EXPO CHICAGO Announces Core Programs
EXPO CHICAGO has set participating artists and speakers for the core programming of its tenth anniversary edition at Navy Pier and around the city from April 13-16. IN/SITU and IN/SITU Outside are core programs, distinct presentations of large-scale sculpture, video, film and site-specific works installed in Festival Hall and across Chicago’s public spaces; OVERRIDE | A Billboard Project, a citywide initiative that displays artworks by emerging and established artists across Chicago’s digital billboard network, presented in partnership with DCASE; the /Dialogues panel series, presented in partnership with SAIC, to bring art world leaders into conversation; and daily discussions on collecting, philanthropy and the art market. Participants in the core programs include artists, collectives and industry leaders from across the world, including Richard Bell, Julien Creuzet, Dimitris Daskalopoulos, Brendan Fernandes, For Freedoms, Aïda Muluneh, Esmaa Mohamoud, The Floating Museum, Ebony G. Patterson, Chance the Rapper, Stephanie Syjuco, Hank Willis Thomas, Hamza Walker and the curators of the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale’s U.S. Pavilion, Tizziana Baldenebro and Lauren Leving. Schedules and more here.
Preservation Chicago Names Seven As 2023’s Most Endangered
The seven buildings or categories that Preservation Chicago identifies as 2023’s Most Endangered are the Century & Consumers Buildings; Terra Cotta Buildings Throughout Chicago; Jeffery Theater Building & Spencer Arms Hotel; Taft Hall at UIC; Werner Brothers Storage Building; Southwest Side Industrial Buildings; and The Warehouse. Here’s a sample of the extensive work in the citations, on the Warehouse: “In 1975, nightlife organizer Robert Williams purchased the commercial warehouse building at 206 South Jefferson with hopes to transform it into a nightclub comparable to the best dancefloors in New York City. After a two year renovation and with one of the best sound systems available, the Warehouse opened as a three-level nightclub. A membership-only venue, the Warehouse became wildly popular, especially with Chicago’s African-American LGBTQ+ community and others, as a place of dancefloor liberation… Williams recruited his friend and fellow New York City nightlife figure, Frankie Knuckles, to be the club’s resident DJ. Knuckles spent the next five years honing a new style: a revolutionary dance sound that blended disco, electronic, soul, and gospel music. The Warehouse became known in Chicago as one of the best places to hear this developing sound which later took its name from the nightclub itself, and ultimately become known as ‘house music.'”
Tribune East Tower Would Be Chicago’s Second Tallest
“Updated details and construction dates have been revealed for the mixed-use supertall skyscraper at 421 North Michigan known as Tribune East Tower,” reports YIMBY Chicago. Directly east of the former Tribune Tower, now a site for highest-end luxury residences, the project would rise “102 floors and 1,442 feet, the tower’s final height would be just eight feet shy of Willis Tower’s 1,450-foot roof height (not including the antennas that bring it to 1,729 feet).”
Bell Bowl Bumblebee And Ancient Prairie Bound For Blast
“An emergency motion for a stay filed by the Natural Land Institute to keep the Rockford airport from starting construction was denied Wednesday by the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals,” reports the Trib. “One of the last ancient prairies in Illinois, it is also home to the federally endangered rusty patched bumblebee and has been at the center of a dispute between the airport and environmentalists since 2021.”
An Oral History Of Architect Robert L. Wesley With Iker Gil
Iker Gil interviewed architect Robert L. Wesley to record his oral history, a 13,000-word-plus Q&A in which he discusses his upbringing, his education, his remarkable career, and the importance of education. “A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Robert L. Wesley, at the age of twelve, attended the grand opening of a new office building where his mother worked as a stenographer for the African American-owned Universal Life Insurance Company. The building had been designed by McKissack and McKissack, an African American-owned and operated architectural firm located in Nashville, Tennessee. It was then that he knew that he wanted to become an architect. Wesley joined the Chicago office of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) in 1964 and became its first Black partner in 1984. During his nearly four decades with the office, he worked on an impressive range of civic, commercial, entertainment, master planning, and infrastructural projects in the US and internationally, including Algeria, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and the United Kingdom. Wesley retired from SOM on September 30, 2001. In 2020, the SOM Foundation created the Robert L. Wesley Award to support BIPOC undergraduate students enrolled in architecture, landscape architecture, interior architecture, urban design, or engineering programs in the United States. Each year, three students receive a $10,000 award in addition to a yearlong mentorship program that connects the students with leading BIPOC practitioners and educators.”
