Pioneering Black Chicago Photographer KD Ganaway Gets California Show
Pioneering Black Chicago photographer KD Ganaway was largely forgotten other than a single photo, reports California’s The Press-Enterprise. That image was donated to the California Museum of Photography by Graham Nash, but Ganaway and his complex history was nearly forgotten. Columnist David Allen untangles some of the story that goes for generations: “King Daniel Ganaway was born in 1882 in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, where his family had been enslaved prior to the Civil War. They later operated a small mercantile store in Chattanooga. When their white competitor offered the teenager a job delivering groceries, Ganaway’s parents told him to accept. The lesson: Take advantage of every opportunity you have. Ganaway used his earnings to put himself and his sister through school, then ended up in Chicago, where he was hired as a butler by a widowed white socialite after a chance encounter. In her employ, Ganaway had access to her personal library and served guests who included Chicago’s elite, such as retail magnate Marshall Field. In his off hours, the butler pursued photography. In 1921 he beat out 900 entrants, including such famous names as Man Ray and Edward Weston, to capture first place in a national contest with ‘The Spirit of Transportation.’ This made him the first Black photographer to win a major award.” More from the museum here.
Billion-Dollar Lucas Museum Of Narrative Art Taking Long Time Even By Galactic Standard Calendar
George Lucas’ motley of Rockwells and other largely unspecified collectibles is taking its dear time getting housed in Los Angeles. CBS 2 has video of drawings and construction, and The New York Times’ Adam Nagourney is on the billion-dollar-plus project: “It is not expected to open until 2025, seven years after ground was first broken on a parking lot across the street from the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with a promised 2021 opening.” Writes the West Coast cultural affairs correspondent, it will be “a grand homage to one of the nation’s best-known filmmakers, and a massive repository for his eclectic collection of 100,000 paintings, photographs, book illustrations and comic book drawings.” The museum’s director, Sandra Jackson-Dumont, says, “We are committed to creating an incredibly complicated building.” “You can see I still get emotional talking about this,” former Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a telephone interview from Japan. “I can’t speak to the gain for L.A. but I can speak to the loss for Chicago.”
DINING & DRINKING
Eggstra, Eggstra, Prices Go Down
Average prices of eggs went down over forty percent January-February, charts the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Fry The Coop Hit By Silicon Valley Bank Collapse
The Silicon Valley Bank failure hit Chicago restaurant chain Fry the Coop, “a fried chicken sandwich shop with seven locations, [which] could not pay its 227 workers as scheduled on Friday,” reports Eater Chicago. “While the restaurant does not bank with Santa Clara, California-based Silicon Valley, its payroll company—Ohio-based Patriot Software does. ‘We’re in Chicago,’ says Fry the Coop founder Joe Fontana. ‘How does a payroll company from Ohio bank with a company in San Francisco? It’s crazy.'”
McDonald’s Hires Chipotle Exec To Speed Openings
“McDonald’s hired a new executive in the U.S. to help with the fast-food chain’s accelerated restaurant opening plan,” reports Crain’s. “The Chicago-based company has named [former Chipotle executive] Tabassum Zalotrawala as its new senior vice president and chief development officer.”
Pearl Club To Supplant Narrow Confines Of Emmit’s Irish Pub
Boka co-founder Rob Katz is collaborating on Pearl Club, a cocktail lounge that will replace Emmit’s Irish Pub, which closed last year after twenty-six years at the intersection of Milwaukee, Grand and Halsted, reports Eater Chicago. “Katz envisions a cocktail bar that mirrors lounges in London and New York, one with a sleek interior, fancy drinks, and bites… Katz says. ‘It’s not Emmit’s Pub, this is an entirely new venture.'”
FILM & TELEVISION
Tenth Chicago Critics Film Festival Returns To Music Box
The Chicago Film Critics Association, the Chicago-area print, online and broadcast critics group that celebrates the art of film and film criticism, has announced its first seven selections for the May 5-11 event, including the Chicago premiere of Paul Schrader’s “Master Gardener,” Ira Sachs’ “Passages” and a fortieth-anniversary screening of “The Right Stuff” on 35mm. Passes are here.
