Arts + Public Life Names Artists-In-Residence
Arts + Public Life and the Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture at the University of Chicago have announced the 2023 artists-in-residence: Jess Atieno, Shani Crowe and Gloe Talamantes. “There is tremendous creativity and cultural production happening on the South Side of Chicago,” Center for the Study of Race, Politics and Culture faculty director Gina Miranda Samuels says in a release. “We are proud to jointly administer a residency program with Arts + Public Life that forefront the talents and practices of local Chicago-based artists who have both an interest in race and community engagement.” There will be a welcome reception and artist talk at the Green Line Performing Arts Center, 329 East Garfield, March 30, 5:30pm. More here.
Transforming Office Buildings To Residences Not Always That Easy
Why are older office buildings easier to convert to living? Buildings “dating to the early twentieth century make for simpler conversions because the same logic that shaped how they were designed as offices a century ago determines how apartments are planned today,” reports the New York Times. “Both share a rule of thumb that no interior space be more than twenty-five to thirty feet from a window that opens. Apartments, obviously, need operable windows to vent cooking fumes and brighten living space. In the early twentieth century, offices needed functioning windows, too, for cooling on hot days before air-conditioning and to illuminate work spaces before modern lighting. In either context, any space more than thirty feet from a window starts to feel cavelike. Iconic prewar skyscrapers like the Empire State Building were designed to this standard, and with this smallest unit in mind: a single rentable office ten to twenty feet wide and about twenty-eight feet from the windows to the common corridor. That was just the right amount of space for a receptionist’s anteroom and a windowed office.”
Red Line Rebuild Moves Further North
“The CTA is already rebuilding tracks and stops in Uptown and Edgewater. Now, it is planning to rebuild the other century-old stops on the north end of the Red Line,” reports Block Club. “The CTA is in the early stages of planning to rebuild the century-old Red Line stations and rail infrastructure not yet included in the massive Red-Purple Modernization Project. That includes rebuilding the Sheridan stop and overhauling much of the Red Line infrastructure in Rogers Park, possibly including the Howard Street terminal.”
One More Step To Landmark Promontory Point
“Prior to a final approval from City Hall, the Commission on Chicago Landmarks has recommended a landmark designation for the Promontory Point, the historic peninsula between 54th and 56th in Hyde Park,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “Constructed in the 1920s and 1930s, this unique parkland features landscaping by esteemed designer Alfred Caldwell and is distinguished by the last remaining limestone revetments along Chicago’s lakefront.”
A Petition To Save Endangered Seven’s The Warehouse
A petition has been launched to save The Warehouse, birthplace of house music, writes DJ Mag.
Future Of Little Village Mall Still Disputed
“Vendors at the Little Village Discount Mall are demanding construction upgrades to the shopping center stop for now,” reports CBS 2. “For nearly four decades, the shopping plaza has housed more than 200 vendors who sell everything from dresses, to boots, to electronics. But it’s been an uneasy past three years after the site was sold to developer Novak Construction.” Adds the Sun-Times: ” The mall opened in 1991 and a few longtime vendors spoke at the Thursday rally. Iraís Miranda cried as he talked about running a music shop at the mall for about fifteen years. His son now also works there. ‘This is the nucleus of commercial activity on 26th Street for almost thirty years… We’re the principal employers around here.'”
A Preview of The Conversion Of The Lawson House YMCA To Affordable Housing
The twenty-four-story art deco Lawson House “is being transformed into 406 apartments for low-income renters. The $122 million project in the heart of the Gold Coast will include residential amenities, on-site social services and ground-floor retail” when it opens in 2024, reports Block Club in a visual preview of the conversion. “Many of the rooms get natural light. Rooms are 145-160 square feet complete with a kitchenette and a bathroom, something the previous units did not have. Each unit will be furnished with a twin bed, drawers, kitchen table and chairs.”
Surveying The State Of Small Business Three Years Into Pandemic
“Amid changes in hours and strategies, many still wonder about the future of urban life three years into the pandemic,” reports David Roeder at the Sun-Times. Downtown, “prime corners in many places are vacant, and the surviving restaurants, if they’re smart, have window or sidewalk signs declaring themselves open… The businesses are in a ‘long COVID’ fight of their own. Some have changed their hours and competitive approaches. But few who run them are certain about the rhythms of urban life they depended on. The pandemic, while receding as a health threat, has had a lasting effect on where people want to work and, therefore, spend.”
Cash Added To Evanston Redlining Reparation Options
“Evanston’s Reparations Committee unanimously voted to amend the Local Reparations Restorative Housing Program to add direct cash payments as a fourth option for residents who were directly [affected] by redlining in the city,” reports Evanston Review. “The housing program allows those who apply and are chosen at random by a lottery to decide between three options on spending the $25,000 grants: purchasing a home, mortgage payments or up to $10,000 to be used toward home improvement projects with the remainder going toward one of the other two options… The reparations committee is applying the term ‘ancestors’ to those Evanston residents who were at least eighteen years old between 1919 and 1969 when the real estate industry practiced redlining. They are the first group being served reparations by the city. They are typically older residents and some have died waiting for the funding they applied for.”
