Grand Rapids’ Urban Institute For Contemporary Arts Closes
“The Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts closed its doors for good,” reports MLive, “after four decades of ‘pioneering the contemporary arts in the region.’ The organization ceased operations after announcing its intention to begin winding down operations in early December 2022. The UICA cited funding challenges during the pandemic in its decision to close.”
Architecture Suggestions For Next Mayor Include: Can The Casino
“The next mayor might want to have that garbage truck at the ready for Bally’s plan to build that giant casino entertainment district on the site of the Chicago Tribune’s Freedom Center at Chicago Avenue and Halsted Street,” writes Sun-Times architecture critic Lee Bey. “As it stands, the complex is huge, loud and yet architecturally anonymous. The whole shebang is better suited for a stretch of I-70 in the Nevada desert heading toward Las Vegas than for the prime urban riverside site.” Also: retain Invest South/West and link Soldier Field, the museum campus and Northerly Island.
Architect Rafael Viñoly Was Seventy-Eight
“Uruguayan-born and New York-based architect Rafael Viñoly was responsible for major commercial and cultural buildings in nearly a dozen countries,” reports the New York Times. “His building for the Booth School of Business at the University of Chicago includes a huge atrium under glass and a roof that descends almost to the ground, across the street from Frank Lloyd Wright’s low-slung Frederick C. Robie House.” Other projects include the residential NEMA Chicago; a range of his North American projects is here.
Owner Refuses National Register Of Historic Places Designation For Thompson Center
“The Thompson Center was turned down for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, due to owner objection,” posts the Chicago Architecture Center. “We’re encouraged by future tenant Google’s plans to preserve and rehabilitate the building for a new generation, and as a future owner, Google will have the ability to put the building on the Register.” Preservation Futures on Instagram: “We nominated the Thompson Center when it was still public, and owner consent was not required for listing. Prime Group, which bought the building last year, has pledged to renovate rather than demolish it, for future owner Google. Had Prime Group supported the listing and chose to restore historic features such as the curtain wall or atrium to NPS standards, they could potentially have claimed millions of dollars in tax incentives… While we support the building’s reuse, we would regret losing its clearly unique and valuable features.” (The thirty-nine-page nomination document is here.)
DINING & DRINKING
United Center Concessions Workers Strike For A Day
“Concession workers at the United Center… walked off the job for a one-day strike” on Sunday, reports Crain’s. “This comes during the middle of the Chicago Bulls season and days ahead of the Big Ten Tournament.” Fox 32: “Compass Group is the sixth-largest company in the world. Its subsidiary, Levy Restaurants, employs nearly 700 food servers, bartenders, suite attendants, cooks and dishwashers at the United Center, an overwhelming majority of whom are workers of color. Workers have been without a new contract for three years.”
AB InBev Drafts Craft Staff Cuts To Focus On National Beer
“A week after Ohio’s Platform Beer Co. ceased operations and laid off its staff, other craft breweries under the Anheuser-Busch InBev umbrella also laid off an unknown number of sales and marketing employees,” reports Sightlines. This highlights “challenges craft breweries face, even if they have the backing of a multinational conglomerate… In the early years of its craft acquisitions, ABI’s focus was taking regional breweries national. About a year after closing a deal for Goose Island, ABI took the Chicago brewery nationwide in 2012, led by its IPA.” But “Goose Island IPA fell nineteen-percent in chain retail sales volume in 2022.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Crap Projection Ruining That “Moviegoing Experience”
“The only thing that reliably makes me wish I’d waited for a title to come out on streaming is bad projection. If a movie theater can’t perform its most basic function and deliver a sharp, well-lit image with the right colors and contrast, then we might as well knock it down and put up a bank,” writes Lane Brown in a keen piece at Vulture. “To be fair, theaters are broke… Most first-run films now wind up on streaming after just a few weeks, and plenty bypass theaters altogether. Attendance, which had been in decline for two decades, has entered free fall: In 2022, ticket sales were down by more than thirty percent from 2019… The most common issue moviegoers are likely to encounter is a dim picture. One reason is that…’Avatar’-era projectors are still in service and showing their age. In 2020, Sony announced it was exiting the cinema-projection business and recently ended support on the models used by major chains… One reason for the lack of urgency in resolving the projection crisis could be that the people who make movies see them differently than we do. Before industry screenings for members of the directors and writers guilds, an army of technicians attends to every projector, bulb, and screen to ensure that films look perfect. Meanwhile, the loudest proponents of the theater experience—Nolan, Scorsese, Spielberg, Tarantino—have custom-built cinemas in their homes that surpass any of the fleapits where you or I can see ‘Tenet’ or ‘The Fabelmans.'”
