Valparaiso Steams Ahead With Sale Of Art Holdings For Frosh Dorm Funds
“Despite mounting criticism from the campus community, Valparaiso University is holding firm on its decision to sell three cornerstone pieces of artwork from the Brauer Museum of Art to fund renovations at dorms for first-year students,” reports the Trib. “The projected cost of renovating Brandt Hall and Wehrenberg Hall is approximately $8 million,” a spokesman emailed the paper. “The decision to explore a potential sale of artwork was made after extensive and prayerful consideration, with the goal to have access to the proceeds quickly, to meet an urgent need. Other avenues would not allow the University to stay on track to have this project completed by fall 2024.” The artworks are Georgia O’Keeffe’s “Rust Red Hills,” “perhaps the museum’s [most] famous work; Frederic E. Church’s ‘Mountain Landscape’ and Childe Hassam’s ‘The Silver Veil and the Golden Gate.’ Collectively, the paintings are worth millions of dollars.”
Walgreens Boots Alliance Plans Sale Of Two-Thirds Of Deerfield Campus
“The drug store giant is looking to shed roughly two-thirds of its Deerfield campus and consolidate its employees into the remaining portion,” reports Crain’s. They join the “major corporations slashing their office footprints as remote work reshapes their space needs…. The move will allow the drug store giant to shed roughly two-thirds of its forty-plus acre campus along Interstate 294, where it has been based since 1975.”
Does Salt Lake City Have A Future?
“There’s not much time left both with the Lake and the legislature,” Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall tells the Guardian. An ecologist at Brigham Young University calls it “one of the worst environmental disasters in modern U.S. history,” “with the rapidly shrinking Great Salt Lake, just a short distance from the city, leaving behind a lakebed laced with arsenic, mercury and other toxins. The wind is already beginning to pick up these toxins in airborne plumes that will only grow as the lake, which could disappear within five years, recedes further. Summers marked by roiling, poisonous clouds sweeping in off the lake is something that ‘of course worries me,'” says the mayor. “A host of respiratory, cardiac and cancer-related problems could be stirred through the city’s 200,000-strong population, which is part of a broader string of urban and suburban development of 2.8 million people wedged between the lake and the Wasatch mountain range in Utah.”
DINING & DRINKING
Soulé Brings Creole Soul Food And Economic Development To North Lawndale
“Chef and owner Bridgette Flagg didn’t just move her Creole-inspired soul food restaurant from a small storefront in Ukrainian Village, where diners lined up out the door for hours,” writes Louisa Chu of Soulé in the Tribune. “She built a whole new custom home for the business, with a full bar, no less, back in North Lawndale, where it all started with fried catfish plates on Polk Street.” Says Flagg, “I’m from North Lawndale originally… I started the business selling plates from my childhood home… My people deserve luxury… Maybe other people will follow, and eventually we’ll be like Ukrainian Village and have a bunch of small businesses up and down Roosevelt.”
Boka’s Itoko Opens In Southport Lanes Building
“Itoko, a Japanese restaurant from Boka Restaurant Group and chef Gene Kato of Momotaro in the West Loop, opens Wednesday in the former Southport Lanes building,” reports Block Club Chicago. “Itoko—the Japanese word for ‘cousin’—will feature sushi rolls with high-quality fish, according to Boka. Itoko will have classics like nigiri, sashimi and maki, as well as temaki hand rolls served on crispy seaweed with warm rice. The restaurant will have a large robata—the original robata grill from Kato’s time working at Sumi—for grilling skewers of negima chicken thigh, shiitake mushrooms, salmon teriyaki or beef tsukune sliders. It will also be used for chicken teriyaki and a whole branzino in a shiso and shichimi crust… To cater to nearby families, Kato created three healthy bento box kids meals, which have sushi, katsu or yakitori don.” (Video with Gene Kato at the Itoko Instagram here.)
Kennedy-King Students Study Donation Of 1,700 Cookbooks
“The great-great granddaughter of a man who bought fifteen family members out of slavery donated more than 1,700 cookbooks to Kennedy-King College,” reports the Sun-Times. Many are “focused on African American cuisine.”
Wish Upon A Knish: Manny’s Makes The Knish Roll
Manny’s Deli follows up a Soul & Smoke brisket knish with an egg roll-inspired collaboration: “We’ll be partnering with 3 Little Pigs to release our first Knish Roll. Yes, an egg roll-style Knish. Our Knish dough will be filled with 3LP’s amazing Char Siu fried rice.”
