and the tough financial outlook for the media industry,” reports NPR’s David Folkenflik. “On an annual budget of roughly $300 million… revenues are likely to fall short by close to $30 million.”
Twenty Years Added To R. Kelly’s Sentence
“A federal judge on Thursday sentenced R. Kelly to twenty years in prison for child sex crimes, after a jury found that he had produced three videos of himself sexually abusing his fourteen-year-old goddaughter,” reports the New York Times. “The singer will serve most of the sentence in federal prison at the same time as a thirty-year term for racketeering and sex trafficking… In a victory for the defense, the judge ruled that all but one year of the prison sentence would be served at the same time as a previous 30-year sentence that Mr. Kelly received after a jury in Brooklyn convicted him of racketeering and sex trafficking charges.” Adds the Los Angeles Times, Kelly “will serve no longer than thirty-one years total in federal prison and will be eligible for release around age eighty.”
With New Leadership, North Shore Center For The Performing Arts Holds Hope
“As Skokie’s North Shore Center for the Performing Arts gets a new executive director, village officials are hoping the curtain will go up on a thriving post-pandemic time for the theater and event venue,” reports the Tribune. Lynn Cannon intends “to raise the number of shows and events offered, find new talent and explore community partnerships, she said, with a view toward the village of Skokie’s goal of lowering the subsidy it has given the village-owned theater in recent years.”
League Of Chicago Theatres Extends Chicago Theatre Week
Following the record success of Chicago Theatre Week, the League of Chicago Theatres announces Chicago Theatre Week Continued, featuring valued-priced tickets to current and upcoming shows. Select Chicago Theatre Week prices of $15 or $30 per ticket will be extended on HotTix.org from February 27-March 5. Ticket sales have set a record: Chicago Theatre Week has sold more than 18,000 tickets, surpassing the all-time high of 13,400 tickets in 2020. Service charges apply. Tickets go on sale on Monday, February 27, 10am, here.
Visceral Dance Chicago Celebrates Ten
Visceral Dance Chicago celebrates its tenth anniversary with SPRINGTEN, a presentation of works that highlight the company’s range. The one-night-only performance will feature a world premiere by founder and artistic director Nick Pupillo as well as audience favorites. Friday, April 28 at the Harris Theater. Tickets here. More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Lincoln Park Lion Cubs’ Sex Determined
Lincoln Park Zoo announces that the newest African lion cub additions, born January 9 at Pepper Family Wildlife Center, are all male. The cubs received their six-week veterinary assessment and received their first vaccinations. Weighing roughly two pounds at birth, the cubs now all weigh between fifteen-to-eighteen pounds.
Wisconsin Governor Wants $100 Million Endowment For Arts Funding
“Governor Tony Evers has called for $100 million from the state’s general fund to be placed in an Artistic Endowment Fund, with the interest from that money distributed annually in grants to arts organizations across Wisconsin,” reports WXPR in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. “The arts are always looking for resources and never more than after COVID. Things haven’t yet responded to our return to normal, whatever it will look like… There has not been an increase to the Arts Board’s budget on the state side, a significant one since prior to 2011,” George Tzougros, executive director of the Wisconsin Arts Board told the station.
Budding Out: Cannabis Corporation Wants To Leave Oak Park, Morton Grove
“Los Angeles-based MedMen Enterprises, a cannabis retailer that has acknowledged doubts that it can continue operating, said it will consider selling stores in Oak Park and Morton Grove,” reports the Sun-Times.
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