Florida Would Force “Bloggers” Who Write About Governor To Register With State
“A proposed law in Florida would force bloggers who write about Governor Ron DeSantis and other elected officials to register with a state office and file monthly reports or face fines of $25 per day,” reports Ars Technica. Defending his bill, the Republican legislator who introduced the act said, “Paid bloggers are lobbyists who write instead of talk. They both are professional electioneers. If lobbyists have to register and report, why shouldn’t paid bloggers?” “Bloggers” are defined as “people who write for websites or webpages that are ‘frequently updated with opinion, commentary, or business content.’ Websites run by newspapers or ‘similar publications’ are excluded.”
John Mellencamp Archives Donated To Indiana University Bloomington
Musician and artist John Mellencamp “is donating a collection of his life and work to IU,” reports the Herald-Times. “The collection will have items related to his music, art, social activism and philanthropy with original creative works, photographs, instruments and other memorabilia.”
Rob Mazurek Releasing “Lightning Dreamers”
International Anthem announces “Lightning Dreamers,” their first edition of 2023, “a new work written by composer, trumpeter, interdisciplinary abstractivist and modern music mogul Rob Mazurek for a compacted version of his long-running Exploding Star Orchestra, releasing March 31. ‘Lightning Dreamers’ is a follow-up to the acclaimed 2020 Mazurek/ESO release ‘Dimensional Stardust.’ It features guitarist Jeff Parker, vocalist Damon Locks, drummer Gerald Cleaver, percussionist Mauricio Takara, and pianists Angelica Sanchez and Craig Taborn. It was recorded mostly at the remote Sonic Ranch studios in West Texas, not far from Mazurek’s current home in Marfa, in the days leading up to a debut of the music at Trans Pecos festival in September 2021.” Sample single “Shape Shifter” here.
Profiling Leading “Intimacy Advisor,” Chicago’s Jessica Steinrock
“Jessica Steinrock, the chief executive of Intimacy Directors and Coordinators, is at the vanguard of a field that facilitates the production of scenes involving nudity, simulated sex or hyper exposure,” reports the New York Times. Starting in the late 2010s, “‘A lot of places were really excited about the possibility of this work and being ahead of the curve—showing that their company cared about their actors, cared about consent,” Steinrock told the Times in a Zoom interview from her home in Chicago. “Steinrock—who has worked on projects including the critically acclaimed Showtime survival drama ‘Yellowjackets,’ Netflix’s teen dramedy ‘Never Have I Ever’ and the Hulu mini-series ‘Little Fires Everywhere’—has been involved in intimacy coordination since its early days… The role of the intimacy coordinator can be a tricky balancing act between choreography and care, and Steinrock brings an academic grounding in feminist and performance theory to the work, coupled with innate people skills.”
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Survey Says Chicago “Tops For Creatives”
“Chicago tops U.S. cities as the most livable for those in creative industries,” reports Axios. According to a new study which “looks at factors including salaries and expenses for artists, graphic artists, performers and musicians… The city’s vibrant creative community makes it a world-class destination for tourists and art lovers… Chicago ranks fourth globally, following Tokyo, London and Paris. Among U.S. cities, Chicago narrowly beat out San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles.”