Chicago Black Restaurateurs Show Cuisines
“Black restaurant owners are introducing Chicago diners to cuisines beyond the well-worn soul food dishes synonymous with Southern cooking,” writes Ally Marotti at Crain’s. Some say “it’s still a struggle to convince consumers that Black chefs can cook Italian or French food, or have fine-dining chops. As such, Black chefs say progress is slow—but it is steady.” “You think about a Black restaurant as just a soul food restaurant, and it has chicken, collard greens and mac and cheese, and that’s it,” Gerry Fernandez, president and founder of the Multicultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance tells Marotti. “It’s gone beyond that now.” Says Le’Qoinne Rice, co-owner of For The People Hospitality, the parent company of rotating-menu restaurant The Duplex in Logan Square, “I want an Italian restaurant, and I’m not Italian. We’re stepping outside the boundaries of what Black people are supposed to create. I don’t want to be pigeonholed into a space just because I’m Black. I want to do French food.” “Rice’s restaurant group is preparing to open an American-French fusion restaurant in Lincoln Park called Good Times. It’ll have funky colors and mismatched tables and chairs. Rice says he is fascinated with French cuisine—’I’m a big fan of butter,’ he says—and worked at Lettuce Entertain You’s now-closed Paris Club.”
Euro Thirst For Tequila Saps Agave Supply
“Tequila, the king of Mexican liquors, is taking off in Europe. Export volumes to Spain jumped ninety percent last year, to France seventy-three percent, Britain sixty-eight percent and Germany sixty percent,” reports Reuters. “European demand is deepening a shortage of agave, the prickly plant native to Mexico’s Jalisco region that’s used to make tequila.” Agave “takes roughly seven years to mature before it can be harvested…In about two years, the price of agave will go down because supply is going to be greater than demand.”
Judge Scales Back Nationwide Ruling Against Starbucks Firings To A Single Store
“After barring Starbucks from firing any U.S.-based worker over labor activity, a federal judge said he had erred and limited the action to one store,” reports the New York Times.
FILM & TELEVISION
Chance The Rapper And Questlove Question “South Side” Cancellation
Last week, reports HIPHOPDX, Chance the Rapper and Questlove “took to their respective Instagram pages and gave their thoughts on the cancellation” of “South Side.” Questlove “shared pictures from… episodes of the show” and wrote “Man…I’m devastated——-y’all just gonna let one of the smartest comedies inna min just wither and die. Y’all truly don’t even know how much of a brilliant gem this was. Imma miss y’all @southsidechi.” Chance “used a TikTok video of YouTuber iShowSpeed reacting to the cancellation.” He told fans he needed a day to process everything. “‘I’m so mad I’ll be back with my full thoughts tmw,’ Chance wrote.”
Nexstar, Risen From The Ashes Of Superstation WGN, Has Ambitions
“This giant TV company is building a new cable network starring Chris Cuomo, and it doesn’t care what you think about that,” reports Semafor. “The network and its parent company, the local television giant Nexstar, are hoping to become a fourth major force in cable news and a major new player in the American news landscape. To get there, they’re taking the kind of reputational risks that frighten their rivals: NewsNation’s biggest star, Chris Cuomo, and its top producer, Michael Corn, both departed mainstream media under dark clouds. Its sister network, the CW, is broadcasting the Saudi-backed LIV Golf league. The results are promising, so far… That’s partly because along with a tolerance for risk, Nexstar’s local network gives it an alternate business model and a steady stream of cash… Three-year-old NewsNation is the most public face of the media company’s ambitions. The network has a 550-person staff, and built out its studios in Chicago and Washington, D.C.”
Syndicate Fires Dilbert
Longtime partner in the distribution of “Dilbert,” Andrews McMeel Universal, has severed ties with Scott Adams. “The process of this termination will extend to all areas of our business with Adams and the Dilbert comic strip,” the chairman and the CEO said in a statement. “Recent comments by Scott Adams regarding race and race relations do not align with our core values as a company.”
Oak Park Library Partners On “Fifty Years Of Hip Hop”
Oak Park Library is one of more than thirty organizations nationwide including including libraries, museums, colleges, universities and archives that are partnering with Queens Public Library to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of hip-hop. “The goal is to recognize hip-hop’s global artistic and cultural impact since its birth,” writes QNS. “As part of the six-month celebration, ‘Collections of Culture: 50 Years of Hip Hop Inside Libraries, Museums and Archives,’ participating institutions will host dozens of in-person and virtual programs. Funded through a $267,760 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, programs will include panel discussions, author talks, educational forums, and workshops examining the genre’s history and influence on American culture.”