DINING & DRINKING
Art Institute Dining Goes Boka-Levy
“The Art Institute of Chicago is preparing to reopen on-site dining on Thursday,” reports Eater Chicago, “for the first time since the onset of the pandemic.” The museum has partnered with Boka Restaurant Group and Levy Restaurants. “The partners will introduce new menus at the Art Institute’s three dining spaces: the Market, a replacement for the former member’s lounge… the Modern Cafe in the museum’s Modern Wing; and the Member Bar, a section for private and social events that have taken over the former Terzo Piano restaurant space… The Market will host a rotating lineup that starts with La Patinette, a French-style soup and sandwich spot from chef Chris Pandel of the Bristol.”
United Center Concessions Workers Ratify Contract With Levy
“Concessions workers at the United Center have overwhelmingly ratified a contract that their union said establishes new standards in wages and benefits for stadium employees,” reports the Sun-Times. “The contract expands health insurance coverage, provides higher wages and introduces a pension plan. It said concessions contractor Levy will contribute fifty cents per each worker’s hour to a union-run pension plan… Local 1 represents about 700 United Center employees who serve food and drinks and clean the arena.”
Pilsen Cantina El Trebol Liquors Lives On
A portrait of the immigrant family that sustains the oldest dive bar in Pilsen, by Laura Rodríguez Presa.
Two French Restaurants For Fulton Market
“DineAmic Hospitality, the restaurant group behind Lyra and Prime & Provisions, is planning to open two French restaurants in the Fulton Market District this fall,” reports Crain’s. La Serre and Bar La Rue “will have separate entrances but share a kitchen in the building at 820 Fulton Market Street, at the corner of Green Street.”
Craft Beer Market Goes Flat?
Could it happen in the Midwest? “Three pandemic years, supply chain woes, and changing tastes have made Los Angeles’ once-formidable craft beer scene” vulnerable, reports Eater Los Angeles. “In just the first three months of 2023, a trio of large, well-respected craft breweries have closed in Los Angeles County, including Strand Brewing Company, which has long been considered a flagship for the scene. Many believe that more closures are coming, too, part of a larger trend of flagging sales and shutters in the craft beer market nationwide.”
FILM & TELEVISION
Illinois Breaks Industry Records; Nearly $700 Million In Film Expenditure
Governor Pritzker and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced a record-breaking $691 million for 2022 Illinois’ film production expenditures, a $131 million increase from the pre-pandemic record in 2019. This comes on the heels of the expansion of the Film Production Tax Credit in 2022, extending the credit through 2033, and launching the Film & TV Workforce Training Program. “Our success in the film and TV production industry is more than just a set of revenue numbers—it means thousands of good-paying jobs,” the governor says in a release. “I was proud to extend the Illinois Film Production Tax Credit through 2033—guaranteeing a prosperous decade ahead for producers, writers, directors, designers, editors, actors, camera operators, and production assistants alike. Our film and TV production industry is a boon for our entire economy, bringing stability to Illinois’ booming film industry and the workforce that fuels it.” As filmmakers bring their crews and talent to the state, the state relays, Illinois’ economy reaps the benefits of production companies supporting local catering companies and restaurants, hotels, drivers and a diverse union workforce. More here.
Columbia Grad Michael Goi On Hollywood-Chicago
In a two-part interview with the Sun-Times- Neil Steinberg, Columbia grad and filmmaking veteran Michael Goi talks from his decades of experience. “You live in an era when there are no excuses for not making a movie… You say you want to be a filmmaker; go out and make a movie. You can shoot it on your phone. You can edit on your tablet. You can post it on social media platforms for the entire world to see. All these things are no longer barriers to you.” Goi, whose Japanese American parents were in American internment camps during World War II, says “The industry attracts a lot of dreamers… It’s always emphasized that you need to be a dreamer. You need to dream big. But dreaming is not enough. You have to be a doer. You have to be somebody that actually does the things that you say you want to do, or is in your heart to do. That is still a small percentage of people.”
Of interviews and passion, Goi tells the columnist, “The job interview is my favorite, favorite part of this business… If I could get paid to interview and never have to do the job, I’d be perfectly happy. I always tell people they should embrace the job interview process. The only time that a job is going to be perfect is during the job interview. Because you don’t have to worry about all the stuff you have to worry about if you get the job. People freak themselves out about the job interview and try to read the room and try to predict what it is they want to hear… I don’t do any of that. That’s how you convince them that you’re not right for the job. They can tell that you’re lying. They can tell you’re just saying things to make them feel better.”