Affordable Housing Advocates Say Chicago’s Next Mayor Shouldn’t Lease Public Housing Land To Chicago Fire
“The Coalition to Protect CHA Land, which includes residents of ABLA Homes, met outside the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development offices… requesting a meeting with the agency as well as the mayoral runoff candidates about the deal struck last year between Chicago Fire owner Joe Mansueto and Mayor Lori Lightfoot,” reports Crain’s.
Mayoral Candidates Asked About Future Of Invest South/West
Paul Vallas and Brandon Johnson “were asked whether they would continue Lightfoot’s signature Invest South/West program. Both said yes,” reports the Tribune. “Vallas said he would fund continued investments by using tax increment financing revenue, borrowing money, and legalizing and taxing video poker, which is currently barred.” He “also said he would use a ‘fair share of casino money.’ Gaming revenues from the casino, however, are bound by state law to be used for police and fire pensions.” Johnson “said he would ‘continue and expand’ the program, including by gathering more community input on projects and offering loans and microgrants ‘to give a jump-start’ to small businesses. Lightfoot’s administration has faced criticism from… community organizers about a lack of transparency about their selection process for investments.”
What Could Adidas Do With $1.3 Billion In Yeezy Deadstock?
Recently hired Adidas CEO Bjorn Gulden “said selling the popular line of shoes would mean paying royalties to Ye, who was dropped by Adidas five months ago after making antisemitic remarks,” reports AP via the Sun-Times. “Destroying them could ‘raise sustainability issues’… Restitching them to hide the Yeezy brand so they could be sold ‘is not very honest, so it’s not an option.’… Suggestions to give them away to those in need in places like earthquake-hit Syria or Turkey would mean the product would ‘come back again very quickly’ due to its high market value, ‘so that’s not really an option.'”
Old Town Parents, Children Pitted Against Pickleball Players
“Things have gotten a little nasty between pickleball players and kids and their parents who accuse each other of encroaching on space at a small park in the Old Town neighborhood,” reports the Sun-Times. “The dispute is playing out at Bauler Park, at the corner of Wisconsin and Mohawk streets, where a slab of concrete was lined with pickleball courts during the pandemic… Leslie Miller said a group of pickleball players, particularly older players, have been intimidating kids who play at the park. One woman called her ten-year-old son, who was trying to play kickball, an ‘asshole’ and told him to stop getting in their way. ‘Another adult snatched a ball away from a child.'”
Security Hardened At O’Hare As Homeless “Flushed Out”
“Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed in mid-February to take action to ‘move people out’ of O’Hare as homelessness at the airport made national headlines. Now, the terminals have been ‘flushed out,’ an employee at O’Hare said Tuesday,” reports Block Club. “Teams of five or more officers patrolled as passengers moved into the airport from the Blue Line stop. Officers stood by the turnstiles and gave directions to people who approached them. No people experiencing homelessness were in sight.”
DINING & DRINKING
Union Drive At Berlin
“Berlin workers said they hope their union would inspire other nightlife workers in Northalsted and Chicago to organize,” reports the Tribune.
The creative German restaurant lost its footing in the pandemic and never regained it, reports Eater Chicago. “After five years in West Town, Funkenhausen will close on Saturday, April 1. Chef Mark Steuer says he made the decision last week as his lease on Chicago Avenue is set to expire.” Steuer combined German and Southern cuisine from his “perspective as a German American raised in Charleston, North Carolina.” Another problem? “Staffing has been more ‘brutal’ than the dining public could imagine.”
Eggstravagant Profits Called Out
“There seems to be a new normal price for eggs, and the reason for that isn’t flu, or inflation, or even a holiday. It’s corporate greed,” Farm Action’s Angela Huffman says on the release of a ten-minute video with More Perfect Union about what’s up with American’s egg oligopoly.
Would A Strike By Levy Restaurant Workers At United Center Affect Chances Of 2024 Democratic Convention In Chicago?