Pitchfork Linkup Drops Monday
Tickets for the 2023 edition of Pitchfork go on sale Monday, March 20 at 10am as the lineup is announced; Pitchfork teases that members of their text list will get slightly early notice and that early buyers will get lower prices than those who wait.
Buddy Guy On The Road Again
“The old fellow is doing pretty good,” eighty-six-year-old Buddy Guy tells the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “but when you get to my age and you’re going Point A to Point B on the airlines, that catches up to you. Maybe I’d better step out of the way for the young people. I don’t want them to wheel me out on stage in a wheelchair.” Of retirement, Guy tells the paper, “I’ll be eight-seven this year. I started picking cotton at six years old, so I’ve been working for eighty-some years. Man, it’s time.”
American Ballet Theatre Returns
American Ballet Theatre returns to the Auditorium Theatre with a mixed rep program featuring both classics and contemporary works, for three performances only, Friday-Sunday on April 14-16. Two works will have Chicago premieres: Christopher Rudd’s “Touché” (2022), a male pas de deux, and Jessica Lang’s “ZigZag” (2021), featuring songs sung by Tony Bennett, including a duet with Lady Gaga. These join the classics: Alexei Ratmansky’s “Songs of Bukovina” (2017) and Clark Tippet’s “Some Assembly Required” (1989). ABT last performed on the Auditorium Theatre stage in 2019 with the Chicago debut of Ratmansky’s lauded full-length ballet, “Whipped Cream.” Tickets start at $48 here.
Oak Park Festival Theatre Announces Season
The Oak Park Festival Theatre, Oak Park’s premiere Equity theater and the oldest professional classical theater in the Midwest, announced its summer show will be “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” July 15-August 19 at Austin Gardens. In the fall, the theater will present Beth Hyland’s “Seagulls,” October 16-November 19 at Pleasant Home. “This is an enormously exciting time for Oak Park Festival Theatre,” says artistic director Peter Andersen. “The company has entered its forty-eighth year and with new leadership, we are thrilled to continue bringing audiences classical plays in our home at Austin Gardens. By casting theater artists from diverse backgrounds, hiring cutting-edge designers, and collaborating with brilliant young playwrights to adapt canonical works, we will infuse these classic plays with new vision and energy.” More here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Lenders Tug Groupon Leash
Groupon, “which has been shedding jobs in an effort to keep expenses in line with dwindling revenue, is in worse shape than previously thought,” reports Crain’s. “The company postponed its earnings announcement today and revealed that lenders, including JPMorgan Chase, have imposed more strict terms, including requiring weekly cash-flow forecasts for the next thirteen weeks and weekly reports reconciling those forecasts to actual results.”
Jojo Baby Was Fifty-One
“Jojo Baby, an influential artist and one of Chicago’s original club kids, has died at 51 years old,” reports Block Club Chicago, relaying a tweet from Smartbar: “It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye to JoJo Baby who was so near and dear to us all and to many in the drag community. JoJo’s spirit will go unmatched. His kindness, warmth, and generosity will be sorely missed. Until we see you on the next dance floor. Rest in peace.” Block Club writes: “Jojo Baby was long a fixture in Chicago’s nightlife scene, performing at Debonair Social club in Wicker Park and hosting Queen!, Smartbar’s weekly Sunday night LGBTQ party… They became a legend and inspired decades of people who admired their artistry, kindness and strong sense of community.”
Is Chicago Really Front-Runner For Another Democratic Convention?
“Point for point, Chicago has everything New York says it can offer the Democrats and more, except the Statue of Liberty and garbage waiting to be collected sitting out on downtown streets,” writes Lynn Sweet at the Sun-Times. “Chicago backers have been slamming Atlanta for being in anti-union, right-to-work Georgia, and having only two union hotels. New York followed with copycat jabs at Atlanta.”
Gambling Billions On “March Madness” Expected
“From resurgent office pools to online sports betting, sixty-eight million Americans—one in four adults—are expected to wager a record $15.5 billion as the sixty-eight-team field is winnowed to one,” reports the Trib.
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