Media Newsletter Pioneer Aaron Barnhart Signs Off
“I made the decision to retire from the whole writing-about-entertainment shebang. After three decades I felt well and truly done,” writes Aaron Barnhart. “However, I am devoting most of my time at this point to caring for my wife Diane. As that responsibility has increased, my enthusiasm for doing journalism has waned. We are enjoying our lives here in Evanston and I want to make the most of these next few years. Plus, it’s clear the TV business has passed yet another inflection point, and that’s going to put new demands on anyone covering it from this point on. So, I’m done.”
Sylvia Poggioli Leaving NPR After Forty-One Years
“After forty-one years, Sylvia Poggioli says, ‘It’s time to hang up my headphones,'” reports NPR. “She is the longest-serving reporter on the International Desk and an NPR icon. For many, her name is synonymous with NPR. Sylvia’s wide-ranging, often hard-hitting and always rich storytelling helped NPR distinguish itself in its early years as a news organization with deep interest in the wider world… Her lilting, Italian-accented signoff is widely recognized and beloved by listeners. And her star power excites world leaders.”
Bruce Springsteen And The Runaway American Ticket Price
New York City’s Hell Gate considers “mortgage payment” ticket prices that scream down the boulevard. “The Boss is a working class hero. What happens when the working class can no longer afford to see him play?… The Boss’ loyal followers were disturbed to realize that those exorbitant tickets—as high as $1,000, $2,000, sometimes even $5,000 a pop—were a feature, not a bug. They were a result of ‘dynamic pricing,’ a comically sinister system introduced by Ticketmaster, which uses an algorithm to fluctuate prices in real time according to supply and demand. Essentially, Ticketmaster is now muscling out the scalpers of yore—by gouging fans itself… Some of his longest-serving devotees are staying home.” Some “simply can’t reconcile their hero’s long-earned reputation as a working-class icon with the uneasy sense that he’s become an entertainer for the rich.” (Springsteen is scheduled to perform at Wrigley Field August 9 and 11.)
Bandcamp Workers Form Union
“Since its founding in 2007, Bandcamp has become an artist-friendly alternative to platforms like Spotify and Apple Music that caters to independent artists and labels by giving them control over the way their music and merchandise is consumed (and, compared to its competitors, sharing a heftier chunk of the profits),” reports Rolling Stone. Its owner since March of 2022, “Epic Games, on the other hand, is one of the world’s largest video game and software development companies; Chinese tech conglomerate Tencent owns a forty-percent stake in their operation… Bandcamp is still Bandcamp, but its workers say that change is needed. That’s why they’re joining the ongoing wave of creative workers in tech, media, nonprofits and other white collar industries, and in a first for a music streaming platform, have formed a union called Bandcamp United.”
Refracted Theatre Company Announces Season
Refracted Theatre Company’s fourth season will feature Dave Harris’ dark comedy ‘Tambo & Bones,” directed by Mikael Burke; a workshop production of Mathilde Dratwa’s dark comedy “A Play about David Mamet Writing a Play about Harvey Weinstein,” directed by co-artistic director Tova Wolff; and “Role Call,” a free monthly reading and discussion series. More here.
National Theatre In London Cuts Performances By More Than Half
“The National Theatre is cutting productions due to money troubles. Still struggling with the [pandemic], the NT says it will ‘reduce activity levels in order to ensure financial stability’ for the next three to four years,” reports the Evening Standard.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
Harassment, Vandalism Take Down Uprising Bakery & Café In Lake In The Hills
“UpRising Bakery & Café in Lake in the Hills has announced it will close at the end of [March] after facing multiple attacks for hosting a drag performance,” reports the Sun-Times. “Corinna Sac, the owner of the bakery, said in a news release that operating her business has become a nightmare… ‘Closing our doors is the direct result of the horrific attacks, endless harassment, and unrelenting negative misinformation about our establishment in the last eight months… From an award-winning bakery that donates to local organizations and supports diversity and inclusion, we have been rebranded by misinformation as ‘gay only’ and ‘pedophiles.’ Local customers no longer come here because of the perceived threat that tarnished our good name and the fears of their license plates are photographed, and they are harassed.” More Uprising here.
UChicago Grad Student Workers Unionize
“Graduate students involved in teaching and research at the University of Chicago have voted overwhelmingly to unionize, two months after a similar group at Northwestern University took that step,” reports the Sun-Times.
Florida To Prohibit Girls From Mentioning Their Periods
“As Florida Republicans are introducing and advancing a wave of bills on gender and diversity that are likely to be signed into law by Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), one GOP lawmaker acknowledged this week that his proposed sexual health bill would ban girls from talking about their menstrual cycles in school,” reports The Washington Post. “The GOP lawmaker representing Ocala, Fla., [who introduced the legislation] later clarified that it ‘would not be the intent’ of the bill to punish girls if they came to teachers with questions or concerns about their menstrual cycle, adding that he’d be ‘amenable’ to amendments if they were to come up.” Posts Carl Hiaasen, novelist, columnist and veteran Florida man: “Here’s Ron DeSantis Universe, with GOP lawmakers nosing into your children’s most private matters. Welcome to ‘free’ Florida, right? What a farce.”
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