“The Democrats are watching bargaining as they determine the destination for their 2024 convention,” reports Eater Chicago. “Union workers say they want a contract with benefits comparable to the homes of the White Sox and Cubs.” Politico: “Losing out on the Democratic convention would be a big loss for Chicago—and the United Center, which is already making plans for a huge build-out of the arena in anticipation of the 2024 event.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Variety Recognizes Boost In Facilities And Incentives In Illinois Film Production
Variety runs an expansive overview of the Illinois film production industry, getting almost 2,000 words out of a state-of-the-state portrait with fresh stats and quotes.
City-Owned McKinley Park Warehouse Could Become A Movie Studio… Or Apartments
“Officials are asking for public input on proposals to revitalize city-owned lots in McKinley Park’s manufacturing district,” reports Block Club. The proposals include apartments, a movie studio and soundstages. YIMBY has more details here. The shortlisted proposals presented on Tuesday are here.
Updating The Fate Of Rogers Park’s 110-Year-Old New 400
Real estate investor and New 400 owner Tony Fox “is speaking with real estate brokers who said the 8,000-square-foot space could be converted to a restaurant, night club or even a day care [center],” reports Block Club. The theater “will not close for a few months and could remain open for as long as nine months, Fox said. An announcement will be made if a closing date is decided.”
“We’re United Against Banning Books,” Says Giannoulias To Libraries
“Amid coordinated efforts throughout the nation to ban books from library shelves, Illinois Secretary of State Alexi Giannoulias has drafted first-in-the-nation legislation designed to support public and school libraries and librarians as they face unprecedented censorship of books and resources in Illinois. The legislation comes after extremist groups – including the far-right nationalist group, the Proud Boys – have targeted Illinois libraries, divided communities and harassed librarians across the country, even though the books are not required reading for anyone. Giannoulias, who serves as the State’s Librarian, reiterated his staunch support for Illinois librarians who not only deserve our gratitude, but also must have safe environments in which to work. Giannoulias argued that book banning undermines First Amendment rights, threatens individual freedoms and liberties and prevents the public from accessing reading materials of their choice.” House Bill 2789 is here.
B-52’s Make A Statement
“Dear fellow citizens,” the band beloved by generations has posted on Twitter. “We, The B-52’s, are deeply concerned about the numerous new bills that promote transphobia and discrimination against transgender individuals and drag artists, which have been introduced in the United States. We strongly denounce these bills and stand in solidarity with our LGBTQ+ community.”
“It is unacceptable that in the twenty-first century, We are witnessing such blatant attempts to undermine the rights of individuals based on their gender identity and sexual orientation. These bills not only violate the fundamental human rights of the affected individuals but also perpetuate a toxic culture of hate and intolerance that has no place in our society. Join us in denouncing these bills and standing in support of our LGBTQ+ community. Together, let us work towards building a society that reflects our shared being and is truly just, inclusive, and welcoming for all. With love, The B-52s”
Bella Voce Fortieth Season Contines
Bella Voce’s fortieth season continues as British musician Paul Hillier returns to guest-conduct Bella Voce after more than twenty years in “And I heard a voice…” The a cappella concerts will juxtapose ethereal works by living composers Arvo Pärt, Caroline Shaw, Anna Thorvaldsdóttir and Julia Wolfe with Renaissance composers Guillaume DuFay, John Dunstable, Jean de Ockeghem and Tomás Luis de Victoria, as well as anonymously composed works arranged by Hillier. The concerts are at Old St. Patrick’s Church, Saturday, March 18, 7:30pm; and St. Luke’s Church, Evanston, Sunday, March 19, 4pm. Tickets are $45-$65 here.
Harris Theater For Music And Dance Announces Twentieth Season
Harris Theater for Music and Dance has announced a twentieth-anniversary season that celebrates the theater’s two decades of presenting artists from around the world (and Chicago) to the city’s audiences and creating new works and commissions. The 2023-24 Harris Theater Presents season looks forward toward an ambitious future with new works and commissions by artists including Jazzmeia Horn, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Wendy Whelan and Akram Khan Company, as well as a festival featuring performances and events by over twenty of the Harris’ Resident Companies, to take place throughout Millennium Park. A full listing (pdf) is here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Field Museum Employees Win Union Election
“Field Museum employees have won their bid at a union, marking the second victory by workers at a major Chicago museum after workers at the Art Institute of Chicago won their election in January 2022,” reports Crain’s. “Employees at the museum voted 175 in favor of the union and sixty-six against. The nearly 300 Field Museum employees—which include groundskeepers, visitor service representatives, research scientists and housekeeping staff—will be represented by the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) Council 31.”