Blue Man Group Sets VIP Packages For Spring
Blue Man Group Chicago is offering audiences a chance to experience the entertainment phenomenon with VIP ticket packages. Celebrating twenty-five years in Chicago, Blue Man Group debuted at the Briar Street Theatre in 1997. “A dynamic combination of art, music, comedy and technology, Blue Man Group encourages audiences to reconnect with their inner (and outer) child.” The Blue Man Group Chicago VIP Package includes premium seating, a special access badge, a fit bag and a post-show meet and greet with one of the Blue Men. The $160 package is available here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Comcast Makes $2 Million Grant To Digital Skills Training For Black Male Youth In Chicago And Atlanta
Comcast NBCUniversal has announced a $2 million grant to The Hidden Genius Project, furthering the company’s efforts “to advance economic mobility through critical digital skills building across its national footprint and here in Chicago,” the company relays. “A globally recognized nonprofit, The Hidden Genius Project trains and mentors Black male youth in technology creation, entrepreneurship, and leadership skills to transform their lives and communities. Comcast’s funding, which will be distributed over two years, will support The Hidden Genius Project’s expansion to Atlanta and Chicago this year.” More here.
Oklahoma Removes “Diverse” From Computer Classes To Avoid “Woke Standards”
“Oklahoma’s academic standards on computer science won’t include the word ‘diverse’ or any reference to bias and equity because these concepts are ‘woke,'” reports the Oklahoman. “These changes mostly involved removing the word ‘diverse’ and replacing it with ‘different’… References to the word ‘culture’ were changed to ‘environment.'” A member of the committee said that “to abruptly change the standards in the final hours of that process sets a ‘dangerous precedent’ after it had undergone two rounds of public comment and months of intensive review.”
What’s Behind The Assault On Florida Education?
“On Thursday scores of college students in Florida walked out in protest of Governor Ron DeSantis’ increasingly aggressive attacks on public education. As part of the ‘Stand For Freedom’ action, the students and organizers [put a spotlight on] the governor’s relentless assaults, including the erasure of gay and trans people, the censoring of accurate depictions of white supremacy, and a slate of bills and legislation that would continue to erode academic freedom and a whole host of programs,” writes Jared Yates Sexton, author of “American Rule.” “Trends in Florida have been especially worrisome as DeSantis and his administration have used the power of the state to leverage cultural war talking points in order to push an agenda formulated, planned and funded by billionaire donors. The end point is, and has always been, the destruction of public education in totality. This is for a variety of reasons, including the neverending battle that was begun with white supremacist segregation, continued domination by the wealth class, a pursuit of winding back progress and reinstituting a permanent labor underclass with children, and the creation of a privatized educational system, one of the last remaining mega-profit industries that has been lusted after for decades.”
Adds Judd Legum at Popular Information: “The University of Central Florida, one of the state’s public universities, has a [strong] program in Women’s and Gender Studies. More than 170 current students have chosen to minor in Women’s and Gender Studies, a curriculum that ’emphasizes intersectional approaches to the study of gender, race, class, ethnicity, and sexuality in national and transnational contexts.’ The program’s courses include Intro to Gender Studies, Women and Leadership, and Theories on Masculinity. Under new legislation championed by DeSantis, however, UCF’s program—and similar programs at other public colleges and universities in Florida—would be banned.”
Jeremy C. Young, senior manager of free expression and education at PEN America posts: “The text of DeSantis’ higher education bill has been released. It’s as terrifying as the press release suggested it would be. Florida HB 999 would enact the most draconian and censorious restrictions on higher education in the history of this country… The bill would ban diversity statements, make tenure and faculty hiring committees meaningless, and centralize control of core curricula and mission statements in the hands of political appointees… All gen ed courses must promote ‘the values necessary to preserve the constitutional republic through traditional, historically accurate coursework.’ … ‘Courses based on unproven, theoretical, or exploratory content’ are banned from gen ed; the ban enforced by DeSantis appointees.” All DEI initiatives are banned. “There’s a lot of ‘whatever that means’ language in here, enforced by bureaucrats of DeSantis’ choosing. FL HB 999 would end academic freedom, shared governance, and university independence in Florida public higher education in favor of one man’s authoritarian control of public university decisions. It would be the end of Florida higher ed as a space of open inquiry and free expression.”
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