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SAIC President Elissa Tenny Retiring
“Founded by thirty-five artists 157 years ago, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago has long been a home for generations of artists, designers, and scholars of critical insight and compassionate engagement,” writes SAIC president Elissa Tenny. “Since 2010, it has also been a home for me. Today, after a career in higher education of more than forty-five years, I write to share that I will retire at the end of the 2023–24 academic year… I look forward to my remaining sixteen months as the School’s president, continuing to [celebrate the] ongoing creation, achievement, and growth. As we do so, we are not only animating the inheritance of those SAIC artists, designers, and scholars who have preceded us, we are handing down—to all the students, faculty, staff, and alums who will continue to enrich our School for generations to come—an SAIC tradition: to take their talents and make their School, and their shared society, better.”
“Patric McCoy: Take My Picture” At Wrightwood 659
The exhibition “Patric McCoy: Take My Picture” will feature a selection of fifty photographic portrayals of gay Black men taken on the streets of Chicago in the 1980s. “These photographs were shot by Patric McCoy, Chicago native, retired environmental scientist, and noted collector of African American art, who traveled around Chicago, often on his bike, always with his camera,” the gallery relays. “The exhibition is curated by Juarez Hawkins, artist, educator and curator, who notes, ‘McCoy and his camera fulfilled an unspoken need for Black men to be seen. Seen by someone who did not objectify them as ‘Other,’ but an insider who allowed them, paraphrasing Langston Hughes, to be their ‘beautiful Black selves.’ The Rialto Tap, a now-defunct gay bar in the South Loop, attracted McCoy’s muses. Open around the clock, the bar packed in men from all walks of life: unhoused people, downtown professionals, drag queens, gangsters, ‘buppies,’ and others. The Rialto was one of few places where black men could socialize with other black men; at the time, many ‘mainstream’ gay bars were unwelcoming to men of color.” Presented by Alphawood Exhibitions at Wrightwood 659 from April 14-July 15. Tickets (online only) here.
Amtrak Upgrades Coming
“Among Chicago’s expected Amtrak upgrades: a second daily train to Minneapolis-St. Paul, new train cars for Midwest routes plus new coaches and sleepers for long-haul routes,” reports the Sun-Times.
Few River Forest Residents Ask For Lead Pipes To Be Replaced
“Only forty-eight of 3,200 water customers in River Forest have taken advantage of the village’s lead water service line replacement program since its creation in 2021,” reports Wednesday Journal Of Oak Park and River Forest. “At the beginning of 2022, a new Illinois law–the Lead Service Line Replacement and Notification Act—went into effect, mandating that owners of any water supply must create an inventory of all lead service lines by 2023 and submit a preliminary plan in 2024” to replace them. “The final replacement plan isn’t due in to the state until 2027 and municipalities will have a further twenty years to get all of those lead service lines replaced.”
Netsch House Landmark Status Advances
“The Commission on Chicago Landmarks has given the green light to a final landmark recommendation for the historic Netsch House,” reports YIMBY Chicago. “The iconic residence was constructed in 1974 by renowned architect Walter Netsch for himself and his wife, the trailblazing Dawn Clark Netsch. While the house is nestled within the Old Town Triangle Historic District, it currently lacks official designation as a contributing structure.”
Ninety-Nine-Percent Of Chicago Residences Built Before 1978 Have Hazardous Levels Of Lead Paint
“Paint containing lead has been outlawed in Chicago since 1978, but a WTTW News investigation has found the vast majority of Chicago’s housing stock still contains potentially toxic levels of the substance and that most children are not being tested regularly.”
How’s The Chicago Norfolk Southern Expansion Coming?
“None of the recent crashes or derailments [by Norfolk Southern] took place in Chicago, and the company says it remains committed to the long-standing South Side plans, which have been in the works for fifteen years and required acquiring hundreds of homes in the area. But the fallout could open the door to further pushback,” reports the Trib.
Groupon Building Tenant Sues Sterling Bay For $515K Over Lack Of Office Business
“A second lease involving Sterling Bay’s sprawling River North office building at 600 West Chicago has become the subject of a lawsuit,” reports TheRealDeal. “The food services company that operates the building’s retail tenant Farehouse Market—which sells meals, coffee, cocktails and take-home foods and liquor—has requested a payment of more than $515,000 from Sterling Bay for leaving its lease seven years early. Farehouse, operated by Nicholas Saccaro’s Lombard-based Quest Food Management Services, decided to make an early exit due to lackluster sales at the property that the tenant blamed on the ‘vast reduction’ of office workers at the building since the pandemic began.”