Walgreens Forfeits $54 Million California Contract Over Mifepristone In GOP-Led States
California Governor Gavin Newsom has withdrawn “a $54 million contract with Deerfield-based Walgreens after the pharmacy giant indicated it would not sell an abortion pill by mail in some conservative-led states.” Popular Information details Walgreens’ waffling on the subject: “Walgreens told Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach that it ‘does not intend to dispense Mifepristone within your state.’ In a letter last month, Kobach claimed that it was illegal for Walgreens to distribute Mifepristone anywhere based on an 1873 law that prohibits sending ‘indecent’ materials through the mail. The Department of Justice disagrees. Further, companies like Walgreens have their own distribution channels and do not rely on the Postal Service to stock their pharmacies. Kobach also cites a Kansas law that says abortion pills must be given to patients ‘in the same room and in the physical presence of a physician.’ Kobach does not mention that the law was blocked in November by a Kansas judge.” (More here.)
Emboldened Architect Of Supreme Court’s Conservative Transformation Sets Sights On All Of American Culture
“Leonard Leo, a key architect of the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, is now the chairman of Teneo, a ‘Private and Confidential’ conservative group that promises to ‘crush liberal dominance,'” reports ProPublica. “Ever since the longtime Federalist Society leader helped create a conservative supermajority on the Supreme Court, and then received more than a billion dollars from a wealthy Chicago business owner to disburse to conservative causes, Leo’s next moves had been the subject of speculation.” Recently, “Leo declared in a slick but private video to potential donors, he planned to ‘crush liberal dominance’ across American life. The country was plagued by ‘woke-ism’ in corporations and education, ‘one-sided journalism’ and ‘entertainment that’s really corrupting our youth,’ said Leo amid snippets of cheery music and shots of sunsets and American flags. Sitting tucked into a couch, with wire-rimmed glasses and hair gone to gray, Leo conveyed his inspiration and intentions: ‘I just said to myself, “Well, if this can work for law, why can’t it work for lots of other areas of American culture and American life where things are really messed up right now?'”
Bill Passed By Tennessee House Guts Marriage Equality
“The bill could allow county clerks to deny marriage licenses to same-sex, interfaith, or interracial couples in Tennessee,” reports the New Republic. “According to the bill, which passed Monday night, ‘a person shall not be required to solemnize a marriage if the person has an objection to solemnizing the marriage based on the person’s conscience or religious beliefs.’ The bill, which now moves to the state Senate, is the latest in an onslaught of measures that the Tennessee legislature has passed attacking LGBTQ rights. This bill could also apply to couples where at least one partner is transgender, or to mixed race couples.”
DeSantis Proclaims Florida Culture Wars Will Be “On The Front Lines In The Battle For ‘Freedom'”
“We find ourselves in Florida on the front lines in the battle for freedom,” presumptive presidential aspirant Ron DeSantis said in his State of the State address, reports CNN. “Together, we have made Florida the nation’s most desired destination and we have produced historic results…Our schools must deliver a good education, not a political indoctrination… It’s sad that we have to say this, but our children are not guinea pigs for science experimentation, and we cannot allow people to make money off mutilating them.” Thomas B. Edsall writes in the New York Times: “‘We want education, not indoctrination,’ DeSantis proclaimed recently while setting out what cannot be taught and what must be taught in Florida’s extensive network of postsecondary schools.”
Illinois Cannabis License Lottery Makes Shooting Victims Priority
“While many states are striving to issue licenses to individuals afflicted by the war on drugs, Illinois is the first to give preference to those directly affected by shootings,” reports The Trace.
Chicago State University Staff, Faculty Take Strike Vote
“The union representing faculty and support staff at Chicago State University is taking a strike vote,” reports CBS 2. “It comes after twenty bargaining sessions with the school. Negotiations started in June of last year… including sessions with a federal mediator. The main sticking points are pay and workload.”
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