Walking Man Joseph Kromelis’ 1970s Days Recalled
David Struett’s memorable opening at the Sun-Times to his search for connections to Joseph Kromelis: “In the 1970s, Viki Mammina knew him as ‘Mojo.’ It took another four decades to learn her old friend—and old crush—had become the mythical ‘Walking Man’ of Chicago. Mammina met [him] shortly after moving to Chicago in 1974 for art school. She fell into the company of… peddlers who met most nights at a Near North Side cafe. They talked about work and life.” Mammina took a trip and didn’t tell Kromelis. “I think he was worried about me,” she told Struett. “Kromelis found her at a payphone ‘and we ended up kissing… We never talked about it after that… I’m sorry today I wasn’t bolder, because I would’ve followed him anywhere.'”
“Porn Passports” Sweeping Statehouses
“Three states have now passed ‘porn passport’ laws. In most cases, these bills—which restrict adult’s access to legal content—are passing out of committee with barely a hearing. If government can restrict adults’ access to porn, they can restrict it to any speech,” posts Free Speech Coalition director of public affairs Mike Stabile. The FSC maps this “disaster for privacy online” here and charts the bills here.
Trib Editorial Board Anticipates Ohio-Style Catastrophe In Chicago
“Could such a devastating disaster happen here? The short answer is ‘yes,’ though what’s maddening is that it doesn’t have to be this way,” posts the Chicago Tribune editorial board. “Illinois is uniquely vulnerable in part because of the sheer volume of freight rail traffic that moves through the state every day, particularly through the Chicago region. Chicago is the nation’s preeminent rail hub, with as many as 1,300 freight and passenger trains moving through the city each day. One out of every four freight trains in America passes through Chicago. That volume could expand with the proposed merger of the Canadian Pacific and Kansas City Southern railroads, which would create the only railroad linking Canada, Mexico and the United States… The amount of hazardous materials transported via rail [in] Illinois is considerable—in 2019, nearly ten million tons of hazardous materials were moved on Illinois rail lines. Notably, the Norfolk Southern freight train carrying vinyl chloride and other hazardous materials that derailed in eastern Ohio began its journey [downstate]. How often do derailments involving toxic chemicals occur? More often than you’d think.”
Ohio Marks Erin Brockovich As “Special Interest” Terrorist
“Ohio law enforcement issued a report late last month warning that events planned in East Palestine by the environmental activist Erin Brockovich could prompt a terrorist threat from violent extremists,” reports Yahoo News. “Distributed to law enforcement agencies by the Department of Homeland Security, the Ohio Statewide Terrorism Analysis & Crime Center Terrorism Analysis Unit Situational Awareness report obtained by Yahoo News ‘assesses that special interest extremist groups will continue to call for changes in governmental policy, which may lead to protests in/around East Palestine and/or at the Statehouse in Columbus.’ … ‘According to the FBI, special interest terrorism differs from traditional right-wing and left-wing terrorism in that extremist special interest groups seek to resolve specific issues, rather than effect widespread political change,’ the report states. ‘Such extremists conduct acts of politically motivated violence to force segments of society, including the general public, to change attitudes about issues considered important to the extremists’ cause.'”
AT&T Must Compensate Customers For Data Throttling
After FTC enforcement action, posts FTC chair Lina Khan, AT&T “must refund customers for unlawfully reducing data speeds for those with unlimited data plans.” Former AT&T customers can check if they’re eligible for a refund and file a claim by May 18 here.
CEO Of Leadership Greater Chicago Exiting
“Maria Wynne, CEO of Leadership Greater Chicago, a nonprofit that helps develop the city’s next business and civic leaders, will be leaving at the end of June, ending what the organization calls one of the most prosperous tenures in its forty-year history,'” reports Crain’s.