DINING & DRINKING
Lottie’s Pub Turns Eighty-Nine
The Chicago Bars Twitter feed peeps Lottie’s promo poster for the May 20 celebration of “Supporting Your Habits Since 1934.”
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz Quits Early, But Will Still Testify To Congress
“Starbucks’ chief executive, Howard Schultz, is ending his third stint as head of the coffee chain early as he faces growing scrutiny over the company’s labor practices,” reports the Guardian. In a letter to workers, the third-time CEO wrote, “You are all the future of Starbucks. The world needs Starbucks–and Starbucks needs all of you… Everything you need to know resides inside of each of you.” Posts More Perfect Union: “The communications director for Bernie Sanders confirms that the billionaire CEO will still be testifying before the Senate HELP committee, which Bernie chairs, at the end of the month:”
Four Chicago Artists Join Blues Hall Of Fame
John Primer, Carey Bell, Snooky Pryor and Fenton Robinson join the Blues Hall of Fame, reports CBS 2. The induction is in Memphis in May.
Lollapalooza Looses Lineup
Lollapalooza’s 2023 edition is scheduled to include first-time headliners Kendrick Lamar and Billie Eilish, along with Red Hot Chili Peppers, ODESZA, Lana Del Rey, Karol G, The 1975 and Tomorrow X Together. The lineup also includes ‘Fred again..,’ Noah Kahan, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, J.I.D., Maggie Rogers, Carly Rae Jepsen, Diplo and Thirty Seconds to Mars. Downtown Chicago will be taken over August 3-6 with over 170 bands and nine stages in Grant Park. The purchase set-up requires an “SMS Presale” beginning Thursday, March 23, 10am; sign up here, This qualifies to purchase “four-day general admission at the tier 1 price of $365 (while supplies last) as well as four-day general admission-plus, VIP and platinum tickets. Layaway Plans are also available on all ticket types starting at $20 down.”
Riot Fest Plans September Return To Douglass Park
“Riot Fest is trying to return to the West Side’s Douglass Park this year—even as other fests have left amid pushback and protests from neighbors,” reports Block Club. The event would draw 50,000 daily. “That leaves Riot Fest as the lone holdout at the park as the two other major festivals held there last year—Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash and Heatwave—have announced moves to other locations.”
Animal-Free Ringling Bros. Comes To Chicago
Feld Entertainment has set the 2023 North American tour of “Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey The Greatest Show On Earth.” “Bringing to life an arena spectacle at unbelievable scale, The Greatest Show On Earth will debut stunning feats of real human achievement, musical performances blended with aerial artistry, modern comedy, and never-before-seen acts on highwire, trapeze, bicycles and more. The reimagined American icon will captivate families through a multi-platform, 360-degree experience that brings fans into the action, creating real connections between audiences and performers from all over the world. Six performances only at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, November 3-5. Tickets here. (“Ticket pricing is subject to change based on market demand.”)
“Golden Girls” Con Comes To Riverwalk
Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk Hotel again hosts “Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan,” the convention based on “The Golden Girls” television program. “Get excited for live performances, dance parties, cast interviews, expert discussions, trivia and a vendor market.” Tickets here.
ARTS & CULTURE & ETC.
National Medal Of Arts To Fred Eychaner
“Chicagoan Fred Eychaner, a longtime patron of the arts, activist for LGBTQI+ causes, a philanthropist and one of the nation’s biggest donors to Democratic candidates and causes, will receive a National Medal of Arts,” reports the Sun-Times. “Eychaner is the top executive of Newsweb Corporation and the Chairman and President of the Alphawood Foundation.” Others among the twenty-three recipients in arts and humanities: Bruce Springsteen, Colson Whitehead, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Vera Wang, Amy Tan, Mindy Kaling and Ann Patchett. Complete list here.
Chicago Humanities Lists Spring Line-Up
Chicago Humanities Spring Festival is returning to stages across the city from April to June with over forty conversations, experiences and one-night-only performances. Chicago Humanities hosts Joan Baez, Andy Cohen, actor Andrew Rannells and Rainn Wilson on “a spiritual revolution that will help solve the world’s problems.” Also: Miranda July and Carrie Brownstein speak of art; drag performers Gigi Gorgeous and Gottmik share tales of being true to oneself; and Ruth E. Carter, two-time Academy Award-winning costume designer goes behind the scenes of her films. There’s music, too: The Bangles co-founder Susanna Hoffs and The Interview Show’s Mark Bazer talk and Hoffs takes the stage for a solo performance. Chicago band Joan of Arc reunites (for one night only) to perform their original score to Carl Th. Dreyer’s silent masterpiece “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928).
Also: Chicago saxophonist Isaiah Collier and his quartet The Chosen Few; Robbie Fulks; and experimental musician Joe Rauen. Chicago Humanities also brings Stacey Abrams on fiction and voting rights; physicist Michio Kaku addresses emerging technology; Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison addresses police brutality; Congresswoman Katie Porter and Texas politician Beto O’Rourke; V (formerly Eve Ensler) and novelist Rebecca Makkai on creating change; and Farah Jasmine Griffin on book bans and the power of Black literature. Tickets and more here.
Navy Pier Appoints Board Chair
Navy Pier has appointed Jennifer W. Steans as its new Board Chair. Steans, who has served on the Navy Pier Board since 2015, is President and CEO of Financial Investments Corporation, where she oversees private equity investments and The Steans Family Foundation. Prior to founding FIC in 1994, Steans served as treasurer of Prime Graphics, Inc., and as a senior consultant, and then manager, for the management consulting arm of Deloitte & Touche, primarily in the finance and healthcare industries. She is a life trustee and past chair of the Ravinia Festival, and serves as a trustee of DePaul University, Rush University Medical Center, World Business Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago. Steans’ appointment comes at the retirement of William J. Brodsky as Navy Pier board chair, a position he held for the past decade.
Governor Announces $175 Million Available For B2B Grants For Restaurants, Hotels and Creative Arts Businesses
Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity announced $175 million in grant funding available through the Back to Business program. Following state recovery for businesses totaling nearly $1.5 billion, the latest American Rescue Plan Act-funded opportunity is designed to provide additional support for the hardest-hit sectors, including restaurants, hotels and businesses or organizations in the creative arts sector. “In the three years since COVID-19 brought our state, our nation, and our world to a standstill, Illinois businesses have come back swinging—in part thanks to our Back to Business program,” Pritzker says in a release. “My administration is committed to helping small business owners move past survival and onto long-term success—and this latest investment of $175 million in B2B grants does exactly that.” B2B Arts and B2B Restaurants grant award amounts will be determined by revenue declines, as reflected on tax returns and funding for hotels will be allocated by number of rooms. Applications are open April 5-May 10 and awards are expected to be made several weeks after closing. All eligible applicants will receive a grant as long as the business meets eligibility requirements and submits proper documentation and attestations. Details here.
Conagra Brands CEO New Chair Of Economic Club Of Chicago
“Conagra Brands CEO Sean Connolly has been named chair of The Economic Club of Chicago,” reports the Tribune. “Connolly succeeds Mary Dillon, president and CEO of Foot Locker… The Economic Club of Chicago counts 2,400 C-suite executives as members… Connolly has been a member of the club since 2012 and has served on the organization’s board since 2017.”
Naperville Ranked Fourth Best U. S. City To Live In
“Naperville ranked fourth on the 2023 Best Cities to Live in America list,” reports NBC 5. according to Niche, a review website. “Living in Naperville offers residents a dense suburban feel and most residents own their homes… In Naperville there are a lot of restaurants, coffee shops, and parks. Many families and young professionals live in Naperville and residents tend to have moderate political views.”
Glancing Back Three Years To The Beginning Of Lockdown
The Sun-Times provides a photo gallery of Chicago gone silent three years ago this week, opening with a startling image by photographer Ashlee Rezin looking down from several stories onto the Daley Plaza and the 160-ton Picasso statue and a single human figure in the abandoned expanse.
Strip Club Sued Over Harassment, Hostile Workplace
“Four former dancers are suing [Rick’s Cabaret at 1531 North Kingsbury, a] prominent Chicago strip club, saying management routinely allowed customers to assault them through biting, unwanted touching, exposing their genitals and choking,” reports Block Club.
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