The Child Labor Beat Goes On: Ohio May Legalize School-Year Night Work For Early Teens
“A bill to allow children to work later hours was passed through an Ohio Senate committee Thursday with bipartisan support,” reports the Ohio Capital Journal. “Senate Bill 30, which passed the committee after three hearings and with no testimony against the bill, would allow a fourteen or fifteen-year-old to work until 9pm year-round. Current law prohibits the later hours during the school year… State Senator Catherine Ingram, D-Cincinnati, proposed the amendment as a way to make sure parents are [aware] of the changes and activities of their children. ‘I think it’s a good thing… kids are probably hanging out, playing games until 9 o’clock,’ Ingram said. ‘But I don’t want us to take advantage of the fact that these are fourteen, fifteen-year-olds.’”
The Jungle Redux: Nebraska Slaughterhouse Hires Twenty-Seven Minors, Whose Families Are Paying The Price
“A cleaning company illegally employed a thirteen-year-old. Her family is paying the price,” reports the Washington Post. “One of twenty-seven minors hired to clean a Nebraska slaughterhouse, the middle-schooler and her family now fear deportation and more.” One girl “lost the job that burned and blistered her skin but paid her $19 an hour. Then a county judge sent her stepfather to jail for driving her to work each night, a violation of state child labor laws. Her mother also faces jail time for securing the fake papers that got the child the job in the first place. And her parents are terrified of being sent back to Guatemala, the country they left several years ago in search of a better life.”
Northeastern Illinois University Board Fires President And Pritzker Rebuilding Board
“Northeastern Illinois University was hardly in great shape before state budget cuts and the pandemic clobbered it. Now, it’s got a president in limbo and a board in upheaval after trustees moved to get rid of the president and the Pritzker administration began overhauling the board,” reports Crain’s. Trustees must decide “what’s next for a school that, having lost half of the 11,580 students it had a decade ago… an extreme example of higher education’s fiscal challenges and a case study in how public universities are run.”
Walgreen’s Caves To Anti-Abortion Activists On Prescriptions
“The nation’s second-largest pharmacy chain confirmed that it will not dispense [mifepristone] abortion pills in several states where they remain legal—acting out of an abundance of caution amid a shifting policy landscape, threats from state officials and pressure from anti-abortion activists,” reports Politico. “Nearly two dozen Republican state attorneys general wrote to Walgreens in February, threatening legal action if the company began distributing the drugs, which have become the nation’s most popular method for ending a pregnancy. The company [has] responded to all the officials, assuring them that they will not dispense abortion pills either by mail or at their brick-and-mortar locations in those states. The list includes several states where abortion in general, and the medications specifically, remain legal—including Alaska, Iowa, Kansas and Montana.”
Governor Pritzker says “Yo”: “Women across the nation will be denied their right to access healthcare they are legally entitled to because of this awful corporate decision. Walgreens must rethink this policy. To all the other pharmacy providers, we’ll stand with you so you can provide this lifesaving care.” Pritzker will meet with Walgreens CEO over the “terrible corporate decision.”
Pritzker Running-Not Running, Profiles Times
“The billionaire heir to the Hyatt Hotels fortune may be seen by some Democrats as the ‘in case of emergency break glass’ candidate, one of the few prominent politicians who could stand up a White House run at a moment’s notice,” writes political correspondent Jonathan Weisman at the New York Times. “Although President Biden has said he intends to mount a campaign, that has not eased Democrats’ obvious worry: the famously dilatory Hamlet on the Potomac might decide not to run for re-election at eighty-one, and worry could turn to panic. But while Mr. Pritzker declined to provide a yea or nay on whether he would run, he added that a last-minute swap of an understudy for Mr. Biden was ‘such an odd hypothetical if you ask me… I think it assumes a lot of things about someone who’s eighty in this world today. No kidding, you know, eighty is a lot different today than it was in the eighties,’ he said, with his signature aw-shucks wave.”
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